We, only we are left!

The dangers of proudly considering ourselves “the remnant.”

Prompted by listening to a YouTube talk by a man who believes that he and his church and denomination are the last examples of true Christianity in Scotland, I thought of words of Moltmann. The symptoms of such an outlook “include the preservation of tradition without the attempt to found new tradition; biblicism without liberating preaching; increasing unwillingness to undergo new experience with the gospel and faith, and the language of zealotry and militant behaviour in disputes within the church.”

As I often think when I read something or even write or preach something, “Lord, is it I?”

God bless


Generosity of outlook…

Those who have an emphasis in their ministry that is not mine are usually genuinely following something in the teaching or life of Jesus that they passionately believe. After decades I see that, though it is not an easy or comfortable awareness to live with..far easier to arrogantly dismiss them in anger or irritation without a thought.

It’s good to take a look at ourselves and ask occasionally, “What particular word of Jesus am I living out at this moment in time with an intentionality that seems to have the weight of the Spirit in it?” It is good to make generous room for the idea that those other individuals you are looking at may be asking that very question too. By the way it is good for leadership of individual congregations/fellowships/ ministries/ para church works etc. to ask the same question and give similar generosity to leadership in other settings that they may be asking precisely that question before their Lord and ours.

This is a million miles away from “anything goes!” Like Paul we should be ready to oppose even Apostles of God when they are in error. The same should be done with Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers or anyone else who departs from the truth of Christ. I am “happy reluctantly” to do that… have done so and will continue to be willing so to do unless,to use Jesus own imagery, it would be throwing pearls to pigs, in which case there is biblical backing in the Old and New Testament not to bother. I hope others will do the same towards me when I am in error. Truth matters.

God bless


Who Would Have Thought?

What an assault upon human wisdom is the story of Esther! Was meant to read chapter 2 today according to my bible reading plan but could not stop there. Were it not for a beauty queen, a snooping listener to palace gossip and government leaks, and the insomnia of an emperor who effectively thought himself to be a god… no Jews, no Messiah, no salvation.

Furthermore, the story of rescue and salvation we read of in this short book happened among Jews who had shown no desire for the Lord’s city and the Lord’s temple. They could have gone back to the Promised Land to fulfil the sacred task of rebuilding, but no, they were quite happy to stay where they were. There is no mention of The LORD in the book by name. It would have been easy for those who bore the heat of the day in the rebuilding works in Jerusalem to think the likes of Mordecai and Esther were spiritually suspect and therefore did not deserve a place in the covenants of God: nominal, secular believers, like many in modern day Israel. For many in Susa that verdict may well have held some water, perhaps even concerning Esther and Mordecai. Yet, thank God there were those who did not return!

Remember today the Lord is Sovereign over all things, all places, all times, all people, all generations, all races. He can do what He chooses. Don’t try and look and work out “where” or through “who” your help will come from! Look beyond the “where” and the “who.” God is not limited to what we can calculate or think possible. Recently, I needed help of a particular sort for a looming problem I could see no solution to. Help came from a direction my mind would never have even though to look in. It came from within the problem itself! Look to the One who sits above the sphere of the earth and does whatsoever He pleases to fulfil all His promises to His broken reeds and His smouldering wicks.

God bless


Would you have put this “first”?

Writing under a regime in which it was legal to break the backs of newly born baby girls and fling them on the rubbish heap, Paul says this as a first instruction for the life of the Church:

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercession, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”

When I was newly converted hearing this done in church Sunday by Sunday used to bore me silly. As we follow the Lord longer, by His grace we see His wisdom is better than ours in terms of getting first things first and that zeal and passion are often misguided, dismissing the power that lies in what can seem routine or mundane.

I guess if we are not doing what Paul says we can’t claim to be biblical Christians or a biblical church.

It is amazing how differently we think and speak after we have prayed for someone. It is a proof we are new creations in Christ, according to Paul, that we no longer look at people from a human point of view. Have you not found this miracle that happens in prayer? We start to see things that our own eyes have been blind to because of a whole variety of factors at play. We may see good we have not seen, or need, or faults, or unrighteousness that we have been unwilling to see. We are often blinded by our own insight or prejudices from a fuller picture. We rise from prayer changed. The person or situation we have just prayed about in the way Paul describes may not have changed but we have changed in a way that allows us to become channels of God’s purposes rather than our own.

Another interesting verse that was in my Bible a reading today, quoted in the context of being what seems like an apology from Paul as to how he had spoken to a godless former High Priest (whom he had not recognised due to trouble with his sight): “You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.”

How inconvenient, how ruffling the Word of God can be to the feathers of our pride.

Believe me, I am preaching to myself here. As I do, I am remembering what R.T.Kendall says about a sign of growing spirituality: closing the time gap between God speaking and my obedience.

God bless


“Are you joking? Me?”

The first time we learn a lesson stays in our minds for ad long as memory continues to be fairly sound. The first time I saw a demon leave a person will always stick in my mind. I had no clue what to do when it was obvious there was a demon to be dealt with. Then a sentence was dropped into my thoughts which sounded a bit odd but which I knew I was to speak out in the Name of Jesus, not to the demon, but to the afflicted person. “You are the gift of God to life.” All hell broke loose and departed. The person, who was already a Christian, was free.

Satan takes delight in destroying a person’s self esteem and worth. If we really are full of God, people around us will be lifted up, aspiration of the right sort will be restored or ignited.

Perhaps today you will get the opportunity to say to someone in the Name of Jesus, “You are the gift of God to life.” Perhaps the person who needs to hear that is you? Let God be your glory and the lifter of your head.

Oh yes, another thought: Church/Congregations/preaching/teaching/ministry/mission etc. are meant to have an atmosphere of aspiration about them. Some ceilings perhaps need to be shattered quite deliberately and intentionally. Insecure leadership often tramples on aspiration and calls it sinful pride. Religion likes to keep folk in their place: under the domination of others. That sinful spirit of domination often dresses itself up deceitfully as the biblical doctrines of leadership, submission etc., but is the devil’s perversion of the life giving truth of God.

Thanks to the young black, female, American Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, for sparking off these thoughts…

God bless


A precious “grace.”

At 18 years old I submitted a sense of call to parish ministry for testing by assessors appointed by the Church. I knew by the end of the residential assessment over the course of 2 days and nights that I had made a few blunders but I was accepted. Before going to the Selection School, some people out of kindness had said I was very young and not to be disappointed if it was a “no” or “wait” verdict. I am glad that a grace which looked at potential, as well as testing the sense of call, prevailed.

Perhaps today you will meet someone, speak with someone, to whom God is wanting you to show the grace of seeing and encouraging “potential.” I tried to remember the grace of potential I had been shown when in the course of time I became an assessor, for a few years. It is a rich and life giving gift to offer to people. Offer it today if you are afforded the opportunity so to do.

The story of Onesimus comes to mind…someone carrying the verdict “useless “ over their life may need you to help them and others see concerning them, that they have the potential to be a “useful” and fruitful contributor to the purposes of God.

God bless


“Donald Trump”: my thoughts as a pastor, if anyone is interested…

I tend to look at things as a pastor which admittedly means I dont always see things from other perspectives quite as clearly. When I look and listen to Donald Trump’s statement saying there will be an orderly transition of power I feel I am listening to what I have often encountered as a pastor over 40 years: how hugely difficult it is for a person to see an alternative narrative to the one they believe. That is not easy for anyone, but It is particularly hard if there is some degree of latent or active narcissism. A person in whom this is a strong tendency may never ever consider the possibility they have read the story wrong. They may never be willing to face that possibility. They may for the rest of their lives continue to tell their narrative at every opportunity, almost forcing everyone to believe it, and will often show “violent” outbursts in which they vilify even erstwhile friends or family who give the merest hint of questioning the familiar story. They will not allow themselves to move on or others to move on. Their narrative becomes their life long obsession. Agree with them without questioning and you will be rewarded with their friendship and glowing commendation.

It does make me wonder what on earth the President’s spiritual advisors have been doing. Perhaps if they had given more time to pastoring a human being than prophesying a victory they could have made a difference: perhaps not, for narcissism is hugely resistant to challenge and even to genuine care and love. It is I believe, something only God can break.

All of this I believe still stands regardless of the truth or otherwise of illegal votes. This is not a pro or anti Trump post. It is my thoughts as a pastor about what looks like a very familiar pastoral story.

God bless


A timely warning?

If you ever think you have got the way God works all boxed and taped, read what I have been reading this morning: 2 Chronicles 18. At a time when sycophantic prophets were prophesying success and victory for King Ahab in battle, one prophet dared to speak truth and ended up being locked up for doing so. His name was Micaiah. By God’s Spirit he saw what would happen if Ahab went into battle: all Israel would be scattered like sheep without a shepherd.
We are given insight into what was going on in the heavenliness in verses 18-22:
“And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. And the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab the king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ And the LORD said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’ Now therefore behold, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of these your prophets. The LORD has declared disaster concerning you.”
These are not easy verses to read… in your understanding or mine, is there room for the Lord sending a lying spirit into the hearts of those with prophetic gifting when their hearts are set on earthly things rather than on things above? I believe in prophetic gifting and calling because I believe the bible, but in this area as in everything else the fear of the Lord truly is the beginning of wisdom.
If we want to prophesy truly, in the light of this story we need to check our hearts to see that we are not operating with a spirit of favouritism which seeks to curry favour with anyone rather than being a channel to present the unchanging ways of a God who shows no favouritism or partiality but sees all and judges justly. James warns us of a harsh reality anyway: those to whom we show favouritism, can end up doing us harm.
God bless

Jesus knows each sheep AND each church in His Church…

If you have a prophetic bent, remember to ask God the scope of any word He gives you. There is a lot of prophecy these days to the “Church” as though one word fits all. When Jesus spoke to seven churches which existed at the same moment in time in the last book of the bible, there were common elements in His words into each situation for sure, but there were also unique elements.
I was listening to God today for a couple of congregations that have asked me to preach in the near future and have asked me to share any “Word” I feel the Lord may give me. I found the same thing happening. There were common elements in what I believe the Lord gave to me, but there were unique elements for each congregation and situation too.
In my younger days in Charismatic religion, so many “prophets” came along telling us all that “The Church” was like the church in Sardis or the church in Laodicea. There was never any suggestion that the church could possible be regarded as being like the church in Philadelphia or the church in Smyrna! Nothing so positive. That general word struck me as false at worst, or very partial and incomplete at best. Usually it was given by people who seemed to be saying the whole “church” was in error except that part which they themselves represented. They along were the true thing, everyone else was lukewarm or dead, not sufficiently in relationship with the Lord, but just religious. They seemed to be able to judge the level of the whole church’s repentance and worship. There were many churches I knew of who were walking humbly before God, listening to His Word and doing His works. Jesus knows each church and their works.
If you are a leader, I do hope that you might listen and be able to hear what the Lord, who knows each church and its works, might be saying to your particular church.
God bless

I know I have told you this before…

I know I have told you this sort of thing before, but it seems appropriate to say it again as we head towards the beginning of another New Year:
I have been a Christian for 50 years and was called to be a minister in the Church of Scotland the very day I was converted: though the story of all of that began in eternity when God chose me in Christ before the foundation of the world. There are some things I miss of “the old days” of my spiritual walk from back then, some aspects of church as it was in the days I was newly converted, and some seasons of God moving gloriously by His Spirit in the years since then that I yearn might be repeated, but I don’t want to be lost in a sort of spiritual pining for what God has done in my past experience. Though there are things I miss from the past and even prefer to the way it is now in church life, I want to hear His voice for this day and be shaped with new longings for Him to lead m into His present and future purposes for me on the earth. I want to help others into their future in Christ too: that is a the job of a Shepherd, a Pastor, to be future looking and take the flock into fresh pastures. You can’t be a Pastor without being future orientated and speaking prophetically of the onward call of the Lord. “Lord, help me to be a prophet of the Lord my God, not a king of Nostalgia.”
“Give me dreams that shape tomorrow
Give me vision for today
‘Cause I’m tired of duplicating
All my old familiar ways
I’m not a captive of my past
But I believe I have a future
Make me a prophet of the Lord my God
Not a king of nostalgia…” (Dave Bilbrough)
God Bless,

The path outside that door…

Random fact of experience: I found it easier to hear God when I was on a high dose of steroids when my lung condition was eventually diagnosed! It’s not to be recommended though: I struggle just as much from the distressing side effects upon my body of long term steroid use. So, despite a fellow believer saying in response to one of my posts yesterday that I should keep taking the pills, I am glad the dose of the steroids is much lower now and additional medication does what they were doing.

The fuller truth is I learned even more about God through the illness than through steroids. As Henri Nouwen says, “What seems a hindrance becomes a way, what seems an obstacle becomes a door, what seems a misfit becomes a cornerstone.” What an amazing insight and way with words to express these insights he was gifted with! Sometimes it is good to quote people who say what you want to say better than you could ever say it. Don’t quote too much though. There is life when any of us speak of our experience of God, even when we do so in the most stumbling and halting way.

Sooner or later I pray obstacles you may be facing will become a door God opens to the sight of a fresh path to walk on.

God bless


A Royal Tour

Had a dream last night that my car could be controlled remotely from home. In the dream I found It seemed to have a life of its own and was going where it wanted and was no longer being controlled by me! I laughed and laughed. This was not an “oh no!” moment, but a full of joy moment.

“Cars” in my language mean ministry. I think the interpretation is obvious and hardly needs a dream to teach it, but a dream was given nonetheless and I thank the Holy Spirit for it. The meaning is that ventures online for the sake of Christ whether by me or by you reach more lives and places than we would predict and have the potential to expand the truth and love of Christ into lives of people in this land and beyond with whom otherwise we would have no contact. It is certainly not a replacement to local gatherings meeting together, but it is powerful nonetheless.

In the dream I also shut an old bible in the back seat of the car. Through online ventures the truth and reign of the King can tour the land. All that is required is people willing to be a chauffeur. When you know you are a chauffeur to Majesty, well you treasure that in your heart, but no one really notices you when you open the door and the King steps out. All eyes are on him. When you have been humbled by the honour of being called and chosen as a servant to Majesty, that direction of attention away from you is your deepest satisfaction. It is why you accepted the job offer at the start. It is what you live and work to see happen.

“The Word of God is not chained.”

“Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end.”

“I will build MY church.”

God bless



There is no heavenly reason why the opportunities open to be church and the resources to enable us to take hold of these opportunities to further the presence of God’s Kingdom should contract rather than expand during current necessary restrictions. The problem is the church can be too earthly minded at times to be any heavenly use.

Being too heavenly minded to be any earthly use is a delusion. It is a mantra of the spirit of antichrist which in direct opposition to the bible’s teaching wants the mind of the church to be set on earthly things rather than on the things which are above, where Christ is seated, praying and reigning at the right hand of God. Set our minds on heavenly realities and the One whom John describes in his first letter as “The Eternal Life” flows to and through the church. The current times are no obstacle at all, but times to experience fresh life and growth.

God bless


Who is sufficient for these things?

Reading Habakkuk this morning, as others who follow the same Bible reading scheme may have done.
The light that sometimes breaks upon me from the Bible, the God breathed Word, as I read it both as a man and as one called by God to preach and to lead God’s people (in some capacity or another), is so bright as to be utterly unbearable were it not for the blood of Christ. Even then, washed and cleansed, I am left with a taste of that day when all will be laid bare before the eyes of Him with whom we have to do, the God of the Bible, the God revealed in Jesus, who knows what is in every human being without needing anyone to tell Him. I will not be eternally condemned but I will be searched, as will every individual from every nation, and every work of man, even (especially?) the works done in the name of Jesus Christ. Uncreated light tearing through every hidden place, exposing every heart and the heart of everything. What a thought. Best let God’s Word search and judge us now and draw us to an even firmer faith and hope in God our Saviour.
I am remembering with joy and hope words from a hymn of a type we scarcely seem to hear sung any more in the sectors of the church I am most familiar with: it used to make me cry with thankfulness as a young, newly converted teenager:
“Oh how can I whose native sphere is dark
whose light is dim,
before the ineffable appear,
and on my naked spirit bear
the uncreated beam?
There is a way for man to rise
to that sublime abode,
an offering and a sacrifice,
a Holy Spirit’s energies,
an Advocate with God.”
God bless

Lewis! Rough Seas … gently flooding memories…

Lewis today: LOVE stormy wild weather. Might have felt differently if I was on the sea instead of looking at it from land. Gutted my phone ran out of battery power so no photographs to share, but I genuinely wish you could all have sat with me in my car looking out as it shook violently from side to side! Magnificent! Downside? Might well be no bread, milk or Looroll!

The magnificent wild seas reminded me of when Sarah was 2 years old and we were living in Orkney. She heard Morag telling me the sea was too wild for me to make the sea journey from Stronsay to Eday for the afternoon service when I was minister of both islands in the 80’s. She stormed in, threw back our bedroom curtains and announced, “ Dad, there are white bits in the sea! You are NOT going on that damn boat!” When 2 women and a boatman gang up together, it is wise to concede a point.

It could be a rough crossing I should add, but the rougher it was the more I enjoyed it. I could be sick on a relatively calm day on the ferry on the Pentland Firth but never felt squeamish going between the islands on a creel boat: a different movement, easier on the stomach! It was however at times just not safe. The boatman, John, who had twice in his life been washed out of his boat and then back into it again, knew when it was not wise to go. I trusted him implicitly. There was one year where the sea between the two islands could not be negotiated for 12 Sundays in a row. By the way, one person from the powers that be in the Church Offices in George Street, Edinburgh, once asked us if we could not just use one church building in one parish and get the other parish to come there!! Mmmm… it is amazing how the lights can be on but there is nobody in…

Just memories, my memories, which warm my heart. I hope reading them might somehow bless you too. That would lift these words from being mere self-indulgence.

If the seas remain rough I will try and get a photograph or two to share with you.

By the way, this was Stronsay today:

God bless


For the Record…

Over the lat few years I have shared in Facebook posts, blogs and vlogs, personal experience of supernatural encounters, signs, wonders, miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit- as indeed I did in an earlier post today, which caught the interest of some who read it.

I do that not to draw attention to me, but to bring honour to the God of the Bible, by showing that He does what He has always done and is who He has always been. In the early days of my Christian nurturing it was effectively taught that was not the case at least in some regard and measure.

None of these experiences thrill me as much as opening up my bible day by day as I did this morning. Also, all of them together are not worth comparing with the wonder of this: Jesus was wounded for my transgressions: by what He accomplished through suffering on the cross, He has saved me from the wrath to come. I can more easily get my mind around God transporting me from one place to another or money appearing out of thin air ( I have experienced both and both are biblical) than I can understand His saving love towards me and His warm and joy filled delight in me.

If you pounce on this as though I am writing a post telling you Church without signs and wonders is ok, you will have not read it in the right spirit at all…and you know that, without me spelling it out.

God bless


Just in case this may be for you…

Was aware of the Lord highlighting almost with a sense of fear Paul’s words to Timothy as I read them this morning, as words which should be given to anyone setting out on pastoral ministry with all its encounters with people in situations of vulnerability: “Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.”

The sense of the fear of the Lord stayed with me for hours for reasons I could not understand. Have just heard of the possible fall of another minister through inappropriate behaviour. I say it not in judgment. “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he falls…”

Perhaps you are a pastor who right now are on the border of inappropriate behaviour. You may have crossed the border. Come clean now… you owe it to the Church, yourself, the honour of Christ, and to any people you have wronged and damaged in the process. Don’t let it emerge after your death…it will cause even more devastation to many then than if you come clean now.

If you have not quite crossed the border, stop sailing as close to the wind as you can. Stand back from the fire before you are burned.

Perhaps you need to at true accountability in place for your own safety, not just the formal legal type that may be there in the official structures of the church you are in which tends only to swing into action after an offence is discovered. Some of those I know who have fallen sexually and relationally walked away from accountability just before their fall…

For you perhaps this may fall into the category of “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” I hope so and yet hope not so at the same time, if you know what I mean, and you will if you know me…

God bless


“The Church would not listen to me!“

Is the Church ignoring your Word from the Lord? Your message to the church is worthless if you are not fully involved in the church, part of that community that submits to one another out of reverence for Christ. There are quite a lot of voices these days telling the church what it should be doing and criticising church leaders for what they are not doing. These voices have no validity if not attached to loving and supportive involvement. They rarely change anything for the better.

Of course, true messengers from God may be ignored or heeded by the majority of God’s people, but they stay as part of the people of God in season and out, be it night or day, setting their hope in the mercies of God. Sticking with the people of God in the face of observable faithfulness or faithlessness around them, whether they are loved or sneered at, they sow seeds of light in tears: seeds that grow into something which one day, whether by them or others in generations still to come, will be harvested with joy. (Psalm 97 verse 11 and Psalm 126)

True “Rejected Prophets” stumble at times, but they live or die among the people of God, sharing in their triumphs and woes . False rejected prophets never stop licking their wounds…

God bless


Progressing in calling and gifting…

If you have a gift from God be humble enough to learn from others about how to take the first steps in that gift, open to advice, learning, training and even correction. A gift from God can be enhanced by training. Anointing and gifting on the one hand and learning and training on the other are not exclusive. As you submit to that process you will progress in your gifting which according to Paul’s words to Timothy is what is meant to happen. Something unique arises in that process and progress. How your gift is meant to operate healthily through you will emerge in all its uniqueness. To say, “ Well, this is how the gift operates through me!” right at the start is a sure way of never finding the road towards progress and true uniqueness.

My preaching now bears little resemblance to 40 years ago when I took first steps in my calling, but I am so grateful for guiding hands, voices and influences from those days. As long as humanly speaking I have the capacity to preach and the opportunity to do so I still intend to make more progress towards the discovery of the anointing in its full bloom that God intended should grow from the seed He planted for His good will and pleasure.

To learn by helpful rules does not mean fresh adventures beyond previous horizons you had in view are prohibited.

What is the progress I am still pursuing? To be as thin a barrier as possible for an encounter with the Living God to happen for others.

I share these thoughts with you in the hope that you may be able to think them through in relation to your calling and gifting, that “place” where you feel most truly alive in serving God.

God bless


That Eric Liddell moment from that film…

Some folk may “tut tut” at this, but this seal I took a photograph of a couple of days ago, is how I feel when I am preaching: I am in my zone, doing what I am made to do, bringing glory to my Creator and Redeemer by doing it! I enjoy it! I have never reached that stage others tell me I should aim for, namely, that one should only preach if it is the last thing in the world you want to do and you should feel like a man being dragged to his own execution and funeral! I feel a great joy in preaching! “Let me get in there and get on with it, Lord” is how I feel waiting to preach! Like a horse in the traps. Great joy in what you are doing can be a sign of death to self! I don’t care what the reaction is to what I preach so long as it is done under the smile of the Lord and honours His word as faithfully as He enables me to do at this stage of knowing Him in part.

Whatever your zone is, GET INTO IT! “ What larks!” Yes, I mean it! That is a prophetic word God gave me for someone not long ago. I questioned it, put on the TV at random and within 2 minutes or less, the phrase was spoken from a production of “Great Expectations.” “What larks,” when you take seriously the doing of the Holy will of the thrice Holy Lord God Almighty, even when hell’s fury is roused against you!

God bless


“That which we have …looked upon…touched…seen…” (John, the Beloved)

Why is so much Charismatic talk (thankfully not all) so full of riddles and complications? The Jesus presented is so often a remystified God rather than demystified God. Clarity that can be understood by a teachable child with an eager heart to understand and learn, is replaced by veiled ascending levels to a hidden God, accessed by the spiritual illuminati.

We seem to forget the most astounding mystery is that God became an ordinary human being with ordinary human beings. He became “seeable”, “touchable”, “hearable”. Thank God!

God bless


Below the noise and clamour of world and church…

Who would have thought the purposes of God lay supremely in an insignificant woman giving birth to a baby in Bethlehem or in a man dying as a condemned criminal on a tree? Don’t get obsessed with what seems to be the major events going on around you. They may not be nearly as significant as the clamour around then and attention given to them would suggest.

I just got this propheticky thing this morning. “Deep below the noise of the world and the noise of ‘church’, the stream of my life is silently springing and flowing with freshly experienced vitality in the hearts of those praying from a place of humility and faith, gifted by my mercy and grace.”

What could seem more irrelevant to the world than your prayers? What is more forsaken in church than the altar of prayer? We sacrifice time at virtually every other altar other than that: programmes, projects, consultations, planning, conferences, events, blue sky dreaming, thinking, meetings between leaders, imagining. Yet in that humble place, “Father, Our Father” life flows, endless and infinite, undermining the foundations of every dark stronghold. There will be a Confluence of such streams one day to the dismay of an unbelieving world and an unbelieving church. Yet when that day comes it will be a sign spoken against that the hearts of many may be revealed.

If you find yourself being more drawn to prayer in these days, this is the doing of the Lord. You are part of this seemingly insignificant and irrelevant divine happening.

God bless


The Times, they are a changing…

For whatever reason my lung problem made itself more known recently. However, if I never had this problem in the first place, there is so much of the love of God I would never have discovered.

I read a phrase today in a book that reminded me of that truth when I was somewhat alarmed at how I felt physically, yesterday: “There, away from their ordinary and proper place, they discovered life anew.” That is my testimony of the last 4 years. It was not an easy transition, as what for so long had been my “ordinary and proper place” was shifted from beneath my feet, but I thank God for the transitioning. I hope that may bring hope to those of you for whom all that is “ordinary and proper” seems to be shifting. May you know the presence of the Lord who, as Henri Nouwen points out, left his ordinary and proper place in heaven to come and be with us.

(Philippians 2, where we read of God moving from his right and proper place in order to be in the right and proper place is a good passage of Scripture to meditate on if you are in a time of “shifting” right now.)

God bless


Getting in God’s way?

When we share our spiritual life and experiences (especially any unusual or spectacular and dramatic elements) does it bring us into a fellowship of solidarity and compassion with others and their ordinary human struggles, or does it set us apart as an object of admiration or fascination? When we become an object of interest and attention something has gone wrong either with what we are sharing or how we are sharing it. We have swallowed hook, line and sinker the values of the X factor world, wanting to be the Star in the life and mission of the Church rather than its servant. The essence of the religious spirit is not to do with tradition or rules, rituals or requirements, but a Pharasaic underlying message, “I thank you God that I am not like all other men and women.” When the religious spirit is present, “Competition” reigns rather than “Compassion.”

Here is the paradox: genuine experiences of the Spirit of God, true gifts of the Holy Spirit can get in God’s way in our hands. We can obscure His compassion, His being close to people and with people in their need. See if you can get out of God’s way today as you live true to all He has made you and to all He has given you and to all He has done for you in Christ.

God bless


Odd bod?

In the gospels, Mary, the sister of Martha , seemed to annoy people just by being herself. There were two outbursts against her. She was attacked for what she didn’t do and for what she did do. On each occasion Jesus commended her: in one incident He commended her for her wise decision making, in the other for sensitively blessing Him when others were completely insensitive to His needs. In her presence He felt blessed and ministered to, open to the physical touch of love, comfortable enough to weep.

Those folk that annoy you either by what they don’t do in church or by something they suddenly do for Jesus, may be the very ones with whom Jesus has the closest of relationships.

Or let me apply this another way. Do you feel that others consider you an odd bod? Do you feel that everyone seems to look at you as though you are a bit strange and even avoid you a bit, not including you, not even thinking you may have something worthwhile to contribute or thoughts worth hearing? Do you feel on the edge of church, that you don’t quite have folks’ approval, that some even seem irritated and angry with you? You may even be a leader or a leader’s spouse and be experiencing that. No matter. Enjoy Jesus enjoying your company today.

I think I must get a sermon together on how comfortable Jesus is with those considered by themselves or others to be “odd bods”, how He honours them and how much His church needs them in its life and mission…it will probably bless some and annoy others who are more compliant with rules as to how one is meant to be, ought to be, should be. I can cope with that…

God bless


Who made you Judge?

Felt the Lord’s indignation tonight as I came before Him and was aware of His presence.

I am not saying it was a propheticky thing, but it was close to it. This was the thought:

“Who made you a judge of the reality or adequacy of the Church’s repentance in readiness for Revival, the fittedness of this or that person, this or that congregation, etc? Attend to your own humbling of yourself before God, and others will catch fire from you, otherwise your call to repentance is a powerless, unblessed cliche, trumpeted by your flesh. It will not bring about the righteousness God requires in you or anyone else, no matter the fierce anger with which sin is denounced by you.”

I believe I needed to hear that because of reading a discouraging post that seemed to denounce the genuineness of every sign of life and hope in the church. I think the Lord’s indignation was about the spirit and the heart and pen behind that article, but I felt I had to search my own heart, my own attitudes as well.

I bless God for those times in my life where I have come close to those burning with fresh fire. Just being with them made me desire God with fresh intensity without them saying a word to me. It was as though God poured from the pores of their skin and was on their breath and in their eyes and in their sighs: on each occasion when such people have become part of my story, even for a fleeting moment, I found myself not only on my knees but on my face before the living God until fire from heaven came afresh upon me too.

Even remembering such people now seems to create in me a longing for the presence of the Living God, to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. The sense of God hovering over me as I remember is very real.

God bless


Thanking God for Prophecy….

I noticed some Facebook friends apologising with humility and integrity for promoting prophetic words and declarations about the ending of Coronavirus that were not fulfilled. It is humble of them to do so and may God bless their humility and and integrity. If the well known prophets and leaders of Intercessory prayer movements who made these declarations in the Name of the Lord would themselves apologise publicly rather than try and twist the meaning of what they clearly said, that would have even greater significance for the Charismatic Church. Since well known names have not yet repented of unfulfilled prophecies concerning year 2 K maybe I am hoping for too much. “Sorry” seems to be the hardest word for many but without that word in the spiritual vocabulary of a ministry it lacks integrity and may well lose the blessing of God though continuing to exist as an exciting, noisy carnival or show. I have found it necessary to say sorry now and then throughout my years of ministry. It is not so hard once you have said it a couple of times.

By the way some will jump on this post as a weapon to be used to enable them to further mock the very notion of there being such a thing as the gift and ministry of Prophecy today. (If you use this post exalting humility and integrity in the exercise of Prophecy to do that, then perhaps you need to seek God for greater humility and integrity for yourself.) I believe in the gift and ministry of Prophecy one hundred percent and thank God for those who exercise this wonderful gift with integrity, known names or otherwise. Prophecy from others has strengthened me at crucial moments in my ministry right from early days of feelings of spiritual inadequacy and insecurity, consolidating my calling, to this present moment. It has brought great comfort and strength to me in some darker moments of life. It has often confirmed my own sense of where God is taking me in a new phase of life and ministry, even to this present hour( well , a week ago, since we are talking about integrity!). I am immensely grateful to God for those who exercise the gift and ministry of prophecy with reverence and love, honouring God and people, lost and found. God bless all of us with obedience to Scripture to seek the spiritual gifts, especially that we may prophesy. It is part of making love our aim.

God bless