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, January 31, 2011

BOY OH BOY was it COLD in church yesterday morning

The problem was a combination of weather (grey skies, low temperatures, a little snow), bad insulation (corrugated metal ceiling with no insulation above) and inadequate heating (electric radiators which we turned on on our arrival). I regretted not wearing my mega-thick coat - I had a thin jumper and my fleece. But a good scarf-thing.

When the sun shines in it warms the room well but no sun, no warmth.

The chemical toilet is working OK, though we all long for proper sewage. The sewage company is coming to look in Febaruary.

Still, we'll get there. We'll get there.

In the evening we were cosy and snug crammed into the small room with an electric radiator and fortified by hot drinks. Some new faces again - two Korean girls and a Peruvian chap. Pat counted 18. That's not bad in that small room.

Friend Maxim on Don Carson's article defining evagelism (in French)

Ici. You can read Don's article in English here.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Twitter again

You do get the odd gem :

 Paul David Tripp 
Faith is living like you really do believe that in every situation, location and relationship of life God is profoundly smarter than you.
 Paul David Tripp 
Faith is not believing God will give you what you need to live independently, but resting in knowing you will always be dependent on him.
 Paul David Tripp 
Faith is not telling God what you want and believing he'll deliver it, no faith is God telling you what you need and you believe it.

When the trombones outnumber the saxes

Last night at répé we had a full complement of trombones : François on bass, Théo on 2nd, Me on 3rd and Damien on 1st.

The dream team.

OK, well a nightmare is a type of dream, isn't it.

The saxes were thin on the ground - just Mélanie, Fréd and Olivier. Half force.

Two trumpets. Half force.

Drum kit, but no guitars or piano.

We had resonance !

Below our rehearsal room a space is being renovated to be a Muslim prayer room. We talked a bit about that and the difficulty religious groups have to find a place to meet because of the way Laïcité à la française is interpreted and applied.


Some people just don't get the idea of Facebook.

It's easy. Birthdays ! And keeping in touch with people who move house without telling, and so on.

Twitter had me baffled, though. Why send an SMS to everyone in the world ?

Then last night I realised. It's an exercise in style. Consider the following examples :

 D. A. Carson 

Christians must firmly insist that there can be no genuine faith apart from knowledge of what is true (and of Him who is true).


The awesome apocalypse of God’s judgment can only be faced with a clear knowledge of God’s goodness to us in Christ. -@

 Chris Donato 
 by Tabletalk_Mag
We ought not separate duty from delight. They're in a reciprocal relationship.


The Christian life means to live all of your life in the presence of God. -R.C. Sproul

 Desiring God 

DA Carson: The coming of God's reign either demands repentance or brings judgment.

You have 140 words with which to make yourself as clear as clear can be. Wonderful to try to be brief and clear. Some of the above I think are exemplary. One or two are far from clear !

At the Maison de la Bible

One of the things I try to do is to meet up with guys to read together. It helps us both tackle books we might not get through otherwise and it gives opportunity for good discussion. Iron and iron and so on. Christian books are NIGHTMARISHLY expensive in France, too, and since we have a little fund called "work expenses" I think using some to buy good books for students is a capital use of that.

Sometimes the students don't quite get the idea and they give me the book back afterwards ! So I have a copy of La Foi Chretienne en Libre Accès to give away, and something else, too, that I've forgotten the title of...

Anyway, one guy and I were after a book to read together and I wanted a book on preaching for someone else - either Olyott Prêcher comme Jésus or Chappell Prêcher, l'art et la manière. Oh yes, and Don Carson's Call for Spiritual Reformation in French for a colleague. Oh yes, and a little stock of 1€50 Bibles for giving away on campus. So off we trundled to see our good friends in the Christian bookshop.

1) Neither book on preaching in stock. Oh well. I tried.

2) We ended up getting past an initial reluctance and buying Servir à nos Français by David Brown, and we started reading it. We were very pleasantly surprised and I think it'll turn out to be a useful book.

3) There's encouragingly cheap editions of the new revision of the Segond - the Segond21 - available. Like 5 euros and 4 euros, for something noticeably more durable than the utterly wonderful Bible for the price of a coffee (1€50)

We went into Café Cheverus to read. The coffee there is 1€ (for an espresso). Lots of cafés are doing cheap coffee now as the café-going classes of Bordeaux feel the pinch and decide to buy a can of cheap cola from Auchan instead for 7c !

A somewhat depressing Friday

Fed up about administration (could be worse - I could be in Britain filling in my tax return !)

Kids badly behaved in the collège chapel (could be worse - I could be trying to teach them maths !)

But there were encouragements to counterbalance, thankfully.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wow ! What about this, for folks who preach from mind-maps


The CNEF meeting was happy. We must have been about forty people from Bordeaux and environs (I must get into the habit of counting people). We prayed together, shared news, prayed again, clarified the business of adhesion, ate a nice cous-cous together and parted.

A few things were clear - there's things to be done that at least some of us can do together (for example, the theological distance learning thing - Formapre).

Also I find it quite funny that suddenly we have a church building that is usable, very usable. OK, it's cold and there's no toilets or kitchen but hey ! the tram stops just outside ! We have scheduling issues at the weekend fitting everything in and I think life will be like that from now on.

In families

Sunday evening there was a new chap at church, invited by a friend who came for the first time a couple of weeks ago. It was obvious that he was very moved to have found a church at last, he prayed during our time of open prayer with thankfulness. So it was also encouraging to see him at the Café Théo last night. I think he may have found a family !

To Carrefour or not to Carrefour ?

For three of us it's been a time of decisions. There's a two day conference at the Faculty of Theology at Aix-en-Provence, HOURS away by train and we don't want to take our cars for various reasons. However three of us were keen to go, so we have tried to sort out overnight accommodation in Aix. Well imagine adding the (modest) cost of the conference to the (less modest) train fare and the (immodest) hotel price ! Other avenues ("I know someone who might know someone") have thus far proved fruitless. 

So I was poised to phone and cancel my booking (I don't think the others had booked). But there's one more possibility - is there a student at the Faculty who would lend me their floor... So I am holding off cancelling.

Etat des lieux de l'euthanasie en France

Read here, en français.

Manhattan Jazz Orchestra - Love is here to stay

Inevitable disillusionment ?

I mean there MUST be something wrong if the bus is scheduled every 10 minutes and you're stood waiting at the stop for 20, right ?

And there MUST be something wrong if when you get off the bus there's another right behind.

Oh well, the number 4 is part of my life. I've just added 15 mins to the time to allow to get everywhere. That's the way it is.

Google cloud print

Prints from your iPhone, aNdroid pHone, etc...

And it works ! Read about it here.

Or here in French.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Manhattan Jazz Orchestra - Fly me to the moon

Today's agenda

Morning: BIG CNEF MEETING and lunch,

This is the biggie where people sign up to become member churches / members organisations of the local group, CNEF33 Gironde

Afternoon: airport fetch / outreach at church,

Patricia is collecting someone from the airport. At the same time the professional storyteller from our congregation is telling stories with an evangelistic point at the church this afternoon (last time we had 5 visitors) If I can get to this I will, though because it takes 1h15 mins to get there by bus and tram I may not be able to make it in time after CNEF33

Evening: Café théologique

Short film and discussion on "jugé ou préjugé" - judgement or prejudice.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Manhattan Jazz Orchestra - The shadow of your smile


Numbers on Sunday are building up again - around 35 in the morning and 15 in the evening, with one new guy in the evening and a couple of visitors passing through am and pm. 

But boy was it cold. Four electric heaters didn't make a huge impression on that big space !

Still, next weekend is forecast cold again, but after that we'll be in February and winter is almost past.

A little video of the church building in use

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Michael Horton's Systematic Theology

is available soon, and the print run is already sold out. Hmmm.

Amazon is selling a Kindle version, and that is available now, here.

We're back into the routine of term-time ministry

English classes, Bible studies, etc., interspersed with preaching, church events, etc.

We have found a way to do the advanced English group - we meet up in a café beforehand - there's one just nearby - and chat there in English, the idea being to trawl for grammatical points, expressions, turns of phrase to clarify during the more formal time. Then to the room, evict the starters and intermediates and get on with the Idiom moment (led by Flipe), the Idiot moment (joke of the week, shared by Abraham) and the anything else. This week we did a VERY SWIFT comparison of the article on the New York mafia clean-up from the Sun and the Telegraph. Why does one say "sick as a dog" ? Don't ask for reasons 'cos there are no reasons, what reasons do you need ?

Last night - Big Band. We played through a piece I had never seen before and I don't mind if I never see it again ! It's one of these pieces written for US High School Jazz Bands by a composer who was beaten up by kids at school and see this as his way of getting revenge. I found two renditions on Youtube but they are of such heart-stopping awfulness that I could not bear to post them on the blogue. We're gearing up for the 20th anniversary in March with a huge Gala evening.

This morning works at the church (travo) tomorrow helping with music in the morning and preaching in the evening. Kids have Kidz Klub, Pat baby-sitting for Kidz Klub Leederz. And it's FREEZING here ! (I tell you, unless that sun is Very Bright Indeed it'll be very cold in church tomorrow !

Friday, January 21, 2011

Seek the peace and prosperity of the city

Michael S Horton writes briefly here.

Oh - time for big band rehearsal...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

At the mairie

Réunion d'évaluation for the music school. You learn a lot about loads of stuff. Last night the official with whom we were met got an urgent call - a person who needed to be detained in hospital because of suicide threats. In Britain doctors "section" people. Here it's someone ( an élu - someone elected to office ) from the town hall. A heavy responsibility.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Such useful stuff !


CNEF Gironde (Conseil National des Evangéliques de France) meeting today. I have always vowed, as long as I remember, that I will never agree to be treasurer of anything. So I did.

Anyway one of the points under dicussion was how to relaunch FormaPre in Bordeaux - Formapre is a theological training course aimed at elders, youth leaders, occasional preachers, etc, which is run by distance learning from the Evangelical Theological Faculties of France - Nogent, Vaux and Aix... It was stopped last year because of insufficient numbers attending. I think the venue didn't help - it was held in a church that you can only really get to by car, or if you know how to work the bus routes. A building on a tramline would be much more convenient. Anyway we hope to resuscitate it. Or do something else similar.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

It's a beautiful day here

One of those sunny warm days that January sometimes slips you to make you cast clouts before surprising you with 9 degrees of frost and horizontal hailstorms. Anyway, while it lasts it's glorious.

And well-timed. The sun shines into the new building, so the room was very cheerful and happy this morning.

Meanwhile I was hot-footing my way to Anglade, firstly through the fog over the big wide grey-green Dordogne river, then through sun-bathed vineyards dotted with hamlets. The Blaye countryside is sometimes rather bland and unattractive but this morning it glowed.

The service went OK - I preached from Philippians 3 and there was a new lady at church, originally from Ouagadougou, so I told her about the Griffins and she told me the name of her old pastor and I forgot it straight away and so on.

The journey home was over the millpond-smooth beautiful Dordogne river and then home to a simple lunch because this evening the Anglophone Phellowship are eating together - pork and prune casserole, nice and rich cooked a long time in the slow-cooker.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

"A Foggy Day"--Da'Rel & The Cigar City Big Band

This is the arrangement we do in the PJB.


So I scuttled off to the motor-caravan shop in Mérignac to buy a chemical toilet.
And the blue liquid.
And the additive for rinsing.
And the special toilet paper.

And did I want the special spray for cleaning it ? No.

Then back to pick up the family before heading off to the church for removal day.

Andy had told me that a large contingent of Chinese students were coming to help with the removal but I was still surprised when we got there and found everything had been moved - benches, piano, pulpit, the lot...

A bit of faffing about - clean this and that, phone this person and that, set up the toilet etc... then home to produce some instructions for how to use the toilet.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It's a bit quiet on the blog, isn't it !

Lots of things are happening at once :

1) We move into the new church this weekend

2) It's the CNEF Semaine Universelle de Prière

3) The student outreach activities are starting up again

4) It was time to write the January prayer letter

I'll be back !

Monday, January 10, 2011

A weekend of encouragement

Well it was a tiring weekend but an encouraging one. We were visited by Philip Girardet, the president of the commission permanente of the group of churches we belong to.  He has helped us tremendously so far in the purchase of our building so it was good to meet up and to talk about the way we've travelled and the road ahead.

It meant a meeting for the church council from about 10 till 3 on Saturday where we went over all the aspects of the purchase and the phasing of the work to come.

Then after the morning service people stayed and ate together and then we shared with the church folk all that had been discussed.

There were lots of memorable moments, but the one that sticks in my mind was
"So this 120 000 euros, where has that come from ?"
"It hasn't yet, we don't have it, so we don't know where it will come from. We don't have a penny"
"Yes, but we've never had a penny so what's the difference..."   

Incidentally I had better lay off the casserole making for a while. My boiled beef and carrots was so popular I risk getting elected onto the catering committee. And all thanks to my secret ingredient - a packet of onion soup. It makes for a very rich gravy and is an easy adaptation of Katherine Whitehorn's recommendation to roast meat in foil with a packet of onion soup sprinkled over the meat. I remarked to our stagiaire, "Tiens ! Les Français aiment ma bouffe !" It's quite a compliment really, isn't it.

Semaine universelle de prière

This week is the Evangelical Alliance CNEF universal week of prayer, with a prayer meeting every evening in various evangelical churches of every hue across Bordeaux. The themes of the introductory meditations are taken from John 17.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Service protestant

I am reliably told that the morning service on Radio France Culture tomorrow morning at 8:30 is coming from the church of our good friend Jean-Baptiste Guéraçague. You can listen direct here.

Sarkozy expresses himself


Thursday, January 06, 2011

An epiphany poem

Listen to it read by the author here.

Journey Of The Magi

T. S. Eliot

‘A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sore-footed,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.

Then the camel men cursing and
And running away, and wanting their
     liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the
     lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns
And the villages dirty and charging high
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears,
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a
     temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of
With a running stream and a water-mill
     beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped in
     away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with
     vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for
     pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no imformation, and so
     we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment
     too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say)

All this was a long time ago, I
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This:  were we led all that way for
Birth or Death?  There was a Birth,
We had evidence and no doubt.  I had
     seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different;
     this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like
     Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these
But no longer at ease here, in the old
With an alien people clutching their
I should be glad of another death.

Feeling bad about the meeting with the JWs

I was a bit too direct, I think. You can win a discussion but that doesn't mean you'll ever win the soul.

Next time I must be much nicer and gentler.

That's Thursday for you !

Thursday started in the phone shop. My friendship with the guy there is coming on leaps and bounds, we shook hands this morning. I was there to ask why the phone company says they have not yet received any of the documents I filled in and gave in in October.
"Oh that's normal - they go to our head offices and then get sent on - don't worry about that."
"Even though you've had them since October ?"
"Even though we've had them since October."
"So they won't cut the line as they threaten ?"
"No, they won't."
I'd happily send them again but one is the direct debit authorisation and I don't have a copy of that. 

Thursday will continue at the collège with a meeting of responsables of lunchtime in the chapel.

Then this afternoon the conseil presbytéral - big item on the agenda is the completion of the works in the new premises and moving in next week. There's also another big item which is the support and oversight of the Chinese group.

Meanwhile in the Davey household both adults now wheeze ! Pat and I are sharing a cough, a sticky cough which makes you wheeze when you exhale. I find hot tisanes very helpful - partly the steam and partly the liquorice and mint. I told Pat that she could easily be taken for an asthmatic with a wheeze like that, except it degenerates into a rattle and spasm of coughing...

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

This is good

A plea for profound simplicity can be found here.

Wow ! Look at this !

Here !

Visiting near Grands Hommes

One of our folk lives in a very nice part of the city within "the golden triangle" but in a small flat on the third floor. We met up to talk about the way forward for the Chinese group.

The no. 4 bus was slow. I got lost in the streets ( well I was on the right street but I thought I wasn't ) but finally all was well and things are very encouraging.

The éclipse and the tree

So the deal was, "buy your Christmas tree from Ikea for 20euros and after Christmas bring it back for shredding in exchange for a 19euro gift voucher."

On the ring road the sun was bright so I put on my sunglasses and enjoyed glimpses of the eclipse on the periphery of my vision. Pat was projecting the sun via a pinhole.

Not surprising then that we missed the turning (just after Bruges) and had to come off at the next getting to Ikea via Auchan car park. The tree was exchanged for a cd-rack. My office will soon look very organised indeed !

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A very chic area of Bordeaux

Posted by Picasa

It's Christmas again

"Oh dear, we're running low on teabags ! We'll have to buy them at 10c each from Géant Casino !"

A few minutes later the postman knocked on the door with three packages. "Nothing to sign", he said.

The first contained chocolate. Cadbury's chocolate for the children.

The second contained stuffing, mince pies and a Christmas pudding. Both from one of Pat's sisters.
The third contained ... A big box of PG Tips !

Yippeee ! Reprieved !

And we have decided that as soon as we can it'll be Christmas again. We have crackers left, too.

Purcell : Fairest Isle

Click here to listen to Andreas Scholl sing "Fairest Isle" by Purcell.

Apparently Wesley based "Love divine, all loves excelling" on this charming song. Certainly the structure and even the expressions are very similar and at one time "Love divine" was sung to this tune.

Embedding of this video has been forbidden.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Listening to Stuart Olyott preach at Aber on 1 Tim 3:16

Watch it here, then sing this.
Thou art the Everlasting Word,
    The Father's only Son;
God, manifestly seen and heard,
    And heaven's beloved One.
Worthy, O Lamb of God, art Thou,
That every knee to Thee should bow! 
In Thee, most perfectly expressed,
    The Father's glories shine:
Of the full Deity possessed—
    Eternally Divine.
Worthy, O Lamb of God, art Thou,
That every knee to Thee should bow! 
True image of the Infinite,
    Whose essence is concealled;
Brightness of uncreated light
    The heart of God revealed.
Worthy, O Lamb of God, art Thou,
That every knee to Thee should bow!  

But the high myst'ries of Thy name,
    An angel's grasp transcent:
The Father only — glorious claim —
    The Son can comprehend.
Worthy, O Lamb of God, art Thou,
That every knee to Thee should bow!

Throughout the universe of bliss
    The centre Thou, and Sun,
Th' eternal theme of praise is this,
    To heaven's beloved One:—
Worthy, O Lamb of God, art Thou,
That every knee to Thee should bow! 

Minimizing the Bible and the Glory of Jesus Christ - John Piper

John Piper writes :

I have been pondering a possible relationship between the minimizing of the Bible in so-called seeker-driven churches and in some of the radical forms of contextualization that have emerged in missions. Perhaps there isn't any connection. But I wonder. The common denominator that I am pondering is the loss of confidence that declaring what the Bible says in the power of the Holy Spirit can create and sustain the church of Christ.

This morning I just read John 2:11, "This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him." I bowed and prayed, "O Lord, this is how faith happens. People are given eyes to see your glory in your person and in your deeds. Please don't let me turn away from the ministry that puts all the emphasis on the 'gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God'" (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Then I was reminded of another text in John which connected the revelation of Christ's glory to the written word of God. John 20:30-31, "Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." The signs that reveal the faith-awakening glory of Christ are not mainly new signs being done today, but the signs that are written in the gospels. These are written "so that you may believe." He "manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him." That is the way faith comes. Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit comes "He will glorify me!" (John 16:14). Therefore we declare the fullness of the glorious Person and Work of Christ in history. That is how the church is created and sustained.

It seems to me that a growing number of pastors and missionaries have lost confidence in this truth. They have concluded that the gap between the glory of Christ and the felt needs of their neighbors, or between the glory of Christ and the religion of the nationals, is simply too great for the fullness of God's word to overcome. The upshot seems to be the minimization of the Word of God in its robust and glorious fullness.

This is on my front burner just now because in recent weeks I have received a steady stream of testimonies from aching saints who say in so many words, "Our pastor doesn't proclaim to us what the Bible says and means. The messages are not revelations of the glory of Christ. They are advice-talks with a religious twist." And then I have been reading about certain kinds of gospel contextualization in missions that seem to minimize the fullness of the biblical revelation which converts should share with others. So I have been pondering whether there are connections.

I have no desire to naively equate the cultural conglomerate of western Christianity with the true, spiritual body of Christ. I can appreciate avoiding the word "Christian" in a missions context where it signifies: degenerate, materialistic, immodest western religion. And I realize that most of the ways we "do church" are culture specific rather than biblically mandated. But there are other questions that trouble me:

1) Are the essentials of biblical faith embraced by new converts to Christ, and do they make them known in love to others? For example, do they embrace and make known that the Bible is the only inspired and infallible written revelation of God, and that Christ is God and was crucified for sin and raised from the dead above all authority?

2) Are the former religious behaviors of converts to Christ, which they may retain, communicating regularly a falsehood about what the convert means and believes?

3) Are words being used by converts that mislead people rather than make the truth plain? Are missionaries and converts following Paul's commitment to candor: "But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God" (2 Corinthians 4:2)?

I may be wrong about a Bible-minimizing connection between seeker-driven pastors and radically contextualizing missionaries, but it is hard not to see a loss of faith in the power of God's Word when I hear that the Bible is not preached at home, and when I read from the frontiers: "We have little hope in our lifetime to believe for a major enough cultural, political and religious change to occur in our context such that Muslims would become open to entering Christianity on a wide scale."

Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to come in power in our day for the sake of powerful displays of the glory of Christ in the declaration of the Word of God where those glories are revealed with infallible and converting authority.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Poulenc flute sonata, mvt. 2

For New Year MMXI

Philippians 3

No Confidence in the Flesh
 1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.    2 Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.
    3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh—
    4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more:
    5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee;
    6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
    7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
    8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ
    9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ— the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
    10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
    11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Pressing on Towards the Goal
 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.    13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead,
    14 I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.

(New International Version - UK)

New Year's Eve

We enjoyed a nice evening together at the church, with a sumptuous repast including a salad dressed with gesiers de poulet (look it up), canapés, quiche, chilli, beef bourguignon (French for boiled beef and carrots), cheese, tarte au chocolat, clafoutis (look it up), pain perdu, tiramisu, swiss rolls, etc.

The animation was provided by the kids, with awful jokes, riddles, a film music quiz, some musical items and several rounds of the parlour-game "Les Loups-Garous de Thiercelieux", with a brief meditation and prayer after the turn of the year.

Further entertainment was provided by the fire-engines and other emergency vehicles doing strange things in the car park opposite.