Author Archive

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)

How's My Driving?

January 18, 2005

Life is a test, and we take a pop quiz on putting our faith into action each day. On the back of my car is a sign that reads, "Erin Presbyterian … the best wee church in town." I want … (read more)

Weak And Strong

January 12, 2005

"Just a closer walk with Thee" is one of my favourite hymns. The first verse begins with the words "I am weak, but Thou art strong", taken directly from Paul's second letter to the Corinthian church. I learned the song … (read more)

Making Memories

January 9, 2005

In my study at home, on top of a shelf, is an aquamarine painted pot that contains loose change, paper clips, and pins. Anyone looking at it would call it ugly and worthless. When I see it, I think that … (read more)

Snow Day

December 12, 2004

I remember waking up one Sunday morning in December, and everything was quiet and still. No cars were heard outside, no buses were running, no people were making a noise. The sun was shining, but when I looked out of … (read more)


December 5, 2004

I love old movies, and at this time of year, I get to watch one of my all-time favorites, "The Wizard of Oz". The colours, the music, the story, and the characters all blend together perfectly, and my television screen … (read more)

Keeping Faith

November 30, 2004

My mom suffered from schizophrenia for 25 years. During most of that time, she was kept in a locked hospital ward for many months, and sometimes she was sent to an asylum. Usually, nine months out of any given year, … (read more)

All You Need Is Love

November 20, 2004

Lennon and McCartney once wrote a song called "All You Need is Love". I remember watching them record it live on television. It was written as a European anthem to celebrate the first inter-continental European satellite. It was an amazing … (read more)

A Soldier's Faith

November 10, 2004

Many years ago, a paramedic showed me a soldier's knapsack Bible. It belonged to his uncle, who had been killed in World War I. The Bible, along with his other possessions, had been returned to his grieving family. As they … (read more)


October 31, 2004

I once went to a Halloween party at a church where I attended Sunday School. My brother was supposed to come with me, but he was sick that night, so I asked a friend to come along. He was delighted … (read more)

A Happy Ending And Wonderful Beginning

October 23, 2004

You've probably heard this verse before. It's a great favourite at funerals, that sacred time when our loved ones are entrusted into God's everlasting care. It's a remarkable piece of Scripture, and over the many years that I have been … (read more)

Good Medicine

October 13, 2004

Before I came to pastor in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA, I had been a part-time chaplain, as well as a full-time parish minister, at a local hospital in Scotland. I used to go around my assigned wards — cardiac, oncology, and … (read more)

Burden Bearer

October 6, 2004

My mother was schizophrenic, and she suffered from that mental condition for 25 years. It was a torturous illness, and a terrifying experience for all of my family. I remember that most kids in our subdivision went off joyfully to … (read more)

Sharing Peace

October 3, 2004

I can remember years ago going to a restaurant with one of my Irish friends who had a touch of the blarney. When the waitress came to take our order, she asked him what he would like. He lyrically answered, … (read more)

On Hold

September 23, 2004

Don't you just hate calling national companies about their services? The other day I was trying to get through to ask a simple question about a statement, which would have taken only a couple of seconds to sort out. As … (read more)


September 19, 2004

When I was at high school in Scotland, there was a campaign to get students to "plant a tree in '73." I can remember planting ten trees next to my school with a group of my peers. We were a … (read more)

A Maze 'n' Grace

August 21, 2004

When I was very young, I remember my dad taking our family on a vacation to the seaside town of Prestwick, which is situated on the west coast of Scotland. The town is famous for its sand dunes and was … (read more)

Pressing On

August 13, 2004

When I was at high school, I was a member of the senior 4 x 100m track relay team. We practised our speed skills for ages, but the most important part of the race was passing the baton. No matter … (read more)


August 6, 2004

One of my favourite books is Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. I think I first read it when I was about twelve, so the characters, episodes, and events were indelibly impressed upon my heart and mind. As I was recently … (read more)


July 21, 2004

I remember being in a teaching hospital where an eminent Jewish psychologist was interviewing a young girl. She was deeply troubled by the unholy thoughts that kept penetrating her peace of mind. She was restless and agitated, wounded and suffering. … (read more)


June 14, 2004

Many years ago, I preached a sermon in Maybole, Scotland, on God's call. A visitor from Northern Ireland was in the congregation. His name was Tom, and he was a successful director of a civil engineering firm. The sermon had … (read more)

Simple Faith

June 11, 2004

When I was a teenager, I worked in a clothing store where young people came to buy the latest fashions. I sold flared jeans, bomber jackets, heavy knit sweaters, and afghan coats. Our store manager, Joe, was constantly buying new … (read more)

Hasty Heart

June 7, 2004

I remember an old movie starring Ronald Reagan, Patricia Neal, and Richard Todd called "The Hasty Heart". It's all about a group of wounded soldiers during World War II who are recovering in an army hospital in Asia. Todd plays … (read more)


June 2, 2004

I can remember when I was young, and played for my street soccer team in Scotland. Before a game, the two best players lined everyone else up on the sidewalk and began to choose players alternately. Each time a selection … (read more)

Waiting For God

March 18, 2004

The other day, I took a shortcut through a local subdivision in order to by-pass many traffic lights. Unfortunately, the sidewalk was being repaired, and I had to wait in a long line of cars that had been temporarily stopped … (read more)

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