Maybe I still can’t pronounce it properly, but I really enjoyed my visit to the North Wales seaside town of Pwllheli where I spoke at the New Word Alive conference.
Travelling across Wales from Cardiff (where I had spent the weekend preaching at Rhiwbina Baptist Church) through intermittent sunshine and snow showers was a delight in itself. The views were magnificent, with crowds of daffodils and freshly born lambs evident on all sides against the backdrop of splendid snow-capped mountains.
Not many wise
Scripture tells us that God doesn’t choose many wise but mostly foolish (see Study 40 on Bible Insight on this website), but when brilliant minds do get saved and are humbly yielded to God what a phenomenal privilege it is to be on the receiving end of their teaching! Don Carson (expounding John’s first epistle) and John Piper (on Romans 8 ) were both at their best (if that was not their best, goodness knows what is!). Every sermon was preached twice as first approximately 2,000 adults gathered followed by the similar sized UCCF’s student group. I guess that, with children, about 5,000 attended.
In addition to taking my two opening evening sessions in the main tent, I was also drawn into Wallace Benn’s late evening session with pastors. Meeting Wallace (Anglican Bishop of Lewes) and hearing his brief devotional morning talks to the speakers’ team and evening with leaders was also a memorable highlight for me.
I enjoyed renewing fellowship with Richard Cunningham of UCCF. He is always fun to be around. It was also good to meet Hugh Palmer from All Souls Langham Place, and Mike Ovey from Oak Hill Theological College. An unexpected surprise was renewing contact with former student friends from my years at London Bible College.
I was proud of Stuart Townend and Lou Fellingham with Phatfish from my home church CCK in Brighton as they led worship, and, although worship times were not as exuberant as we would be used to, they served us brilliantly.
I wish I could have had longer with Don Carson but I was glad to have time with John Piper and took opportunity to chat with him about his superb teaching on Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ view of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which I had downloaded from his Desiring God website.
It was fascinating to be a charismatic among (I guess predominantly) cessationists, and to enjoy their zeal and passion for God and to celebrate together the great things that we have in common, not to mention be humbled by the devotion to Scripture that was so evident.
While at Rhiwbina I had the joy of praying for Maggie Parker, who had been wheelchair-bound for 23 years. She stood, walked unaided to the front and testified to an astonished and tearful congregation how Jesus had completely healed her, and then expressed her surprise that everybody seemed so short! That was pretty exciting too!