Letter from the Manse

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A View from the Piano

Most people have probably never thought about what it’s like to be an accompanist – to play the piano or another instrument whilst we sing to God. That’s because most of us don’t have to do it. But even those of us who do play don’t always think carefully about what we are doing or trying to achieve. For most people, when first asked to accompany the congregation, it’s a terrifying prospect; your greatest concern is to get through without making any mistakes and embarrassing yourself. Nothing else is really on your …

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To drink or not to drink?

To drink or not to drink: that is the question.  Over the years, I have been asked many times to give my advice on the subject of alcohol.  May a Christian drink “in moderation” or should we abstain completely?  I was asked the question again a few days ago.  I didn’t have time then to answer the question fully.  So here’s my answer now.  It depends.  It depends on many things.

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Obsessed with sport?

An estimated 30 million across the UK watched England play Germany. World Cup football, Wimbledon tennis… you can’t get away from sport at the moment. Sport is one of our national idols. As a Christian, how should I react to this idolatry?

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Obeying God rather than men

It’s often hard to be sure when the commands of men do contradict the commands of God. Life isn’t simple.

I hope that we can agree at least on some big principles. Here are four.

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Easter not Christmas

Most people in the UK don’t make a great deal of Easter these days.  Christmas is a much bigger event:  cards, presents, trees, decorations, special services, days of feasting.  Compared with that, Easter is quite low profile.  That’s true for us as a church too.  Yes, we hold a service on Good Friday.  Yes, we sing hymns about the resurrection on Easter Sunday.  Some of us may eat hot cross buns and give the children Easter eggs.  But we don’t spend weeks preparing, planning, celebrating the way we do for Christmas.  Compared …

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