Month: September 2004

Christ the Redeemer

Q: Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect?
A: The only Redeemer of God’s elect, is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was, and continueth to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person, for ever.

Q: How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A: Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin.

(Questions XXI and XXII from the Westminster Shorter Catechism)

It’s not over until the fat lady sings.

What a day! First I forgot to set my alarm clock after the weekend, subsequently having a rather leisurely awakening, followed by a frantic rush to get in a state fit for work.
By now in September I would usually be heading up to Ruislip after work to play the piano for the Harlington Singers. However, sadly they are no more due to various reasons, I guess I’ll miss both the musical and social aspects which used to occupy my Monday evenings. No doubt, my piano playing proficiency will deteriorate due to a lack of regular change in repertoire. I should probably endeavour to play challenging pieces for pleasure.
Therefore, I am now a regular at the Monday evening five-a-side football games with my work colleagues, which in itself isn’t a bad thing. I now have a regular slot in which I maintain my physical fitness and, hopefully, my footballing skills and fitness level will improve over time. This evening’s game was interesting. I played mostly a defensive role, with only a few shots at the goal. A pleasing result at the end, with a win by a significant margin for the team I was on, and I managed to run around for pretty much the whole hour.
The remainder of the evening was spent at Sarah’s playing various games and chatting. A very pleasant way to end the evening.

a.m.: Luke 8:1-15 p.m.: Isaiah 5:1-7 (afternoon) Ephesians 4:26-27,29-31 (evening)

While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable:
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When he said this, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Luke 8:4-8

“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. Luke 8:11-15

Which type of soil typifies you?

Lovely jubbly

Looking back, this has been quite a long day! I was up fairly early this morning, for a Saturday anyway, to go to the church to carry out some maintenance. Spent a good while inspecting the guttering, pushing the seals back into place and clearing out debris. After that, the chairs in the building needed servicing to keep them in good nick, things such as replacing lost feet and cleaning the upholstery.
Following lunch, an afternoon nap was in order and then a trip up to Hayes Town Chapel for their Harvest Supper.
I had spent a fair amount of time umming and ahhing as to whether I should go. On the first invite, I said I’d think about it. I wasn’t sure whether it would be appropriate for me to attend, me belonging to another church and all. However, during the week I then received another two invites from two other people and figured it would’ve been rude not to attend. I will admit I was glad they persisted as the food and the fellowship were very good. A wide selection of foods from around the globe were on offer, and a wide selection of people from all over the place were conversed with. A speaker gave a short address between main course and dessert, basically explaining how good God was and God’s dealings with him. A very personal and yet real account.
Afterwards, a few of us congregated at Karen’s ‘place’ spending the time watching Only Fools and Horses – the one with Batman and Robin. 🙂
Finished off the evening playing far too many games of minesweeper against Sarah. Came out on top on aggregate.

Ruth 1:6-22

Scene One

After the scene is set in the first five verses, we come across Naomi who is about to set back to Bethlehem as she has heard the famine is over. Her two daughters-in-law initially say they will follow her to Bethlehem, but when Naomi outlines the situation to them, Orpah returns to her people and her gods. Ruth on the other hand says she will go with Naomi and that Naomi’s people will be her people and Naomi’s God will be her God. At this, they set off and arrived in Bethlehem just as the barley harvest was beginning.
Ruth shows great faith by trusting in God, who to her is a foreign god, and yet is ultimately the only God. Despite all the difficulties she may face, in finding a husband, being accepted in a foreign land and leaving her own people and land.
A similar experience is found by those who are confronted by Jesus Christ. We are called to follow him and to leave the world behind. We are warned that following him will not be easy, that we will need to put him first and ourselves last. Yet at the same time, through Jesus Christ we will be God’s and God will be ours. Ultimately we are called to put our faith in Jesus Christ to carry us safely through this world and into the next.

Anyone remember Netscape?

Once upon a time, a rather clever chap by the name of Tim Berners Lee came up with the concept of the World Wide Web. At the time the world was still only just acquainted with email and computer networks, even dial-up internet access was only for the technical elite, so any mention of webs usually only conjured up thoughts of creepy crawlies. These were the days when the only web browser available was NCSA Mosaic, concepts such as inline graphics and different typefaces were revolutionary and ideas like Cascading Style Sheets and Macromedia Flash weren’t even thought of.
For a year or so, the world bumbled along with Mosaic and everyone was content. Then a new kid appeared on the block, Netscape introduced different typefaces and background images, and in later revisions tables and frames appeared. All of a sudden, Mosaic was passé and Netscape ruled the roost. For the next few years, Netscape’s dominance was total, and Microsoft considered the Internet, with the World Wide Web in particular, to be a passing fad.
This was until the World Wide Web demonstrated itself to be more than a passing fad. In an apparent U-turn of significant proportions, Microsoft poured vast resources into its own web browser, Internet Explorer, and gave it away with every copy of Windows it sold. Now most people are just interested in accessing the web with as little hassle as possible, and so instead of having to download an internet browser from Netscape, they’d use IE. IE was already installed and was ready to go. It didn’t matter that IE wasn’t possibly the best tool for the job, all that mattered was that it was there and it was free.
The next couple of years saw a fierce browser battle, with Netscape’s share of the web browser market fade from almost a monopoly, to such a small portion that most people hadn’t even heard of it and doom loomed over its future. Then AOL bought Netscape and IE emerged victorious. AOL’s mismanagement of Netscape led to its further demise, until it finally made the source code for Netscape open source in a final last ditch attempt to breath life into it.
Another couple of years passed and it looked like IE was the only player in town, but this position, as well as its patchy development history, meant it was vulnerable to security breaches, and boy was it vulnerable. However, in the background, the Mozilla Organisation had been working on the, now open, source code from Netscape and had made it leaner and meaner. Almost as if out of nowhere, a credible alternative to IE now exists in the form of Firefox, arising from the ashes of Netscape, and from recent reports, it looks like a new browser battle might just be starting. Why not give it a try?

It’s a funny old game!

Last week I had trouble running around and had to concentrate on staying alive. This week I ran around for pretty much the whole hour and scored quite a few goals. I’m not sure why this should be, as this evening was four-a-side rather than last week’s 4vs5. Maybe it was slightly cooler, or less humid? Who knows? All I know is that I was pleased with my performance during the game, even though we lost overall by one goal.

Spent the rest of the evening round Sarah’s again, playing games and generally socialising. A very pleasant way to end the day.

a.m.: Matthew 6:9 Exodus 3 p.m.: Ephesians 4:26-27,31

The Lord’s prayer was the next topic in the sermon on the mount in Matthews’ Gospel, starting with:

This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…'”

If we are to pray this truthfully, the following points are essential:

  1. We must be able to perceive who God really is. If we consider how vast the universe is, where even our nearest star takes four years to reach at the speed of light, and the furthest known stars are at mind boggling number of light-years away. Yet God cannot be contained by the universe, even the heaven of heavens cannot contain him. He is the creator and sustainer of all things. He is holy and righteous, he is eternal and he is love.
  2. If we truly perceive God for who he really is, our purpose will be to glorify him, for he alone is worthy of glory. We need to change our whole attitude, from glorifying ourselves, to giving all the glory to God.
  3. If we understand the two points above, we will pray this prayer with a passion, not out of duty but out of love and reverence. For God loved us before we loved him, he gives us everything we need.

However, before any of this can happen, we must remember the Sermon on the Mount was aimed at those who are poor in spirit, those who realise they are incapable of pleasing God through their own efforts, but can only please God through faith in Jesus Christ. Only by the grace and power of God can we truly appreciate what it is to say “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name”.

Happy Birthday James (and a few others!)

Today was rather an interesting day. Went to James and Jasmine’s place with some of the usual suspects from Hounslow West Evangelical church, finding more of the usual suspects from Hayes Town Chapel at our destination. James had decreed a barbeque would be the order of the day and, by the time we got there mid-afternoon, had set up the equipment ready for lighting. After a little deliberation and messing with lighter gel, there was fire. Combustion in all its raw beauty and power. However, after the flames had died down, the garden furniture arranged and the first sausages had been placed on the barbeque for only a few minutes, the sky above began to look ominous. Moments later we found ourselves in a torrential downpour, quickly moving the large sunshade over the barbeque to keep the rain off! However despite the rain, the food was cooked and consumed with aplomb. More importantly, even though the weather wasn’t particularly clement, the fellowship in the house was particularly warm and a good time was had by all.

The day was rounded off with an evening around the Monopoly board at Sarah’s house. Alas, Sarah and Sam ganged up on me, and I was ousted fairly early on in the game. I think I may have to revise the conditions on which I play this game.

The pain and shame of the cross…

Spent this evening trying to explain what Jesus Christ went through on the cross to the young people at the church youth club this evening. At one level they understood the horror of being physically nailed to a wooden cross, with all the implications of pain and eventual asphixiation. I’m not sure any of them remotely understood the other level of Jesus Christ taking on the sins of the elect and the punishment for their sin, even though he himself was without sin (as described in Isaiah 53). Even considering how, because God is holy and demands justice, every sinner is deserving of hell. I guess the popular theology of the world doesn’t have sin and hell in its vocabulary and I was assuming too much. Maybe I just didn’t explain it adequately enough…Yet when I think how wonderful and amazing is the whole account, in the Bible, of God becoming a man, living as a man, being tempted as a man, yet living perfectly as no man had ever done and ultimately taking on the sins of all who believe. I cannot even consider that I would keep this to myself, but that I must endeavour to explain this to a world in need of salvation as best I can, yet relying on God to use my inadequate words for his glory. I guess in the end, I don’t know what goes on in the minds of those around me, it’s between them and God.
In the words of Charles Wesley…

O that the world might taste and see
The riches of His grace!
The arms of love that compass me
Would all mankind embrace.

His only righteousness I show,
His saving grace proclaim;
‘Tis all my business here below
To cry “Behold the Lamb!”

Oh that the world (including the young people) might taste and see…

Ruth 1:1-5

“In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab.
The man’s name was Elimelech, his wife’s name Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.
Now Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons.
They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.” (NIV)

Air? There is no air…

Interesting evening on the football pitch! For some reason, after running around for about ten minutes, I was struggling for breath! This of course meant I was pretty much useless as a team member and yet somehow I scored a goal. Allegedly, the humidity was quite high this evening, which accounted for the shortness of breath. Ah well, learn something new every day. Many apologies for the poor performance.

a.m.: John 15:18-25 p.m.: Ephesians 4:25-32

As Christians, we should not be surprised the world opposes us. The whole basis of Christianity is completely different from the world and its religions. The world says humanity is good enough that our good works will make us acceptable with God, this is common to the major religions of the world, but Christianity says we cannot make ourselves acceptable to God and only the work of Jesus Christ can save us from the damnation due for our sins. As such, the world opposed Jesus Christ who came to save those who would put their faith in him, and consequently the world opposes those who put their faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ himself says that those who oppose him, ultimately oppose God the Father.
This is not to say Christians should behave in such a manner as to justly deserve opposition. We are not called to be eccentric, oddballs who seek to be persecuted by being annoying for the sake of being persecuted, but we will experience persecution if we live according to Christ. For we are called to teach the words of Christ, which the world will not accept.
Will you reject the words of Christ, along with the rest of the world, or will you listen to his words?

Happy birthday mum!

I’m writing this from the bedroom I grew up in. Much of Bristol hasn’t changed, while quite a bit has changed. My parents still live in the same house my siblings and I grew up in, whereas Dave is now living around the corner from my parents.
The day was spent mostly lazing around, with a take-away meal in the evening to celebrate my mum’s birthday. Most of the Yuen clan were there as well, as well as one or two others. After the meal, various discussions arose, with some interesting topics.
Sometimes it’s just nice to get away from the usual day-to-day existence in London and have a change in scenery. It’s even nicer to be able to have that change of scenery with the family. A good day. 🙂


…or should that be Naomi?
The bible study this evening was a brief overview of the book of Ruth, as Ron is planning on going through it in depth in the next few bible studies. The book of Ruth tells of a family, living at the time of the Judges, a period of uncertainty and relativisim, who through their trials and tribulations suffer great loss.
Yet, it also tells of the great grace of God and his loving kindness, as the family find joy and peace through a kinsman redeemer.
Not only is God working at the level of this family, but he is working on a much greater level, because through Ruth, God plants the seeds of certainty and the truth, from which the monarchy of Israel is to be established, and ultimately, bring about the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ.