Uncomfortable alarm sound….don’t hit the snooze button.

R.T.Kendall’s signs of a sleeping Church. Part of an article in Premier Christianity:

sleeping Church

Here are some signs we are asleep at the present time:

  • The absence of conviction of sin
  • A lack of the fear of God
  • Little sense of outrage over the godlessness of society
  • Watching pornography and feeling justified
  • Avarice, greed and lack of financial integrity
  • No sense of outrage over the Church’s lack of credibility in the world
  • Little or no concern about people going to hell
  • Little concern about the lack of knowledge of God’s word
  • Indifference to the biblical view of marriage
  • Indifference to holding grudges and unforgiveness
  • Indifference to talking to people about Christ
  • Tolerating heresies such as open theism and hyper-grace teaching
  • Indifference to the teaching that the Bible is infallible
  • Indifference to how much time is spent in prayer and quiet time


Don’t hit the snooze button!

God Bless


OK, I know this is not the cheeriest thought …

Sharing my wonderings after being in church tonight and hearing afresh in Revelation of John seeing the Alpha and the Omega who walks among the candle sticks:

When a church or even a denomination is effectively in decline management mode, is that spin for Christ removing the candlestick?  What are the marks of a line having being crossed from ill health to divine judgement?

Just wondering…..

God bless


Amen, let it be so, Lord!

Not many blogs this week due to little energy. However, as Sunday approaches, a very short offering!

These words from the book I use for daily devotions,  struck me as a good prayer to pray for whatever place we may meet with our fellow believers in worship this coming Lord’s Day:

Lord, take this place
And fill it with your presence
Let it be a haven where the poor in spirit sing
Take this place and fill it Lord
Fill it with your praise.

Come to think of it, why confine such a simple, beautiful thought to being a prayer for wherever your fellowship or congregation  gathers? It’s a good prayer for our homes as well.

God Bless



Easter Light…

An unnamed nobleman said this to Edwin, king of the land that would become known as Northumbria, after Edwin and his company had heard the gospel preached for the first time:

The present life of man, O king, seems to me, in comparison with that time which is unknown to us, like to the swift flight of a sparrow through the room wherein you sit at supper in winter amid your officers and ministers, with a good fire in the midst whilst the storms of rain and snow prevail abroad; the sparrow, I say, flying in at one door and immediately out another, whilst he is within is safe from the wintry but after a short space of fair weather he immediately vanishes out of your sight into the dark winter from which he has emerged. So this life of man appears for a short space but of what went before or what is to follow we are ignorant. If, therefore, this new doctrine contains something more certain, it seems justly to deserve to be followed.

Good words to think about after Easter!  As a song with an annoyingly cheerful tune says, “There’s a light in the valley of death now for me, since Jesus came into my heart!”  Just wondering if helping people as they live this life ( which is being done by so many Christians and ministries in so many wonderful ways and which of course we are to do in Christ’s Name)  has pushed helping people be ready for eternity into the background in Christian outreach and mission?

God bless


Of course God cannot….

“Who is this who keeps darkening my counsel without knowing what he’s talking about?” (Job 38 verse 2.)

I think there there is a new fundamentalism arising or  perhaps I should say a new Political Correctness is arising which is infiltrating church talk about mission right across the theological spectrum. Don’t know what to call it, but it says things like, “God cannot work through that type of church” or “Of course God will not do the same thing as He did in the past. We can’t expect another… (put in here whatever move of God moment from the past you choose).., of course.”

Listen, God is God. He is in the heavens, rules above the sphere of the earth and does whatsoever pleases Him. He can move in familiar ways or new ways to honour His own unchanging Name and His own unchanging Word and His only begotten Son as well as to honour the works of faith of His church reaching out in mission.

How arrogant to form our theories and pronounce what God can and cannot do in our day!! We may miss the action of God if we insist He moves according to our preferences and predictions. We may even come near to blaspheming the Holy Spirit by speaking against His activity through channels we do not approve of for one reason or another. I think these times are crucial and nothing is more crucial than that we humble ourselves before God, listen more and speak less.

Hugh Black, one of the founders of the Struthers group of churches, used to be approached by people who wanted help from him to go deeper in God. One of the first lessons he would offer was a surprising one: “Learn to shut up.”

May God bless every work of faith in the land. That is not the same as asking Him to back us up in our pontificating or to confirm our carefully reasoned conclusions or to bless or rubber stamp works not of faith but of presumption. I once heard God say, “Kenny, this may surprise you, but I don’t believe about me all that you believe about me.” I suspect He may have said that type of thing more often than I have heard it…

God bless


Jesus saves…even those who have no intention to be saved! Hallelujah!!

Isn’t it wonderful that God can save someone when they have no intention of being saved. He is the Lord who moves in Sovereign grace! Hallelujah!

Heard a testimony of an older man in Struthers Church, Greenock, on Easter Sunday evening at a baptismal service. He came to the church thinking he was coming to an illness management lecture for M.E. sufferers! Instead he found himself sitting in the back row of a packed church experiencing something he had never experienced before: “the beautiful presence of God.” In time he found Christ as Saviour and Lord and was baptised in the Holy Spirit. Almost as a throw away line, he added in at the end that he had also been healed of M.E.!

Heard a testimony of a young tennage boy as well. He went to an outreach meeting just so that folk would stop pestering him and he could tick the box and say he had “tried that” and it hadn’t worked for him. Well, to quote his own words to us all, “As you can see it didn’t work out that way!” He too found himself in the presence of God. The inner change in him through being in that meeting and encountering a living Christ was that having lived entirely for his own happiness, as though that was all that mattered, he found himself wanting to live for Christ for the rest of his days; again, converted completely apart from his own intention. It was evident, in a wonderful understated way, that he deeply regretted the life he had lived when he lived entirely for himself; regretted what he had done and the effects of that philosophy on other people. By the way he was from a loving but not a Christian home, which he was careful to intentionally honour as he spoke.

Pentecostals, it seems to me, are wonderful Calvinists in essence. They are just a bit more biblical about the ministry of the Holy Spirit, including the gifts of the Spirit, than many of us Scottish Presbyterian Calvinists! (Red rag being waved there! Please, Pentecostals and Calvinists, don’t lose your sense of humour and take me on…!)

By the way in case you think Pentecostals are too heavenly minded to be any earthly use, the C.A.P money course came up a couple of times in the testimonies I heard, including the testimonies from a man and a woman and their son who had all found salvation. Anyway, you know what? I don’t think I have ever come across a Christian who is so heavenly minded that they are no earthy use. I think the overwhelming danger facing the church is that of being so earthly minded that we are no heavenly use on the earth…

God Bless


Time for “Repotting”…

We are of course to remain deeply rooted in Christ. Sometimes however that means being “repotted” to allow the roots to go deeper still. Inevitably that means disturbing rootedness taking care to avoid damaging the roots.

There are some bible verses that disturb me. There are some things Jesus said that I sometimes wish He had not. I can remain stunted or I can be repotted and continue to grow. Let’s not panic when we read bible verses that at first reading or even after several readings seem to cause a shaking of the roots. If it is the clear straightforward meaning of a bible verse that is the cause of the disturbance, rest assured it’s  The Gardener at work recognising we are growing. That is of course a very different thing from sensing the grieving of the Holy Spirit which one can feel when biblical truth is life-destroyingly distorted in the telling.

A bigger pot and a bigger Christ or a smaller more instantly palatable bible? I guess we need to choose. Am I going to be the gardener,  prune the Bible remain in a small pot, becoming root-bound rather than deeply rooted; or let the Father be the Gardener and allow His Word to prune me and set me free to grow in a bigger pot?

God bless


Do you know the Christ Jeremiah knew?

Are we secure enough in the eternal unending love of God for His children that we are able to accept and experience His anger and allow Him to express His disapproval?

He was angry with me this weekend. He didn’t stop loving me, there was no condemnation, but He was angry. Why? I took a hissy fit against Him for something that was not His fault at all. The reason? I felt very unwell and not able to enjoy fully something I had been looking forward to. I have been ill for a few years now. Genuinely it is the fist wrong attitude about it all that I have expressed, as far as I know. Apart from this moment this weekend, I don’t think I have ever complained. How on earth could I ever complain when He has given me His only Son to save me from eternal hell and death and given me full and free forgiveness and eternal life in all its fullness, blessed me in so many ways?

The next morning I knew I had no option but to get on my knees and repent. It is what God required and there was freedom and restoration in the experience. There was no soothing offered to my bad attitude; no  explanation as to why what had happened to me was allowed to happen and  interrupt my happiness; no “There there, it’s ok, of course I understand your reaction, Kenny, my beloved child.”  For this securely loved child, there was  one thing on offer if the air was to be cleared: the grace filled  opportunity to repent of an attitude that had displeased my Heavenly Father, dishonoured Christ and grieved the Holy Spirit.

How could we ever be secure in a love that did not love us enough to express disapproval, anger etc.  at ways and attitudes which could do us great harm in our relationship with God, with other people or with myself? God is a good God all the time, He is extremely generous, slow to chide and swift to bless. He is not however an indulgent God. Much teaching today being is being marketed in books and in worship C.D’s, franchised in courses and lapped up in conferences that seem to be teaching an indulgent God rather than a good and generous God.

I am not comparing myself with Jeremiah, but it is interesting that in Chapter 15  when he took a hissy fit,  even accusing God of being deceptive, unreliable, like a brook whose waters had failed, God came and challenged him:

“If you repent, I will restore you
that you may serve me;
if you utter worthy, not worthless, words,
you will be my spokesman…”

We seem to live in days when the prevailing popular theologies have little room for fear of the Lord, despite Jesus telling us and commanding us to have that proper fear. It is as though nowadays it is a sign of spiritual maturity to rage against God. The Lord did not approve of Jeremiah’s raging or commend him for his honesty. Please remember He is the Lord. He  is never answerable to us. We are accountable to Him, now and on The Day to come.

No sermon is for everyone to the same depth, and no one blog can say it all either. I wonder though if this could help someone today? Don’t reinvent the wheel. I offer my experience in the hope that it will help the humble to learn something helpful. I am offering you insight from the Word of God and my own experience  into the ways  towards life in all its fullness that Christ offers. He withholds no good thing from those who fear Him in the proper way and walk in His ways. Fear Him properly and we lack nothing. We will always be radiant. That is what the bible says.

Oh by the way, remember that it was Christ who said what He said to Jeremiah. Please remember He is the Lord God of the Old Testament as well as the new… but that is for another blog….

God bless


“It says somewhere…”

Well, those who know me will know that my memory is not great. Some who know me well say that is not the case and maintain that I have a very good memory but it is selective. All  I know is that more and more I find myself remembering a “quote” but for the life of me cannot remember the book it is from. I can remember a bible verse but not the numbers in terms of Chapter and verse. Given time, I can sometimes get there.

I take great comfort from the fact that some of the writers of Scripture itself seem to have had the same problem. To write, “It says somewhere” caused them no embarrassment at all! I have been mentioning quotes in my preaching for years adding, “I can’t remember who said it or where they said it.” I know it will offend some of you, but if I cannot remember where a bible verse is from, well from time to time from now on in certain situations  I might just say, “It says somewhere.” If it is good enough for bible writers, it is good enough for me.

Part of the effects of drugs I am on, to do with side effects of side effects of side effects of other medication is that I cannot even remember what I have read in the bible ten minutes after I have read it. That has been causing me a bit of upset, but here’s the thing: I have noticed that God does not seem to mind. I have prayed He will help me with that difficulty; prayed with a sense of upset.

Today, the upset flew away. The memory of chapter and verse and what I had read in my devotions this morning, did not fly in in its place. Rather, there was a sense of  divine compassion for weakness, coupled with an invitation to recognise the Presence of God in the course of a day, to have a more attentive spirit to what He might say at any given moment.

I come to the end of this day, not remembering what I read in the bible. It is not unsurmountable. Thank God that I can open it and read it again. However, I also come to the end of a day in which I have experienced the direct witness of the Holy Spirit speaking of God’s love for me in all matters. The first occasion when  I was aware of that today was when I was concerned  about the health of a plant!  The love and peace of God came and rested upon me indicating all was well. The second occasion… well I can’t quite remember just now, but it was light and beautiful whatever it was….

God bless


It’s all Barbie’s fault!

I felt a tenderness today for those who do not believe in a Creator God: well, at least for some of them. I felt some, at least, were caught in a story they had told, that they could not see an escape from, save to their own detriment.

Let me explain: it is all due to Facebook! A toddler had painted her Barbie’s toes with nail-varnish. However the nail-varnish had not just gone on Barbie’s toes but all over Barbie and then all over sheets and blankets and  the bedroom carpet too! When asked by her Dad for an explanation, she said, “Barbie told me to!” She had said, “No,” to Barbie, but Barbie had apparently said to her a hundred times to do it… so she did! The conversation with her father went on for quite some time. She kept reaffirming the story, through snuffling upset and wavering conviction, that Barbie told her to do what she did a hundred times. Take a look and see if your heart does not melt!

I found it sort of cute. Did she really believe her own story or did she know there was no truth in it but feel that she had no option except to keep going with it? Was she escaping responsibility and accountability? In the end whatever may have been the case, I felt compassion for her and tenderness and deep love. She was lost in her own story and could not quite admit it and find a way out.

Suddenly I felt the same for those who chant the story of “Chance” to explain why there is everything  instead of nothing. It is a complete fairy tale to believe that the reason there is everything instead of nothing is nothing but chance, yet many stick to their story. Perhaps, one day, some of them they will grow up, admit the ridiculousness of the mathematical probabilities , see the video of themselves and be able to laugh at what they thought in their toddler stage, or even in their toddler tantrum stage against the clear truth of God’s being and power. Some, sadly, never will and will stick to their own story to their own eternal distress.

God Bless you; but pray that God will bless some of the “Chance” toddlers with intellectual honesty and integrity. May they escape the fairy story they keep on persisting in telling in the wavering hope that they themselves let alone others will believe it.


Make Christ a talking point!

Heard a wonderful testimony tonight at Struthers Church, Cumbernauld from a man called Jim. It made me think that “Testimony” is one of the most underused weapons in the arsenal of a Christian.

People expect preachers to speak about God, but somehow a testimony from a person who is not a preacher disarms people as well as overcoming the evil one. It is so powerful.

As well as encouraging you to share your testimony this week when a door is even partly open, here is another idea: ask someone to share their testimony with you! We need to build up one another’s confidence in sharing the story of Christ in our lives.

I was constantly amazed in Wester Hailes by how freely people could speak about God in the setting of a small cafe church. No reserve, no embarrassment. I was even more amazed at the directness with which people would ask a new comer even on the first week they came , “So when did God come into your life?”

I  felt so worried and embarrassed for the newcomer by such a direct approach. Here’s the thing though: everybody who was asked that question, was able to give an answer, to share  about when they knew God was real; yes, everyone!  I am not saying they all could tell a story of how they became Christians. Some had still to take that step and were still facing a lost eternity – some did take that step and some to my knowledge have not yet taken that step – but they had already experienced that God was real and were aware of His help. It was an amazing thing to hear people that were still lost sharing a “testimony” with genuine gratefulness and an honest awareness that they would probably not be alive were it not for the help of God. These stories had a powerful effect on me and brought a silence over the group which I recognised as the stilling of troubled seas that happens when God is there in grace and power.

Let’s make Christ a talking point, as far as it depends on us.

God Bless



Who are the movers and shakers in the land anyway? Maybe it’s you! Why should it not be?

So long as your name is loved and owned by Jesus before the Father’s face and known and hated in hell, don’t worry if it is misrepresented or ever known on earth.

Spent time this week with a lovely Spirit-filled couple in church leadership who probably don’t get asked to any gatherings of those who consider themselves movers and shakers in the land, yet they are most definitely so in the Kingdom of God. They talked about the vision God had given, a vision that is on course to establish churches. It is already well under way. Folk are being saved, filled with the Spirit and set free, one person here, two people there and on it goes; one town after another touched by the moving of God.

So, I praise God this day for every work of faith that He has established whether in a blazing spotlight of admiration or for the most part hidden from view. I thank God for the doers. One day they may silence the talkers. “Oh God, save us from all the talk, the paralysis of analysis, the endless surveys of our parishes, the fundamentalist approach to mission which proscribes what will work today and what won’t.” The days are evil. The time is short. The fields are white unto harvest. Let’s just do something for Jesus out of love for him, compassion for people and a desire for the glory of God above all else.

Posted this on Facebook earlier, but then felt I was to add a prophetic nudge: God’s eye of love and appreciation is upon someone who reads this blog whose work has been costly and overlooked (over time and in a hurtful way more recently), whose views are not asked for or sought despite you having much to contribute from  your diligent study intelligent articulacy  and practical experience. God notes the giving of a cup of cold water and so rest assured He has noticed your giving of yourself in much more costly and yet just as humble ways; mostly in ways unacknowledged by others. “Come up higher, friend.” These are words that you are sure to hear, someday, somehow. Rest in your belovedness and continue to be obedient to the heavenly vision.

God Bless


A challenging thought for this Sunday

If you could live your life again what would you change?

I was humbled to hear that someone whom I know to have been deeply used of God apparently said towards the end of his manifestly fruitful life and ministry, “I would have believed God for more.”

I absolutely believe in the sovereignty of God in all things. Yet I am challenged by the principle, “According to your faith be it unto you.”

As this Sunday arrives and God’s people gather in thousands of fellowships across Scotland, what are you personally believing God for?

On several occasions over my years as a parish minister, I felt in prayer that certain individuals who did not come to church or who had not been for a while would be there on the following Sunday. I had no reason for thinking that, there was no cause that I could think of that was going to yield that effect. I felt God had simply indicated this would be the case. The first couple of times this happened, I could not believe what I seemed to be thinking or seeing as I prayed. Well, God is merciful, the people concerned were there anyway! God’s merciful help enabled me to believe more and to doubt less the next time I was similarly impressed in prayer. I learned not to ignore these impressions, these encouragements to believe in connection with Sunday services or pastoral visitation.

This has not only worked for me over the years but for others in my congregation. On one occasion someone told me that people who had left without explanation were about to walk back in without any explanation. They did! There they were in the Sunday Morning service which they had not been attending for about two years.

I have never quite managed to understand the mix of the will of God and our faith to produce a certain happening, but I believe it. Now in an “enforced” retirement, I feel the need to understand that mix less and believe in it more.

As I say the gospel will be preached in thousands of places across Scotland, in large city centre churches, in small fellowships of two or three believers gathered together; it will be preached to adults, preached to children and youth, preached in care homes, preached in prisons, in hospitals preached on the street, in churches traditional and mould breaking. What is being believed for in terms of the action of God in these same places?

Praise God that He is able to do abundantly beyond all we ask or think possible. “Only believe….”

God Bless