Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Marriage Prep

I have 3 non-churchgoing couples to prepare for marriage this summer and I'm wondering what to do. I'm also looking for a book to reccomend. All tips most welcome.

I was chatting to a minister friend the other day who has prepared a few keen Christian couples for marriage. I think his 4 sessions went something like this:

(1) Covenant

(2) Roles - a.k.a. submission

(3) Communication - a.k.a. don't get a telly

(4) Sex - a.k.a. have a "date night" each week!

Maybe some of his victims can correct my memory!

One friend commented that he thought it might be best to get 2 TVs - avoids a lot of arguments!

The Family Under Siege

It's always great to hear of a gospel church plant, but one of the things I especially love about Emmaneul Evangelical Church, Southgate is the first rate day conferences they're organising to serve the wider church.

If I wasn't already tripple booked, I'd certainly be at this one:


Emmanuel Evangelical Church Family Conference13 March 2010


Revd Ian Fry, Pastor, Fetcham Community Church, Surrey. Ian is a former teacher and sometime Director of Youth and Children's Ministry training at Oak Hill Theological College.

Revd Dr David Field, Elder, Emmanuel Evangelical Church

Christian families are under mounting pressure from the secular world. Anti-Christian dogma is promoted in the media under the guise of ‘tolerance’. Education has become a battleground, and increasingly intrusive legislation is being proposed by our government. Recent proposals have included:

‘Parents will lose the right to withdraw their children from sex education classes once they reach 15.’

‘Home-educating parents will be forced to register annually and undergo criminal record checks.

‘Home-educated children will be interviewed privately by government officials; parents who refuse to allow this will find their children sent to a state school.’

Pressure is also mounting elsewhere:

The British Humanist Association has declared that ‘there probably is no God,’ and demanded that Christian parents stop raising their children as believers in Christ.

A BBC presenter speculated that ‘authoritarian’ evangelical parents could use home education as a cover for child abuse.

Yet there is always hope. Jesus Christ is the risen and ascended King of Kings. He has received from the Father all authority in heaven and on earth, the nations have been made his inheritance, and one day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Until then, the church has been commissioned to maintain the unity of the Spirit, to live as children of light, to speak the truth in love, to nurture our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, and to disciple the nations.

Are you ready for the challenge?

10am – 4pm, Saturday 13 March 2010 at The Welsh Chapel, Cockfosters
Individuals £15 · Couples/families £20To book, email

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fruit Song

I just wanted to say how much I'd enjoyed Fruit Song which is a setting of part of Song of Songs 2 by Twelth Day that had it's world premier at the Jones wedding. I don't seem to be able to find it on the interweb.

Marriage Preparation

Many of us spend lots of time, effort and money preparing for our weddings. We would do well to prepare so well for our marriages, which after all are for life not just for one day.

Above all, we must make sure we are ready for the Wedding Supper of the Lamb (Rev 19-22). Or rather, has Jesus prepared us for that day (Eph 5)?

(HT: DR @ the RB & DJ Wedding)

A Pure Virgin

The Collect for Christmas Day speaks of the Lord Jesus "born of a pure virgin".

Almighty God,you have given us your only-begotten Sont o take our
nature upon himand as at this time to be born of a pure virgin:grant that we,
who have been born againand made your children by adoption and grace,may daily
be renewed by your Holy Spirit;through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,who is
alive and reigns with you,in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for

You shouldn't take this to mean that Mary was absolutely pure: she was a sinner saved by grace just like the rest of us.

And nor should you think that virginity is necessarily or especially pure. You can be a slutty virgin or a pure husband. In life-long heterosexual marriage (the only kind of marriage there is, by the way) one can enjoy pure sex.

What do Christians celebrate at Christmas?

An alleged exam howler:

When Joseph and Mary had a baby called Jesus. They travelled to Bethlehem by plane and Pontius was their pilot.

Richard Benson, F in Exams: The Best Test Paper Blunders (Marks and Spencer, 2008) p113

Monday, December 28, 2009

Ho, ho, ho

What is Good King Wensuslas' favourite type of pizza?

Deep pan, crisp and even!

Ha, ha, ha!

New Year's Resolutions

I'm not a great one for New Year's Resolutions but I'm tempted to resolve to be!

New Year's Aspirations, yes. Follow through, discipline and long-term commitment leading to success, less so.

Yet, I think aspirations are a good idea. Be deliberate, have something to aim for.

Apparently, "lose weight, get fit, find love" is unlikely to work. You are most likely to succeed if you aim at one specific and measurable thing you really want and continue to focus on it. Some way of achieving it might help! Write down small actionable goals and chart progress. It could encourage you to remember the progress you've made (especially if your commitment is weak) and / or how much remains to be done (especially if your commitment is strong). Telling others of your commitment can help, so feel free to comment! You could even team up with others to achieve your goals. Enlist some cheerleaders.

You've got a few more days to decide!

Get a project

I've commented before on "the power of an hour", that is, what could be achieved if you spent an hour (or indeed 20 mins) a day six days a week on something. For example, you could soon read the works of John Owen or B B Warfield and you would be one of the most educated theologians on the planet. You could become a world expert on something if you kept at it and you did it in a sensible way.

So you may be looking for a project?

I reckon a good one would be to work through the Psalms taking a Psalm a week. How could this Psalm be used in public worship, family worship or personal devotions? How might it provide a call to worship, an invitation to confession, a confession, an absolution, praise, prayers of different sorts, blessings or other liturgical material? What prayers and songs have been or could be based on this Psalm? The resulting work would be a tremendous resource and if you start work on it I'd like to pre-order a copy.

I'm already supposedly working on a PhD on something else (yawn, guilt etc.) and Mrs Lloyd is very well advanced on a child's patchwork quilt.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Good Desires

Good desires include desiring good things in good ways by good means in good order with good reasons and motives.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

People who eart vegetables die

Did you know that in the medieval period it was widely believed that green vegetables were poisonous?

Problem & Solution

Warning: this post contains Christmas sermon spoilers.

(1) Our real problem is not climate change but sin. It is the emissions of the heart that make a person unclean.

(2) Our Saviour is not Barak Obama or Gordon Brown, or even ourselves, but Jesus Christ.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Although I don't believe in consubstantiation, because I want to think about the relationship between Word and Sacrament and how Christ is present in them, I was interested in this from Malcolm Maclean, Lord's Supper (Mentor, 2009), p51:

One of Luther’s arguments for consubstantiation is that “a spoken word can influence many people at the same time. When Christ is preached, and by a bodily voice (the preacher) brought into a person’s heart, Christ’s presence is real; and this experience can be known by many people at the same time, with each person receiving a whole Christ. This does not mean that Christ has left heaven, rather he is still there and also in the heart of each believer. If one believes this, then it is not difficult to accept that Christ can also be in heaven and in the elements of bread and wine at the same time. What causes the elements to have the presence of Christ is the word of divine authority indicating he is there. ‘Just as he enters the heart without breaking a hole in it, but is comprehended only through the Word and hearing, so also he enters into the bread without needing to make a hole in it.’ Martin Luther, ‘The Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ – Against Fanatics’, Works (Fortress Press, 1959) Vol. 36, pp339-41

Remember, eyes open

Malcom Maclean, The Lord's Supper (Mentor, 2009):

When Jesus instructed his disciples to remember him by means of the Lord’s Supper he was not asking them to shut their eyes and engage in mental imagination in order to recall his death (which is a common response today at the Lord’s Table). Rather he asked them to use the symbols of bread and wine as signs pointing to his death. In doing so, he arranged for the Lord’s Supper to be a visual, as well as a verbal, reminder in a similar way to how the Passover was a visible reminder to Israelites. (p19)

Sermon & Supper

Note to self: it might be worth thinking about the relationship between Word and Sacrament in a Brethren context. Malcolm Maclean describes the Christian Brethren Assembly he belonged to where the Breaking of Bread Communion Service was held weekly, "was not led by a clergyman, and did not involve a sermon (although there were several devotional comments made on biblical passages by a number of individuals)."

The Lord's Supper (Mentor, 2009) p9

I guess the Brethren don't have a formal liturgy either? Do you happen to know what happens? Does 1 Corinthians 11 get read every week?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Distress of 1 Cor 7

I've commented before on the possibility that the present distress on 1 Cor 7 may be the events surrounding the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, here and here. Here is Jeff Meyers making a similar suggestion.


The fact that coveting is idolatry (Col 3:5) brings us full circle with the 10 Commandments. Breaking the last commandment is also breaking the first commandment.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

New Moses, New Solomon

Matthew 2 presents Jesus as the New Moses and the New Solomon.

Wicked kings tried to kill baby Moses and baby Jesus. Both were forced to flee but were able to return when the wicked king had died. Matthew 2vv13-14 allude to Ex 2:15; vv20-21 allude to Ex 4:19-20. Mention of Egypt recalls Moses too. Jesus is the New Moses who rules his people and saves them from their slavery.

As the Queen of Sheba brought gold and spices to the Son of David (1 Kings 10:1-13), King Solomon (cf. Song of Songs 3:6-10), so wise men from the East bring their gifts to the King of the Jews in the city of David. Jesus is someone great even than Solomon (Matthew 12:42), a wiser and more powerful king.