Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Salford-Manchester Presbyterian Church: Regular Services begin!

As of Sunday 28th January 2018 there will be morning and evening services which will begin. We are all excited and thankful for this momentous development. Rev Chris Statter is the church planting minister who leads the work and he is really looking forward to preaching morning and evening every week.

The meeting place is River View Primary School, 1 Wheater's Street, Salford M7 1QZ.

The services are 11am and 5pm.

Do pass this information on to people who may be interested.

The church website is: http://salfordepc.org.uk

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Reformation Bible Conference 2018, Sermons Now Online

The 2018 Reformation Bible Conference took place at Hill Top Chapel in Sheffield. We had three main sessions which were Friday morning (5th January), Friday night (and the Chapel was packed), followed by all day Saturday. Listening to the sermons does not substitute the blessing of being there. The fellowship, the opportunity for questions and the overall joy of being together with "face to face" fellowship is something to be enjoyed live.

None-the-less, the sermons are available to be listened to and the link is: http://sheffieldpres.org.uk/sermons

The Sermon Audio link is: https://www.sermonaudio.com/source_detail.asp?sourceid=sheffieldpc

We hope Lord willing, to have a conference next year as well (2019) and this would be the first Friday and Saturday in January. More details to follow, but those present expressed their desire for this.

Do enjoy these sermons!

Friday, 12 January 2018

Essays in Honour of O. Palmer Robertson: The Hope Fulfilled

This book is a Festschrift. This means a collection of essays in honour of a scholar and this one is for O. Palmer Robertson. To be frank, the quality of theological Festschrift's can vary and sometimes be uneven in quality, not so this one. It is one of the most satisfying reads I have enjoyed for a while. I almost wrote that it is one of the most satisfying reads this year, but concerning that it is only early January 2018, it would not be a strong comment.

Different people enjoy reading different material. O. Palmer is renowned for his commitment to preaching, Reformed Theology, the Westminster Standards, Christ centred exegesis, world missions and other matters. These essays focus on these subjects. Richard B. Gaffin expounds Luke 24 and that of Christ in the Old Testament in the New Testament. Chad Van Dixhoorn has a great essay on 17th Century preaching and currently I am reading an essay by J.Knox Chamblin on "The Prophecy of Zechariah in Matthew's Passion Narrative".

It is good to stand for truth, but in doing so we must also stand against error. O. Palmer had to stand against the false teaching of the theology of Norman Shepherd in the 70's and 80's at Westminster Theological Seminary. The influence of Norman Shepherd's teaching still prevails today and this essay by Guy Prentiss Waters will help readers to be aware of currents of false teaching, especially in the Reformed world.

Take and read this book!

Monday, 8 January 2018

Finding Christ in the Old Testament

Luke 24:44-49 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

We could spend several blog post commenting on these words, but I want to draw out several points for us. I hope that these will help us in our Bible reading this year.

1. Christ is revealed in the so-called Old Testament. We must see that the whole Bible is one book and give attention to every book in the Bible, especially the Old Testament.

2. The main revelation of Christ in the law, prophets and psalms are three things: The sufferings of Christ, his resurrection and His program for the proclamation of this message to all the nations.

3. In the three-fold division of the Old Testament, we should recognise the way the Old Testament is divided up.

The law is Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. This was the meditation material of the God-man Jesus of Nazareth> Psalm 1 In his law he mediates day and night.

The prophets begin with Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings, then Isaiah, Jeremiah Ezekiel, then Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Michael, Nahum, Habbakukk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zaccariah, Malachi.

The Psalms is the head book of the writings which also includes Job, Proverbs, Ruth, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles.

All these books need searching in order to find the spiritual treasure of the disclosure of Christ in shadow. Take time to read the Old Testament this year and indeed take more time to read the Bible. Fall in love with the Bible and pray for the LORD to open your eyes to the spiritual treasure on its pages.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

31 Chapters in the Book of Proverbs for 31 Days in January

A New Year has arrived! And how we all need the LORD's wisdom for the year ahead, and what better place to go to for this wisdom, than the Book of Proverbs in the Bible.

I can recommend for your personal devotions and for family worship to read, study and discuss a chapter each day of the Book of Proverbs, during January.

It has been amazing for me over the years, that when I have faced deep challenges, that I have turned to Proverbs and the answer has come to me from that book. Many times the answer is different to what I would have thought of, but we need godliness, humility, the fear of the LORD, discretion, patience and maturity. Proverbs has it all!

Here are just some of the major themes in Proverbs.

Seeking out wise counsel for decision-making
Marriage guidance and children raising wisdom
The fear of the Lord is prized in Proverbs
The Lord hates pride

If I were to choose a few of my favourite verses in Proverbs, here they are:

The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honour and life, Proverbs 22:4.

Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety, Proverbs 11:14.

In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death", Proverbs 14:26-27.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom, Proverbs 11:12.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Enjoying the office of pastor-teacher

As 2017 draws to a close, it is a time of reflection for many of us. Has this year been stress-free for me? No. Has it been trial free? No. Has it been hard work? Yes!

But, in the midst of all this, I can freely and firmly acknowledge that I love doing what I do. That is to pastor sheep in the church of God and in particularly within the context of my own denomination: The Evangelical Presbyterian Church in England and Wales.

Earlier in the year during a time of study at Tyndale House in Cambridge, I spoke to a PhD research student during one of their famous coffee breaks. These coffee breaks are famous because of the vital interaction that takes place during them among people studying there. I explained that I had a PhD, but the real action, in my view, is to be found on the frontline of pastoring in the church. I explained that in my opinion all the best preachers in church history had been pastors. Just think of John Calvin, Martyn Lloyd-Jones and so on. This researcher was thrilled to hear that I love my vocation because he thought that many pastors often give the impression that their life is a drudge.

The life of a minister is demanding, varied, challenging, humbling and hard work. But, to think that I get to handle the precious Word of God every day, to be able to herald and proclaim it, to be devoted to a life of prayer for the good of the church, to train men and women for godliness, to educate and mentor young men setting out in ministry. Indeed it is a joy and I love it!

None-the-less, pray for the Lord's ministers and seek out a church where the pastor can truly say that he loves caring for and feeding the flock of God.

Hebrews 13:17-18 "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. Pray for us".

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Reformation Bible Conference 2018

On Friday the 5th January and Saturday the 6th January, we have our fourth Reformation Bible Conference. This takes place at the beginning of the year and it is intended to nourish the souls of those those attending with good spiritual food through preaching. Additionally, it is hoped that it provides a platform for joyful fellowship. It is intended for all ages but we have always been blessed with many young people in the age range of 16-25's and we expect the same this year.

Rev Andy Young of Cheltenham intends to cover the topic of "Biblical Manhood and Womanhood"' Rev Dr Kevin Bidwell of Sheffield will focus on Christ in Gethsemane, at Sabbath and Golgotha; Rev Dr Peter Naylor of Cardiff has a free hand to cover whichever topics are most fresh to him at the time.

A link on the Sheffield Presbyterian Church website is: www.sheffieldpres.org.uk

This conference is open to people from all backgrounds and by no means do you need to be a member of a Presbyterian church to attend. If you hungry for good spiritual food, communicated through preaching, then you will enjoy this time together.

The Program is:

Hill Top
S9 2AD
Disabled Access & On-Site Car Park

Website: www.sheffieldpres.org.uk

Friday 5th January 2018

11 am - 11.30 Arrive, Tea & Coffee Served
11.30 - 12.15 Session 1: Andy Young
12.15 - 12.30 Break
12.30 pm - 13.15 Session 2: Kevin Bidwell
13.15 - 14.00 Lunch (Bring Own Packed Lunch/ Sandwiches)
14.00 - 16.00 Walk at Rother Valley Country Park
16.30 - 18.30 Carvery Dinner at Restaurant (around £5-£7pp)

19.30 - 20.15 Session 3: Andy Young
20.15 - 20.30 Tea & Coffee Break
20.30 - 21.15 Session 4: Kevin Bidwell

Saturday 6th January 2018

9.00 am - 9.30 Arrive
9.30 - 10.20 Session 5: Peter Naylor
10:25 - 11.00 Prayer & Church Plants Update
11.00 am - 11.30 Tea & Coffee Break
11:30 - 12.15 Session 6: Kevin Bidwell
12.15 - 13.45 Lunch Buffet Provided at Chapel
13.45 - 14.30 Session 7: Peter Naylor
14.30 - 15.00 Tea & Coffee Break
15.00 - 16.00 Session 8: Peter Naylor

Where to Stay?
Ibis Budget & Premier Inn
(both 2-3 minute walk from venue)

The conference this year provides a wide variety of sessions which will be highly
encouraging and beneficial to families, young people, students and all ages.
This is a free event.