Tuesday, January 01, 2013

So, that was Christmas (and New Year)

Pre-Christmas was the usual whirl of activity. On the last day of term, Friday 21st December I did the Bible reading at the town's secondary school Carol Service, Luke 2:1-20. Last January I became a parent governor at the school, where our two are in years 11 & 13. Then we had an encouraging 'Evening with Carols' at a local sheltered housing complex on Friday evening. It was good to have some visitors come along to the Carol Services of both churches I serve on the Sunday before Christmas.

With schools breaking up on the Friday before Christmas, the 'Big Day' seemed to arrive with little warning. We'd done most of the shopping, but that left quite a bit of pressie wrapping to do. All seems a bit of a blur now. Had some nice presents, mostly clothes and some other bits and pieces. A  navy blue Ben Sherman Harrington jacket will help complete the midlife crisis ageing-mod look.

Preached on Isaiah 9:6 Christmas morning, emphasising God's gift of Jesus, "unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son us given". Quoted Thomas Goodwin's wonderful mash-up of Isaiah 9:6 and 1 Corinthians 1:30:
For would we have peace of conscience and the guilt of sin removed? He is the “Prince of Peace”, and is made “righteousness” unto us. Are we in depths of distress, terrors within, terrors without, out of which we see no redemption? He is the “mighty God;” “able to save to the utmost,” being made “redemption” to us. Want we grace and his image to be renewed and increased in us? He is “the everlasting Father;” a father to beget his likeness in us, and everlasting to maintain it [for] ever, when it is begun once: he is made “sanctification” to us. Want we wisdom to guide us? He is the “Counsellor,” and is made wisdom to us. All we want he has, even as all he has we want.
Not  sure that the old Puritan would approve of Christmas, but there we are. 

Wanted to go for a walk on  Boxing Day, but it was raining pretty heavily. So, we decided to have a game of  Monopoly. We've got the newfangled set where you use credit cards rather than cash. My daughter won, accumulating over £130 million. Something like that anyway. 

Managed to get out for a walk the day after. Sarah and I went for a wander around Shear Water, a local beauty spot. 

On Friday we went to Wales and had a lovely time seeing my family. My mum and sister and her family still live in the village where I was brought up. Always good to see Bassaleg again. On the way home we went to IKEA in Bristol and bought some stuff. Never been there before. Good quality. Cheap. Quite impressed. 

On Saturday we headed for London, partly to see Sarah's family and partly because I was booked to preach at Stanmore Chapel on the Sunday. The pastor is Colin Leyshon, who I first met when studying at LTS in 1989. Preached on Galatians 4:1-7 in the morning and Romans 8:35-39 in the evening. I struggled a bit in the morning, but felt more free in the later service. While we were away I finished the Kindle version of In Christ Alone by Sinclair Ferguson. It was only £0.99 from Amazon. A very helpful read at bargain basement price. Look out for a review soon. 

Back home on Monday. Went to a New Year's Eve party at Barnaby and Verity Alsop's place. Barnaby, another member of the 'LTS Mafia' is pastor at Bulford Chapel. We had a good time, eating, drinking and chatting away merrily. We played Monopoly Deal, a playing card version of the board game. Fun, even though we didn't win.

My reading highlights for 2012 were Herman Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics Volume 3 and Iain Murray's moving biography of Archibald Brown. I hope to get through a sizeable chunk of RD Vol 4 this year. It's the biggie of the set. Over 900pp. On my 'to read' shelf I have What is Jesus doing now? by my good friend Gary Brady (to be reviewed for ET), The Mission of God, by Christopher Wright and some other stuff, including a volume of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's sermons. I've caught the e-reading bug and like to snap up Kindle special offers when I can. I've made a start on Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life by Joel Beeke and Mark Jones and downloaded Pillars of Grace, by Stephen Lawson. I got the former for only £6.48. It is now £19.27 for the Kindle version, £34.40 hardback.  The early bird... and all that.

Who, but the Lord knows what 2013 holds for us? We trust in him and in his name we go forward into a new year. 

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