Sunday, 23 September 2007

Preaching to the heathens! lol!

I am always tempted to say I have been preaching to the heathens when I have taken a service in Cradley Heath. I was at Four Ways Baptist Church this morning and unfortunately they had no organist so I said I would play for them. It was interesting because I got the organ going and half way through the first verse of Praise my soul, the king of heaven, the organ stopped - I pressed the button again and managed half of the second verse and so it went on. I managed to work it out before the second hymn so it kept going for the rest of the service. The church is over 100 years old and they have just discovered some dry rot which will cost many thousands of pounds to get rid of.
Tonight I was at Walsall Central Hall with the worship group from Pleck and played a very nice grand piano.
I have just read a piece on Methodist Preachers blog that appears to be a humorous piece but it has a serious side to it as I believe there are Methodist churches and folk who may well think as the steward in the story. I have been to some churches that appear to be in a time warp somewhere way back in the 20th century - perhaps that is one of the factors in Methodism shrinking - what we do is old fashioned and therefore does not appeal to younger people.
When I joined the Borth Beach Mission Team 6 or 7 years ago team members were called Auntie or Uncle and this was something that we changed in my first year as team leader because it seemed very 1960's to me. It didn't harm the work we did in any way and I believe made the work more attractive to the youngsters.
I believe that some of the most dangerous words we can say are 'We've always done it this way' as if that makes it right - surely we need to look at what we are doing on a regular basis.
At our circuit meeting the other night we were discussing annual reports and while this gives us a chance to look at the year that has gone perhaps we should have a 'Corporate Plan' for the next few years to enable us to focus our work on a vision for the future and where we see our particular fellowship being in three or four years time.

Monday, 17 September 2007

The end of the world is nigh!

It's been absolutely ages since I saw a poster saying this or something like it and yet there is far more truth in this than we may think.
The world is going crazy! We are warned about all sorts of problems in respect of climate change and the hole in the ozone layer but do we really do anything about it?
A lot of people I know are recycling like crazy and using low energy light bulbs and buying electrical goods with the best rating. The problem is I know many more who are not in the slightest bit interested in any of this sort of thing - 'It's not my problem!' they say, 'I'll be dead before it has any real effect!' and yet there is much evidence to show that we are heading to global warming quite fast. The latest thing this weekend I read was giant European wasps who have come here because our climate is now so much warmer than it used to be.
I think that many people hold the view there is nothing that can be done to stop it and yet there is much we can do to slow it down - and yes we may not be around when it gets really bad but our children and their children may be, and don't we owe it to them to do our best to address these issues and hopefully give them a better quality of life.
I think too often we ignore these things at our peril and how did F.Pratt Green put it in his hymn 'God in His love for us.... at v 4 'Earth is the Lord's; it is ours to enjoy it, Ours as His stewards, to farm and defend. From its pollution, misuse and destruction, Good Lord, deliver us, world without end!' (Hymns & Psalms 343)
The hymn of course says much more which is absolutely relevant to this topic and is a hymn that we might do well to take to heart.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Elim to Methodism

Methodist Preacher raised an interesting question following my previous post as to why I had gone from Elim to Methodism as traffic is usually the other way.
My history is that I went to Sunday School at a Brethren Chapel (Bethesda - Hill Top,West Brom) and left at 14 because I knew it all and thought church was a load of rubbish. In my mid 20's got invited to a concert by a gospel rock band called 'Blazing Apostles' and then to the youth group at Spring Head Methodist Church in Wednesbury. Became a Christian following a visit to Wolverhampton Civic to hear Clive Calver who was with Youth For Christ at the time and began attending the Methodist Church at Wednesbury. When I got married my wife was attending the Elim Church in West Bromwich so we moved there and stayed for 7 years until about a year after a new pastor arrived who we didn't really gel with and we had some friends at the AOG church in Darlaston where we visited a few times and then felt God was calling us into ministry there so moved and stayed there for 7 years until my wifes 40th birthday when we had a party at the church and the entertainers did not go down too well with the leaders (two clowns who used to sing in various places round the midlands) and we were contacted by the pastor who told us the leaders were very unhappy so we decided perhaps it was time to leave. I was on the Walsall circuit plan as a visiting preacher so we tried one or two of the churches before arriving at Pleck one SDunday evening at 6-15p.m. for what we thought was a 6-30p.m. start and the service started at 6. We were made very welcome and consequently are still there (9 years now-managed to get past the 7 year itch). When we became members I was told if I wanted to continue preaching I would have to do Faith and Worship so did that and was full accredited in 2004 on my 50th birthday.
I really do feel that there is a ministry in Methodism for us and if I dare use the word I suppose I am an 'evangelical' and like to preach the gospel. The first time I go to a church I will normally preach on John 3 v 16 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son that whosoever believe in him should not persih but have everlasting life.' Surely the gospel in a nutshell and as the old chorus says I beleive I am 'A sinner saved by grace'. This is almost certainly what I will preach on at Cradley Heath on Sunday Morning.
Well Methodist Preacher hope this answers your question and sorry it is a little long but hey its not as long as some of the posts I see in other places.

Busy weekend

Got a busy weekend this week with the district synod meeting on Saturday and then Sunday I am preaching at Cradley Heath Elim Church in the morning and Bethesda Chapel at Hill Top in the evening so could be an interesting day. Not been to the Elim church before so that will be a very new experience although I did belong to West Bromwich Elim church for about 7 years. Did a dummy run tonight using AA route and it took me to some places I'd never been before as well as some I had. Not sure thay took me by the easiest route but the timing was very good - they said 20 minutes and it took 25 but coming back was quicker. Bethesda Chapel is where I used to go to Sunday School when I was young and I went there a few weeks ago in the morning so will be interesting to see what evening service is like. Will miss harvest festival at my own church but will manage to get to the harvest supper on Monday (fish & chips).

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Synod - Place for odd sinners?

Going to my first district synod in 23 years this Saturday. Last time I went I got elected to go to conference the following year in Plymouth - must remember to duck this time!
I always refer to synod as the place for odd sinners and you know it may not be that far from the truth, after all the Bible does tell us that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. I take great comfort from the fact that the apostle Paul said he was the chief of sinners because it means there must be hope for me.
Been checking out some more blogs this week by using the links on the blogs I read regularly and there are some real deep theological blogs out there as well as many more light hearted ones. I really do think that sometimes we can be too serious and we lose our joy - I like the was John puts things in Revelation when he talks about a new Jerusalem and her people will be full of joy - I always think God has a sense of humour, especially when I look in the mirror each morning and lets be honest what about the duck billed platypus - surely that was a joke - it couldn't be a serious effort surely?

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Projection Software

Following the good response last Sunday I have been looking this week at software for use in projection and there are a number of programmes out their including some free ones and they all seem to have certain facets that would recommend them. I did have one recommendation from a reader in respect of Easy Worship which is the programme they use and I did wonder if any of the other folk who read this blog have had any experience with other software. I have downloaded one free programme called Open Song which looks reasonably good but I can not find a way to get the extra songs they have on their site into the programme - it does say see the manaual but the manual tells me nothing.
I have also found another free version called zionworks and wondered if anyone had used this one.
Any comments will be more than welcome.