So this is Christmas?

That’s the question asked in an old song written by John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Here are a couple of contrasting stories about how people see Christmas. The first is a sad but all too familiar story in a parody of the words of Luke’s Christmas narrative, the real version of which we will be looking at over the next few weeks at Islington.


Where are we going as a Church?

In Our Sunday Services we’ve been working through Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. Here are a few thoughts to consider as we come to the end this month.

It’s important that we ask ourselves the question, ‘Where are we going as a Church? I believe the fundamental answer is ‘to be conformed to the likeness of Christ’ (Romans 8:29). But what does it mean for us to be like Christ? The answer to that, I believe, can be found in the verses following Philippians 2:5.

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus”


Chance Encounters

Here is a story that you may identify with from Ariel Leve, a New York Columnist for the Times of London. It’s called:


“There are hazards to going out. One of them is the unexpected run-in. Even worse, the unexpected run-in where someone tells you something that is emotionally significant.

The other day I was leaving my apartment in New York when, in the lobby, I ran into an elderly woman who lives in the building. Over the years, whenever I’ve seen her and her husband, I’ve stopped and had a casual, amiable chat. The sort of conversation you have with neighbors you don’t know very well. Friendly but without any noteworthy investment. Above all: brief. I hadn’t seen her for about six months, and even though I was stressed because I was already late for a work-related appointment, I had to stop to say hello. “How’s your husband?” I asked.

That’s when she said: He died.


When the going gets tough – GOD!

As a Pastor I often come into contact with people with great challenges in their lives, for in life stuff happens doesn’t it? Tough times come and we know that things are not how we’d like or planned them to be. What follows is a personal story. It is also a story of God’s people and how He deals with them. So before you continue, I would ask you to read Malachi 1:1-5. 

Several years ago I sat in Pacific Coffee, a café in a large Hong Kong Shopping Centre, waiting for the ambulance to arrive. I felt the sting of tears on my face. I felt helpless. Around me were, my wife Ruth and four other local ladies. As the tears flowed, I heard the voice of one of the ladies saying quietly, over and over,

“It’s OK you’re going to be alright.”

I knew there was something wrong, something that I couldn’t make right, and oh, how I like to be able to fix things, somehow make things right. I may not have completely believed her right at that moment, but she knew that what I needed were those words of comfort and affirmation. Looking back I’m so  grateful to God for her because, at that moment, my confidence had begun to waver.


‘RESIST’ the pressure to ‘CHANGE’ the MESSAGE

Someone once asked me,

“Do you ever feel like giving up?” “Yes,” I said, “sometimes I do feel like giving up because it at times it gets too difficult and to carry on seems impossible.” Then I said, “But then, it’s really not about giving up, but about ‘giving it over to God’.”  It would seem easier to ‘compromise’ over certain things. It would seem easier to ‘conform’ to what conventional wisdom calls reasonable for 21st century ‘Christians’. It would seem easier to ‘change’ like the wind every time some ‘new teaching’ becomes ‘popular’. But then we’d be ‘giving up’ when we should be ‘giving it over to God’, to test it against His revealed Word in the Bible.” [Read Galatians 2: 1-10].