The Absence of Opposition – The Suburbs of Heaven

    This article couldn’t have come at a better time.

    One of the quotes that I have hanging on a shelf in my office speaks to this. It is a quote by G. Campbell Morgan, who preceded and mentored Martyn Lloyd-Jones at Westminster Chapel in London. It reads as follows: “If you have no opposition in the place you are serving, then you are serving in the wrong place.”

    The Absence of Opposition – The Suburbs of Heaven

    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 2024. Even so, the new year brings a new theme.

    Last year was really a year without a theme. I cannot remember if I tried making one or if I was just too busy with things.

    The busyness left me with a sense of longing as the year came to a close. A longing to slow down and to think. To create the space necessary for the work that I do. The work that I do is the care of souls, something that necessarily requires much prayer and contemplation.

    And while prayer has happened, it has largely felt rushed. It has felt like an obligation.

    And so for this year, my theme is one of spiritual disciplines. Of building routine and work and rhythm around the work of prayer and meditation.

    In addition to caring for my family (and there are six of us), is the responsibility to care for a congregation. We are a small church. Most weeks we have about 50 in attendance on a Sunday. But they are a people who need prayer and they need to know that their pastor is praying for them.

    And so this year, 2024, is the Year of The Habitus. What is a habitus? That leads to the other side of this.

    I’ve been curious about Substack and have tried keeping a newsletter in the past. I have found some likeminded writers there and actually find the experience of reading there to be quite good.

    And so I am launching a newsletter there called The Habitus. You can read the first issue here. If you’re into that sort of thing, take a read. I’d love to have you join me as I write and share about prayer, meditation, and making life about them.

    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 to tell people about Jesus, it still feels awkward to stuff like that.

    this is home

    The view of Greenock from the Mid Park

    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 high levels of drug and alcohol related deaths. During the summer, the population swells and shrinks daily as cruise ships bring tourists looking for the train to Glasgow.

    It’s a place where the gospel witness is small but deeply rooted. It’s a town which once boasted many faithful churches. Now one of the old church buildings is a furniture store. Another has been turned into housing. One lays vacant, seemingly waiting to collapse.

    It is a place that needs great prayer. As winter gets closer, the nights darker, there is a growing sense of the desperation found here. Not yet lunch time, watching men down pints as they throw their earnings into the fruit machines.