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The Wickens Ministry

Introduction to and updates from the Wickens Family - Serving God in the United Kingdom. Visit our site to learn what we are doing and what we believe. Also, stop by for our E-Missive Blog, photos and video.
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Greetings all. The software version I use to design and maintain this site went through a massive change about a year ago. I have delayed making the changes here until now, I just kept using the old version. However, it is no longer tenable and so am going through the steps needed to migrate the site to the new version. Some material may disappear for a while, but it should pretty much all move over to the new site by the end of the week. I will be using a new template but apart from superficial changes you should not notice too much of a difference. God bless.
As I begin my efforts back into the blogging arena I thought I would begin with a post on St. George's Day. Now, as a believer, I find all born-again Christians to be saints, so I use it with George in a traditional sense. So what is St. George's Day? Well, it is in remembrance of St. George. Many look upon it as England's national day. You can find out more if you type it into any search engine. I wanted to share here excerpts from a speech Winston Churchill made in 1933. I first read it and some interesting notes here: St. George's Day: Labour Has Squandered What Churchill Fought to Defend (http://conservativehome.blogs.com/centreright/2009/04/st-georges-day-labour-have-squandered-what-churchill-fought-to-defend.html) I have been wondering what would have happened to him and his story if he had lived now-a-days. St George would have arrived in Cappadocia accompanied, not by a horse, but by a secretariat. He would have been armed, not with a lance, but with some flexible formulas. He would, of course have been welcomed by the local branch of the League of Nations, and, encouraged by them, he would have proposed a conference with the dragon. He would have made a trade agreement with the dragon and would certainly have lent him a lot of money raised from the Cappadocian taxpayers. The question of the maiden’s release, which is very important in the story, would no doubt have been referred to Geneva. It being understood that the dragon reserved all his rights in the meantime. Finally, St George would have been photographed with the dragon, inset the maiden. We ought not on these occasions to allow our thoughts to exalt England at the expense of our fellow countrymen in these islands. But there are a few things I will venture to say to you about England. They are spoken in no invidious sense. Here, it never occurs to anyone that the banks would close their doors on their depositors; here it never occurs to anyone to question the fairness of the courts of law and justice; here no one would dream of persecuting his fellow subject, man or woman, on account of their race or religion; here, everyone, except the criminals, looks upon the policeman as the friend and servant of the public; here we provide for poverty and misfortune with more compassion, and more substantial provision, in spite of all our burdens, than any other great country; here we assert the rights of the citizen against the state; or criticise the government of the day, without failing in our duty to the crown. This England, this mighty London in which we are gathered is still the financial centre of the world. From the Admiralty building, half a mile away, orders can be sent to a fleet, which though much smaller than it used to be, or that it ought to be is still unsurpassed on the seas... Historians have noticed all down the centuries, one peculiarity of the English people which has struck them most, and that is, that we have always thrown away after every victory, the greater part of the advantages gained in the scuffle. The worst difficulties from which we suffer do not come from without, they come from within. They do not come from the cottages of the wages earners. They come from a peculiar type of brainy people, always to be found in our country, who, though they do nothing help, take much from its strength. Our difficulties come from a mood of unwarrantable self abasement into which we have been cast by a powerful section of our own intellectuals. The come from the acceptance of defeatist doctrines by a large proportion of our politicians. We are told to believe that patriotism is worn out, except where paying income tax is concerned. But what have they found to put in its place? Nothing but a vague internationalism; a squalid materialism and the promise of a Utopia….Nothing can save England if England will not save herself. If we have lost our place and our capacity to guide, if we have lost our faith in ourselves, then indeed our story is told. If, while foreign nations are everyday asserting a more aggressive, a more militant nationalism, either by trade or by arms, while we remain paralysed by our own theories. If that be so, then deprived of the sovereignty of the seas, loaded with debt and taxation, our commerce shut out by foreign tariffs and quotas, England would sink to the level of a fifth rate power. Never should we accept such a fate for our country.
Over the past ten days I recieved the sad news that two relatives passed away. Both were Great Uncles. One was my Grandmother's brother-in-law and the other was my Grandfather's brother. One lived about 6 hours south in my home town, the other lived about 3 hours north in Edingburgh. It is a blessing to be at least in the same country as my family now which enables me to be there for such occasions. I travelled down on Monday and stopped in London to visit John Anderson. John is originally from the USA but pastors a church in West London. We had a good time of fellowship, but also of sharing ministry ideas and thoughts. The funeral for my Uncle Mick was yesterday. It was a good service and though a sad occasion, it was good to see some family again. It was also quite unusual in that my cousins and brothers really spent a lot of time together as children. Yesterday we met and some of us have children, one cousin is in the army and has served his country all over the world, we all have vocations and our own homes. It was amazing how much time had changed, but also how much was still the same. I had a good trip back up arriving home around 23:30 last night. It has been a long couple of days, and the rest of April looks like it will be just as busy. Do pray for us.
It has been a busy and blessed weekend. On Saturday evening Bethesda began a Bible Conference with Pastor David Moore. The conference theme is Shoring Up the Foundations . Pastor Moore was one of my teachers in Bible school and he was my pastor when I was in Northern Ireland. Since those long-ago days David has moved to pastor Milton Baptist Church (www.miltonbaptistchurch.info). The conference has been a great challenge so far. It concludes this evening. Each service has been recorded and will be available on DVD or online. We hope to make some extra material available via the DVD. I'll post more on that at a later date. Sunday mornings as a family we still attend services at Bethesda. Then from about 4pm onwards I am busy with the two mission halls and some weeks a young people's meeting. On Sunday mornings I sometimes take the teens Sunday school class, and recently I have been attempting to offer live broadcasts of the service over the internet. I preach at Hallgarth mission from 5pm until 6pm. Then I leave Hallgarth and rush to Ford Estate Mission. We had good services at both halls. I am currently going through the Messianic Psalms. We began looking last week at Psalm 2 - The Official Glories of the Eternal Son. Yesterday we were in Psalm 40 - The Psalm of the Incarnation and Burnt Offering.
While many may argue the different sides mentioned in the previous two posts, no one could argue our privilege of intercession. Jeremiah 7:16 Jeremiah 11:14 Jeremiah 14:11 This passage in Amos 7 and our consideration of why to pray also leads us to question the matter of God’s repentance. We need to begin with these important points: 1. God Never Changes Hebrews 13:8 - Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Malachi 3:6 - For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. James 1:17 - Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. II Peter 3:8 - But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2. God is All Knowing and Eternal Nothing takes God by surprise. No outcome is unexpected. God’s existence is not bound by time and space. God knows the end from the beginning. So, God does not make a decision, discover a new factor and consequently change His mind and take another course from the one originally intended 3. Repentance Means: Nacham - to be sorry, console oneself, repent, regret, comfort, be comforted Nacham - to sigh, breathe strongly; by implication to be sorry, (in a favourable sense) to pity, console, (unfavourably) to avenge (oneself): - comfort (self), repent The vast majority of the occasions when repentance is attributed to God it simply means something has brought God sorrow 4. God’s Repentance is in keeping with His Unchanging Nature Sin brings punishment but repentance (motivated by or somehow involving someone's intercession) bring forgiveness. The offer of a choice does not decrease the sovereignty of God. Imagine I tell my children to eat their dinner, and if they eat their dinner I will give them dessert or if they do not then they will not get dessert. Just because I give them choice does not mean my authority over them or my power to enforce it has been lost or decreased. I am, in a sense, honoured either way as my will is done. However, that will is contingent on their eating their dessert. Their choice has not affected my power or ability whatsoever. I know that is an incredibly simplistic example and one which would fall down if pressed too far, but it proves this point. God can offer choices without a) decreasing His own sovereignty and b) losing control of the situation. 5. Finally, consider Amos, a man with compassion – 2, 5 Amos did not excuse sin and claim innocence. Amos did intercede and sought mercy. So, all things considered, how does prayer work. I think at this juncture I cannot fully explain it all, and so perhaps I will end with a few conclusions but also more questions: 1. I believe in the free will of man. 2. I believe prayer works. 3. I believe that as we pray God does not over rule a person's free will, yet something additional does happen to influence a person. 4. We are never to blame for a person's ultimate choice, but neither are we to credit for answered prayer, yet somehow we are a factor. Whatever the case, God gets all the glory. Consider Paul declaring himself innocent from the blood of the people at Ephesus because he had fulfilled his responsibility to tell them about Christ. 5. What is that additional happening that occurs if I pray? 6. How is God's ultimate will accomplished if man's free will is changeable? i.e. Does this potentially lead to open theism (I think that is the name)? 7. If, as according to some Calvinists, the prayer is as foreordained as the answer, if we do or do not pray it is still God's will, because if we don't it is because God has not made us and if we do it is because He has made us. Are we back to what some would call fatalism? I guess this will be an ongoing journey. As I mentioned in yesterday's article. Many thoughts, statement and questions lead inevitably to other areas which then need careful consideration themselves.
Every one cares about where their money goes. Many people enjoy knowing their friends and being known. Social media sites allow a more detailed and thorough interaction than traditional means. Most missionaries will send, at the most, a single letter every other month. A few may send one every month. Because of the time and money involved this is a limited form of communication. The social media sites below will let you connect with me as an individual and with the ministries with which I am involved. If you support us and really want to be involved then you can know so much more by joining us on Facebook, Twitter or simply getting our web site updates which occur several times a week. If you just enjoying the social side of the internet, want to know more about things you may already have seen on our site then click the pictures below, sign up and find out more! What is RSS? (http://www.problogger.net/what-is-rss/) What is Facebook? Their site describes it as, Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Millions of people use Facebook everyday to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet. And what about Twitter? Twitter helps people communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent, 140 character messages. Choose whose messages you want to receive and how you want to receive them, or search all Twitter updates to see what people are talking about. This will enable e-mail copies of our prayer letter which we endeavour to send out every 2 months. It has similar information as the letter we mail, but with a few extras.
I said I may post a short history of our cars, as the topic is fresh on my mind right now. So, here it is. :) 1. VW Golf - I loved that Golf. It was quick, comfortable and my first car. There is always something special about a guys first car. I bought it in 2001 I think, and only got rid of it last year. It was off the road for a year or more though. The repairs just got too expensive. 2. Renault Scenic Megane - Ah, the Scenic Migraine. An all round average car. Not too quick, not too comfortable, not too pretty, not too much of much at all. It died a sudden death in December 2008 after about 18 months of my owning it. Very average, a big disappointment. Read here (index.php?option=com_content task=view id=509 Itemid=36 ) for more... 3. Renault Laguna Estate Sport - A nice car to drive, quite quick, lots of space, but not enough seats. High insurance, not very economic. Currently for sale on Ebay. :) 4. Kia Sedona - my perfect vehicle, well, apart from the VW Golf. It actually reminds me a lot of a vehicle I borrowed from a good friend in the USA once. Maybe that is why it grabbed me so quickly. The exterior and interior remind me of it. I wish I could have skipped the Renaults, but the Lord knows. Anyway, here are the pictures.
In Amos 7 we see the Wrath of God and Repentance. The chapter begins with a conversation between God and Amos. God threatens a plague, Amos prays and then the plague does not occur. Finally, God ordains something to happen and no manner of intercession would make any difference. Let's consider them one at a time. 1. A Plague of Grasshoppers – 1-3 The first interpretation for the harvests is this: Israel had two main harvests. It is thought the first harvest went as a tax to the King (the King’s mowings). The second harvest was used by the people to live The second interpretation is this: Some say there is no evidence of a harvest that went entirely as tax to the King. The King is to be identified as Jehovah and the first mowing represents plagues and judgement that had already fallen on Israel. The Latter Growth refers to prosperity after the first judgements. The locust symbolise a greater and complete destruction The literal interpretation indicates the nations entire food resources would be depleted by a plague of locusts. The symbolic interpretation suggests an enemy army sweeping through the nation leaving none alive. This potential judgement would have devastated the nation of Israel while somehow preserving the Messianic and Davidic line 2. A Plague of Fire – 4-6 This plague represents the incessant heat of the sun during drought. Amos’ vision depicts the waters drying up entirely, the ground becoming like dust. As with the locusts the plague of fire, a drought, would almost entirely deplete the nation 3. The Plumbline – 7-9 Unchecked and indiscriminate wrath bothered Amos. That is one reason he pleaded for mercy in this passage. In the third vision we see God holding each individual up to judgement and awarding them according to their actions. Now in verses 3 and 6 we see a God of Mercy. God has Mercy and Judgement in Equal Measure. God’s righteous Judgement does not excuse sin but His mercy provides a way of salvation in-keeping with His judgement. Amos interceded twice on behalf of Israel and God answered His prayer Verse 2 – O Lord GOD, forgive, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? For he is small. Verse 5 – O Lord GOD, cease, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? For he is small. The mention of Jacob refers to the covenants made with Israel. We should never hesitate to claim God’s promises in prayer. However, we must first know God’s promises contained in His Word. We can find other Biblical Examples of Intercession. Jeremiah 15:1 – God takes note of those who pray intercessory prayers. This verse seems to indicate that some are more effective in their intercessory prayers. How does this weigh up with the Calvinist view that I guess all prayer is equally valid if the prayers are foreordained? This is a genuine question for any who may know the answer. Other examples would be: Abraham – Genesis 18:16 Moses – Exodus 32:11 Samuel – I Samuel 12:23 Christ – Hebrews 7:25 and 9:24 A few other interesting passages would be these, Psalm 106:23 – “Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.” I do not believe that God makes idle threats. Moses stood in the breach – it is the imagery of a break in the wall of a besieged army. Moses, like a defending army, stood in the breach. Moses turned away God’s wrath. The only conclusion is that prayer makes a difference! If everything was set in stone in eternity past then why does it say, had not Moses his chosen stood before him. I think so far it is clear that we must pray because prayer works. It also seems that there is an almost conditional element in that if we pray or if we do not pray then there are consequences. I believe each individual bears the responsibility for their own sin, yet there is an element of responsibility we bear for one another. If I do not pray for someone, then I have failed but I am still not the reason for their judgement. However, in line with I Corinthians 3 there is an element of reward for our part in evangelism. I stress that whatever we do we do by God's grace and enabling power. Further to that, prayer is not some magic combination of words, but it is the way in which we speak to God, He hears us and answers according to His will. So far I feel like not an awful lot has been accomplished, but I hope in the next post some firmer conclusions will be drawn and defined from Scripture. Each area of discussion naturally broadens the field, so I will try to keep this focused on the element of prayer. Come back tomorrow and I will try to have brought this short series to some Biblical and logical conclusion.
In some ways I hesitate to write about something of which the vast majority in the world have never heard and about which the vast majority do not really care. But I am going to do it anyway. Since coming to England my different responsibilities and schedule has allowed me to go back and study in greater detail some areas in which I have reached conclusions, but still had questions. One of those areas is Calvinism. I have stressed in several recent conversations several things that I would like to reiterate here: There are Calvinists with whom I have close friendships and with whom I have no axe to grind. I am not trying to convince them to change nor do I think them lesser Christians in any way whatsoever. There are types of Calvinists which I would find it harder to deal with, but for me it is not a matter of personal separation. I am not looking for a fight or seeking out trouble, it just seems Calvinism is being offered every where I turn and it feels like I am being attacked rather than the other way round. So in essence, some Calvinists are gunning for me, not the other way round. So there we have it, my basis for not wanting any individual to feel targeted, nor for any friendships to feel threatened. :) What I am thinking about at present is prayer. A fair question is why do Calvinists pray. After all, nothing we do makes any difference, everything is sovereignly ordained. Now, I know the answer given is that the prayer is foreordained just as the answer is foreordained. But does that not make the answer dependent on us praying? If the prayer is foreordained then do we not come back to the point that others have raised that we are simply machines. Surely this answer leads us to believe in Calvinism as being a kind of fatalism. Now, to be fair, the question can be reversed. If those who do not believe in Calvinism do not believe that God over rules the will of individuals, then why do we pray? What exactly do we think can be achieved? Part of my answer will be this, there is a junction at which free will encounters sovereignty that I do not believe we can currently understand. I used to be afraid of this because some Calvinists give the impression they have all the answers, but as a good friend of mine from Georgia, USA has said, It just ain't so. The rest of my answer stems from an event in the life of Amos. You can read the text in Amos 7:1-10. To keep these articles concise I will post the remainder of this topic in later posts. Be sure to come back tomorrow to continue this line of thought.
Last week the Lord blessed us with a 7 seater vehicle! We have wanted and needed one for a while but the opportunity never came up. Now with three children, all still in car seats, the need became quite urgent. They would fit in the back of a car, but only just and that meant not being able to fit any one else in the vehicle. Last week I was looking for something completely unrelated for Ashleigh on E-bay. Somehow I stumbled across a Kia Sedona. I sent an e-mail asking some questions to the dealer and within a short time they had called me. The asking price was fair, and I probably would have been happy with that, but I was genuinely hesitant. As I mulled things over the dealer offered to knock some money off. I then agreed to come out and look at the vehicle the next day. Last Thursday I went to the dealer to see the vehicle. The Kia Sedona was a trade in and the customers had bought another Kia so I figured they must have been happy with the make. It is a diesel, has 85000 miles, has sliding doors on both sides at the back and lots of other family-friendly features. I had been praying and so had Carrie and it seemed the right thing to do. Now, go back one day. The boot (trunk) of the vehicle we had to buy in an emergency at Christmas had always had trouble. I just realised that over the craziness of Christmas I never posted about that. I'll come back to that at the end of this post. Anyway, finally the lock stopped opening completely and so I took it to a mechanic who fixed it and mentioned they charge a set price for lock work. So when I looked at the Kia and found the boot did not open I knew what it would take to repair it. However, I hesitated and the dealer took off more than I knew it would cost to repair it. :) Now, I was not trying to work the system, I was genuinely thinking. The dealer is having a hard time with the economy and I think was keen to get a second hand vehicle off the lot. So in the end having found EXACTLY the sort of vehicle I was looking for at a price that quite fair to begin with, in the end the price came down another £350 which today is equal to $500 so it was quite the saving! The vehicle is ideal, it is just what we needed and from beginning to end I know it was led of the Lord. So, what happened at Christmas? We drove about 300 miles south to be with family over Christmas. On the way down the old car, a Renault Scenic Megane, developed severe mechanical problems. We managed to get to our destination. I got the car to a mechanic soon after and he basically told me that the car would cost more to repair than it was worth. Indeed, I played less for the new 7 seater than it would have cost to make the repairs on the Scenic. The Scenic only had 70,000 miles, but it was all over. Now we were 300 miles from home and had no vehicle. So, after praying and seeking advice we managed to buy a car from a friend of the family. This time it was a Renualt Laguna Sport. It is an estate vehicle, petrol and nice to drive. But, the fuel economy is not so great, and being a Sports model the insurance was steep. Being from a friend of my dad's we got a good price. Now that car is currently on Ebay and I anticipate getting more for it than I paid, and certainly more than I paid for the Sedona. All in all I can see how the Lord has worked and I am thankful for His blessing. Times have not been without stress, but at the other end of the trial I can see how the Lord was working all things together for our good and His glory. Just for fun I may add some pictures of our car history later. We started with a VW Golf, went to a Renault Scenic, then a Renault Laguna and now a Kia Sedona. Oh, I ran out of diesel the other day. I discovered that running out of diesel is worse than running out of petrol...
After a long 9 month wait our baby daughter arrived on Wednesday the 18th. We decided to call her Sophie Kaetlyn. Sophie means wisdom and the name first struck me when I read it in Colossians 1. Kaetlyn means pure. We liked the name Kaetlyn for both the meaning and the sound. Apparently we have gone with the Celtic spelling. Carrie and Sophie are both doing really well and we appreciated all those who prayed for us. We went into hospital last Tuesday at around 22:30 and Sophie was born just a few hours later at 2:12am on Wednesday morning. Sophie has been sleeping well at night and feeding well so all is good. Last night we noticed Samuel having bad breathing and we could actually hear him breathing from another room. So about 23:30 I took him to the emergency department at the same hospital where Sophie was born just a few days ago. It turned out he had croup. After a dose of steriods his breathing improved. Well, that is our fmaily news for now. Here are a couple of pictures of baby Sophie.
This morning two Jehovah's Witnesses, or Watchtowerites came to the door (I'll explain why some people call them Watchtowerites at the end). It was an older gentleman with, I presume, his wife who was in a wheelchair. They began the conversation as they often do by asking what I thought about the problems in the world today and quickly moved on to offer me copies of The Watchtower and Awake . Notice, their first port of call is not the Scriptures, but their commentary on the Scriptures, the Watchtower . Several interesting topics were covered over the time they were here. Each reveal that while they call themselves Christians, their beliefs and teachings are far from Christian. Some of the topics we covered: 1. The Trinity and the Deity of Christ The Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in the Trinity. They believe God created Christ. Immediately you can see how vital a difference there is between Christianity and the Jehovah's Witnesses. If Christ is not God then He could not have suffered and died for sinners. They point to a number of Scriptures and twist many of them. I quoted John 1:1 and the lady immediately came back with their version of the Scriptures which says that the Word was A god rather than the Word was God. I took them to Colossians 1:16 which speaks about Christ and tells us that by Him all things were created. Somehow they passed over that and moved to another topic. 2. Creation. Concerning creation he said they did not believe in a literal six day creation. He spoke of II Peter 3:8 and quoted that with God a day is as a thousand years. I asked him how that worked with teachings in Exodus 31:15. There the Lord tells Israel to work 6 days and rest the 7th. I asked if that meant we are to work 6 thousand years and then rest for 1 thousand. He went back to quoting that with God a day is as a thousand years. I then referred to the rest of II Peter 3:8 which says that a thousand years is as a day. For his argument the second part of the verse cancels the first. I then asked him about the mention of the evenings and the mornings in Genesis 1. There we read about the evening and the morning being the first day etc. Because of a literal reading, the original languages and basic grammar we can be sure that Genesis 1 speaks of literal 24 hour days. They both then started talking about God simplifying things so we could understand. I asked them if that meant that God did not write what He meant to write, so we had to understand what was not there. They denied this, but of course this comes back to their magazine, the Watchtower. At some point in the conversation, not in any single moment, the tide of the conversation turned. By God's grace I had become the one controlling the conversation instead of him. This is when he started to step backwards and kept trying to make an exit. I do not know much about apologetics, but it seems this is one of the keys, controlling the flow of the conversation. I think it indicates the one who is confident in their position and understanding. They left on a good note and I came inside and printed off some studies I had done on the Trinity plus some information I had compiled on how to witness to Jehovah Witnesses. They had come to convert me so I could not see how they would be offended by my showing them how I teach on how to try and win them to the Lord. By this time, though, they were out of site. I silently prayed I would be able to find them again and go ready to take the family into town. I took the material with me and as we pulled out of our drive there they were, returning to their vehicle. I pulled over, went to the man and offered to take his material if he took mine. :) We exchanged material and went our separate ways. I pray that they will be challenged to consider what they believe and hopefully come to Christ. Watchtowerites? - Well, this is because their final authority is not the Scriptures, but the Watchtower magazine. Anyway, if you would like a copy of the material I gave them then just let me know and I will send you a copy. One of pieces of literature is mostly information I compiled from www.carm.org. (http://www.carm.org.)
This story at Fox News has helped bring to light some of the terrible things happening in the world today - Lawsuit: Florida Clinic Botched Abortion, Threw Out Live Baby (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,488644,00.html) Ingrid Schlueter comments on the story here (http://www.sliceoflaodicea.com/abominations/abortion-clinic-story-horrifies-but-why/) and I quote it below: Associated Press started it all yesterday by carrying this story (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,488644,00.html) about a woman who had gone to an abortion clinic to have her 23-week old, preborn baby killed. They dilated her cervix in preparation for the murder and left her in the waiting room for the hired assassin to arrive. The baby was born before he could get there to commit the crime, so a staff member chucked the live infant into a garbage bag to go out with the trash. This story has reportedly “shocked” those on both sides of the abortion debate, according to the reports. But why? Why does it shock them? Are they shocked because there was an actual baby involved, and normally the “choice” crowd succeeds in passing abortion off as a mere “pregnancy termination?” Are they shocked because the baby was born alive and died in a garbage bag and wasn’t cut to pieces by a surgeon instead? So garbage bags are shocking, but having a child incinerated like garbage after being chopped to pieces is NOT shocking? You have to wonder about the IQ’s of Americans. We’ve killed 50 million babies, sports fans. They all die, and a garbage bag is far more merciful of an environment than being put down a garbage disposal as younger infants are after being killed. Why is this incident even making news? It’s the woman’s body, right? Except, it really wasn’t after all. It wasn’t the woman who was born in a waiting room and thrown in a trash bag. It was a different body altogether. The only purpose this news story serves is to remind criminally complacent Americans, worried about losing their SUV’s in the credit crunch, that human beings are involved here—human beings that are being saved at the same gestational age across town in NICU’s. We are a murderous nation, and God is judging it even now. We must also be aware that this does not just happen in the USA, but in Europe and all around the world. It happens when God is put out of people's minds and the most defenseless in our society lose their right to life simply because they are alive. The Bible teaches us the sanctity of life, the world has ignored and forgotten this, consequently abortion and euthanasia have become common place. As Ingrid notes, we are a world of murderers and just as Able's blood cried to God from the ground the blood of innocents cries out today. God will judge.
I hope you can make it to either Hallgarth Mission or the Ford Estate Mission this evening as we begin a 4 week series looking at the 4th Psalm. In this Psalm we find many key truths about God and about ourselves that will help us through dark and difficult days. We will begin this evening by focusing on verse 1 and considering how we can pray through trials. In the coming weeks we will cover these other truths: Psalm 4:1 – Prayer through Trials Psalm 4:2 – Purpose through Trials Psalm 4:3 – Protection through Trials Psalm 4:4 – Perspectives in Trials Psalm 4:5 – Propitiation in Trials Psalm 4:6 – Providence in Trials Psalm 4:7 – Prosperity in Trials Psalm 4:8 – Peace through Trials If you know Christ as your Saviour then the 4th Psalm offers some wonderful promises which we can claim. If you have never accepted Christ, then the first promise to claim is in Romans 10:13: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Over at the Times Online in this article, Two Children Should Be Limit, says green guru (http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/families/article5627634.ece) , they have quoted Jonathon Porritt, who chairs the government’s Sustainable Development Commission, as saying, “I am unapologetic about asking people to connect up their own responsibility for their total environmental footprint and how they decide to procreate and how many children they think are appropriate,” Porritt said. “I think we will work our way towards a position that says that having more than two children is irresponsible. It is the ghost at the table. We have all these big issues that everybody is looking at and then you don’t really hear anyone say the “p” word.” They then go on to quote some blurb about the amount of trees the average human life destroys. There is a growing minority who believe that children are a curse, a punishment, rather than an indescribable blessing. Now, as I write this my children are tempting me to invest in quality earplugs, but in truth I would not have it any other way. Several facts are key in this discussion. 1. Children are a heritage from the Lord To call children a punishment, as Obama did here (index.php?option=com_content task=view id=247 Itemid=36), is directly contrary to Scripture. Children are a gift from God to be cherished, not leeches on natural resources that must be limited. 2. Space and supplies in this world are far from stretched The problem of starvation in this world does not have anything to do with there not be enough resources but rather it has to do with greed and the wrong people in leadership and authority. 3. This is not about saving the world but devaluing human life and controlling the population I try not to be a conspiracy nut, but, I think a lot of what appears on the media is a combination of a genuine threat and opportunists using those genuine threats to generate fear and so control the population. I think we are a long way from eugenics as implemented by the Nazis and Margaret Sanger who founded Planned Parenthood of America. But then maybe not, many things I thought I would never see in my country 10 years are happening now. The arguments are vast and varied, but the keys to me are that life is sacred and children are a blessing from the Lord. No government has the authority to limit the number of children a couple decide to have.
Since moving to Sunderland my blog habits have seriously been affected. I guess with such a massive change in routine, new responsibilities, old ones passed away, it has been difficult. This week has been eventful. On Tuesday I took part in my first funeral service. Of course I have been at funerals before, but this one I actually preached. In each message, as preachers, we hope to directly effect the hearers. At a funeral you want to convey the peace of God along with other things, and it is hard when you know the words are so easy to say but the action is much harder. The Lord gave grace, though, and I believe the Scriptures were a comfort to those who attended. Yesterday I started feeling ill and by the evening I could tell I was coming down with another stomach bug. It seems we, as a family, have constantly been struggling with some illness or another since we arrived here. Anyway, it made for a rough night, but I am beginning to feel better. I decided to sit down and watch some Saturday morning TV earlier and the only types of programs I could find were food programs! Oh well. Carrie is well, but tired. We eagerly await the arrival of our baby. I think Tuesday is the most convinent time for the baby to arrive this week, Carrie says the baby will come when he/she is ready. Tomorrow the labour begins in earnest to evangelise the comminities around the two mission halls. It is the first Sunday with the service time change at Hallgarth. I believe being at both halls every Sunday will bring numerous benefits. I have 2,500 leaflets for both areas which I hope to have distributed in the coming 4 or 5 weeks. The primary effort for growth this year, I believe, may well be through reconnecting with people who used to attend but have for a variety of reasons fallen away. Please pray for us tomorrow as it is a major focus on stirring up the people and, by God's grace, generating the zeal and passion to continue and increase our labours.
Again and again since the inuguration of President Obama I have heard people saying At least... followed by some statement regarding President Obama or Rick Warren. This is a bit of a rant, so it will be short, but my basic premise is that At least... is not good enough. If challenged about Obama's record on abortion then some Christians will say something like Well, at least he won't be taking us to war or some other statement. The basic argument being that he may be wrong or guity but at least he will not be as wrong or as bad as someone else. Call me a one issue voter if you will, but Obama's stand on abortion is so repulsive that it alone is enough for me to speak out against him and wish he was not in the position he is. In his first few days of being President, Obama has over ruled laws which George Bush put in place prohibiting the financing of over seas abortions. Providing the means to kill unborns babies was one of the first actions Obama took. This tells me everything I need to know about the man.
There are several varieties of mouse. We have Mickey Mouse who can be irritating, but also has his redeeming features. Then we have the computer mouse, this mouse I love and is a valuable tool. Finally, we have the regular, rodent mouse and it is this variety which I am currently doing battle with in our home. The house is clean and tidy, the traps are set, the fight is on! So far I have killed two. Please do pray that this war will be quickly won... by me of course.
I know you will love these redneck/hunter's Christmas Decorations and thought I would share them now so that you can prepare and have them ready for Christmas 2009:
The ongoing hostilites in Gaza are serving as a catalyst to reveal the feelings and beliefs of many around the world. The violent protests of Pro-Hamas supporters in London stand in marked contrast to the peaceful demonstrations by Pro-Israel campaigners. The behaviour of most of the media is disgraceful, the BBC routinely reports from a pro-Hamas/Muslim, anti_Israel position and some interviewers, such as on Channel Four, are openly berating Israeli officials. If you support Israel but are not sure why then these links will provide some vital information for you. If you are anti-Israel then I encourage you to look into things a little bit more, a little more deeply. 1. In the Face of this Madness, Some Facts (http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/3223606/in-the-face-of-this-madness-some-facts.thtml) 2. Believe It (http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/3219301/believe-it.thtml) 3. We Sang God Save the Queen and Rallied for Peace Against Hamas Islamist Terror (http://conservativehome.blogs.com/centreright/2009/01/we-sang-god-sav.html) 4. No, We are Not All Hamas Now (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/dominic_lawson/article5489436.ece) 5. IDF Spokesperson (http://idfspokesperson.com/) 6. Britains Muslims Should Support Israel, Not Hamas (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/4207857/Britains-Muslims-should-condemn-Hamas-not-Israel.html)
In the next couple of weeks I will be lecturing on the writings of John at Bethesda Bible School. The text book will be, primarily, John-the Gospel of Belief by Merril C. Tenney. If you are attending the course then here is a link to the text book if you would like to purchase your own copy: John: The Gospel of Belief - An Analytic Study of the Text (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0802832520?ie=UTF8 tag=thewickmini-21 linkCode=as2 camp=1634 creative=6738 creativeASIN=0802832520) You will also find John Phillip's commentary very useful, here is the link:
Some may find this a harsh comment, but it would seem plausible to me that if you looked up heretic in the dictionary it could well say, Please see 'Bishop John Shelby Spong' . Why do I say this? Well, I first came across his completely non-Christian views on this post at the Christian Research Network - John Shelby Spong on “Old Evangelical Language…Badly Dated” (http://christianresearchnetwork.com/?p=8764) Here are some quotes from that article: When you ask about “believing in Jesus Christ as your personal savior” you are using stylized evangelical language. That language has no appeal at all for me. To assert the role of savior for Jesus implies a definition of human life as sinful, fallen and helpless. It assumes the ancient myth that proclaimed that we were created perfect only to fall into sin from which we need to be rescued. It was a popular definition before people understood about our evolutionary background. We have been evolving toward humanity for billions of years. So the idea that I need a savior to save me from a fall that never happened and to restore me to a status that I never possessed is in our time all but nonsensical. It is because we do not understand the nature of human life that we do not understand the Jesus role. I see in Jesus the power of love that empowers us to be more deeply and fully human and so I do not know how to translate your questions. So, there you have Spong's ideas about salvation. If you were to look around his website, www.johnshelbyspong.com, you will find what seems a complete rejection of all the major doctrines. From the papers I have read this morning I have seen what amounts a rejection of a literal creation, Christ as the Son of God, a literal resurrection of Christ and the list goes on. I cannot fathom why the man continues as a 'Christian' minister when all he seems to do is tear down Christian beliefs. How does he do this? Well, it seems he approaches Christianity from a completely different perspective than ourselves. He believes the Bible is not the result of direct inspiration resulting in a perfect Word of God, but rather part inspired and mostly corrupted recordings. In fact, Spong seems to go along with the Jesus Seminar who teach that 85% of the recorded words of Christ in the New Testament are in fact not the words of Christ but statements inserted hundreds of years after His lifetime. Why am I writing about this? Well, because it ties in with the general theme in our day of rejecting the Absolute Authority of the Bible. The ideas of men and women are the basis from which many start, rather than the revealed Word of God. Many things contrive to bring about doubt concerning the Bible and we must ever be on our guard against anything that makes us doubt or second guess the Scriptures. Just as the serpent was in Eden so he is in the Christian camp whispering his lies. We must trust God's Word absolutely.
1. Clothing and the Character of Children (http://www.russellmoore.com/index.php/2008/12/31/clothing-and-the-character-of-the-child/#comment-230) - Moore to the Point The clothes that our children wear do not merely cover the nakedness of their flesh; they shape and reflect the contours of our children’s souls. 2. New War, All Over Again (http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/archives/2009/01/new-war-all-ove.html) - The Evangelical Outpost If I were to know no history of the tensions and hostilities between Israel and its neighbors, I would probably believe the recent invasion to be, in a way, unjust. After all, Israel did not attempt an economic embargo or attempt to recruit UN involvement in this specific instance. However, even from the limited amount of knowledge I have regarding Israel's interactions with Palestinians, I simply cannot answer the question, If you were Prime Minister of Israel, what would you do? in any other manner than the course they have taken. 3. Secret Sins (http://travissnode.wordpress.com/2008/12/30/joshua-7-part-1-the-lure-of-secret-sin/) - Travis Snode Travis Snode is a missionary and pastor of Northwest Baptist Church and Roe Valley Baptist Church. Recently he has been preaching and posting a series on Secret Sins. I have linked to the first article above but here are links to them all: Joshua 7 Part 1 - The Lure of Secret Sin (http://travissnode.wordpress.com/2008/12/30/joshua-7-part-1-the-lure-of-secret-sin/) Joshua 7 Part 2- The Consequences of Secret Sin (http://travissnode.wordpress.com/2008/12/31/joshua-7-part-2-the-consequences-of-secret-sins/) Joshua 7 Part 3 - The Exposure of Secret Sin (http://travissnode.wordpress.com/2009/01/01/joshua-7-part-3-the-exposure-of-secret-sins/) Joshua 7 Part 4 - The Judgment of Secret Sin (http://travissnode.wordpress.com/2009/01/02/joshua-7-part-4-the-judgment-of-secret-sins/) -- Disclaimer: Links to sites or articles should not be taken as full endorsements by The Wickens' Ministry
Watching much of the reporting concerning the present hostilities between Israel and Hamas can be a frustrating ordeal. Most of the news covers the reports of women and children being injured or killed, reporters challenge Israeli ministers saying that the rockets from Gaza have only killed around 20 Israeli citizens while Israel actions over the last few days have already killed over 300. They go on to talk about Israel's blockades and the list goes on and on. Yet the truth is much farther from the scenario which the media reports. I want to clarify that I do not emphatically defend Israel's every action, and I believe the death of any innocent individual, especially women and children, is terrible. However, Israel has a right to self defence. Concerning the comparison of injuries sustained by attacks we need to remember that Hamas would kill every Israeli if they had the opportunity and ability. Daily rockets are landing in Israel and the fact that relatively few have been killed is not due to intent but ability. In the past 10 days or so Hamas have fired over 5000 rockets into civilian areas. Israel may occasionally hit innocents as they attack, but this is because Hamas insist on making their bases in civilian areas. This is all part of their plan to win over the media, which they seem to have succeeded at. Please read this article for some important truths: Enduring Peace in the Middle East (http://conservativehome.blogs.com/centreright/2008/12/if-we-want-an-e.html) Here are some quotes: Let's go back to 2005, when Israel withdrew - unilaterally - from Gaza. This action was designed to herald future withdrawals by Israel from much of the rest of the administered territories around the West Bank. At the time, Israel was praised by many governments in the West for a bold and decisive action. To jump start the economy in Gaza, millions of dollars were spent on agriculture and the building of green-houses by the World Bank - all of which were smashed up by Palestinian Terrorists - as Israel departed. Other financial aid - again in the millions of dollars - designed for schools and children, were used by the extremists to promote hate education, and virulently anti-Semitic literature. Instead of building a peaceful and viable Gaza, Hamas mounted an armed coup d'état against President Abbas's Fatah movement (which included throwing leading ‘Fatah' Palestinians off the rooftops). Aided and abetted by Iran, Hamas gradually began the ‘Talibanisation' of Gaza (in marked contrast to the more secular West Bank, still run by Mahmoud Abbas). Not for nothing has Gaza become known as ‘Hamastan'. Also... Apart from the recent ceasefire (ended by Hamas on 19 December), barely a day went by over the past few years, in which missiles were not fired onto Israeli territory. In the Israeli town of Sderot, 92% of residents experienced a missile landing in their street. As the months and years have gone on, the missiles have moved from being ‘home-made' affairs, to ones built by Iranians with longer ranges and more deadly warheads. Over 5,000 missiles have been fired since the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. And finally... And yet despite this desperate situation, Israel is still blamed for her apparent refusal to allow aid into Gaza. But even before the cease fire breach, Israel was providing around 4,000 trucks of aid into Gaza and medically treating over 9,000 Gazans in Israel itself. Hamas, by contrast, has blown up crossings meant for aid and has used some aid trucks in which to bring in explosives. It was only a few weeks ago that sacks designated as EU flour were found to be full of explosive materials designed for Gaza. Israel is not perfect, but they are only doing what any soveriegn nation would do.

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