Author Archives: David

About David

David is the son of Ken and father of Nick, who first introduced him to blogging. Ken is a retired Baptist Minister who continues to preach regularly, despite being in his eighties. Nick is training for full time Baptist ministry after several years serving as a youth pastor. Somehow the being a preacher thing skipped a generation with David. Although half Scottish David grew up in England and in the Channel Island of Guernsey. He served in the British Merchant Navy after leaving school, and did not attend University until he was twenty-eight years old. By this time he was married to Marilyn and father to Nick, and Nick’s brother Michael. Another son (James) was born the day before the start of David’s final University examinations. Beth and John followed a few years later. The older boys are all married, and David and Marilyn have been presented with five grandsons and two grand-daughters to date, with one more on the way! Beth served with British Youth for Christ (YFC) for four years, two as a member and then a year as the leader of the Nomad cage football team. She then spent a year with a new YFC ministry known as The Cube, before leaving YFC to join the Youth and Children's Team at a large church in York, where she is also working part-time in a computer store. John, who is 19, is now the only one of our children still living at home. David and Marilyn met in 1973 and have been married since 1979. Marilyn is a trained nurse, who gave up nursing to be a full time mother, grandmother, and maker of cakes for pastors, youth pastors, and any church function that needs cakes. There is a rumour that she secretly reads David’s blogs. Family and church leave little time for hobbies, but David enjoys walking and cycling, and listening to music. He also dabbles with languages and is currently learning to speak Welsh. (By way of explanation the Welsh border is 11 miles from David's home, and his water bills arrive in both English and Welsh from Dŵr Cymru.)

Islands

The following is a guest post written by David Welford. The only islands I’ve ever been to are the Florida Keys. – Anthony Baker

I have a natural affinity for islands. I grew up on a small island called Guernsey, and moved to the rather larger island of Great Britain when I was eleven years old. Since then I have visited many islands, my preference being for the smaller variety.

Newfoundland, while interesting, was just too big. Guernsey, measuring just eight miles by five, was perfect. But then I am biased in favor of my childhood home.

There are smaller islands close to Guernsey that are wonderful for a day visit, but living permanently on a very small island poses certain challenges including food supplies, schooling, and social interaction.
P1110222

Last week I visited Madeira for the first time. Madeira is a Portuguese island that rises steeply from the Atlantic Ocean and has a population of roughly 280,000. To me that is a lot of people, but the island itself is small enough to get around.

Madeira is very rugged and very green. Everything seems to grow in abundance despite the gradients, and everywhere I went the land seemed to have been terraced to maximize the space available for crops.
IMG_2230

Accessibility to islands like Madeira is not always easy. There is an airport in Madeira but until the runway was extended a few years back the safety reputation of the airport was not good. There is a small harbor where cruise ships call, but there is no ferry service.

For some reason Madeira has an attraction for the elderly, and I was one of the youngest passengers on my flights to and from the island. I guess the young head to more exciting places.
Church

In some ways churches resemble islands. There are small and large churches, and there are churches that only seem to attract the elderly, while others appeal to the young.

A certain commitment is required to visit church, and significant journeys can be required because fewer churches seem to be inhabited these days.

In some churches there is evidence of abundant growth, but others resemble the desert islands that are visible from the south coast of Madeira where nothing grows.

Problems also occur when churches become exclusive – a bit like islands that fall into celebrity ownership, with Necker in the Caribbean being a prime example. The only way to visit Necker is as a guest or employee of a certain Sir Richard Branson.
washingtonpost

While certain types of island attract many visitors, it seems that few churches have much to offer to the world these days. I find myself increasingly drawn to the New Testament model of church where many small islands of faith appeared in an ocean of unbelief and opposition, and grew because friends and neighbors could see Jesus in the lives of their friends and neighbors.
IMG_2283 copy.JPG

I am aware that this post poses questions without providing answers, but as my thoughts travelled between islands and church I found myself challenged about church in general, the church I belong to, and the home group I attend once a fortnight.

I think the main challenge is to continue being challenged and asking questions, rather than trying to work out what type of island my church might be. But, if my church is not a place where Jesus can be found and disciples are being grown then it is no better than a desert island, regardless of how many inhabitants it might have.

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity – all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47 NLT)

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Countries, General Observations, Life Lessons, places, Vacation

Football Crazy

(Guest blog by David Welford)

My seventeen-year old daughter Beth is a football (soccer) player. Having three older brothers probably prompted Beth’s interest in football, but by the time she was ten we were being told by her coaches that she had a natural talent for the game. When the time came to leave primary school she was presented with a cup by the head-teacher, who observed that every break when he looked out of the window he would always see Beth playing football with the boys. He also commented that she was a better player than any of the boys!

Footie 02Beth eventually joined a girl’s team. They became the most successful female football team of their age group in our county. The highlight for me was watching them play in three cup finals in a row at the ground of Hereford United Football Club. I can honestly say that this was some of the best football I have ever seen. The things I respect most, apart from the skill of the players, include their incredible commitment both to training and playing, and their determination to win. Girls don’t dive and claim they have been fouled like the boys. They play hard and even when injured resist advice from the coach to come off the pitch. The only problem is that as they get older some lose interest distracted by the likes of boyfriends, and worldly pleasures away from the football pitch.

Edgar Street copyWatching my daughter play a county game the other week made me think about the cost to the girls of being there. The years of regular training, occasional injuries, the travelling to matches, and the disappointment at games lost. This has to be balanced against the elation of games won, and of receiving medals as champions. There are definite parallels with the Christian life. There is always a cost to following Jesus Christ, which is far greater in some countries than it is in North America or most of Europe. Regardless of the cost commitment is vital. There may be disappointments and setbacks during the journey but there is a prize waiting for those who persevere to the end.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:7-14 NIV)

3 Comments

Filed under Christian Maturity, Guest Posts, Struggles and Trials

Mad World

(Guest Post by David Welford)

When I was born I joined a special club. It is not a club I had any choice in joining, but it has an exclusive membership conferred on those who join through the occupation of one, or even both, of their parents. You see my father was a preacher. Actually my father still is a preacher. He still has Rev. in front of his name, and at eighty-two years of age he is still preaching in a small Methodist circuit in South Devon in the United Kingdom. At the time of my birth Dad was in his very first church, and I was the first of four preacher’s kids (PKs) born to my parents.

The first time I was aware of being a PK was when I started school. One of the older girls who attended church decided to take me under her wing. As time went on various comments by friends made me aware that there was something different about me. Something I didn’t understand at the time. When I started secondary school I soon identified the problem. It was my father’s occupation. But why would the fact that my father was a preacher make me some kind of pariah at school? I could understand why teacher’s kids and police officer’s kids were selected for special treatment, but what had preachers ever done to cause their offspring to be singled out?

A comment on a previous blog that referred to life as a PK made me sit up. Heather Mertens said; “I’m not a PK but just being His kid makes me feel like the world doesn’t get it.” If we are His kid, then the world is going to treat us the way that many PKs get treated at school. Being His kid makes us different and the world sees it and hates it. The world hates the fact that His kids have been changed by the experience of sitting at His feet, and the world will do all it can to drag us away from Him. The battle never ends. The pressure is relentless. The world just doesn’t get why we follow Him and want to be part of His family instead of indulging in everything that it, the world, has to offer. I couldn’t choose not to be a preacher’s kid when I was growing up, but I could choose to walk away from God and back into the arms of the world. But why would I when God has made me so aware of how special I am to Him?

Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. Psalm 84:10 NIV

(Guest Post by David Welford)

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest Posts, Preaching, Relationships and Family, self-worth, World View

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Growing up in a Christian home was not something I considered advantageous at the time. In hindsight, the benefits were many, but as a child I resented the imposition of church and faith on my life by my parents. I also hated the fact that my father was a preacher. You have to have been a preacher’s kid (PK) to understand the special bond between PKs!

Being a PK often provides a wonderful insight into the good, the bad, and the downright ugly of the church. Seeing the effect of so-called Christians on my father in one church made me feel like I didn’t want to be one. In fact, I wanted to smash their faces. I might not have respected my father much at the time (I was a teenager) but mess with my family and you mess with me!

At Spring Harvest (an annual Christian event in the UK) this year I listened to a young woman called Miriam Swaffield speak powerfully about the passion of Jesus as He took ‘a don’t mess with my family’ attitude when He turned over the tables in the Temple. She imagined Jesus saying; “This is My Dad’s house. That’s My family. Nobody hurts My family.”

Miriam compared the misuse of the Temple Courts with the church, stating; “When I bad mouth the church I am committing self-harm, because I am the church.” You could have heard a pin drop as everyone present stopped to think about the times that they had bad-mouthed the church and fellow believers. Then Miriam asked about tables in our lives and gave a challenge:

“What tables are you going to turn over?”

She also asked; “What stops you from being consumed with passion for Jesus?”

So … what tables are you going to turn over in your life, and what stops you from being consumed with passion for Jesus?

Passion for your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me. (Psalm 69:9 NLT)

(Guest post contributed by David Welford)

11 Comments

Filed under Christian Unity, Guest Posts