Saturday, 31 December 2011

exiled for us

Jesus touches the leper and then, as a result of the cleansed leper's disobedience to His command, ends up suffering the fate of a leper. Jesus must now remain in unpopulated areas and never publicly enter cities.Though He is clean He suffers as if unclean because He touched one who was unclean and made him clean. It is hard to imagine a more vivid picture of Jesus suffering under the curse that those who deserved the curse might experience a blessing. (p47)
The Victory According to Mark

The Dudlai Lama

The Dudley Llama (Showcase Cinema in background)
Dudley Zoo. Yow cor beat it. We had a smashing time there today.  

Friday, 30 December 2011

Good mourning?

At a funeral later today I will be reading these words: 
It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting
why? how could that possibly be the case?
because death is the destiny of every man;  
and the living should take this to heart. (Ecclesiastes 7:2)
And I notice that the BBC have put together a slideshow of some of the famous people for whom 2011 was the year they met this destiny. They are now before the judge of all. 
And we, the living, should take this to heart. 

Questions for a Godly Wife

Ignoring the lurid pink background, which is actually impossible to do given the nature of that colour, this (below) is a helpful resource for wives wishing to be godly ones. It is a document that Jane has found useful (I am not sure how she found it ... but suspect it was femina) and then has humbly passed it onto me. So I am slowly working through it in prayer: 

Thursday, 29 December 2011

The love of God in the Classroom

One of the incidental highlights of this Christmas reading were the quotes below (frustratingly not referenced - sorry!):
I would advise no-one to send his child where the holy Scriptures are not supreme. Every institution which does not unceasingly pursue the study of God's word becomes corrupt. (Martin Luther) p43 

I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of hell unless they diligently labour in explaining the Holy Scripture, engraving them on the hearts of youth. (Martin Luther) p59 

True religion affords government its surest support. the future of this nation depends on the Christian training of the youth. it is impossible to govern without the Bible. (George Washington) p65 

I will kill or cure: I will have one or the other, a Christian school, or none at all. (from John Wesley's Journal, 12 March 1766) p91 

I preached on the education of children, wherein we are so shamefully wanting. Many were now deeply convoked of this. I hope they will not stifle all that conviction. (from John Wesley's Journal, 30 November 1766) p95  

Pay the utmost attention to the schools.I consider schools as one of the most effectual means of spreading the light of the gospel through the world. (William Carey in a letter to Jabez Carey 1815) p103  

The philosophy of the classroom is the philosophy of the Government of the next generation. (Abraham Lincoln) p105 

Your ministry embraces two things. The establishment of schools and the spread of the gospel. The first of these if it can be secured will I trust be an effectual introduction to the other. (William Carey in a letter to Jabez Carey, 1819) p117 

Surely the importance of Kingswood School is apparent, even from the difficulties that attend it. I have spent more money, and time, and care on this, than almost any design I ever had .... But it is worth all the labour. (from John Wesley's Journal, 24 August 1753) p129 

The church will never flourish without Christian schools. (John Calvin) p143 
The Love of God in the Classroom

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The Queen's Speech (2011)

Jesus was born into a world full of fear. The angels came to frightened shepherds with hope in their voices: 'Fear not', they urged, 'we bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

'For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.'

Although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves - from our recklessness or our greed.
God sent into the world a unique person - neither a philosopher nor a general, important though they are, but a Saviour, with the power to forgive.
Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God's love.
In the last verse of this beautiful carol, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, there's a prayer:
O Holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us we pray.
Cast out our sin
And enter in.
Be born in us today.

It is my prayer that on this Christmas day we might all find room in our lives for the message of the angels and for the love of God through Christ our Lord.
I wish you all a very happy Christmas."

Friday, 16 December 2011

Having your cake

Simeon's 3rd Birthday Cake

A truly magnificent effort and a triumph of fondant icing over sponge! Jane managed all this at a very busy time of year and despite my 'help'. Top job! 
Sadly for Jonathan Bell his tractor soon ran into difficulty - first the wheels, then the cab and now most of the engine have been consumed. Yum yum. 

open up

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Dad's Default?

What are fathers called to? Fathers give. Fathers protect. Fathers bestow. Fathers yearn and long for the good of their children. Fathers delight. Fathers sacrifice. Fathers are jovial and open-handed. Fathers create abundance, and if lean times come they take the leanest portion themselves and create a sense of gratitude and abundance for the rest. Fathers love birthdays and Christmas because it provides them with yet another excuse to give some more to the kids. When fathers say no, as good fathers do from time to time, it is only because they are giving a more subtle gift, one that is a bit more complicated than a cookie. They must include among their gifts things like self-control and discipline and a work ethic, but they are giving these things, not taking something else away just for the sake of taking. Fathers are not looking for excuses to say no. Their default mode is not no. 
Doug Wilson here

Thursday, 8 December 2011

God speaks!

Keep the Manger!

Away instead with Western notions of a 'commercial' inn, a stable, a late-night arrival by Mary & Joseph followed by an immediate birth and a need or desire for privacy! 

Instead, let's allow the Bible to tell us what actually happened! 

Luke 2:4-7: 
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Kenneth Bailey has written an article that is really helpful. It is here and the heart of it is here:
Joseph and Mary arrive in Bethlehem. They find shelter with a family whose separate guest room is full, and are accommodated among the family in acceptable village style. The birth takes place there on the raised terrace of the family home, and the baby is laid in a manger.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Black Country Carol Service

The Sandwell Chronicle's take on the Tipton Civic Society's 
Black Country Carol Service (14th Dec):
For more see: bostinnews

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Jesus Saves! Jesus Saves!

FROM: King of Christmas (To the tune of "Jingle Bells")

1. The world belongs to God
He spoke and there it was 

Though it was very good
It all went bad because
The man that God had made 

And the woman there with him 
Turned their back on God to get 
A deadly taste of sin (But)

Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Jesus is the Way
Jesus is the Saviour
You can come to Him today - Hey! Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

People from their sin
You will find forgiveness
When you put your trust in Him

2. Well if you look around 
You’ll see how sin has spread 
Turning light to dark
And living things to dead 
But God still rules the world 
He always had a plan
To send his Son to save us
In the likeness of a man


Well if you come to God
(You still have time you know) 
He’ll wash your sinful heart
And make it white as snow 
Come taste eternal life 
And death will have no sting
All who trust in Jesus are
The children of the King

Colin Buchanan
© 2005 Universal Music 


can't wait!

toying (ha) with using this in the service tomorrow morning.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

bostin news is LIVE! IS NOW LIVE!

The pdf of the booklet (we are expecting to arrive tomorrow) can be found here.

Monday, 21 November 2011


35 Angels from the realms of glory [youtube]
39 As with gladness
47 Away in a manger
80 Christians awake! Salute the happy morn
83 Come and join the celebration
102 Come Thou Long expected Jesus
105 Come watch with us this Christmas night
107 (tune ii) Cradled in a manger meanly
110 Darkness like a shroud (Arise shine)   
114 Dind Dong Merrily

116 Down from his glory 
120 Emmanuel
156 For unto us a child is born 
157 For unto us a child is born
162 From heaven you came
175 Glory be to God in heaven
177 Glory to God in the highest 
180 God came among us, He became a man
196 Good Christian men rejoice 
204 Hail to the Lord's anointed
211 Hark the Herald Angels Sing
216 He is born, our Lord and Saviour 
236 Holy Child, how still you lie
266 I cannot tell
337 In the bleak midwinter
342 Infant Holy, Infant Lowly
345 It came upon the midnight clear
393 Joy to the World the Lord has come!
425 Look to the skies (Worship the king)
451 Love came down at Christmas
491 O come all you faithful
493 O come, O come, Emmanuel
503 O Little Town of Bethlehem
535 O what a mystery I see [clip here]
537 On Christmas night all Christians sing
538 On Jordan's Bank the Baptist's cry
539 Once in Royal David's City 
588 See amid the winter's snow
589 See him lying on a bed of straw
597 Silent Night 
644 The first nowell the angel did say
652 The Light of Christ
690 This Child
693 Thou art the everlasting Word
700 Thou who was rich beyond all splendour 
713 Tonight while all the world is sleeping
714 Unto us a boy is born
740 We three Kings
749 What child is this?
752 When he comes 
764 While Shepherds Watched their flocks
928 Since the Day the Angel came
931 So many centuries of watching and waiting
959 What kind of greatness
965  Wonderful Counsellor
1045 From the Squalor of a borrowed stable
1235 What kind of throne

Other Ones: 
Thorns in the Straw 

Other Resources:

Sunday, 20 November 2011


One of the reasons that I haven't been blogging much this month is that we are working on something special for Christmas. I say we, meaning a whole range of people from church and friends locally too [].We have been working for a little while now, but the last few weeks a lot of things have needed pulling together. In all this we are very grateful to the Lord for his provisions.

Around 1st December will go live (we hope) and in parallel a Christmas booklet (see image) will arrive in Tipton. Diane Bainbridge is currently hard at work pulling it together graphically and it will go to the printer on Monday or Tuesday!

This all ties into a Black Country Carol Service we are hosting - a service put on entirely by the Tipton Civic Society. If you are in the area - come along!!


Give me an abhorrence of all evil,
as a vile monster that defies thy law, casts off thy yoke, defiles my nature, spreads misery.
May I discern the deadly viper in its real malignity [p100 Valley of Vision]

Friday, 18 November 2011

MTD Syndrome

God created
God wants us to be happy
God waits around until we have a problem then jumps in to help
Good people – people who are nice – go to heaven 
& I must try harder.
These are the beliefs of moralistic therapeutic deists. 
Sometimes they go by another name - evangelical 'Christian'.
Offended? Well, see Ed Welch's latest article here 
Life in Jesus, however, is restless rest, with the accent on rest. Faith, which is the primary human response to God, means that we trust him and not ourselves. More specifically, faith means, “Jesus, help!”

Thursday, 17 November 2011

What we did last night

ASDA was right out of 'cakes with maps of Israel on'. So we had to do our own.

All you need to make it are two children under 2, a thousand other things to be doing and large amount of roll out icing & food colouring.

Thursday, 3 November 2011


While doing some research for our advent parade service this Sunday I found this. 

Monday, 24 October 2011

Rob & Naomi

THE Big news! 

Come Dancing

The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are each centering on the others, adoring and serving them. And because the Father, Son, and Spirit are giving glorifying love to one another, God is infinitely, profoundly happy. 
Think about this: If you find somebody you adore, someone for whom you would do anything, and you discover that this person feels the same way about you, does that feel good? It's sublime! 
That's what God has been enjoying for all eternity. 
The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are pouring love and joy and adoration into the other, each one serving the other. 
They are infinitely seeking one another's glory, and so God is infinitely happy. 
And if it's true that this world has been created by this triune God, then ultimate reality is a dance. 

p8 King's Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus

Friday, 21 October 2011

Demos or Bureaus?

We seem to be very concerned to let democracy have its 'Saviour' like way in all kinds of Arab countries at the moment. 
Yet well might others around the world look at us as in need of liberating from an undemocratic tyranny sucking the life from us!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Baptismal Revelation

Some early thoughts. 
Jesus' baptism (Mark 1:9-11) is: 

His anointing to the Kingship (Psalm 2 & 2 Samuel 7:14). 
His washing for the priesthood? 
His Spirit-filling as a prophet of God? 

There is also something of an echo in Mark 1:11 from Isaiah 42:1-2. Jesus is the Son and the Servant. 

Saturday, 15 October 2011

The kingdom of God is near

‘The kingdom of God’ is God in saving action, God taking control in his world, or, to use our title, ‘divine government’. 
… Mark begins his book with a prologue designed to appeal to Jewish expectations of the fulfilment of the hopes of Israel, and to point to Jesus of Nazareth as the one in whom that fulfilment is to be focused. At the same time he has alerted his readers that the stage on which the drama is to be played is not merely that of human relationships, even of national politics, but of the cosmic encounter of the Son of God with the kingdom of Satan. (Divine Government: God's Kingship in the Gospel of Mark p21) 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The World We All Want

doing time

God destroyed Pharaoh through Moses, and Elijah received God's divine protection from Ahab, but God allows John to be imprisoned by Pharoah's and Ahab's successor. This gives us a clue that, though Joshua defeated the Canaanites, and Elisha died in his bed, Jesus may not be spared from His enemies.The Victory According to Mark p36-37. 

Sunday, 9 October 2011

On our marks ...

our new series starts today
Papias was a bishop in Hierapolis (in Asia Minor) in first half of second century ... so 100-150 AD. He had been discipled by John (probably in Ephesus). He writes (recorded for us in Eusebius's History of the Church): ' Mark ... was the interpreter of Peter and wrote accurately all that he remembered, not indeed, in order, of the things said or done by the Lord. For he had not heard the Lord, nor was he a follower of his, but at a later date followed Peter, who used to give teaching as necessity demanded but not making, as it were, an arrangement of the Lord's oracles, so that Mark did nothing wrong in writing down single points as he remembered them. For to one thing he gave attention, to leave out nothing of what he had heard and to make no false statements in them.'

Peter as a Galilean, probably spoke some Greek along with his first language Aramaic; and as this passage suggest, Mark's role may have been to assist the ageing apostle tell the gospel to Greek-speaking audiences. 

The NT links Peter to Mark in a number of ways. Acts 12:12 where Peter goes to the house of Mark's mother after his escape from King Agrippa. 1 Peter 5:13 where Peter refers to him as 'my son'. 

John Mark was from a house in Jerusalem, sufficiently large to accommodate many people (Acts 12:12) and with servant girls (Acts 12:13). Affluence in antiquity was usually associated with literacy and some level of education. John (Hebrew) and Mark (Greek) are names that seem consistent with a picture that emerges of an educated, bilingual Jew. 

Mark was related to Barnabas (Colossians 4:10) and accompanied him on two missionary tours of Cyprus in about AD 47-50 (Acts 13:4-5; 15:39). 

Paul was part of the earlier tour which, however, Mark quit after the group arrived in southern Asia Minor from Cyprus (Acts 13:13). Although Paul was not prepared to have Mark accompany him in the overland tour of Asia Minor, his letter written in the 60's suggest that by then they had reconciled their differences (Philemon 24; 2 Timothy 4:11). 

An interesting term is applied to Mark by Luke in Acts 13:5. When Barnabas and Paul proclaimed the word of God on Cyprus, 'John [Mark] was with them as 'catechist' or 'minister' (Luke 1:2 the same word is used). This was a word used of synagogue assistants who, among their other duties, taught boys to read and recite the Hebrew Bible.   [The Servant King: Reading Mark Today]. 

Andrew Page alerts us to another early church document, this time from Clement of Alexandria: 
Mark the follower of Peter, while Peter was preaching the gospel publicly in Rome in the presence of certain of Caesar's knights ..., being requested by them that they might be able to commit to memory the things which were being spoken, wrote from the things which were spoken by Peter the Gospel which is called According to Mark. 
The Mark Experiment

Vision 2025

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Awake awake O Zion

Not being able to interpret these tongues I am glad that the singing is in English!

Isaiah 52:1-2 

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

more psalm psinging

Calling the wrong number?

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Temples of the Holy Spirit!

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”  C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Away Day Memories

The talks from last weekend are here.

Sluggard Repellent

Today's Harvest Parade Service Visual!

When I am afraid

Thursday, 29 September 2011

one day at a time

I only dread one day at a time. 
I got this quote from p27 of this book: Running Scared: Fear, Worry and the God of Rest

God willing, I will be preaching on 'worry' this coming Sunday evening. Well, I hope to be preaching more about who God is in the face of our worries.
It will be our Harvest Service. Matthew 6 & Exodus 16 make the link between worry and food. So I hope it 'fits' in an interesting way. [I'm tempted to say, I am worried it won't! But I will resist that temptation.]

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Passive Aggressive Sins

“So much attention is paid to the aggressive sins, such as violence and cruelty and greed with all their tragic effects, that too little attention is paid to the passive sins, such as apathy and laziness, which in the long run can have a more devastating effect.” Elizabeth Franklin

Monday, 26 September 2011

establish the work of our hands

this week's memory verse

Mark - the action movie

Matthew's gospel moves in a leisurely fashion from a genealogy to the beginning of Jesus' ministry in four chapters; Mark has Jesus born, baptised, tempted, and calling disciples before he is halfway through the first chapter.

If Matthew presents Jesus as a new Moses, as a Rabbi or Teacher, Mark presents Him as a man of action, always on the move, a new David, the Warrior.

The Four: A Survey of the Gospels