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)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Foucachons

 
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You know you've hit the big time when you see your name in

 

carrots.
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Sonata for 4 Sackbutts

Four sackbuts: two altos, tenors, bass.

Sackbutt (var. Sacbutt; Sackbut; Sagbutt, Saqueboute)
refers to a trombone from the Renaissance and Baroque Eras. 'Sackbutt' is often used in recent times to differentiate a historic trombone from a modern one. Increasing interest in historically informed performance in recent years has revived interest in this style of trombone and its repertoire.

'Ot innit !

29°C in the house, but a lot hotter outside in the sun holding up the guinea-pig cage while waiting for Pat to come home and gather the offending rodents from under their covering sheet.

Anyway I am cooling off now. This evening we have the English class end of year party with festive fun and frolics, battle of the tongue-twisters, games galore and all kinds of linguistic trickery.

And meanwhile I will pop on a nice video of sackbutts.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Truman show

We just watched the Truman show for our "family film night". (We do that sometimes on Monday evenings.)

All the time as the story unfolded I kept thinking of Susan Boyle and then of Michael Jackson.

Anonymity is glorious, isn't it !

Money is a vicious god, isn't it !

What a weekend.

It was one of those weekends where you can't remember everything in the right order. Anyway this was the overriding theme - the departure of the Foucachons and the installation of the Briennens.

First event - Friday evening barbecue at the Foucachon's house, which is a seriously old landaise in the middle of the forest not that far from Casteljaloux. We left the barbecue at about midnight and Pat kept me awake (mostly) on the long way home.

Saturday was largely about preparation for Sunday and also about the International group's home meeting - also a barbecue, but this time held at the Griffinhaus. We have some visitors from a Chinese church in New York at the moment.

Sunday started warm and carried on that way. The church is air-conditioned, and that's just great ! So firstly the morning service. Sammy's last as pastor. He preached on Mark 6 and afterwards we stayed at the church for a picnic lunch, then to prepare for the valedictory / installation at 5pm. I rehearsed my reading (part of 2 Timothy) with one of our experts and instinctively got the liaisons right for "tu as apprises" and "tu les as apprises". Needless to say I stumbled over it during the service !

Afterwards we chatted with the many people who had come, including one chap who had turned up at 6 for the international service but he's a French-speaker, so I think he was OK about it !)

We crawled home to bed and slept in this morning. I went to the computermonger to get the dead PC and a disk box. I had to queue so long for the PC that I left without the disk box and we hightailed it up to the Foucachons to help with cleaning after packing.

Instant Concert - Band of the South Australia Police

I remember when this came out. It was a nice new rival to our old favourite, 'Hootenanny'. We didn't do it much like this, though. Not Australians, see.

In concerts the MC would ask people to count the themes.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson est mort !

Loud were the words that greeted me this afternoon when I went into the reception area of the possible alternative collège for Gwilym to hand in hsi dossier, all suitably signed and approved, photos in place, stamps, birth certificate, vaccination dates. I tell you - you HAVE to be MUCH more organised in France than ever we were in Britain !

The receptionist is a card, and I walked in on a little dispute where she was trying to get a colleague to believe that the news of Michael Jackson's death was worthy of note.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

L'apel et le lycée St Vincent de Paul

OK. We dropped Catrin off at school and scuttled down onto the boulevards to find the appeal centre, and found it with no difficulty - Hawkeye Gwilym spotted it straight away. The waiting was the worst bit - all sat lined up in a corridor. Both Gwilym and I had woken up early and we were on edge. The commissions gathered themselves together then went off into their separate rooms. We were moved to another corridor then after about 10 minutes we were called in.

The drill is that the commission get the files that same morning and they read them just before you go in. That way there can be no monkey business.

So the chairman introduced the commission - three teachers, one head (the chairman) and two parents. He said "We'll listen to what you've got to say, we'll ask you some questions, take your time and then when everyone's said all they need to say that'll be it." So I outlined our situation and also talked about the possibility of changing school to a more technically biased one. They spoke with Gwilym and he spoke very well and nicely with them. Then we left. We were told to ring after 3 to find out the decision.

On the way home (well - a major detour but) we visited the lycée St Vincent de Paul. This is a lycée which prepares kids for Bac pro, bac technique and various other qualifications to do with care of the elderly, management, accounting etc. They have a 3ème where you are oriented in a more technical and professional direction. They do three periods of work-experience, for example, and they do a lot of computing and stuff.

I was quite impressed with the place, especially the tutorial system, where you are assigned a tutor to help you with any difficulties you are having, etc. Not only that, the kids can take sandwiches ! Not only that, but the school day runs from 9h05 to 14h20, with 50 minutes for lunch. I thought 'This is like Wales again !' It even LOOKED nice, and the receptionist was a real card !

However it is full (there's only space for 30 kids in their 3ème) so if we decide to try for that we'll have to go on a waiting list.

Then home then to centre FAC.

I rang about 20 minutes ago and was told the decision of the commission.

"Passage en troisième."

So now we have to decide. Do we plug on with Jeanne d'Arc or do we aim to veer off into this more commercial / technical direction ?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

OK - here's the reflection under way !

Gwilym has two mates at church. Both have recently switched from ordinary 'academic' collège to do a more "vocationally" aimed course. One friend anticipates working in care of the sick or elderly. Another has been considering something in building or in baking. Gwilym has had this kind of possibility in mind - he's mentioned it as we've filled in our fiche de liaison. However when raising it with his form teacher the reply has been 'No, don't do that. Aim to get into troisième and do a bac here and then university.'

However, part of our plan for the future is that Gwilym capitalise on his technology and his English and consider heading towards commerce or information technology. Yesterday I was talking with the father of one of the lads who's switching school and he told me about the college and where it is based. It's on our tram line. I looked at the website. It looks like a good place, where there's various directions to explore, including information technology and commerce. There's also a European section which majors in English.

So today I will ring the office of the place and explore what the possibilities would be. If the place is oversubscribed, or whatever, then we'll know that's not for us. However, who can tell ?

Monday, June 22, 2009

OK - am constructing our dossier.

I met with the deputy-head, not at Bellegrave as I had been told but at the main buildings (after a quick car journey and a scuttle to park and pay at the meter). We ran over the form and talked about the situation. She put my mind to rest a little about the maths. It appears that calculations and so on are OK, but now things have to be expressed in French and it is this that poses problems.

So I have to write two letters. One to say I want to attend the review and another to say why we don't want Gwilym to redouble. Then I have to attach photocopies of his school reports from this year and take it to the school tomorrow morning. Mr Courau the principal will then append his word and the dossier will go off to central office where I also must appear (with Gwilym) at 9am on Thursday.

It started off as OK, but as I get ready to write my letters I am more fed up about it. Still.

It's a mad world.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A very special day at Segonzac

Today the church decamped to Chateau Segonzac in St Genes de Blaye for a special service of baptism. Four folks were being baptised, a young woman from a church family, a young man from a Christian family in the Paris area, a young woman from French Guyana and a Chinese man. We were over 100 to eat (we know because we ran out of plates) so I guess we were well over 100 at the service.

A group of young people were singing a song during the service and last night I was really pleased to get a text message saying their tenors needed reinforcing so would I like to sing with them. Hey, this may be the last time I get to sing in a groupe de jeunes ! I am going to milk it for all it's worth !

All the baptisms were very special. But one was especially special for us because it was the first baptism of someone who belongs to the English-speaking congregation and not to the French (we have some folk who belong to both).

I remember a similar moment when our first person was baptised who belonged to our church-plant congregation in Broughton and was not generally known in the mother church in Shotton. These are very special times.

Afterwards we all ate and I enjoyed getting to know the young chap's parents. Then the kids and some others splashed and played in the pool and we talked and talked.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hey - I think we might make it !

PowerPoint of songs etc is done ready for tomorrow.

Rapport d'activités de la famille Davey is done ready for the AGM on Monday.

Now I just have to make sure the study is all ready for tonight and the questions ready for the testimony / baptism tomorrow and ...

Bob's your uncle !

I can light the barbecue.

Amazing Grace - another French translation

Grâce infinie de notre Dieu
Qui un jour m'a sauvé
J'étais perdu, errant et malheureux
Lorsqu'il m'a retrouvé.

Grâce infinie qui m'enseigna
Le respect du Seigneur.
Et pour toujours, mes peurs, elle balaya
quel trésor dans mon coeur.

Grâce infinie qui m'a gardé.
Elle a changé mon sort.
Dans les labeurs, les pièges et les dangers,
Me conduit à bon port.

Quand nous serons depuis mille ans,
Dans les célestes lieux.
Nous chanterons, là-haut, resplendissants,
Par la grâce de Dieu.

Friday, June 19, 2009

What a Wonderful World - Delfeayo Marsalis

Brother, one assumes, to Wynton and to Branford.

Some family, huh ?

Sorry the blog's been so quiet

Times are good, rich and full, varied and challenging here in Bordeaux.

The good weather means that we can often get out and do surveys. (Mind you, when it does rain, it CHUCKS it down). I have been meeting a lot of black muslim guys and I have some follow-up to do.

The summer promises to be happily full of preaching - in July I'll be preaching morning (French) and evening (English) and for the first two Sundays of August, too. Then we can take some holiday. We have Pat's family coming over for the last week of August but we don't yet know quite what to do with the middle two weeks.

Tomorrow we have an International Church barbecue and then on Sunday morning our first international candidate for baptism.

Next weekend is a big weekend, too, because it is the last Sunday for the Foucachons and the cérémonie de passation to Dik Briennen who is beginning to preach in August.

Meanwhile last night was the final concert this year for the orchestra of the music school - we went on a bus out beyond Le Pian Medoc to play for the annual conference of the national association of puericulteurs and puericultrices. I think the nearest equivalent in English would be nursery teachers. It was a fine evening.

I slept on the bus going out - after all it was 1/2 hour in the bus and it was very hot and there was lots of percussion to carry down the stairs ! But on the way back nobody could have slept as we were regaled with viola player jokes (des blagues d'altiste) and loud songs including "Chauffeur, chauffeur, tu es champion, appuie, appuie sur le champignon" (Driver, driver, you are a champion, press, press on the accelerator) and another that was a contest to see which half of the bus could sing loudest. Too loud to make out the words...

Why is a viola player's finger like lightning ?
It never strikes twice in the same place...

A viola player and a conductor in the road. You'll run them both over. Which do you squash first ?
The conductor. Business before pleasure.

There is a little challenge ahead of us, however. Gwilym's class council met yesterday and advised that he redo this year in school. Essentially his problems centre on French and Maths, though his French average this term has risen to 9.5 out of 20, (47.5%). I went to meet his form teacher today. He doesn't agree with the decision and had already made the appointments for me to appeal against it. So on Monday I meet with the deputy head of the school (who also thinks Gwilym should go up to the next year) and then on Thursday I go to the offices of the management of the education group in Bordeaux.

I used to hate things like this, until I started to have to do them for other people. I suppose that gave me a bit more confidence or something. Now I enjoy finding out how the system works and I look forward to meeting the people of good will who will help me. There's normally someone (though not always...)

We'd still value your prayers, though !

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

5. Mozart: Requiem in D minor, KV 626 / Philippe Herreweghe

Almost at the end of this piece, now.

Lovely vew of bassett horns.

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Phew - done my income tax delaration

It's not that much of a pain in France, really.

For one thing it's very easy. We only have one source of income and one other thing to declare.

For another, we don't pay income tax anyway. Last year the government gave us money, which was very nice of them. I am not sure that they'll do that this year, but you never know, do you !

However, even though it's easy - the form is one sheet of A3 folded in half and there's no need for an accompanying booklet ! -

and even though we don't pay tax,

I still get stressed about it ! Stupid boy.

Monday, June 15, 2009

4. Mozart: Requiem in D minor, KV 626 / Philippe Herreweghe

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They take it out of you, you know

these weekends. Anyway things seemed to go OK at the Eglise Baptiste and any fears about my having a funny accent were dispelled during the time of prayer when the multi-national character of the congregation became clear.

Then back to Cenon to pick up the family. Despite having quite a long chat with various folk at the Eglise Baptiste, the apéro at Cenon was still going on. That's us at Cenon for you.

Lunch, hymnsheet preparation and off back to Cenon for the International service in English.

About half our regulars were not there. Some had gone away for the weekend. Technical problems with the tram didn't help. But the service itself went OK.

Then back home to meet up with some old friends from the language school who broke the news that they are moving to Switzerland soon.

Firing on three cylinders today !

Saturday, June 13, 2009

3. Mozart: Requiem in D minor, KV 626 / Philippe Herreweghe

The next instalment of the Mozart Requiem is the famous "Tuba mirum spargens sonum" with its solo played by our tenor sackbutter.

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Technology and stuff

I need to redo my notes for preaching tomorrow but it's too hot just now. So I'll attack it in an hour or two when the sun has gone down at least a bit !

Meanwhile people have been talking about technology. Tim Challies thinks we should avoid using electronic Bibles and describes the book as the perfect technology. Al Mohler tweets using twitter. I only use Twitter to update Facebook - don't ask me why I do it like that, someone persuaded me to. Anyway I am looking forward to when Youtube, Twitter and Facebook merge to form YouTwitFace.

I confess to missing my Palm pocket computer. On it I had several Bible translations together with various Bible commentaries, some great Christian books, including the Institutes and lots of Bunyan, and I regularly read novels on the Palm. I could compare translations so easily ! Not only that but a program taught me French conjugation and tested me. I miss it a lot.

Why don't I still use it ? It broke ! I tried replacing it with a Windows Mobile device but they're not the same, you know. Also now that I use my mobile phone more I need the space in my pocket !

Christians are by nature conservative. We seem to instinctively fear new technology.

But should we ?

I would much rather live in the 21st century than any preceding one. Hey, at 50 I'd be a very old man in much of history whereas in 2009 50 is still pretty young ! Healthcare. Transport. Heating. Communication. In so many domains technology has improved our lives.

Not only that but the book itself is a relatively recent invention. Before the popularisation of the folded book, the codex, people used scrolls. Scrolls have an advantage over books. No page breaks.

However the portability of books was a huge advantage and then, once printing presses made them affordable, the technology brought amazing benefits.

Does anyone now doubt the God-givenness of the invention of the printing-press and the renewal and reformation that accompanied it and benefited from it ? Some doubted it then !

Books are great. My house is stuffed with them, but in my Palm I had a whole library in my pocket. The internet gives me many libraries at my beck and call. Sure you miss the smell and feel of the paper and the heft of a book in your hands, but guess what - we don't have to have page breaks any more ! And publishing is now so cheap and easy that many books can be distributed free. Many Christian publishers now distribute fine copies of their books free in pdf format. Bless them !

If God used the printing press to such grand effect what will he do for those people who embrace the new techologies and prayerfully use them for the glory of the Prince of Peace !

This weekend

The main items on my agenda are 1) preaching at the Baptist church in Caudéran 2) preaching in English for the International Service.

In the meantime there's various things to do relating to the French congregation - especially important to make sure everything is ready for tomorrow morning because I won't be there, though Gwilym will be my able and willing deputy.

A bit nervous about preaching in the Baptist Church because they are not used to my accent (!) and so on, though I have friends there so that always makes it easier.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I'm so excited I could feel quite sick.

On top of yesterday being a day of good news we had a good time doing evangelistic surveys on the campus today, with some follow-up to do in the next few weeks (exams start 22 June and continue till early July).

And our friend has said he is interested in the flat, and has a letter of support from hsi research lab and so on.

The feeling of sickness might be the heat. I had to scuttle into the student caff and get a can of juice, it's so hot in the sun. Time to start carrying bottles of water.

Incidentally - our water in Pessac is nicer than the water in Bordeaux proper. Their water is hard and dries out your skin and leaves lots of residue in the kettle. Our water is much softer and nicer.

2. Mozart: Requiem in D minor, KV 626 / Philippe Herreweghe

For Facebook readers, you have to click on the "View original post" thingie.

Remember to not read the subtitles, but just to enjoy the gorgeous Mozart and watch out for the funky period instruments, especially the extended combat-ready spiky bass trombone.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A day to dream of !

What a day ! If they were all like this I don't know if I could cope with the joy.

Firstly - a letter telling us of a surprising conversion back home in Wales. Wonderful.

Then - meeting up with one of the chaps from the Chinese group - we are going to prepare studies for the group together at his request, but as I had hoped or even better than I had hoped.

Then - meeting up with another chap to prepare for baptism. A very happy time.

Then, to cap it all - the chap I accompanied to the town hall to try to find accommodation phoned the office yesterday and was told that there is a possibility of a flat that is just where he would like to be.

Amazing !

Mozart: Requiem in D minor, KV 626 / Philippe Herreweghe

Don't read the subtitles. Just listen to the super Mozart and look at the cool period instruments.

Lovely bendy basset horns !
Period trombones ! One super long bass with a stick to reach the low positions and a spike to help the guys behind not to touch.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The teacher

For those teaching English here's a rich vein of somewhat off-beat videos from the BBC illustrating English idioms.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Leonard Bernstein: West Side Story, studio-take of "I feel pretty"

Great.

Europe has voted

Picture from 20Minutes / Reuters
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A nice weekend

The International Home Group on Saturday evening was graced with the presence of the Reverend Graham Heaps and Mrs Heaps, from Dewsbury in Yorkshire. It was good to have them here. Because it was cold and wet we cooked barbecue style food indoors and ate indoors and we were just too many to fit round the table - some came later, just for the study.

In the morning at Cenon we sure missed our students - almost all were at a weekend retreat somewhere in the Landes. Our numbers were boosted by the presence of Jenna's mother and sister from Kansas. Lunch at the Griffins ensued, with us taking a funny route home overtaking and being overtaken by Vincent, Jenna and all in their nippy little silver Clio. Jenna's mum yelled "You wanna join us for pizza". We wanned to but we were already heading somewhere for lunch so we took a raincheck.

Then began the fun with the traffic. Liz and her boys were going home by tram and bus, Ben, Graham and Sue Heaps and Hannah were in their car on the rocade, we were careering through the middle of town going by a previously unexplored route and guessing where to turn and when.

Ben got stuck in traffic. Liz discovered there were no buses. We got to the Griffinhaus first. Well I scuttled off to fetch Liz and boys while Ben applied himself to lunch.

At 3pm I left to hurtle Blaye-wards for the 4pm service and hit a road block. A cycle race. Aha ! How to get to Blaye... Well I took random roads, guessing my way and ended up just a little further along than the road block and just drove on, pulling over when the assorted pelotons came along. It was quite nice to watch them whizzing by and the route went right in front of the church, so we chatted with the spectators and with one competitor afterwards. The service seemed to go OK and afterwards we talked about the busy next few weeks.

The real fun for me came on the way home. Bouchons, said the motorway as I approached the Pont d'Aquitaine, so I went down the other side of the rocade to pass the Cenon church, go through the town centre and cross the Pont de Pierre. However just after Cenon the traffic ground to a halt and ambulances started to bully their way through the queued-up cars. I took a crafty short-cut when I could so I didn't see the accident that was causing all the holdup but I eventually got to the Griffinhaus at about 9pm and everyone had tea !

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The air hostess from Rochefort who would have disappeared with her colleagues

From today's Sud-Ouest, the story of an AirFrance air hostess who found out recently that she is pregnant and so was routinely switched from cabin duties to airport duties. She was due to have been on flight AF447 from Rio to Paris, but instead she was on check-in at Mérignac.

She says, "Because I was reassigned they had to find another air hostess to complete the team. I know that someone died in my place, and I ask myself in what circumstances. This baby that I'm carrying has already saved my life before I even give birth. I am divided between a double joie de vivre and a sense of blame."

If you owe your life to one who died in your place, if a promised child has saved your life, then you'll understand her feelings of double-joy mixed with shame - especially when that child is the one who died under God's condemnation in our place at the cross.

Upon that cross of Jesus my eye at times can see
The very dying form of one who suffered there for me;
And from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess;
The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.

I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by to know no gain or loss,
My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.

Al's summer reading, D-Day and stuff

Al Mohler has published his summer reading list. I fancy reading the one about the Battle of Britain, but it's a very "guys" kind of list - all about wars and soldiers and stuff.

Of course, yesterday was the 60th anniversary of D-Day. D stands for day, hence Jour-J in French. Today the leaders of France, the USA and the UK will meet at Bayeux, Arromanches, etc, to commemorate the beginning of the defeat of fascism in this part of Europe.

it's hard not to remember WWII in Bordeaux. I've posted before the photo of the ship scuttled by retreating Nazis that peeps above the water at low tide. Every time you pass the synagogue (which is not often - it's tucked down a back street) you see the long list of deportees - nos martyrs. As you walk down streets it is not hard to imagine troops marching through the city and years of living under occupation. Just about 200m from the Student Centre is the Centre Jean Moulin, the museum of the French Resistance with its poignant stories of teenagers caught and shot.

Fascism may be at bay in our parts of Europe, but atheism, secularism, nominalism, materialism and a million other isms still have the cities under their control. The battle is not usually bloody, but more than life and death are at stake. Does our courage, creativity and commitment match up to the people we remember just now ?

Why I like our supermarket

I had just got the money out to pay for the kids to go to camp: 300€ for the air tickets (Ryanair - 40c for the flights, then the rest for the taxes, for check-in, for bags, for air in the cabin, etc...) then the cost of the camp.

I thought "Yeah, but don't forget old laddo that firstly the camp admin have given an enormous discount on the price of the camp and then folks in Britain have given money towards sending them."

Then I went to fill the car up with diesel.

As I finished a chap was putting notices on the pumps.

I looked.

"For every 5€ spent at the pumps receive a 5€ gift token."

I went and asked the lady at the cash desk for my tokens. Yup, there we are. 50€ of diesel, 50 € gift tokens. ( She isn't very happy with the supermarket ! She said "C'est ingérable ! Quand même !" I said 'Bon courage *, ça va être fort aujourd'hui...' )

Our supermarket is brilliant for things like that. We now have 80€ worth of Smiley points which we're saving up for Christmas. The prices are not brilliant in the supermarket - for example the clothes are not all that cheap and they think 10€ for a DVD is really a knock-down bargain.

Carrefour have better computer equipment and Auchan are better for household goods, but our supermarket every now and again goes nuts and gives you a free tank of diesel.

I thanked God for the timing. "Tokens" that reminded me again of his daily provision.




* In Britain I was known for saying "It'll be fine, it'll be fine!". Here I am becoming known for saying "Bon courage!"

It's great to be able to get away from these campaigns

Andrew King asked recently what one calls a country ruled by the media, and came up with "a mediocracy"

Friday, June 05, 2009

Beethoven Variations on "Thine be the Glory / A Toi la Gloire"

A bit of culture and a bit of fun.

These Beethoven variations can be quite amusing. He wrote some for flute on Scottish tunes, and one on "Bonnie laddie" has the flute playing nice calm octave chirps while the piano goes absolutely nuts. Surely you're meant to laugh...

Tax time, among other things

It's time to make my declaration for the impôts. Your tax return here in France is so easy compared to Britain. It's just one thin sheet of A3 folded in half, they fill in a lot of it ready for you and all you have to do is pop in the total income etc...

You can declare online and that's easy too.

Another factor that makes it easy is that we don't pay any tax. Last year they paid us 250 euros and this year they may do something similar, who can tell. So it kind of takes the dread out of it, somehow !

There is one little fly in the ointment - each year the church distributes letters detailing your giving for you to pop on your tax form and I don't have my letter. If I received it it would have been just before coming to Britain so I need to conduct a proper search of the house. Otherwise I'll have to get the figure from our treasurer.

That means though that I can get on with the other main tasks of today, preparation for the Bible studies and messages this weekend.

Are you feeling starved of culture ?

I have been diligently posting videos from Youtube of various things - but it's on go-slow again, or on strike altogether.

Huh ! Well maybe you weren't aware of a gaping void in your life...

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Nice weekend coming up

International Home Group on Saturday evening : Philippians 1 v 6 - people come and go but God's work goes on.

Preaching in French am @ Cenon, pm @ Blaye : Ephesians 3 v 10 - nothing in the whole wide world is as beautiful as the church.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Check out Dai Meredydd's blog

David Meredith under the Blogs heading.

Frozen peas

In the supermarket in Monday there were no chicken pieces and no frozen peas - not even a space where the peas would have been.

Has something strange happened that I don't know about ? Peas flu, perhaps ? 

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

What kind of King ?

I remember well the Bible study. I was remarking on the naivety of the people when they clamoured for a King. God warned them :

"This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day."

But the people said, "No! We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles."

I remarked "What king have you ever heard of who fights his people's battles ? It's just not like that. When we have a King we pay taxes and we serve the King. We stay poor and the King gets ever richer. The King declares war but we are the ones who fight and give our lives. What King ever goes out before us and fights our battles !"

One person replied, "David did."

Exactly.

David is the King after God's own heart. He goes out before the people and fights their battles. He is not perfect, however. He enriches himself and also takes a man's wife and engineers his murder... Still we have to await the proper King.

And when the proper King comes he makes himself poor to make us paupers rich. He is the one who goes out before us and fights our battles. No one else can go with him. His strongest and closest followers all run and hide. Like David before Goliath, Jesus goes forth alone against the foe. In the desert, in the temple, in the garden, on the mountain, he fights alone - and wins.

How do you think of your King ?

I hope you weigh the kings of this world by the measure of the proper King, and not the other way round.

I hope you think of him as your champion rather than us as his soldiers.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Cash, brash, rash and rasher

I have been swamped with a request to give some reflections on the UK trip. OK.

First thing is that obviously we are deeply out of touch with British culture, whether arty, popular or evangelical. So we don't know who are the musicians in vogue, or what films people like, or who is winning the latest talent show or what books the people who know are reading.

Mostly I am thankful for this. A lot of it seems to be trendy rabbit-hole exploration. That's great but it's for others, not for me.

It was great to be in prayer meetings with lots of people. There's a lot of concern for France, which is great. 

It's interesting to see that Christian bookshops are struggling just the same in Britain and in France. The days when a small bookshop made a profit must be long gone. If it's important to have Christian bookshops in our towns and cities then how can we do that ?

The newspapers were full of the MPs expenses debacle. 

I really miss British television. It was great to use the iPlayer to watch The Narnia Code and that series about British composers, though I only caught Purcell and Handel.

I am always surprised by the low prices in Britain. Supermarket price wars have really helped push down the cost of the basics. Then the pub meals at two for £7. Subway sandwiches at £1.50. People who come to France on holiday will have a shock.  We still have cheaper baguettes, cheese and wine though. Basically here bread is sold by the kilogramme, so a sliced loaf and a baguette work out to roughly the same per kilogramme.

Oh, yeah, and swine flu.