Memories awakened…

Loved hearing Kenny Gillies, the recently arrived new pastor of Livingston Elim Church share a wee bit of his testimony when I was preaching in his church last Sunday morning. In a Church of Scotland in Applecross he found himself stumbling to the front of the church to receive communion. He commented that it was a bare whitewashed church building.No music being played. No texts on the wall. Nothing. But the minister there, Kenny Macdonald (Kenny Bahn) had been converted in the Lewis Revival. The presence of God was there. That day in Applecross, Kenny Gillies felt a hand on his head and was electrified with the presence of God from head to toe. He had a vision of angels dancing as they shouted “Kenny is saved!”

When will we realise all that is necessary is the manifest effectual presence of God and mourn its loss and seek His presence alone?

Leonard Ravenhill once asked why we do not have revival. His reply? “Because we are prepared to live without it.”

I met Kenny Bahn in a few occasions. He somehow managed to carry a full to overflowing cup of impact of the Lord’s heart rending, beautiful presence right into his latter years. Meeting him left me with no option or desire than to seek the face of God for myself. Others born from above in the fire of the same Revival have had the same effect on me…when in their presence I have found myself several times in bits even though they never spoke a word or spoke in Gaelic which I cannot make head nor tail of….

God bless

Kenny

Safe Places

Thinking back to gloriously happy days of ministry in Wester Hailes. It was a consistent pattern that in an atmosphere of grace and healing those Christians who thought they were strong soon realised they were not. Having become part of us to give they realised there were areas of their story still needing touched by the healing of Jesus. The only people who didn’t stay around us very long were those who thought they had no need of a physician because they were saved and strong. True not just of members but of staff too. Having come to serve they realised their need of healing and help. They found out they were there by the grace of God for fuller purposes of grace than they were aware of when they first arrived, gifted and with a sense of call.

You may be ministering to others this weekend. Remember as you do that you too are in need of a physician…and always will be until the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus…

You need to remember that most especially when you are involved in itinerant ministry. It is the most dangerous form of ministry I know. I have seen people who fell with a great fall because they believed the introductions they received away from “home” before they got up to speak…God save me from that, as in this season of admittedly partial recovery (felt, though not backed up by tests, which show continuing slow decline!) I tend to preach from place to place or event to event , conference to conference in Scotland and occasionally further afield, as health permits and wisdom dictates. May I never believe the fliers! Oh for safe spiritual homes, local congregations of accountability and grace. If we are without such a home, may God lead us to one.

God bless

Kenny

Dr. Jack Deere…

Awake early. Just letting my mind wander back and forward in time to good memories and future hopes. Looking forward to being with Dr. Jack Deere for the Conference in Lewis in June 2020, health permitting and God willing. Why not consider planning to come over to Lewis to hear him? I first heard him preach in Toronto in 1994? 1995? His talk led me to re-evaluate just about everything to do with “Church” and helped me into a more fruitful ministry in the Holy Spirit than had been the case up until then. I will be forever grateful for that sermon: biblical clarity, wisdom (not just cleverness), honesty. I was cut to the heart. I knew I could never minister in the same way again, nor stick to the way in which I led a congregation if I was going to be truly obedient to the Bible and open to the Holy Spirit, willing for Him to be Himself in me and through me. Everything I brought to parish ministry from that point on, anything I brought to CLAN Gathering, to conferences and retreats for leaders in the UK and beyond came from what God spoke to my mind and to my heart from the Bible through that one talk. By the way, I listened to it lying down, having been slain in the Spirit just before Jack got up to speak! That talk still influences just about everything in my ministry to this day.

One of my favourite memories of Jack is when he was speaking at CLAN Gathering on one of his visits to us, about meeting a young man back home in America who claimed to have the New Testament gift of prophecy (as distinct from Prophecy in the Old Testament). However it seemed to function in a way that was completely different from the way Paul teaches it is meant to function in the church. It enabled him to see what was wrong with everybody else! Jack’s response to that as he shared the story with us was this: “Always and only seeing what is wrong with people is not a spiritual gift, it is a psychological condition requiring medication!”

…I try and keep that story in mind..

…I also keep this in mind too from that talk in Toronto. Jack has a background in theological teaching. He is a bright guy intellectually. He said “There is a big difference between the anointing of cleverness and the anointing of wisdom.” 

…I keep this in mind too. When Jack first spoke at CLAN Gathering, it was one of his earliest ventures into public ministry again after his son’s suicide. Over the years since his ministry and writing has been marked by almost unbearable honesty. That unrelenting honesty about his own struggles in the story of his life opens him up to rejection by the religious who like things nice and neat. However, it is powerfully helpful to those who seek to truly embrace the Gospel Jesus preached. in its glory and in its pain. We carry the mystery of “The Already Here but not yet Kingdom” in our very being until That Day.

I hope many of you manage to come to Lewis in June. Don’t get me wrong. Jack is full of humour and a wonderful communicator. You will “enjoy” hims as a speaker if you come to Lewis in June 2020. But I know that something much deeper will happen for many. Perhaps you will hear something that will change the way you live, the way you minister, the way you lead, the way you want to “do church” for the rest of your life.

God bless

Kenny

(The dates of the Conference are the 5th and 6th of June and then, of course, folk can stay for the Sunday as well. I am glad that the amazing Tommy MacNeil will be speaking this year along with Jack and myself. Can’t wait… I feel like a kid before Christmas as I have written this post!)

Jesus!

A late night last night at “Restored” in Ruchill and North Kelvinside Church. Yet another work of God where the real God is meeting the real needs of real people. Oh I know in saying that I open myself to an attack of church and theological snobbery which would tell me there is more to God and Church than that. So be it! What and where I was privileged to speak at, and then privileged to pray one to one with people, looked, sounded, felt like Jesus.

What moved me most? A farmer from Kilmalcolm who brought a young man all the way from Johnstone to the meeting because he sees it is helping him. I had met the young man at “Jumping Jacks” a few weeks ago and he was in my mind as I prepared my talk for last night even though I did not think for a minute he would be there. A farmer, preacher and a precious but struggling young man brought together in the loving purposes of a living Jesus in a work established by a visionary leader, Mark Lowey, who simply has had the courage to devote effort to where he saw God working and join in there. Amazing. How Satan and Religion must hate it. Pray for Mark and and “Restored” and Yerik and Michelle Kellett-Smith who run Jumping Jacks. They are proving Jesus’Gospel: The Kingdom of God is near: with Him nothing is impossible, no life is beyond hope.

At one point as I was praying for someone a growl came up and a voice snarled, “I am not staying around for this. I am going.” Well whatever spoke the man himself stayed put in his chair and received more love, more prayer! It is good news when a demon speaks out of a life and days, “I am not staying here any longer!”

Jesus saves from hell by standing condemned in our place, He baptises in the Holy Spirt, He still heals and delivers from demons, He still loves new people into being. Maybe you need to free yourself from any more sophisticated or respectable , less crude, less outdated, less intellectually embarrassing, more “cool”, more refined versions of Jesus and His Gospel.

Oh for more churches and works of God to be established that infuriate hell and infuriate that demon called Religion! Oh for more outposts of the Kingdom of God invading the darkness that has shattered so many countless lives whether being lived in a palace or the gutter, in the remotest island or in the busiest city, in the corridors of the University or in Rehabilitation Residences.

God bless

Kenny

One of those “could-have-heard-a-pin-drop”moments…

Found it difficult to hold it together tonight as the inmates at Shotts sang the words of the song below alongside words read beautifully from Psalm 139. What a show they put on for “Prisoners’ Week” with its heart rending theme, “Out of sight, Out of mind.” May it not be so for these men, their families and victims of crime. Moving, funny, informative, astonishingly open, touches of true delicate creative beauty, an open door for the presence of the One who is grace and truth through which He came and moved in the midst. Unforgettable. I mean it. As long as I have a memory I will never forget it. “Please Lord make it so for me.” What a blessing from God these guys gave to the full house who attended.

I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough

Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up

Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?

Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know

[Chorus]

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing

You say I am strong when I think I am weak

You say I am held when I am falling short

When I don’t belong, You say I am Yours

And I believe, I believe

What You say of me

I believe

[Verse 2]

The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me

In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity

[Chorus]

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing

You say I am strong when I think I am weak

You say I am held when I am falling short

When I don’t belong, You say I am Yours

And I believe, I believe

What You say of me

I believe

(Lauren Daigle)

God bless

Kenny

The point where Revival begins…

Those of you waiting and praying for Revival even as you work fully for the advancement of God’s Kingdom, would you recognise when the new thing is beginning? By the time the New Testament story begins the line of David was reduced to a stamp, a root out of dry ground. All that was visible was a man, a woman and a baby in some sort of animal shelter… easy to pass over as being of no significance….who knows where the whirlwind of God may begin at any moment….Move on 30plus years to the cross and the line of David was reduced to a man unrecognisable as human, mocked by people and apparently unwanted by God Himself. Yet there, the breakthrough and beachhead of the Kingdom, a door into the Kingdom of God, was being opened at street level for all who would believe down through the centuries until it is shut forever when Christ comes again. “FINIISHED!” “Now, is the judgement of this world, now is the prince of this world cast out, and I, wen I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Myself!”

Both Jesus birth and cruxifixction would have been passed over as completely insignificant. The birth of a baby among thousands? A cruxifixction among thousands? Yet from those tiny insignificant specific points and moments in history according to onlookers observation, the world was changed and the door from and into eternity opened.

At what insignificant point, unnoticed by the church or the world, might the the whirlwind, the next nation shaking Revival begin?

God bless

Kenny

If you visit Glencoe, think of this…

When surrounded by mountains in Glencoe yesterday, I could not help but think of the following verses in Revelation Chapter 6. The imagery of people calling on the rocks and mountains to fall on them in preference to encountering the terrifying wrath of God ( and of the Lamb, Jesus) is repeated at least four times in Scripture. Sobering thought… not often preached today when in a desire to be missional and attractional we often sanitise the God we are presenting to the world…

“Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’” (Revelation 6: 12 – 17 ESV.)

Thank God for Jesus. The Apostle Paul writing to God’s people in Thessalonica teaches that He saves us from the wrath to come. Do you know Him? Have you come to Him and put your faith in Him as the only Saviour there is from our sin and what our sins deserve? “God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but shall have everlasting life.”

Edited this to add a comment: I intended yesterday, Wednesday, while in Glencoe to post what I have written above today when I got home. I did not know there was two small earthquakes in Glencoe yesterday evening, felt in Ballachuish after we had arrived back home. Not that unusual perhaps, though slightly so. You can read about it if you allow the link Angela has posted below. Thanks Angela: that was news to me. Touched me afresh though with the fear of the Lord as to why he wanted me to post as I have done.

For those who care about the spiritual wellbeing of Scotland and want our true Scottish Christian heritage to be awakened with its distinctive emphasise, pray for a restoration of the right fear of the Lord….it is largely missing from the nation and the church of today. Words that are prophetic are often accompanied by confirming signs in the natural physical world. I have noted this many times, though it has only happened personally on two occasions with words/prayers I have been led to speak out over almost 4 decades of ministry.

Here is the link from Angela for your interest.

God bless

Kenny

Thought 3: Already Here, Still to Come Kingdom: Good News…my lungs!

Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John embodied in deed and word the Good News that in Him the Kingdom of Heaven is here now and still to come in all its fullness. From the Book of Acts onwards that continues in and through His people, the Church.

That means when I am healed of something miraculously, as I have personally known a few times in my life, and have seen happen in the lives of others, it is a sign of the Gospel: the Kingdom of Heaven is here. When I am not healed of something here and now, and have seen happening many times in others, it may be an encouragement to keep praying for a miracle now. However, that non-healing here and now may continue and may be a sign of the Gospel too: the Kingdom of Heaven still to come, and because that is so it does not necessarily mean that either myself or those who pray for me are deficient in faith or have failed in the desired result for some other cause or reason.

In the community of the citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth now, we need to live in this recipe, this 3-fold mixture of mystery: openness to the Kingdom of heaven being manifest among us; faith filled acceptance it is not all here “now”, so non-healings happen as do healings and for this there is grace, love and help: hope that we are waiting for that day when Christ will come and change our bodies to be like unto his glorious body.

Some circles I used to mix in more regularly than now, leave out at least one ingredient of this Gospel of the Kingdom. Some say there are no healings now as the day of miracles is over. In such circles, Paul’s thorn in the flesh, whatever that was, is trotted out with monotonous and misapplied regularity as the dampener on any suggestion of instant healing miracles. Some circles I mix in today, say there is no sickness in heaven so there should be no sickness on earth right now. There are too many holes in that way of thinking to address in today’s post. I will leave you with two to think about. There is no marriage in heaven now or in the future. Does praying, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” mean Christians should dissolve their marriages and live like the angels? There are no bodies in heaven now save the Lord Jesus and in the Kingdom to come we will have glorified imperishable bodies incapable of tiredness or weariness etc. Are we really saying that praying “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” means we can either become disembodied spirits as people are in heaven now, or can have our new Resurrection bodies now if we just prayed enough and had more faith?

Let me close with personal illustration. When the doctor told me I was extremely ill and had to go into hospital with pneumonia on top of my lung disease, I did not want to go and asked him not to send me there. I got friends on Facebook to pray: I was instantly healed before even 24 hours were out. Right now I have a lung disease that is not healed despite many of the same friends faithfully praying; in fact it is very gradually and continually getting worse. I believe the healing of my lungs and the non-healing of my lungs both confirm the Gospel of the already here and still to come Kingdom of Heaven. I also believe in my life God helps me to experience the other ingredient in the recipe of Kingdom of Heaven here and Still to come that I mentioned above: always there is grace, love and help, which in its own way is very much a miracle. God has become more gloriously real to me in the experience of healing delayed.

If only we lived in the profound but simple mystery that the Kingdom is here already, is coming, and will come, we would have more certain faith with the additives of rest and peace.

God bless you as you think through these things for yourself… and, of course, remember: The Kingdom of Heaven being near means we should always be open to surprises of the loveliest most wonderful kind. Things impossible for man or any power on earth can happen at any moment.

Kenny

Thought 2 – Already Here, Still to Come Kingdom: John the Baptist

And John, 19calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 20And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” 21In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. 22And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, leperse are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” (Luke 7: 19 – 23: ESV.)

John The Baptist had declared that in Jesus, Heaven was invading earth, God’s Kingdom was being established. There were indeed Kingdom-of-Heaven-happenings in the ministry of Jesus. John has heard reports of events that can only be explained by the fact that the power and love of the God of heaven is powerfully at work in the person, words and action of Jesus to free people from all that hurts and harms. Yet, despite these reports, he sends two of his disciples to Jesus with this question: “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”

John was in deep and distressing confusion. Though there were indeed signs and wonders in the ministry of Jesus that confirmed the message of the Kingdom, there were other realities too. John had proclaimed a complete and total change, an upheaval of everything, including the judgement and the removal of the powers that be . But Herod was still a king; corrupt high priests and religious courts still held sway; the Temple system was corrupt through and through; Caesar was still Lord. “The axe is laid to the root of the tree” John had declared, but the trees were still standing. Where was this Kingdom? Was Jesus the Messiah, the King sent from heaven? John is not certain. John’s Kingdom of Heaven proclamations had not fully come to be as he envisaged when he cried out in the desert. He feels confused and even let down by Jesus.

The painful confusion of which we read in this passage is actually tremendously helpful for us. Thank God the writers of Scripture were led to include when they selected what to write about. John is experiencing what any true believer has to come to terms with sooner or later – and better sooner rather than later! He is living in the mystery of the “Already Here but Yet to come” Kingdom. At times there are astounding signs of that Kingdom. Jesus sends John’s messengers back to him to tell him of Kingdom of God signs and wonders that confirm Jesus is indeed the King who invades the earth with the obvious rule of Heaven. These signs still happen today in the Name of Jesus among and through the people of God. When they do, they assure us that the Kingdom of Heaven is near and here, among us and within us. However, there are many situations and experiences that we may be called to endure and to live through as followers of Jesus when there is no obvious Kingdom sign or wonder. Such times remind us that the Kingdom of God is not only present experience but a future hope for which we wait and pray: “Thy Kingdom Come!”

At times this tension of “Already Here and Yet to Come” can indeed confuse and challenge us and requires a faith to believe and hope, endure and rejoice, that can only come as it is given to us by God. Faith when there is no sign of the Kingdom, no miracle, is a sign of the Kingdom and a God given miracle! It makes no human sense to believe the Kingdom of Heaven is active when you find yourself in prison unjustly or when the executioner comes to cut off your head. Yet history is full of accounts of believers affirming the reign of God in His unfailing goodness, love, righteousness and justice, even at such moments. The key thing at those points seems to be to keep our hearts free of bitterness or offence at how the King is expressing His reign in my life “now”, as He also continually draws all things towards the “then” of The Day when indeed there will be no more sorrow nor crying: The Day when death itself will be past; The Day when there will be more more pain and God will wipe away every tear; The Day when every proud and lofty God defying and people harming influence will be chopped down for sure. What John the Baptise thought he would see He will indeed rise to see along with all those who long for Christ’s appearing in glory.

John’s experience should lead us to pray two things when the mystery of “Already Here and Not Yet” is in our lives in painful and confusing form:

“Lord, be my Good Shepherd. Lead me though the dark valleys of the conflicts and confusions I am experiencing, into the grace and peace of not charging you with wrong in the way you are ordering my days and my steps. Help me to trust you and know your peace.”

“Your Kingdom come Lord, in all its glorious fullness! Bring The Day Your Word promises us, The Day your people and all creation are waiting for with inexpressible longing”

Perhaps you are in a “John the Baptist, Cell of Confusion” moment as you read this. May Jesus who taught him, speak to you too, to find a way through. There is nothing wrong with you if there is no outward miracle. Miracle and non-miracle are both signs of the Gospel of the Kingdom as taught by Jesus, properly understood and faithfully lived out day by day. It’s the way the Kingdom is for now for those who are in it by God’s grace, who are deeply loved and watched over by the King.

God bless

Kenny

Thought 1 – Already Here, Still to Come Kingdom…

Some folks have asked me to write a bit about the “Already Here but still to come Kingdom of God.”

i have decided to approach this with a series of simple single thoughts each time I post on the subject.

Thought 1:

It is really important that we understand this. Do you know what Jesus said the Gospel is?

There is no need to try and work out the answer. He told us plainly:

“The time is fulfilled. The kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the Gospel.” (Mark Chapter 1 verse 15.)

Is this in your mind as you think of what the gospel is? If not…why not?

God bless

Kenny

Here and Not yet…

“The Kingdom of heaven is near!” This is the gospel according to Jesus. I spoke on this recently at “Kingdom Gathering” on Skye and it seemed to bring help and hope to people and create faith and remove pressure and a sense of failure in ministry and prayer.

There are two errors that the enemy is sowing into the preaching of this gospel at the moment.

Number 1: error about the entrance. There is only one way of entry into the Kingdom ofGod: the cross of Jesus Christ where Jesus was punished for our sins that we might know peace with God. This is now being actively preached again. It used to be quite customary, in the days I was studying for my B.D., for liberals to deny this. Now it is evangelicals that are beginning to deny this truth, indeed folk claiming to be evangelicals now mock this. They deny it is even a valid interpretation of the cross at all. In this they go beyond liberals who at least are faithful enough to Scripture to admit it is a truth taught in the New Testament even though they would give it no prominence or preach it or agree with it. The name evangelical now means virtually nothing. It is often less biblical than classical liberalism or Roman Catholicism. I find nowadays I would be happy to share a platform with liberal or a Roman Catholic – and do from time to time with great gladness – but not with some who go by the name of evangelical. Lies work because they seem like the truth and sound like the truth. Obvious errors are rarely a problem. Don’t be ignorant of the devil’s wiles.

Number 2: the extent of the Kingdom now. Whereas error about the entrance to the Kingdom is being perpetrated by speakers and teachers claiming to be evangelical, the error about the teen of the Kingdom of heaven in the here and now tends to be common in contemporary charismatic circles. An example of this would be “There is no sickness in heaven now so there should be nor sickness on earth now. This is a serious misunderstanding of “The Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” It causes immense disillusionment and pastoral nightmares. In the name of promoting faith for miracle it actually often destroys faith in God.

Don’t become heresy hunters, but be aware of who and what you listen to and align yourself with.

If this sounds arrogant, well, I can assure you that on a reasonably regular basis I see from Scripture where what I preach or teach needs amended to align with Scripture. However, at the risk of sounding inflated, I have a concern for the people of God throughout this land of Scotland and opportunities seem to open to me to speak beyond the local setting, as it were. I believe my concern it is God given.

God bless

Kenny

Long awaited freedom?

Don’t give up hope that there can be freedom from that sin that has been part of you for so long. When it is evicted from the various parts of you it’s coils seemed to reside in, you may be shocked even frightened by how huge a monster it was. You will be surprised when it is gone that you do not weigh less physically! In Christ there is a victory that can yet be manifested in you.

When you have sincerely tried some of the excellent aids and helps to freedom on offer in the Christian scene, to no avail in your case, settle in the presence of Jesus and day, “Lord this has bothered me for decades. Please take it out of me.” In your waking and sleeping hours, He will answer that simple prayer. He is looking on you with great compassion and kindness, without condemnation, assured in His own triumph.

Do you know God can do mighty things as you sleep? That simple, humble prayer for deliverance from Leviathan.. He can do it even as you sleep. You have already made your will for His Will and victory clear to Him..

God bless

Kenny

The police at your door?

Dream last night. Meaning:

“There is so much competitiveness amongst some ministries, movements and churches with a reputation of being alive – sound in doctrine and open to the Spirit – that needs, cries etc., go unheeded, wrongly diagnosed. People are left to seek their own healing from long standing captivities feeling abandoned, hardly noticed. It is little wonder that after staying loyal they make a decision to leave. Only then do they become a matter of intense interest and pursuit, for of course, their value is numeric and always was. Their leaving is pursued with the zeal of those chasing after an escaped prisoner.”

“Lord, is it I? Lord, is it us?”

There are times when it is right to leave a church for right and proper reasons. Sometimes it is necessary for our deliverance and healing to happen along with a new sense of worth, freedom and joy emerging. It is important that we find a fellowship to be part of again otherwise the escape is not complete, but don’t be swayed by the police force that may be sent to your door to bind you and bring you back.

Well, that was the meaning of the dream. Of course many times people leave churches for the wrong reason or because they have listened to the wrong voices. Then there is the need to be humble and return. That is true, but the dream last night was not about that.

Don’t be taken back into a church/ministry/movement that treats you as merely the servant of their goals and mission even when the Chief Constable himself/ herself appears on your doorstep.

God bless

Kenny

A Person not a Project…

Job 19.22: “Why are you not satisfied with my flesh?” Job seems to be saying that his”friends” seem to be taking an almost perverse delight in his suffering rather than caring. His actual and obvious suffering is not enough for them. They are drilling into his inner being and won’t be satisfied until they expose his inner condition. They are making Job and his suffering their ministry project.

I was thinking today of someone who used to come around one of the churches I pastored. i still have contact with them from time to time, but they no longer attend that church anymore. The reason they gave for leaving? “I felt I had become a project.”

I think, sadly, with regard to the way some at least treated that person, that was so …

People who have suffered greatly are quick to see whether they are being treated as a person or a project. They may stick around for a while, but ultimately they will not stay in company whether they are treated like that. When they leave it may be a good sign: “I matter.” Spiritual gifts, programmes for inner healing mean damage when there is no love.

God bless

Kenny

Why have you put that boundary there…?

Jesus, God in the flesh, was approachable. Sinners sought Him out. Mothers brought their children to Him to be blessed. He was angered at the very idea they should be kept from contact with Him. Spirituality and Approachability are linked, I think.

I used to hate it when well meaning people at conferences used to stop people approaching me after I had spoken, or when I was hived off to some secret room. I know it was to protect me, it was well meant, but… 

Anyway, don’t over protect your space. Take time apart for sure, as did Jesus, your health and well-being matter, but remember that approachability and hospitality – making time for others in your time and space for others in your space – is part of being like Jesus. Spirituality is proved in how we are with “what” or “who” we perhaps are too quick to dismiss as interruptions, distractions to the really important matters of our life in the Spirit or our terribly vital calling.

After learning from my mistakes over the decades, I would say that boundaries are good in life and ministry as a full time parish minister in the traditional sense. But remember, if you are involved in full time ministry of some sort, barriers need to be there for two positive purposes: for your wellbeing, and to enable healthy and sustainable availability to others. They should not be put in place with the purpose and intention of putting a series of hurdles in the road of people coming to you.

I have known people in ministry who make boundary setting a bit of a professional obsession. When that happens “Keep away, I am far too busy with more important matters than you!” becomes the main unspoken message of your ministry that people will speak plenty about for sure, much more than the sermon you spend hours praying over and diligently preparing. The pendulum does so often swing too far in one direction or another.

God bless

Kenny

Then and Now…

I am waiting for the day when “Then” will become “Now.”

The following words from 1st. Corinthians Chapter 15 have meant so much to me lately in the loss of my Mum. . Maybe you have lately buried a huge part of your heart as a loved one died and their remains were sown into the earth like precious seed. From that seed sown in tears something magnificent and imperishable will grow thanks to the one who drew the sting of death on our behalf on the cross. If you shared the hope of Christ together, hold on to these magnificent words….

“For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection from the dead…”

“…what you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel…what is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory…”

“When the perishable puts on the imperishable and the mortal puts on immortality, THEN shall come to pass the saying that is written:

Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ…”

Why not take time and listen on Youtube to someone singing, “I know that my Redeemer liveth” from Handel’s Messiah. The day when “Then” becomes “Now” will come…. be sure of it. May it help you out of mourning, into comfort and even into joy…

God Bless

Kenny

“Come in! Come in! It’s nice to see you? How’s yourself…?”

In times past when I was speaking in different places and different countries more than is the case now in days of enforced truncated ministry, there was an experience I away found difficult…staying in bedrooms where no place had been made for me to unpack my stuff! It was a temporary situation, so I managed, but to find not a single drawer where I could unpack my clothes etc., somehow affected me. In fact, I am not so sure I ministered as well or as freely when and where that was my experience.

I think the effect upon me whether intentional or the result of thoughtlessness and lack of any gifting of hospitality in the so called hosts, was that I heard a message: “You don’t really belong here with us.”

After Morag and I shared a meal with a wonderful prison chaplain last night, I found myself thinking as I dropped off to sleep that the need to feel we are welcome, that we belong, that there is a place I can unpack my stuff, is very deep, very basic. It is of course part of the gospel that Jesus invites us into His living space and makes room for us; He wants us to know that the love of the Father for Him is a living space we can share in. There is more than enough room there for us. Whether the luggage we arrive with is helpful or not, there is room for it in the Father’s love. In that love we find that some of what is in the suitcases is never going to be needed again. Nurtured with the food of divine love, we outgrow what once seemed to fit us. It no longer looks right on us, feels right. It is no longer needed, but we are welcome to bring it all when we come through the door, until that realisation is birthed in unexpected joy unspeakable and full of glory as irrefutable living truth.

God makes room for us in Himself. Hospitality is a gift that comes from His own nature. 

There are many differing thoughts about Church, Mission, etc floating around today. Reflecting the Hospitable heart of God may be a a very simple key. Would people feel after spending any time with me, any time speaking to me, that a place to belong, a space to unpack is being offered?

When I was unable to do very much at all ministry wise, indeed when I thought I might never preach again, God seemed to show me a Kingdom vision for how to live my life. He wanted me to be like a Kingdom of God tree in whose shade birds of the air could find refuge and build nests! I hope I hold on to that calling of being and offering a welcoming safe space, now that by God’s grace, I am speaking again on an occasional basis. It worked without words for a long while. My prayer is it will work with words now, that what I say will not mask the simplicity of the Hospitable Christ.

A warm memory from my childhood when T.V. used to be more about entertaining before it became a vehicle for one single issue politically correct cause after another, Andy Stuart used to invite us all into “The White Heather Club” by singing with a cheerful voice and a smiling face, “Come in! Come in! It’s nice to see you! How’s yourself? ” Thousands of us believed that invitation, and waited for it with joy each week! We could do worse than learning from that.

God bless

Kenny

“Sorry, I’ll need to cancel…”

Over the last wee while, bereavement has led to me having to cancel one or two arrangements I had made with people. There were just some situations which I knew I could not handle this early on after my Mum’s death. I felt bad doing that, because I think that keeping our word is a good sign of where we are with the Lord, and breaking it for any reason should never feel like an easy thing to do even if it is done for unavoidable reasons that anybody would understand. In Psalm 15 the questions is posed, “O Lord…who shall dwell in your holy hill?” One of the many characteristics we are then told about the person who does indeed dwell in closeness to the Lord is this: they swear to their own hurt and do not change (Verse 4). In everyday, simple terms, it is good to be people who keep our word even when it is not easy and may indeed cost us a lot to do so. That is part of living in fellowship with the Lord.

Perhaps you will face a choice today: you have made a promise to someone, but something else comes up that you really want to do, or the opportunity for some advantage is offered to you that others might say you would be a fool to miss out on, or the possibility is presented of spending time with someone you really want to spend time with. What will you do? Will you keep your word, even though it is going to cost you something to do so? 

Of course in a world such as ours, in the frailty of being human, there will be times when we cannot keep our word. That is very different from not keeping our word because despite being free and able to do so we decide not to, for one reason or another. Whatever the reason, not keeping our word puts a spiritual sense of distance between ourselves and the Lord as well as probably hurting or disappointing the other person involved, who despite perhaps graciously assuring you it is “OK” will probably feel devalued. Keeping our word at cost shows we are getting to know the One who keeps His Word to His own hurt.

This is not moralism. This is about knowing who God is and learning to walk as His chosen child, holding His hand…

If you were thinking about phoning someone today to say, “I’m sorry, but I will need to cancel…,” maybe just maybe you should think again…

God bless

Kenny

Faith is not Fantasy…

Disturbing but useful dream: Was walking through various scenes in which I saw differing reactions from Christians to the realties of life, particularly its harsh realities. Some were reacting in anger against distress they had known, some were reacting by escape, some were turning to a series of emotional fripperies, some were focussing on trying to improve tiny irrelevancies… etc. The sense was I was just to observe and that trying to “help” would not have been the right thing at that moment.

The sign of maturing faith is not that we deny facts or reality as they emerge, nor shut them out, nor cope by living in a smaller and smaller world of spiritual experiences where harsh realities are not allowed to show their disturbing distressing face. Faith sees facts of all types, pleasant and distressing; sets itself to live fully in reality, in truth; refuses to create false spiritual reality into (non)existence separated off from factual reality. Faith sees the way things are. It is more aware of the way things are than the closed mind and limited awareness of facts that unbelief and atheism suffers from, for it sees – sometimes with ease sometimes with struggle – that God is, and that He always is…

If something has hit you hard in the face recently, or even this very day, Jesus is praying for you, that your faith fails not. I pray that even if it is like a smouldering wick, it will not be put out. If you are like a bruised reed, remember Jesus is there to lovingly help you not be broken as you may fear this very day you might be. Easy to say…not always easy to believe or live out…

God bless your faith and deliver us all from fantasy. May we know the difference.

Kenny

Die a little, rise a little: the inescapable law of Christian living…

Got a couple of private posts today from people talking about “mourning.” Some thoughts…

I think that one of the most common needs or difficulties a pastor comes in contact with could be put into the category called “mourning.” It may be mourning for a person who died or mourning over a person from whom we have been separated, over a relationship that has ended; it might be mourning over a lost job. An Occupational Health doctor back in 2016 challenged me with this question: “Have you ever mourned your loss of health?” I had not allowed myself to do that. Henry Nouwen says that sometimes there can even be mourning over a form of Christian devotion or worship which meant so much to us, but is now deemed to be out of date, irrelevant and not fit for the present times; what was precious to us in the formative years of our Christian experience can come to be almost outlawed and drowned out with cynicism or sarcasm as no longer fit for purpose.

Christian life in practice means a whole lot of little deaths, little mournings, followed by little resurrections. It may have been brother Roger of Taize who said that, but I am not certain. No one escapes. Leaning to mourn and move on is vital. Not only is it vital but with Jesus it is possible when it seems impossible. He helps us mourn our losses well, and then to rise to the next chapter of new life, the good things prepared beforehand for us to live in and do, when His Father chose us for life in Christ before the foundation of the world.

The evil one tells us that our life was lost in what was taken from us or never given to us in earlier chapters of our story. He tells us there is no life possible, no recovery of joy or happiness in the face of loss. Living in Christ means our truest self is never in the past, whether that was a good or dark story, but waiting for us in my present journey towards my future which God alone can unfold in time and more fully in eternity. This is called “Hope.” It meant more to early believers than to many believers now, I think. They did not make themselves as at home in the happenings of this life as present day believers. They did not look for their life in what could be taken away or had been taken away, in what can be stolen or destroyed, but in what can never be lost. Our life is hid with Christ in God. Let the glory of what you will be on That Day rise like the sun and shine in glory across the plains of time from eternity. Walk into who you are. The thankfulness of faith affirms, often through mourning and tears, that I am more me than I was this time a year ago, despite my fears to the contrary. Resurrection Hope says I am not yet who I will be, but that is where I am heading. I choose that life…

So may God help you and I with our losses when they happen (and they will) and enable us to receive His promised comfort in our mourning, and then to sense the sun rising on us as we look forward and onward.

I heard of a leader who made a huge pastoral mistake, in my opinion. After hearing someone give their testimony they stood up publicly and said, “That testimony has just glorified Satan.” The person had majored on the difficulties they had been living through. The pastor should have spoken to them privately about the imbalance of their story and what is meant by giving a testimony; it is never right to humiliate a person publicly. Even the best of leaders get it wrong from time to time. However I know what that leader meant. Take care about how you talk about your sufferings. Never give Satan the glory. Glorify the God who promises true comfort in true mourning, The God of all comfort, the God of all hope, the God of resurrection.

The Revd. John Miller, the well known former minister of Castlemilk in Glasgow, was once asked by a 6 year old, “What does a minister do?” His reply? “A minister helps people to know that there is a way to be happy even after bad things have happened.” I like that…I really do… because of Jesus, it can indeed be so… Look to Him…

God bless

Kenny

The Cross…your Future…

Spend time at the cross and you become a prophet visiting the future.

At the cross Jesus tells us, in John 12, that three things about the future were being established for certain by Him before their chronological time comes: at the cross we visit the Day of God’s judgement against all forms of human sin; we see the throwing of the devil and his angels into the lake of fire is irrevocably established; we see the people of God drawn from every tribe and tongue whom God will dwell among and from whose eyes He will wipe away every tear. Not only do we see future happening now, we taste it and start to live in it.

Are you a believer? Well, spend time in your “future now”, thanking the One who bore our judgement, defeated our enemy and will bring us home as one flock to be with Him forever!

God bless

Kenny

“O God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Ruth, Deborah,Daniel, Ezekiel etc.. Hear my Prayer.”

It is not a bad idea when you are reading a book of the bible to turn what you have read into prayer. Keeping in mind you are going to do that when you have stopped reading is a good way of not missing what matters most as you read. So for example I have been reading Ezekiel recently and praying to the God of Ezekiel. There is a lot of what he writes that I find confusing, but there is a lot that is perfectly plain. So, as I pray to the God of Ezekiel, who is my God too, the unchanging God who came to us in Jesus, I pray to the One who:

…judges His people. Even though I am saved by Jesus from the coming wrath of God as Paul tells me in Thessalonians, I must still appear before His judgement seat to give account. I search my heart with God’s help. If I search it on my own, I would end up in despair rather than in truth.

…who says vengeance belongs not to us but to Him. One day for sure, Justice will not only be done, but be seen to be done. What does that mean with regard to those who have harmed me and my family unjustly? I shudder to think and should pray they might find forgiveness before that day in the same place where I have found it for my sins, which are many.

…who never washes His hands of His people completely. Ezekiel sees blessing in the future for the people of God facing judgement in the now. He sees God as Shepherd as dwelling with His people and being their God. I thank God that in Christ, there is always hope.

…is perfect in all of His ways. Ezekiel sees no contradiction between the God who judges and saves, the God who pours our his wrath until it is satisfied and the God who acts in astonishing mercy and grace as rescuer and Shepherd. There is no contradiction or dualism in God. His perfect holiness, perfect love, perfect wrath, perfect mercy, perfect righteousness and perfect everything else that the bible reveals of Him are in complete harmony.

…will clear His own Name in His own time. On that day we will see what sometimes it is difficult to see now: all His ways are just. We will even see He deserves praise for His judgements, that they are righteous. “Behold He does all things well.”

I worship the God of Ezekiel today because I have been reading his book. As you pick up your bible today, remember to say as you read, “I am going to pray to the One these God breathed words are revealing to me.”

God bless

Kenny

…earnestly desire… especially…

(This is long, so don’t bother reading it, unless you are interested in seeking the gift of Prophecy, which actually we are encouraged to do in the bible. All that follows on below, is really just an encouragement do just that!)

Daniel Chapter 11! In that one chapter, Daniel saw 135 events covering 366 years of world history. Everything is known by God. Because some people cannot handle that idea, they explain Daniel away: he never existed but was just a literary invention; the predictions must have been written in after they happened, etc.

I am a bit prophetic, but only a wee bit. God occasionally shows me people I have never met in dreams and then I meet them. Occasionally, a scene unfolds before my eyes, showing me something that I could not naturally know about someone. When I share what I was shown with the person, it usually helps them to receive a touch from God. But the detail and the extent of revelation from God to Daniel is astounding. Even his contemporary, his fellow prophet Ezekiel, realised there was something pretty special about him. God mentions him a lot to Ezekiel and puts him up there as a living legend along with two huge figures of Israel’s past, Noah and Job.

I am just a baby in prophetic terms, in fact compared with Daniel I have barely emerged from the womb and given my first cry. I know others who are children or maybe teenagers, and one or two, and maybe two or three more who seem to have reached maturity in this gift and ministry. There will be many more of course. I am just speaking about the circles I have mixed in. The bible says we should earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. For those of you who have embarked on a journey of obedience to this scriptural exhortation, keep going!

Of course it needs to be stressed that prophecy is often speaking what only God could know into the present. It is not all future looking. Ezekiel was given knowledge of things that were happening many miles away as they were actually happening. He was told to write them down and date them. However the future looking element of prophecy that we see so strongly evident in the latter part of the book of Daniel should not be downplayed. In prophecy, the God who knows the end from the beginning, the God who knows the history of every single cell in the universe and its destiny, speaks of what He alone could know about a person or situation. He can reach into the future and into the past. He can see more deeply into our present than we can, no matter how insightful we may be.

If you want to grow in the spiritual gift of prophecy, ask God more often than you currently do, “Lord, is there anything you want me to hear today so that I know what to say to someone who needs to hear it.” Ask a similar question when you are with someone in the course of your day or when you gather with your fellow believers in Church. It says of Jesus in the Old Testament that he had an instructed tongue. Morning by morning, His Father wakened Him to know the word that would sustain the weary. It is more than a geographic note of interest when we read in John Chapter 4 that Jesus had to go through Samaria. It is a good thing to pray as followers of Jesus that God would give us an instructed ear and an instructed tongue. It can lead us to people and places we never knew or even thought of visiting.

By the way, part of learning to have an instructed ear and an instructed tongue is hearing from God when to be silent and say nothing, even when He shows you something that you might be itching to say. Prophecy is to bring honour to God, not to make you or I look impressive. Can you be trusted with something you are told by God to deal with it as He tells you to? Learning not to speak is a vital training experience if we would learn to speak in the Name of the Lord, to the honour of that Name.

All of you have made a start in this. You have all had hunches from the Lord to speak to someone, phone someone etc. We would never usually think of calling such a happenings anything to do with being prophetic, but it often is. Well, let such moments you have known help you to believe there is maybe something more for you to seek and pursue.

Prophecy, when it is the real thing and not just holy sounding platitudes that every believer knows and agrees with anyway, changes lives. In fact, it can often mean saving someone from death. I have known that in personal experience. On at least two occasions I can remember, and there may have been others I cannot now remember, if I had not given a person the word I believed God gave me for them, they could have died. God simply revealed undiagnosed medical conditions that would have killed them if they remained undiagnosed and if they had not gone to the doctor after receiving the prophecy. The doctor confirmed medically what had been said prophetically. I remember one condition was Pancreatic cancer.

Anyway, however far you get along the road, remember that Scripture encourages every believer to earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that we may learn to prophesy. As Jim Graham used to say, Bible in hand, “ I am not making this stuff up! I am just telling you what it says.”

God bless

Kenny

Shepherds…

I guess every true teacher of God’s Word and Gospel gets it wrong sometimes. That does not make them a false teacher.

False teachers in seem to have at least two characteristics in the New Testament that I can think of. Number 1 they say that what you have heard before they arrived to teach you was incomplete, it was ok as far as it went, but they have some new insight that will lead you into a better understanding and a fuller experience of Christ than received teaching has brought to you. Thus with faint praise they condescendingly damn the faith once delivered to the saints and have a mission to move folk away from the true Christ under the guise of moving people on. Others nowadays for various reasons have become more daring and moved further along the road to error. They say what we have received, the gospel in which we found God’s love and salvation from our sins and the wrath to come is not just inadequate but wrong. So, for example, I think of a former leader of an organisation that reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland who said that his mission as a minister was to destroy belief in the truth that Christ was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities and bore punishment for our sins in our place. The same leader allowed the worship of idols in his church building. The seed of error planted even in New Testament times has flourished and far from being censured by church discipline is even applauded. It all fits with fallen religion in Romans Chapter 1.

However, not all the blame lies with the false teachers themselves. Yes, they will bear punishment for destroying God’s temple, the church, by not building true to the foundation of Jesus Christ Himself, but they are not wholly to blame. The bible also says that listeners have itching ears to hear something that suits them, that somehow does away with elements of Christian truth they find distasteful or elements of Christian discipleship that they would rather not be challenged by. People are innately spiritual, but are drawn to create their own god in their own image, one they can live with more easily than living with the Living God.

Anyway these thoughts were sparked off by rejoicing today that there are so many places where there are true teachers of God’s Word. Thank God it is so. Thank God for the Bible and those who seek to teach it with humility and faithfulness whatever their intellectual or oratorical skill may or may not be. What an immense blessing if you are a member of a congregation where there is a true teacher, a true Shepherd. Many congregations do not have that blessing.

By the way, part of teaching with faithfulness and humility is being able to straightforwardly admit when you have taught something that is wrong. Secure leadership can do that. It enhances credibility. Without knowing it, preachers and teachers like myself can have a loyalty to a theological system which we have found a good framework for understanding the Bible’s teaching. However there is no theological system without its blind spots, bits of the bible here and there which it misinterprets, forcing the bible text into the mould of the system rather than allowing it to speak fully and challenge fully. All of that can lead us to temporary discomfort and disturbance. It is good to acknowledge when we have been teachers that got it wrong (though if we are basically committed to teaching the Bible, that admission should in actual fact turn out to be rare and occasional, otherwise the flock will feel unnerved rather than blessed by the Shepherd they called). The result will be God will be glorified, life will flow, even though some may reject you as a traitor to the theological camp which you may well alwayslthink of as the home in which you have been born and nurtured and to which you basically still feel in a human sense you belong.

God bless.

Kenny

Disloyal to the cause? No, just thinking out loud…

I am a Charismatic in the eyes of other people, and indeed I am that in terms of Biblical conviction and spiritual experience. I feel though as Charismatics in Scotland we are maybe going round the same roundabout we have been going round for years and failing to have any significant impact for the Kingdom of God in Scotland. Our concentration on looking for more healings, more signs and wonders, is making the wrong things central. These things matter but what is God really calling His people to in these days?

Signs and wonders were there in the Old Covenant. What is the essence of the New Covenant spoken of in Jeremiah, ratified by the shedding of Jesus blood who was put forward as a sacrifice for sin by God Himself, as distinct from the accompanying signs which verified both covenants, albeit that in the New these signs accompany the many not the few, as God sovereignly chooses? I think our pursuit of more healings, more signs, more wonders, is hindering what is truly on God’s agenda.

Still thinking this through for myself, but it arises from reading a book by someone committed to signs and wonders, a truly good man, and feeling strangely empty and disappointed, feeling, as I say, that I was being taken round the same roundabout, just by another face and another name, using slightly different language…

Don’t get me wrong. I thank God for signs and wonders, healings, prophecies etc., but there is something more that God has in mind to do. He is waiting I believe for our coming into line with His desires. God’s sovereignty and our responsibility are both there in Scripture. Someone said on Facebook recently that in answer to a question about the reconciling of God’s Sovereignty and our Responsibility, Charles Spurgeon said that in Scripture God’s Sovereignty and our Responsibility are friends: there is no need to reconcile friends.

God bless

Kenny

Consecration Conviction…

“And for their sake I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.” (Jesus praying in John 17.}

I am so comforted and challenged try the fact hat Jesus, our great High Priest, gentle in his dealings with sinners, ever lives to make intercession for His own, those the Father has gifted to Him.

The words quoted above in particular have been playing around in my mind and somewhere deeper than my mind over the last few days, ever since Morag and I had lunch with a friend who asked me what my dreams were.

I have been thinking of some of the desires that God has put on my heart. This is the thought that challenges me as I do that: how set apart am I with regard to what I long to see? I may be set apart by God for certain purposes since before I was born, I may have been set apart by His church which has confirmed and recognised these purposes as being more than my own illusion, but by the grace of that same God, can iI honestly say, “For this I consecrate myself, for this I sanctify myself, set myself apart,”?

It has not been a comfortable question to think through, but it has led to some observations, some heart searching that has been free of condemnation, though not free from a conviction which has the feeling of fresh air and sparkling life attached to it.

Perhaps the same sort of wondering could bring fresh life to you?

God bless

Kenny

Cakes!

David Pawson once said that his favourite name/title for Jesus was “Yes!” Jesus is God’s “Yes” to all His promises. I had a dream last night in which I was looking into an oven. I saw cakes representing promises God has made, which I have depended on in prayer. The cakes were being warmed and were rising, though they were still in that process and were not yet ready. The dream greatly encouraged me. I woke up with peace in my heart concerning one or two matters in particular.

Perhaps the dream that encouraged me will encourage you too, if you are living in a “waiting” time, which of course, in the deepest sense and the most positive sense is true of every believer.

It is not quite a daily routine for me, but I often start my day by saying and declaring to myself, to God, to any spiritual force or influence that may be listening in, “I believe God.” Not just I believe in Him – of course I do that: how could I not trust the God who bore the curse of my sin for me that I might be saved? However, as well as believing in Him, I find it a good thing to say “I believe God.” I believe in what He has said and promised in the Word that He has breathed, the Bible, the only book in all of time and history that is God-breathed, the only book we can trust as a revelation of the only God. I believe God, I believe that Jesus is God’s “Yes” to all He has said about Himself and to all He has promised. Eternity will show that not one of the Lord’s good promises has ever failed.

God bless

Kenny

“Saved!”

“Saved!” Thank God. What a cost lies behind anyone being able to use that word of themselves. Paul tells us in Galatians, that as Jesus hung on the cross He was one cursed for us. What does that mean? Well instead of benediction, words of blessing from God, it means Jesus, the Beloved Son who brought God the Father such delight, coming under the opposite.

One way of putting the awful reality of that, is thinking of the opposite of Aaron’s blessing with which he was told to bless the people of God, being placed on Jesus. That is what R.C. Sproul suggests we think though in order to help us understand what our salvation meant for God, how it tore the heart of Father, Son and Spirit as their united desire to save people like you and me was fulfilled and accomplished. In effect that would mean something roughly like this is being pronounced at the cross:

“The LORD curse you, and treat you as lost to Him.
The LORD turn His face from you, and pour deserved judgement upon you.
The LORD turn his back upon you and give you torment of body, soul and spirit.”

Yet, how lightly and easily we sin. How lightly we use that now maligned and mocked word, “Saved!” and scoff at the idea of being washed in the blood of the Lamb.

This hymn meant a lot to me in my early years as a teenager saved by the grace of God.

1
O teach me what it meaneth:
That Cross uplifted high,
With One, the Man of Sorrows,
Condemned to bleed and die.
O teach me what it cost Thee
To make a sinner whole;
And teach me, Savior, teach me
The value of a soul.
2
O teach me what it meaneth:
That sacred crimson tide,
The blood and water flowing
From Thine own wounded side.
Teach me that if none other
*Had sinned, but I alone,
Yet still, Thy blood, O Jesus,
Thine only, must atone.
3
O teach me what it meaneth,
Thy love beyond compare,
The love that reacheth deeper
Than depths of self-despair!
Yea, teach me, till there gloweth
In this cold heart of mine
Some feeble, pale reflection
Of that pure love of Thine.
4
O teach me what it meaneth,
For I am full of sin;
And grace alone can reach me,
And love alone can win.
O teach me, for I need Thee,
I have no hope beside,
The chief of all the sinners
For whom the Savior died.
5
O infinite Redeemer,
I bring no other plea;
Because Thou dost invite me
I cast myself on Thee.
Because Thou dost accept me
I love and I adore;
Because Thy love constraineth,
I’ll praise Thee evermore

(Lucy Ann Bennett)

God bless

Kenny

Flow river flow…

I love the questions that some of you send to me from time to time. As I thought through one such question tonight, I was thinking about the promise of power to witness to Jesus that Jesus promised would come to the first believers “in not many days time.”

As we look at Peter after receiving the Spirit as He was poured out on the day of Pentecost, part of the power seems to have been not only a release from cowardice but a finding of a new confidence in the truth of Christ. He seems to be seeing clearly what before has been hidden to his understanding.

No doubt teaching from the Risen Lord contributed to that, but I get the feeling Peter is speaking forth revelation as he is receiving it there and then. Have you discovered that? I have discovered it when preaching. I have discovered the same dynamic happening when pastoring and even when speaking with some of you as we have talked about the things of God together! As I share what I know, more opens to my understanding even as I am speaking! It is a sort of law of the Kingdom of God. Give away what you have and more will be given to you.

Don’t hold back from speaking about Jesus till you know more. Share more and you will know more. It will kick start the anointing within you that is there within every believer according to the Apostle John. Yes, go on and learn more. The Bible itself encourages that we study with our minds, but it is not an either or. Give what you know and the Holy Spirit will show you know things you didn’t know you knew! It is a God thing! You will find yourself putting your hand to your mouth and saying with holy amazement and even fear, “Where did that come from?!” Rejoice and even laugh with God as you catch your breath again…and speak on!

God bless

Kenny

Are you holy or just odd?

How weird and unnatural we can be in church. You see it for example when a congregation looks like rabbits caught in the headlights as they panic about whether or not they should clap for people who have done something well. Should they, should they not. Is it OK, or is it sinful and worldly? Will it make folk proud? It is quite funny to watch, in a depressing sort of way!

Was thinking about that today as I remembered back to Lewis. TommyMacNeil, the minister, got folk to clap for me before I had ever spoken a word. He repeated that practice for others too. I could see some in the congregation who were uncomfortable with that happening. I can’t speak for others who were on the receiving end of such applause, but I can honestly say it was one of the most humbling experiences of my life and proved that Tommy is the God honouring and God glorying leader he is, free from religious nonsense and fake spirituality, one who seeks to honour God and God’s ways. Far from playing into the hands of sinful human pride, I was, as I say, humbled, I mean devastatingly humbled by the whole experience. It was used by God to produce a spiritual grace in me, not sin. The same happened when a huge crowd of several thousand clapped for me at the end of a week’s teaching at New Wine in England – in fact, they have done that several times over the years. Each time it has reduced me to tears at an unbearable sense of my own wretchedness coupled to an almost inexpressible sense of thanksgiving for the mercy and grace of God, that He has poured out on me, and each of His children, in abundance. It has never once made me proud or given me an inflated opinion of myself or my ministry, such as it is. All my ministry is, is sharing the freshest bread that God has most recently given to me in His Word. That is all. It is nothing special in my own estimation. It feels like sparse fare as I am offering it, but if it brought life to me hopefully it will bring life to others too, by the grace of God. When it is tested by fire, as it will be, will there be any gold, silver, or precious stones left? I honestly, gnuinely, don’t know. Judge nothing before the appointed time. 

Let me say this, there are times when to applaud a person would be entirely wrong, even when God has used them in a magnificent way. Let me also say this: believe me, I have known other treatment too because of my preaching of the gospel including physical violence on more than one occasion, attacks upon our property, threats against my wife and the severe physical and psychological abusing of my children. I have been spat upon in the street, been ridiculed in the press and on radio, been spoken against by fellow believers, ostracised by a so-called ministerial fraternal. That is part of faithfulness to a call from Christ. I do not believe we can be faithful to Christ without experiencing opposition from the world and from within the church. My preaching was even a cause of concern to a well know MP, who went on to become a “Lord”, who wrote to a former Moderator of the Church of Scotland to express concern that in his constituency there was a minister encouraging people to give their lives to Jesus Christ. Worse still, the person to whom he wrote, wrote back to say that he was concerned to hear this too. “It is a funny old world” and an even funnier old church at times.

Does your church have a culture of honour? How have you expressed honour to those who serve well, especially to those who teach well? Scripture tells us they are to receive double honour. That probably literally means double pay! However, in the unlikely event of us being willing or allowed to obey Scripture to that extent, how are you showing honour where honour is due? Not to express honour, is false piety, false holiness. It may be Scottish spirituality, but even Scottish spirituality has its faults, errors, and at times unswerving obedience to its own practices and dominant theologies even when they depart from Scripture. Holiness is true humanness, not oddity with a frowning face.

God bless

Kenny

TOILETS!

OK, some of you, dear friends, are not sure that God speaks through dreams any more. I am sure he does. So, if you don’t believe he does, stop reading this post now! If you do, then let me say that before God I have accepted that when He wants to speak to me about certain issues, there are certain symbols that appear in my dream. As with prophecy, dream interpretation is not my main thing, preaching the Word of God and especially within that the saving death of Christ as presented there in all its depth of grace and wonder is my main thing. However dreams are one of the ways God speaks to me now and then.

Last night I had a dream about a toilet! Toilets in my dreams are about cleansing, getting rid of impurities. I was asked to take a look at a toilet that was leaking. In fact it had been leaking for a while, so much so that the floor underneath was actually rotting away, which seemed to have not been noticed. A “voice” said to me as I investigated the leak, “Yes, I called to (A Church was named, but I will not reveal the name here, the Church to whom this toilet belonged) and they came and thought they had repaired the leak, but there is a leak in the leak that has not been dealt with. I gave them another call, but they have ignored it, and chosen to do nothing.”

What was meant to exist as a means of cleansing was actually now causing destruction in its own foundation because the main leak had been ignored and the repair though well thought out and undertaken had not addressed the main leak at all. It remained. Just the tiniest of nudges made the water flow out at a faster rate. The collapse of the foundation had been slowed down, but unless the main leak was addressed, the collapse, though slowed down, was inevitable.

I have no access to that Church to speak to its leadership. They are not open to the idea of God speaking through dreams, however I can pray, though I have to say the feeling in the dream was of almost a refusal to want to have to deal with the true problem.

So why share the dream with you? Well, its principle elements could apply to any congregation, any denomination, any life of an individual even, where major issues are ignored. Our lives individually and collectively as different fellowships and churches within the one Church of Christ are meant to be a purifying influence into this world because of our relationship with Jesus Christ, but when we are not allowing the living pure water of the Holy Spirit and the truth of God’s Word and the blood of Christ to cleanse us first, a rotting in the foundational purposes of God for His People is happening and a collapse is inevitable unless warning is heeded and the main “leaks” are attended to.

One of the foundational moments at the start of the 49 -52 revival in Lewis was when one elder amongst his fellow elders and his minister, with whom he had met to pray for Revival, read from Psalm 24: “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? Who shall stand in His holy presence? He whose hands are clean and whose heart is pure, who has not lifted up his soul to what is false nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing of the Lord” He then said, “Brothers, it seems to me so much humbug met as se are met, praying as we are praying, if we are not rightly related to God.” He then turned his attention to God in prayer and asked, “Lord are my hands clean, is my heart pure?” At that moment the power of God fell. Several of these elders were thrown into a spiritual trance.

Asking the question that elder asked, a question furnished to us by scripture itself, is a good question to ask on a regular blessing, to ask it with honesty, but praise God to ask it at the foot of the cross, the place of God’s cleansing and grace. Is this a day for me, for you, to ask that question with integrity and intention before the Father who seeks those who worship Him in spirit and in truth?

God bless

Kenny