Wise words from Captain Stephen Court:

For many Salvationists this is the busiest time of the year. We are morevisible in many places than at any other time. We enjoy great favor thataccompanies the great responsibilities we’ve accepted.Let’s determine to do a few things over this season:



1. Let’s determine to live up to what we have already attained. Let’s notlet disciplines or standards slack during this period. If schedules must bepared down, let’s pare down coffee break, magazine reading, the footballgame, and our favourite show before we slip up on our rations,discipleship, or evangelism.



2. Let’s make the most of every opportunity. We’re in the papers and radioand newspapers more than the rest of the year combined (I’m guessing). Weas an army are seen by millions and we get to speak with many who we’dotherwise never meet. Let us preach the word in season and out of season.As, in most cases, we are already meeting the expressed needs of peopleduring this month, let us not neglect to offer the fulfillment of theeternal needs.



3. Let’s celebrate one of the most magnificent events in history (right upthere with the crucifixion and resurrection). Let’s embrace the wonder of 8pounds, two ounces, of the Creator of the Universe shrinking down from allof His fiery, thunderous, explosive Presence to a little baby wrapped up in somecloths. Let’s delight in the manifest love of such an intrusion into ourlives. Let’s be contagious in our joy. Let’s not let up.

General Gowans preached well. I hope that people take it home and remember his challenge for a bit. God clearly spoke to some people. We all need the courage of our convictions.

The thing that made me smile was the reaction to one comment…Gowans said “People should stop putting the Salvation Army down.” Of course, that is right, they should. But I smiled at the reactions of two groups of people….first, the older traditionalists for whom that statement meant “stop all these young people from changing the Army ways” and to the younger folks it meant “stop all these older people from criticising us .” So, hearty agreement but never was there such a large divide.

The important thing that I am constantly saying to both camps, is that you need to define traditional, figure out that traditional is not the same as traditionalism.

Traditionalism is doing stuff for the sake of it, to “preseve an expression” and to practice a particular thing divorced from its original meaning. Like what? E.g The soldier who would be the first to offer criticism about people not wearing uniform, but they themselves only wearing it to the meeting, and covering it up with a normal everyday coat when they walk home. That, and a thousand other examples are examples of traditionalism.

However, traditional I see is related to our spiritual and organisational heritage…the things God birthed us for in the past and still has in mind for us today. Like what? E.g A strong commitment to aggressive spiritual warfare, aggressive evangelism, engaging in social action, a strong commitment to the life of holiness. Using our last example…in teh context of uniform wearing, a traditional (as opposed to traditionalist) salvationist wears their uniform because it identifies the believer, it is a testimony to a life changed be Jesus, it is a desire for the church to be visible in the community and is more functional than ceremonial.

So, are you traditional or traditionalist? The thing is that that a lot of our senior salvationists (there is always glorious exceptions) are traditionalist, tradition for traditions sake kinda people and thats what our youngsters react agains. But, alot of our youngsters, because of that are led to believe that everything related to our heritage must be negative. That is as equaly unhelpful as the traditionalists.

Somewhere along the line I learned that it is not actually our military metaphor and all that goes with it that is irrelevant. Its not the uniform that is irrelevant, it is often the people who wear it. Oooooh….big judgment. Perhaps…but I feel it is very true. All our Army stuff is a tremendously powerful image when we live it unapologetically and with all the passion we can muster.

yours unaplogetically in the fight

Andrew C

Well, our War Academy’s first term has come to an end this week. We did a little bit of grapling with what had really struck us as a priority as we take steps to practically win this community for Jesus.

We settled that we really need to engage in the spiritual battle in a big way…pathe the way if prayer and wage war in the heavenly realm. Involving repentance for the sins of our community, our faith community, of praying in Kingdom peace, and of taking praise actively to the steets…reclaiming ground. Hallelujah!

And…we settled on the fact that we need to be a visible church…not a task that should be really difficult for The Salvation Army! 120 years of sowing and minsitry in this community must be utilised for the advancement of the Kingdom and using our identity gives us so many advantages. Blood and Fire!

So…thats as far as we got, its a good place to start.

Of course, there is no use in engaging in spiritual warfare unless we go the extra step to connect with people! And, of course, there is no use in being visible unless we can effectively minister in the Spirit, so that when people come into contact with us, we can offer more than words. We need to be aware of the stuff God wants and is willing to do through us, it needs to be a lot more of Jesus than it is of us.

So…”Operation Christmas Joy ” gives us great opportunities to put this stuff into practice and into context of everyday life and minstry. Come, Lord Jesus!

its all for Jesus

yours

Andrew C

Fellow warriors,

If you get a chance, have a read of TO BE OR NOT TO BE (in the book Sowing Dragons) by Captain Geoff Ryan. It excites me to tears…then, after that, read the essay SOWING DRAGONS in the same book. Shakes me to me core every time I read it…and I read it often.

Geoff Ryan has sows dragons in my heart, and he has reaped a dragon, unlike F. Nietzche (did eye spel that rite?) who lamented that he “Sowed dragons but reaped fleas.”

By the way Chris H…did you find my spare copy of SOWING DRAGONS roaming about college?

Have a great day, and remember, for our tomorrow they gave their today.

in Jesus

Andrew

Gearing up for some war in the community. Starting to dig out some old prophecies and visions of previous CO’s as they appear in conversation and it is not surprising that God has placed a similar heart in us all. This community is for Christ…it will come under His sway.

We are in the barracks preparing to fight. Our War Academy is stirring us to aggressive action. But we are all too aware of our enemy’s schemes. The battle must first be fought on our knees before it goes to the streets.

What is our weapon? With a whole lot of prayer, our weapons are extravagant love, radical grace, shocking kindness, abundant peace, heart rending mercy, confident possiblity of redemption and …did we mention prayer?

Individuals have been prayer walking this community in fits and starts for years. But sometimes it can be like the anti-mine people clearing the ground and then the ground troops forgetting to advance. What’s the results of that? Well, the mine-clearers get tired of clearing mines for nothing whilst very little ground is taken. On Thursday I uttered the heresy at War Academy that sometimes we have to answer our own prayers…what I mean by that of course is really that we pray believing and that we also take hold of that for which we have prayed…I think God calls it faith.

yours in the fight

Andrew

Yeah…I hear what you are saying and college was all those things for me (though I never went to the pictures). On a personal level I did have a great time of reflection and invigoration, especially wandering though the west end talking to Jesus as he appeared in the form of the prostitute, pimp and homeless guy…especially deep time of personal prayer and study.

But what I am trying to emphasise is not the fact that it wasn’t good for me personally, because it was…we entered college from a corps appointment which nearly finished off our marriage and our ministry and it was valuable to re-assess…but the fact that corporately, by and large, the Salvation Army has an identity crisis and it is manifested strongly, sometimes more magnified there than anywhere else in the Army world. But in a sense, in the context of what I was writing, it doesn’t matter a jot what college meant to me personally because it wasn’t really what I was referring to.

Yes, its what I made, and I made it productive for me, but in the same way that I choose 100% to model an aggressive pattern of ministry in corps life in a wider context of apathy and timidity in the wider Salvation Army, in college I chose to be the change I wanted to see.

There is a fundamental difference between what I made it because I had to and what it actually is.

I wonder if we can translate this theory into life. Does living in todays culture with a view that you have to make the best of it for yourself really a valid view? Yes, I can live life thinking that I can make the best of this for myself, and if I do that I will be satisfied in myself. But, I argue that unless you can look to the positives and live a productive life AS WELL AS have a deep dissatisfaction with the way things in society are, we are missing the point quite a bit.

So, as I say, whether college was personally gratifying for me personally is neither here nor there, the sad thing is that college, whilst applying grace for human failings, is an environment which could be transformed by a commitment to renewal of all things fundamentally salvationist as I outlined in the initial blog of this discussion…radical holiness, spirit-filled living, courageous leadership, an embracing of our prophetic mantle, commitment to simple lifestyle, commitment to the scriptural definition of salvation and a burning desire to share this great news of the Kingdom.

“You can’t change the future without disturbing the present” said Catherine Booth. Neither culture, the army nor the college can be places in which we live to take from it what we can without exhorting them all to embrace our higher calling.

One does feel remotely like Martin Luther with ones thesis pinned to the door…I cannot recant!

However…some positive things about college. Why do I have to search so hard? As I said, there many special times at college, but I must confess that they were usually cadet-run or cadet-inspired. I don’t appologise that I found the college’s spiritual programme dry 99% of the time. Where as Souled Out’s (Cadet-led, cadet-organised worship) were special occassions. The Bible Study and discussions we held until 3am in the morning were the highlights of every week at college…there was a good meeting of likeminded (to an extent) people. Made the whole 9 months worthwhile.

There were a few members of staff who were personally encouraging and were willing to listen. I appreciated the time to read…er…I appreciated the time to relax.

I appreciated that the college were flexile in training with us, some classes were interesting debates…must I really go on thinking of little things? My non-enjoyment of college is of course purely personal as are my observations. It also springs from my tiredness with tame Christianity, of which there was an abundance.

I cannot hide the fact that I was left bewildered by some people…there were some that made you wonder why on earth they wanted to be in The Salvation Army, let alone be officers in it. I find that sad.

Appologies to Gordon, coz you are a good man….its probably because I was not part of your classes that college was a time of “angst.” But then…I guess we separate on a few of issues.

Well…there it is.

yours

Andrew