Daily Bible reading

In our Sunday morning worship this week we heard Bible readings from Psalm 15, Mark 7.1–8, 14, 15, 21–23 and James 1.17–27. I based my sermon mainly on James 1 particularly verse 17: “Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights . . .” and verse 22: “But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves”.

Although I hoped to emphasize doing rather than merely hearing the word, I did recommend daily Bible reading as one of the ways we might hear. Afterwards, I was asked privately about my thoughts on Bible-reading plans and notes so I decided to include a few here.

Having used many different Bible-reading notes through the years, I now find the publications from IBRA to be the most helpful. I regularly use Words for today and also see Light for our path. Available here, I recommend them both as well as the daily reading scheme on IBRA’s website. I like the fact that they contain a full year’s readings and notes so I don’t have to think about or keep receiving extra booklets every month or quarter.

The daily lectionary readings for morning and evening prayer are also very useful.  These consist of Bible readings for every morning and evening of the year. These can be accessed on the Internet either as independent sets of readings here or and as part of the Church of England’s daily prayer service here. These are excellent resources that you can bookmark for daily viewing.

Why Christians grieve

It has been suggested to me that my title (below) for the announcement of the death of a friend is inappropriate. The death of a friend is not sad news, I am told, but a cause for rejoicing that God has taken a believer home. Well, there is some truth in this way of thinking. Certainly, I rejoice in the “sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through Jesus Christ” but I do not think this obliterates all sadness. The sadness lies in the fact that a friend is now gone. Perhaps the sadness of separation and loss might be thought of as selfish but it seems to me that it is present most where love is greatest. Did not Jesus weep when his friend Lazarus died even though he knew he was about to raise him up? Christians do not grieve as those without hope but they still grieve. I am firmly of the opinion that even when hope is abundant there is sadness in the death of a loved one.

Sad News

I am sorry to announce that Bert Ford, long-time friend and member of our congregation, died on Wednesday evening. Bert was getting on in years and had been ill for the last six months. He was spending increasing amounts of time in hospital and it was there that he died. Our condolences go out to his family and friends. Bert will be greatly missed. He was a real character: friendly, gregarious, considerate and kind. The funeral will take place on Friday 4 September at 11.30 a.m. at Stockport Crematorium.

Gearing up for Didsbury Fun Run

2008funruners01Pirates, super-heroes, fire-fighters, runners, marshals and run organizers are gearing up for the annual Didsbury Fun Run. Scheduled for Saturday 12 Sept, there will be 5k and 1.5k courses. Find out more at www.didsburybaptistchurch.org.uk. Download a registration form, sign up, and join us for a great day. Pictured above are some of last year’s younger runners arriving at the event.

Canoe trip on the Mersey

Yesterday, a  group from Didsbury Baptist Church enjoyed a canoe trip down the Manchester Mersey. I couldn’t join them but I got a few shots of them passing as my wife and I were out walking by the river around Didsbury. They are not the best photos but they’ll do for a simple montage. The person who organized the trip is in the process of setting up a canoe business to lead groups and hire out boats on the Mersey. He can be found at www.messingaboutonthemersey.co.uk. Sunday’s canoeists certainly looked like they were having a good time. Here they are:

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Bullfrog Brown at Didsbury Baptist Church

Do you live anywhere near Didsbury and fancy a summer concert? The Estonian blues band Bullfrog Brown will be performing at DBC (School Lane / Beaver Road, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 6SX) on Sunday 30 August at 7.30 p.m.bullfrog_didsbury

Books on Revelation (5)

My fifth and final recommendation for reader-friendly books on Revelation is Michael Wilcock’s The Message of Revelation (IVP, 1991) originally published under the title I Saw Heaven Opened, 1975. wilcockI have the ’75 edition and do not know whether the ’91 edition is revised in any way. My comments here relate to the ’75 edition.

This book is now dated. It is written so obviously for  Evangelical Anglicans that if you are not one you feel a bit like you are eavesdropping. Its gender specific language is annoying. (“Nor does the scheme of divine truth, embracing time and eternity and announcing itself to men, fail of its effect . . .” [218]). Nevertheless, this is probably the most accessible commentary on the book of Revelation. It clearly influenced Peterson’s book (recommended below). It was the first, sensible, non-technical book on Revelation I ever read and it remains unsurpassed for clarity and simplicity. If you are lost with Revelation but would like to give it a chance, try reading through Revelation with Wilcock as your guide. I certainly would not have described Revelation as a “gorgeous picture book” and I don’t like the suggestion that it is the one biblical book we could do without. Yet, Wilcock’s exposition of Revelation as a drama in eight scenes is full of insight and good sense. This is still a great place to begin a study of the Bible’s final book.

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