I don’t know what to do with these thoughts…

Dr Johannes Tauler, a preacher in the 14th. Century, stepped out of his pulpit for 2 years as he realised he needed to die to self. Quite something.

The story: He was one of the most famous preachers of his day. His church in Strasbourg was packed out, but he stepped down. A man called Nicolaus of Basle had listened to him speaking on death to self but realised Dr. Tauler did not know that truth by personal experience. He challenged him: “ Dr. Tauler, before you can do your greatest work for God, this world and this city, you must die to yourself, your gifts, your popularity and even your own goodness, and when you have learned the full meaning of the cross, you will have new power with God and man. Get alone with God. Leave your crowded church, your admiring congregation, your hold on this city, go aside to your cell, be alone and you will know what I mean.”

Tauler, after initial anger, did just that. His friends thought he was mad. It took 2 years. There was public humiliation involved, but when he stood in the pulpit after the work of God was done, the power of God fell, and all over the congregation folk were thrown into a spiritual trance and met with Christ. He went around the congregation and led them to Christ.

Stories like that challenge me. I am not sure I always know how to respond to them, but they challenge me. There are other stories that are similar, though I cannot check precise details due to lack of books. Moody had an experience of God that changed the effectiveness of his preaching for example. He was originally angry that two women kept on coming to his meetings and said him on one occasion, they were praying for him be filled with the Holy Spirit. Praying John Hyde, I think, experienced something similar. On board a boat he opened a piece of paper that had been put into his hand at departure and read it. “We will not stop praying for you until you are filled with the Holy Spirit.” He was angry, and then realised his anger showed he was not filled with the Holy Spirit and cried it would be so. The results were asotnishing. On one occasion in a huge meeting he simply lifted his voice to heaven and said, “Oh heavenly Father” and the Spirit of God fell and through the whole gaterhing into a Holy Ghost commotion.

Do I believe that if God called me to a season of being alone with Him – it would have to be Him not me just copying someone else’s story – He would meet with me in a way that would result in more glory being brought to the Name of His Son? Nicolaus said to Tauler after the two years were up: “Now, thou art a preacher of the grace of God. Now one of they sermons will bring forth more fruit a hundred aforetime.”

Challenged, so challenged… when so much needs to be done, it is counterintuitive to take time out and go aside. When the need of the world creates so many opportunities, it is easy to hear and be obedient to the word “Go” from Christ and ignore and disobey His word, “Wait.”

God bless

Kenny

Even if you are not coming to Lewis in June… some thoughts that might bless you…

As I think about Lewis, I am challenged by what Rev. Jack Macarthur said in an interview about Duncan Campbell. He said he did not impose his style on Lewis, thinking, “we will help out these poor Lewis folk with bringing them our ways of doing things.” No, you would have thought after he had been there a few weeks that he was from Lewis, he so honoured the ways of the church there. He identified himself with their spirituality, to use another phrase from Jack MacArthur. What a wonderful spirit. I want to go to Lewis in that same spirit: honouring what God is doing there right now, not wanting in any way at all to take over and impose my ways or preferences. I want to be myself but honour those who have invited me into their setting. It is actually a very easy thing to do if humility and love are present in our hearts.

I have been in several meetings over the years where keen people took over and imposed their ministry style when given the chance and what God was doing up until they did that was ignored… and God’s Spirit was grieved and lifted, though like Samson, those responsible did not seem to realise it was so as they ventured forth in their usual style. In fact they seemed quite thrilled by what they had done and were even thankful to God for what ensued! I wanted to leave these meetings at the point of take-over. To this day I cannot decide whether staying rather than leaving was out of kindness to those getting it so wrong but believing they were doing it so right, or was it cowardice? Perhaps a mixture? Perhaps it is just my personality which sometimes is a blessing to me and other times seems a bit of a confusing and frustrating nuisance. Whatever, God loves me and loves them, even though we can all be a nuisance to His purposes from time to time.

Perhaps the lesson to draw from such times is an extension of what Paul teaches concerning other issues: all things that are lawful and perfectly acceptable may not always be helpful. In other words some right things can become wrong. It can depend on setting. I guess part of leadership is at times to say when a right thing is wrong! Not always easy when you have to say it to excited people. At times every true leader will be judged by some as being controlling and will be thought to be quenching the Spirit. The verse “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom,” is usually trotted out by those who think anything goes at any time. Of course the verse is being misapplied.

For those coming, or thinking of coming to the Conference: let’s gather in humble awareness of the God who is at work, and tread carefully, joyfully delighting to learn from and to honour God’s people in Lewis, their ways, and God’s ways with them in current blessing.

For those not coming to Lewis, well the lesson holds good. It is good to tread carefully when we meet with one another or find ourselves in territory other than our own familiar home ground. The strange thing is when we meet in humility honouring one another, change of the right sort happens to us all, and the purposes of God advance in us all.

God bless

Kenny

The Father who speaks to his children like a child…

I have always felt like a child when it comes to understanding God and His Ways revealed in His Word, and always will I think, so I am glad when the Bible speaks about God in almost childlike ways. I love the verses I quote further down from Malachi for that reason. They speak of God noticing, listening or paying attention, and of something being written down for purposes of divine remembering, which in Scripture in the Hebrew language usually implies a day of purposeful divine action in the fortunes of His people, after a time of apparent non-activity or silence.

That imagery and language helps my simple mind, helps me to understand God. Mind you what catches God’s attention and what is written down to be remembered, is pretty challenging, again probably offensive to those considered wise, but it makes wise the simple. God’s word in the Bible and above all in the cross of the Word made flesh, has always offended the wise, seeming like folly to them, but it always makes wise the simple.

What God says in these verses doesn’t sound very on trend with predominant themes in the language of many sectors of today’s church, which is a bit worrying, since God is unchanging so presumably unchanging in what He notices and regards with favour.

“Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him. (Malachi Chapter 3 verses 16 – 18, ESV.)

God bless

Kenny

Are you a cult member or leader?

There are many subsets of allegiances within Christian devotion and living. Not bad in itself. We need planted somewhere or we will self destroy through proud independence and end up suffering from the self righteous, angry, rejected prophet delusion. However, never let your devotion to someone or a group, their teaching, their literature or their leaders dead or alive be greater than attentiveness of the ear that listens for the voice of Christ, the Shepherd of the whole flock, and His Spirit speaking through Scripture. If you allow that balance to settle in the wrong direction you are effectively a member of a cult and may miss the truest calling of Christ upon your love and service.

Be grateful but not blindly loyal to any body of literature ancient or modern, any theological system no matter how biblical and revered its devotee may claim it to be, any body of discipleship local or widespread, any leader dead or alive where help, love, life and guidance have been experienced. If a buy in is demanded that smacks of exclusivity or slight or overt superiority towards other approaches to Christian living, service and discipleship, it is time to look elsewhere and listen to the Spirit’s lack of peace within.

“Call no man Father” is teaching from Jesus we need to heed. It is a terribly inconvenient word for those who want a following and want to establish something new with their name attached to it…

God bless

Kenny

K.I.S.S.

A disciple in bible days was just someone who was attached to a Master and wanted to be like him. That’s all. The principle was exactly what Jesus said: It is sufficient for the disciple, the servant, to be like the Master. That’s it. Nothing complicated. Often costly.

David Ravenhill gives a good insight. He says that every believer in Jesus at the start was a disciple. They then became called Christians, first of all in Antioch. Folk saw they were Christ’s men and women. Nowadays he says we call people Christians and then add on discipleship as though it were an additional step for the extra keen. I think he is probably right. “Discipleship” has become a buzz word and a bit of a new industry.

Discipleship is simply, “Jesus, as I follow you, I want to become more like you.” Nothing more, nothing less. I have my bible, prayer, the encouragement of God’s people, God Himself who has made His home in me. “All I have needed thy hand has provided.”

My discipleship pattern that seemed to work for me at the start and ever since has been this. I read my bible, pray and try to get on with the Jesus life. I am encouraged by the teaching and fellowship of church on a Sunday. In fact Sundays, what could be called the Sunday Service, is vital to me.

Don’t make a meal out of discipleship. Read your bible, pray for help, live it out, share something of Jesus with those who don’t know him, making the most of opportunities, join with the saints to encourage them and serve them and be encouraged by them.

It all happens naturally if Christ is in you and your desire is for Him. It is not an optional course you sign up to beyond perhaps a short Beta type course following an Alpha type beginning. After that it’s just being an apprentice to Jesus: learning to be like Him because despite every stumble and every lazy day, every scared, cowardly or rebellious day, something within persists in desiring it will be so.

When I tie myself in knots in my thinking and living and praying and in anything else for that matter, I remember K.I.S.S. “Keep It Simple Stupid.” Being male it works neatly for me to translate that into the truer tone of Abba, rather than it being only an expression of frustration from myself to myself: “Keep It Simple, Son.”

God bless

Kenny

From a deep place within me…

“And His that gentle voice we hear, soft as the breath of even…” I guess control freaks would wish it so, would wish The Spirit always came as a dove, after all that was the Jesus way. The Spirit descended and remained on Him as a dove.

Well, when Jesus poured out the promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit upon His church, the Jesus way was this: “Suddenly there was the sound of a mighty rushing wind!” A violent hurricane. It reminds me of what is written of Samson: “the Spirit of God rushed upon him.”

As you know I had to throw out all my books, because of the danger they could be to my lungs, so I cannot check details, but I remember the bare bones of a story which Dr. Helen Roseveare told. One glimpse of her face on one occasion, remains one of the most significant influences upon my life and service today, 46 years on. I have never seen the glory of God on a human face in such measure before or since. As a teenager the sheer beauty of God shining upon and from her face made me weep and search the grounds of Kilcreggan House, during a Crusader Camp, for a space to be alone and offer my life in fresh surrender to the will of God. Anyway, she tells in one of her wonderful books, the story of a day during her time as a missionary in what was the Belgian Congo. There was the sound of a strong storm outside the building where God’s people were gathered. Some went to close the shutters but outside not a blade of grass was moving. Suddenly the violent wind of God’s Spirit rushed in and around the building. God had come.

With Lewis in mind, I am remembering a story that happened in Bernera the coast of Lewis. Things were tough. A fifteen year old boy (Donald, whom I met in the 1990’s in Thurso the day after I dreamed of meeting him) stood to pray. He was looking into heaven and prayed after sobbing, “O God, there is power there. Let it loose!” At that moment, the Spirit of God came down. It looked like a battlefield. On one side of the church people were prostrate before the Lord, compelled into that posture by the presence of the Lord. On the other side of the building, some had their arms flung back above their heads, holding them up in the air, rigid.” God had come.

I met the Principal of a well known prestigious Evangelical Bible College in England who was in a meeting in the late 70’s when the same thing happened as happened in Bernera. People on one side flung forward, people on the other flung back the way as the Spirit of God swept into the building. The glory of God upon him in the briefest of conversations I had with him in almost the immediate aftermath of his experience was another of those spurs to seek after Acts 2 for myself.

Well, I for one believe we need the rushing mighty wind to hit the Church in Scotland. It may be God will move you to pray for that too. It may be you even want to pray for that for yourself.

I can testify it is possible for the Spirit of God to come in such power that you can no more stand than you could remain standing in the force of a hurricane. I was told as a newly converted teenager by people of undoubted Christlikeness that Acts 2 is not for today. I never believed them fully though I respected them . It was to their credit I did not believe them! You see, they had taught me to respect the bible as my supreme authority for faith and life, and my bible led me to believe God is unchanging. It led me to pray for a personal Pentecost, to pray and seek that for approximately 7 years. In a way I never expected, it happened! Why the 7 year wait? I have no idea! But I know there came a day when all I could say in the midst of what was happening as the Spirit of God filled my study in our family home in Torrance, was, “Oh, it is real! It is all real!”

I still seek “more” whatever more may mean. Perhaps your heart is telling you to seek the hurricane and the fire. I hope your hunger exceeds your caution or your fear. God the Father who loves you, gives only good things to His children when they ask Him for the Holy Spirit. You are not deceived to ask. He will guard you against being deceived in the receiving. It is an age old problem: some believers have more faith in the devil to deceive those who are seeking God with all their hearts, than in Our Heavenly Father’s willingness to give His Holy Spirit to those who ask and go on asking, seek and go on seeking, knock and go on knocking. Ask! Seek! Knock! “Come wind of God! Breathe upon these slain that they may live!”

God bless

Kenny

A memory…

I was remembering today one of my Professors at University making fun of me for going to the Keswick convention when I was 18. He held his hand to his heart and mocked the whole thing as mere sentimentality.

Cynicism and its attendant Mockery always hangs around the edges of Life. It can even be the landing pad for a trans local demonic Principality and Power. Make sure you are not an unwitting soldier in its camp. I have heard even born again Baptised in the Spirit believers mocking old songs such as “Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb.” Its laughter is often lurking undetected in the current trend to dismiss everything that smacks of discipline, duty and requirement as a spirit of “Religion.”

Well, give me some of the sentimentality and some of the “Religion” that is mocked any day of the week, rather than the fruit that grows from the seed of pride of intellect or pride of a spiritual experience. God spoke to me powerfully last night through a sentimental sounding, nonintellectual, old-fashioned evangelical ballad. All of a sudden its half remembered words and pulling at the heart strings tune were like drops of life giving water in my spirit.

The thing is, so real is the memory of being mocked, so prevalent is cynicism and mockery and the rejection of old songs and ancient paths, I cannot tell you publicly what the song was. I may have picked up courage by the time I get to Lewis. God is moving in fresh ways there, giving new songs, but ancient songs and ways are honoured too. If you plan to come, be ready to humbly honour that life giving blend.

Actually, here it is!

Click here https://youtu.be/eG1e9KrmS7M

 

God bless

Kenny

Should I have a TV at all?

I realise the BBC, for good or ill, have chosen as part of the culture makers of the time to positively discriminate in favour of women presenters etc, but if that means, as I saw last night, employing someone whose only characteristic seems to be rude and belligerent to those being interviewed, getting in the process to no outcome other than showing off how rude you can be, well, perhaps they should think again.

Saw Sir Vince Cable being interviewed by an incapable interviewer who happened to be a woman. The impression she gave was “this is a man, and I will seek to humiliate him.” I honestly cannot understand how she got the job unless through a policy of positive discrimination. I am neither for nor against Sir Vince politically in that I have no set political loyalties that compel me always to vote for a particular party at every opportunity,  but I was mightily impressed by his self control and courtesy when he was meeting nothing but inept questioning and personal ridicule and attack. Let me say there are some wonderfully capable interviewers who are women. I hope that goes without having to be said. It is self evident also that there are rude and belligerent interviewers who are men, but the ones who are in current circulation that I can think of who perhaps show that tendency are at least trying to get to a truth rather than simply being insulting. A stupid interview by an inept interviewer with no skill is what I am speaking about. Yet another example of political correctness which can at times be used in the interests of justice becoming a tool of a militant agenda to the point of stupidity.

It is actually very difficult to find a programme now on the BBC, that does not have its content forced in an artificial way into the straightjacket of political correctness. At the moment that particularly seems to focus on white men being demonised while all women are morally unquestionable. Either that or a crass, forced and artificial tacking on of a gay relationship, or a transgender issue into a story line. It demeans important issues in the process. It is very very boring and predictable.

I am beginning to sympathise with Christians who decide to no longer have a television in their house, though there are still some programmes I enjoy greatly.

God bless

Kenny

Simple Words…Cosmic Claims…

Funny, the things you learn when you are not sleeping at 3.30am. Somehow, while looking up information on trains to and from Troon, I stumbled by a more complicated route than the said train journey on on a great new word: “sesquipedalian”: as in “I have sat through a few sesquipedalian sermons in my time,” or “I have preached a fair number of sesquipedalian sermons in the course of my ministry.” Both examples of the use of the word I have given here are from personal experience…apologies to those who witnessed and had to sit through the latter example..but probably not sincere enough apologies to repent or to promise I will not do it again.

What does it mean? Well if you studied Latin you will know it means “a foot and a half long.” So basically, either “long words” (not guilty) or being “longwinded” (guilty for sure).

You could use the same word, of course, in relation to the works of some philosophers and theologians (I have scratched the surface of both fields a bit) who repeatedly demonstrate an ability to take a simple idea and make it indecipherable to most people, so that then they can earn a living by trying to explain their sesquipedalian writings to make their meaning more simple again for those trying to get a degree in something or other akin to theology or philosophy. I used to know folk in Dounreay who kept themselves in employment in precarious times that way, creating a job in a narrow filed of science that no one but them could do!

Jesus, who claimed to be a theologian – in fact He claimed to be the only true theologian – definitely avoided sesquipedalian tendencies. He summed up His theology once in this way: “No one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.” If you want rest from sesquipedalian thinking about God, basically Jesus is saying, “Come to me.” It is quite a claim, very succinctly expressed.

Jesus’ philosophical outlooks were free of sesquipedalian vanity too, though they were astonishingly cosmic in their reach. “I am the Light of the World.”

As we listen to Jesus words, we realise the terms “theologian” or “philosopher” as normally understood have been left far behind in some sort of thick sesquipedalian soup. His astonishingly simply worded claims mean we are faced with eternity influencing choices:. In the non-sesquipedalian summation suggested by C.S. Lewis: is a person who spoke such things mad,. on the level of someone who thinks they are a poached egg? if not mad are they bad, deliberately deceiving people? Or are they who they clam to be? God.

There you are then: some sesquipedalian thoughts that sprang from discovering that very word… and it has worked: I fell like going back to sleep now.

Have still not found out the precise information I was looking for re the to and fro of Troon trains…

God bless

Kenny

The 11th hour for Charismatic Christianity in the Developed Western World?

My dear “Charismatic” brothers and sisters:

People are not experimental ground for us to try out ministry experiments upon. Your intentions towards them may indeed be good, but don’t let boldness in the Lord be an excuse for treading on need with lack of sensitivity. Intending to help and heal you may drive a person to despair. It is a falsehood to say someone in always blessed in some way even if the intended result does not happen…a person may well be pushed into despair and rejection if what you declare shall happen to them “right now” in the Name of the Lord does not.

Despite signs of being at its zenith in some circles, I am quite sure that the blessing of God is being lifted from the Charismatic movement even at this moment unless at the 11th hour we relearn the primacy of genuine love and humility towards God and our fellow human beings. Bold formulaic assertions without that foundation are a misusing of the Name of the Lord. The Lord does not hold guiltless those who misuse His Name. Such misuse discredits His honour and harms people He loves.

God bless

Kenny

“Whatever happened to the Gospel?”

God has blessed me in so many ways, many of these blessings coming in the midst or aftermath of what I can only call trial or testing. I have not always done as well under pressure as I would have liked. He has graciously shown me at such times how to gain greater victory. Anyway, what I started to say was this: God has blessed me in so many ways, but nothing has ever surpassed the way He opened my eyes to see that Christ died for me, that His Son was wounded for my transgressions and bruised for my iniquities.

No matter what blessings of God may or may not come my way, I cannot imagine any encounter with God ever surpassing the wonder of encountering Jesus and His cross. The cross has never become a familiar truth to me, it has never lost its power to awaken me to worship and thanksgiving. “He loved me and gave Himself for me.” I hope my memory remains reasonably good as long as I live on earth – Heaven is my hone but I am not homesick yet – but if it gets a bit dodgy in years to come, I hope that I will be able to say with John Newton that I remember two things: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Saviour.

This is no exaggeration for me, nor sentimental piety. The conviction of sin I felt as a 13 year old was so deep that had I known of Paul’s claim to be the chief of sinners I would have fought him for that title. To someone never awakened by the Holy Spirit of truth, it would seem ludicrous for a teenager brought up in a good Christian home to think of himself in that way, but for me it was undeniable truth: I was a sinner who needed a Saviour.

There was no hell fire preaching that brought me to such a realisation. It is perhaps thinking of going to Lewis in June, God willing, that made me remember the lead up to Duncan Campbell’s conversion. He left a dance one night saying this, “I have just discovered I am on my way to hell.” Well, I discovered that too, a fact that was as clear as day. It is where I would still be heading were it not for the love of God: the rich mercy of The Father, the grace of the Son and the awakening power of the Holy Spirit bringing me to birth to be one of the beloved children of God’s family for time and eternity.

I try to walk in unity with brothers and sisters in the Lord, but I can have no fellowship in the gospel with those who have laid aside the Good news that there is a Saviour for sinners to replace it with the message that we are all really wonderful people and just need to recognise it for ourselves and for others to recognise it too. I am indeed fearfully and wonderfully made. Poor self image, even wickedly destroyed self image, is a reality from which Christ can and does deliver so many. Thankfully it is so. But what a tragedy to be delighting in my own beauty, gifting and talents, feeling good about myself as I enter an eternity separated from God, dwelling forevermore in a realm where the worms never die and the flames are never quenched.

“Whatever happened to the Gospel” is a title of a book by R.T. Kendall. I find myself thinking about that question a lot. Of course sophistry can get to work on that and say in superior tome, “Oh, there are many different dimensions to the gospel.” Indeed there are but let’s never forget this about the Gospel: it is the power of God to save everyone who believes, for in it a righteousness from God is revealed for sinful people to believe in and to rest in by God given faith.

God bless

Kenny

Awe…

I once read somewhere of Dr. Sangster, the great Methodist preacher of a former generation writing of a memory. He was at a joyful celebration where fireworks were being set off. He looked away from them for a moment and saw behind him the most awesome sunset sky. He could hardly believe the colours he saw. Most of the crowd never saw it because they were enthralled and excited by a few crackling jumping squibs.

Never get so enamoured by some aspect of church life or even your own Christian experience that you fail to notice the glory of Jesus in His dying and rising. Fireworks can be exciting. Feeling excited is a good feeling not to be despised. Sunsets and awe are better by far. (Photograph by Steve Taylor, Skye: shared on Facebook.)

God bless

Kenny

Whatever you are carrying…are you at rest?

“Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart and you shall find rest unto your souls…” Rebelling against the yoke the Father places on us, the yoke of His will and purpose is much more tiring than meekly accepting it. The Father placed “everything” upon the Son, the salvation of the world, the building of the church, etc but meekness gave Jesus access to strength and energy to carry it all. The one who carried everything is worth learning from. As a pastor I met so many Christians who had no set of soul, and meet them still. They were restless and created commotion around them, disturbing others.

In Matthew 11, Jesus teaches that rest come from two things:

Firstly, rest comes from knowing His Father as our Father – a revelation that only Jesus can give, for He claims to be the only theologian: no one knows the Father except the Son. Only He can bring us to know His Father as our Father.

Secondly, rest comes from having the heart of “The Son” who meekly does the Father’s will; a revelation that only the Father can give by the Spirit, for no one knows the Son except the Father. He can work in us the heart of a child who loves to be about His business and who accepts each charge from Him with meekness. So much strength is lost through bolting from the will of the Father like a horse, or stubbornly resisting the will of the Father like a mule. As the Father reveals the Son to us and in us by the Spirit, Jesus the Son frees us to live in the joyful meekness of being a child of God. He gives us not only the authority to know the Father but the power to live as a child of God rather than an independent adult determined on following our own plans and visions.

Active passivity is a vital part of moving forward in the things of God. It was very much part of the way Jesus triumphed and overcame the world. It is a vital part of the many lessons to be learned from Holy Week. Look at how much was done to Jesus in the will and foreknowledge of the Father. Jesus did not rebel but gave his back to the smiters and his face to those who pulled out His beard. He was like a sheep, dumb before the shearers. Those who teach passivity is always a bad thing need to tweak their teaching in the light of the story of Jesus, the Son of the Father who carried everything to the cross. There is a vital link between passivity and activity in the spiritual life. They co-exist positively in Christ. on the Jesus Way. We cannot have rest of soul without both.

God bless

Kenny

Father Abraham…

Abram’s words to Lot: “The whole countryside is open to you. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want the land to the left, then I’ll take the land on the right. If you prefer the land on the right, then I’ll go to the left.”

Over the years as a Pastor I have met so many people who have caused themselves so much angst by trying to control too much around them concerning themselves. It has meant contention with others and inner lack of peace. A spirit of control does that.

Have faith in God. Abraham is the Father of the faith-full. Trust in Abraham’s God and don’t fear the choices others may make even this very day. If we try and control circumstances and others too much, paradoxically what we are seeking to protect and defend concerning our own life and wellbeing gets stolen from us. Fear of others and Control of others are not our friends. Time to kick them out the temple of your life, the dwelling place of God? If you do, your life will be a House of Shalom.

By the way, I fully understand if this thought seems extra hard for some of us to embrace. I am thinking of those whose experience of life makes it seem that “control” is a necessary weapon of defence. Let me say in love that sometimes the strategies that help us survive have their malevolent and harmful side too. ‘Control” may have helped you survive, which in itself has been no mean feat for you to accomplish. But don’t let survival be your final resting point. God has more for you, namely Life in all its fullness in Christ. To step more fully into that, it may well be that trusted survival strategies have to be relinquished. May God help you to do that when the time seems ripe and right for that to happen. Take a deep breath…it may be the time is right and ripe today

As I wrote that last sentence, I was remembering the first time I jumped off the highest diving board at North Berwick outdoor swing pool which is sadly no longer in existence. I had been up the steps for a look a few times and stood right at the edge but failed to jump. Then, one day, I climbed the steps, stood at the edge of the board, looked as I had done several times before…and just did it….just jumped. There were no new facts that helped me make that jump. I just decided to do it. I eave that thought with those of you for whom leaving “control” behind and jumping in abandon into the care of God seems extra hard.

 

God bless

Kenny

How do you see the sea?

Was thinking about visiting Lewis in June, God willing, and the history of the Hebrides. How our outlook and attitudes can change. Nowadays, we more than likely think of the sea as a barrier stopping us getting somewhere. The Vikings and their ilk thought the opposite: “We can get there because of the sea.” The sea that is now regarded as an obstacle to be negotiated was seen as a superhighway, giving access.

I think there is a positive spiritual lesson to be drawn from that, and I probably will when I get to Lewis as we think together about what attracts the presence of God to a life or a community. But for now, I am not thinking about what I might say in lLewis. I am thinking of you and me right now. Is there something in life at this point in time, that presents itself as an obstacle to progress, an impediment to living, a limiting factor that seems to have a hemming in effect? Well, see it as a superhighway into the resources of God, a direct route into His promises, His help, His unfailing and merciful love. A change of outlook can have powerful results.

God bless

Kenny

“In this is my Father glorified…”

Do you find you are always finding fault with everybody and everything in the Christian world that seems to be blessed with life and fruitfulness, to the point that anything apparently successful is looked upon as suspect in its theology and practice? At times in the pride of my own thoughts and theology in the past I effectively rewrote Jesus words in John 15 to say this: “In this is my Father’s glorified, that you are fruitless.”

Of course there are times and famous examples of those who have laboured faithfully for years without obvious success, but let’s not turn that into saying that failure and stagnation are the normal sign of an individual or a fellowship that is truly abiding in Christ. Could it be we are too quick to take refuge in Remnant theology instead of allowing God to search our hearts and our ways? Thinking out loud as I type… and as I pray: “May your life and ministry and mine be fruitful for Jesus sake, this Lord’s Day and every day.”

God bless

Kenny

You will be called “A Nazarite.”

In days when a casual, chummy approach to God is seen (wrongly) as a sign of intimacy, it is easy for anything that smacks of anything to do with outer signs of commitment as simply “religion.” One of the earlier prophets, Amos writing before the judgement of God fell on Israel and Judah delivers this message from God: “You caused the Nazarites to sin by making them drink wine.” Sometimes God may ask from you a particular sign of commitment which He may not require from everyone, and you know He has asked you for your willing compliance. It may indeed be to not drink alcohol. It may be a particular discipline in terms of bible reading and prayer. It may be something to do with T.V. or computer use and viewing.

Don’t let anyone talk you out of a particular commitment God has asked of you. They may scoff, they may try and say you are guilty of legalism and be seeming to want to set you free…don’t listen. Only listen if God Himself says you can relax that particular discipline.

The principle behind being a Nazarite is still one God employs. A few years ago in Charismatic circles in Scotland that principle was adopted in too literal a way imho, in an almost copycat way, and led to a lot of long haired men going around the place. I felt at the time they were misguided in outward practice, though I admit freely I might be wrong about that and would not argue the point. I think many of them came to see the same. However, I also felt they were on to something real, and honour them for that. They were rightly trying to observe the important permanent principle involved in being a Nazarite.

A.W. Tozer once visited a “Holiness Movement” Church. The leaders humbly asked for his advice. They shared that perhaps it was time to relax some of their age old standards that were meant to be outward signs of devotion to a Holy God and separation from the world’s ways. They asked him for advice as to what they should change as maybe the old standards had gone too far. He told them, “Change nothing! I am fed up visiting churches that have not gone far enough.” I find myself often thinking about that little incident. It speaks volumes.

God bless

Kenny

The promised link…publicity…

Here is the publicity for the Conference on Lewis, 7th to 9th June: 7th and 8th. Conference, 9th. Morning and Evening Services if you can stay on.

Delighted to be sharing the speaking with R.T. Kendall. It won’t be about the story of Revival of 70 years ago but will commemorate it. Revival is Sovereign, but Scripture makes it clear that there are several things that attract the Dove….attract the Fire..attract the Hurricane of God.

The cost of the Conference is very low. Well done Martins Memorial for not being part of the trend to fleece the sheep!

Why not consider coming? I know there are costs to do with travel, accommodation etc., but some low cost options are in the publicity. Some have told me that they have already booked and sorted out travel.

I consider R.T. Kendall to have the most accurate Prophetic voice I know. Why? He simply believes the Word of God and tells what it says without fear of man or even fellow believers.

So, why not come?

https://www.hebridesrevivalconference.com/?sfns=cl

A little known tradition about Isaac.

Image 29-03-2019 at 21.14

Following on from an earlier post about Daniel being flung into the lions’ den when he was in his 80’s contrary to some artistic interpretations that portray him as a young man, here is an idea that may correct our usual image of another famous biblical incident: Isaac could have been 30 when Abraham bound him and placed him on an altar and raised a knife above him ready to kill him on Mount Moriah, not a child or a youth in our way of thinking and measuring such things. Other traditions and commentators say he could have been 18. Impossible to prove? Sure. However, going by some phrases in the biblical text to do with the passing of time before this incident  and the fact that the death of Sarah, Isaac’s mother, at the age of 127 is the next chronological detail we are told after the story of Mount Moriah, I think the suggestion that we should think of him as a “young man” rather than a”young boy”  is a sensible one to make. A young man could have carried the considerable weight of wood required for a sacrifice on his shoulders, a young boy could not.  The word used to describe Isaac could be translated either as “young boy” or “young man.”

As a young man,  with the physical strength to climb a mountain while carrying heavy wood upon his shoulders, Isaac could have easily overpowered his Father at several points in the story, but didn’t. That is extreme meekness. Not weakness, but meekness. Did Isaac not have plans  for his life? Dreams? Of course!

Is there something right now, concerning the divine will for you or for me, to which we need to bow our head in meekness in the presence of our Heavenly Father? “Your will not mine be done.” I think that meekness is perhaps the most neglected item of clothing when it comes to putting off our old selves and putting on the Lord Jesus Christ which of course we are commanded to do, and can do by the grace of God and the power of God’s regenerating Spirit. In the last decade of Charismatic Renewal and seeker friendly Evangelical Christianity, in so far as I have experience of such circles, we seem to have become obsessed with our destinies and our ministries being acknowledged. The strange paradox is that we never reach our destiny until we die to needing to have one, and are prepared for everything we thought was part of that destiny to be stripped away should our Father desire so to do. Sometimes a vision needs to die before it truly lives.

You might be going through the purifying fires of meekness right now. God bless you if you are. The death of our plans and our vision is not as tragic as it seems though it can be a devastating experience. However when we stop warming ourselves by the idol of our own fires and following our own light, we may well be on the verge of being plunged into the fiery hurricane of the Living God and discover the unveiling of His Light upon our path.

God bless

Kenny

Get the picture?

The first picture I remember seeing of Daniel in the lions’ den was of a youth. Actually, he would have been in his 80’s. Never stop daring to be a Daniel. Let’s honour every “Daniel” and “Danielle” in our fellowships. It is a shame when those who have stood for the Lord for decades are treated as though they have had their day: no longer listened to; no longer allowed to sing the songs of their earlier journey as they journey on; patronised with an accommodating smile because of their “Thee” and “Thou” language and corresponding discipleship that has not apparently caught up with the modernity of God as chum or pal, but quaintly regards their Father in Heaven as the Almighty and the Holy One of Israel, whom they love and would love still even though He should slay them.

God bless

Kenny

Visit of R.T. Kendall – advance notice…

Advance Notice Folks! 7th – 9th June, Stornoway, Lewis. A conference with R.T. Kendall and me!! 70th. Anniversary of the much talked about Revival that began in that year and produced such amazing fruit in terms of renewal of God’s people and the salvation of the lost – many of them young people, teenagers at the time. Many people too were called into full-time ministry and mission work. Genuine Revival always overflows in salvation and mission, the fruit of which lasts in some shape or form, even spreading all over the world. I have met some of the fruit! I did not know one of the converts of the revival was standing behind me once as I stood at the church door in Barvas many years ago now, shaking hands with the worshippers after a Church meeting, but suddenly I was overcome by the presence of the Lord, by His sheer beauty. I started to weep at the church door not knowing at that point in time why I was experiencing the Lord’s presence with such fullness and beauty. It was due to a lady filled to overflowing with the Lord at her conversion in the revival and filled to overflowing still. Truest beauty.

I know it involves travel etc, but it is going to be open to all if you are able to come and wish to do so. More details to follow and will post them here, but thought I should let you know as early as possible in case some of you wanted to make arrangements to get there as time rushes on. Anyway, very humbled to be part of this as I know of no Bible teacher that is more prophetic, in the truest sense of that word, than R.T. Kendall. The anointing on him gets stronger and stronger in my opinion the older he gets. If you can afford to take time to get there and have the finances to get there then I commend it to you. I am trusting God I will be well enough, but if I have to miss one of my scheduled occasions to preach, well, that will be a blessing, because the amazing Tommy MacNeil will step in and you will be doubly blessed. Even six months ago, agreeing to go and speak at this would have been an impossibility for me and very unwise, but things are much more stable for me health wise than they have been at any time in the last 7 years since this illness, was first diagnosed.

Anyway, as I say, will post more details in due course! Cannae wait myself!! Such amazing life is springing forth in a multiplicity of ways, an explosion of the activity of God, in the church Tommy ministers in, in Stornoway, a harvest that includes another crop of young folk coming to faith in Jesus. It will be wonderful to be in the midst of the working of God’s Spirit.

(Edited this to emphasise this: The publicity and how to register is being prepared at the moment. This is really just to alert you in case you want to get travel arrangements in place. Some people are already booking up ferries etc. Details for registering etc should appear on the website of Martins Memorial Church, Stornoway, soon, or their Facebook page or both. I guess the important thing at this stage is to think about travel and accommodation if you are thinking of coming along. To keep costs down, why not fill up a car with your friends, or get your friends to go and help to fill up their car! There is the option of flying of course, but that is quite pricey, but if you have the means, and feel the go-ahead of God’s Spirit, well, go for it! Of course God is everywhere all the time, but He can also be in some places at some moments in time in a particular way. I feel in my spirit this weekend may well be one such moment.)

Anyway, keep looking out for publicity and details if you are interested in going.

God bless

Kenny

The courage to let go of what is revered…

“Lord, teach me to be generous
to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to look for any reward,
save that of knowing that I do your holy will.”

This prayer, often honoured and quoted in my younger years as a Christian, in the hands of the enemy has done more to distort my thinking about God, my thinking about myself, more to mock me and damage my physical and spiritual well-being than any other revered saying.

Is there a revered influence whose voice you need to stop listening to? It may serve others well enough but it is not the voice of your Shepherd for you. Listen to Him. He knows you by name. Your spirit by the Holy Spirit can learn to discern His voice and recognise the imitators who come as a thief to steal, kill and destroy you, even though the decoy sounds enticingly close to the real thing.

God bless

Kenny

Prophets and Prophecy in the Church. The real deal?

On Facebook today someone asked me what I mean when I talked about some prophets being the “real deal.”  The phrase was used in the context of commenting on conflicting prophecies in the Charismatic world on Brexit! This is how I responded. I did so instantly without thinking too much. Sometimes I find if I refine my thinking too much it loses some “life” even if it becomes a bit more polished and “clever.” I have posted my comment on that reality. The definition of the “real deal” in answer to a question put to me then follows  in italics.

“What to do when prophets disagree over Brexit…. as they are doing in the charismatic world- even prophets I admire and suspect are the real deal, not always right of course, but real? Well, I guess I trust most the ones that seem to tally most with the heart of God, the priorities of God revealed in Christ. Some make no mention of that…just ardent proclamation on the political level backed up by pretty inaccurate versions of history. Others are quite beautiful, full of compassion and grace, allied to a desire for righteousness and justice, without claiming the Scriptural high ground. After all, you can make a case for or against Brexit from Scripture very easily indeed, as you can with a lot of issues, so it can’t be settled that way. Leaving aside isolated texts that folk quote to back up their case, to whom does the heart of God go out towards? I look for prophecies that reflect that. They help me to pray with hope and faith. Such prophets sound as though they have nothing to prove and no axe to grind but speak with a quiet authority.”

“The ‘real deal?’ Someone who knows how to be in the counsel of the Lord, to hear His voice. They are marked in my experience, with humility, Scriptural faithfulness, Christ-like character and with a level of accuracy and insightful knowledge that shows this is coming from the Lord who knows all things, even things unwitnessed or unseen on a human level. They will always obey the rule of Scripture for New Testament prophecy, which is that even if there are things difficult to say and to hear, the fruit is seen in that people are strengthened, comforted and encouraged in the will and the ways of God.”

This may be of interest to you…and it may not be!

God bless

Kenny

 

That wave…

I had a dream last night about how often we settle for forgiveness rather than freedom, the comfort of grace rather than the true grace of God leading us to the joy of the Conqueror.

Have you settled for a circle of forgiveness and defeat? Remember that in Christ you have been given the authority and the power to live as a child of God. Don’t stop with forgiveness, though forgiveness alone  would be reason to praise God for all eternity. Pursue freedom.  In Christ you really can get past the wave that so continually seems to have washed you back to the shore in despair and seems to have mocked your desire to get beyond it to swim in the freedom of God. Don’t listen to the mockery one day longer. Ge hold of this truth: your sinful nature has been crucified with Christ.  Declare that truth over familiar temptation anytime it seems to mock you with a sense of its invincibility and of  inevitability of sin.

 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior,[b] Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds (Titus 2. 11 – 14, NRSV).”

Let the grace of God in Jesus be your personal trainer!

God bless you with hope.

Kenny

Ordered steps…

Sometimes Christians like myself make looking for guidance from God a feverish sort of enterprise. It can become a bit of a fraught and anxious affair. Well, this thought was in my mind today in my waking moments. “Put your life into His hands, walk in obedience to His commands, and trust that the ordering of your steps is happening.” As Children of God, we are being guided even when we don’t necessarily have an awareness of it happening.

I like the following words from a poem in one of the books I turn to from time to time as a daily devotional aid, “Celtic Day Prayer, Book 2 (Page 889).”

“..you have put your life into My keeping,
and because you are
depending on Me for guidance and direction,
I shall give it.

Move on steadily,
and know that the waters that carry you
are the waters of My love and My kindness
and I will keep you on the right course.” (Frances J Roberts)

I hope these thoughts bless you today with an awareness of the peace of Christ.

Kenny

Variations on a theme…

Here are 3 short posts I put on Facebook today. In my mind they are variations on a theme, but that may be clearer to me than to you when you read them. They were sparked off by reading a dismissal of the compatibility of Psychiatry and Christianity. Sadly, one often reads of those who claim to believe in the bible and to honour it making claims that deny what the bible actually states and teaches. The thoughts I read seemed to me to be a very disturbing and potentially extremely unhelpful and dangerous should they become planted in people’s minds. The following thoughts seemed to flow in rapid succession to one another..

Thought 1: “One meets incredible thoughts on Facebook at times. Read a comment today that Christianity and Psychiatry can’t coexist. Ah well, it would seem in some folks’ eyes no Psychiatrist can be a Christian and no Christian can be a Psychiatrist. The bible is so inconvenient for such opinions. It contains such a lot of excellent insight and help for the renewal and wellbeing of our minds.”

Thought 2: “It is no dishonour at all to the uniqueness of Christ, no denial of Jesus as the only Name in which salvation can be found, to speak of God’s common grace toward all: the blessings He gives to all mankind for their good, whether a person is a Christian or not. So, for example, I am grateful for medicine, education, harvest, friendship, love, to name just a few of a thousand common grace blessings from God. I am so glad they do not just belong to Christians. I would find that intolerable. I cannot imagine anyone with the love of God in their hearts for the world in its lostness and need could ever find that anything but intolerable. Even other religions according to the bible can be seen as a feeling after God, indeed that is specifically taught in the New Testament. It is Apostolic truth. There is no need to attack everything in order to defend Christ. So often I have felt the anointing of God’s Spirit, His Presence come into the midst, as people who are not believers in Christ have spoken of their profound gratefulness to a God who they make no pretence to truly know as yet. Gratefulness is a good start.”

Thought 3: “God in the New Testament honours the preaching of His Word by interrupting it. Do we want that? Are we praying for that? Satan interrupts the Word as well. We need to learn who is interrupting and what to do when it happens, otherwise we may well reject God’s Spirit from the life of the Church because we think it is the devil at work, or welcome the devil because we think his activity is God at work. Remember when the devil interrupts in the New Testament he is usually declaring the truth of who Christ is. Biblical Orthodoxy, though it is a good thing to pursue, is not a fail-safe guide as to what is happening.”

God bless

Kenny

Send the Fire!

Felt the fire of God upon my body through the night. Wondered if I had been healed. Not the case, I think, but you know what? It showed me God can heal me any time He chooses, if He can touch me like that. You know something else? Compared with the wonder of His very own presence, healing seems a much lesser treasure to be desired. His Name shall called “Wonderful!” He is Life. His glory is not imagination but is unimaginable. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom. We could not survive it. Thank God we will be changed to bear His presence and love forever. Thank God for tastes of eternity, moments that speak to us of an eternity to come. Praise the Name of the God who appears and who hides Himself, who captures out heart and lures us deeper in. What would it be like if His presence and Fire came down on a congregation? Revival! What if that presence spilled over into the community? Awakening. This God can turn a community back to Him in a single day. I believe it! Whatever you are called to be and be doing for God, God bless you in it, but don’t stop believing for Revival, for another Awakening. The “normal” work must go on, and for that we will give account. We cannot sit back and do nothing as those who have been given the Good News, but oh for days as in times of refreshing in the past in Scotland, when all that people can say in communities across the length and breadth of this land is, “God has come!”

I love this hymn penned by General William Booth.

Verse 1
O God of burning cleansing flame
Send the fire
Your blood-bought gift today we claim
Send the fire today
Look down and see this waiting host
And send the promised Holy Ghost
We need another Pentecost
Send the fire today
Send the fire today

Verse 2
God of Elijah hear our cry
Send the fire
And make us fit to live or die
Send the fire today
To burn up every trace of sin
To bring the light and glory in
The revolution now begin
Send the fire today
Send the fire today

Verse 3
It’s fire we want for fire we plead
Send the fire
The fire will meet our every need
Send the fire today
For strength to always do what’s right
For grace to conquer in the fight
For power to walk the world in white
Send the fire today
Send the fire today
Verse 4

To make our weak hearts strong and brave
Send the fire
To live a dying world to save
Send the fire today
Oh see us on Your altar lay
We give our lives to You today
So crown the offering now we pray
Send the fire today
Send the fire today
Send the fire today

God bless

Kenny

Love suffereth long

It has taken me nearly fifty years to understand some of what I understand about Christ and for some things about me to change by the power of God’s grace and truth. God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit has been very patient with me. Oh how patient. No doubt He has been extremely patient with you too. We need to remember that when we get frustrated with one another and don’t understand why someone or other is not getting something or other or walking in victory over something or other as quickly as we think should be the case. Why the confusion? Think often of how patient and long suffering God’s love has been with you and with me, how often we went round and round and round the roundabouts, and are still going round a few no doubt.

“Thy patience, Lord. Please help me to treasure Thy patience in me for me. Help me to want  to make room for Thy Patience in me through me for others.”

God bless

Kenny

 

Be yourself and use what you have got!

I once shared in a conference in America with R.T. Kendall and John Paul Jackson and David Ravenhill (son of Leonard). I am not name dropping, honest! The point is, I felt afraid. I respected these men so much and felt on the human level I was out of my league. I blurted out these feelings to JPJ in the lift in the hotel one morning. I told him about my inadequacies, the shortcomings and failings and sins. I said I wanted him to know all these things about me, and how unfit I was to be sharing in the conference he had organised. He laughed and smiled with great love and said, “Kenny, years ago, God told me that he builds his flock with the spotted and the speckled, and I was to build with the spotted and the speckled too.” It was a reference to the story of Jacob. My heart was set at peace instantly, and I was set free to be me at the conference without any more worries.

That came to mind today for one or two reasons. I felt I wanted to share it. We are all spotted and speckled. Don’t turn down an opportunity God opens to you by counting yourself out. One of my heroes, JPJ, has passed into glory leaving much blessing and enduring influence. You and I are still alive. My favourite Proverb? “Better a live dog than a dead lion.” If you are alive this day, don’t let awe of lions stop you from rejoicing in the gift of a bark! Use it!

God bless

Kenny