Letter from the Manse

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Am I ready to die?

Tomorrow I go into hospital for an operation on my knee. It’s a very minor operation and I should be home, God willing, by the evening. But I’m aware that with all operations, there is a risk. An anesthetist may make a mistake. A patient may have a heart-attack on the operating table. An infection may set in and then escalate with fatal consequences. So as I say goodbye to my wife and children tomorrow, I shall be very …

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Forgetting God

Every year, the Sunday nearest to the 11th of November is designated Remembrance Sunday. This year it falls on November 9th. On that Sunday, at 11 am we’ll stand in silence for two minutes. And in the silence we’ll remember the sufferings and the triumphs of two World Wars. We’ll pay tribute to those who gave their lives. And we’ll give thanks to God for his mercies towards us.

The First World War began when Austria-Hungary declared war against Serbia on the 28th July 1914. It ended at 11 am on the 11th …

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A Home full of Books

I have a home full of books. There are bookshelves in every room. I suppose there must be around four thousand books in the house altogether. Some of them are general books – books of poetry, novels, history books. But most of them are, in some sense, “Christian”. They are books about the Bible (lots of commentaries), books about Christian doctrine, books about how to live as a Christian, books about church history – and lots more.

Sometimes …

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When the money runs out

Prices are soaring.   Gas and electricity prices are up.  Petrol is up.  Food is up.  And many people are feeling the pinch.  No-one knows how bad things might get.  Some experts are predicting the biggest economic crisis for many years.  Mass bankruptcies and repossessions;  widespread unemployment;  runaway inflation;  the collapse of many industries; a state unable to pay for its hospitals, police-force or schools or to maintain social security benefits: many observers see all these things on the horizon.  They may be right, they may be wrong.  But already most of us are finding it …

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Heading off to Camp

In a few weeks time, a group of youngsters from the church, loaded up with rucksacks, sleeping bags and Bibles will be heading off to camp. It’s thirty-four years since I first set off from home carrying more or less the same equipment. My first Christian camp was at Pendine on the South Wales coast. It was run by an eccentric school-teacher with a passion for evangelism. That camp changed my life.

I was already a believer, but I had had little opportunity to mix with other Christian teenagers. I had never been …

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