Sunday, 11 December 2011

Our BB Christmas fayre ...

A big well done to all the parents and friends and officers and boys for a really big effort making the first Christmas Fayre in over 10 years a hugh success!!  From the selling of programmes by the boys, to the cake making, Father Christmas, teas, coffees, olde fashion stalls like hook-de-duck, and guess the weight of the cake.  A fantastic turn out - and alot of money raised - nearly £500 towards the proposed new hall extension.

We tried not to clash with the local church fayre so we had to adjust the start time, and captain Dave was booked up for the afternoon so was unavailable - but he did do alot of preparation to make the whole day exceed all our expectations.

It was a great combination of boot fare clutter, home made preserves and cakes, raffles, and entertaining stalls to help people spend their money!!  And our own cafe for the older folk to sit and relax and feel welcome in our hall.

nice one lads and lasses - same time next year!!

From sinner to psalmist ...

well done again to Adrian in his unique style of worship leading - and to Doug on the drums!!  Today we got another bout of the weird and wonderful life of King David - from Commandment breaker, to major author of the Judaistic poetry - formally know as The Book of Psalms.

Tim started by taking us through 2 Samuel 12:1-20ish where Nathan the Prophet is telling David the King a parable about a rich man, a poor man and a ewe lamb.  Nathan - who is he?  the name Nathan appears over 40 times in the Bible but not all referring to Nathan the Prophet.  But here is something interesting, the story in 2 Samuel 7: is repeated in 1 Chronicles 17 nearly word-for-word!  What does this all mean!!

The two accounts of Nathan's word for David are nearly identical but with a few minor differences.  Strangely the account in 2 Samuel refers to God as "Sovereign LORD", an in 1 Chronicles God is referred to as "LORD God" - but both are actually referring to the Tetragrammaton.  Really helpful!!  But God did think highly of Nathan and we can thank Nathan for writing it all down - see 1 Chronicles 29:29 "As for the events of King David's reign, from beginning to end, they are written in the records of Samuel the seer, the records of Nathan the prophet and the records of Gad the seer, together with the details of his reign and power, and the circumstances that surrounded him and Israel and the kingdoms of all the other lands."  Seer - there's a word we don't see often.  I'd like to hear what the difference between a seer and a prophet is.

Tim now takes us all by surprise with a cross reference into the Psalms - to Psalm 51 which is entitled "For the director of music.  A Psalm of David.  When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba" - who cooked up this title?  This has lead to another minor Bible study and a book entitled "The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges - The Psalms Book 1 edited by  A.F Kirkpatrick  B.D".  Useful!!

Its re-assuring to see just how far God's grace stretches - David had murder in his heart even after know the voice of God as clear as day!  And God still chooses to give David an important and prominent part in His very important book aka The Bible.  David knew in his heart who God was.  He didn't just do things outwardly to show his commitment to "the faith", but spoke from the heart when he meditated on what he had done to offend God.  The outward sacrifices of animals and birds was OK but David shows in the Psalms what is going on inside of him - the inner transformation.  And this far outweighed burnt offerings.

Psalm 51 is also quoted from in Romans 3: 4 "What if some did not have faith?  Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness?  Not at all!  Let God be true, and every man a liar.  As it is written: "So that you may be proven right when you speak and prevail when you judge."

We could also do a separate study on the use of the word "wisdom" eg Proverbs 9:10 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy one is understanding."

Or a study on the use of the word Hyssop which we first see in the Book of Exodus 12:22 for the painting of blood onto the door frames pre "Passover".  The whole of Exodus 12 has a multitude of parallels with the story of Jesus - but we'll leave that for another day!!

And finally, the comparison of Psalm 51: 17 "The sacrifice of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise" and Matthew 9:13 "I desire mercy, not sacrifice" where Jesus quotes from Hosea 5:6 "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather then burnt offerings." Yet another study!!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

God's grace is free - but ...

God's grace is free - but will cost you your life!!  There goes that lovely 5 letter word that is so easily bandied about by Christians without knowing or understanding what it is (a bit like the doctrine of the Holy Trinity!).  For something so precious and at the heart of Christian beliefs it was great to hear Derek's heart wrenching expose on the matter.  And what a blinding job he did - stitched up like a kipper only hours earlier when Dave called in sick - giving Derek the opportunity to rise to the occasion!  I think he had less then 24 hours prep time but that was enough.

We have been doing a study on David in 2 Samuel and had seen him screw up his life culminating in the killing of "Uriah the Hittite" and the breaking of all the other commandments which I mentioned previously.  He had truly buggered up his life - and then he repented - and then God blessed him.  If Derek hadn't mentioned that he had flicked back a few pages you would think that 2 Samuel 7 is a progression from 2 Samuel 12.

2 Samuel 7 is about God's promise to David as given through "Nathan the prophet".  And you would expect such a promise to be given to a person after they had an episode of sin/repentance BUT God being God - who knows what David will do in the future, just as he knows what we will do in the future, God gives David an amazing promise in 2 Samuel 7:5-16.  God knew what David would be up to in a couple of chapters - breaking as many of the Ten Commandments as he could in a short period of time!

David's response was sincere at the time with a prayer.  He appears to have his eyes and heart clearly set on the ways of God - determined to do what is right in the eyes of God.  God had put upon David an amazing promise - even though He knew what David would get up to later on in life.  If you were God and you could see into the future, would you have given David this great promise?  This promise was given to David for free - and God gives a similar promise to us today.  Romans 10:9 "If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.".  Knowing what "sins" we will commit between now and death, we will be saved.  We don't deserve to be saved but we are - and its free!!

We don't need to screw things up as badly as David did, but its good to know that if we do screw up there is "grace" - and after we have said sorry, then there is forgiveness.  This is brought home in Matthew 6:9-13 "the Lords Prayer" - not so much a prayer but a pattern for prayer - praise, adoration, supplication, requests for provision and finally the request for forgiveness.  It is always tempting to get the order wrong - "lets ask for forgiveness first" - NO get the order right!!  Grace allows you to bring praise and adoration first - sin has been dealt with - God knew what you were going to do before you did it, before you where born, before Adam-n-Eve!

I was drawn to the words of Davids prayer in 2 Samuel 7:18-29 - David repeated uses the words "Sovereign LORD".  The word LORD is actually the divine name of God YHWH  aka The Tetragrammaton.  These Hebrew letters actually veer towards Yahwah or Jahweh or Jehovah.  lost in translation!!  So David's prayer was a personal prayer addressing God by His Name and not just a generic title like "LORD".  And I think this aspect of "relationship" is lost in modern translations of the Bible.  The generic titles like "Lord" or "God" depersonalises the relationships people actually had with God in the Old Testament.  Worth pondering.

Well done Derek - lets have some more !!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Prepare for the worst ...

ok - I didn't see that one coming.  My apologees to Boris the Blade for bad judging the £40m cash move from the Fire Brigade budget to the Police.  I can now see your hands were tied and the decision was made higher up the food chain.  The "justification" in the news of the dawn raids on know drug dealers (Operation Hawk) where some 270 arrests across all the London boroughs, that was just a smoke screen!  I'm sorry but why does a £40m incentive suddenly get mass police co-ordination doing the arrests that should have been done any way.

No, the bigger picture - the boarder control strikes is the tip of the iceberg.  The fiasco with Brodie Clark and Theresa May is a whitewash - it is a hint that there is going to be a serious problem - the strike action is the start but things could then get alot worse.

My theory is the £40m is to be used to minimise the mass civil disobedience that is anticipated as the UK unemployment escalated and immigration becomes the scapegoat.

Is £40m enough?  Why not invest a bit of money in a new version of the X Factor where people queue up to present their ideas to a panel of politicians, businessmen and economists on what we could do to boost the economy in the UK, and then help drag the planet out of this hole!!  First prize - you get to spend the day with the Queen!!

On the other hand, if Boris was the top of the food chain and he made the decision to move the £40m - shame on you!!!

King David was no angel ...

What an interesting Sunday - well done to Adrian for bringing sobriety to the worship with his unique brand of leadership.  It was different in that it had an air of quietude in a strange sort of way.  The lack of drums and bass, and the refreshing sound of not wilting away from the opportunity of doing a simple acoustic number.  And he can sing - not scared to harmonise or to solo.  My pet-hate of playing whilst someone is praying out loud - something I think I'll just have to learn to live with!!  But overall - refreshing.

And James as the MC and Tim's talk both had an air of humility which is so often missed when we have the more "dance like David danced" style worship.  Nothing wrong with that but it would be nice to have a few minutes silence every now and then so you can reflect rather then just rush to get through all that has been prepared.  ha-ho - life goes on!

Well done Tim for your sermon.  Another bout of David but this time the David who is up to no good.  2 Samuel 11 & 12ish sees king David attempt to break as many of the Ten Commandments as possible!  For someone who had the Spirit of God upon him (1 Sam 16:13) he went through a really dark period "doing evil in God's eyes" 2 Samuel 12:9.

Lets look at what he did:
1. He failed to divert his gaze from lusting after a woman in the bath
2. He fed his flesh desires by investigating who she was
3. He fed his flesh desires even more by summoning her to his palace
4. He then had sex with the woman knowing full well that she was already married
5. He then tried to cover up the pregnancy by giving Uriah advice with an ulterior motive
6. He then past sentence on Uriah - sentencing him to death by sending him to the battle front

"the things David had done displeased the LORD" 2 Samuel 11:27b .  Jesus tells us how we commit just as bad sins in our heart by just feeding our imaginations, thus making us as "displeasing" as David.  We all fall short on a daily basis - but there is a way out in the form of repentance and forgiveness.

Nathan then puts David back in his place with his sheep parable which leads to David repenting of his sins.  David is told that the sins will not go unpunished and that "the son born to you will die." 1 Samuel 12:14.  David then appears to loose the plot as any normal human would.  Fasting did nothing to reverse what God had promised.  Rolling about on the floor having a hissy fit had no effect!  God had invested in David, and David had told God to get stuffed in not so many words.  And God is a just God - A God of Justice and justice was served.  The Word of God was fore filled and the boy died.

But after that came the blessing from God, and David had a son - Solomon.  Tim's advice to us is summed up in Genesis 4:7 "If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?  But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." or as John Owen put it, “Be killing sin or sin will be killing you.” .

If only David had that tattooed on his heart!!  If only I had it tattooed on my heart!!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

What a loada pony ...

GLA - Greater London Authority, TfL - Transport for London.  You either luv em or you loath em!!  Or you have never considered the question "What did the GLA/TfL ever do for us?".  Well they may have done some good things like allowing Oyster Card users use overground trains - not rocket science but you still have no confidence in how much money they are really charging you!

But I have a few gripes ("no surprise there" I hear you say!)

Number one, in this age of austerity where just about everyone is tightening their belts (an idiom for loosing weight due to not being able feed ones self!), which Boris sanctioned the £7.8m to be spent on 5 shiny new route master (The Guardian).  Lets not forget the joy of the bendy buses - oh what joy - they only accounted for 1,751 accidents in one year (This Is London).  How much did that venture cost us and aren't they about to get phased out before they kill to many more people!

Lets not stop there - we have the "normal" Double Decker buses that appear to be growing by an inch in width per year!  I love those buses but can you please please please stop them getting wider!!  I'm undecided about sending those glorified mini-bus buses down every singly road in London.  Yes they do help pensioners get around and that is the only positive thing to be said about them.  I feel sorry for those people that don't know that a journey that should be 1 mile and take 7 minutes, now is 7 miles and takes 1 hour!!

And now for the Low Emission Zone on the Greenwich Peninsula - ironic that it's the second highest polluted area in London thanks to the Blackwell Tunnel car park (traffic jam!).  If you want to speed up the traffic going from north to south and south to north of the river - hear is a novel idea - why not lift the charge on the Dartford Bridge?  Thousands of work hours are lost every day because of the constant traffic jams leading up to the Dartford Bridge and tunnel.  We could probably reduce the countries carbon footprint by a whole 1% by dropping the toll!  People may arrive at work happier, and return home to their families happier having not spent a couple of hours in the M25 car park!  And this may reduce family break up, divorce, the need for fostering and adopting, the list goes on!!  There is to much to gain - scrap the river tax!!

Am I the only one that thinks that this toll is crippling the economy of the country?  WAKE UP!!!!!  The money the government makes from the toll can be gained in business tax where businesses will be doing so much better.  And I heard the other day that the toll gates do get lifted IF traffic is backing up for more then 10 miles - generosity!!  How many cars is a 10 mile tailback?  How many people?  How many man hours lost?  Come on leaders of the Government, or do you want the country to join the Euro?!!

Back to Boris the Blade, and onto the Cycle Superhighway.  How much did it cost - £23m for 2 (BBC).  Again, pure genius!!  Have more cyclist died since the opening?  A complete waste of London money.  Paint the road blue and two weeks later it gets dug up and its back to black.  Lorries, buses, artics still are limited in the route they can take around a corner.  Like it or not they rule the road.  They have poor visibility, blind spots, and rely on other smaller road users driving or riding with anticipation.  If an artic is turning left, it will take a wide berth but the back wheels are more then lightly to chop across the curb.  So why not give cyclist rights on the pavement.  A simple "law" - don't cycle past pedestrians - stop and get off the bike and only cycle when the pavement is clear.

Rent-a-bike by Boris - a good idea?  I really don't know.  They benefit a handful of people but everyone pays for it.  Did the majority of Londoners want them?  Why cant the handful of people that use them just use the bus or walk (or jog!)?  I hate to think how much this scheme cost but I'd rather have the money in my pocket!!  This kind of enterprise should be in the hands of the private sector - why isn't it?  simple - its not economically viable!!  If its cheaper to scrap the scheme then scrap it!!

It's not all grim - the river boat from Woolwich to London is great value.  For the first time in years Woolwich is on the map!  A serious bit of regeneration going on there - a new Civic Centre, rejuvenation of the Royal Arsenal, New DLR link - fantastic!!  DLR, best think since ..... I cant remember the last "best thing"!!  Boris - well done for the DLR.  Getting to Stratford has never been so easy (Before Westfields there was no real reason to go to Stratford!).  An easy transport link to the City Airport, Canary Wharf, ExCeL, O2 - all good news - hats off to the DLR!!

But do we really need Crossrail?  How many people actually do this journey from East to West?  And how on earth does it generate new jobs?  People still have the same amount of money in their pockets!  Take Bluewater, generated hundreds of jobs but it drained the local shopping centres - so its a fools economy.  Every time a new shopping centre pops up an older one deteriorates.  Who will benefit from Crossrail?  At the risk of sounding like a killjoy, this seems like an unnecessary luxury which we wont all benefit from.  Right now, is this the right time to be spending obscene amounts of money on a traintrack?  I know what I would do!!

Back to Boris but not to transport!  This time, if I heard it right, he is taking £40m from the Fire Brigade budget and giving it to the Police.  DER!!  Has the world gone mad or just Boris?  People died when you took Fire Appliances off the road over the last dispute.  This cut is a big big mistake.  You haven't done your home work.  Just look at AssetCo - nearly bankrupt where they?  Bailed out where they?  I sense some funny handshakes going on here!!  Looking at the last time you took tenders away for no good reason, you cant have got the full picture of what effect this had.  I saw a report that failed to include in its "cooked" statistics the deaths of the two Sri-Lankan ladies in Deptford.  Could they have been saved if the tenders were where they should have been?  Blood is on someones hands - and not just the manic that started the fire.

Here's an idea Boris, why not take some of your budget and invest in projects that reduces re-offending?  If its costing upwards of £37k per year to keep one person in prison, and that over 70% re offend within two years, then why not take £10m off the Police budget and invest it in such projects?  Do the maths!!  If you've got our money to give to the Police, then you've also got our money to spend on reducing re offending.  Another case of fools economy from the GLA!

And I nearly forgot, to help boost the economy let's introduce yet another tax - London 2012 remembered by small business - not for the Olympic revenue, but because its the year of the LEZ (Low Emissions Zone) where the small business that already has small profit margins will get penalised yet again.  From January 2012 they could face a £100 to £200 charge (tax!) per day for traveling in the zone.  If this is new to you then have a read on the AA website.  Who gives a hoot about Carbon emissions from vehicles when you've got volcanic action in Iceland blowing this tax into context.  According to Ian Blimer, to quote if I may "Over the past 250 years, humans have added just one part of CO2 in 10,000 to the atmosphere. One volcanic cough can do this in a day." (Australian ABC Net).  So Boris, take your foot off the small guy and let London work!!

I find it hard to believe we have empowered the GLA to waste our money on crippling the economy, putting lives in danger, and turning our beautiful city into a police state.

I'll wind my neck back in now!!  Enough said.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

More quality music!

another education in quality music fom my archive :

1. Under the broadwalk - Tom Tom Club
2. Enjoy yourself - The Specials (whatever happened to the "AKA")
3. Land of ... - St Germain
4. I don't feel like dancing - Scissor Sisters
5. I'm gonna lasso santa claus - Brenda Lee
6. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow - Dean Martin (for the Die Hard fans!!)
7. Price tag - Jessie J (Live on Jules Holland 2010 - acoustic version)
8. Fools gold - Stone Roses
9. Games without frontiers - Peter Gabriel (Live version on the B side of Steam)
10. Stuck In The Middle With You Lyrics - Stealers Wheel (Resevoir Dogs)