|Town Hall in Coleraine, County Londonderry|
Just back last night from a 2 night break in the Lodge Hotel in Coleraine, Co. Londonderry. Big Sis minded Wee Bro, enabling Mum and me to get away. It was great! We got a great deal for two nights. The BIG difference between booking direct with the hotel and going through the middle man was that the hotel threw us in a full 4 course meal on the first night, whereas the agent was just giving us B&B for the same price. A good price therefore was even better. Always do your homework in these things.
I've put a picture of Colertaine town hall in because it is a place famous in revival history. The town hall was completed in 1859 which is the year of the great Presbyterian revival in Ulster. The plan initially was to have a Great Ball on the opening night, but it was cancelled because of the great conviction of sin that visited the town and the Hall instead was used for an all night prayer meeting where souls were saved. There are still faithful Evangelical churches in this town.
I did the bookshops and picked up several second hand books at give away prices. I got a hard back copy of "Everybody can know" by Francis and Edith Schaffer. I have been listening to Schaffer recently on mp3 and while I got a fair bit of repetition, it has been pretty good. Basically the contents of his books. I also picked up the paperback bio of Scottish Covenanter, Richard Cameron ("Lion of the Covenant") As someone always conscious of his Scottish Presbyterian roots, history books like this really "do it for me". Still on bios, I got William Guest's short account of the life of P.P. Bliss, the American Protestant hymnwriter. The opening lines affirms the Puritan stock of his mother's side and the fact that his paternal side fled Wales due to persecution. I also got two hardback daily reading books by Noel Grant with a wealth of illustrations. Grant is the Ulster man who wrote the challenging hymn: "Above thine own ambitions here..." which we often sing in our churches. Unfortunately, his somewhat Wesleyan view of complete sanctification can be a bit off putting, but still enough of the good stuff to enjoy. Last (but not least) I picked up "Cultivating Christian Character" by Kieran Beville on the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5) by Day One publishers which looks a useful enough Reformed commentary. It's getting time to read them all is the problem.
On the tourist side: We went to the Giant's Causeway. It was pretty stormy in the morning and since we had seen the rock formation before, we contented ourselves with the visitor's centre. There was a typical Norn Iron battle fought when this centre was recently opened. Evangelical Christians fought to get tangible recognition that not everyone believed these rocks to be millions of years old. This helped tear the mask of the butter-wouldn't-melt-in-our-mouth liberals. We then headed the other side of Coleraine and visited the famous Messeden estate as well. The weather was brilliant at this point and so we had a good time.
We headed to Belfast yesterday down the Antrim Coast Road in glorious sunshine. This road is simply stunning, with clear views of the Scottish coastline only 25 miles away over the North Channel. We arrived in time at Big Sis's house to get a short doze, pick up Junior and head on to the Free Presbyterian Easter Convention for the Missionary Rally last night. The meetings on Monday will be broadcast live over Sermon Audio for those interested in #NoFluffStuff Bible preaching.
So that's it. Late in last night and taking it nice and easy today. Planning a BBQ later on, if the weather holds. Preaching tomorrow (DV) in the morning in Ballyclare FPC. Ballyclare is also another part of Ulster which is rich in Evangelical history. The first Presbyterian planters frae Scotland in the early 1600's came to these parts. They came at the somewhat loaded suggestion of King James I - the man whose name is found on our Protestant and Calvinist translation of God's word.
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