Wednesday, 30 September 2009


A sermon on the 2nd Commandment by Thomas Watson [part 3]
(I have tried to edit it so as to be a bit more readable ... though I have left the 'old' language in)

Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.

Here is the second reason against image-worship.

God's visiting in anger.
[1] 'Visiting iniquity.' Sin makes God visit. Sin is the cause why God visits with sickness, poverty, &c. Sin twists the cords which pinch us; it creates all our troubles, is the gall in our cup, and the gravel in our bread.
[2] 'Visiting the iniquity of the fathers.' One special sin for which God's visits, is idolatry and image-worship.
[3] 'Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon their children.' Idolatrous persons are enemies not to their own souls only, but to their children. As an idolatrous father entails his land of inheritance, so he entails God's anger and curse upon his children. A jealous husband, finding his wife has stained her fidelity, may justly cast her off and her children too, because they are none of his. If the father be a traitor to his prince, no wonder if all the children suffer. God may visit the iniquity of image-worshippers upon their children.
  • But is it not said, 'Every man shall die for his own sin; the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father?' 2 Chron 25: 4, Ezek 18: 20. How then does God say, he 'will visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children?'
  • Though the son be not damned, yet he may be severely punished for his father's sin. 'God layeth up his iniquity for his children' (Job 21: 19); that is, God lays up the punishment of his iniquity for his children - the child smarts for the father's sin. As a son catches an hereditary disease from his father, the stone or gout, so he catches misery from him: his father's sin ruins him.
1st Application
How sad is it to be the child of an idolater!

2nd Application
What a privilege it is to be the children of good parents. A religious parent does not procure wrath, but helps to keep off wrath from his child; he seasons his child with religious principles, he prays down a blessing on it; he is a loadstone to draw his child to Christ by good counsel and example. Oh, what a privilege is it to be born of godly, religious parents!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009


A sermon on the 2nd Commandment by Thomas Watson [part 2]
(I have tried to edit it so as to be a bit more readable ... though I have left the 'old' language in)

I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.

The first reason why Israel must not worship graven images is, because the Lord is a jealous God.

[1] God is jealous for his people. Zech 1: 14. God has a dear affection for his people, they are his delight. Isa 62: 4. They are the apple of his eye, Zech 2: 8They are his spouse, adorned with jewels of grace; they lie near his heart. He is jealous for his spouse, therefore he will be avenged on those who wrong her

[2] which God is jealous of his people. ‘I am jealous lest you should go after false gods, or worship the true God in a false manner; lest you defile your virgin-profession by images.’ God will have his spouse to keep close to him, and not go after other lovers. 'Thou shalt not be for another man' Hos 3: 3. He cannot bear a rival. Our conjugal love, a love joined with adoration and worship, must be given to God only.

1st Application
Let us give God no just cause to be jealous. A good wife will be so discreet and chaste, as to give her husband no just occasion of jealousy. Let us avoid all sin, especially this of idolatry, or image-worship.

2nd Application
Better move your parents to hatred, than move God to jealousy! Their anger cannot do you so much hurt as God's. If they will not provide for you, God will. 'When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.' Psa 27: 10.

Monday, 28 September 2009

with Calvin in the Theater of God

Desiring God Conference 2009
Lots and Lots to see & hear here!

Spot the difference

The Roman Catholic Version of the 10 Commandments:

1. I am the LORD your God: you shall not have strange Gods before me.

2. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.

9. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.

10. You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.

Exodus 20:

I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

You shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor's.

The Roman Catholic Church's Catechism takes the '2nd Command', assumes that is is covered by the 1st, and erases it from the 10 commandments.

Christmas Unwrapped

starting on Sunday 11th October

Don't make images (in any size, colour, shape or medium) for use in your worship of God

A sermon on the 2nd Commandment by Thomas Watson [part 1]
(I have tried to edit it so as to be a bit more readable ... though I have left the 'old' language in)

In the first commandment worshipping a false god is forbidden; in this (second commandment), worshipping the true God in a false manner.

'Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.'
This forbids not making an image for civil use (cf. Matt 22: 20, 2I) but the commandment forbids setting up an image for religious use or worship.

'Nor the likeness of any thing,' &c.
All ideas, portraitures, shapes, images of God, whether by effigies or pictures, are here forbidden.

'Thou shalt not bow down to them.'
The intent of making images and pictures is to worship them.

To set up an image to represent God, is debasing him. If any one should make images of snakes or spiders, saying he did it to represent his prince, would not the prince take it in disdain? What greater disparagement to the infinite God than to represent him by that which is finite; the living God, by that which is without life; and the Maker of all by a thing which is made?

[1] To make a true image of God is impossible. God is a spiritual essence and, being a Spirit, he is invisible.(John 4: 24, Deut 4: 15). How can any paint the Deity? Can they make an image of that which they never saw?
[2] To worship God by an image, is both absurd and unlawful.

  1. It is absurd and irrational
    Is it not an absurd thing to bow down to the king's picture, when the king himself is present? It is more so to bow down to an image of God, when God himself is everywhere present.

  2. It is unlawful
    Image-worship is expressly against the letter of Scripture. 'Ye shall make no graven image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone to bow down unto it.' Lev 26: 1. 'Neither shalt thou set up any image; which the Lord thy God hateth.' Deut 16: 22. 'Confounded be all they that serve graven images.' Psa 97: 7. Do we think to please God by doing that which is contrary to his mind, and that which he has expressly forbidden?

[3] Image worship is against the practice of the saints of old.
Josiah, that renowned king, destroyed the groves and images. 2 Kings 23: 6, 24. Constantine abrogated the images set up in temples.

1st Application of this:
The Church of Rome is reproved and condemned, which, from the Alpha of its religion to the Omega, is wholly idolatrous. Romanists make images of God the Father, painting him in their church windows as an old man; and an image of Christ on the crucifix; and, because it is against the letter of this commandment, they sacrilegiously blot it out of their catechism, and divide the tenth commandment into two.
(1) Where has God bidden them worship him by an effigy or image? 'Who has required this at your hands?' Isa 1: 12.
(2) The heathen bring the same argument for their gross idolatry, as the Papists do for their image-worship. What heathen has been so simple as to think gold or silver, or the figure of an ox or elephant, was God? These were emblems and hieroglyphics only to represent him. They worshipped an invisible God by such visible things. To worship God by an image, God takes as done to the image itself.

  • But, say the Papists, images are laymen's books, and they are good to put them in mind of God.
  • 'What profiteth the graven image, the molten image, and a teacher of lies.' Hab 2: 18.
    Is an image a layman's book? Then see what lessons this book teaches. It teaches lies; it represents God in a visible shape, who is invisible. For Papists to say they make use of an image to put them in mind of God, is as if a woman should say she keeps company with another man to put her in mind of her husband.

  • But did not Moses make the image of a brazen serpent? Why, then, may not images be set tip?
  • That was done by God's special command. 'Make thee a brazen serpent.' Numb 21: 8.

  • But is not God represented as having hands, and eyes, and ears? Why nay we not, then, make an image to represent him, and help our devotion?
  • Though God is pleased to stoop to our weak capacities, and set himself out in Scripture by eyes, to signify his omniscience, and hands to signify his power, yet it is absurd, from such metaphors and figurative expressions, to bring an argument for images and pictures; for, by that rule, God may be pictured by the sun and the element of fire, and by a rock; for he is set forth by these metaphors in Scripture; and, sure, the Papists themselves would not like to have such images made of God.

  • If it be not lawful to make the image of God the Father, yet may we not make an image of Christ, who took upon him the nature of man?
  • No! It is Christ's Godhead, united to his manhood, that makes him to be Christ; therefore to picture his manhood, when we cannot picture his Godhead, is a sin, because we make him to be but half Christ - we separate what God has joined, we leave out that which is the chief thing which makes him to be Christ.

But how shall we conceive of God aright, if we may not make any image or resemblance of him?

We must conceive of God spiritually.
(1) In his attributes - his holiness, justice, goodness - which are the beams by which his divine nature shines forth.
(2) We must conceive of him as he is in Christ. Christ is the 'Image of the invisible God' as in the wax we see the print of the seal. Col 1: 15. Set the eyes of your faith on Christ-God-man. 'He that has seen me, has seen the Father.' John 14: 9.

2nd Application of this:
Our nature is prone to this sin as dry wood to take fire. It concerns us, therefore, to resist this sin. Where the tide is apt to run with greater force, there we had need to make the banks higher and stronger. The plague of idolatry is very infectious. This is my advice to you, to avoid all occasions of this sin:
(1) Come not into the company of idolatrous Papists.
(2) Go not into their chapels to see their crucifixes, or hear mass. As looking on a harlot draws to adultery, so looking on the popish gilded picture may draw to idolatry.
(3) Dare not join in marriage with image-worshippers. Mingle wine and vinegar, the vinegar will sooner sour the wine, than the wine will sweeten the vinegar.
(4) Avoid superstition. Superstition is bringing any ceremony, fancy, or innovation into God's worship, which he never appointed. It is provoking God, because it reflects much upon his honour, as if he were not wise enough to appoint the manner of his own worship.

3rd Application of this:
So that you may be preserved from idolatry and image-worship:
(1) Get good principles, that you may be able to oppose the gainsayer. Whence does the popish religion get ground? Not from the goodness of their cause, but from the ignorance of their people. (2) Get love to God. The wife that loves her husband is safe from the adulterer; and the soul that loves Christ is safe from the idolater.
(3) Pray that God will keep you. Pray, 'Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe.' Psa 119: 117. Lord, let me neither mistake my way for want of light, nor leave the true way for want of courage.
(4) Let us bless God who has given us the knowledge of his truth, that we have tasted the honey of his word, and our eyes are enlightened. Let us bless him that he has shown us the pattern of his house, the right mode of worship; that he has discovered to us the forgery and blasphemy of the Romish religion. Let us pray that God will preserve pure ordinances and powerful preaching among us. Idolatry came in at first by the want of good preaching. The people began to have golden images when they had wooden priests.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

men's breakfast

Grace Community Church & St Luke's are teaming up for a Men's Breakfast.
17th October / 9-10.30 am / at Grace

Colin Tamplin from Monyhull Church will be speaking.

Looking forward to it!


We know jealousy, "the green ey'd monster", as a vice, one of the most cancerous and soul destroying that there is; whereas God, we are sure, is perfectly good. How, then, could anyone ever imagined jealousy is found in him?
Were we imagining that the was a God, then naturally we should ascribe to him only characteristics which we admired, and jealousy would not enter the picture. Nobody would imagine a jealous God. But we are not making up an idea of God by drawing on our imagination; we are seeking instead to listen to the words of Holy Scripture, in which God himself tells us the truth about himself.

When God brought Israel out of Egypt to Sinai, to give them his law and covenant, his jealousy was one of the first facts about himself which he taught them. (Exodus 20:5; 34: 14)

The Bible says a good deal about God's jealousy:
Numbers 25: 11; Deuteronomy 4:24, 6:15, 29:20, 32:16, 21
Joshua 24:19; 1Kings 14:22
Ezekiel: 3-5, 16: 38, 42, 23:25, 36:5 ff., 38:19, 39: 25, Joel 2:18; Nahum 1:2; Zephaniah 1:18, 3:8; Zechariah 1:14, 8:2
salm 78: 58, 70 9:5
1Corinthians 10:22; James 4:5

Biblical statements about God's jealousy are anthropomorphisms - that is, descriptions of God in language drawn from life as humans. The Bible is full of anthropomorphisms - God's arm, hand, and finger, his hearing, seeing, and smelling, his tenderness, anger, repentance, laughter, and so forth. The reason why God uses these terms to speak to us about himself is that language drawn from our own personal life is the most accurate medium for communicating thoughts about him that we have. He is personal, and so a we, in a way that nothing else in the physical creation is. Only man, of all physical creatures, was made in God's image.

But ...

We have to remember that man is not the measure of his Maker, and when the language of human personal life is used of God none of the limitations of human creature are thereby being implied -limited knowledge, all power, or foresight, or strength, or consistency, or anything of that kind. And we must remember that those elements in human qualities which show the corrupting effect of sin have no counterpart in God.

There are two sorts of jealousy among humans, and only one of them is a vice. Vicious jealousy is an expression of the attitude, "I want what you've got, and I hate you because I haven't got it." It is an infantile resentment springing from mortified covetousness, which expresses itself in envy, malice, and meanness of action. It is terribly potent, for it feeds and is fed by pride, the taproot of fallen nature. But there is another sort of jealousy -zeal to protect a love relationship, or to avenge it when broken. This jealousy also operates in the sphere of sex; there, however, it appears, not as the blind reaction of wounded pride, but as the fruit of marital affection. This sort of jealousy is a positive virtue, for it shows a grasp of the true meaning of the husband wife relationship, together with a proper zeal to keep it intact.

Now, Scripture consistently views God's jealousy as being of this latter kind: that is, as an aspect of his covenant love to his own people. The Old Testament regards God's covenant as his marriage with Israel, carrying with it the demand for unqualified love and loyalty. The worship of idols, and all compromising relations with non-Israelite idolaters, constituted disobedience and unfaithfulness, which God saw as spiritual adultery, provoking him to jealousy and vengeance.

God demands from those whom he has loved and redeemed after and absolute loyalty, and will vindicate his claim by stern action against them if they betray his love by unfaithfulness.

God's jealousy over his people, therefore, presupposes his covenant love; and this love is no transitory affection, accidental and aimless, but is the expression of a sovereign purpose. The goal of the covenant love of God is that he should have people on earth as long as history lasts, and after that should have all his faithful once in every age with him in glory. Covenant love is the heart of God's plan to his world.

God's ultimate objective is threefold - to vindicate his rule and righteousness by showing his sovereignty and judgement upon sin; to ransom and redeem his chosen people; and to be loved and praised by them for his glorious acts of love and self-vindication. God seeks what we should seek- his glory, in and through man - and it is for the securing of this that, ultimately, that he is jealous.

[Notes on Knowing God, J Packer, Ch 17]

Why we should pray for our preachers

Idolatry came in at first by the want of good preaching. The people began to have golden images when they had wooden priests.

Friday, 25 September 2009

northern women's convention trip

unashamed 2009

Obviously I am not going. But Jane is.
And 19 others from Grace.
Look out Manchester.

The Guilt Industry

Calling all job seekers. At a time of diminishing employment opportunities, there's a sector of the British economy that continues to expand. For the right type of applicant, it often offers above-average remuneration with attractive perks, notably an assumption of moral superiority.

You won't find it listed in the "sits vac" columns, as such. That's because this booming business embraces many organisations, across a range of activities: charities, social work, local and national politics, even journalism.

It is the Guilt Industry. No, not the gilt industry (though that too is flourishing, thanks to the Government's borrowing binge). The Guilt Industry is completely different; it provides a living for those with an eagerness to demonise fellow citizens who spurn "progressive" values. [for the rest of Jeff Randall's article click here]

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Jay Smith visiting the Midlands

Handsworth Bible Convention 2009
Saturday 10th October at 6.00pm
Junction Rd Evangelical Church B21 0EL

“Engaging with Islam”
Jay Smith

[see clips below to see who he is]

Seminar 1: “Islam, its history & beliefs”
Seminar 2: “Sharing our faith with Muslims”

high priest (rap-along)

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

let the games begin

I don't want that!

'no covetous man, who is an idolator, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God' (Ephesians 5:5; cf. Colossians 3:5)

exotic statues?

A Christian could make the following statements
  • God gives purpose, meaning,and fulfilment to my life
  • God governs the way I act
  • God is the focal point around which my existence hangs
  • God is often in my thoughts, and I get enthusiastic about God
  • Thoughts of God comfort me when I'm down
  • I read about God, I talk about God, and make friends with those who are also committed to God
  • I desire more of God
Now idolatry is where something -- anything -- takes the place of God in the central position. An idol is anything that you could put in place of the word God in statements like those above.
Try it:

An idol is what people live for.
An idol is what fills our minds when we lie awake at night.
Idolatry occurs when we hold any value, idea, or activity higher than God.
(Ten, J John, p188-189)

Monday, 21 September 2009


The thing that irritates ... people about Christianity is not so much what it affirms but what it denies. (Ten, J John, p187)

True Religion

I call "piety" that reverence joined with love of God which the knowledge of his benefits induces. Until men recognize that they owe everything to God, that they are nourished by his Fatherly care, that he is the author of every good, that they should seek nothing beyond him -- they will never yield him winning service. No, unless they establish their complete happiness in him, they will never give themselves truly and sincerely to him.

... the pious mind does not dream up for itself any god it pleases, but contemplates the one and only true God. I does not attach to him whatever it pleases, but is content to hold him to be as he manifests himself; furthermore, the mind always exercises the utmost diligence and care not to wander astray, or rashly and boldly to go beyond his will.

Because it understand him to be the author of every good, if anything oppresses, if anything is lacking, immediately it takes itself to his protection, waiting for help from him. Because it is persuaded that he is good and merciful, it reposes in him with perfect trust, and doubts not that in his loving kindness a remedy will be provided for all its ills. Because it acknowledges him as Father and Lord, the pious mind also deems it meet and rights to observe his authority in all things, reverence his Majesty, take care to advance his glory, and obey his commands. Because it sees him to be a righteous judge, armed with severity to punish wickedness, it ever holds his judgement seat before its gaze, and through fear of him restrains itself from provoking his anger. And yet is not so terrified by the awareness of his judgement as to wish to withdraw, even if some way of escape were open. But it embraces him no less as punisher of the wicked than as benefactor of the pious. The pious mind realises that the punishment of the impious and the wicked and the reward of life eternal for the righteous equally pertain to God's glory.

Beside, this mind restrains itself from sinning, not out of dread of punishment alone; but, because it loves and reveres God as Father, it worships and adores him as Lord. Even if there were no hell, it would still shudder at offending him alone.

Here indeed is pure and real religion: faith so joined with earnest fear of God that this fear also embraces willing reverence, and carries with it such legitimate worship as is prescribed in the law.

(Calvin's Institutes, Vol 1 Ch 2.1 & 2)

the greatest story ever told

possibly not the liveliest 'gig' shai linne has ever played!


How much of the Bible's Story could you rap in 4 mins?
My guess is I'd not get very far! ;)

Here are the lyrics for you to follow

Alright check it: let’s go back in time, brethren. Divine lessons always keep your mind guessing. The glory of the Triune God is what I’m stressing. The origin of humankind was fine. Blessings were plenteous. God is amazingly generous. Crazy benefits in a state of innocence. God told the man what he could taste was limited. Not long after came our nemesis in Genesis. He scammed well, man fell, damned to hell. The whole human race - he represented it. Fooled by the serpent, man through his work, woman through birth - even the earth ruled by the curses. But instead of a wake immediately. God said her Seed would be the One to crush the head of the snake. Yo, wait what is this? Whoa, a gracious gift! In Jehovah’s faithfulness He clothed their nakedness. This was so they would know their Savior’s kiss and bliss. But first, many growing pains exist suffering in the worst form, ugly deeds. Eve’s firstborn seed made his brother bleed. Indeed things got progressively worse. Every section of the earth is been affected by the curse. And though God’s judgments against sin were gory, praise the Lord! It’s not the end of the story.

It's the greatest story ever told. A God pursues foes whose hearts turned cold.The greatest story ever told.Restoring all that the enemy stole.The greatest story ever told.The glory of Christ is the goal, behold.The greatest story ever told.It's the greatest.

Next scene: man’s sin was extreme. God gets steamed, man gets creamed. The Lord is so Holy that He drowned them in the water. Fire in the valley of slaughter - Sodom and Gomorrah. But at the same time, He’s so gracious and patient that from one man He created a whole nation. Eventually enslaved by the mentally depraved, they cried out to the only One with the strength that He could save. He brought them out with signs and wonders - satisfied their hunger. Then He appeared on Mount Sinai in thunder. Where He laid down the law for God-ruled government. Commonly referred to as the Mosaic covenant. Sin was imputed. So for man to know he’s unrighteous, God instituted animal sacrifices. This was to show our constant need for atonement. And when it came to sin, the Lord would never condone it. And when His people disobeyed and went astray, He raised up prophets and kings to lead them in the way. But they would get foul with their idolatry - wet and wild prophecy - send them into exile. To take their punishment like a grown man. Then with His own hand He placed them back in their homeland. And while in their forefather’s land they dwelt, they awaited the arrival of Emmanuel.

It's the greatest story ever told. A God pursues foes whose hearts turned cold.The greatest story ever told.Restoring all that the enemy stole.The greatest story ever told.The glory of Christ is the goal, behold.The greatest story ever told.It's the greatest.

After 400 silent years filled with sighs and tears. In Bethlehem the Messiah appears. God in the flesh - Second Person of the Trinity. At thirty begins His earthly ministry. Baffling cats with accurate, exact facts and back to back miraculous acts. A stumbling block to the self righteous. But the humbled - His flock, said "There's no one else like this." He came from heaven to awake the numb. Demonstrated His power over nature, son. A foretaste of the Kingdom and the age to come. But the reason He came was to pay the sum for the depths of our wickedness, our wretched sinfulness. Bless His magnificence! He is perfect and innocent. Yet He was wrecked and His death. He predicted it. Next He was stretched, paid a debt that was infinite. He said that He finished it. Resurrected so the elect would be the recipients of its benefits. Through faith and penitence we get to be intimate. His grace is heaven sent, it never diminishes. Now the Holy Spirit indwelling is the evidence for heaven's future residents who truly represent Jesus, the Author, Producer, Director and Star of a story that will never, ever end!


and how many words do eskimos have for 'snow'?

drunk,• adj,

euphemisms include:

Ankled (Bristol)
Badgered, Banjaxed, Battered, Befuggered, Bernard Langered, Bladdered, Blasted, Blathered, Bleezin, Blitzed, Blootered, Blottoed, Bluttered, Boogaloo, Brahms & Liszt, Buckled, Burlin
Cabbaged, Chevy Chased, Clobbered
Decimated, Dot Cottoned, Druck-steaming, Drunk as a Lord, Drunk as a skunk
Fecked, Fleemered (Germany), Four to the floor
Gatted, Goosed, Got my beer goggles on, Guttered (Inverness)
Had a couple of shickers, Hammer-blowed, Hammered, Hanging, Having the whirlygigs, Howling Inebriated, Intoxicated
Jahalered, Jaiked up (West of Scotland), Jan'd - abbrev for Jan Hammered, Jaxied, Jeremied, Jolly
Lagged up, Lamped, Langered (Ireland) [also langers, langerated], Laroped, or alt. larrupt, Lashed, Leathered, Legless, Liquored up (South Carolina), Locked, Locked out of your mind (Ireland), Loo la
Mad wey it, Mandoo-ed, Mangled, Manky, Mashed, Meff'd, Merl Haggard, Merry, Minced, Ming-ho, Minging, Moired, Monged, Monkey-full, Mottled, Mullered
Newcastled, Nicely irrigated with horizontal lubricant
Off me pickle, Off me trolley, On a campaign, Out of it, Out yer tree
Paggered, Palintoshed, Paraletic, Peelywally, Peevied, Pickled, Pie-eyed, Pished, Plastered, Poleaxed, Pollatic
Rat-legged (Stockport), Ratted, Ravaged, Razzled, Reek-ho, Rendered, Rosy glow, Rubbered, Ruined
Saying hello to Mr Armitage, Scattered, Schindlers, Screwed, Scuttered (Dublin), Shedded, Slaughtered, Sloshed, Smashed, Snatered (Ireland), Snobbled (Wales), Sozzled, Spangled, Spannered, Spiffed, Spongelled, Squiffy, Steamin, Steampigged, Stocious, Stonkin
Tanked, Tashered, Tipsy, Trashed, Trollied, Troubled, Trousered, Twisted
Warped, Wasted, Wellied, With the fairies, Wrecked

(from here)

Sunday, 20 September 2009


On the evening of Monday July 6 Paddy Higgins, of Surrey, was enjoying a night out drinking with friends in Newquay, the party capital of the South West. He was celebrating finishing his exams and was no doubt looking forward to a relaxing summer holiday. Just a few hours later, he lay dead on the town's Tolcarne beach after falling from 70ft cliffs. Paddy was only 16 years old and the exams he had completed were GCSEs. That night, despite being underage, he had been able to buy Corona beers and sambuccas without having to show any ID.
Just a few weeks earlier, 18 year old Andrew Curwell, of Lancashire, was also found dead at the foot of cliffs in Newquay after a night out drinking in the town. (find it here)

I can't think of a single British institution, from sixth-form to university to the average British workplace, where your peers won't like and trust you more for the ability to knock back a few bevvies. In short, adult Britons think that drinking is cool, exciting and newsworthy, with the inevitable result that their children do, too. (find it here)

i gotta feelin'

on the menu this week!

problems and perfection

The Lowest Common Denominator

The principal crime of the human race, the highest guilt charged upon the world, the whole procuring cause of judgment, is idolatry. For, although each single fault retains its own proper feature, although it is destined to judgment under its own proper name also, yet it is marked off under the general account of idolatry. (On Idolatry, Tertullian, Ch 1)

The Sunny Commandment

As the sun lies at the center of the solar system and has the planets orbiting around it, so all the other commandments revolve around this first one [Exodus 20v3].
(Ten, J John, p 209)

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Venice of the Midlands

We enjoyed our little trip down to the canal this afternoon for the Tipton Canal & Community Festival. Thanks to the Tipton Community Association for their hard work. There was lots of action as we meandered to Owen Street and then the Malthouse Stables. We didn't take the 'taxi' ... though the boat trip did look fun.
Lots of lovely people to bump into and we drank in the (last?) sunshine of the summer.
Venice eat your heart out.

[for outsiders to the Black Country [like myself!] ... 'cut' is another word for canal]
we are looking at Exodus 20v3 in church tomorrow!
William Perry (aka The Tipton Slasher). One of Tipton's famous sons.

The 'musical bridge' in the background

Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

A State of Madness?

Pete has posted on the ISA again

He points to the Christian Insitute's article:

A new vetting system to be introduced next year will go beyond the current checks for criminal convictions to probe a person’s personal beliefs and lifestyle.

Any anonymous claims made by the public or in newspaper articles could also be used against someone applying to work with vulnerable people or children.

Concerns have been raised that Christians could become the targets of smear campaigns aimed at causing them to fall foul of the new rules.

The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge told The Daily Telegraph: If people have an axe to grind with Christianity or Christians they could make malicious allegations against them. A lot of traditional Christian views are being regarded as beyond the pale. It’s not beyond the stretch of imagination that because they have a particular view about sexual activity they will be deemed not suitable to work with children. In an atmosphere where a nurse can be suspended for offering to pray for someone, I’m very concerned that this new approach is going to consider religious belief.

Martin Beckford's article is here.

Alasdair Palmer is less measured in his assessment!:
...last week, ministers proudly unveiled a new which actually is mad, or at the very least wildly irrational. It will not achieve its stated purposes; it will impose enormous costs for no benefit whatever; and it will harm a very large number of people, including many of those it is meant to help.
He raises the comparison with the Child Support Agency. mmmmmm.

Polly Toynbee gives a different view here.

We want to eat but we don't want to work

'...he tempts God who snores and does not want to work, taking for granted that he must be sustained by God without work, although God has promised to provide for him through his work, as Proverbs 10:4 says: ' The hands of the busy prepare wealth, but the slack will hunger.' (Luther on Deuteronomy)

Monday, 14 September 2009

Paved with good intentions?

Here is a thought provoking article about the new ISA ('Independent Safeguarding Authority') ... you know the people who want to look after our children 'properly':

Our aim is to help prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults.
Substantially I think Pete is right. I am worried and find some serious ambiguity here and my brief wandering round their website hasn't helped me much as I don't have time at the moment to wade through pages of pdfs. (I admit too that even if I did I might not be up to understanding the legal stuff and its full implications):

-says who?
- on what authority?
- using what criteria?
- on what evidence?
- assessed by who?
- with what safeguards?
- once deemed 'unsuitable' is that a permanent state of 'uncleanness'?
- or once deemed 'suitable' is that a permanent state regardless of future conduct?
- how much is it costing (who)?

I think that the phrase 'working with' might need some defining too:
- for financial gain?
- for an established charity or voluntary association?
- just regular and sustained service of children not biologically or legaly bound to the adult concerned? In which case, how regular, and how sustained?

And what about 'children and vulnerable adults'?
Is this the state taking care of 'it's own house' (i.e. 'state' schools, 'state' homes etc.) [... I mean, it has centrally taken on educating many many children, so it should at least do it well and not employ murders as school janitors type thing. Now it is working at that, and if you want to be part of that whole thing, then this is the deal.] or is this the state taking care of everyone's house?

Please show me how it is that I have no reason at all to be worried!

Day off!

On Saturday we visited one of our friends who is an ace cook!
Not only that. He blogs about his food at ur food.
A bit strange I admit. But take a look at this . It is what we enjoyed from his hand.

And it was even nicer than the photos make it seem.

Didn't see that one coming

Something Old, Something New, Something polled and where did God go?

In June this year, over 1,000 adults and 11 to 16 year olds were quizzed, by EA (the games company!) on their knowledge of the Ten Commandments and their opinions on their relevance to modern society.

Apparently (?) the majority of Brits (well, the 1000 polled!) believe that six of the Ten Commandments are still relevant today
Around two thirds of the population question the relevance of the remaining four. Using both traditional and modern wording these four include:
• Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy / You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy (only 30 per cent of Brits believe this to still be relevant as people increasingly use Sunday as a day to work and shop)
• Thou shalt have no other gods before me / You shall have no other Gods but me (only 34 per cent of Brits believe this to still be relevant as Brits increasingly adopt other religions and beliefs)
• Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image / You shall not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it (only 34 per cent of Brits believe this to still be relevant as Brits increasingly idolise and ‘worship’ celebrities)
• Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain / You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God (only 38 per cent of Brits believe this to still be relevant as the name ‘God’ is so often used to express irritation or unfairness)

Many 11 to 16's didn't understand the traditional wording of several of the Ten Commandments:
• Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image (only 16 per cent claim to fully understand the meaning)
• Thou shalt have no gods before me (only 24 per cent claim to fully understand the meaning)
• Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s goods (only 25 per cent claim to fully understand the meaning)
• Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain (only 26 per cent claim to fully understand the meaning)
• Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour (only 27 per cent claim to fully understand the meaning)
• Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy (only 29 per cent claim to fully understand the meaning)

So, Sims have put this together and come up with this:
The Modernised Commandments
(ranked in order of importance to the 'British public')
1. Do not kill
2. Do not steal
3. Do not cheat on your partner with another person
4. Do not envy others
5. Respect your parents
6. Do not accuse a person of something they did not do
7. Respect all people regardless of race, religion or sexuality
8. Do not commit acts of terrorism
9. Respect and protect the planet
10. Do not be motivated by greed

[No. 11? Go and buy Sims 3]

One striking observation - in stark contrast to God's laws, in these 'polled laws' there is nothing at all about how we relate to God.
Or is there?

ALL Hail Demos, god of the people and 'the' collective will.
Sola Demos Gloria.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

eXcel is back

inside the 'box'

The 10 Commandments are not isolated moral commands but a summation of the law of the covenant.

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel." 28 Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant--the Ten Commandments. Exodus 34:27-28

(NB. these words come at the end of a chapter including laws on making treaties, keeping feasts, instructions about sacrificial offerings and one of the 'famous' laws: 'Don't cook a young goat in its mother's milk'!)

So the 10 Commandments are connected to the rest of the 'law' in Exodus - they are a summary of them.
In turn the 10 Commandments themselves are summarised. Jesus & Paul tell us about the 2 ‘greatest’ commandments that sum up all the law and the prophets:

One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37 Jesus replied: "`Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it:`Love your neighbour as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22:35-40

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" 29 "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this:`Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' 31 The second is this:`Love your neighbour as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." 32 "Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." 34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And from then on no-one dared ask him any more questions. Mark 12:28-34

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher,"he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" 27 He answered: "`Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and,`Love your neighbour as yourself.'" 28 "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live." Luke 10:25-28

The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbour as yourself." 10 Love does no harm to its neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law. Romans 13:9-10

The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbour as yourself." Galatians 5:14
We can see that the first 4 have to do with our duties towards God and the last 6 have to do with our duties towards each other. And of course they are all attached and connected in all kinds of ways.

The 10 Commandments are a summary of all God’s law.
In turn they are summed up by the 2 'greatest commandments'.
And so we can say that all our moral obligations are contained within this ‘box’ of the 10 Commandments.

Friday, 11 September 2009


It was housegroup last night and we put this into practice.
Anything - Everything seemed too little. So we did an A-Z of thanksgiving, prayers, petitions.
It seemed to work OK.
Admittedly we needed a bit of cheating at X (Xtra help!). We could have had Xcel. eXcel starts again on Sunday!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Is the God of the Bible the same as the God of the Q'uran?


[extracts from Polycarp's letter to the church at Philippi ... olde English translation I am afraid. It gives some flesh to the boney picture we have of him from the account of his death. He was clearly a Christian man who loved the Scriptures and who followed his master!]

Ch 1
I have greatly rejoiced with you in our Lord Jesus Christ, because ye have followed the example of true love [as displayed by God], and have accompanied, as became you, those who were bound in chains, the fitting ornaments of saints, and which are indeed the diadems of the true elect of God and our Lord; and because the strong root of your faith, spoken of in days long gone by, endureth even until now, and bringeth forth fruit to our Lord Jesus Christ, who for our sins suffered even unto death, [but] “whom God raised from the dead, having loosed the bands of the grave.” “In whom, though now ye see Him not, ye believe, and believing, rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory;” into which joy many desire to enter, knowing that “by grace ye are saved, not of works,” but by the will of God through Jesus Christ.

Ch 2
“Wherefore, girding up your loins,” “serve the Lord in fear” and truth, as those who have forsaken the vain, empty talk and error of the multitude, and “believed in Him who raised up our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, and gave Him glory,” and a throne at His right hand. To Him all things heaven and on earth are subject. Him every spirit serves. He comes as the Judge of the living and the dead. His blood will God require of those who do not believe in Him.
But He who raised Him up from the dead will raise us also, if we do His will, and walk in His commandments, and love what He loved, keeping ourselves from all unrighteousness, covetousness, love of money, evil speaking, false witness; “not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing, ”or blow for blow, or cursing for cursing, but being mindful of what the Lord said in His teaching: “Judge not, that ye be not judged; forgive, and it shall be forgiven unto you; merciful, that ye may obtain mercy; with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again;” and once more, “Blessed are the poor, and those that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God.”

He, when among you, accurately and stedfastly taught the word of truth in the presence of those who were then alive. And when absent from you, he wrote you a letter, which, if you carefully study, you will find to be the means of building you up in that faith which has been given you, and which, being followed by hope, and preceded by love towards God, and Christ, and our neighbour, “is the mother of us all.” For if any one be inwardly possessed of these graces, he hath fulfilled the command of righteousness, since he that hath love is far from all sin.

Ch 8
Let us then continually persevere in our hope, and the earnest of our righteousness, which is Jesus Christ, “who bore our sins in His own body on the tree,” “who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth,” but endured all things for us, that we might live in Him. Let us then be imitators of His patience; and if we suffer for His name’s sake, let us glorify Him. For He has set us this example in Himself, and we have believed that such is the case.

Ch 12
Pray for all the saints. Pray also for kings, and potentates, and princes, and for those that persecute and hate you, and for the enemies of the cross, that your fruit may be manifest to all, and that ye may be perfect in Him.
[Clearly he was a man who would want us to be devoting our time to reading Paul's Letter to the Philippians rather than his!
That is what we did on Sunday evening and in House Groups this week. Thanks Keith.]

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

If we are the problem ....

Janet Daley says I’ve always suspected this. There can be only one logical conclusion to the anthropogenic global warming campaign: eliminate human beings. Or, at least, reduce to a minimum their number on the planet.

Well, here it is, she points out. A new report entitled: Fewer Emitter, Lower Emissions, Less Cost (I think this must be a typo in the article; surely it is Fewer Emitters?

Get your teeth into this!

Fun. Flexible (good to chew, hold, open/close, pick up, build into shapes etc.)
And we've got them already!
What a revelation!

[CAUTION: We use chunky pegs that can't be swallowed. And they are not too 'pinchy' either. Care needed here!]

Simeon is 9 months old (as yet has no teeth) and they are just right. I expect they will be good for a while too. Thanks to J for the tip!

Intimacy in Marriage

Dr. David Powlison of the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF - answers questions frequently asked to him about intimacy in marriage. It has just been put up on youtube.

Be faithful, even to the point of death....

Ch 8
... they set him upon an ass, and conducted him into the city, the day being that of the great Sabbath. And the Irenarch Herod, accompanied by his father Nicetes (both riding in a chariot ), met him, and taking him up into the chariot, they seated themselves beside him, and endeavoured to persuade him, saying,

'What harm is there in saying, Lord Cæsar, and in sacrificing, with the other ceremonies observed on such occasions, and so make sure of safety?'
But he at first gave them no answer; and when they continued to urge him, he said,
'I shall not do as you advise me.'
So they, having no hope of persuading him, began to speak bitter words unto him, and cast him with violence out of the chariot, insomuch that, in getting down from the carriage, he dislocated his leg [by the fall]. But without being disturbed, and as if suffering nothing, he went eagerly forward with all haste, and was conducted to the stadium, where the tumult was so great, that there was no possibility of being heard.

Ch 9
Now, as Polycarp was entering into the stadium, there came to him a voice from heaven, saying,

Be strong, and show yourself a man, O Polycarp!

No one saw who it was that spoke to him; but those of our brethren who were present heard the voice. And as he was brought forward, the tumult became great when they heard that Polycarp was taken. And when he came near, the proconsul asked him whether he was Polycarp. On his confessing that he was, [the proconsul] sought to persuade him to deny [Christ], saying,

Have respect to your old age, and other similar things, according to their custom, [such as],
Swear by the fortune of Cæsar;
repent, and say, Away with the Atheists.

But Polycarp, gazing with a stern countenance on all the multitude of the wicked heathen then in the stadium, and waving his hand towards them, while with groans he looked up to heaven, said,

Away with the Atheists.

Then, the proconsul urging him, and saying,

Swear, and I will set you at liberty, reproach Christ;

Polycarp declared,

Eighty and six years have I served Him,
and He never did me any injury:
how then can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?

Ch 10
And when the proconsul yet again pressed him, and said,

Swear by the fortune of Cæsar,

he answered,

Since you are vainly urgent that, as you say, I should swear by the fortune of Cæsar, and pretend not to know who and what I am, hear me declare with boldness, I am a Christian. And if you wish to learn what the doctrines of Christianity are, appoint me a day, and you shall hear them.

The proconsul replied,

Persuade the people.

But Polycarp said,

To you I have thought it right to offer an account [of my faith]; for we are taught to give all due honour (which entails no injury upon ourselves) to the powers and authorities which are ordained of God. But as for these, I do not deem them worthy of receiving any account from me.

The proconsul then said to him,

I have wild beasts at hand; to these will I cast you, unless you repent.

But he answered,

Call them then, for we are not accustomed to repent of what is good in order to adopt that which is evil; and it is well for me to be changed from what is evil to what is righteous.

But again the proconsul said to him,

I will cause you to be consumed by fire, seeing you despise the wild beasts, if you will not repent.

But Polycarp said,

You threaten me with fire which burns for an hour, and after a little is extinguished, but are ignorant of the fire of the coming judgment and of eternal punishment, reserved for the ungodly. But why do you tarry? Bring forth what you will.

Ch 13
Immediately then they surrounded him with those substances which had been prepared for the funeral pile. But when they were about also to fix him with nails, he said,

Leave me as I am; for He that gives me strength to endure the fire, will also enable me, without your securing me by nails, to remain without moving in the pile.

Ch 14
They did not nail him then, but simply bound him. And he, placing his hands behind him, and being bound like a distinguished ram [taken] out of a great flock for sacrifice, and prepared to be an acceptable burnt-offering unto God, looked up to heaven, and said,

O Lord God Almighty, the Father of your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the knowledge of You, the God of angels and powers, and of every creature, and of the whole race of the righteous who live before you, I give You thanks that You have counted me, worthy of this day and this hour, that I should have a part in the number of Your martyrs, in the cup of your Christ, to the resurrection of eternal life, both of soul and body, through the incorruption [imparted] by the Holy Ghost. Among whom may I be accepted this day before You as a fat and acceptable sacrifice, according as You, the ever-truthful God, hast foreordained, hast revealed beforehand to me, and now hast fulfilled. Wherefore also I praise You for all things, I bless You, I glorify You, along with the everlasting and heavenly Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son, with whom, to You, and the Holy Ghost, be glory both now and to all coming ages. Amen

Ch 15
When he had pronounced this amen, and so finished his prayer, those who were appointed for the purpose kindled the fire. And as the flame blazed forth in great fury, we, to whom it was given to witness it, beheld a great miracle, and have been preserved that we might report to others what then took place. For the fire, shaping itself into the form of an arch, like the sail of a ship when filled with the wind, encompassed as by a circle the body of the matyr. And he appeared within not like flesh which is burnt, but as bread that is baked, or as gold and silver glowing in a furnace. Moreover, we perceived such a sweet odour [coming from the pile], as if frankincense or some such precious spices had been smoking there.

Ch 16
At length, when those wicked men perceived that his body could not be consumed by the fire, they commanded an executioner to go near and pierce him through with a dagger. And on his doing this, there came forth a dove, and a great quantity of blood, so that the fire was extinguished; and all the people wondered that there should be such a difference between the unbelievers and the elect, of whom this most admirable Polycarp was one, having in our own times been an apostolic and prophetic teacher, and bishop of the Catholic Church which is in Smyrna. For every word that went out of his mouth either has been or shall yet be accomplished.

Ch 19
This, then, is the account of the blessed Polycarp, who, being the twelfth that was martyred in Smyrna (reckoning those also of Philadelphia), yet occupies a place of his own in the memory of all men, insomuch that he is everywhere spoken of by the heathen themselves. He was not merely an illustrious teacher, but also a pre-eminent martyr, whose martyrdom all desire to imitate, as having been altogether consistent with the Gospel of Christ. For, having through patience overcome the unjust governor, and thus acquired the crown of immortality, he now, with the apostles and all the righteous [in heaven], rejoicingly glorifies God, even the Father, and blesses our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of our souls, the Governor of our bodies, and the Shepherd of the Catholic Church throughout the world.

Ch 21
Now, the blessed Polycarp suffered martyrdom on the second day of the month Xanthicus just begun, the seventh day before the Kalends of May, on the great Sabbath, at the eighth hour. He was taken by Herod, Philip the Trallian being high priest, Statius Quadratus being proconsul, but Jesus Christ being King for ever, to whom be glory, honour, majesty, and an everlasting throne, from generation to generation. Amen.

[from the 'Epistle Concerning the Martyrdom of Polycarp']