We’ve had a really excellent weekend, God is so good.
On Saturday we spent the day with our lovely friends Doc & Carol on a day trip to Dourdan.
This mediaeval town is only a 35 minute bus ride from Massy, but is deep in the forested countryside. Click the picture below to enlarge it and practice your French with the town description!
It was market day, so the whole town was bustling:
For Joanna and I it was an encouraging time as this an example of exactly the type of small town in which we want to plant Churches. There was lots going on and so many potential opportunities to share the love of Jesus.
After a wander round, we had an excellent lunch at a very original and friendly little restaurant called Les Gens:
To work off our lunch we toured the Château and its museum.
Of course by then we needed tea and patisserie, which we found in a pleasant café in the main square. Aaaah.
Coincidentally, the preacher at our Church in the evening was our friend Bernard, who lives near Dourdan. We’re encouraging him to plant a Church there… 🙂 His helpful message was about patience.
This afternoon we visited Église Impulsion in Paris, where we had the thrill and joy of witnessing two young French people get baptised. The people were mostly in their twenties and thirties, with lots of visitors for the baptisms. There was a real sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit. After a very clear Gospel message, a number of people indicated they wanted to give their lives to Jesus, which was fantastic! We liked the relaxed, non-religious, warm and slightly disorganised, organic feel to the gathering. Praise God for all He is doing in France!
We received news yesterday that a dear friend went to be with Christ a few days ago. His long life (well over 90 years) was full and rich in unselfish service for the Kingdom of God.
I had the privilege of twice serving with Roy in leadership roles in our Church in London: once when we were both elders, and again when the Church was in a difficult time of transition.
He was always humble, calm, measured and loving in discussions. I’m afraid some of the rest of us (me included) were not always so calm! He always seemed able to see others’ points of view and was always willing to try his best to find a way forwards.
One of the things which amazed me was that his age (over 80 at those times) did not prevent him from being open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. Whilst always strongly holding to the Bible, he seemed to me to have a refreshingly loose hold on tradition.
I pray that God will help me to keep learning from Roy’s truly exceptional example. I’ll miss him, but am glad that he has been spared suffering and now has his reward.
Some themes from Paul’s letter to the Christians in Ephesus:
I’m a-living in the Spirit
In the rhythms of grace
‘Cause I am seated
In the Heavenly Place!
Consequences of being seated in heavenly places in Christ:
- There is no need to “enter in” to the presence of God: we are already there.
- God has seated us in those heavenly places, so why do we so often get up out of the seat and go walkabout?
We’ve been back home in Massy for nearly two weeks now. We settled back into life here very easily, picking up our old rhythms.
It’s been quite a busy time. Joanna has remained in the same class, with the same teachers, but it’s a lot smaller and she has a couple of new colleagues. I am in a new class, with a number of new colleagues, and new teachers.
I’m just at the beginning of level B2, which means mostly consolidating, nuancing and adding to what I’ve already learnt, rather than acquiring whole new chunks of grammer. My new teachers have different teaching styles to the previous ones, more laid back perhaps. This seems to suit the level we’re at. One benefit is that whilst the stuff we’re learning is useful and helpful, it’s not absolutely vital, which takes some of the stress off.
I was able to preach in the school’s “all-together” service on 6 September. God gave me a very specific message which a number of students told me they found helpful, which was encouraging!
On Saturday (10th) I was also preaching at our Church, battling through a heavy cold which I’ve had for a week or so now. The cold has kept me off school today (there’s only so much nose-blowing, sneezing anc coughing I can reasonably ask my fellow-students to put up with!).
I saw on the news today that our Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, has said that the security services here in France are stopping terror plots and dismantling terror networks every day. A planned attack at Notre Dame was recently stopped. How much our country needs, desperately needs, to know about the love and forgiveness of Jesus. Please keep praying for France…