Thursday, 9 July 2020

Summer Conference

I finished the 4-day Summer Conference today with the London School of Theology. It was a tiring time as I had to set my alarm for 4:30 each day, grab a wake-me-up shower and then be online for a 5 am kick off. It then went through to 11:15 am each day (3:15 pm) in the UK. 

The first speaker each day was John Goldingay on Jeremiah. It was a challenging good review of the structure of the book and its theology. To quote John today on Jeremiah's theology "God is in control of His memory. He can forget things." And "God is immutable but He is flexible and can change His mind."

The current principal of LST is Mark Cartledge and he chaired the whole conference. He also spoke on the first day and showed himself to be an Anglican who is very open to the Holy Spirit moving in Scripture and in today's church. He was very good.

Another speaker was a lady called Dr. Kimberley Alexander from North Carolina who spoke on 'Women and Scripture'. Instead of a justification of women's ministry she just showed from her research how women are powerful expositors of the Scripture. She was excellent.

A further speaker was Brad Emry who brought some extremely challenging thoughts on 'Scripture and violence' especially working through the difficult texts of Judges 11 (Jephthah and the sacrifice of his daughter) and Judges 19 (The Levite and his concubine). Such scriptures stretch anyone to the limit! 

Joan Cartledge also spoke on 'Disability, Scripture, Inclusion and the Church'. This was good and what we already believe and practice. 

So this Conference was something good that came out as a result of the current pandemic. 

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

50 years

I am writing EAB/ACEV history in Portuguese and today reached our 50th anniversary in 1988. I wrote and published EAB's first 40 years back in 2012 in English. The Portuguese version is different as it goes into details interesting to Brazilians and irrelevant to overseas folk. So too many UK details are of no interest to people here. 1988 was the year we took major steps to reorganize the work in Brazil. We are today 82 years old as a Mission so I've got 32 years to go! 

Violence

I have just finished my third of 4 days at the London School of Theology's Summer Conference online and on top of more on Jeremiah and Daniel we had some particularly difficult Biblical passages involving violence such as Judges 11 and 19! Certainly forced me to think but I don't have any answers yet. Yesterday the woman speaker from the USA, Kimberley Alexander, was particularly interesting on Women & Scriptures. The message was the result of her own research and was excellent. 

The Men's Fellowship Group met last night on line and that went very well as did the prayer 'knees to the ground' meeting as it is called.

I walked for two miles yesterday afternoon at Green Pastures. It's important to keep fit in these difficult days. 

Monday, 6 July 2020

For to live is Christ and to die is gain

I preached on Philippians 1:12-26 last night and it went very well. It was the communion service with Philip & Louisa leading the worship and Philip conducted communion. 

The youth concluded their online Conference on Saturday night ending their 5 night event which was a real blessing with 90 to a 100 taking part each night.

I was up at 4:30 am today to take part in the first day of the 4-day London School of Theology Summer Conference. John Goldingay spoke on Jeremiah: the man and the scroll. Then Mark Cartledge spoke on Scripture, the Church and the Holy Spirit. It was a very interesting and blessed time. I found it very encouraging. It was good to be back at LST! 

I am now preparing for Thursday's Bible study working on Acts 8.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Acts 6 + 7

Last night's Bible study went very well as we covered Acts 6 and 7. This was followed by another session of the singing of older hymns and songs by Philip which went very well too. 

Today is Philip's 42nd birthday. We went out together for a nice walk together at Green Pastures to celebrate. We walked 4,5 km.

The Youth online conference is in its 4th night tonight and continues in real blessing. They are having about 90 taking part every night. At the other end of the age scale the seniors had another online session this morning which they love. 

I am glad to report that our pastor Nemias at Flores is better from the Covid virus as are his wife and son. His mother Nevinha is improving too. PTL! Thanks for all your prayers and support. 

I have read all John Goldingay's preparatory notes for his 4 lectures on Jeremiah next week in LST's Summer Conference and I have read all 52 chapters of Jeremiah. I will be attending the online Conference every morning next week from Monday to Thursday starting at 5 am each day. 

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

90 at Youth Conference

The first night of the 5-night EAB/ACEV Youth Conference had 90 taking part on Tuesday Evening and was a great blessing to all. The message by a psychologist was on the dangers of pornography in times of lockdown. Tonight will be dealing with the topic of domestic violence and male chauvinism. 

Last night the Patos Men's Fellowship also met online with 17 men taking part. Their Bible meditation brought by one of the men was in Acts 1. There was also an online 'knees to the ground' prayer meeting. 

I walked another two and a half miles this morning at Green Pastures. I enrolled in the London School of Theology's 'Summer School' when I got back. It will run from Monday to Thursday next week and is free online. John Goldingay will be the main speaker on Jeremiah. It will start at 9 am UK time so will be 5 am for me!

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

New Reality

Our Patos church has fully adapted to the new pandemic reality and in fact we are doing more now and reaching more people that even before. 

To start with - every day we have the EAB/ACEV 5 minute slot posted at Midday and remaining on ACEV Patos's Facebook page for 24 hours. This is done by church members who record 5 minute Bible reflections or testimonies and send them to me for checking. I then pass them onto our internet man who posts them. It is a lovely way to involve the church at large. So far 15 are taking part and it's being a blessing.

Tonight being Tuesday we have two online groups in action. First we have the "knees to the ground" prayer meeting from 7 pm onwards. Then we have the Men's Fellowship which kicks off at 7.30 pm. Both these meetings use Google Meet and overlap time wise.

Then the Patos youth start a Conference tonight at 7.30 pm going through each evening to Saturday and open to the youth from all our churches. They will have different speakers and singers every evening. 

I have prepared my sermon for Sunday and I have now been working on the Bible study for this Thursday on Acts 6 and 7. I do my Bible studies in relaxed read and chat along style. i.e. I read a bit and then chat about it. Hence my diagnosis is that chapter 6 will be good but chapter 7 will be stodgy. I value your prayers.