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Feb 26, 2024: One of the ways that I force myself to slowdown while studying a passage to preach is I write out the whole thing longhand. It’s an excuse to use nice …

Feb 22, 2024: One of the advantages of having a midweek day off and living near the sea is that we can make a date of tea and coffee in flasks, while watching the …

Feb 19, 2024: I’ve really been enjoying working on posts for my Substack. It reminds me a bit of when I first started blogging a long time ago.

Feb 8, 2024: Finding myself falling down PKM rabbit holes after finally having enough sync issues mean that I can no longer trust my beloved Ulysses. I haven’t …

Feb 5, 2024: I wrote a bit about my new commonplace book on The Habitus. 🖋️📝

Feb 3, 2024: Today in things that simply cannot be, I am now dad to a 14-year-old.

Jan 31, 2024: 31 days into my Bible reading plan I originally shared this as a note on my Substack. Here are some quick reflections on this month’s Bible reading. As I wrote previously, I am slowing …

Jan 30, 2024: New issue of the Habitus is available. I would love it if you would subscribe to get each issue as soon as it’s available!

Jan 28, 2024: Currently reading: Lord Jesus Christ by Daniel Treier 📚

Jan 26, 2024: What a read that was. Finished reading: The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl R. Trueman 📚

Jan 23, 2024: A Christian Optimism I really appreciate Stephen McAlpine’s optimism here. He had similar things to say when Ayaan Hirsi Ali declared that she is a Christian. I’ve …

Jan 22, 2024: It’s a bit later than I wanted, but the latest issue of The Habitus is available now.

Jan 15, 2024: New issue of The Habitus New issue of The Habitus out now! Sometimes it’s hard to keep at it. Sometimes sleep makes it really difficult to form a practice.

Jan 11, 2024: The trouble with only writing what you know is that you end up running the risk of being like the busker in my town who seems to only know how to play …

Jan 7, 2024: Working on the next issue of my newsletter, The Habitus. Subscribe today to receive it tomorrow!

Jan 6, 2024: Currently reading: A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green 📚

Jan 5, 2024: Finished reading: The Actual One by Isy Suttie 📚

Jan 5, 2024: Finished reading: What is Biblical Wisdom? by Robert Charles Sproul 📚

Jan 4, 2024: Some of the rainbows we get here are amazing.

Jan 3, 2024: Year in books for 2023 Here are the books I finished reading in 2023 that I remembered to track on here. There were some others that I have written down in last year’s …

Jan 1, 2024: introducing The Habitus It’s the first of the new year. I’m still in the annoying place where my journal entry for the day is scratched out because I wrote 2023 instead of …

Dec 30, 2023: A rare snowfall here in the west of Scotland.

Dec 15, 2023: Finished reading: The Whale at the End of the World by JOHN. IRONMONGER 📚

Dec 15, 2023: Finished reading: Simply Trinity by Matthew Barrett 📚

Dec 5, 2023: A while back, I bought a couple of these accordion fold refills for my Traveler’s Notebook. I wasn’t sure what to do with them, thinking maybe I would …

Dec 1, 2023: Just dropped off a bunch of flyers for our Blue Christmas service at the local library. Even for me, as a pastor and someone who stands up in public …

Nov 30, 2023: thoughts on writing 30 poems As I write this, I have just finished the main writing portion of the poetry challenge I was doing this month. There is still the process of choosing …

Nov 28, 2023: This was a fun read. Finished reading: The Falcon of Sparta by Conn Iggulden 📚

Nov 28, 2023: There is nothing better than paper for trying to get a sense of the big picture. Unfortunately, this paper isn’t big enough to also include figuring …

Nov 24, 2023: teaching helps with learning? One of the things that I have found as I spend more and more time studying Scripture is that there just seems to be more of it to hand in my mind. …

Nov 22, 2023: Behind these stone walls is a place of comfort Where there is a fire burning and wooden tables A dog sleeps on a rug Where there is walnut and oak and brass A chair by a table Where there is glass …

Nov 21, 2023: One big lesson I’ve learned while studying the doctrine of God, and the Trinity in particular, this term is that I really need to make some time …

Nov 20, 2023: Something I’ve really enjoyed this month is writing a poem each day while following this challenge. Have any of my poems been any good? Not …

Nov 19, 2023: nothing is straightforward In the most recent issue of Tabletalk, there was an article on the pluses and minuses of technologies like blockchain and a decentralised web. There …

Nov 17, 2023: Today was another big writing day (3800 words). Then it was trinitarian reading assignments. My brain needed a break and doing a sketch was a good …

Nov 15, 2023: Finished reading: Timothy Keller by Collin Hansen 📚

Nov 11, 2023: I’ve had Procreate for a long time but don’t spend enough time using it. I followed this tutorial by Calvin at DrifterStudio and it was fun!

Nov 10, 2023: Fridays are long. They start with an early train so I can get some of my sermon writing done before a day in the classroom for my training course. …

Nov 6, 2023: Started reading: Simply Trinity by Matthew Barrett 📚

Nov 5, 2023: Had a couple loaves of sourdough in the oven after church today. Really pleased with how they’ve turned out.🍞

Nov 5, 2023: Collect of purity Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid; Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration …

Nov 2, 2023: Finished reading: All That Is in God by James E. Dolezal 📚

Nov 1, 2023: The start of November has always come with a bit of self-pressure to try and do NaNoWriMo. Not this year. This year, I’m attempting the Poem-A-Day …

Oct 30, 2023: this is home This is the town where I live and serve as the pastor of a small church. It is a place in great need. There are high levels of deprivation. There are …

Oct 30, 2023: 🎵If jazz piano/trio is your thing, I highly recommend this Tiny Desk Korea session with 송영주 트리오.

Oct 29, 2023: Finished reading: How to Build a Boat by Elaine Feeney 📚

Oct 26, 2023: Last session of Christianity Explored tonight. Looking forward to running it again next year.

Oct 23, 2023: “Can you so much as dream of a better friend than he has been to you?” Charles Spurgeon in Morning & Evening

Oct 22, 2023: This is the desperation coffee setup.

Oct 21, 2023: My Clever Dripper got dropped by someone in the house and it broke. In a fit of desperation I tried using a Melitta-style filter paper in a sieve over …

Oct 20, 2023: Another script written. I’m quite far behind on reading for my training course so I’m looking forward to having a guest preacher for the last week of …

Oct 19, 2023: It’s one of those autumn days where no amount of waterproof clothing can keep you from getting drenched on the walk home. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Oct 18, 2023: This article by Adsum Try Ravenhill is really helpful for thinking through how to speak of what is going on in the world right now.

Oct 13, 2023: Autumn is the best time for writing It felt like a proper autumn day today. Cold, windy, occasionally raining heavily while the sun still shone. It was also sermon-writing day. Each week …

Oct 12, 2023: For the very first time, I have managed to get a coffee stain on one of my commentaries. I guess now I know how to tell if it’s my copy of Wenham on …

Oct 11, 2023:

Oct 8, 2023: Nothing against Lewis Capaldi but I feel like his music is a bit dramatic for a porridge oats advert…

Oct 8, 2023: I’m about a third of the way through this (reading for a book club with folks who have been on the same training course as me) and really enjoying it.

Oct 3, 2023: Crying in H Mart Finished reading: Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner 📚 As a fan of Japanese Breakfast and as someone who has recently been going through a process of …

Oct 3, 2023: Sermon prep this week Preparing to preach Genesis 3. I’ve got a Traveler’s Notebook for initial observations, an ESV Genesis scripture journal for highlights and some …

Oct 1, 2023: It’s 1 October and I’ve ordered our Christmas pudding already.

Sep 28, 2023: It feels like a proper autumn evening.

Sep 27, 2023: Was able to have a full day off today (Wednesday mornings are usually off but the afternoon and evenings are full). Baked a loaf of fig & fennel …

Sep 27, 2023: Aaaaaaaaaand I just had my first real haircut in nearly three years. ✂️

Sep 24, 2023: Autumn feels mean it’s time for me to switch to black and white photos.

Sep 23, 2023: I am not a fast runner by any metric but it feels good to finally start getting some proper distance in each week. 🏃🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️

Sep 21, 2023: One of the cool things about running Christianity Explored is hearing the questions people want answered. Some questions seem simple on the surface …

Sep 15, 2023: Can confirm, after movie night with the kids, that Back To The Future holds up. 🍿 🎥

Sep 14, 2023: Christianity Explored starts today at Ardgowan Square. Both nervous and excited to see how it goes.

Sep 12, 2023: Just back from our weekly prayer meeting. Normally we look at a question from the New City Catechism but we are starting Christianity Explored this …

Sep 11, 2023: reflections on the residential week Last week was spent at a Scripture Union activity centre thinking really big thoughts about God with a group of around 20 pastors, women’s workers, …

Sep 11, 2023: It’s been over a year since I did any serious run training but it was good to start a new training plan today to bring down my 5k time. Running was a …

Sep 6, 2023: Climbed up Loudoun Hill for the first time.

Sep 5, 2023:

Sep 4, 2023: My training course starts a new term today which means the annual residential intensive. We’re studying the doctrine of God for this module and the …

Sep 1, 2023: Started reading: Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner 📚

Aug 30, 2023: Really excited to finally have a source for East Asian food in Greenock. 🍜

Aug 28, 2023: Finished reading: The Trinity by Scott Swain 📚

Aug 27, 2023: Today marks five years since we left America to start doing gospel ministry in the UK. There have been many ups and downs(and a year in Poland) since …

Aug 24, 2023: some observations on being a disciple I’m preaching through a bit of a topical series at the moment, where the topics are from the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. My normal mode of …

Aug 21, 2023: We went for a day trip to Edinburgh last week to see old friends and for one last hurrah before the kids go back to school.📷

Aug 9, 2023: Old Communion Cups and Someone’s Coat (cover song)

Aug 7, 2023: publicly christian As I write this, I’m in a trendy food hall in a town that was not trendy when I left. Gentrification has taken hold of this place and now you’re more …

Jul 30, 2023: in two parts I am a dichotomy. Both rushing river and dried up river. Mountain framed by off-green and tan scrub. Mountain with springs flowing down. Cactus wren …

May 22, 2023: Looking back at 2 Timothy We finished up our series in 2 Timothy at Ardgowan this week and I found the whole process really rewarding, personally. Some of this was down to the …

May 11, 2023: what are these words for? One of the things that I’ve been trying to figure out recently is what to do with this blog. Part of the issue is that time to write for my own …

Apr 14, 2023: Photolog: Millport We went for a day trip to Millport. it’s great to be able to travel around as a family on public transport.

Apr 9, 2023: What does Christ’s resurrection mean for us? Christ triumphed over sin and death by being physically resurrected, so that all who trust in him are raised to new life in this world and to …

Feb 27, 2023: that time we didn’t see the northern lights There was a chance that the aurora was going to be visible in Scotland. We missed out on it yesterday but when we found out there was a chance to see …

Feb 20, 2023: analogue system update It’s the middle of February, so I’m a bit late to the whole techo kaigi scene. However, I’ve recently finished a notebook so it seemed like a good …

Feb 18, 2023: what this throne of grace is Cannot recommend this book enough. This throne of grace is the humanity, or heart and soul of Jesus Christ, in which God sits and rests for ever in …

Feb 16, 2023: waiting for spring It’s been a very wet and windy winter so there hasn’t been as much opportunity to explore the area or be outside. But there have been the odd days …

Feb 10, 2023: If he’s unchanging I had the privilege of having a short prose poem published over at Clayjar Review! Go check it out, along with the other entries from the most recent …

Feb 8, 2023: Comfort for times when prayer feels empty The life of the Christian, like ordinary daily life, runs in seasons. Just as there is time spent in green pastures, there are also times spent in the …

Jan 11, 2023: Obvious things that aren't obvious Illness is a physical and mental burdenTaking part in a retreat week on top of work that still has to happen is maybe not going to be restful or …

Nov 7, 2022: Fourteen Fourteen years ago we said, "I do." Here's to another fourteen.

Oct 4, 2022: Quiet Contemplation One of the benefits of pastoring a church that has been blessed with its own building is having a place to go to pray. On Sundays, I stand at the …

Sep 23, 2022: A life of radical dependence If it was all up to us, the work of gospel ministry would look a lot like building the Tower of Babel. Over the course of my time as a ministry …

Sep 1, 2022: new month, new vocation, new home It already feels like autumn. Growing up in the American Midwest meant that autumn didn’t truly begin until October (PSLs notwithstanding). But in the …

Aug 1, 2022: Burnt toast and catfish Jesus saved me while I sat at the kitchen table with my mother. I was just a boy, still obsessed with Power Rangers and Lego. Looking back 25 years, I …

Jul 17, 2022: Edinburgh - a photo log I got to catch up with an old friend in Edinburgh this weekend. Here’s what I saw.

Jul 12, 2022: the value of reading: whole books and big sections Besides putting together my visa application and trying (slowly) to get our house packed up to move, I'm trying to think through the teaching program …

Jul 9, 2022: Hello I'm Dan. Here's how I prefer to keep in touch: By email to dan at danalcantara dot me.All of my public writing happens here on this site. My main …

Jul 9, 2022: Now As of 7 August 2023, this is what's going on: I am the pastor at Ardgowan Square Evangelical Church.Studying with the Pastors' Training Course.Slowly …

Jul 9, 2022: thinking more about music (plus a playlist) When I shared about the latest release from Alvvays, I realised how much time I spend thinking about music and how I listen to it. I usually listen to …

Jul 7, 2022: new Alvvays is worth the wait In general, I’ve found that there are two ways to listen to music. Self-expression-by-proxy or mood-management. I land squarely in the second …

Jun 4, 2022: signs of summer While it’s been difficult trying to return to running, I have enjoyed going for walks. Yesterday, I went out with one of my sons. It was good to walk …

Jun 3, 2022: what's next for my family? It's been hard to keep this one a secret. Something that is inherent to ministry apprenticeships is that they come to an end and are supposed to be a …

May 24, 2022: what I didn't learn in missions training We spend time thinking about contextualisation. Assessing whether we are capable of sharing the gospel. We spend time praying about whatever work it …

Apr 17, 2022: He is risen! Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the …

Apr 7, 2022: Not starting from scratch On more than one occasion, I have had to stop running. This was always due to either illness or injury. At least since I completed the couch-to-5k …

Apr 1, 2022: using a smaller notebook I seem to go through odd phases with the stationery that I prefer to use. For years, I was all-Moleskine-all-the-time. There was something about that …

Mar 21, 2022: we made it two years Two years of pandemic without a positive case in our house. Now 5/6 of us either have or had it in the last week. I have to say, I’m not a fan.

Mar 11, 2022: We lived happily during the war It never ceases to amaze me how effectively poetry can describe a moment. If you'd like to read it, view this poem at the Poetry Foundation.

Feb 18, 2022: a week of serving, learning and eating pies I’m recently back from a week of ministry with Maxwell Church in Kilmaurs and Kilmarnock in Ayrshire. This was an opportunity to experience a …

Jan 30, 2022: Book In A Day: 1 & 2 Kings (a look back) One of the big benefits I’ve found from my time studying with Cornhill Scotland is learning from people who have spent a long time in pastoral …

Jan 14, 2022: Stop making “the Bible in a year” a sacred calf Every year, untold multitudes manage to read the first 11 chapters of Genesis and then they get busy enough that they stop trying to manage their …

Jan 5, 2022: The constrained freedom of a small diary Right now, I’m in the early stages of my time in full-time, gospel ministry. It’s something that I dreamed about for a long time and got close to, …

Jan 4, 2022: the joy of the early hours By my son’s standards, it’s still nighttime when I like to wake up. Though I’m just as groggy as anyone, rising early comes easier to me than some …

Dec 29, 2021: The Year of Establishment I've been following along with the Cortex for a few years now and so much of what I've heard from them has helped me in various areas of work and …

Dec 25, 2021: happy christmas! God-willing, more writing to come in the new year!

Nov 13, 2021: on your doorstep It had been too long since I’d seen scenery that wasn’t the farms around our house, so when my wife told me to text a friend to try and do something …

Nov 7, 2021: our marriage so far 13 years 5 babies (4 with us, one with Jesus) 4 countries I wonder what’s in store for the next thirteen.

Nov 2, 2021: an assortment of things - November 2021 It's time for some more things that I found interesting, entertaining or something in the previous month. How Personal Policies Can Help You Fight …

Oct 25, 2021: 🏃‍♂️running in the rain The weather continues to get colder while the mornings and evenings are getting darker. Here in Scotland, it’s getting wetter as well. After nearly a …

Oct 19, 2021: ephemeral notes, or writing on a bunch index cards and recycling them before copying down all of the information I preached at church this past Sunday and decided to try a slightly different approach to organising my study time. Because I'm at the beginning of …

Oct 10, 2021: a ferociously crippling cold Over the last week or two, I’ve learned that it’s possible for all creative output to suddenly stop. I’ve written zero words. Made zero notes. I even …

Oct 4, 2021: how I’m reading right now 📚 I do a decent amount of reading as a part of my work being a missionary and ministry apprentice. There’s a certain joy in knowing that reading is a …

Oct 1, 2021: an assortment of things - October 2021 Welcome to an assortment of things. I work slowly to figure out what might be interesting. That's why these are only monthly. The concept of a file is …

Sep 27, 2021: About I'm married to Tracy and daddy to Sophie, Chloe, Liam and Owen. This is where I write things. The Alcantara FamilyA family on mission SubscribeWe …

Sep 27, 2021: a voice like a babbling brook Raonaid looked out at the sea of blue jumpers and wondered how, after years discovering new plant species in the field, she had ended up doing supply …

Sep 25, 2021: it’s nearly here 🍂 The sun is no longer rising at 4:30am. Sunset happens before 9pm. I stepped out of the office to grab a coffee and see the bright blue sky, but was …

Sep 8, 2021: As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning - reflections What is there to say about this absolutely gorgeous book? I first learned about it from watching Alistair Humphrey's My Midsummer Morning. On that …

Sep 2, 2021: For the love of local libraries When we lived in Poland, one of my big struggles was being able to find books to read. I didn’t learn enough Polish to even read a children’s book, …

Aug 27, 2021: the surprising usefulness of lacklustre tools One of the great troubles of becoming the kind of person who tinkers with things or tries to figure out what the best tool for the job is the …

Jul 1, 2021: good enough I’ve had the task of recording a video for our support raising efforts looking over me for a couple of weeks. My hope had been to have a script …