Friday, June 30, 2006

The Bible League Trust

The Bible League Trust

The latest issue of the Bible League Quarterly arrived today. I always look forward to reading it.

The Bible League was formed after the death of Spurgeon in order to defend the authority of the Bible. I do not agree with a lot of the Reformed and Puritan theology of the magazine, but I strongly agree with their pro-King James Bible stance, their opposition to false worldly worship and their support for the use of thou in prayer (I feel like the last Christian on earth who addresses God as thou sometimes!).

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Right or Wrong Question?

Can I be a full-time missionary, please?

Is this the right question to ask?

Finished

I got all my marking done yesterday. Now I have to get some serious work done on my thesis.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Chance Meeting

While my car was at the garage, I bumped into Andrew's wife, Caroline. It was good to see her, as I have not seen her for a while. She is a very encouraging person.

She agreed with me about the pain of wanting to serve the Lord full-time, but having to wait. She is currently training to be a nurse, which she finds a struggle, but she has found opportunities in that to be a witness for the Gospel.

She suggested my seeking advice from a contact of hers. I should listen to her suggestions. Her suggestion of my visiting her son in Helsinki last year got me a wonderful trip.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Working for Jesus?

I used to really dislike hymns about Christian service, the most obvious examples being 'Go Labour On' and 'Work for Jesus'. Those hymns just seemed to be too much about hard work.

However, I have started to really appreciate those hymns. I think with all this endless study, the idea of serving the Lord is starting to be a lot more appealing.

To get into the spirit of things:

1 GO labour on; spend, and be spent,
Thy joy to do the Father's will;
It is the way the Master went,
Should not the servant tread it still?

2 Go labour on; 'tis not for nought,
Thy earthly loss is heavenly gain;
Men heed thee, love thee, praise thee not;
The Master praises; what are men?

3 Go labour on, while it is day,
The world's dark night is hastening on;
Speed, speed the work, cast sloth away;
It is not thus that souls are won.

4 Men die in darkness at your side
Without a hope to cheer the tomb;
Take up the torch, and wave it wide,
The torch that lights time's thickest gloom.

5 Toil on, faint not, keep watch, and pray;
Be wise, the erring soul to win;
Go forth into the world's highway,
Compel the wanderer to come in.

6 Toil on, and in thy toil rejoice;
For toil comes rest, for exile home;
Soon shalt thou hear the Bridegroom's voice,
The midnight peal, Behold I come!

Church Signs: Some great silliness from Blessed Quietness

Church Signs: Some great silliness from Blessed Quietness

This page really cracks me up.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Japanese Evening

I attended a Japanese evening tonight at an Anglican church hall. It was in a village outside of Malvern, a beautiful hillside town. I had never driven to Malvern before, but thankfully, I found the place alright.

The evening was organised by a local branch of the Bible Society. I am not aware of much of the history of the Bible Society, but I think they are a bit Ecumenical.

The evening included some Japanese food, lots of things to look at, an auction of nice Japanese stuff, a guessing game with weird Japanese objects, and a slide show.

I got to try Tofu for the first time. It tasted okay, but the texture was weird.

The people there were mostly quite old and only a few were friendly. I left before the event closed, because it merged into a meeting of the Bible Society branch and they had some visiting speaker. I did not want to sit through a Bible study with church the next morning.

I was glad I went. It was a good opportunity to see some Japanese things.
However, I am much more looking forward to the Japan Christian Link conference in July.

1 Timothy 3:16

An exam candidate managed to quote 1 Timothy 3:16-

The world was inspired by God.

In the Bible?

One of my exam candidates gave me an example of a miracle in the Bible. She cited the Virgin Mary appearing to St. Bernadette of Lourdes.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Yulia Tymoshenko Gets Her Old Job Back

In Ukraine, Viktor Yushenko and Yulia Tymoshenko managed to save the Orange Revolution by agreeing to form a coalition government. Yushenko was forced under the deal to restore Mrs. Tymoshenko to her former position of prime minister.

The most beautiful woman in international politics is back in power.

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD

Our award to countries in which removing shoes in homes is customary.

Very Polite

One of my exam candidates explained the rebellion of Lucifer. She did not neglect to mention God's judgment on Satan:

"God asked him to leave heaven and no longer be one of his angels."


I am sure Lucifer was obliging enougth to shut the gate after him.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

There Really was a Saint Lucifer (d.370-371)

Funnily enougth it turns out there was a St. Lucifer. He was a bishop in Sardinia who opposed the heresy of Arianism. It seems his name made him a less than popular saint.

You can read about him in this Wikipedia article.

Another One- Maybe he is a Saint!

Another exam candidate referred to Satan as 'St. Lucifer.' Maybe this really is some Roman Catholic doctrine that I am unaware of.

Free Grace Theology: Rewards and Selfishness

Free Grace Theology: Rewards and Selfishness

Operation World

I received the latest edition of Operation World, by Patrick Johnston, today. Operation World is such a fantastic resource for anyone with a heart for mission. It provides infomation on the church and mission activity in every country in the world. The edition I had before was the 1997 edition. Guess the two countries I looked up first in the new copy.

I remember back in 1997, when I was 16. I suggested my parents buy the latest edition of the book. They ordered it and then gave it to me as payment for some chores that I had been promised money for doing. I felt like Jacob having his 'wages changed ten times'.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Commercial Whaling: Taking Sides?

I have no real opinion on whether the ban on commercial whaling should come to an end. If anybody wants to make a case for or against the ban on whaling, you are welcome to do so in the comments.

However, the fact that the three pro-whaling nations, Japan, Norway and Iceland, are all countries in which it is customary to remove shoes in homes makes me inclined to sympathize with the whalers' cause. I am such a shallow and superficial blogger.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Blessed with a Busy Day

The Lord blessed me with the busiest day I have had at work for ages. It was good. Those days without much to do are always very stressful.

Nearly There

We have a lady doing telesales in the office temporarily. Unlike the other female members of a staff, she wears trousers, due to the deficencies of her wardrobe.

However, today she wore a fashionable headscarf. If she could not manage the skirt, at least she could manage Brethren headgear. I wonder if she saw the irony. However, the Exclusive Brethren girls at work always take their headscarves off when they arrive.

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD

Our award to countries in which removing shoes in homes is the norm.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Do I Need This Before Work?

This morning I went to work without the radio on. Normally on a Wednesday, I listen to this talk show where notable people talk about their acheivements. However, I decided I did not really need to hear those worldly people. I find work days stressful enougth and I wanted to spend as much time in prayer as possible.

I think I am beginning to expereince God's presence better lately. The other day I switched of this record while I was listening to it. It was one of my favorites and I do feel at perfect liberty to enjoy it. However, I noticed that I felt joyful and delighted at the thought of God's promises before I put it on, but the music made me feel quite melancholic. I realised that was not how I wanted to feel.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Thy Word is Like a Garden, Lord

Thy Word is like a garden, Lord, with flowers bright and fair;
And every one who seeks may pluck a lovely cluster there.
Thy Word is like a deep, deep mine; and jewels rich and rare
Are hidden in its mighty depths for every searcher there.

Thy Word is like a starry host: a thousand rays of light
Are seen to guide the traveler and make his pathway bright.
Thy Word is like an armory, where soldiers may repair;
And find, for life's long battle day, all needful weapons there.

O may I love Thy precious Word, may I explore the mine,
May I its fragrant flowers glean, may light upon me shine!
O may I find my armor there! Thy Word my trusty sword,
I'll learn to fight with every foe the battle of the Lord.


I am not that familiar with the tune, so I usually sing it to the tune of 'There is a Green Hill.'

Why are most of the hymns exalting the Word long forgotten?

Dyspraxicfundamentalist- Bible Prophecy: The European Union and Bible Prophecy

Dyspraxicfundamentalist- Bible Prophecy: The European Union and Bible Prophecy

Limbo- 'Thousands of Questions'

Another candidate explained that Limbo is where God sends you if He is unsure whether you belong in heaven or hell. In this place, the soul is asked thousands of questions to determine its eternal destiny. It sounds a very intimidating process.

Unfamiliar Term

One of my exam candidates introduced me to a theological term I had not come across before- Evalasnal Theologists. Apparently these are Christians who believe in evolution.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Pain of Waiting

When I was about 13 at the Christian school I attended, one of the teachers read to us that poem that ends with the line:

Those also serve who only stand and wait.


At the time that sounded easy enougth. I thought to myself "I certainly would not mind if the Lord wanted me to only stand and wait."

Now, twelve years on, I realise how painful it is to stand and wait. When I sit down to mark exam papers or to write my thesis, I am consumed by the desire to be a missionary, to go out and witness to the lost in far-off countries. Knowing that this desire and yet knowing that I must wait is agonising.

I know that I must finish my course. I do not know that a research degree will be at all useful in whatever work the Lord has for me, however I know that if I cannot complete what I have started, I am not fit for the Lord's work.

This is such a challenge. I had never realised that waiting to do something is so difficult.

The danger is that I am so distracted by my desire to go out and serve that I will fail to put sufficent energy into my studies. This is such a precious time. I must not waste it. I have such opportunities now to pray and prepare for whatver the Lord would have me do and yet it is so easy to either enjoy the slow, easy ride now or else to be so consumed by the future as to forget the wonderful opportunities I have now.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Hayfever

I was a bit sneezey this morning. Looks like I am getting Hayfever a bit.

Just a reminder, removing your shoes at the door will really help reduce your exposure to pollen.

If you or your family are Hayfever sufferers, I highly recommend leaving those summer sandals or flip flops at the door.

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: Properly equipped for carpet protection

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: Properly equipped for carpet protection

Post by the IBEX Scribe

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Street Preaching Today

I stayed out for over two hours today. There were three of us, though we were joined by a couple of young ladies from my church. I presume they were inspired to come by Andrew's talk at the prayer meeting a couple of weeks ago. They gave out tracts.

Andrew and I met an evangelist from Sweden, not a very godly country. He was encouraged to see our work. He had been to my church before and might come tomorrow.

I had a long, fruitless conversation with a crazy man who I had spoken to before. He is obsessed with some haunted house and would not stop talking to me about it. He just would not let the converation end.

I preached twice on Job 19:25-26. I do not think I had ever preached on that text before.

Job's Wife

Does anybody ever wonder what happened to Job's wife after chapter two of that book? Job says she is talking like a foolish woman, then she disappears from the story.

As there is no mention of Job marrying a second time, it seems likely that his ten new children were born by her. One would rather like to know about their presumed reconciliation. Perhaps she realised her error immediately after Job's rebuke.

Seraphim

Among the Eastern Orthodox, Seraphim is sometimes used as a name for boys.

Does anybody else think Seraphim is a really cool name?

Of all the Cheek!

One of my exam candidates took it upon herself to fill in the boxes where I put the marks. Needless to say, she gave herself full marks. It is a bit of a give-away when it is in blue ink, however.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Bjorn Lomborg on the Use of Pesticide

Astounding as it may seem, the choice is fairly clear. If we choose to remove pesticides from agricultural production we will get food and water without these substances. It will probably also mean that we can avoid some twenty deaths a year. The cost, on the other hand would be at least $20 billion a year, putting more of the countryside under the plow and allowing perhaps 26,000 more people to die of cancer a year.


That is the right perspective on the Organic farming fad.

Chinese Take-Away

Sorry about the lack of posts on my blogs this week. I still have about 250 or more exam papers to mark.

I had a Chinese take-away tonight. My mother seems to be moving towards the ritual of giving me the money to get a take-away every Friday night.

I had the Beef Curry and chips. The Curry that is served in Chinese take-away establishments is probably not a very authentic dish. It seems specifically designed to appeal to the British palate. It combines the spice of Indian food, the gravy of traditional British cooking and the sweet sickly taste of most popular Chinese dishes. It goes exceedingly well with chips. I cannot imagine having this curry with rice.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Pakistan Bans the Da Vinci Code

I heard that Pakistan has banned the Da Vinci Code. This is in order to prevent offence being given to the Christian minority in that country.

This is rather ironic, as the blasphemy laws in Pakistan have often been used to persecute Christians.

I would have thought the Pakistani government would have done better to stop the fierce violence that takes place against Christians, both official and unofficial.

Nevertheless, Christian leaders in Pakistan have welcomed the measure.

Saint Lousipher?

I am informed by one of my exam candidates that Satan was originally called St. Lousipher. However, after he became greedy, he was kicked into hell and was renamed the Devil.

Hilarious Exam Answer

One of the candidates I marked today wrote:

"Christians believe that God created the world in five days and rested for two, which is where we get the weekend."

Sunday, June 04, 2006

A Week Without Music

I managed to get by a whole week without listening to music.

On the Lord's Day, I always avoid listening to music, so that I will not be distracted from thinking of spiritual things. I very much enjoy this and so I thought perhaps I could maintain this throughout the week. That way, I can keep the influence of the world and the flesh to the minimum. I might carry on with this indefinitely. I am not going to make any promises I cannot keep, however.

In the past, I have destroyed secular music that I owned. I am not going to do this to the records I own now. I would rather practice being more disciplined with my time and my attention. I made the mistake in the past of being too focused on the specific things I got rid of, rather than on cultivating an attitude of separateness from the world and devotion to Christ. Hence, after I destroyed those records a couple of years ago, I very soon wanted them back. Now I am going to try and think about the actual decision of whether or not I actually listen to the music. I should ask 'Do I need to put this record on?'

Examiners' Standardisation Meeting

This weekend I attended the standardisation meeting for those marking Relgious studies school exams. The purpose of the meeting was to ensure that the examiners were markign to the correct standard.

Thankfully, I got through this process. I have been cleared to carry on marking my scripts.

We stayed at a hotel in Birmingham (paid for by the exam board, of course). The meals were all buffet-style. On Saturday, I had the same dish lunc and dinner, Chinese Duck with Ginger and Noodles with Red Chillies. This morning I had a great breakfast of Croissant, Bacon, Sausage, Black Pudding and Hash Browns.

There was a great vending machine near the conference rooms; it sold pork scratchings and flapjacks, as well as chocolate. One of my fellow examiners noticed that food and drink were at the forefront of my interests.

I had a long conversation on Saturday evening with an examiner who had adopted the Bahai faith. I was able to discuss with her some of the reasons for her rejection of Christianity. As I am a bit timid about conversational witnessing, I was glad of the opportunity.

Visiting Birmingham was intimidating. It is such a huge city. It took me ages to walk from the station to the hotel and back again. The train journey home was long. The journey there was a short route, but the route back went through rather more places.

When I got home, my parents were entertaining guests for Sunday lunch. My father's boss was visiting (he is a Christian and goes to my parents' church), along with his wife and the two little girls they had adopted. It was strange to have children running about our garden. My mother cooked a Lasagne. Not my favorite, but I was able to scrape off the cheese on top.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Reasoning from the Scriptures

I managed to get hold of the book Reasoning from the Scriptures. This is the evangelism manual used by Jehovah's Witnesses in preparing for their ministry. It contains their key arguments for conversations. Reading this should get me well prepared for my next encounter with Jehovah's Witnesses.

Andrew's Street Evangelism Work

Andrew gave a talk about his work as a full time street preacher, for the Open Air Mission, at the church prayer meeting, yesterday.

It was great to hear him. He was very challenging. He started by talking about how easy it is to pray and to sing about being faithful to God and yet how so few Christians get involved in evangelism.

Thankfully, he had experienced a really blessed time in Oxford. He had enjoyed vast crowds of listeners there, far more than was normal in Worcester, Cheltenham and Gloucester.

He told us about all of his many fruitful conversations, of the many listeners, the many Gospels of John given out, along with booklets by John Blanchard. He told us of the thousands of tracts he gave out every week.

He urged people to consider joining us on saturday afternoons, if not to preach, just to give out tracts.

I think most people at the prayer meeting were inspired. I only hope that it leads some of them to get involved.

Andrew's talk did make me wonder if I might like to be a full time open air preacher with the Open Air Mission. Andrew has suggested that to me many times. Obviously, I could not do that now. It might be rewarding, but I do feel that I should like to serve in another country. I also have my doubts that the Open Air Mission would accept me. My lack of church membership might be an issue and they might not be keen on my Free Grace theology.

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD

Our award to countries in which removing shoes in homes is customary.