By admin | November 6, 2008
Late last night my wife and I returned from two wonderful weeks in Ireland. We renewed friendships and visited churches in both the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. Here is a brief report on some of the meetings:
Sunday, October 26 Dundalk Baptist Church
AM – “Is the Reformation Still Relevant”
The Lord has used Pastor Stephen Murphy to do a wonderful work in Dundalk. The church there is strong and making progress in the spread of the Gospel. I was greatly encouraged by their warmth and gracious reception of my ministry.
Monday, October 27 East Down Baptist Office Bearers’ Mtg.:”Who Speaks When We Preach?”
The East Down Office Bearers Association consists of the pastors elders and deacons from the churches in East Down, a portion of County Down east of Belfast. Almost 50 men attended the meeting at which I preached on the presence of Christ in preaching. They were very kind and appreciative of the word.
Tuesday, October 28 Sion Mills (Dunamanagh) Joint Mid-Week Service: “The Independence And The Interdependence Of The Local Church”.
Folks from six churches gathered for this joint mid-week service in the west of the province of Northern Ireland–almost as far from the East Down meeting as one could travel. The sponsoring pastors didn’t know what to expect–they thought that perhaps 40 people would attend. To their surprise and delight, about 90 came to hear the word preached. I brought a sermon based on Paul’s letter to the Colossians, highlighting the connections between the churches in Colosae, Laodicea and Hierapolis, urging these six churches to support one another’s work in the spread of the Gospel.
Wednesday, October 29 Ballymoney Baptist Church
Mid-Week Service: Preaching. This was a delightful evening. I preached from Psalm 15 seeking to identify the man described there. The church is currently without a pastor, but the good work of Pastor Stephen Curry (who just left after about 20 years of service) is evident in this mature assembly of Christians.
Thursday, October 30 Irish Baptist Historical Society “Reforming the Reformed Pastor”.
It was a great joy to address this Society, delivering my paper on Richard Baxter and his deviant views of Baptist and Justification.
Saturday, November 1 Irish Biblical Reformation Conference:Session 1: “The Mandate for Biblical Church Leadership”;Session 2: “The Method of Biblical Church Leadership”
This was the highlight of the trip. Five pastors have been sponsoring this conference since its beginning in 2000. They have had about 30-40 in attendance for the last few years, and were hoping for an increase to about 50 this year. When we met, 74 people, mostly pastors and students, packed out the room they had secured for the day. In the first session, I tried to show how church leadership must take its cues from the authority of Christ and the Apostles; in the second I adapted and delivered the material posted here. Many men expressed their appreciation, I know that the sponsoring committee were very happy with the day. Perhaps it is evidence of the Lord’s work and its future in Ireland.
Sunday, November 2- Tuesday November 4 Stonepark Baptist Church Conference: “Devotion in the Psalms”
This was my second visit to Pastor Harry Dowds and his wonderful church in Co. Fermanagh. I preached four times from Psalms 15, 21, 25 and 73. It was a delight to be with these folks.
Monday, November 3
10:30AM – Pastors’ Fraternal: “Who Speaks When We Preach”. Here, I presented the same material I had done a week before for the East Down Office Bearers. It is always great to be with pastors.
Tuesday, November 4 – Irish Baptist College Lecture: “The Grace of God through Many Generations”
What a delight to see what the Lord is doing at the College outside of Belfast. I spoke on the heritage of an important Baptist Family in America–Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and his descendants. After the session, we had a wonderful lunch with the faculty and staff. I was the chief beneficiary of this meeting–the men there were exceedingly kind to me.
All in all, it was a really wonderful trip. We had the usual jet-lag issues for the first week, but the Lord gave help. Thank you for your prayers for me; please continue to pray for His work there on the Emrald Isle.
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