Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
- I urge the leaders of government to change their direction to go in the direction that God desires of His people and not the direction that the Antichrist is leading in.
- I urge parents to take the responsibility and control of their children, leading them according to God's ways.
- I urge the schools to become focused according to the manner in which children should be taught according to God's way, rejecting the unwholesome aspects that successive governments have imposed.
- I urge the Church to cleanse itself of heretics and false teachers, and to teach and preach only in accordance with the teachings of Holy Scripture.
- There is only ONE way to heaven, as Jesus Himself laid down in John 14:6: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No-one comes to the Father except through Me.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Little Emily walked to and from school every day, and one morning, although the weather looked threatening, and heavy, dark clouds were forming, she made her daily trek to the elementary school.
As the afternoon progressed, the winds whipped up, bringing lightning along with it. Emily’s mother was very concerned that her daughter would be frightened as she walked home from school, fearing that the electrical storm might harm her child, and so, full of concern, she quickly got into her car and drove along the route to the school.
As she did, she saw her little girl walking along quite happily, and at each flash of lightning the child would stop, look up, and smile. Flash after flash of lightning followed quickly, and with each flash the little girl would look towards the streak of light and smile.
Drawing up alongside Emily, her mother lowered the window and called to her “What are you doing?”
The child answered, “I am trying to look pretty because God keeps taking my picture.”
Have a good day today and everyday as you face the storms that come your way.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Like all small boys growing up in the country back in the 1950's, our playground was the woods and parkland surrounding the area, and I was no different, other than perhaps having what I still consider to be some of the finest parkland for any child to play in. There were trees galore that simply begged to be climbed, and plenty of places where it was possible to make a den, even though it might only last for a few weeks or even days.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Part of our education was taught under the heading of 'Dance', and we learned to move and dance in preparation for a concert which would be held at the Town Hall. I recall little of these concerts, or come to that, of the lessons themselves, other than the one occasion when I, resplendant in a sailor suit, actually fell asleep on the stage in a standing position!
Perhaps it was these early appearances that infected me with a love of the stage and performing, something which remained wih me for many years. Certainly, the ability to stand up in public and perform without feeling --- or at least, without appearing to feel --- nervous, stood me in good stead when I started to preach many years ago. I remember taking part in my first play which was put on by the Sunday School class which met on a Sunday afternoon at the Youth Club in Pickwick Road. It was called 'A Man of Sorrows' as far as I recall, and was a play which enacted out the Passion tide story, written by Dorothy L Sayers. I still recall my opening lines as one of the soldiers gambling with dice at the foot of the cross, hoping to win Jesus' robe: Five and four, Elias; beat that if you can. It's strange how something like that can stay with you for ever, isn't it?
Ken Davis, who ran the Clarke's Shoe Shop in the High Street, helped to stoke the fires of aspiring thespianism too by introducing me to the basics of stage make-up. Once again the memory of that first introduction has remained with me. Leichner numbers 3 & 5, the dark pink and the ivory, being blended to form a base, and then finished off with blending powder, Leichner again, of course. The fact that Leichner was a 'Professional' Make-Up was a wonderful thing to an 11 or 12 year-old boy. Ken Davis used to be the Make-Up artist for the local drama group, and so perhaps he was scouting for future players!
Once I hit 18 I joined the 'Over-18's Club' which was based at the Community Centre, one of the star attractions being that they performed a pantomime every year. I remember Ken Oatley, a tall, good-looking sportsman, who used to dress up as the panto dame on occasion. He made, as I recall, a marvelous 'Dame'. Perhaps the main memory of those distant days comes from taking part in 'Aladdin', although I have little recall of the performances or what part I played. I suspect that I was just in the chorus, and remember learning the song 'China Town' for the performance.
The other venture into the world of the theatre as far as I and Corsham were concerned was when, at the age of 16, I produced a variety show myself at the Community Centre. I remember constantly rushing from the back of the stage to the foyer to check the numbers of people arriving, spurred on no doubt by the fear of losing money on the production! As the compere, my outfit for the night was a dark suit with silver sequins stitched down the lapels to add a little sparkle, and finished off with a pale blue brocade waistcoat which I had made for myself, and a bow tie. Dressed up I really thought I looked the 'bees-knees'! Unfortunately, all the to-ing and fro-ing between the back of the stage and the foyer was to prove my undoing. It was a rainy night and the steps at the back of the stage were slippery. Returning from what turned out to be the final sortie, I slipped, baning my head on a brick wall and almost knocking myself out. Curtain-up was only a few minutes away! In the final event of things I was held up from behind by one of the cast and the audience thought that my dazed introduction of the first act was either a show of nerves or part of my act. Whichever it was I managed to get away with it! For me, the highlight of the evening was my friend Dick Ball, a brilliant comedian who used to have a routine based on a Wiltshire Yokel. He sauntered onto the stage and started to tell jokes, the audience soon being in stitches. For one part of his act he was to sing a song about a farmer's lad. I remember it went along the lines of :
Thinking about Dick Ball reminds me of some more humorous happenings which took place at his family home in Priory Street. I had a reel-to-reel Grundig Tape Recorder, and we used to record some ad-libbed radio interviews which would have the listener in stitches. Not that they ever got on to the radio mind you, but we played them to anyone who would listen to them. I remember one in particular in which the interviewer (me) was visiting a factory that made toothbrushes and interviewing members of the staff, mostly female (Dick). We spoke about the skill of putting the holes in the handles so that the bristles fitted exactly, and much more, all in such a hilarious way that we could barely contain ourselves from spoiling the recording by laughing. Think 'The Goon Show' and you have a good idea of the way it all sounded.
How grateful I am for the blessing of memories such as these, memories which still raise a smile both to my face and to the inner man, all these years later.
“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
1 John 5: 11 - 13 (King James Version)
I am so thankful for the redeeming, cleansing and atoning blood that Jesus shed for us on the cross of Calvary. Thank You so much, precious Saviour, for the sacrifice You made for us that day. To know that I am saved and that I will spend all eternity in Heaven with Jesus fills my heart to overflowing with happiness. How I praise God for my salvation. The day of my salvation is the happiest day of my life. That wonderful and happy day was August 14, 1980.
I humbled myself and admitted that I was a sinner. I repented of my sins and asked God to forgive me for my sins and invited the Christ of Calvary into my heart to be my personal Saviour. I have a mansion in Heaven reserved for me. However, much more important than my mansion, I will have the privilege of seeing my precious Saviour. I will be able to hug Him and try to tell Him how much I love Him.
Jesus willingly took our sins on Him and allowed them to crucify Him so that we may be saved. What a Saviour, this Jesus of Nazareth! However, not only is Jesus the Saviour of our lives; He is also the Sonshine of our lives. When the dark clouds of discouragement try to pull us under for the last time; when we can’t give another smile or take another step, the Sonshine of our lives is still in our hearts.
We need to allow the Sonshine of our lives to rise in our hearts just as the sun rises in the sky. Have you allowed the Sonshine of our lives to rise in your heart and life? Have you opened the door to your heart and invited Jesus into your heart to be your personal Saviour? If not, I urge you; I plead with you to give your heart and life to Jesus right now before it is too late! Don’t miss out on spending all eternity with the One who loves you so much that He died for you. Give your heart and life to Jesus today!
Friday, June 19, 2009
Now the council have sent in the bulldozers and torn the £400,000 house down. Mr Howell has been well and truly taught the lesson that you cannot do what you feel like in this country when it comes to building your home. At least, that's the lesson if you try to go down the correct routes, even if you flaunt them a little by presupposing, as he had done.
What a pity he wasn't able to claim that he belonged to that diversely ethnic group of Travellers who build complete settlements on Green Belt land, laying tarmacadam drives and roads, putting in septic tanks, and building a range of homes, the occupation of which goes to prove that they are not Travellers but Settlers. If only Peter and his wife Kay had been able to claim that they were Travellers then there would have been no problem. Not only that, but if during the course of building either of them had suffered in any manner which caused them to go to hospital or to visit a GP, then they would have been fast-tracked ahead of the villagers who raised objections to their dream home --- and that includes being fast-tracked ahead of members of the Parish council as well.
Of course he should have done everything by the book and not started to build until the ink was dry on the final stages of the Planning Permission. But is tearing down his home really the right answer?
One consolation exists at least for this couple who have lost everything that they had worked so hard for in this land where they had paid the taxes which helped to line the pockets of the very people who had trodden them into the dust of their dream home. Peter and Kay Howell, their business in liquidation, can buy a luxury caravan or whatever, and 'hit the road'. That way they will become bona fide Travellers and can find a great piece of Green Belt land somewhere and build on it without fear of it being demolished, knowing that as a member of an ethnic community they are protected by the full weight of the law, for anyone daring to raise the slightest objection will be branded a racist immediately.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
a premature baby.
Tomorrow is mystery.
Today is a gift.
That's why it's called the present!
When I was a small boy I recall my father teaching me a rhyme about this non-person which went like this:
'Yesterday, upon the stair,
I guess then, that this will be the same Mr Nobody who will be found to blame for the Iraq debacle.
According to the information announced regarding the 'Inquiry', not only will it meet in secret but it will have no legal powers to order anyone to attend before it, nor to have witnesses swear an oath that they are telling the truth, nor even to demand documents that could be considered relevant to it. The Inquiry will be held behind closed doors, 'allowing witnesses to be as candid as possible'. In other words, whatever is said will be irrelevant.
Brown has told MPs that the Inquiry would be fully independent, and I'm sure it will be, notwithstanding the brief that it has to remain secret and irrelevant. So what, you might well ask, is the point of it? I guess that only Gordon Brown and his inner circle of Whitehall gnomes can answer that question, but I suspect that it's simply a ploy for Brown to cling on to his shaky power platform for a little longer.
There is no doubt that those politicians already credited with lying about matters such as WMDs in order to support going to war with Iraq despite fierce opposition from a massive representation of the electorate, will be quite safe from further exposure.
Why, I can judge the artistic ability of the whitewash experts already. I'm sure that the final result will be to tell those gullible enough to listen that there were WMDs after all, and they have only just been proven to exist. Perhaps the Iraq war is being used once again in an attempt to lift the flagging reputation of a leading politico.
One thing is for certain, and that is that the Inquiry will cost an obscene amount of public money in order to prove nothing in terms of Truth. Probably, when it is over, some mandarin will receive another so-called honour by being elected to the Peerage in order to ride the gravy train.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Isn't it amazing that George Carlin - comedian of the 70's and 80's - could write something so very eloquent...and so very appropriate.
A Message by George Carlin:
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways , but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER: Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
If you feel led to extend an invitation for me to speak to your Fellowship please contact Andrew Chapple, Pastor of Redruth Baptist Chapel, on 01209 218561 or by email, as he is co-ordinating the Mission. Alternatively you can contact me direct for more information by emailing me.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
In an hour or so I shall be hitting the road on my journey into Wales where I shall be preaching the Word tomorrow at Moriah Chapel in Loughor near Swansea. It's another part of the journey which I embarked upon so many years ago, a journey which has a goal of reaching, as Augustus wrote, 'that kingdom which has no end.' I remember likening my journey to being on a train that stopped at numerous stations, each of which was an important place to get off and explore, discovering more of the knowledge that I needed in order to continue my journey in the right direction. In fact, I guess that what walking with Christ is in so many ways, a journey of discovery, for in discovering more about God I think that you inevitably discover more about yourself as well.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
This coming Sunday I shall be preaching at Moriah Chapel in Loughor, near Swansea. It will be good to return there, following the time spent there at the International Revival Gathering which I was the Moderator for at the beginning of April. I'm looking forward to meeting up with friends in the area as well, and especially to having the opportunity to catch up with Dyfrig and Jackie with whom I'll be staying on Saturday night.
Every now and then I stumble across a book which my gut feeling tells me that I'll enjoy, even though, at first glance, it would be easy to pass it by. A week ago I found such a book idly propped against one end of a shelf in my local library, looking for all the world as though it had been picked up and discarded a hundred times. Certainly the cover never gave a lot away, at least, not until you read the odd comments on it that read: 'Extremely Funny' The Times; 'Outstanding' Daily Mail; and 'Mad and hilarious' Daily Telegraph. Definitely this was a book that simply begged me to investigate further!
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Acts: Chapter 2, verses 27 - 32
The church is different to most organisations because it exists, in one sense, more for those who are outside of its membership than for the membership itself. The last thing that any church should be is inward looking, for if that is the case then it means that, although the membership might feel very comfortable, there is little, if any, attention paid to mission. As Christians we are each commissioned by Christ to serve in the mission fields, as outlined in the Great Commission. We are told to take the message of the gospel out into the whole world, and that means that wherever we are we must be ready, willing and able, to fulfil the command. The question should be asked whether we want to be a comfortable church or a Great Commission church. The church exists to be the salt of the earth, the light of the world, and the redeeming factor in a dying society. Everything we do must be for the purpose of reaching others for Jesus Christ. George Barna, who founded a market research group specialising in religious beliefs in the USA and the intersection of faith and culture, wrote the following about growing churches:
“These were people who were passionate about outreach...They saw every event in their lives as having a hand in better enabling them to reach others for Christ. They looked upon life as a opportunity to serve God.”
God has brought together those of us who love Him and who have a love for lost souls in order to claim our world for Christ. To reach out into our world and claim it for Jesus we must have an overwhelming desire to see persons rescued from the restraints of sin and brought to a saving knowledge of the Lord. A simple desire is not enough for this work to be successful, we must be passionate about it, driven by the desire to serve Christ in every way that we live. We must, in the fullest sense, live for Christ.
Recently I attended a Presbytery meeting where several people were being interviewed as potential elders, having had their names put forward by their pastorates. At one point, having been asked to share their walk of faith with us, one lady shared about the way in which she felt called to follow a street ministry, and with the support of her church she was responding successfully to the call. Her passion for Christ was such that she was sharing the gospel in a very public way. Of course, whilst this suited this particular lady it would not necessarily suit everyone, but the lesson that we can all draw from this example is that being passionate about serving Christ means that we must be prepared to be very public when it comes to the matter of our faith.
The gospel must be the first priority in all we do to reach people for Jesus Christ. Of course, if we are to share the gospel successfully, then we must learn more about it, and this means that it must be studied in Bible study, proclaimed in regular worship services, and shared outside the church. Peter and the other apostles were committed to the public proclamation of the gospel. They seized every opportunity they could. Acts 5:25 tells us that even after they were arrested and jailed, they went forth and spoke boldly in the temple in the Lord’s name. If we seek to see our church grow then proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ must be our passionate aim. In the first instance it is each member of the church that must seek to grow, for as those in membership grow in the knowledge of the Lord, so more people will reach out in mission to share what they have learned, and it is as this happens that the church will increase as a direct result. Others will discover a passionate faith when we share our passionate faith with them.
Paul writes that we should be ready to preach the Word in season and out of season. In other words, we must be prepared to share the gospel wherever we are , whatsoever the occasion. The apostles were committed to reaching people in their homes as well as by public proclamation (Acts 5:42).
Our commitment to evangelize the lost is non-negotiable. The apostles let nothing stand in their way of witnessing to the lost, and if we are to emulate the early church then we must be just as committed. In our land we have a generation of people who are biblically illiterate. Even though many people have a Bible in their home but only a tiny percentage read it at all, let alone reading it on a daily basis. Ignorance of Scripture is readily displayed by contestants on General Knowledge TV Quiz Shows, and in general conversation. Even amongst many churchgoers confusion is caused simply by asking them to turn to a particular passage in Scripture, proving that even regular churchgoers do little Bible study.
For the church to be effective in evangelism it is important to understand the mentality of the Biblically illiterate. We need to make every effort to reach them, learning new ways to approach both people and subject. A church seeking to grow must have an enthusiastic commitment to ongoing evangelism, and, above all, we must be patient with people.
The early church did its outreach within the framework of meaningful ministry and missions, sharing what they had as a community (Acts 2:45; 4:32). Perhaps one of the most important and meaningful statements in regard to the attitude of the early church towards the question of mission is found in Acts 4:32, And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; . . . One reason the apostles were so flexible in their ministry is because they knew that their overall mission was to preach Christ and make disciples. They accepted suffering as a part of that ministry. After being flogged by the authorities for preaching Christ the apostles went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name (Acts 5:41-42). Like the disciples, our commitment to ministry and missions will impact our community for Christ. Through meaningful ministries, we communicate that we care. A close correlation exists between our growth and our commitment to a needy world.
Whilst it is good to see our church grow bigger, our primary concern should not be for growth but should be for mission, and for ministry for Christ. When we concentrate on obediently ministering God’s Word, He takes care of our growth. The growth of a plant depends on three things — the seed, the soil, and the seasons. Missions and ministry create a climate in the church that makes growth possible. If we are to be passionate in our outreach, we must be involved in life-changing ministries that will touch lives and make a difference.
May God give us a passion that will not die, a desire that will be fuelled by our zeal for serving the Lord.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”
Ezekiel 36: 26 (King James Version)
The song “The Old Rugged Cross Made The Difference” by The Gaither Vocal Band is very precious to me because truly the cross did make a difference in my heart and life. The words in the song describe so adequately my life before Jesus saved me. “T’was a life filled with aimless desperation, Without hope walked the shell of a man; Then a hand with a nailprint stretched downward, Just one touch then a new life began.” Because I had been raped and abused, I hated everybody. I didn’t trust anyone. My heart was very ugly.
Then one glorious day on August 14, 1980, my precious Saviour came to me and touched my heart and my life. I now have a beautiful heart because Jesus lives in me. Does this mean that I am perfect? Of course not, nobody is perfect. I receive a lot of emails telling me how great I am because I write a daily devotion. While it is very encouraging to receive these emails and I am so grateful for them, I am only a sinner saved by grace.
Don’t put your eyes on me, on your pastor or anyone else. We will fail you. Keep your eyes on Jesus! He will never fail you. He will pick you up in His compassionate arms and carry you through the dark valleys of your life. He will set you once again on the mountain tops of happiness. What condition is your heart in today? Is it ugly or is it beautiful? Have you allowed Jesus to touch your heart and life with His nail scarred hand? If not, I urge you; I plead with you to give your heart and life to Jesus today before it is too late!
June 6, 2009