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)

Monday, August 31, 2015

Juliette chante Brel

This is a real Alan weepie, I'm afraid.
Juliette does it very well, though not as well as Brel.

Busting Dan

Did I mention that in our discussions with Maxime we came to the conclusion that Dan is already too small for us? Well, I say, "came to the conclusion", but I am slow to be persuaded.

Though yesterday, well we were about 28. One family of holiday-makers who amounted to 6 of us. Also Maxime and Demelza, bringing the "real number" down to 20.

But there may well be new students. And some of our regular folk are away.

Anyway, we need to be on the lookout for somewhere else. And our preference is for what they call Bordeaux hyper-centre.

Meanwhile, two folks coming to view the house today. One lot at 5, the other at 7:15.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Maxime on placement

We have a student from the Belgian Bible Institute with us on placement this week and it is proving to be a very stimulating experience.

It means he preached on Sunday, in French, aided and abetted by his excellent Cornish wife, Demelza.

Then discussions and dreams on Tuesday and a little on Wednesday.

Today we'll see each other for lunch, and he's also working on what one calls our "visual identity" - so we can order a banner to tie to the grill of the door at Dan.

There are other visits at the moment, too.

Fiona Steward is in town and last night Gwilym and I went to a barbecue at the Cenon church in her honour.

Also Helen was in playgroup, nursery and primary school with Gwilym and is currently starting a year in Bordeaux studying physics, so we have met up with her an her parents a little.

This means LOTS of eating here and there, here a sandwich, there a barbecue, here a lunch by the seaside, there an invitation to a restaurant, everywhere indigestion from perhaps just a little too much meat - but lots of talk, discussion, prayer and planning.

Monday, August 24, 2015

What looks like a good idea for a conference - on the Bible's teaching about the world

Christians sometimes get themselves in a knot over our attitude to the world.

"Do not love the world".
"God so loved the world".
"The world is under the control of the evil one". etc. etc.

The answer is actually fairly simple - the word world doesn't always mean the same thing in English.
Sometimes it means the physical globe. Sometimes it means every human being. Sometimes it means everywhere where humans live. Sometimes... well you get the picture. You have to understand the word from the context.

The old pleasantry, "It's a small world!" "Yes, till you start to try and paint it!" illustrates this point.

Anyway, long story short, as they say, here's some links to youtube videos of a Ligonier conference on the world, where some of the Western World's finest worthies join forces to consider the world.

To the World, Folly and a Stumbling-block : Steven Lawson

The End and Purpose of the World : R C Sproul

God so Loved the World : Sinclair Ferguson

Do not Love the World : Robert Godfrey

The World, the Flesh and the Devil : Voddie Baucham

War of the Worldviews : R C Sproul Jr

Saving the World : Derek Thomas

This is my Father's World : Sinclair Ferguson

Against the World : Robert Godfrey

Out of this world : Albert Mohler

How, then, should I live in this World : Derek Thomas






Sunday, August 23, 2015

I'm so excited I hope I don't make myself ill

Maxime Soumagnas is preaching for Bordeaux Church this afternoon.

Maxime was a student in Bordeaux in 2005 when we arrived.
He was a very useful type, always willing to help in any way he could.
He left for Cambridge where he worked with Friends International and also did a training course,
then went to Saint Helen's Bishopsgate where he worked and did their training course.

He's currently at the Belgian Bible Institute in Brussels and has one or two years of training left before, I hope, he returns to France to serve.

Meanwhile he has married Demelza (from Cornwall) and they have two lads.

And he's preaching for us from Psalm 103 this afternoon.

Mosquito miseries

There have been far fewer mosquitoes around in Pessac this year, I think, probably because of the dry spring season and perhaps also because our neighbour cleaned out his pool.

But on Friday evening, on the quays, I felt that tell-tale flutter on the skin of my right arm and gave the mosquito warning, and this morning I have three huge inflamed zones around my elbow. Rubbing in Savlon eased the itching. Today we found some old Apaisyl bite cream and I took my last anti-histamine.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Picnic on the quays

Some church folk met up for a picnic on the quays yesterday evening.






Summarising the whole Bible in one sentence

I was interested by two videos from the people at Faithlife, producers of Logos6 tm Bible software, where they interviewed Andy Naselli and Jason deRouchie asking them to summarise the whole Bible in one sentence.

They came up with this :

God reigns, saves and satisfies, through covenant, for his glory, in Christ.

Frame - God's kingdom, God reigns, saves and satisfies
Form - through covenant
Focus - for his glory
Fulcrum - in Christ.

It's very, very fine.

I'm interested in the "satisfies' part, though, as I am not sure that this word is as timeless as the others. It addresses our issues as consumer Christians in the developed world in the 21st century where essentially our society is a society of acquisition - we live to acquire - and we can't get no satisfaction because once you are satisfied you lose the need to acquire.

But it this something that belongs in the sentence timelessly?
Is it something that makes sense to people in the undeveloped world, where acquisition is not a huge part of life, unless you mean getting your daily bread?
What about God's people, God's family?
The statement can be read very individualistically.

What do you think?





Friday, August 21, 2015

Rats, cats and sickness in the house

So we had a quick afternoon outing to Ikea for lunch and then to the Animalerie for the girls and to the DIY place for me.

Ikea food in Bordeaux seems less good than it used to be. I won't be in a hurry to eat there again.

Then the girls went to the animalerie - to buy pet rats. Yes, I know.

I went to the DIY place to buy sanding blocks and paint. Paint pads should arrive today or tomorrow, and then the bathroom will look much more fresh after a bit of argy-bargy.

During the evening one of the rats has developed some kind of respiratory problem, so today will see the first visit to the vets.

Yes, I know.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Now whose stupid idea was that?

Oh yes, mine.

Well it seemed like a good idea at the time.
A nice planning meeting at Ikea to discuss the coming semester at Bordeaux Church.
We'd get our 1€ breakfast - croissant, orange juice and coffee - and I got a cinnamon roll in honour of Paul David Tripp - and sit round a nice table sorting everything out.

Well all that went well, but then we split up and two of us ended up in the sales floor looking for the way back to the restaurant - and going round and round and round and ...

We have annexed Nico to our planning team, so we were three.
Next week we'll have Maxime, too, so we'll be four and wonderfully international.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

a lucky escape

The chap in front of me in the plane had a nice, shiny mobile phone with a lovely big screen and he decided to take a selfie of himself and the wife...

I noticed that my seat was slap bang in the middle of the field of view and if I just raised myself up a bit and put on a stupid face...

"Nice one! Thanks!" he said, enthusiastically, while I tried to look like it was someone else who had done it.

He showed all his family the photo of the nice looking couple with the crazed idiot leering over their heads.

I breathed deeply, thankful for my lucky escape. Could so easily have turned out so differently!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Protected and preserved

While Pat and I did over 1000 uneventful miles in our little hired Jazz, Catrin and Amanda took off to London and to Burnham using the coach network - Megabus and National Express.

Catrin and Amanda set out on a nice day trip to Brighton with Pauline, Pat's sister, to see the sea.
On the A23 Pauline's little car was hit by a lorry and sent into a spin.
It hit the lorry again. It almost rolled.
It crossed the opposite carriageway and ended up in a lay-by against a bank of brambles.

Pauline, Catrin and Amanda got out of the car and walked away unhurt.
The lorry driver was French and Catrin was able to translate for him and the police.
The policeman was amazed that they walked away from a car so severely damaged.

While God kept us safe he also kept our loved ones safe in a different way.



Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Davey Summer Expedition 2015 - 5 - The Aber Conference

The Aber conference unites about 1000 or so people for four and a half days of meetings of various types. We attended the main sessions, two seminars and the Mission Exhibition, or MishBish.

The main sessions were given to various speakers:

Phil Hill - a lecturer in pastoral theology from WEST, who spoke on Peter's restoration
David Meredith - minister of Smithton Culloden Free Church, who spoke from Joshua
Paul David Tripp - pastor, author and counsellor from the USA, and a world class dude

We also got to hear Dave Gobbett from Highfields, Cardiff on Sunday morning (I know his dad)
and Geoff Thomas on Sunday evening.

The seminars were on evangelism, from David Meredith and on grace in marriage from Paul Tripp.

Many of these sessions are available too watch on Youtube and I would heartily recommend them all. Some were very fine indeed - world-class, really. Not all reached that high, but for me there were no duds as such. A few minor irritations here and there, perhaps.

Our catering arrangements were highly irregular. We were sharing our flat with some splendid companions. Some had come from beach missions laden with extra food that needed eating up. Others had bought food then found friends who paid for them to eat on cafés. So it was that we bought far less food than we thought we would and ate some very strange combinations.

One mighty fine thing, though, was the morning bacon sandwich. Jolly tasty.

The MishBish had stands from a wide variety of organisations and it was good to renew contact with some and find new contacts with others.

Also from UFM I came back to France with a little handful of useful DVDs in Mandarin! How cool is that?

The Davey Summer Expedition 2015 - 4 - To Aberystwyth

Our Honda Jazz was so comfortable and easy to drive, and so we decided that on the way to the Aberystwyth Conference we would visit one of our favourite places - Portmeirion.

Portmeirion is a fantasy village created by q genius architectural madman, Sir William Clough-Ellis, by rescuing and moving, or by conceiving and building an eclectic mix of buildings in a sheltered fertile valley in North Wales.

The effect is quite stunning.

The journey there was wonderful as I decided to follow the GPS and it led me over wonderful upland moors where birds of prey circled and the heather was punctuated by sheep farms and lovely ponds. It was glorious.

Then we arrived at Portmeirion and the sun shone for us on the quirky buildings and the woodland glades. We'd never explored Y Gwyllt - The Wilds - before. A track led through woodlands to ponds and lakes and little clearings where you got a view out over the village.

We wandered contentedly then made the rest of our journey to Aberystwyth.




The Davey Summer Expedition 2015 - 3 - A solemn duty fulfilled in a beautiful spot

My brother-in-law's funeral took place a couple of days before we arrived in the UK, but there remained one duty to do. He had asked that his ashes be scattered on the hillside where he loved to walk in healthier days. So on a beautiful, dry Monday afternoon a little band of us gathered in a convenient car park and started the trudge for a spot with a view. We found a good spot by some trees where swifts were playing. It had a clear view out over Cardiff and there we stood and remembered and gave thanks for our friend and family member.

The following day I suggested to my sisters that we go out somewhere for lunch, "my shout". Some negotiations followed with the younger of my sisters and we eventually agreed that she would drive and I would pay. The meal was good and the restaurant was comfortable. My elder sister went off to find the toilet but came back with a tale of stairs leading up, stairs leading down and her decision to wait till she got home.

After a while a waitress said "Do you want the bill now?" "Yes", said I and my one sister together. "No, we don't want the bill now..." said my other sister.

We looked at each other, then at her. And slowly the penny dropped. Under cover of her hunt for the toilet she'd sneaked off and paid the bill. How devious! I am still shocked!

The next few days were spent in North Wales visiting friends and talking long and late. We made one hospital visit to a friend who is frail. We stayed in a super house owned by some folk who were away on holiday. Then off to Aberystwyth.


The Davey Summer Expedition 2015 - 2 - The First Weekends and the UFM Family Conference

We spent the first weekend split between North and South Wales because we flew to Liverpool and were staying with friends in Hawarden, but we were keen to see my sister after my brother-in-law's death a few weeks ago. My other sister loans us her house to stay in. Catrin spent some time with a friend in Cardiff. From Cardiff we went to Hothorpe Hall for the UFM Family Conference.

Hothorpe Hall is a conference centre and it's as luxurious as it gets for us Daveys. We have a nice double room with it's own bathroom, very good meals served in a smart dining room and then we have reports from our colleagues working all over the world, from inner-city London to a remote village in the Andes. There's also a main speaker who, this year, was our friend Ruper Bentley-Taylor. It was a good week, and if it does you good to be a little pampered, then it did us good.

The second weekend found us back in North Wales. Amanda from Australia joined us and we spent a happy Saturday exploring the walls of Chester. Did the Romans really have the camera obscure? I must look it up. Then Amanda and Catrin left for their own adventures in London and Slough while we travelled back to South Wales.

The Davey Summer Expedition 2015 - 1

Our voyage started with a nice morning trip to the airport to catch our plane to Liverpool.

We had three weeks arranged in the UK - first at the UFM Family Conference, then split between family and friends in South and North Wales, then to Aberystwyth for the Annual English Conference of the Evangelical Movement of Wales.

Now holidays are one of my most stressful times.

I hate leaving the house unoccupied.
I hate hiring a car.
I hate so much about it.

But this time we left some Dutch friends occupying the house and I had been directed to the Which Magazine best car hire website which gave me a bargain deal on a car from a firm called GreenMotion. Hem hem.

So we booked it. On getting to Liverpool we had to phone the company to arrange to be picked up and we found some very friendly guys who chatted with us about our work in France and about the need to believe in God. They were Muslims.

The car was a Honda Jazz and it was splendid! The colour was a pain - a kind of pearl white which invited birds to poo on it - but it was small, roomy, very easy to park, comfortable, economical - and thankfully we had safe and uneventful journeys in it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Monday, August 10, 2015

Poor dog!

Is it always this noisy round here?

Perhaps someone's robbing the bank...

No, it's coming from that car, see the lights are flashing.

The alarm stopped, then restarted.

It's a dog! They've shut the dog in the car and every time it moves it sets off the alarm.


Saturday, August 08, 2015

Lollipop

My phone said "Software update available. Install?"

It was lollipop. I'd been expecting it to come sometime.
When I upgraded to Kitkat it went very smoothly.
I said yes.
No problem.

It seems to me that the phone is running perhaps a little faster and the battery life seems to be a little better. It may be psychological, but hey - psychological things are still real!

A little update on the house sale

Several folk have been to visit.
The pre-sale disgnostic reports are being prepared.

I've got you under my skin

from last night's BBC Proms.

Friday, August 07, 2015

The reluctant fundamentalist

We watched a film the other evening, called 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist", which traces the experiences of a young, talented Pakistani man who lands a very good job as a management consultant, auditing firms and streamlining them by radical cost-cutting - that is, by firing people.

The aftermath of the attacks of September 11 make his life in New York City very difficult, but the real crisis comes when he is sent to help a publishing firm in the Middle-East.

He returns to Lahore and becomes a lecturer, but even there he finds himself caught up in conflict.

There are a few sex scenes and the usual Hollywoodian sexual ethics, but it seems to go with the story.

But a thought-provoking film.

Dairy-free

No, I have not gone "paleo"...

But in April a friend told me that he was having problems with a sticky throat, so I told him what the Chinese had told me, namely to avoid milk.

Recently I got an email from him saying, "Thanks for the tip, I have stopped taking milk and my throat has cleared up."

Well waddayaknow!

So I thought about it briefly and have given up milk in my tea, coffee and in my porage.
I now make my porage with water and drink my tea and coffee black.
And it's all fine.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Book review - A Well-Ordered Church, by Daniel Hyde and William Boekestein

Subtitled: Laying a Solid Foundation for a Vibrant Church

This is a good book which addresses the question of the nature, structure, function and government of the church from a solidly presbyterian standpoint. It is pretty comprehensive, addressing issues which you may not find addressed in many other books of this type - questions like the involvement of a local church with other local churches in its vicinity, of shared confessional convictions or not. The table of contents is reproduced below :

Introduction
Part One: Identity
One: The Church’s Relation to Christ
Part Two: Authority
Two: Not Human Preference But Divine Revelation
Three: Christ Ministers Through Officers
Part Three: Ecumenicity
Four: Within a Denomination
Five: Outside of a Denomination
Part Four: Activity
Six: A Teaching Church
Seven: A Worshiping Church
Eight: The Practice of Our Worship
Nine: A Witnessing Church
Ten: The Practice of a Witnessing Church
Eleven: A Repenting Church
Conclusion: The Need for God-Glorifying Church Governance
Afterword by Dr. Michael Horton
Foundational Principles of Reformed Church Government

Obviously, those who do not hold to a presbyterian form of Church government will take issue with much of the stance adopted in the book. For this reviewer the commitment to denominational structures marks the book out as not coming from a Welsh stable, as does the separation between worship and teaching. In my background we are suspicious of denominations and we see the hearing and reception of God's word in the worship service as an integral part of the worship we bring. But not everyone sees things through Welsh eyes.

The book makes frequent reference to the various presbyterian confessional documents and this is very useful. I am not sure that this book would win over someone who did not already hold "reformed" convictions, however. From time to time the tone can be perhaps a little strident - for example I was perturbed to read this statement : To borrow the language of the game of chess, we are the Lord’s pawns. That is, we exist to further his purpose. I am not sure this a helpful way to speak of God's sovereignty. Let's not borrow the language of the game of chess, which could easily cause offence, if we can use the language of Scripture and say "we are the Lord's clay, and he the potter."

In the chapter on ecumenicity I would have liked to see some reference to the family of reformed confessions - Westminster, 1689 Baptist, Savoy, etc. Our forefathers acknowledged one another's existence and rejoiced in their doctrinal closeness.

So a useful book on presbyterian church government from a US presbyterian stable. Read and reflect.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

A moving story from Congo

The blog is quiet. Sorry. I've been rather busy.

But I have watched this documentary about UFM Missionaries killed during the Simba Rebellion in the Congo in 1964. Find it on the iPlayer here.