Doomsday Clock


The Doomsday Clock has been in the news quite a bit lately. The Clock, run by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, assesses what they believe to be the chance of human initiated world disaster (e.g. nuclear war). It has been frozen at the highest level since 1953 during the Cold War (it began keeping time in 1947). New rivalries between powerful nations, militarism, climate change, tensions in Europe, uncertainty in the USA, a lack of interest in facts; these are just some of the reasons they’ve left the clock at 2 minutes to midnight (midnight representing Doomsday).

Whilst these are real concerns, the clock is the opinion of a select group of scientists. What humours me, in the most serious sense of that saying, is a) the confidence placed in their timing, and b) what their clock fails to take into consideration.

Confidence: Their clock is always moving, when it is near mid-night some people tremble and when it is far away people lose all concern. We shouldn’t place our confidence in the subjective timing of mere humans, but rather the Lord’s clock-watch.

Jesus said, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour [of His return and the final judgement].” (Matthew 25:13).

The Lord’s Doomsday Clock is always set at 23:59:59.

This is not mean to engender fear or complacency, but rather to propel us to trust in Him for salvation and so be ready for that great day.

Shortcoming: All of the things that the Clock focuses upon are mere symptoms of the problem (i.e. sin). It is also curious that they didn’t name godlessness, immorality and vice. Sure we should look to apply what God’s Word has to say about modern issues, but more importantly we should seek to apply what it says about the disease of sin and the cure of Christ. It wasn’t because of symptoms that God judged the earth in Noah’s day but because of heart issues and wickedness:

“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.’ But Noah found Favour in the eyes of the LORD.” (Genesis 6:5–8).

2 Peter 2 makes clear as well that when the Lord’s clock strikes midnight it will be at a time of His own choosing, and the Judgement will fall not merely on sinful deeds (many of which the world no longer consider sinful!) but rather upon ungodliness.

What shall we do to prepare ourselves for the day the Lord’s clock does strike midnight – for unlike the Doomsday Clock which can be reversed by human effort, nothing can retard the advance of God’s eternal clock?

“Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near” (Isa 55:6)

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris


DV and the New Year

Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:15)

There was once a farmer who was herding his flock through a rustic village. The shopkeeper asked the farmer what he was doing. The farmer said, “taking my sheep to market, they’re going to fetch a handsome sum!” The shopkeeper, a Christian man, replied, “God willing!” Not long after the shopkeeper was surprised when the farmer passed back through the village. He wondered at his dress, he was all dirty, bruised and his clothes were all torn. The shopkeeper asked the farmer what had happened. The farmer muttered under his breathe, “I was robbed by sheep rustlers.” The shopkeeper inquired further, “what are you going to do now?” To this the farmer snarked, “go home!” The shopkeeper replied, “…God willing…!”

Whilst we may not say this in every breathe or include DV (Latin, Deo volente, for God willing) in every email, the wisdom of this verse is striking for a New Year. Are we entering this calendar year resolving that my WILL will be done, or rather praying, “Father…thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. —Psalm 143:8b

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

The Discipline of the Lord

It was good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. (Psalm 119:71)

We live in an age that views discipline of almost any form as a dirty word, as morally reprehensible.[1] As a result, whether it be corporal punishment,[2] holding children back a grade, remaining firm in our threats of punishment (and not continuing to say, “Don’t do that or…” and then doing nothing), all the way to the lax laws of many of our Western lands for all ages; is it any wonder that the fruit is not goodness for us but our distress?

I recently was told the distressing first hand story of a young child who half-jokingly threatened to urinate on his mother’s leg. She put him off three times saying, “don’t be silly.” Finally, he did it, and she did nothing about it! Complete liberty with no restraint is the perfect formula concocted by Satan for pride to ferment and flourish. How much of society’s woes result from a lack of restraint, a lack of discipline, an indulgence in the self?

But discipline, and its benefits, are not merely social but spiritual and God given. The Psalmist tells us discipline is a positive thing when the Lord disciplines us through various and challenging forms of His providence.

Hebrews 12:5–6 says:

My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. (Heb 12:5–6, c.f. Prov 3:11–12).

This uses the language of t[3]he discipline of children (instruction, training and correction), in the context of spiritual perseverance, as an analogy to teach us to respect and to submit to the will of God in the adversities that we face. Such discipline is a precious mercy for through it we learn to hate sin and be instructed in His way, a way that leads to life and not death.

A friend of mine recently shared with me a quote:

Sin is never so bitter, and holiness is never so sweet, as when our troubles are greatest and our dangers highest.  By afflictions the Lord teaches his people to sit loose from this world, and to make sure the great things of that other world.  By affliction God shews his people the vanity, vexation, emptiness, weakness, and nothingness of the creatures, and the choiceness, preciousness, and sweetness of communion with himself, and of interest in himself.  – Thomas Brooks (Puritan author, 1608–80).

So if you are facing chastisement today in any way, do not reject it as the world does, but submit to it under the Lord’s strength and be blessed and be changed.

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

[1] This probably arose from abuses of discipline, namely divorcing it from being done lovingly and to a loving end.

[2] Only one tool for parenting, not in any way the tool (ex. Prov 13:24, 23:13-14).

[3] Prov 12:1, 13:18.

Praying for Nice

If you began your day like me today, you will have got up and then at some point seen or heard of the news flash that 84 people had been killed by a lorry driver in the French city of Nice during celebrations for Bastille Day.[1]

Heureux les affligés, car ils seront consolés! (Matthew 5:4)

Firstly, let us all stop right now (if you haven’t done so already) and pray for the victims, the citizens of Nice and the French Republic. Let us pray—holding this situation up before the throne of grace—out of our deep compassion and love and because it is our Christian duty (1 Tim 2:1). May we also mourn over this great evil (Ro 12:9).

Most people will be asking two questions: why and what’s going on? Both of those are difficult and yet straightforward to answer, and in my attempt to do just that I therefore proceed with great humility.


Many Christians will look at these events through one of two lenses: the sovereignty of God or eschatology (end times belief). Since I am no seer other than some basic things Jesus has told me will happen (He is coming, to live as if His return is imminent, and that we do not know the day or the hour) let me seek to find the answer to WHY? in what the Bible says about the sovereignty of God.

First, if God is not sovereign, the things that happen are either by pure chance or happen because God is not sovereign or almighty or all wise enough to stay the hand of evil. As we will see the Bible clearly tells us this is not who God is.

Secondly, we need to resist the temptation to attribute every evil act to a karma like belief that the 1st century Jews held. That if you sinned you would not prosper, you would be judged. Jesus challenged this belief (Luke 13:1-5 ESV):

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

 But with that tempering truth in view, if God is sovereign then evil is part of his will (at least indirectly). This is a truth we cannot faithfully shy away from, even if we ought to be slow to attribute all evil acts definitively as judgement.


Every age has its troubles. In every age some Christian has cried “the end of the world.” Like I said earlier I’ll leave that with the Lord. However, that does not mean we cannot look around today and notice that the Lord is shaking the nations. This is but one instance of that.

A verse from our passage this coming Lord’s Day from Isaiah 22:11b helpfully reminds us:

But you did not look to Him who did it, or see Him who planned it long ago.

While God cannot do evil, in accordance with his will evil men and women can do evil things, and that can be used by and accomplish his greater purposes. So while God cannot do evil, we must acknowledge that in accordance with His sovereignty, nothing can come to us by chance but by His fatherly hand. Hard to swallow at times, perplexing to fathom, but encouraging to know we serve an almighty God. These wake up calls ought to cause us to look to the Lord and not to continue a life without Him.

Islamic Movements[2]

It would seem that with the rise of Islamic extremism the Lord has been using this to cause many Muslims to become disenchanted with Islam and consider Christ. Indeed, in the last 15 centuries there have been 88 movements of Muslims to Christ (a movement being 1000 Muslims becoming Christians in an area). 72 of those have been in the last century with most in the last 15 years since 9/11. The Lord is doing something amongst the nations.

Shaking Self-reliance and godlessness

The average person, let alone the average French citizen, devoid of trust in God, is fearful. We live in an increasingly uncertain world. Though major international leaders seek to calm these fears, there words are often a smokescreen. Increasingly, as the Lord is at work shaking the nations we are being forced to trust Him or self, divine government or the ruler(s) of this world.

The French president said they had been “badly hit” but was strong, adding “we need to do everything we can to fight against” such attacks…”All of France is under the threat of Islamic terrorism.” Here is a secular state fighting a deeply religious phenomenon and trying to do so temporally! They are trying to do “all they can” ignoring the one thing that is needed. While there are many causes behind Islamic terrorism the spiritual reasons and solutions are discounted as naïve (are the other explanations and tactics working…?). Instead of viewing these events as from the Lord and issuing a call to repent and seek him, the West continues to discount religion and fail to return to the quarry from which they were dug [Christianity; Jesus!] (Isa 51:1).

If the Church in the UK is very small (estimates ranging from 1–4% of the population) then the Church in France is even smaller. Friends of ours recently vacationed in France. They tried to find a church—any church— to worship in. They searched for “evangelical church,” “Protestant church” and finally “Catholic church.” The nearest Mass was 28 miles away. Nominal Christianity aside, figures for the size of the Church [born again] in France estimate it to be around 0.9% of the population.[3] Much of this represents recent growth and immigration of believers from former colonies.

Pray that the people of France would look not to themselves or their government or to hatred for explanations or solutions to resolve these issues, but to Christ! Pray the Church there would be ready. Pray that the French may “return to the Lord,” “look to Him who did it,” and “repent…lest they perish.”

Pray the Lord will continue to shake all nations, as He sees fit, until His will is accomplished and His glory revealed.

Cherchez-moi, et vous vivrez! (Amos 5:4b)

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

[1] Bastille Day 1789, the beginning of the French Revolution: an age of “liberty” and a quarter century of political turmoil, terror and international conflict (


[3] Gospel centred and evangelical, reformed and Lutheran churches and faithful minorities from mainline churches (most studies also . For some introductory reading on Christianity in France see:;


6 Things for UK Christians to Consider Post-Referendum

While as a Christian I voted in the referendum through a Christian worldview, other Christians who hold to that same worldview may have voted the opposite to me because they prioritised and weighed things differently to me. May we be generous towards other Christians who voted differently assuming that they worked through the issues in a Christ honouring way because love believes the best of others (1 Cor 13:7). For Christians and non-Christians alike the referendum results proved to be disheartening for some and a cause for rejoicing for others. Regardless the task of exiting the EU and building a non-EU United Kingdom will prove a task that requires great care and diligence and the utmost attention to detail and hard work. We can also be thankful that the decision was made peaceably and not through a violent uprising or coup d’etat. In the midst of all of this what should a Christian response be post-June 23? I offer 6 suggestions and a closing thought:

  1. Remember that we serve a sovereign God. Many Christians have sought the face of a ruler for salvation but we need to remember that justice comes from the Lord (Prov 29:26). Despite what happens we can be confident that in the Lord’s wise providence He works “all things for good” for those who love Him (Ro 8:28). That is good news for us and it can be good news for others. May our uncertainties cause us and the UK to be driven to seek the Lord, lest we in our pride boast in our own accomplishments as Nebuchadnezzar did and end up eating grass (Dan 4:28–33).
  2. Remember that if you are in Christ your citizenship is in heaven: But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil 3:20). As much as it is good and right to be patriotic towards our earthly nation, nationalism has no place in the Christian’s heart as our first priority and allegiance is to Christ and His Church.
  3. Remember to pray for our nation, not only for its salvation, but for its leaders:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim 2:1-5).

  1. The closeness of the vote, being 52% to 48%, shows that our country is divided even if the majority voted to leave. Here we need to hear and apply Jesus words from Matthew 5:9, Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. If we have been reconciled to Christ then we can have a ministry of reconciliation reconciling countrymen and women to one another and ultimately to God through Jesus Christ.
  2. We can busy ourselves with lots of things as believers but may we busy ourselves with the Great Commission (Matt 28:18–20), that is if our desire and prayer to God for our country is truly that they may be saved (c.f. Ro 10:1). What Good News we have that is alone capable of ministering to the needs, concerns and anxieties of our nation at such a time as this! The greatest decision of our lifetime was not the in or out vote but whether our nation will choose Christ. May we seize hold of this opportunity to make Christ known!
  3. Fast for our nation. As fasting is unfamiliar to many Christians these days I’ll likely write a blog post on this subject alone. On national prayer and fasting Joel 2:12 says, “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” We can pray and that is nice, but fasting reveals the inner desire that Paul spoke of above. Throughout history, in our greatest times of need, our leaders used to call the nation to fast and pray. During the Napoleonic Wars there were national fast days and churches held prayer services on these days. Similar things happened during WWI and WWII when our nation’s very survival hung in the balance. Leaving the EU may not be at the same level as this, but for this generation we should not underestimate its perceived and real importance. Even more is the reality that only 1% of the nation is Christian. We ought to pray and fast for the other 99% if our nation is to truly thrive. We cannot expect such a call to be offered by our leaders anymore, and so this means then that we as Christians need to take this upon ourselves for the spiritual welfare of our country.

Never in recent history has the Church in the UK been afforded such an awesome opportunity to share the Gospel with a nation that needs it. In our time of uncertainty it is my personal belief that the nation will become ripe for a Gospel harvest. Will we be ready for what the Lord might do? Will you join me in seeking the Lord to renew us as Christians, our chapel and bring a revival throughout the land?

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

Father Knows

It is no secret that our Canadian residence has been for sale for 20 months, 14 of which we have lived in the U.K. This has frustrated our best laid plans and desire to be good stewards of what God has given to us and has increasingly become a great burden. We have patiently waited on the Lord. Indeed, of all the trials I have ever faced this has been perhaps the most unique and difficult to endure. Last week, it appeared that God had finally arranged the sale of our house. The offer had been accepted, the conditions in the conditional period had been met, and then on the day [Monday] the buyers were to sign the deal that would have seen us all move towards the closing date (and them suffer a penalty if they chose to back out)— you guessed it—they backed out. No sale, and no going back to visit family as we had hoped to be able to do from the finances of the sale. That happened the day after I preached a People’s Choice question on suffering. Suffering manifests itself in many different ways. For Rebekah and I, this news caused our hearts to sink, gravely. It was a hard moment to trust in providence when it seemed that providence continually seemed to be against us. In our daily reading of the Psalms we read a passage that summed up how we felt:

O Lord, all my longing is before you;

                               my sighing is not hidden from you.

               My heart throbs; my strength fails me,

                               and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.

(Psalm 38:9-10 ESV)

One of the reasons for sharing this is to demonstrate that pastors and their wives are human like the sheep they shepherd. They are not impervious to the trials, temptations and burdens that can and do beset us in our fallen world. What good would it be for me to proclaim James 1:2-4 from the pulpit if in my own walk I could not demonstrate that had been and was currently my experience?

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

(James 1:2-4 ESV)

And so even when such faith was difficult in the present, as with the Psalmist, by God’s grace, we read on in that same Psalm:

But for you, O LORD, do I wait;

                               it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.

(Psalm 38:15 ESV)

Who else but to the Lord could we turn, even when the Lord’s providence to us, in our limited wisdom, we could not even apprehend let alone comprehend. And so we waited. Then on Thursday the Lord sent us the most miraculous encouragement. He did not sell our house, but another bill, one of those administrative bills where you are over charged for something and cannot see how, despite your best attempts to appeal, you’ll get out of, was waived in a postal update we received upon returning from a three day camping trip. God was in control and was reminding us of it.

Our Father knows. We do not but He knows.

And so like the Psalmist we wait on the Lord for His deliverance out of the burdensome situation praying,

Do not forsake me, O LORD!

                               O my God, be not far from me!

               Make haste to help me,

                               O Lord, my salvation!

(Psalm 38:21-22 ESV)

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris