Archive for February, 2009


Books Over Blogs

February 27, 2009

I’m not getting much time to blog these days. There are a few reasons:

  1. Nicki and I are planning on moving house in the summer.
  2. We are trying to  finish well our time of ministry at one church.
  3. We are beginning to shift our focus to another field of ministry.

When I do carve out some spare time, I’m unashamedly choosing reading over blogging. As it happens, the three books that I’m ploughing through at the moment probably add up to the most outstanding ‘set’ I’ve read together at one time. I would recommend all of them:

The Courage to Be Protestant by David Wells (read review)


Lloyd Jones: Messenger of Grace by Iain Murray (read review)


Finally Alive by John Piper (read review)



Prepare Self, Before Sermon

February 24, 2009


“No book on a minister’s philosophy of preaching is complete without pausing to look at the preacher himself….The preacher must be a man who is characterised by spirituality in an unusual degree..The preacher’s first, and most important task is to prepare himself, not his sermon.”

(Martyn Lloyd Jones, quoted in Tony Sargent, The Sacred Anointing, p90)


Expositors Conference Edinburgh

February 23, 2009

The 2009 EXPOSITORS’ CONFERENCE will be held at the Faith Mission Bible College in Edinburgh from August 25-27th 2009.

We are delighted to have as our two keynote speakers Dr Steven Lawson who is Senior Pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama, and President of New Reformation Ministries and Rev Peter Grainger, Senior Minister at Charlotte Chapel, Edinburgh.

As well as plenary sessions each morning there will be seminar type meetings each afternoon and a public meeting each evening when Dr Lawson will open up God’s Word.

Other speakers confirmed are Rev Iain Murray of Banner of Truth, Dr Ian Shaw of Langham International and Rev Craig Dyer of Christianity Explored.

A limited amount of residential facilities will be available at the College for those who want it and we hope this will contribute to the benefit of the Conference.

As more details of speakers, programme and costs etc become confirmed we will post them here so make sure to subscribe or bookmark this page and keep an eye on progress.

We are now taking bookings and forms can be downloaded here.

For the Expositor’s Conference Website.


Non-Conversational Preaching

February 21, 2009

David Wells, in his barn-burning book The Courage to be Protestant:

“Preaching is not a conversation about some interesting ideas. It is not the moment in which postmoderns hear their own private message in the biblical words, one unique to each one who hears, and then go their own way. No! This is God speaking! He speaks through the stammering lips of the preacher where that preacher’s mind is on the text of Scripture and his heart is in the presence of God. God, as Luther puts it, lives in the preacher’s mouth.

This is the kind of preaching that issues a summons, which nourishes the soul, which draws the congregation into the very presence of God so that no matter what aspect of his character, his truth, his working in this world is in focus, we leave with awe, gratitude, encouragement, and sometimes a rebuke. We have been in the very presence of God! This is what great preaching always does.”

(David Wells; The Courage to be Protestant; p 230)


A Little Friday Fun

February 20, 2009

Discover the extent of Alistair Begg’s Beatles knowledge, as well as the nature of his true accent.


Charges To A Young Minister

February 18, 2009

lucas-and-sydserffRobin Sydserff took up his charge at  St Catherine’s Argyle Church of Scotland on January 23rd 2009. Although a sizable loss to the Proclamation Trust in London, I’m sure, this spells ‘great gospel news’ for the city of Edinburgh.

Since I will soon be taking up a solo charge myself, I  was especially intrigued to listen to the preaching of Dick Lucas on the occasion of Robin’s induction weekend.

The exposition of 2 Timothy 2:1-7 (Charges to A Young Minister) is vintage Lucas. Clear in its biblical explanation. Cutting in its  incisive  application. Lucas covers both what  Christian ministry is, and what resources its requires.

I’ve added the link to Robin’s regular sermons on UW’s links.


What is Bad Expositional Preaching?

February 17, 2009

Should A Pastor Set Goals?

February 15, 2009

Yes!  Derek Prime and Alistair Begg suggest that every pastor should set the following  six goals:

Not a bad list to be starting with.

(Above: from their book “Being A Pastor”, chapter 3)


Why Falling In Love Isn’t Enough

February 13, 2009

Tomorrow night I have an unusual opportunity. I’m speaking to married couples about cultivating their marriages, prior to them heading out for Valentine’s meals across the city.


My short talk will mention John Wesley, who this week in 1751 literally ‘fell in love’ with his wife to be, Molly (read about the remarkable outcome of his painful slip on London bridge here).

As infamously known, however, Wesley’s marriage did not build upon its initial promise. One certain cause was John’s unwillingness to travel ‘one less day or one less mile’ simply because he was now in a married state. He did not invest in his marriage. As I will put it tomorrow night:

John Wesley learned the hard way that you can ‘fall’ into marriage, but you can’t slip and trip into a good one. That takes care and consideration. It takes labour and learning. Such a marriage is neither light, frothy or easy. But it if we do it God’s way – with loving intentionality – it is lasting.


Northern Ireland Calling

February 11, 2009

Well, the news is now out in the open. I have accepted the call to become pastor of Ballymoney Baptist Church, Northern Ireland.


For a bit of background to the church, this article chronicles the farewell of the previous (and founding) pastor Steven Curry, and actually gives a fair bit of detail about the church’s history. In the article, one of my soon-to-be fellow-elders is quoted to say:

“That respect and reverence for God’s Word, combined with rigour and diligence in preparation has been an anchor throughout his [Steven’s] ministry in Ballymoney, and I have no doubt will continue to prove a mainstay in the future as well.”

Pray that I will be faithful to, and worthy of, this legacy!



Storing Illustrations

February 10, 2009

So the way I do it is to store my illustrations electronically on Word files, within categories and then alphabetically. You?


Counselling Advice For A Cold Day

February 9, 2009

Contrary to popular myths about Scotland’s winter weather, it rarely snows here (the climate is dreary but temperate). Hence the picture snaps! In between, some wise counseling advice from Jay Adams, whose blog I would highly commend to your blog-readers.


When Counselling Don’t

  1. Counsel women alone
  2. Counsel drunks; wait till they sober up
  3. Counsel someone being counseled by another
  4. Counsel without access to a phone, desk, writing materials, etc.
  5. Counsel people who set down conditions
  6. Counsel when a person refuses to do his homework
  7. Counsel by telephone
  8. Counsel by separating spouses from one another
  9. Counsel people so drugged that they can’t reason
  10. Counsel young children; counsel their parents
  11. Counsel unbelievers; evangelize them
  12. Counsel a Christian who will not accept Scripture as a Standard

See the remainder of Adams’ list here.