Tag Archives: Scotland

Wedding Complications on a Beach in Norway

1936657_121571398905_4691443_n[1]Sometime in 2008, a young couple approached me asking that I officiate at their wedding. Her name was J-Leigh, his was David, and theirs was truly an international affair. They had met while students at Hillsong College in Australia, but had converged on the land down under from different parts of the globe: she from Watertown, Wisconsin (hence the Edgewood connection), and He from Norway.

They both loved the Lord Jesus and wanted to make their two lives…one, but their wedding venue was what made things interesting. They hoped I would marry them on a beach in Norway. No problem, I said, because that next summer I actually had plans to be in that neck of the woods: along with my family, I was going on sabbatical to Europe, courtesy of a generous grant from the Lilly Foundation. Somehow or another, we would make things work.

Their plans changed when due to visa restrictions, they found that they needed to wed before she could even move to Norway, and so we conducted a wedding ceremony in January at Edgewood. A few things stood out about that glorious weekend – it was made wonderfully special by the contingent of David’s family which came from his country. It was precious for my sweet daughter Annie who was honored to be their flower girl. And finally, the couple’s first kiss was saved for the altar, and I will never forget that during the recessional, the newlyweds stopped halfway down the aisle and started to make out again. Ah…young love.

Keeping the Dream Alive

The dream of a wedding ceremony on a Norwegian beach was not to die, though, and we made plans to recreate the joy in July of 2009.

So, when the time came, our family flew into Norway from Scotland (airplane views were breathtaking) where we had been hiding out for the previous 2 months, and we spent the better part of a week living with David’s family, the Haalands, and seeing what is surely in contention for one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

A Complication Arises

Then, as the day grew close, the do-it-again bride and groom approached me with a somewhat dire problem: David’s brother Leif Rune had lost his tux. Now, I’ve been doing this long enough to know that all good weddings have something go wrong, but this was a wedding problem that I had never encountered before. Nevertheless, David and J-Leigh had a plan to make it all work out: They wouldn’t have Leif Rune as a groomsman; instead he would simply wear a suit and read Scripture. Ah, but there was already a Scripture reader. No problem, one of us suggested, their first Scripture reader, a Hillsong connection from Switzerland named Saimn, was supposed to read the passage in English. After Saimn was finished, we would have Leif Rune read the same portion in Norwegian.

I sat down at the kitchen table the day before to go over things with Leif Rune. I had Saimn planning to read the classic passage, 1 John 4:16 – 19 (“…God is love…we love because he first loved us”) and I went over it with Leif Rune. There was a language problem: of course, the young man’s  English was much better than my Norwegian…but then again, that’s not saying much.

“So you’ll read 1st John 4, verses 16 – 19,” I said.

“The first book of John?” He questioned.

“That’s right,” I said, “First John.”

“Okay,” Leif Rune said, “First John.”

The Day Arrives

The day dawned…gorgeous…beautiful. The bride was a vision. The groom was beaming. All was set. And the ceremony went without a hitch…mostly. I suppose it was a little windy (If memory serves, we used a sock to cover the microphone), and then there was that Scripture reading. Saimn read first in English, and then Leif Rune in Norwegian…as was the plan. And I vaguely noticed that as Leif Rune read, a small commotion took place amongst the wedding guests…the Norwegian wedding guests.

I found out why on the beach after the ceremony. There on that beautiful beach in Norway, as this wonderful couple tied the knot for the second time, the groom’s brother Leif Rune read…not from 1 John, but rather from the first book of John you get to when you read the Bible, and the Norwegian guests thought it passing strange, and maybe a little funny, that for this particular couple, they heard this…

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.” John 4:16-19 (ESV)

For Friday, October 9th: John 5



Posted by on October 8, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Why Do So Many Walk Away From The Christian Faith?

In a recent blogpost, the Scottish church planter, Mez McConnell writes…

“I remember vividly my early days in the church. Everything was new and fresh. There was a large young people’s group and there was a real buzz, about the place. It was exciting being a Christian around people like that. It made church seem like the place to be.

“But, as time went on, more and more people fell by the wayside. One by one, people I had thought were solid Christians just drifted away from the group, the church and the faith. 20 years on and very few attend a church today. It is a great tragedy. Even the man who gave me a home out of prison and introduced me to Christ won’t talk about the gospel anymore. It is heartbreaking.

“This has been our experience in Niddrie too. I tell our new interns every year to take a good look around because some of them, and the people they will meet, will be here next year and some of them will be gone. It’s happened before and it’ll happen again.

“How does that happen to people? Why do they come for a while, confess faith in Jesus and then they melt out of the picture?

“Their early excitement is gone. Lost, seemingly, forever.

“In the letter to the Hebrews we have a group of second-generation believers who were facing pressure to look for alternatives to following Jesus. The author is desperate for these believers. He fears for them and their faith and goes to great lengths to prove the superiority of Jesus Christ, hitting them with theological gold in chapter 1. In chapter 2 he turns to address them in a practical way:

“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” (Hebrews 2:1 ESV)

I would encourage you to continue reading Mez’s blog here, but you get his basic point: we need the Bible. And if you think you’re doing fine without careful attention to the Scriptures, you are a step away from spiritual death…

Because here’s the truth: if you want to stay alive physically, you need to eat food; and if you want to stay alive spiritually, you need to eat spiritual food.  So if you meet a man who thinks he is doing fine without eating, you know you have met a person who is seriously deluded. Similarly, if you meet someone who names the name of Christ and thinks the Bible is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition, you have met someone who is being deceived. Paul certainly thought so. He felt the Scriptures, and all the Scriptures, were absolutely indispensable…

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV)

So…how are you doing at paying careful attention to the words that were breathed out by God?


For tomorrow, Wednesday, September 9th: 2 Timothy 4


Posted by on September 8, 2015 in Uncategorized


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