In his Christmas Broadcast in 1939 George VI, quoted some words by (at the time) an unknown poet, that struck a chord with a country facing an uncertain future: ‘And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” […]

THE GOD OF GRACE (Advent 4, 2017)

The best known Christian hymn/song today – at least here in the UK – is ‘Amazing Grace’. Sung by Christians and non-Christians alike, it was written by John Newton (1725-1807), a former slave trader and clergyman, as a personal testimony to how God, by grace (God’s love and favour bestowed upon undeserving sinners like us […]

THE GOD WHO DISTURBS (Advent 3, 2017)

So, there I was, preaching in a local Methodist Church one Sunday morning, giving it my all, when suddenly this lady in the congregation jumps up and starts shouting at me! Well … that woke some of them up, I can tell you! ‘I am a Christian’ she said, ‘but I still feel so sinful. […]

THE GOD WHO SPEAKS (Advent 2, 2017)

Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) was possibly the greatest person in the Church between New Testament times and the Reformation. The story of his conversion is both extraordinary and wonderful. Augustine was, by any standards, a remarkable man. He was a university professor, possessed a brilliant mind, was a profound philosopher … yet at the […]

THE GOD WHO COMES (Advent 1, 2017)

The British bakery chain Greggs has apologised after an advert – which depicted a Nativity Scene in which the baby Jesus was replaced by a sausage roll in the manger – didn’t go down too well with its customers. The advert was intended to promote the bakery’s Advent calendar, Merry Greggmas, which offers coupons, gift […]

DARE TO BE DIFFERENT (Notes from Knaphill 10)

My first ‘serious’ girlfriend was a girl called Pat. I was 18 and she was 17 and we went out together for a whole year … and then she knitted me a jumper for Christmas and I started to panic?! I mean us boys back in the 60s all knew that when a girl knitted […]

TRICK OR TREAT? (Notes from Knaphill 9)

Yesterday was Halloween and I am reflecting on whether, as Christians and local churches, we need to take a more positive response to what has today in the UK become largely a secular (and some would say unhealthy even Satanic) event? For me, this was highlighted recently by a local Pre-School, who rent premises in […]