Author Archive

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 )

What Is Church?

February 9, 2013

I find it amazing to think that Christianity is actually the world's largest faith. About one-third of our planet's population is connected to Christ, and each year, that number is growing all over the earth. Beginning on a hillside in …( read more )

The Question

January 20, 2013

I feel sorry for John the Baptist at this time in his life. He was an outdoors man who spent most of his life in the wilderness, in bright, open spaces, with no boundaries. When Herod arrested him, the cruel king didn't have to torture …( read more )

My Eyes Have Seen

December 30, 2012

I have seen God's salvation in the lives of other people, as well as my own. I have seen addicts turn their lives around and their families restored. I have seen people healed of various illnesses and injuries, and have watched them …( read more )

A Box Of Treasures

December 16, 2012

Years ago, I was given a box of broken plastic airplanes by a member of the church that I served. She knew that I enjoyed putting together First World War airplane kits, so she gathered a box of her late brother's model airplanes for me. …( read more )

A Good Movie

December 11, 2012

Whenever I see a good movie, I like to share my delight with other people. I do it because I want them to enjoy a similar, satisfying experience. My wife Evelyn and I enjoy going to the movies on a regular basis, and it helps us to relate …( read more )

Created To Be

December 3, 2012

Every day, I try to please God, but I know that at some unguarded daily moment, I'm going to say or do something wrong that will both displease Him and disappoint others. I could justify my mistake by shrugging my shoulders and saying, …( read more )

God Has Other Plans

November 28, 2012

In the Scripture preceding today's verses, when Joseph was falsely accused of adultery and unjustly imprisoned, he must have felt that his life was cursed and that God had abandoned him forever. Previously, his brothers had abused him and …( read more )

Their Own Means

November 4, 2012

Every year, the church that I serve undergoes a six-week stewardship campaign. Like most churches, we are presently going through some lean times. A major part of the problem is that our congregation is now competing with hundreds of …( read more )

I Like Bread

October 28, 2012

I like bread. I like it a lot. Whether it's the bread that I toast in the morning, the sandwich that I eat for lunch, or the roll that I may have with dinner, my conclusion is the same: Bread … (read more)

Archie The Engineer

October 10, 2012

Archie was a great preacher, and many of the young people in Glasgow, Scotland, whom I knew in the late 1970s, were drawn to Jesus through his straightforward, no-nonsense style of preaching. He was a heating engineer by trade and … (read more)

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