Tag Archives: St Luke’s Kentish Town

advent wonders 4, Luke sings

14 Dec

Luke- advent wonders 5, “too” Luke asks, listens, hears

‘Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first  were eyewitnesses  and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.’ Luke 1: 1-4

Luke, a Gospel author and the narrator/and an actor of, in Acts, is an active listener. He probably learned and practiced deep hearing   (  at least in part ) by within his profession as a physician. How?
 He listens to hearts and minds. He talks with Mary Jesus’ mother and Peter; he speaks with Theophilus and the women who stood by Jesus’ grave. He asks; he listens: he hears. He reads others too: Mark and Matthew; Peter and John.  And then he writes for all, 

Luke hears Mary’s heart, 

 ‘But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.’
and from Simeon’s m, ‘Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts.’ 27…
Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

‘…the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed’
Luke’s birth narrative of Jesus is laced with phrases about ‘hearts and minds.’ That is the meaning of his introductory phrase, ‘With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.’‘
Lukedesires hearts and minds to be settled, certain about Jesus. His is. It is settled by seeking, investigating, organising. Transforming.

Paul in his letter to the Romans speaks of being ‘transformed’ by the renewing to our nous’ ( Greek ) Or — our minds and hearts. This how the Greeks understood their innermost thinking: a deeply continuous inner dialogue beteeen our emotions ( hearts ) an our minds. Nous.
That is what Mary is experiencing; what Zechariah sits in silence found; what Thephilus is asking for. And this what Luke is ‘ordering’ in writing: nous 
And this is why Jesus comes. He comes to speak to hearts and minds. To Tax Collectors and Pharisees; to Saducces and prostitutes; to children and the unwell. To a paralytic,
from Mark 2

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”( Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves,“Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 

Jesus loves us even though, actually, because of what we are thinking and feeling. He loves our Nous so that came to transform. Yes, he physically heals the paralytic. But first, Jesus heals his hear and mind, 

“Son, your sins are forgiven.”

This is is what Luke is writing; what Theophilus has been taught. This is Luke’s Advent song.

Luke sings with Mary and Zechariah; with Matthew and Mark. And what is his song?

Transforming forgiveness and nous renewal. Luke sings Jesus’ song: love for hearts and minds.

And he still sings. Sing.

Paul’s at his end, Rome, listening Acts 28

14 Jul

They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of our people who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.”

‘…we want to hear…’

Hearing is not listening. Hearing sits with words, words spoke or written; words external or internal; words written or in silences, hearing sits with words for a moment and then, releases their meaning. Meanings leave without any trace.

Paul spends all day with this crowd. What do they retain, what is listened to, absorbed?

23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. 25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet:

26 “‘Go to this people and say,

“You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”

For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.

Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’

28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”

This large crowd of Jewish leaders whom Paul has given all to speak to, they cannot hear the Jesus in, with Paul. Words are heard, and gone. Nothing is listened to, retained and held. Hearers of the word do not act. Listeners do.

Only those who listen act. Like the apostles; like Paul. Like gentiles.

Paul now knows that strangers, gentiles, will listen.

And as we end our walk with Luke through the acts of the church and her apostles in tomorrow’s post, we will see how and why they listen.

a talk

14 Aug

2nd August I gave a Talk at my church St Luke’s in Kentish Town on ‘I am (He)’ from John’s Gospel. Jesus uses the phrase ‘I Am’ first with the woman at the well and last in John 18 when he is arrested in the Garden at the Mount of Olives. Translators put in the  ‘He’ but Jesus only says in both places, ‘I Am.’ Why? Easier to read.

Here is the link of my talk,


I have got them down to 22-23 minutes. Enjoy

London update Lulu, october

30 Oct

‘So your contract with Stewardship is two years in London? Two years is a very short time for developing relationships in the UK.’

This was part of my opening conversation with my Vicar from St. Luke’s in Kentish Town, London, In March in February 2013.


It has taken Priscilla and me almost two years to fully absorb the full extent and meaning of these words. People have been very open to us here. But I come back to Jon’s words.


What is their meaning today, 30 October?

We have committed to stay in London; we need to live and love here.

A long story short.


We prayed and sought counsel. Three people who did not really know each other said this sentence exactly to Priscilla and myself:

‘Your work has just began here; we, you have just gotten started.’

To hear this exact phrase from 3 different people in one week we feel & reason it are not individuals speaking but The Lord.


So, NYC friends and family know


This was the hardest hardest decision we have ever made as a couple. Those who know us know I roll with and into big decisions; Priscilla processes everything. I processed this decision; she made a relatively quick decision

Learning point: we change; he leads; we grow




Some new news

We have to move from Hampstead for a variety of reasons; it has been a beautiful time here but we need to move


Our new flat is 49 York Street # 2 in Westminster W1H 1PU. It is as Central London in a nice area-(our Tube stop is Bakers street!) and we are ten minutes by Tube from Paddington station and right by both Hyde and Regents parks.

Our landlords are a lovely lovely Christian couple. The husband is an Elder in a PCA church in the UK (one of the few here) we hopefully will be there 10 December.


Stewardship is renewing my contract and is giving me great flexibility in timing and working from home. (In the /our States home) My latest writings you can register and see


(Ctrl+Click the above here)

Priscilla spoke at St Luke’s on 20 October for the women’s meeting on vulnerability from chapters 1 & 2 of Nehemiah.


Sadly, Priscilla fell on 23 October and broke her wrist in 3 places. Hospital care here is great; lovely. She has 2 plates in her arm and is resting and recovery. Simply put: she tripped.

But as my friend Ben said: She got three broken bones in her wrist; Boy I would hate to see the other guys face


He looks bad.


We are well.



to see, anew, again-Priscilla’s notes

22 Aug

something happened
First of all welcome. Thank you for welcoming me and Charlie for the year and a half we have been worshipping at St. Luke’s. I have felt welcomed and encouraged by the Body of Christ here.
So tonight I would like to encourage you with a verse that has encouraged me. Encourage means, to give courage to fortify, to cheer or to uplift. That has been my experience here at St. Luke’s and that is my purpose here tonight-to encourage you all. So…
How will I talk tonight with you? By sharing one of my devotional moments with you.
When I do my devotions I have learned to ask questions. This is how Martin Luther meditated on scripture. Let us walk together tonight thru one of my moments, a moment I had a glimpse of God; of my seeing God and His seeing me. The text I would like to explore follows. It is the story of Hagar in Genesis 16 in the desert. My key verse is:
A. Genesis 16:13…” I have now seen the one who sees me.”
So let’s go to the scripture in its context.

B. Genesis 15:1-5
Genesis 15:1-5The Message (MSG)
15 After all these things, this word of GOD came to Abram in a vision: “Don’t be afraid, Abram. I’m your shield. Your reward will be grand!”
2-3 Abram said, “GOD, Master, what use are your gifts as long as I’m childless and Eliezer of Damascus is going to inherit everything?” Abram continued, “See, you’ve given me no children, and now a mere house servant is going to get it all.”
4 Then GOD’s Message came: “Don’t worry, he won’t be your heir; a son from your body will be your heir.”
5 Then he took him outside and said, “Look at the sky. Count the stars. Can you do it? Count your descendants! You’re going to have a big family, Abram!”

First slide-
Read and picture. Wikipedia Julius von Cardsfeld Bibel in Bildern
Abraham is discouraged because he has no heir and laments that Eliezer –a distant relative and a mere house servant- will be his heir
But God hears and answers vs.5 he took him outside and said” Look up at the sky and count the stars- if indeed you can count them, ” So shall your off spring be”

C. Now let’s read
Gen 16.
16 1-2 Sarai, Abram’s wife, hadn’t yet produced a child.
She had an Egyptian maid named Hagar. Sarai said to Abram, “GOD has not seen fit to let me have a child. Sleep with my maid. Maybe I can get a family from her.” Abram agreed to do what Sarai said.
3-4 So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took her Egyptian maid Hagar and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife. Abram had been living ten years in Canaan when this took place. He slept with Hagar and she got pregnant. When Hagar learned she was pregnant, she looked down on her mistress.
5 Sarai told Abram, “It’s all your fault that I’m suffering this abuse. I put my maid in bed with you and the minute she knows she’s pregnant, she treats me like I’m nothing. May GOD decide which of us is right.”
6 “You decide,” said Abram. “Your maid is your business.”
Sarai was abusive to Hagar and Hagar ran away.
7-8 An angel of GOD found her beside a spring in the desert; it was the spring on the road to Shur. He said, “Hagar, maid of Sarai, what are you doing here?”

She said, “I’m running away from Sarai my mistress.”
9-12 The angel of GOD said, “Go back to your mistress. Put up with her abuse.” He continued, “I’m going to give you a big family, children past counting.
From this pregnancy, you’ll get a son: Name him Ishmael;
for GOD heard you, GOD answered you.
He’ll be a bucking bronco of a man,
a real fighter, fighting and being fought,
Always stirring up trouble,
always at odds with his family.”
13 She answered GOD by name, praying to the God who spoke to her, “You’re the God who sees me!
“Yes! He saw me; and then I saw him!”
14 That’s how that desert spring got named “God-Alive-Sees-Me Spring.” That spring is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.
15-16 Hagar gave Abram a son. Abram named him Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar gave him his son, Ishmael.

Second slide-Abraham dismissing Hagar and Ishmael by Barnet Fabritus
and Hagar and Ishmael by Jean Baptiste Camille Corot
So this was the scripture; now our walk, our questioning walk through it.

1. What does this scripture tell me about God? My answer? God sees things differently than I do
He sees Sarai as she has runs out of patience, and is determined to get what she needs. She is a sinner who he still sees and heard her.
He sees Abraham also out of patience who gives in to his wife’s badgering and is complicit in getting what his wife and he wants: an heir and He –our God-still hears him.
God doesn’t ‘run out’ of patience. He always hears. Always listens. He always sees.

Last, not at the least, He sees Hagar, a lowly servant who is used sexually, abused emotionally; who is exhausted spiritually. Everyone has run out on her; and she is put out. She ends up in a desert. She who is cast out with a child, the heir given by man’s hands and will, now despised, she is alone. But here, here in the desert of Moses and Jesus’ temptation, and God sees and hears her
Here she is lifted to a higher status. She is seen by god. That is enough; for than enough for the ‘God who sees-sees me.’ So what …

2. What does this scripture tell me about me? My answer?

I would not be so patient with Abram and Sari. I would think they don’t deserve God’s ear. I would not want to hear them

I would probably feel compassion for Sarah but there would still be lingering threads of judgement from me. I need to snip; cut off; remove these judgements from my eyes. I need to remove these splinters, these logs, so I can see as God sees; I want to seen the unseen.

3. What can I thank God for?
That he still sees hears me when I lose faith in his promises. That he still hears and sees me when I am mean and enraged like Sarah. That he still hears and sees me when I am a coward like Abraham and give in when I know I should stand strong in Gods Promises. And lastly that God sees and hears me when I feel abused or thrown out by either people in the past or present by people who have been significant to me.


4. What can I confess need the God who sees me? My answer?
I need to cry out to him in my deserts.

5. If I really believe this is true, what will change in me, in my daily life? My answer?
I will see the God who sees me every day in his word.
Do you see him?
Do you hear him? Be encouraged, remember,

Gen16:13 …”I have now seen the one who sees me”


at St. Luke’s in Kentish Town we met a ‘fellow’ Bronxite

9 Jun