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)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Gospel Coalition talking about Missional College Ministry

I know the title is chock-full of juicy, baffling jargon, but the points made here are rather interesting all the same.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Guess the price...

"I work in the grand distribution and so I know", said our neighbour, assuring us that Géant Casino, our usual supermarket, is the dearest. "Apart from the hard discount you should shop at Auchan, Carrefour or LeClerc."

Well the nearest Auchan is halfway round the ring-road and our local LeClerc is small and poky, but we're equidistant between Géant Casino Pessac and Carrefour Mérignac.

Never let it be said that I won't take advice. We switched to Carrefour, despite their apparently dodgy policies regarding deforestation, of which I was blissfuly unaware and about which even now I remain confused.

I reckon we save about 10 euros a week, perhaps more, by shopping at Carrefour. Not only that but they have these natty scanner tills where if you use a self-scan doodah (scannette) you can then pay at a self-service till and get out of the store in seconds !

However they don't have toilet paper with aloe vera, which was one of the real highlights of life in France for me. And you have to watch the prices shown on the shelves because they are all over the place. Hopeless !

Here's one example. Guess the price of the Maxi-format CocoPops.

If you guessed 3.74€ then give yourself a pat on the back.

Still, the scannette always tells you the truth.


Contrôle technique

on the car - done. Legal for another two years.

We have to soon renew the brake discs and pads. We knew that anyway.
One fog-light doesn't work. But they're not required ot by law so I don't care.
Stuff like that. All OK.

So that's me and the car looked over and passed fit to circulate.
.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Beautiful !

Look ! Just look at this !

The week in view

1) Contrôle technique of the car (MOT)

2) Visit of Peter Nye from the mission Tues to Thursday to survey possibilities for a work team from Operation Centurion

3) Sort out and clean study and turn it from a troll's den into a desirable guest room by putting a mattress on the floor. (see 2)

4) CNEF meeting this evening, thankfully in Pessac because Catrin has solfège lesson also in Pessac.

5) Normal evening meetings : CNEF Monday, PM Tuesday, Café philo prep and Bible study Wednesday, English Class Thursday.

6) Surveys on campus and in town ?

7) Meeting with Patrick to discuss work teams (see 2)

8) Register gor Geneva Bible Institute conference in May (Don Cobb, Don Carson, John Piper et al)

9) Sunday English service and also visit of Comité d'Evaluation.

Let's get on with it !

A varied weekend

On Friday Catrin was ill. A kind of undefined cold/flu seasonal illness.

On Saturday afternoon Gwilym developed a tummy bug.

Catrin bounced back to life on Saturday but Gwilym is not yet restored.

Meanwhile Saturday night was the Chinese group at Pessac (in French -> Mandarin),
Sunday morning the French service at Anglade and
Sunday evening the English service at Cenon.

It's great, but you have to keep your wits about you.

One weakness of the trombone and the flute is that they are not all that useful for accompaniment.
The Chinese have a good keyboard player and two violinists
but at Anglade and in Cenon we sang unaccompanied albeit with gusto !

Also we don't yet have heating at the church because the reversible aircon units are to be installed on the walls above the toilets, and we don't yet have walls above the toilets. Not only that but the circuit installed to the wall-sockets isn't tripped enough to run electric heaters. So yesterday morning they did a lot of resetting trips while last night we met in the Sunday School room which is adequately heated by a convector on the wall.

We are hoping deeply to have heating installed before the 11 December as this is the English Service Christmas Special. We'll see...

Don Carson comments on Luke 12

JESUS TELLS HIS “FRIENDS” not to be afraid “of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him” (Luke 12:4–5). The Gospel demands that we examine not only our loves, but our fears. We are to love God above all others; so also are we to fear him above all others. The reason is the same in both cases: he is God. He deserves our passionate adoration; he is not to be trifled with. His untrammeled holiness evokes our awe; it also evokes our fear. We should love him now, and we will love him without reserve in the new heaven and the new earth; we should fear him, for he has both the power and the right to exclude us from the new heaven and the new earth.

Again, how many of our decisions in life are shaped in part by what people think or, more precisely, by what we fear they will think? In short, we are often afraid of people—if not afraid of brutal attack, then afraid of condescension, afraid of rejection, afraid of being marginalized, afraid of being laughed at. There is very little possibility of overcoming such fear by merely trying to stop fearing. We need to fear something else more, something that will make the fear of people not only wrong but silly. If we absorb the words of these two verses, and fear God above all, the problem will largely be resolved. That is one of the reasons why it is so important to know this God and to think much about him: you will never fear God if he rarely crosses the horizon of your thought.

Lest anyone should think for a moment that the Christian’s connection with Almighty God is characterized by nothing but fear, we must observe that even in this chapter Jesus tells his followers, “Do not be afraid, little flock”—of people, or circumstances, or the future—“for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). Although God is to be feared, the reason is not because he is the meanest dude of all. Far from it: his love and grace and holiness—all of his perfections—combine to provide the most glorious future possible for his own.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Peace in the morning !

A peaceful Friday morning ? How come ?

Catrin was ill - just a little under the weather.

Gwilym was helping with his schoolmates at the local supermarket collecting food for the banque alimentaire, from 12h15.

It meant no leaping out of bed at 06h30 ! Bliss - an unhurried morning !

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Dirtymologist she say lump no problem

"You and your lump can live happily ever after."

Thus ends the season of contrôle technique on me.

Next thing is the car.

Michael Davis, he da man

Discussions, drugs, dermatologist and ... dramatic story telling...?

Yesterday was a good day with good, constructive discussions and a good café philo about La Liberté.

I was impressed to see lots of police in town, on the tram, at the tram stop, everywhere. The tram stop was so full of police and ticket inspectors that I thought they were gathering for a demonstration or something. Then on the bus home at a certain stop the exits were blocked by police and a sniffer-dog was sent on to check people's bags for cannabis. One small boy's bag was suspect so he and his companion had to get off the bus to give an account of themselves, or more particularly of the substances the dog found in the bag.

Today I have my dermatology appointment and the Advanced English Classes this evening. We're going to work on precision of tenses when recounting events.

For example. I was sitting in the dining room when the assailant entered. I had already finished my dessert and the butler had said that he would bring the coffee presently. Then suddenly the assailant entered and shot the butler and all the staff. It's most inconvenient. I still haven't had my coffee.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

FAC AGM today

Churches in France are declared to the government as Associations Cultuelles - associations for worship.

Strictly speaking, according to the law of 1905, an Association Cultuelle can only do things that are directly related to worshipping God. So training pastors would be OK. Holding workshops, music practices, Sunday schools, prayer meetings - all these things would be OK.

However what about a church holiday ? A kids camp ? Outreach to different groups ?

For these activities some churches in France just carry on regardless. Laws can be hard to interpret anyway.
Other churches form Associations CultuRelles to provide the legislative framework for activities not directly related to the worship service.

Thus today we have the Annual General Meetings of the Association Culturelle, FAC, established for outreach to students.

It's been compared to Campus Crusade, but a moment's reflection will reveal how mistaken and flattering that is. The Chairman  of the association is our elder, Patrick. There's two staff on the association, Fiona and myself. Two volunteers, Abigail and Nicola. There's a handful of other members, including Dik, Hetty, Patricia, some students and some other young adults who are involved in the work.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Pessac Jazz Band was on the National News !

I wasn't there. The concert was last Sunday. But you can see the short reportage here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

All of me - Harry Connick Jr

So Pat got up at 6 on her birthday so she could see Gwilym before he left for school

I was lying in bed reading a book on my phone. Scuttling noises from the hall.

"No, they're all down. No, everything seems like normal..."

The electricity had blown the trip. I got up and gave it a try. The trip wouldn't stay on.

"What did you turn on just before it blew ?"
"The kettle and Gwilym's heater"
"OK, go and turn them off."

The trip stayed on.

"Now put the kettle on"

Clack - the trip blew. The kettle's duff. Poor Pat. No early morning birthday cup of tea for her !

I think I may have been away a bit too much lately...

I left for the Regional Church Officers' meeting on Friday and came home on Saturday to this conversation :


Me: "I was staying at Eugene's and Harriette in a hotel" 


Gwilym: "When was this ?" 


Pat: "You don't even know that he's been away do you ?"


OK. I get the point. Apart from one overnighter to Nîmes on 5 December, that's it now at least till Christmas.

Comment choisir une Bible en français

La Maison de la Bible nous aide ici.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Church planting in France

The Conseil National des Evangéliques de France have taken on board the old target (shared by France Mission and lots of others) of seeing a church for every 10 000 people in France, hoping to give every person a reasonable chance of hearing the gospel in an intelligible way at least once during their lifetime.

For us to reach this target we need LOTS more churches. For example in Pessac alone there are currently two evangelical churches for a population of about 60 000. That means four more churches are needed. And Pessac is pretty well off, really. Neighbouring town Talence is much less reached.

For them as reads French this website tells you a bit more - http://www.1pour10000.fr/ - including a very useful interactive map ("La Carte").

OK this morning I have to be all ready for Sunday,

done and dusted, so as to be ready to scuttle off to the Synode Régional at Lafitte-sur-Lot.

Off we go !

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Doctoral visitation

The doctor's happy. She thinks I have particularly good blood and says that I can thank my parents for that.
Other less helpful things also run in our family, including noses, but the blood runs well.

She says that in her opinion my state of health is sufficiently good enough for me to be a pastor.
(I needed my doctor's opinion before a meeting on 6 December).

However when I showed her the blemish on my thigh she recommended a dermatologist and said "She'll probably take it off".
I think she meant the blemish, not the leg, though I didn't ask...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Time flies

The first time I met Florian it was in the schoolyard, I stooped to hear what he said and he kissed me on the cheek, then we both laughed at my surprise.

Six years later he calls round to return a book, he's 6'2" and wants to be a policeman.

Synode Régional

This Friday and Saturday my peregrinations continue with the regional church officers' meeting at Lafitte-sur-Lot in the Lot et Garonne.

I'm really looking forward to going. We've only been to that department once, to visit a friend who lives near Lafitte, and it's beautiful !

Of course, I won't see a lot of Lafitte - just the inside of the building where the synod is taking place, but I can gawp through the car windows as we go and maybe feign illness and "need fresh air" to get a quick stroll round the town...

Meanwhile today on campus, then café théo planning and Bible study this evening.
Tomorrow on campus, then Shakespeare film night in the evening.
Friday and Saturday Synode Régional
Sunday preach in French am (Mark 4 - What on earth is more terrifying than being in a small boat caught in a storm ?) and in English pm (Romans 8 - Even the bad times are good for the Christian !)

Sarkomania grips Bordeaux !

Well, it blocked the ring road yesterday afternoon, anyway.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Président Sarkozy is coming to Bordeaux today

I wonder if our paths will cross.

Well that's the day off over, now for a rest !

Day off went :

1) Take Catrin to school
2) Get blood sample taken
3) Do shopping
4) Get Catrin from school
5) Make appointment with doctor
6) Read blood test results email
7) Wrestle with non-functional Windows 7
8) Trombone lesson
9) Wrestle with non-functional Windows XP
10) Combo jazz session (baffled! it's like I died and went to Sumatra..)
11) Wrestle with iTunes
12) Fall into bed too late

It's fun but I'm glad it's over !

Today I just have a meeting at 10h, the church council at about 16h30 and the prayer meeting at 19h30.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Contrôles techniques

November is the month of the contrôles techniques.

Firstly for me. The doctors does annual blood tests to check everything possible. I still remember fondly when my doctor at Shotton Lane asked me if I'd like to have a cholesterol test done. I said no, then afterwards relented and let them do it. I've never had a high reading. Anyway here they test cholesterol, sugars, PSA (for prostate problems), everything ! I saw the lady this morning ticking all the boxes.

Then for the car. Every two years the government wants to make sure that your car can stop OK and that it isn't poisoning everyone or threatening to disintegrate on the motorway and cause one of those awful pile-ups. It's nice that it's only every two years. It halves the stress !

It occurred to me that I stress terribly over the car's contrôle technique but I am pretty relaxed about my own. Strange, no ?

Platina Jazz. Nice.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Apéros dinatoires

Post PicWe're inviting the Advanced English Class to come to our home and watch a Shakespeare film on Thursday evening. We've suggested that people bring something to share for an apéro dinatoire. An apéro dinatoire is like an apéro (un apéritif, basically the snacks British people eat between meals served just before a meal to get you in the mood to eat) but there's more of it so it ends up being the whole meal. Anyway I found this amazing website : http://aperitifsdinatoires.com/ It has the recipe for this rather scary looking dip - a beetroot dip. 

Rethinking the blog

You know that there's a lot of stuff going on at the moment, what with reflections on future changes in the nature of our ministry etc. This obviously has implications for the blog.

Daveys2France started out as a kind of family newsheet so that folks who know us could follow our progress as we settled into life and ministry in France. As time has gone on it's been focused a little more on ministry news rather than on kids' schooling and stuff.

Current ministry is fine for that, but the future may not be.

Also a colleague remarked the other day on how important it is now to preach on the internet.

Hmmm. Now I am convinced that internet preaching is in general part of the problem and not part of the solution. And one of my watchwords for life is to always try to ensure that I am part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

However the colleague may have a point. Perhaps I need to steer more towards Bible reflection and perhaps message posting (message in the sense of preaching message...)

We'll see.

5 Answers to 5 Questions on What Is the Mission of the Church?

5 Answers to 5 Questions on What Is the Mission of the Church?

Question 5. “Is our representation of Christ not part of the mission?”

Kevin and Greg responded here to five questions.

Today they expand on their answer to the fifth question—thus far the biggest criticism of (and confusion about) their argument. The whole thing is worth reading, but I wanted to highlight this point where they reference Schnabel’s work on this:

We like the way Eckhard Schnabel puts it in his massive work Early Christian Mission. Schnabel argues that “expansive proclamation” is “the centrifugal dimension of mission” and “attractive presence” is the “centripetal dimension” (1:11). Our words ring out; our deeds draw people in. So the “elements of mission” include not only the ministry of the word but also “charity” and “ministry of grace.” But this is not same as saying missions is charity or that a missionary is anyone who serves others in good deeds. According the Schnabel, “missionaries” are “envoys sent by the risen Jesus Christ to proclaim the good news” (1:11-12). Just as important, he clarifies what mission is striving for. “The result of mission is conversion: people accept and adopt the message proclaimed by the missionaries, they are integrated into the new community of faith, and they start to practice a new way of life with new behavioral patterns” (1:12).

This weekend

Preaching at Anglade tomorrow morning. The folk will be a bit depleted since some are ill and some away.
Then preaching in English in the evening. A fairly quiet Sunday.
But so much potentiel !

It's not much like November

Soon it will be the middle of November and as yet the cold has not hit us. Usually it comes around the 1st but yesterday it was warm and sunny all day and today looks like being the same. I am sat here with the door open and we haven't heated at all in days. It's nice while it lasts !

Friday, November 11, 2011

Le 11 novembre

For the first time since coming to France we didn't attend the cérémonie at Pessac centre.

Today is a public holiday but the supermarkets are open so we're off to Carrefour to see if we can get Gwilym a reasonably priced pair of formal shoes. He has to suit up to go to school on Thursdays and Fridays, so he needs something that'll be OK. He also needs another formal shirt.

It was funny taking him to buy his first suit. I remember my mother taking me to Polikoff's to get my first suit. I got this really formal three-piece thing to go to an interview for university in Leicester. We'd seen some nice ones at a bargain price in Kiabi but as usual when you get there they don't have your size and you end up either buying something much more expensive or of poorer quality.

Anyway. Apart from that it's weekend-preparation day, and I have to take photographs of the works at the church.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Are there countries where you just don't fancy going ?

For the majority of the countries of the world, I just have no desire to visit.

I don't know why. I have nothing against the countries as such. I just don't fancy going there.
It is something I had never thought about till recently, and it cropped up again this weekend
when I met a fine new friend from Canada. I know a family who dreamed of emigrating to
Canada, but I just can't see it.

What's more, I imagine that most people don't want to go to Wales. Why would they want to ?
I certainly don't want to visit Israel.
I'd go if I had some reason to go, of course. But otherwise why would I ?

What about you ? Do you want to go to all the countries of the world ?
Do you want to visit Wales ? If so, why ? (No need to ask why not when there's so many gorgeous places in the world !)
.

Building Website. Drives me nuts.

I rather foolishly volunteered to create a simple website for the Maison de le Bible.

Nothing fancy. No sales by internet. No nothing really. Just a photo and an address.

And a domain name...

That's where the fun starts.

Sandwich in Narbonne



On the way back we stopped off in the lovely town of Narbonne to get a sandwich.

La Pastorale Nationale

On Sunday the Fédération Protestante de France at Bordeaux held it's annual Réformation Service at the Caudéran Baptist Church. A while ago it was decided that each year the service would be hosted and organised by a particular church, and so this year it was at Caudéran.

The service was filled with lively music, led by a choir, accompanied by a varied group of musicians amongst whom were some professionals - notably the excellent saxophonist. There was a short message on the wise and foolish bridesmaids (groomsmaids ?).

Afterwards we left quickly to eat and await Jean-Baptiste from La Rochelle. We were due to drive to the Cévennes in his car, me driving, to the national pastors' conference. Dik had already left on the train, so Harriette and I waited.

Phone call. Jean-Baptiste's car had broken down.

Some deliberation.

Jean-Baptiste would get a lift to Bordeaux and Harriette would drive us in her car.

Following some spirited driving and without getting lost (it was our second time there after all) we arrived at about midnight.

The main speaker was a chap called Matthias Radloff from the Emmaüs Bible School in Switzerland and I found out that he knew Chris Pegington and Jean Ellis from GBM.

He spoke from 1 Timothy and his basic interpretive framework for the book was "Anything which promotes faith and love is to be encouraged. Anything which creates a hindrance for the spread of the gospel is to be avoided." It was aninteresting approach, but it doesn't solve every problem and we even felt that it creates some problems.

The conference centre is really nice, hidden away in the hills up amongst the chestnut forests. Of course, as always, it's the conversations that make the conference really.

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Sunday, November 06, 2011

Culte de la Réformation

At the Eglise Baptiste de Caudéran.
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Saturday, November 05, 2011

OK, we're a bit jittery here

Tomorrow I am due to drive a merry gang down to Chausse, near Chamborigaud, which is a little place deep in the heart of the Cévennes. It's for the National Pastors' Conference, held in a Salvation Army conference centre, which is really lovely, hidden in chestnut forests.

The thing is that there's been TORRENTIAL rain and FLOODING in the south of France. Some roads are impassable and the guy whose car I am due to drive down there phoned just now to see what the situation is. I rang the conference centre and they say there's no problem where they are.

We'll see !

I still sometimes miss bonfire night

Ever been had ?

For some time my friend, Gerard, the JW has been calling on Wednesday afternoons. I explained at the outset that I had no interest in studying the magazine together or in hopping from one verse to another, but that if he were content to read the Bible chapter by chapter then I'd be happy to do that.

Well yesterday was Friday and after a few weeks where he'd not called at all he came with a young lady. I was unprepared and surprised, and we ended up doing the kangaroo thing. All we did was disagree about texts, contexts and links that don't exist..

Bof. Catch me out twice, shame on me, as they say... It won't happen a second time.

Friday, November 04, 2011

A bit of an update on Grenoble

It's not really an update, more a further precision :

The church there, with its pastoral search committee, will deliberate after our visit of 23 October. There'll be a green light for further consideration, or a red light for let's not take this any further.

One or two subsequent visits are foreseen with, assuming green lights all the way, a church meeting to consider and issue a call.

Of course, we Daveys have our own green and red lights to consider, too.

And if experience of driving in Bordeaux teaches us anything, it teaches us that it is rare to have green lights all the way !

The weekend in view

I'm preaching for the Chinese group this Saturday, this time in French which will then be interpreted into Mandarin.

Then Sunday morning we have a joint service at the Eglise Baptiste de Caudéran, then we leave for the pastors conference which is held at Chausse, near Alès in the Cévennes.

It's a LONG LONG drive. Last year I took our car and we left Bordeaux around 3 in the afternoon, arriving at Chausse at about midnight - seven hours straight driving, and couple of stops and a lot of confusion trying to find the conference centre at the end.

This year we had planned to go by train, but several events have overtaken us, including a meeting for one of our party today in Nîmes, ill-health for another of our party, a further person being added to the party and a brother from up the coast who wants to travel with us.

This latter brother can take his car, a Golf, but he can't drive that far due to an old war-wound, so I will be driving the VW to Chausse.

I'll pop photos of Chausse on the blog when I can. It's a wonderful place on the side of a hill hidden amongt the chestnut forests. We usually eat quite a lot of chestnuts there, one way or another.

Six word stories

"Well who has a story for the great Cheverus Tales challenge ?"

The silence was deafening.

"OK, moving swiftly on, let's look at these six word stories."

(You know the things, like Hemingway's "For sale, baby shoes, never used", which he apparently regarded as his finest work ever).

Well they were every well received, and people worked in pairs to produce their own six word stories.

Here's a couple I remember :

Hard times. No candy. No chocolate.


Autumn over, birds are heading south.


People don't know Hemingway, so I'm thinking of using part of "The old man and the sea" in a "choose the right preposition" exercise.