Doug is from Liverpool and is married to Deb. They have two grown-up daughters, Tina and Ruth, and a granddaughter, Willow Grace. Doug trained for the ministry at The Faith Mission (Edinburgh) and the Emmanuel Bible College (Birkenhead). He later conducted under-graduate studies in Theology and History at University College, Chester and post-graduate studies in Pastoral Theology at Cardiff University. He has served with OMS(UK) and engaged in pastoral ministry for over 20 years, initially with the Free Methodist Church before securing credentials with the Baptist Union of Great Britain. He is currently serving as a mission-worker with the South Wales Baptist Association endeavouring to establish a new work for the Lord in the Lower Cynon Valley. He enjoys playing the guitar, reading and tries his best to keep-fit with the occasional work-out (‘trying’ the operative word)!
Like many, I enjoy the challenge of solving a riddle - though, I suspect, I am not too good at them! See how you fair with this one:
My first is in hidden but not found in seen. My second’s in coming but not there in been. My third’s in promise and also expectant. My last is in Easter as well as in Advent. My whole is a word that can mean many things; from confident trusting to wishful thinking.
The answer, of course, is hope.
Opposites attract, they say! Personal experience suggests that ‘they’, whoever ‘they’ are, have it right. For all intent and purpose, both casual and informed observers could have been forgiven for doubting the longevity potential of the blossoming romance between a young Scouser and an ever so slightly-younger Prescotian. The former, a sports-mad historian with an irrational obsession with ‘smelly old’ second-hand books. The latter, a level-headed mathematician with a natural flair for home making.
En route to the African Crusades in 1960, Leighton Ford made a brief stop at Dakar, West Africa A French missionary of the Reformed Church met with him for a coffee This missionary had laboured in that Muslim country for ten years. During conversations one of Leighton Ford’s colleagues asked the missionary: “How many converts have you had?” “Oh,” thought the missionary, “one, two, perhaps three.” “Three converts in ten years!” exclaimed the enquirer, “why do you stay?” The missionary’s face mirrored his surprise at the thoughtless question. “I stay because God has called me here!”
In my younger, fitter days, a particularly favourite jogging route of mine would take me along Shirley Road and passed the St. Helens depot for hauliers Suttons Transport. The clock tower overseeing the main gate at ‘Suttons’ once stood on the estate of racing driving Sir John Whitmore and was rebuilt at the St. Helens site by the late Alf Sutton. Now a well-known local landmark, the clock tower’s annotation reads: “Time and tide waiteth for no man.” It is said that this prophetic 14th century proverb was chosen by Alf to, “prod any slackers!” Whether that is true or not, I cannot say.
“Father, forgive them ...” (Luke 23:34)
No prayer ever offered has moved the hearts of those who heard it as has this prayer from the Cross.
Today, I was reminded of a story told by The White Angel of Tokyo, independent Canadian missionary, Miss Caroline Macdonald. Allow me to share the story with you.
“Pastor, is it wrong to dream dreams?” I hesitated before articulating a meaningful answer. My response was on the back of a sermon that I had just preached on self-denial. However, I was also reminded of the words of the prophet Joel: “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” (Joel 2:28) I suspect my reply to the young enquirer surprised him: “Whatever happens, keep blowing bubbles!”
Christians are considered by many to be absolutely crazy - and let’s face it, with good reason. A.W. Tozer notes in his book The Root of the Righteous: “A real Christian is an odd number anyway. He feels supreme love for one whom he has never seen, talks familiarly every day to someone he cannot see, expects to go to heaven on the virtue of another, empties himself in order to be full, admits he is wrong so that he can be declared right, goes down in order to get up, is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he is poorest, and happiest when he feels worst.