Showing posts from April, 2015

Les ponts de mai

Again there's been discussion of the rich profusion of public holidays in May. This is a particularly propitious year because the 1st of May falls on a Friday. This means that if you take off either the Thursday or the Monday you can have a four-day weekend and faire le pont . Not only that but the following are also public holidays : Friday 8 May - Victory in Europe (another chance of a bridge) Thursday 14 May - Ascension Day (see a bridge here?) Monday 24th May - Pentecost (we'll cross that one when we come to it) If one does not make any bridges then that leaves 17 working days in May. If you were able to make all the bridges you could cut that to about 13 or so. Every year people moan about this, like they do about daylight saving time.

oops - I've fixed the link for the Bordeaux Church short film below.

Oh yes - THAT noise

Well the lad is home and the home is loud and all is back to normal for a while. Gwilym and Catrin plus a couple of the students, some guitars and the place is, as they say, buzzing'. I went off to the Maison de la Bible, where I served some splendid folk looking for Bibles and New Testaments to give to different people. I bought from U a chicken tandoori sandwich and a cake that turned out to be something like Greggs would do with a slice of swiss roll. Let's not despair. I'll get the hang of lunch-buying again soon. Afterwards a meet-up and a walkie-talkie up to the Palais Gallien, see below. Today I'm back in the garden doing the old slash and burn (minus the burn), then I hope to meet up with one of the Chinese students who could do with a meet-up. Meanwhile Mrs Davey is at MB and the kids are at the cinema watching Marvel's the Avengers.

The lad flies home today

the fatted calf has made good its escape and is nowhere to be found

Sometimes people suspect that I am not very keen on short-term mission trips and teams

Read this . UFM, meanwhile, runs excellent short-term mission trips to accomplish real construction projects, well-digging, etc.

A surprising Sunday

Patricia being in London to celebrate her sister's birthday, our Australian friends being in Aix, Sally being in England and sundry others flung to far corners of fields French and foreign, it was with a certain feeling of fewness that Catrin and I went to Dan yesterday evening. When the service started we were, indeed, few. But then who should arrive but - friends from Nigeria, Rwanda, China, Canada, England, France, Australia, New Caledonia... In the end we were a respectable number. And some had got off the plane, onto the bus and come straight to Dan without first going home. Quelle assiduité! Psalm 19 - General revelation, Scripture revelation - and last but not least, God's revelation to and of the heart...

Wow! Look at these trees!


A somewhat bleak weekend

Well I got home on Tuesday and Mrs Davey left on Friday evening to celebrate her sister's 60th birthday with the Hodgson clan near London. When we got the invitation there were various reasons why we couldn't all go, including the price of three flights at 80€ a time and four overnight stays in the hotel where the festivities are taking place, plus Catrin's bac exam looming (though she's in the middle of her Easter holidays). Anyway Pat went from here and Gwilym sneaked in, too! So Catrin and I are left holding the fort on a rainy weekend. Yesterday I was at the Maison de la Bible 10 till 3, which went OK and was a happy time. Catrin joined me for lunch and then we went for a milkshake at Nerdy Vera's. Catrin had a Frozen Mint and I had a Caféfrappécocochino. Then off to the Chinese group to cover 1500 years of church history. Mrs Davey comes home on Monday afternoon and Gwilym on Tuesday. Yay! Then the fun will really start!

Word of faith, prosperity gospel, sheep-milking movements

Oh dear. Hillsong investigated by journalists for its massive tax-free earnings and its manner of encouraging giving. Meanwhile Joyce Meyer is coming to France (No! Send her back!) and some friends and colleagues from Bordeaux are involved in the music for her events. How can you spot a money-raker? 1) How do they ask you for money? How often, how forcefully, how hard, how persuasively... Generally people ask you most for what they want most from you. That's pretty easy to spot! If people want you to love and trust Jesus, then you'll be left with that impression. If people want your money, then you'll get a different impression. 2) What is their style of ministry? Remember that our saviour's lifestyle was simple in the extreme. On a scale of hobo to rockstar, he said "I have nowhere to lay my head". So when someone flies in in their private jet smell a rat. Rats fly in private jets. Disciples fly economy. Business if they're upgraded.

Cabin Max

As part of the decision not to hire a car but to travel round the UK in trains I decided to try a different kind of bag. I'm not very excited by shopping generally but I do have some strange attractions, and one is for bags. I just like bags. Perhaps because it's so hard to find just the right bag? Who knows. Anyway we have one travel bag that everyone in the family likes. It's a lightweight case on wheels, just the right size for Easyjet's cabin bags, and can hold 44L. It's great and sometimes we compete to use it. But when it's heavy, carting it up and down stairs is awkward, and when I thought about station stairs I thought how good it would be to have the weight on your back. We looked at trolleys that double as rucksacks, but they all seemed rather heavy to me and I didn't want wheel marks on my jacket. So I ordered a CabinMax bag from Amazon. I chose carefully the one that had as few negative reviews as possible and when it came I packed it careful

Moaning ministers and the Banner of Truth

There's quite a debate on at the moment. Some men say that being a pastor is by far the best job in the world, that being able to manage your own time, eat with your family, avoid the grind of the daily commute, plunge yourself into things you love doing, be paid to read, think, pray and talk to people, that really it's a dream come true. And they're undoubtedly right. Others point out that it also means being on call 24 hours a day, constant deadlines, seeing people at their worst, facing criticism and opposition that you rarely get in the secular workplace along with responsibilities, stresses and strains that few others see. And they're doubtless right, too. I had the privilege of working in the information technology industry for about 11 years before going into pastoral ministry. It is true that there were moments of great stress - implementing large changes to databases over long hours at the weekend - I remember getting home at 2am and needing to be in

Railways in Britain

Travelling by railway worked out fine, and it had good points and less good ones. The trains were usually punctual and I never missed a connection. The tickets were not exorbitantly expensive, though I saved a lot by booking ahead. The staff were courteous and friendly, like the wonderful man steering his refreshment trolley through the narrow aisles hawking his fare of "snake-venom and squirrels on sticks". I almost always got a seat. The trains between Swindon and Bath have free wi-fi. Cardiff buses have it, too, now! However, the trains were mostly old and worn-looking. Some trains just weren't big enough - for example between Cardiff and Swansea there's a half-hourly service, but the train has just two carriages and the ones I was on were absolutely jam full of people. Some of the stations are looking scruffy, too.

Book review : Honest Evangelism, by Rico Tice

Honest Evangelism : How to talk about Jesus even when it's tough. When I saw that a book by Rico Tice on Evangelism was available for review I rushed to sign up to read and review it. Rico first came to my attention some years ago (ahem, ahem) when my colleague Mark and I used to fly from Liverpool to London for Christianity Explored training courses. We found someone who was pretty well in every way larger than life. We were met and embraced by his generous, joyful spirit. We discovered various members of his family, including the Ayatollah (I wonder if he still calls her that?) And we caught something of his infectious enthusiasm for seeing other discover the joy of salvation. I devoured the book happily on train journeys around England and Wales, riding the crests and the troughs of the experiences Rico relates as he talks us through his subject. It's the same Rico, though time has brought lots of changes, of course. It's not a long book: it's divided into just

Bordeaux Church short film

This film was made by Jim Sayers of GBM to talk about the work of James Hammond, who helps us at Bordeaux Church. I didn't see the script before the film was made and my only input was what you hear, really, but with those disclaimers here's a little look at Bordeaux Church one evening when we were suddenly blessed with about a dozen visitors from Holland. It runs for four minutes. Click here

Some more photos of the UK visit


Terry's Chocolate Oranges

I'm not going to try and take these through airport security again, that's all.

I don't know if this will work

A Google Plus story

UK Visit : the churches and the pastors

I was so very encouraged by the churches I visited. One has recently adopted the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith. Another has grown to 60 members in its 12 years of existence. Churches are reaching their communities with café church, with food banks, with all kinds of initiatives. It was so very very encouraging to see that God is at work. At the same time it was clear that this comes at a price. Many pastors struggle with burnout, with stress-related conditions or with diagnoses of depression. Fine, caring pastors, well-trained and with elderships in place in stable, growing churches. I am in no position to offer an analysis or a diagnosis.

Home again

Well I'm home again, after three weeks of travels and hardly any blogging. Over the next few days I'll do some reflections on the various things I saw and did in the UK, including the churches I visited and also the Banner of Truth Conference. Meanwhile three weeks is too long to be away! I got rather tired towards the end and also caught a cold at Banner - the first cold in ages, but hey! And our grass is knee-high! I know what I'll be doing tomorrow!

Sur le chemin du retour

Oh dear, a whole week with no update. Not only that, but I ought to have posted a review for a book, and it was a good book. I shall do that soon. Meanwhile a brief reflection on the Banner of Truth Minister's conference. Splendid accommodation once more on the lovely campus of the university in Leicester. What makes the campus so nice is the gardens with their beautiful flowering shrubs and trees. The theme was frightening - "The minister and his suffering" - but in the end the conference was very happy and positive. I had to do a paper on "Missionaries' problems and suffering and how churches can help them", so I had a sleepless night before and after, but lots of encouraging remarks including "Do you not think that could become a book, or at least a pamphlet, or at least a series of articles". My initial response was "No, of course not" but I modified it to "We'll see." We'll see indeed. And surprise, surpri

Fooding in Wales

Supermarkets here are floored with traps. You are dangered on every aisle. Why? Because of UK delicacies that are unshoppingable in France. Like Bourbon Cream biscuits, Cadbury's Mini-Rolls, Sponge cakes with buttercream filling, bacon, pork pies, pickles and chutneys, the list is unthatisallable. You have to no the temptation to glutton on all these things. And thus far I have surprised myself by noing LOTS of opportunities to greed. At Maesycwmmer, which was basically a cake-fest sandwiched between two messages from Sinclair Ferguson, I noed all the Victoria sandwiches and gooey carrot cakes etc (how could I?) and ate one mini-roll and a Welsh cake. In the supermarket I have nogoed the biscuit aisles as well as the pickles and chutneys. But today I have some bacon to make a bacon butty for lunch, and an individual pot of rice pudding! FIESTA!

Agonying and ecstasying in the 'Diff

Now I knew the Christian Bookshop had shut down, but I thought that maybe the Bible Depot in the market was still there. It was upstairs. Up I went. No sign of it. I looked across at the signs painted on the booths (I had my glasses on!). There we are! "Sunday School Supplies" just between the pet food stall and the record shop. And that's all there was. "Sunday School Supplies" painted on a booth - left over from the Bible Depot. OK. Now W H Smith has some books tucked away behind the coffee and chocolates but Lears is long gone. Perhaps there's still a shop by the Student Union. That means there's no bookshop in Central Cardiff? I noticed that the Cardiffians are not much like the Bordelais. Discreet, well-dressed, stylish, the Bordelais walk quietly from shop to shop, clutching the bags. The Cardiffians chatter, joke, shout, and fool about in their tee-shirts and leggings or cargo-pants. Hang on. There was a Waterstones down by the side of J

Let's history verbing

You know that I am somewhat picky about writing, editing and publishing. It seems to me that it is required of a writer that he be clear. That is surely the minimum we can demand. If I don't know on about what someone is, then how can I either agree or disagree with what he says? And one thing that adds to fug is verbing. The practice of using a noun as a verb. There was a particularly infelicitous example of verging in Guy Prentiss Waters' commentary on Acts. The verb "to credential". As in "Luke reminds us that the apostles’ witness to Jesus was credentialed by Jesus’ own works of power." It's exampled three times in the book. Come on. We don't need to neologism in these circumstances. Credential is not a verb and must not be conjugated. It is very easy to reformulate the sentence as something like "Jesus' own works of power were the credentials of the apostles' witness." Or use "authenticated". Friends,

Well that did me a power of good!

Today I hied me off to Cardiff on the 132 Stagecoach bus to run amok in the 'Diff. I started at the National Museum of Wales, the Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Cymru, where I made a beeline for the gallery where the Impressionists are displayed. Thanks to the sisters Gwendoline and Margaret Davies of Gregynog, the Museum has a fine collection of art, including sculptures by Rodin and paintings by Monet, Manet, Degas and Van Gogh, among many many others. The sisters were heiresses of one of the great fortunes of Victorian industry and, encouraged by their understanding of their responsibility to the Lord Jesus Christ - they were Calvinistic Methodists - they invested substantial sums to purchase new works of art, advised by London dealers, but choosing themselves what they thought they ought to buy. They bequeathed their collection to the Welsh nation, and so we have free access to wonderful paintings of Monet's waterlilies, of Rouen cathedral and scenes of Venice as well as ma

Swansea and Cardiff

Church visits this week have taken me to Cardiff, to Swansea and back to Cardiff. Easter Sunday at Saint Mellons was very happy and encouraging with a splendid morning worship together with Holiday Bible Club prize-giving attended by lots of Sunday School children and their parents. In the evening I preached and it was good to be back in a traditional Welsh chapel building again. On Easter Monday some long-time friends collected me to take me to the Easter Convention in Maesycwmmer. I was sick with excitement. It was a real nostalgia trip back to the Easters of the 1980s, when Maundy Thursday and Good Friday evenings were spent in Tredegar, then Easter Monday in Maesycwmmer with usually the same speaker for all the meetings. Those were very memorable times, with Scottish heavyweight preachers firing all cannon. This year the preacher was Sinclair Ferguson. Then my friends took me to my sister's house in Porth where I spent the remainder of the week. On Tuesday evening I w

Book Review - Acts - EP Study Commentary - by Guy Prentiss Waters

I was very excited to get a copy of Guy Prentiss Waters' commentary on Acts to review. Acts is a wonderful book and there are some excellent commentaries available now, so the prospect of reading a popular level commentary from a reformed scholar was wonderful. And the book doesn't disappoint. Its scope is perfectly suited as a help to preachers and as a guide for personal reading. The book has 614 pages, which suggests a somewhat weighty tome, but you have to remember that Acts is a rather long book. Not only that but Waters' approach is pleasantly light and very readable. He quotes often and provides good footnotes, citing people like Barrett, Calvin, Longenecker, Marshall,  Stott, Witherington - a wide range of sources. He is strong on his understanding of the more heavily-discussed (disputed?) passages, and doesn't allow himself to get sidetracked into too much debate. Perhaps one of the features I most appreciated about the book is the insertion of frequent s

And the third day he rose again


Cracking train ride through the beautiful marches

Good Friday saw me in my old stomping ground at the joint service with ChristChurch Deeside, Flint Evangelical Church, Holywell Evangelical Church and Rhuddlan Evangelical Church, ably conducted and preached at by Pastor Matt. It was good to sing "Dyma gariad fel y moroedd / Here is love vast as the ocean." In the evening I went round to our long time friends, the Harneys, for tea and to be amazed at how TALL all the kids are. Then Saturday started with a visit to Hubert and Nerys and some of the old gang, before catching the 2:19 train from Chester to Cardiff. The train was on time. I had a nice seat. I could do some work on the Banner session. And I listened on Spotify to Herreweghe's recording of the Saint Matthew Passion, with Andreas Scholl singing Buss und rue, and Erbarme dich. It was just simply epic to ride through the lovely rolling hills of the Shire, I mean the Marches, with Bach's setting pumping through my ears. At Cardiff Andy Christofide

Some music for Easter Saturday


And another piece


Some music for Good Friday


What I feared....

the wifi has ceased to work at our place. Phone works. TV works. But they can't connect to the wifi. Tried to fix it online using Free's magic toolbox, but the configurations I put in don't seem to be activated... Oh well. I have suggested that Pat asks our neighbour to negotiate with the internet company for her.

Is it adequate to say "the power is in the Word"?

Here Jeremy Walker reviews an article by Stuart Olyott on word and Spirit - see Stuart's book "Something must be known and felt".

Prokofiev Fourth movement


Davey World Tour of Wales and the West 2015 - stage 1

In Bordeaux we had that drizzle that sits in the air and comes at you from all direction at once. As we waited about 20 minutes for the bus that comes every ten minutes we got more and more bedraggled and saturated. Still, once the bus came I had a pleasant journey to the airport through parts of Merignac I had never seen before, then a short wait at the airport, a pleasant flight and a friendly greetings from the Henwoods who had come to meet me. Stage 1 accomplished. Contact the girls in Bordeaux, talk and sleep!

Prokofiev third movement