Author Archive

Broken Windows

September 10, 2005

Years ago, when I ministered in Scotland, I walked into the church halls one morning, only to discover that all of the windows had been broken. During the night, a local gang had come along, throwing bricks and stones through … (read more)

Persistent Caller

August 26, 2005

When I was a teenager, I tried very hard to get rid of God in my life. I can even remember — when I was fourteen — saying to God, "This is my last prayer to you. I don't need … (read more)

A World Of Difference

August 17, 2005

It's very hard not to be judgmental of other people, especially if they are different. I can remember my eldest daughter coming home from Middle School in tears. Earlier in the morning, she had seemed so bright and eager to … (read more)

Bumblebee

August 10, 2005

When I was about seven years old, I caught a large bumblebee by throwing my duffel coat over it. It was an act of bravado, which impressed my pals in the school playground where the event took place. Just as … (read more)

Bread Breakers

July 22, 2005

One of the best programs that our church offers is called "Bread Breakers". For six months in the year — usually October through March — people in our congregation open up their homes, once per month, on a Friday or … (read more)

Watchtower

July 5, 2005

When I ministered in Scotland, I served one of the most beautiful parishes in the country. Every morning, I would head out along the coast road to the village of Dunure, passing by many farms, fields, and forests. At the … (read more)

A Hundred Years

July 1, 2005

I've met a couple of people who lived to be more than a hundred years old. One of them was a lady whose family were west coast of Scotland fishermen. She lived with her 75-year-old daughter, who treated her mother … (read more)

More Life

June 30, 2005

As I'm writing this, I'm listening to Don McLean's song, "American Pie." It's being streamed over the internet from Radio Scotland and I'm reliving part of my past, remembering when the song first came out. Lots of theories have been … (read more)

A Heart For Children

June 26, 2005

Over the past couple of years, we've concentrated at the church on building up our young families. We've helped young mothers through the wonderful MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) program. We've remodelled the church to include a new Family Centre. We … (read more)

Closure

June 19, 2005

My dad was an agnostic for most of his adult life. When I decided to become a preacher, he hit the roof. He thought I was wasting my life and talents, and he would have preferred that I had chosen … (read more)

Turf Wars

June 13, 2005

When I was a seminary student, I was assigned to various churches throughout the year. This was to give me hands-on experience in pastoral ministry, effectiveness, and leadership. I can remember being attached to a highly successful church, whose minister … (read more)

Sea On Fire

June 10, 2005

Every day, I used to have the pleasure of driving nine miles along the coast road between Maybole and Dunure, in the west of Scotland. The scenery was outstanding — a mixture of patchwork fields, rolling hills, and always the … (read more)

Chess Sets

June 7, 2005

When I have the time, I love making chess sets. Over the years, I have moulded, modelled, and painted several different sets, which include soldiers from the Civil War, elves and goblins from Tolkien's books, and a medieval Scottish set … (read more)

Doc

June 4, 2005

Some of my earliest memories are of visiting Doctor Wilson's surgery in Springburn, Glasgow, where I grew up. The outside window had a plain sign depicting the surgery hours, with two tall glass bottles (one red, the other blue) at … (read more)

One Stormy Night

June 1, 2005

Many years ago, when I was a preacher in Scotland, two young women appeared at the manse door on a stormy winter's night. Both were slightly inebriated and had come to make a special request. One of them was a … (read more)

Restart

May 30, 2005

Every now and then my computer freezes — usually during something important — requiring me to shut down and restart the machine. If I haven't saved my information, I lose what I was working on and have to begin again. … (read more)

Grassroots Grace

May 15, 2005

Have you ever seen grass grow on a roof? I have, many times, especially back in Scotland. In the bleak countryside, one comes across old derelict cottages, abandoned decades ago, which once housed a shepherd or a crofter and his … (read more)

Borrowing Bikes

April 25, 2005

I never owned a bicycle when I was of middle school age. I had demolished one when I was seven years old, so my dad wouldn't buy me a new one. I always envied the freedom that some of my … (read more)

Prayer Warrior

April 23, 2005

My great-aunt Cissie was a prayer warrior. Her family had belonged to a Temperance Society in Scotland called the Rechabites. They were named after the devoted Kenite clan mentioned in Jeremiah, chapter 35. She was born before World War I … (read more)

Dad's Camera

April 19, 2005

My dad loved to take photographs in and around the city of Glasgow, where our family grew up in Scotland. Practically every Saturday morning, he would catch a bus to go downtown and walk around the city streets with his … (read more)

A Sacrificial Faith

April 15, 2005

The one sure thing about Paul was that he never minced his words. He was in jail, isolated from the Christian community, and he was facing execution. He knew that his number was up, but it didn't stop him from … (read more)

Carrying Lambs

April 10, 2005

Years before she was married, my mom used to work on a farm which, strangely enough, was in the heart of the parish where I later ministered for nine years. She usually worked alongside the shepherd and learned many of … (read more)

Speed Demon

April 5, 2005

I can remember riding my first bike in the local park. It was a shiny red Tri-ang bicycle with a Mickey Mouse bell and a fourteen-inch front wheel. It had a wee satchel on the back of it, and when … (read more)

Prayer Lesson

April 1, 2005

It's sad to see Pope John Paul II suffering. He means a lot to his people, and for almost three decades, we have all been blessed with his prayers for peace and his personal visitations in many countries throughout the … (read more)

Cross Examined

March 25, 2005

In 1978, I visited Spain and toured the northern city of Bilbao. On top of a large hill, there is a beautiful cathedral. To get there, one has to climb hundreds of steps. When I reached the top of the … (read more)

Power In The Blood

March 22, 2005

A pastor friend of mine in Scotland served a little country church in one of the nation's wealthiest areas. Most of his small congregation was made up of successful business people, who had retired to the parish where he ministered. … (read more)

Ploughing Ahead

March 18, 2005

Beginning in winter and continuing through until spring, the farmers in the west of Scotland plough their land. The ground is hard, but the farmers are determined to have the soil exposed to the elements, so that it will break … (read more)

Free Runners

March 14, 2005

The other night, I was flicking through the cable television channels, trying to find something to watch. I usually do this after a stressful day, in order to help me wind down. Eventually, I came across The Learning Channel and … (read more)

Lost And Found

February 21, 2005

I was a problem child. I can remember one winter's night walking home from my aunt's house in the pouring rain. My mom was busy pushing a pram with the baby, and my other two brothers and sister were toddling … (read more)

Out Of The Wilderness

February 18, 2005

During my teenage years, alcohol played a heavy role in my life. Coming from the west of Scotland, a young boy felt pressured to drink at an early age. By the time I was sixteen, I was partying every weekend. … (read more)

Freedom Song

February 6, 2005

I can remember visiting a geriatric ward, many years ago, which was full of patients who had suffered severe strokes. Most of them were in wheelchairs, and some of them had no idea where they were. I was just a … (read more)

Welcome To The Rock!

February 3, 2005

Every now and then during my teenage years, in order to get away from the pressures at home, I would go and visit my aunt. She lived in a newly-built community, just outside of Glasgow, called Cumbernauld. I always enjoyed … (read more)

Promise Box

January 23, 2005

In my study at the church, there is a small cardboard box with many little tightly-rolled scrolls of paper in it. Each of these scrolls has an encouraging Bible verse printed on it. From time to time, when I'm looking … (read more)

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