Author Archive

Talking To Jesus

September 14, 2014

When I first read today's passage from Revelation, I was a teenager who had rebelled against God and my family. The words shocked me and cast a dire shadow over my soul. I felt quite anxious about the whole scenario depicted in Revelation …( read more )

Wedding Invitation

September 6, 2014

I think that I have presided over 200 weddings in my ministry. Some of them I remember very well, so when I see a Facebook post of a special anniversary or some photos of the wedding, I happily congratulate the couple. It takes a lot of …( read more )

Constantly Amazed

August 31, 2014

God often amazes me. In the littlest things, like a blade of grass, I see His handiwork. In the vastness of space and the colossal starry sky, I recognize His hallmarks of creation. In the people I love, I see His image constantly before …( read more )

Testing The Faith

August 13, 2014

I failed only one test when I was at university. It happened in my first semester, and of all things to fail, I failed New Testament. The professor and I didn't see eye to eye, so I think that I was marked out for a humbling experience. I …( read more )

Robe Of Righteousness

July 29, 2014

Many years ago, when I attended the 428 Gospel Club on Wednesday nights in Glasgow, Scotland, several regular participants used to sing their own personal testimony songs. Iain, who ended up being the best man at my wedding, would sing …( read more )

Aid Instead Of Arms

July 20, 2014

The current explosive situation in Gaza is affecting the entire world politically, economically, and even spiritually. Ever since the establishment of the Jewish State in 1948, Palestinian refugees have posed a large-scale humanitarian …( read more )

All Things

July 13, 2014

Bill Shankly, a Scottish soccer manager, once said, "Football isn't about life or death — it's much more important than that." ("Soccer" is called "football" outside North America.) Bill Shankly coached the world-famous English soccer …( read more )

Blessed Are The Caregivers

June 17, 2014

Caregivers are some of the most undervalued people that we can ever encounter. Over the past twenty-five years, I've seen many caregivers who look after their spouses, their parents, or their special needs children, and I have marvelled …( read more )

The Royal Law

May 19, 2014

Recently, in the Sunday school class that I teach, we were discussing the parable of the Good Samaritan. It's probably the best-known story that Jesus ever told, so, throughout the class, the participants offered their personal ideas and …( read more )

A Tale Of Two Birds

April 2, 2014

Every morning that I commuted to church, I used to take great delight in spotting two beautiful, large birds. The first was a red-tailed kite which perched atop an old dead tree, constantly surveying the fields alongside the motorway for …( read more )

Payback

March 27, 2014

Sometimes when I read Paul's letters, I wonder what kind of situation he was writing about and actually dealing with. It seems to me that all of the young churches to which he was sending letters had internal problems which were …( read more )

Keeping It Together

March 18, 2014

As a boy, I used to love making model aircraft. Most of my allowance was spent on buying small kits of plastic jets or World War II aircraft. Sometimes, I even purchased model vintage cars, but those were usually very difficult to put …( read more )

Lentbook

March 11, 2014

I love debating with other people. It's part of my training as a pastor. At seminary or university, candidates for ministry are taught apologetics through class presentations or theological debates. The arguments usually spill over into …( read more )

Holy Heights

March 3, 2014

I suffer from acrophobia — a fear of heights. Perhaps if I were a tall person, it might not be so bad. I get dizzy and unbalanced whenever I am up high. Standing on a ledge or a rooftop is very hard for me to do, although if I'm on a …( read more )

Called To Serve

February 18, 2014

Unlike its summer counterpart, I prefer watching the Winter Olympics because snow and ice are great equalizers when it comes down to individual performances. Even the best winter athletes can slip on the ice or fall on the snow, so you …( read more )

Straw Hope

February 13, 2014

Several years ago in Colorado, a cow confronted a bear. The young cub was trying to help itself to some apples from a tree at the corner of the cow's field. The cow was annoyed (she's called "Apple", by the way) and proceeded to eject the …( read more )

Clydeside Preacher

January 30, 2014

My hometown of Glasgow, Scotland, used to have a magnificent shipyard industry on the River Clyde. Thousands of men were employed in the building of some of the biggest warships and ocean liners in the world. When I was growing up, it was …( read more )

False Alarms

January 17, 2014

Have you ever had one of those days when you walked in the house and forgot to switch off the burglar alarm? Or you had the alarm on, and went to take the garbage out late at night, only to panic when all the sirens, bells, and whistles …( read more )

It Is Amazing

November 22, 2013

On Sunday mornings, I get to experience one of the best views in church from the pulpit. I see the entire worshipping congregation, and as I scan the people in the pews, I think about their struggles and stories and about how the amazing …( read more )

Glory To God

November 8, 2013

The legendary Scottish athlete and missionary, Eric Liddell (on whom the movie Chariots of Fire is based), was once asked about how he mixed his faith with his sprinting. He cheerfully replied, "God made me fast. And when I run, I feel …( read more )

Clowning Around

October 24, 2013

Every year during the months of December and January, the circus used to put on their winter performances in my hometown of Glasgow, Scotland. It was a great treat, and although our family could not afford it every year, we usually went …( read more )

Blind Faith

September 28, 2013

There's an old story told about a seamstress in nineteenth-century France who happened to be blind. One day, her church was trying to raise some money for a mission, and she handed over 20 francs. In those days, that was a lot of money, …( read more )

Called To Belong

September 15, 2013

Recently, we had a couple join our church during the worship service. They have been coming to our congregation for over a year. They were brought to us by God through the Creative Expressions ministry that our church presents. Their …( read more )

We All Make Mistakes

August 15, 2013

We all make mistakes, but it's what we do about them that counts in God's eyes. There's a creeping a-moralism in our churches and society right now that says, "It is okay to make mistakes; God understands; so there's no need to repent or …( read more )

Testimony Time

July 26, 2013

It's been too long a time since I have heard a great testimony of faith. Presbyterians tend to be introverted, academic people, so getting church members to testify is like trying to draw blood from a stone. It's not that these people …( read more )

Plugged In

June 25, 2013

My wife Evelyn likes to use those plug-in air fresheners all over the house. Each month, we buy new ones that smell like southern peaches, mountain air, or fresh fruit blossom. These air fresheners spread a sweet fragrance all over our …( read more )

Mysterious Island

June 15, 2013

One of the best movies that I ever saw as a child was called Mysterious Island. It was a marvellous adaptation of a book that Jules Verne, the great French science fiction writer, wrote. Verne wrote it as a conclusion of his story of …( read more )

The Secret Of Success

June 7, 2013

I've tried hard to overcome this failing of mine, but I can't abide ungrateful people. I guess it's because I grew up with so little that I feel the need to thank God for everything each day. When I see people in trouble, experiencing …( read more )

Vital Vision

April 26, 2013

Currently, some of our young people are going through the process of confirmation (or church membership). Our youth leader is doing a wonderful job with them, and I'm attending the classes, more as an observer and adviser. As always, when …( read more )

To Be A Christian

April 17, 2013

The other night, I got embroiled in another theological tussle on Facebook. This time, it was in the company of a group of Scottish pastors, some of whom I have known for decades. The argument was over whether or not we should continue to …( read more )

Lost And Found

April 6, 2013

We have a lost and found in our church office. It's a box full of coffee mugs, glasses, umbrellas, books, and jackets. Every now and then, we place the box out in the welcome area to see if anyone claims the items. After a couple of …( read more )

Memories

March 17, 2013

Of the many beautiful sayings in the Old Testament, this verse from Jeremiah is one of my all-time favourites. Sometimes, I find myself reliving the past and regretting the mistakes that I have made. My stupidity, selfishness, and …( read more )

Heavenly Rejoicing

February 23, 2013

Every day, I do something wrong. I say the wrong thing or forget to do the right thing. I break a promise that I made or neglect an obligation I meant to fulfill. I break one of God's commandments or I deliberately go against Christ's …( read more )

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