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Saturday, 16 June 2012

This is my life!!

I am still able to recall the late Eamonn Andrews, with his big red book, informing some unsuspecting person: "This is your life".  Some of the stories were quite amazing.

This morning, I was the invited speaker at a Men's Breakfast in Calderwood Baptist Church, East Kilbride, where I had been asked to share my testimony.  I decided to entitle it "This is MY life"!  Mind you, fitting 27 years (and [quite] a few months) into about 45 mins wasn't easy.  However, I only over-ran by a couple of minutes!

It had been interesting, during the week, preparing my notes.  I haven't been asked for a word of personal testimony for many years and, of course, there is now so much more to share.  I reckon that I could have spoken for twice as long - and still have left out so very much!  (No surprise there, then!).

My initial question was "Who is Brian Ross?", and I made the point that the answer to that depended, to a great extent, on who was being asked.  To my late parents, I was their first-born son - the eldest of six boys.  To my teachers in both Primary and Grammar Schools, I was a pupil - seldom top of the class, but always in the top half!  To my colleagues when I left school and entered the real adult world of work, I was a chef; to lecturers at the Bible Training Institute, the University of Glasgow, the Open University, Moray House College of Education, the University of Strathclyde, and the University of Liverpool (with Trinity College), I was a student; to my wife, I am a husband; to my children, a father; to my grandson, a grandfather.  To a number of Christian congregations/fellowships, I am a minister; to a couple of generations of young folk, I was a teacher.  To listeners to both Caleb Radio and Revival Radio (now Revival FM), I was a programme producer and presenter; on a couple of occasions, I was an advocate in an Industrial Tribunal.  To some 1500 personnel in Strathclyde Police, I am a chaplain; having just completed my first (!) book, I am an author; to many, I trust, I am a friend.  It's been - and continues to be - quite a life!

However, the final point that I shared was the one that I have in common with every other man and woman who has ever lived - with only one exception.  I'm a sinner!  I don't even manage to meet my own standards, let alone those of a holy and sinless God.  Even if I managed to get through one 24-hour period without committing a single sin of thought, word, or deed, I would still be a sinner.  "In sin did my mother conceive me" (Psalm 51:5) is not making comment on the act of physical sexual intercourse between a man and a woman, within the bounds of a loving marital relationship.  It is making the point that, from the instant that single sperm from my father pierced my mother's egg, and mitosis (the division of cells) commenced, I was already a sinner!  That's why I sin! 

However, I was also able to say that I am a sinner - saved by grace: the grace of a God Who loves me so much that, in the Persona (not a typo!) of the Son, He took upon Himself human flesh; lived a life in which He experienced all that I experience, and more, yet without sinning (Heb.4:15); and died on a cross, in my place!  "Bearing shame, and scoffing rude; in my place, condemned He stood.  Sealed my pardon with His blood.  Hallelujah!  What a Saviour!" (P.P.Bliss)

He has travelled with me, now, for more years than I care to admit!  During those years, I have let Him down, time and time again - but He has never let me down.  If you don't have a personal relationship with Him, I commend Him to you; and I commend all who read this to His grace.

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