I’ve just got back from the States. Dallas, Texas to be precise.
I was invited back to speak at the Christ Church Carrollton Conference on the Bible. That’s a conference that’s been running since 2006 when Dick Lucas went out from St Helen’s Bishopsgate, London to speak on Mark’s Gospel. After him people like David Jackman, Ed Lobb and David Short have been out there to preach. That’s some line up.
It’s not a big conference. Though when one of my staff saw a picture of the Dallas Cowboys Stadium that I’d posted on Facebook I was able to convince him momentarily it was the venue in which I spoke. The conference used to be much larger, when it was launched out of Trinity Episcopal Church, Dallas. But since the painful but necessary departure of a small and biblical faithful crowd from that church to become a new planted congregation of the Presbyetrian Church of America, the conference is more modest in size. But it remains a great collection of people eager to apply the scriptures to their lives.
I was there because of the recommendation of my good friend and ex-colleague, Gavin McGrath. He talked the Minister, Bill Lovell into giving me a shot last year. And it seems as though I didn’t mess up too bad because they asked me back this year!
Last year we looked at the opening chapters of 1 Corinthians with a particular eye on addressing Christ Church Carrollton’s church planting situation. This year I’ve spent some time working on, thinking about and refining my understanding of the great little Old Testament Prophet, Jonah. And so I thought I’d give them my understanding of that reluctant evangelist. The evening congregation at Christ Church Balham heard the material first, in a fairly raw form if I’m honest. Then Beacon Heath Church from Exeter got the refined version on their weekend away. And it was there, with the opportunity to preach the talks back to back rather than separated by a week, that I began to work harder at how the whole book fits together. That brought clarity and coherence to shape and message of the book, which I hope is reflected in the talk series.
The fruit of my labours, the Spirit’s illumination and productive interaction with thoughtful Christians resulted in the following four talks.