Monday 28 January 2019

"On preaching sermons; on hearing Sermons" Conference

Last weekend the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of England (EPCEW) and Wales held an outstanding conference at Hill Top Chapel Sheffield. It was an opportunity to learn and grow in our understanding but also the practice of preaching. Furthermore the conference emphasised the art of the listening to the Word of God read and preached. According to the Westminster Standards there are three outward and ordinary means of grace (Westminster Shorter Catechism, question 88). They are the Word, the sacraments and prayer.

Of the administration of the Word there is a three-fold division given in the Westminster Larger Catechism questions 155-160 and these are "reading--preaching--hearing". Why not say this out loud to help you remember this? Question 155 reads.

Q. 155. How is the Word made effectual to salvation?
A. The Spirit of God makes the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word, an effectual means of enlightening, convincing, and humbling sinners; of driving them out of themselves, and drawing them unto Christ; of conforming them to his image and subduing them to his will; of strengthening them against temptations and corruptions; of building them up in grace,8 and establishing their hearts in holiness and comfort through faith unto salvation.

Question 159: How is the Word of God to be preached by those that are called thereunto?
A. They that are called to labour in the ministry of the Word, are to preach sound doctrine, diligently, in season and out of season; plainly, not in the enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power; faithfully, making known the whole counsel of God; wisely, applying themselves to the necessities and capacities of the hearers; zealously, with fervent love to God and the souls of his people; sincerely, aiming at his glory,6 and their conversion, edification, and salvation.

Question 160: What is required of those that hear the Word preached?
A. It is required of those that hear the Word preached, that they attend upon it with diligence, preparation, and prayer; examine what they hear by the Scriptures; receive the truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness of mind, as the Word of God; meditate, and confer of it; hide it in their hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives.

These questions make good meditation material. If you would like to listen to the sermons they can be found at

Mark 4:9 "And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Monday 14 January 2019

January 2019 Pastors Conference in Uganda

This week I fly to African Bible University in Kampala, Uganda for a pastors conference. I will be travelling with a young man from the church in Sheffield and meeting up with a fellow pastor from EPCEW (Rev Drew Goodman) who will join in the teaching on the last day on Friday.

This Wednesday to Friday, pastors will join together on the ABU campus and we intend to teach on the 15 most relevant chapters in the Westminster Confession. We would love to teach all 33 chapters but time does not permit. We have many books on the Westminster Confession and on worship donated by Terry Johnson to give away to these hungry men.

Do pray that the Lord would "open eyes" of pastors spiritually, that Christ would interpret the Scriptures to them and show the men the sufferings and glories of Christ, just like Christ did to the disciples on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24).

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:45-49.

We covet your prayers for long term fruitfulness. We believe that this teaching at this time to these pastors is a momentous occasion and opportunity. Do pray!!!!

Friday 11 January 2019

2020 Reformation Bible Conference, Sheffield

The 2019 conference has just been completed and what a blessing it was! It was a "taste of heaven on earth" with excellent teaching, fellowship and the singing was so strong, I thought that the plaster would come off the ceiling. The newly expanded Hill Top Chapel worked really well, so much so that it is hard to imagine how we coped with the old facility, but I guess that you just do.

If you would like to listen to the talks, they are on the Sheffield Presbyterian Church website and here is the link:

Or you could access them via Sermon Audio as well. Andy Young's talks on "Why Creeds and Confessions" was wonderful, as was his final talk on "The Sacraments". Andy is the minister of the newly planted Oxford Evangelical Presbyterian Church. If you are considering going to University why not choose Oxford or Sheffield and you can come and join the EPCEW churches there and bring your support?

Rick Phillips from Second Presbyterian Church, Greenville in the USA, brought wonderful warm ministry with great Scriptural clarity on the roles of men and women, the sovereignty of God, God the Creator and also a valuable talk on a Christian worldview of dating; most practical.

The Chapel was packed and probably 40% of the room was under 25. We do not aim at young people, but they come and we make no apologies for that. All ages, backgrounds, nationalities and social situations attend, for which we praise God. I explained that though this was the fifth conference it had gone so well that we should consider a sixth conference in 2020. We will discuss this as elders here in Sheffield, but I had people queuing up to urge me to have another conference next year.

For 2020, the dates would be Friday 3rd (11.00am) to Saturday 4th January (finish at 4.00pm) 2020. Please pray for the right speakers and the right topics, for the organisation and for the Lord to bring the right people. It is a free conference hosted by Sheffield Presbyterian Church, and we have an offering to go towards Church planting.

To the Triune God be the glory!

Wednesday 2 January 2019

2019 Reformation Bible Conference

This year's conference looks like it will be a spiritual feast. This conference began in 2015 and this will be the fifth conference. The purpose is to nourish the souls of Christians at the beginning of the year and it provides a great meeting place for like-minded believers. We have always had large numbers of young people as well from different parts of the UK. The format of the conference is based on straight-down-the-line preaching on topics of hoped for significance, from a biblical and reformed perspective. Each year the topics vary and here is the order of topics for 2019.

Venue: Hill Top Chapel, Don Valley, Sheffield S9 2AD (the home of Sheffield Presbyterian Church,

Dates: Friday 4th and Saturday 5th January 2019.

The Programme

Friday 4th January
11 am - 11.30 Arrive, Tea & Coffee Served
11.30 - 12.15 Session 1: Andy Young (Why Creeds and Confessions?)
12.15 - 12.30 Break
12.30 - 13.15 Session 2: Rick Phillips
(The Masculine Mandate)
13.15 - 14.00 Bring Packed Lunch
14.00 - 16.00 Group Walk
16.30 - 18.30 Carvery Dinner at
Restaurant (around £5-£8pp)
19.30 - 20.15 Session 3: Rick Phillips
(The Sovereignty of God)
20.15 - 20.30 Tea & Coffee Break
20.30 - 21.15 Session 4: Kevin Bidwell (Christ in the Old Testament)

Saturday 5th January
9 am - 9.30 Arrive
9.30 - 10.45 Session 5: Rick Phillips
(The God of Creation)
10:45 - 11.15 Tea & Coffee Break
11:30 - 12.15 Session 6: Kevin Bidwell (Christ and the Gospel in Ezekiel)
12.15 - 13.45 Lunch Buffet Provided at
13.45 - 14.30 Session 7: Rick Phillips
(Christian Dating)
14.30 - 15.00 Tea & Coffee Break
15.00 - 16.00 Session 8: Andy Young (Understanding the Sacraments)

You are welcome to come even if it is at last minute. There is no cost and there is no registration, just come along (The talks will be on the Sheffield Presbyterian Church Website after the conference).