Should I have a TV at all?

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

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

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

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

God bless


Simple Words…Cosmic Claims…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless


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

My dear “Charismatic” brothers and sisters:

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

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

God bless


“Whatever happened to the Gospel?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless



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

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

God bless


Whatever you are carrying…are you at rest?

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

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

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

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

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

God bless


Father Abraham…

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

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

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

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

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


God bless


How do you see the sea?

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

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

God bless


“In this is my Father glorified…”

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

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

God bless


You will be called “A Nazarite.”

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

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

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

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

God bless


The promised link…publicity…

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

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

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

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

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

So, why not come?