les Davey de France

Alan and Pat live and work in Bordeaux. Alan is a pastor and Pat was a nurse. Now we work with UFM worldwide. Read on! (If you'd like to know what took us to Bordeaux, then start with the archives from September 2004)

Friday, June 30, 2006

Aïe aïe aïe!

The recording on Sunday worked.

Now some time, when I feel up to it, I'll have to listen to it and stress out about my vowels!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Well did we have fun!

There we were - on the rebound after missing out on the super little half-bungalow in Pessac. We had 1/2 hour before picking the kids up for lunch. What do you do? What we did was to go to the agent we had meant to begin with so long ago but had never quite got to. (It's just 2 weeks, but it seems longer!)

Anyway, the agency was wonderful! Like an estate agency run from a wardrobe by Charlie's Angels. The office was tiny, just two desks, and was full of women in their 20s and 30s dressed as Carmen in frilly blouses with chunky jewellery. And a small dog who put his cold nose on your bare toes.

They said "What about the Landaise?". I said that we had seen it once with another agent but we were concerned that it hasn't sold though it is with almost every agency in Bordeaux, at wildly differing prices. They said people were scared off by the new houses to be built in front, and that their price was lower because they charge less commission. (The prices vary by about 40000 euros, and they are not the cheapest. But never argue with a room full of people of opposite gender to your own!)

So we drove down to the house and timed the journey to the school. About 5 - 10 minutes should suffice. We walked round the area and had a nice chat with a lady whose poodles roll in the muck (caca - this used to be Gwilym's word for Coca Cola.) Then the agent arrived and we looked over the house, working out where the freezer could go. They showed us the plans for the two sweet little houses to be built in front. They looked OK. There remain these questions:

a. How is the house heated? The story is that there was a gas boiler, but the owner removed it and replaced it with an electric boiler that heats the hot water and the radiators. Or perhaps it doesn't.

b. What about the wiring? Some of the sockets have no earth connection. It may need rewiring. Also again we have switches for lights but no lights. Except this time there is no trace of there ever having been lights. Is there something I am missing about French bedrooms and switches?

c. What about the external timbers? They have quite a few splits in them, but they don't seem to be supporting anything as far as I can tell. So this evening I plan to phone an architect from the church and ask him about the timbers on a landaise.

But it could be a goer. And it has three mulberry trees in the garden.

DEFLE Marks

19/20 for history? Impossible! Anyway, I spelt the Prime Minister's name wrong. Bit embarrassing, too - he was long time mayor of Bordeaux. Instead of Chaban Delmas, I called him Charbon-Delmas! I think a rough translation would be "coal from the farm"?

Preparation for university research was this thing where we had to attend two classes, have a guided tour of the library (the librarian was not a gifted tour guide) and produce a bibliography. I missed half the course because one class was when I was at the synod, so although I didn't have much idea what she had asked for, I handed in any old thing for homework because if you don't hand something in you are defaillant - you missed an exam and you fail the whole thing.

I'm pleased with my civilisation exam mark. That was the one where they asked how the francophonie is organised and I didn't have the foggiest idea! It was a real Nigel Molesworth moment. "I neither kno nor care." Posted by Picasa

Pipped at the post

We saw this house. 3 bedroom bungalow. Nice size lounge. Nice walled garden. Carport for bikes etc. Shed with power for freezer. Utility room that would become my (small) office. Long gravel drive. Very private.

We went back to the estate agent's office. Pat liked it. I liked it. We were ready to go. We entered the office just as a couple were filling in the form to make an offer on it!

Oh, and I got my marks and diploma from the DEFLE. The marks are quite comical. Somewhat skewed. You'll see.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Report on the house visit

The house above the garage.

House OK. Three bedrooms. Lounge with windows both ends for cooling breezes. Rooms big enough, though no study/office. TV aerial point in every room! Oil central heating, with another baffling boiler.

Downstairs there's one 'through' garage with doors both ends, and then another massive garage with a pit and a high ceiling and two roll-over doors. This looks like it's been used commercially for servicing cars. It could easily become a church room or meeting room because the ceiling is pretty high (3 metres?)

EXCEPT:

It's on a very busy road, just between a roundabout and the TGV railway line, and parking will be limited.

The house and its garden are being sold in three lots -

1) front garden to build a "maison de ville",

2) house and pool

3) rear garden for another couple of houses.

Also the wiring in the house is idiosyncratic, to say the least. It looks to me like they have rewired it and saved money by removing most of the lights, etc, sticking ceiling roses over the holes, but not actually removing the switches which once operated the lights. There's a jumble of new sockets and old sockets. Do they all work? Who knows!

Hmmm. I think it's time to talk to some French friends about this.

It is by far the nearest house to the schools we have seen. It needs the stucco filling and painting outside and it is very high and very big. It would take me AGES or cost a fortune. It does have a pool, though. And once they have sold off the land front and rear very little else by way of garden, so no mowing!

We end up seeing these houses which are slightly odd or have problems because we are trying to buy a cheap house in an expensive area! It's a question of weighing up the pros and cons.

I did have a chat with the guy about the Landaise. He says that the house hasn't sold because people are put off by the two houses that will be built in front of it.

Furore

Pronunciation: few-rory or few-roar? I have never been sure.

Biblical Theology Books Review

I tried posting a link, but the link didn't work. So here's the article. It's a bit long. Sorry.

9Marks

God's Big Picture, Gospel & Kingdom, and According to Plan
By Vaughan Roberts and Graeme Goldsworthy

Reviews by Nicholas Piotrowski

I wanted to start this review with a great quote from Calvin, or Edwards, or Spurgeon on the importance of understanding how the entirety of Scripture teaches Christ and His work of redeeming sinners. I found a few lines, but none of them seemed to say it just right. Then I thought, why not quote Jesus himself? "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me" (John 5:39). Or maybe one of the evangelists: "Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself" (Luke 24:27; cf. v. 44). Or Peter: "What God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled" (Acts 3:18; cf. vv. 21, 24). Or Paul: "I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures" (I Corinthians 15:3f). In all of these cases, the speaker or writer quoted is saying that the Old Testament teaches the gospel. This is encouraging for those of us who are committed to teaching the full counsel of God, but are somewhat overwhelmed by the size and difficulties of the Old Testament. It’s encouraging because we are told that that vast and ancient collection of books teaches the gospel. Thus, we can (and should!) look for the gospel in it. Now, it can also be an intimidating thought; it is sometimes difficult to see how the gospel is being taught in the Old Testament. We don’t want to deal unfairly with any given text, and force Christ into it in a way foreign to the original author, but at the same time we do want to teach Christ from HIS Bible.

Whether my comments above ring true to your experience with the Bible, or are completely novel ideas to you, I have at least one of three books to recommend to you : Vaughan Roberts’ God’s Big Picture, Graeme Goldsworthy’s Gospel and Kingdom, and Graeme Goldsworthy’s According to Plan. The concise reviews and comparisons below will help you discern which is most fitting for you at this time.

Each of these books is an introduction to the science and art of Biblical Theology. In short, Biblical Theology can be defined as the discipline of understanding how the person and work of Christ are the center of all of God’s works in redemption and the end to which all of the Scriptures point.

My love for Biblical Theology tempts me to say more about it, and why it’s important, but that is not my goal here. (That Mark Dever highlights it as the second mark of a healthy church is a strong affirmation of its crucial importance. For more on Biblical Theology visit this link: http://marks.9marks.org/Mark2.) My goal is simply to introduce you to a few books that could either greatly help you to understand the Christ-centeredness of the Bible or to deepen your understanding of the same. No matter where you are in your Christian development, and no matter what your role is in your church, I have at least one book to recommend to you. Each book is written at a slightly different level, with a slightly different audience in mind.

The format of this review will be to:

Compare the three books and recommend each one for different audiences
Briefly review Vaughan Roberts’ God’s Big Picture
Briefly review Graeme Goldsworthy’s Gospel and Kingdom
Briefly review Graeme Goldsworthy’s According to Plan
Recommend some further reading in the field of Biblical Theology, along with some Scripture for consideration

Recommendations

Each book attempts to give a map of the whole of the Scriptures. The authors believe that with a bird’s eye aerial view of the whole, smaller individual texts will become clearer and more properly understood. They all use the motif of "the Kingdom of God" (defined as God’s people, in God’s place, under God’s rule [and blessing]) as the paradigm to understand how the Bible fits together around Christ. The authors show us how "the Kingdom" and its various themes are progressively revealed and developed throughout the pages of the Bible until they converge on the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ, then finally in Christ’s triumphant return in power and glory. Basically, each author argues that understanding how this Kingdom develops in the Bible, and understanding the themes of the Kingdom and how they all point to Christ, is the key to understanding the Bible itself.

If you are a young Christian, or even an older Christian, who gets frustrated with how confusing the Bible can sometimes be, then let me recommend Vaughan Roberts’ God’s Big Picture. It is written at a very introductory level, in an easy and clear manner that attempts to avoid too much technical, philosophical, and theological language. It is also a great book to use as a discipling tool. If you’ve already studied Biblical Theology in some depth, it would be great to read, nonetheless, for the value of being able to pass it on to others and follow up with discussion. If you do, I bet you’ll also learn something from it. It’s one of those rare books that is simple enough for the novice, yet still has something for the veteran as well. It has something for everyone! I can’t recommend it enough.

Graeme Goldsworthy’s Gospel and Kingdom is a little more in depth. In fact, Roberts says in his preface that his is a "slightly less technical" retelling of Goldsworthy’s insights. Nonetheless Gospel and Kingdom has not been replaced in its importance. I recommend it to anyone who teaches the Bible in any capacity. One of the major strengths of this book is that it gives a lot of attention to how to read and interpret (what we call hermeneutics), and to understand and teach (what we call homiletics) the Old Testament. Basically, Goldsworthy is trying to clear up our confusion about the Old Testament and encourage us to use it as it was meant to be used, pointing forward to Christ at every turn (what we call Biblical Theology). If you teach the people of God in any way, you cannot go without a confident familiarity with the Old Testament—what it says and how to exegete what it says. Even if you never teach the Old Testament and stay only in the New Testament (which should never be done, and Goldsworthy can cure you of this), you still need a handle on the Old Testament and its basic message. You can’t go a half a paragraph in the New Testament without coming across a quote from, or an allusion to, the Old Testament. Understanding the context of that Old Testament quote or allusion will only deepen your teaching of the New Testament. And one last word on this: please, do teach the Old Testament. Jesus did. The apostles did. God’s people need the whole counsel of God. (For an excellent resource on preaching the OT, I encourage you to listen to Ligon Duncan’s talk delivered at the 2006 Together for the Gospel Conference. It can be found at: http://www.sovereigngracestore.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=A2235-03-21.)

Finally, if you are a deacon, elder, or pastor you will be greatly helped by reading Graeme Goldsworthy’s According to Plan. It’s a little more involved in its presentation of "the Kingdom of God," but being in a position of leadership, I trust you already have a theological base upon which this book can build. That being said, the book is also valuable for another reason. It has a great section on hermeneutics and epistemology. How should God’s people read and interpret the Bible? How should they think and learn? What distractions from the world press in on us to adopt less-than-Christian reading and thinking and learning habits? These are important issues. Your understanding of them will greatly strengthen your exegesis, which will improve your teaching, which will enhance your usefulness and expand your ministry.

Now, onto a more thorough description of each book.

Vaughan Roberts’ God’s Big Picture

Roberts begins God’s Big Picture introducing us to some preliminary issues: how the Bible is structured with its groupings of different genres, and how to read (and how not to read) biblical texts. He argues that it is an all-too-common phenomenon that people can quote the Bible with some regularity and accuracy, while misunderstanding the point of the Bible. He says that "The Bible does not contain isolated sayings" but that "Each sentence is meant to be understood in the light of the whole" (18). To combat such tendencies, Roberts wrote this book. Simply put, he wants to "help Christians to find their way around the Bible and to see how it all holds together and points us to Jesus" (14). He says that "If we want to understand any part of the Bible properly, we must consider where it fits in that great plan and how it contributes to it" (19).
As mentioned, Roberts shows us that the Bible is, summarily speaking, how "the Kingdom of God" has developed through history to prepare the way for, and teach about, Jesus Christ’s person and work for sinners. "The Kingdom of God" is defined as "God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule and blessing." The format of the book follows the development of this Kingdom through the various stages and genres of Scripture. In that regard, the format of Roberts’ book mirrors the layout of the Bible itself.

He teaches us how God’s kingdom was established in the Garden of Eden where God’s people lived in fellowship with Him in His creation, obeying Him and enjoying His blessing. But that kingdom perished when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. They no longer enjoyed fellowship with God nor were they blessed by Him anymore. Roberts then goes on to make the case that the rest of the Bible is God’s plan to restore His people to that original kingdom in Eden, which now serves as a pattern for what God is out to achieve in the rest of the Bible. He promises this kingdom to the patriarchs, and partially fulfills it in the exodus, conquest, and king of Israel. But then, just as Eden was lost, so was this partial kingdom. Again, the reason is sin. Therefore, the prophets of Israel prophesy a greater kingdom to come, which becomes a present reality in Christ’s birth, life, death, and resurrection. We now live in the proclaimed kingdom, which the New Testament epistles particularly speak of, while we wait for the perfected kingdom when Christ delivers us back into that wonderful Edenic relationship with God at His second coming.

One of the many strengths of this book is how clearly it is written. It is also full of helpful drawings and charts that reinforce the progressive aspect of how the Scriptures were written and the developmental way the story of the Bible unfolds. Also, Bible studies at the end of each chapter lead readers through key biblical-theological texts; these further emphasize the chapter’s content and familiarize readers with the high points of redemptive-history.
I hardily recommend the book without reservation. Enjoy!

Graeme Goldsworthy’s Gospel and Kingdom

Gospel and Kingdom has proven to be a very influential work in this field of Biblical Theology. Since Goldsworthy first published this work in 1981, many authors have noted its substantive impact in their studies. Personally, I have benefited tremendously from his faithful scholarship. It was the first book I read on the topic of Biblical Theology and it entirely revolutionized my approach to the Old Testament. Therefore it revolutionized my understanding of the Bible as it fits together into one book with one message. I used to allegorize much of the Old Testament without realizing it. Goldsworthy helped me understand that such an approach has misinformed me as to what the Bible is all about, because the Old Testament was not written as an allegory and should not be treated as one. It was written as narratives, poems, proverbs, and prophecies which were all rooted in history. The texts are theological commentaries about how God has sovereignly moved this history toward its intended goal: consummation in His Son.

In case you haven’t noticed, what I’m saying is that hermeneutics (methods one uses to interpret a text) and Biblical Theology are inseparable. Your hermeneutical approach to any given text will greatly influence your interpretation of that text. And conversely, your understanding of the message of the Bible as a whole, will impact the hermeneutical method that you come at texts with. Hermeneutics and Biblical Theology are brothers in arms. If you want to properly exegete a text, you’ll need some Biblical Theological awareness. And to get a Biblical Theological awareness you need to properly understand the biblical authors’ original intent in writing. Confused? Well, Goldsworthy’s work can help you.

He begins with a great story about a Sunday school teacher who is teaching on David and Goliath. The teacher believes that the events are real and historical, but can’t figure out how to apply it to his audience. The necessary skills this teacher will need are what the rest of this book is about. It basically falls into two parts: hermeneutics (mainly of the Old Testament), and Biblical Theology.

The first chapter takes us on a quick tour through the history of hermeneutical methods, and makes a case for why a proper hermeneutical method for both the Old and New Testaments is important for all Christians. In short, the necessary hermeneutic is one that understands the historical characteristics of the texts, and how they have always, in God’s sovereignty, been intended to teach the gospel.

He also stresses how impoverished we are if we don’t read and understand the Old Testament. "The New Testament presupposes a knowledge of the Old Testament…One estimate is that there are at least 1600 direct quotations of the Old Testament in the New, to which may be added several thousand more New Testament passages that clearly allude to or reflect Old Testament verses" (18f). But also, the quotes of the Old Testament in the New aside, there is a value to knowing the Old Testament in and of itself. Goldsworthy argues that a knowledge of the Old Testament gives Christians a theology of God’s sovereignty over history which helps them understand the importance of the objective elements of the gospel (the historical life, death, and resurrection of Christ). This emphasis on the objective content of the gospel will in turn help guard us against strictly subjective understandings of the gospel (like "invite Jesus into your heart"). At the same time, it will give us a reliable underpinning for our appropriate (biblical!) subjective experiences of the gospel (like the new birth).

Chapter two gives us more on hermeneutics for the Old Testament, encouraging us to steer away from "character studies" and to find, rather, the unity of the whole Bible and understand how those characters fit into that larger whole. Basically, we should find out what the characters and events of the Old Testament tell us about Christ, and then what they tell us about ourselves in light of who Christ is and what He did, does, and will do. This is a Christian way to read the Old Testament.

Chapter three is a very brief Old Testament Introduction. He summarizes what the Old Testament is, how it is structured, its basic story, and its basic theology.

Chapter four then tells us what Biblical Theology is. In short, he says: "Biblical theology is not concerned to state the final doctrines which go to make up the content of Christian belief, but rather to describe the process by which revelation unfolds and moves toward the goal which is God’s final revelation of his purposes in Jesus Christ" (45). That’s a very helpful definition.

Chapters five through nine are then the content of the Bible, as it progressively reveals Jesus Christ. It’s this material that by and large makes up Vaughan Roberts’ book. (See the third paragraph in the above section for this). Nonetheless, I don’t think either is a substitute for the other. Go ahead and read both. The two compliment each other very well.

Chapter ten then gives a few more hermeneutical pointers for seeing Christ in the Old Testament. And chapter eleven closes the book with a few Old Testament examples of where we see Christ in texts we would otherwise be tempted to allegorize.

If you haven’t read anything by Graeme Goldsworthy yet, read Gospel and Kingdom. I am very confident that you will agree that it’s a must read for anyone who teaches the Scriptures in any capacity.

Graeme Goldsworthy’s According to Plan

According to Plan is the most advanced book of the three, assuming a degree of knowledge that the others do not. After reading Gospel and Kingdom though, you should be well equipped for the challenge—it’s well worth the effort. It will enhance your hermeneutical skills, and provide you with another method to understand the big picture of the Bible.

Part one deals with why Biblical Theology is important and how it is applicable.

Part two is especially useful for its teachings on hermeneutics. Here, Goldsworthy deals more extensively with the issues developed in Gospel and Kingdom chapters 1-4. It’s a fitting next step if Gospel and Kingdom leaves you hungry for more.

Part two’s particular strength is Goldsworthy’s treatment of epistemology (an issue the other books don’t touch). Epistemology is the science of understanding how we gain knowledge. His chapter called "But How Can We Know" is rich. Oh, how many Christians unknowingly adopt a less-than-Christian approach to learning (even if they never think about what epistemology is). Goldsworthy exposes various humanistic tendencies that creep into our minds, gives due weight to the reality of sin in our world and in our lives, and reminds us of the influence our presuppositions have in everything we do.

Part three makes up the bulk of the book. Here Goldsworthy teaches the actual content of Biblical Theology. While the message of this book is the same as the other two (God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule), it adopts a different format in teaching it. This distinct format is helpful in providing breadth and depth to our understanding of Biblical Theology. Instead of taking the different genres of Scripture and showing us the development of the Kingdom in each genre, Goldsworthy instead shows us those moments in redemptive-history that are especially crucial to understanding the rest. The other books take a high aerial view over all of redemptive-history, thus providing a larger context for understanding individual texts. This book adds a dimension to the discussion; it takes the same aerial view, but then drops us into some selected texts to give us more details of what makes the Kingdom what it is. He then shows us how those significant details about the kingdom reappear and develop throughout the rest of the Scriptures. This approach allows Goldsworthy to look individually at various themes that run throughout the Bible, developing from Genesis to Revelation. These themes are like threads that hold the diverse aspects of the Bible’s story together. Of course, they all converge on Christ. Some examples of these details/themes/threads are creation and re-creation, sin, Abraham, exodus and exile, wilderness wanderings, the promise land, faith, and regeneration, to name a few.

Lastly, in part four Goldsworthy explains how understanding that all of God’s purposes have always revolved around Christ should affect the way we live our lives today. He gives two examples: finding guidance and understanding life after death.

If you are a leader in a church, this book is a must read. It will greatly inform your exegesis, preaching, and teaching.

If I had to come up with one weakness of the three books reviewed it would be that they don’t tell us much about how to preach these great truths. That can be tricky. But then, that’s not the aim of these books. For that, and for other related issues spinning out from these ideas, I’ve added some suggestions for further reading below.

Conclusion

I love Biblical Theology. And I love it for one reason. It helps me know Jesus Christ better. If you want to know the Christ, if you want your people to know who He is, what He did, what He’s doing, and what He will do, then become familiar with the discipline of Biblical Theology. Goldsworthy and Roberts can help you get started.

For Further Reading

One’s experience with Biblical Theology is like one’s experience with the Bible. You never feel like you’re done. Once you’ve tasted, you want more! The more you search the more you realize how much more investigating there is yet to be done.

Of course the Scriptures should always be our primary guide. Below is a list of various texts grouped together. What I recommend is that you read and meditate on these texts together, and consider why each successive author is using the same language and themes as the previous one(s). This will help you get a grasp on how the biblical authors themselves understood and used Biblical Theology. (The lists are by no means exhaustive!)

Let me recommend just a few more books. Geerhardus Vos’ Biblical Theology has to be mentioned—it is a seminal work in the field. Though a difficult read, it is well worth it if you will make the commitment and have the time to read it slowly. Many owe a great debt to Vos. Mark Strom’s The Symphony of Scripture develops those themes/threads that run through the Scriptures. O. Palmer Robertson’s The Christ of the Covenants and The Israel of God deal with two of the more controversial themes. Mark Dever’s two books, The Message of the Old Testament and The Message of the New Testament, will help you see what each individual book of the Bible adds to the larger story. Dever also provides thoughtful application to both church members and to the local church as a whole. Another book by Graeme Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture, will help you to preach these glorious truths in a way that is faithful and not overwhelming to your people. InterVarsity’s The New Dictionary of Biblical Theology will also help you with all of these issues; it’s divided into various sections according to the different methods of coming at Biblical Theology. Finally, if you are really ambitious, Don Carson is editing a series of books called "New Studies in Biblical Theology." The series, a work still in progress, devotes an entire book to a different Biblical Theological theme. New titles are coming out regularly.

Scriptures for Consideration

Creation & Re-Creation
Genesis 1-2; Genesis 6-9; Isaiah 24:1-13; Matthew 8-11; Romans 8:18-25; Revelation 21-22

Death & Resurrection
Psalm 90; Ezekiel 37:1-14; I Corinthians 15:20-28

The Covenants
Genesis 3:15-21; Genesis 8:20-9:17; Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 15; Exodus 24:1-8;
2 Samuel 7:1-17; Jeremiah 31:31-34

The Glory of God
Exodus 5:2, 6:1-9, 7:5, 8:10, 9:14-16, 12:12; Psalm 19:1-2; Psalm 23:3; Psalm 86:8-10;
Isaiah 48:9-11; Ezekiel 36:22-23; Matthew 5:16; Romans 11:33-36

Redemption
Exodus 3:7-8; Psalm 130; Isaiah 11:11-16; Luke 9:31; Revelation 15:1-4

Israel of God
Exodus 3:7-10; Exodus 4:22-23; Matthew 3:16-4:11; Romans 9-11; Galatians 3:26-29

Sabbath Rest
Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15; Matthew 11:28-12:13; Hebrews 3:16-4:10

Tabernacle/Temple
Exodus 29:38-46; 1 Kings 8:56-61; Ezekiel 8-11; John 1:14; Ephesians 2:14-22; Revelation 21:22

Priesthood & Sacrifice
Leviticus 16; Luke 22:19-20; I Corinthians 11:25-26; Hebrews 9:23-10:18

The Spirit of God
Numbers 11:16-30; Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 4:16-22; Acts 1:8; Galatians 5:16-26

Prophetism
Deuteronomy 18:9-22; Acts 3:19-24; Hebrews 1:1-3;

The King
2 Samuel 7; Psalm 2, 16, 18, 22, 72, 89, 110, 132; Isaiah 7-12; Matthew 1

The Day of the Lord
Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:1-21; I Thessalonians 4:13-5:3; II Thessalonians 1:5-10

June 2006Nicholas Piotrowski©9Marks

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Mark 2: Biblical Theology

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Valley of Vision album

Many people know about the book of Puritan prayers published by Banner of Truth called "The Valley of Vision". A couple of years ago they brought out a posh binding of it because it is so popular.

Well Sovereign Grace Ministries are producing an album of songs based on the some of the prayers. It should be released in the summer. You can find out more about it at:

http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/music/projects/valleyofvision/

Transplant day

My dead computer has not died in vain. Its memory and hard disk are going to be transplanted into Sammy's computer today, I hope. His poor machine labours on with 256MB of memory and 10GB of hard disk for Windows and all his programs. After surgery we hope he'll have double the memory and an 80GB disk. And all his software reinstalled, which would be good enough news on its own. Sammy's existing disk will become an external USB drive that he can use for transporting data between computers.

Also today I must phone our friend Emmanuel the estate agent, who passed on our number to his colleague in Pessac, who phoned on Friday when I was in the meeting and left a message, which I listened to but then lost, and whose (the colleague) name and number I need so I can ring her back and apologise. Confused? Wait till I try to explain all that to Emmanuel in French!

Live in Hope, die in Caergwrle

A North East Wales saying that may have more than a grain of truth:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/walesnortheast/2006/06/fellas_wrexhams_bad_for_your_h.html

Monday, June 26, 2006

Latest on the house-hunt


Well it was good to have another little break from the house-hunt - I was in a meeting all day on Friday, then the estate agents are closed on Saturdays and, of course, on Sundays.

Having had our offer on the house at rue Pasteur rejected, I did a hunt on the seloger website and found a house that appears to be very near Catrin's school. It's within our budget. It is one of these live upstairs and huge garage downstairs houses. The estate agent says the house is still available and has a smallish garden (though I think he then said it was 400 - 500 square metres, which is pretty big really). The blurb said "gros potentiel". I asked if that meant "gros travaux" (lots of work to be done) but he said that it just meant you could do things with the garage-basement.

We have arranged to see it - his earliest appointment is on Wednesday. If it would do, great! Otherwise we will wait till we come back from our summer trip to Britain to continue the chase.

The other house on this page is the Landaise that is still available - at various prices according to which estate agent you go with. This house would be a possible.

Drawbacks? A Very Small Kitchen. Two houses due to be built in front of it (though that would then make it in deuxième plan - this is a Good Thing in France). Garden not even fenced off. No garage.

Advantages? Huge lounge with cathedral ceiling - great for music evenings! Three good bedrooms and a study with balcony.

These Landaise houses look bigger than they are, but this one is still pretty big! It seems strange to think we could buy a place like this and spend less on the mortgage than on the rent for our little bungalow. Of course, the reason is the equity from our house that we sold in North Wales.
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The works of John Frame and Vern Poythress

http://www.frame-poythress.org/

Well worth a look, with online books!

Poor kids - sick again

Catrin has picked up some bug, possibly from a friend she saw yesterday. She is lying in a quiet fever on the sofa staring fixedly at the ceiling.

Gwilym has a tummy upset. He's watching French TV.

A friend says that Bordeaux is particularly difficult for children's health, being so humid.

I couldn't possibly comment on that either way.

Bordeaux is not exactly Paris...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/5110632.stm

like Skype, but no software and no earphones etc..

http://www.jajah.com/?l=en

It works via your phone. I haven't tried it yet.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Well it went OK!

People listened very attentively.

I spoke for less time than I had anticipated - I had thought it would be about 1/2 hour, but it was roughly 25 mins., which was fine. (40 mins. would have been WAY too much!!)

Some friends from DEFLE came, which was well excellent.

And my dear French teacher friend is going to take my text and correct the turns of phrase that could have been better. I told her she needs internet so she could correct my scripts before I preach, and I think she's getting connected in the autumn!

And would you believe that my very last verb was conjugated wrongly! Still - I am not the first and I won't be the last. And it wasn't the only one, I'm sure.

But CONCENTRATE? If you drop your guard for a MOMENT the wrong kind of e slips out! I wouldn't have believed it had I not experienced it myself today. I sat down afterwards and had to mop my brow and hold Pat's elbow!

I may have a recording of it, or I may not. A dear chap said "It should be OK because I pressed the record button". Yes, but so had I just seconds before getting into the pulpit! We'll see. If it wasn't recorded I won't have to listen to myself, which would be a blessing!

This afternoon was the service in Blaye and then the AGM of the Eglise Réformée Evangélique de la Gironde. There's a lot to be done.

I'll sleep well tonight!

"Get thee up into a high moutain" (Isa 40:9)

Our knowledge of Christ is somewhat like climbing one of our Welsh mountains. When you are at the base you see but little: the mountain itself appears to be but one-half as high as it really is. Confined in a little valley, you discover scarcely anything but the rippling brooks as they descend into the stream at the foot of the mountain. Climb the first rising knoll, and the valley lengthens and widens beneath your feet. Go higher, and you see the country for four or five miles round, and you are delighted with the widening prospect. Mount still, and the scene enlarges; till at last, when you are on the summit, and look east, west, north, and south, you see almost all England lying before you. Yonder is a forest in some distant county, perhaps two hundred miles away, and here the sea, and there a shining river and the smoking chimneys of a manufacturing town, or the masts of the ships in a busy port. All these things please and delight you, and you say, "I could not have imagined that so much could be seen at this elevation." Now, the Christian life is of the same order. When we first believe in Christ we see but little of him. The higher we climb the more we discover of his beauties. But who has ever gained the summit? Who has known all the heights and depths of the love of Christ which passes knowledge? Paul, when grown old, sitting grey-haired, shivering in a dungeon in Rome, could say with greater emphasis than we can, "I know whom I have believed," for each experience had been like the climbing of a hill, each trial had been like ascending another summit, and his death seemed like gaining the top of the mountain, from which he could see the whole of the faithfulness and the love of him to whom he had committed his soul. Get thee up, dear friend, into the high mountain.


Morning and Evening for this morning. Probably not quite what Isaiah had in mind, but encouraging all the same.

Well - here we go

I have read through my notes aloud. Forgot to time it. If anything I am likely to be too short rather than too long, I think. Must remember to TAKE MY TIME. I gabble when I'm nervous.

I found a few things to correct, turns of phrase to adjust, odd errors here and there. Those are just the ones I found.

But basically I think it's wonderful. Why? Because if there is any force or strength in the message this morning it will have to come from the living God, not from any oratorical persuasion or anything like that.

Think of it. Paul in prison - but the word of God is not bound.

Me quite likely to need a few runs to get out the word considérerons - but the word of God is not bound.

Now I'll make the changes I marked up in my script. I'll print it out. Then I'll read some chapters from Hebrews aloud. Limbering up for the tongue and the heart.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

e-sword

Free Computer Bible programme.

Lots of different language modules (some free, some you have to pay for).

"Beibl Cymraeg Newydd Argraffiad Diwygiedig" available free!

http://www.e-sword.net/index.html

Pre-emptive honking

People sometimes say that the French buy horns with a car attached.

Well at least they are not New York taxi-drivers:

Bumper stickers

Just because someone does not have a bumper sticker that says “How is my driving?” with a number to call, doesn’t mean they don’t want to know what their driving is like. Assume all drivers really want to know and that the ones without a phone number want to know straight away.

Pre-emptive honking

Say you’re stopped at a light behind someone who you suspect will not notice when the lights change. By pre-emptive honking before the lights change, you will make sure that the driver will be ready when they do.

(from The Times, quoting The Bad Driver's Handbook)

Well - my preparation is basically finished

I'm preaching on Matthew 27 : 45 - 54. I agonised as much over the title as over anything. I ended up with "Understand the Signs of the Cross". Bit of a play on words, and I think it works in French. If not it isn't a huge problem, but it would be a pity to have a damp squib right at the beginning!

I will check tonight with my usual three-parse checklist:

1) genders
2) conjugation
3) agreements a. adjectives b. past participles

This especially after someone the other day said (he's in bold, I'm in italics)

"Vous parlez bien le français."

"Merci, mais il y a des trous! Il y a beaucoup de choses que je n'ai jamais dits!"

"dites. jamais dites. C'est feminin, choses." (the t is pronounced, because of the e)

Point taken. People notice if you forget to do the agreement of the past participle, even in conversation.

(It's great when people help me like this, though because I am old and dumb I have to rerun the conversation in my head to locate the problem and mentally sort it out..)

In an ideal world I would get someone to check my notes for turn of phrase, too. This is the area where I just need to develop and practice.

It isn't actually an ideal world, and no one else will have checked it, so if some is clumsy, it's clumsy!

But it's a start.

And folks are gracious and are actually spiritually hungry, so there's hope that they'll take the food and not notice too much if the cutlery is round the wrong way!

A baroque or rococo presbyterian church

If the building dates from 1598, does that make it baroque or rococo? Or something else?
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The church meeting place at Montauban


Look at the trompe l'oeil ceiling and the amazing plaster panels!

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The cloisters

of the seminary (now a retirement home) of the church at Montauban.

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Commission Exécutive Elargie at Montauban

Yesterday was the meeting of the commission éxécutive élargie at Montauban. This roughly equates to the AECW North Wales Regional Council that we used to hold before our reorganisation last year. The commission covers approximately Acquitaine and Languedoc (though I'd need to locate all the churches named on a map to be sure!) and normally consists of 7 nominated people, 3 pastors and 4 non-pastors. Yesterdays was élargie to include a number of invited people.

Montauban is a nice little town with a deep river gorge running through it, and three closely placed bridges. The church is on one side of the river and has attached an old seminary with cloisters. This is now a retirement home. The church is quite spectacular! I took some pictures which I will load up later if I get my camera back today. I left it at our church. Tomorrow if not.

These meetings are very useful for

a. Getting the lie of the land. The big towns and cities have quite strong churches. The rural areas struggle. Bordeaux is a pioneer situation, linked to a rural area in Blaye. It's interesting to see how things are changing in the denomination and the challenges they are facing.

b. for getting tips.

We travelled with a chap from near La Rochelle who has begun a church in an area where lots of English people buy their holiday homes. There are 4 flights a day into La Rochelle now. So the church's services are bilingual. They sing in French and in English, readings are also in both languages and he preaches in French, simultaneously translated (with occasional added touches of humour) by his American wife. Following the service there's lunch. Then a walk (he lives near the beach). Then an evening Bible study and folk go home mid-evening. The costs of the meal (there's seldom fewer than 20 people for lunch) are shared out amongst those who eat. And it all works out very well.

Toulouse has a Korean church which currently has no pastor. So the pastor from our church in Toulouse (who is South African) preaches in English and someone then translates in Korean.

Here in Bordeaux we have a sizeable British ex-pat community. It isn't so much holiday home people. After all prices are high and the city is busy. It's mainly people who have come with their work. Then there is the growing work amongst the Chinese, which really seems to have taken off this year. Maybe a church could be started with someone preaching in French or English, with translation into Chinese by someone capable. Many of the Chinese have better English than French, and many really need to use Mandarin.

Tea and hard water

In Bordeaux we have hard water because of the geology. (Could be worse - in Blaye they have heavy water because of the nuclear power station. Boom boom!)

When the kettle furs up you get crunchy tea. Yum!

Enter the secret weapon - those tea-pots with a plastic filter insert for putting leaf tea in. You put your tea bags in the filter thing, pour your water in through the filter and the crunchy bits collect inside the filter thing and not in your cup.

Simple!

(Oh no - that reads like the tips letters in a magazine. Sorry!)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Fields and Edwards encourage again!

What I like best, I think, about Jonathan Edwards is his ability to grasp big things in his mind and then explain them beautifully. He is a brilliant systematician, yet with a poetic flair.

What I like best, I think, about David Field is that he digs through Edwards and serves us up truffles!

http://davidpfield.blogspot.com/2006/06/agreeing-with-edwards.html

My clever and diligent wife

Has done well in her exams.

Read more on www.pat-in-france.blogspot.com.

90% for assiduity!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

OK - well they haven't accepted our offer

and they haven't moved very far down in price.

The agent is still working hard to find a meeting place, but I think the gap is too great.

So we shall see.

Meanwhile the house in Villenave near the Olympic Swimming Pool (I am sure you are even more lost than we are...) has been reduced in price.

Still waiting to hear

I take that as a good sign. At least they didn't come round and break our windows.

Ensconced in la préparation.

Almost none of my plays on words works any more.

Probably a good thing, too.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Well I don't know if we'll end up with a house, but

it's doing wonders for my French!

I just had to explain to the chap who showed us the house with the dodgy trees (one of which is, I'm sure, a willow) why I was unhappy about the trees.

He tried to convince me that they aren't a problem. I had to explain to him why I think they are a problem.

Great fun. You could pay a fortune for rôle-play exercises like that, and this is for real!

Rue Pasteur

We've made an offer on this house. It was overpriced, and we have made a cheeky offer. So we shall see. The estate agent feels the offer is not unrealistic - the average price for houses in Bordeaux is currently about 2000 euros per sq meter, which would make our offer just a tiny bit below average.

It's on the main road into Pessac. That would put some people off, I'm sure, but it's the kind of house where you enter from the side and live in the back, so it would be fine for us. Cycle path to Gwilym's school and tram to Catrin's. Tram to city centre. Tram to university. All could work very well.

It isn't as big as it looks in the picture - they have used a wide-angle lens and pointed carefully to avoid the advertising hoarding.

Anyway, we shall see.


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DEFLE results for Alan

Mention Bien

Français oral - assez bien
Français ecrit - très bien
Options etc - bien

Bien.

I think the mentions work like this (but I am not sure!):
Passable - 50% - 65% (or is it 50 - 55%)
Assez Bien - 65% - 75% (or 55 - 65%)
Bien 75% - 85% (or perhaps 65 - 75%)
Très Bien - >85% (or perhaps > 75%)

Oh, I don't know!

Evening services

Here on the continent evening services are a rarity.

Did they die out on the continent, or did the innovative Brits start them?

If Britain started them, then when was it?

I have heard it said that they began with reliable street lighting, which makes sense, but I've never seen anything written in any historical study or anything.

Somone must know. Can anyone help on this?

Audio Bible

Our team leader gave me a recording of the French Bible in MP3 format. It is invaluable for:

1) how names are pronounced

2) quick revision of liaison

to try to achieve a fluent reading.

Imagine the difference in English if someone reads "Solomon built an entrance to the house of the Lord" or "Solowmun built ay entrance to thee 'ouse of thee Lord." It kind of changes the way you hear it.

Anyway David Field of Oak Hill is putting a free Audio Bible on his website at: http://www.davidpfield.com/audio-bible/AudioBible.htm

The funny things people say 1

I thought I'd share some of the funny things people say here (bear with me though, I might forget, or people might suddenly start talking straight without any amusing things)

One house I looked at - it had a colossal central heating boiler.

I said "C'est énorme!"

The homeowner said "C'est le Rolls de chaudières."

Isn't that nice - she definitely said "the Rolls of boilers".

First dream in French

First dream in French that I've been aware of. (Having said that first dream in AGES that I've remembered!)

The Queen was visiting somewhere or other. She spoke English, but everyone else spoke in French.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

OK - here we go (houses again!)

There's a house quite near the centre of Pessac which is advertised at a price WAY outside our budget. However they have not sold it, which suggests that the price is too high.

It also has certain drawbacks which we wouldn't mind - for example it's on the main road into Pessac town centre. Well for our purposes that makes it easy to find, although the garden wall does have a certain amount of graffiti on it. The price of living near the town centre. It also has a big advertising hoarding in the garden, but that brings in 3000 euros a year rent (enough to pay all our council tax and some left over).

It's within a walk of Gwilym's school and a short tram ride of Catrin's. It's well looked after.

So tomorrow afternoon I/we am/are going to go see the house once more, and then as long as we don't get drastically put off we'll make an offer near the top of our budget. If they say no, they say no. But at least it gives them a chance to sell and us a chance to buy. But it'll be a cheeky offer from their point of view. I can well imagine them saying no, but it depends on their circumstances and what they want to do.

French banks do not require a survey - they simply lend against the purchase price of the property. They do not apply a multiplier to your salary. They simply require that your repayments on all your borrowing be less than a third of your income.

So there we are. From the point of view of accessibiity to schools and ease of access for students it's by far the best. It has three bedrooms, a study, a funny windowless bedroom in the basement and other storage room in the basement. If they say yes it'll be fine. If they say no, that'll be fine, too. It's in the hands of the Saviour.

Ooh la la!

In France it's a good idea to buy a house from a solicitor (notaire). They charge lower fees to the vendor, so they can accept a lower price, and they do you a special deal on the legal fees.

Well a solicitor arranged to show us a house in Pessac. Same secrecy about where the house was and stuff. We even parked round the corner from the house! But as soon as we met the lady and she showed me the picture of the house I knew I had seen it before and rejected it because of a very small, very overlooked garden (a gym full of Thai boxers staring down into your lounge all day...)

She said "It doesn't matter. Though you sign that bon de visite, it has no standing in law. You buy from whoever you want to buy from. It's like buying a car. You buy from whoever gives you the best price and no one can stop you doing that."

That's good news because if we eventually decide to go with the upside-down house, it's for sale with the notaires, too.

Unless, of course, the lawyer lady speaks with forked tongue... Is that possible? Surely not.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Getting ready to preach this Sunday

How do I feel about it?

1) Quite excited. I am enjoying the preparation. After all, at last I am back to doing what I did before - it's the same task, but different words. More of a challenge, but then I only have to preach once this week!

Ecclesiastes 12:10 The Teacher searched to find just the right words

and what he wrote was upright and true. Perhaps you could pray that it will be the case with me.


It's a pity that most of my books are still in boxes, and that they have to stay that way for the present, too!

2) Quite terrified. It's not the language. I am sure that some people will have problems with my accent, but I have happily chatted with virtually everyone in the church now, and if they can follow my mindless prattle then they'll be able to follow my carefully chosen words, I hope!

No - it is now about 11 months since I last preached. Will I be too emotionally moved? (I am the minister who used to get moved at weddings, especially when it was a new happy beginning for folks who had been divorced.) Will I clam up and flap my lips wordlessly like a goldfish? Will there be an encouraging face to focus on? (Pat - you had better not be ill next Sunday!)

3) Quietly confident. I'm sure it's time. It'll be OK. God didn't bring us here to make fools of us (well except in the fools for Christ sense, you understand, and coming here wes extremely foolish in that way!) Anyway, they've already asked me to preach again on August 13th, and I may have to lead the whole thing then (This week it'll just be preaching).

And I know lots of folk will be praying. It'll probably be amongst the most diligently prepared and most earnestly prayed for message I have ever given!

One door shuts another opens

The house in Pessac (proche fac et trams) was sold last night. (Wot! On a Sunday?)

We're kind of OK with that, because it narrows the field down a little!

But we saw this one, in Villenave, near where we live now, but closer to the ring road and the supermarket. Their asking price is within our budget. The house would be a good family house, and probably quite cheap to run (double glazed, gas heating).

My only concern is that one bedroom has a very uneven floor. The owner says it was like that when they moved in and it's due to one of the joists twisting. The agent suggested I ask a joiner to have a look at it. All the beams and joists are exposed, so that shouldn't be too hard to ascertain. This afternoon I'll ring the bank about surveys, joiners, etc.


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Sunday, June 18, 2006

The service was followed by a meal

First aperos (pizzas, nuts, cake with ham and olives in it, etc) while Sammy lit the barbecue. You have to guess whether the food is on the left side or the right side of the tent.  Posted by Picasa

Some brief readings

during which time Colette was sat on a small stool, as she was during the baptism itself. (I had told Sammy that at Deeside we generally had two people doing the baptisms to give added reassurance to the person baptised. But at that time I didn't know they have people sitting down in France!) Posted by Picasa

The baptism was held in an inflatable pool in the garden

with a tent alongside for Colette to change in. Colette used the ladder to climb into the pool, but it was low enough for Sammy to step over. Posted by Picasa

Today was Colette's baptism

There were lots of folk at church, including a couple I had met at Branoux at the synode in February. It was good to see them again.

Colette spoke during the service, very powerfully.

Sammy preached about baptism into Christ's death. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 17, 2006

A day to reflect

It was good to have a day off from househunting, which has turned Pat cross-eyed and done my head in. Gwilym and Catrin were at a Scouts jamboree. Pat was on a sortie des dames. So I did various jobs quietly by myself and reflected (I never reflected about anything before I came to France, but réfléchir is what French people do always.)

The house in Villenave (flat upstairs, big workshop rooms downstairs) would be ideal as a family and for meetings at our home. But it is still in Villenave, not in Pessac. We have one house lined up to see in Pessac that could do, too, near university and trams. We should see that one then go for it, I think.

Odd jobs?

Pat and her sister in Burnham (Slough, but don't tell her I said that) look very similar, so we bought them matching tee-shirts from Géant. It was a "buy one get one free" thing. I got them. They were much too big. Bad mistake! So I changed the red xxxl for aqua xl.

TV. It's been on the blink for a long time. It would suddenly turn itself off in the middle of things. Well on Friday it stopped completely. I worked out what it is. It's quite irritating! It's just the power button on the front. If you sit with your finger on the button it works fine.

I thought we could persevere with it like that - it would automatically cut down the amount of TV you watch to the length of time you can keep your finger on the button. But Pat says this is unacceptable. So I reflected on taking the TV apart and fitting a new switch on the side - a light switch, for example.

I didn't reflect for long before going out and buying a new one. The old one was second hand anyway and we've had it a long time. I don't know where you get second hand TVs in Bordeaux, so we bought a brand spanking new one. We have to have a small TV (14") to fit on the shelf, thankfully. I dare say one day we'll have a big flat screen one and hang it on the wall, but that's for the future.

Then the PowerPoint file for tomorrow. It's an important service - a baptism followed by a lunch together (a barbecue).

So there we are. A nice quiet day, troubled only by my deliberations over the TV. Pat will blog about her day (www.pat-in-france.blogspot.com) and about the Scout extravaganza in the evening, when Gwilym and Catrin played Lucy and Peter in a 2 minute dramatic contraction of the Chronicles of Narnia, all singing, all dancing, all sword-play!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Tozer - a man in heaven

The teaching of the New Testament is that now, at this very moment, there is a Man in heaven appearing in the presence of God for us. He is as certainly a man as was Adam or Moses or Paul; he is a man glorified, but his glorification did not de-humanize him. Today he is a real man, of the race of mankind, bearing our lineaments and dimensions, a visible and audible man, whom any other man would recognize instantly as one of us.But more than this, he is the heir of all things, Lord of all lords, head of the church, firstborn of the new creation. He is the way to God, the life of the believer, the hope of Israel, and the high priest of every true worshiper. He holds the keys of death and hell, and stands as advocate and surety for everyone who believes on him in truth. Salvation comes not by accepting the finished work, or deciding for Christ; it comes by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, the whole, living, victorious Lord who, as God and man, fought our fight and won it, accepted our debt as his own and paid it, took our sins and died under them, and rose again to set us free. This is the true Christ; nothing less will do. - A.W. Tozer

From Graham Weeks, Christiansquoting

Before we commit ourselves below we are going to try and see this one

It's in Pessac. Four bedrooms. A much more 'normal' house, but less potential for meeting rooms, having teams to camp, etc.

Prox Fac et tram Sur 229 m2 terr Mais BE RDC :Entrée, séjour et cuisine ouverte env 50m2 sur jardin Placards- Cellier et garage avec rochelle Etage: 4 chbres- 1 SdB ( Baignoire et douche) Posted by Picasa

Friday's "crop"

Today we saw a massive house in Bègles - it had three bedrooms, but then it also had another two bedroom cottage at the bottom of the garden. It was big. It was on the market at a very high price. It needed a bit of work to be done. But the vendor is in a hurry, so they may take a low offer. Too much work for us though - we are not looking for a project.

Then the agent remembered this house, which I had seen on the solicitors' website. (The solicitors also sell houses.) It could be great for us. Again it is too expensive, but it has been dropped in price a few times and the vendor WANTS to sell. It has three bedrooms and a nice lounge, a small kitchen. Oil central heating, but the thing that makes it attractive is that all that is upstairs.

Then downstairs you have a huge garage, a big office, a big junk/playroom and a big boiler room - there is as much room downstairs as there is upstairs.

This could be the one - my only real concern is that it may need rewiring, and it is a big house to rewire. Still, we shall see...

Oh - and it is in Villenave, not in Pessac. We'd still be driving to and from school and it's still out of the way for students, but we could easily turn the garage into a super meeting room.

VILLENAVE D'ORNON, Chambery Maison étage RDC: Garage- Chbre- SDE- Chaufferie-Piéce débarras- ETAGE: Sej-Cuis amngée- 3 Chbres- SDB sur 919 m2 de terr Posted by Picasa

Cities are important in God's plan

After all the Bible begins in a garden, but finishes up in a city (a garden-city, I'll grant you, but it's a city nevertheless!)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/world/06/urbanisation/html/urbanisation.stm

Thursday, June 15, 2006

It's hot

We have this clock thermometer thing in the living room. The time is set automatically by some radio station somewhere, and it tells us what the temperature is in the room. I got it so that we could feel warm when the room is 20° in winter but we don't feel warm, if you know what I mean. £1.29 in Lidl, or something like that. It has probably paid for itself several times over in heating oil over the years.

Anyway, the other morning at breakfast time (7:15?) I was thinking what a cool breeze was wafting through the room. It was 26°C. We felt a little chilly, if anything!

Today I was told it hit 40° in Bordeaux. If we keep the windows, shutters and bathroom door closed we can keep the temperature in the house down to about 27°. Some people fear a repeat of the killer heatwave of 2003 when thousands died, principally the elderly and infirm.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3077464.stm

There's giants everywhere!

There is no use in thinking about the giants.

I mean, there's a lot of people out there with more money than we have who have a head start on things and can snap houses up quickly. I am told that houses go on the market in the morning and are sold the same evening (though I suspect some of this is salesman's rhetoric!)

Meanwhile in the church we are looking for new premises both for the pastor and family and for the church itself - the house we now use has been sold to an international property development company for a seven figure sum (euros though!) How can we compete with these big companies?

Hang on! Hang on!

Wasn't there a little nation that hovered on the brink of their own land because of the giants who were there before them? There is no future in fear. Rather let's plough on and see what God will do. You never know what will happen just when you are on the verge of throwing in the towel.

Lastly this one

at Pessac Magonty (and not Patrick Maginty). Quite a long way out. This house needs some TLC. It was rented out (!), then put up for sale 7 months ago. The garden hasn't been touched since.
The lounge is really good - second only to the palatial lounge of the Landaise, but it had these two nasty looking trees. the one at the front of the house is really big, growing from about 2 feet from the wall and overshadowing the roof a lot. The enormous tree at the back looks to me like a willow. Trouble with these things is that you are never sure whether it is better to leave the tree alone until it causes a problem, or remove it - because removing the tree can also cause problems. Anyway, the house is too far out of Pessac to make up for the drawbacks. It's a pity. It could be nice. Posted by Picasa

In the afternoon another agent took us to see

this pretty little bungalow on the frontier between Pessac and Mérignac. (Congratulations England) That's quite convenient for school but not brilliant for students.

The house had a very small lounge. I asked the nice owner where they ate. She said, here on the sofa round this low table. It had 3 bedrooms, a little office, a big long conservatory, uPVC windows with electric shutters and wooden ceilings to cover up the polystyrene tiles left there by a previous owner. And it was air-conditioned.

The garden had lots of nooks and crannies and an amazing brick built barbecue that was almost a fitted kitchen, with lots of cupboards and worktops!And it was the cheapest house we have seen yet. I think we'd be tempted by this one if it didn't mean TV dinners for ever.
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Then we went to see this house in Cestas

but it's on a busy road and a long way out of Pessac.
On the way back to the office, the Impreza had an appointment with an unmarked police Renault Scenic with a radar speed camera shooting through a little window in the tailgate. Posted by Picasa

The Househunt: saga continues

This morning I had an appointment with Cédric and his Subaru Impreza. He was quite imprezza'ed when I told him that some British people nickname the cars "Scoubidous".
Anyway, I had told him I didn't like the look of this house, so he arranged for us to go and look more closely.
The house is OK. 4 bedrooms, which means I wouldn't have to work in the garage. Nice garden. Nice big terrace with plastic roof thingy and brick built barbecue (see the little chimney thing)
The house is priced well, but it hasn't sold because: 1) it's on an estate of houses that all look just the same 2) it's decorated in a very outmoded style. e.g. dark wood kitchen with dark tiles and dark paint. All glosswork painted in brownish colours. Blue bathroom suite with blue tiles, blue wallpaper and blue paintwork. But a huge drum of magnolia and a lot of white gloss would make a huge difference. This could be a good family house. Also good for having lots of people on the terrace. But it is in Villenave d'Ornon, so no nearer schools, trams or university. Posted by Picasa However, it is very near Villenave's new Olympic size swimming pool!