Culture

Was just thinking just now about th Dennistoun (our previous corps). Would you know what I meant when I said you get a certain ‘feeling’ about a place when you remember its culture?

Dennistoun had a ‘fearful’ feel about it. I was always slightly on edge, but then that was probably due to the fact that we were targets for vandalism big time. Our little bungalow was next to the Army hall and the hall was surrounded by Glasgow tenaments. By the nature of our work there, we always had shady characters around…I wonder if I miss them or not…I probably do.

I remember the feelings of almost total isolation…in a troubled community with very few commited Christian workers working with us (we were 20 when we started to lead the corps there). I remember how, at the end of our two years there, Tracy and I were physically, emotionally and spirituall shattered! In a way, we had some things to clear out…it was actually a spiritually depressing corps. But then, there was glorious signs of hope all over the place.

I would probably do Dennistoun different now than we did when we did it. But then thats the benefit of hindsight.

Driving past recently, the new officers have put up a big fence around the quarters, they have their own space to call their own. But I guess I’m quite amused to look back at the way people would walk their dogs in our garden, the way the youth would cover our driveway in broken glass that meant you had to brush a path through before you could move the car. I remember the amount of times our bins were set on fire or out windows were shattered.

I remember the kids, late at night who would run round the house chapping the windows. I remember walking the 1 minute walk between the house and the hall petrified in the dark. I remember protecting old ladies from stones and mud as they left the Sunday afternoon service. I remember catching a drug addict helping himself to our things in the kitchen. I remember the smell of methadone and the queues in the pharmacy for it. Dennistoun was about ‘doing life’ with people.

I remember the baptist church who shared our hall who were so religious it was unbelievable. We had more trouble from them actually that we did with the teenagers!! The ironies of communion wine being served from the holiness table while the presiding celebrants sat on the mercy seat!

I remember the big old metal shutters that covered the front door of the hall that I hated closing..not least because it sounded like a concorde jet when you shut it, but because it unconsciously said to the community “keep out.”

And yet…the gospel moved forward even if only half an inch…we made inroads into several people’s lives. We increased the corps membership by 100% ! (as in we actually made one person a soldier). We shared a positive gospel with those 25 families that we dedicated children from. God spoke prophetically about the ways that he wanted to work and we started to see some of it but we came to the point where we could physically, mentally and emotionally do no more. We put food in the stomachs of drug users, abused wives, prostitutes, poor people..genuinely poor people.

I mean God told me to do a lot of wierd stuff that I thought was so wacky that I didn’t even tell my wife…like the several nights that God told me to get dressed and parade the ‘Blood and Fire’ around the edges of Dennistoun (only about 1m sq) and interecede for the thousands of people (probably more than Pill, Easton and Ham Green put together) who lived in that square mile which was our district. The times he would tell me to go somewhere and there would be someone sitting waiting for me to arrive. And then there was the day that God led me to March down a crowded street in full uniform (with flag) as the people waited for the huge loyal orange order parade to come. I handed out leaflets about what it actually meant to be a true protestant, preached all along Duke Street about how to be saved and sang the Old Rugged Cross on every corner…now you know I’m really a nutter.

And then there were the times that I knew I would have to pray hard when a cold air entered our room or when the music box would start playing. What was that all about?

I hated it. But I loved it. I often reflected that I knew that I had fed and clothed Jesus several times a day…but why was I so scared of him?

I could write a book about those two years.

Andrew

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Militant church?

Hallelujah…of we go to transform the world, declare Jesus is alive boldly proclaiming the Kingdom of God…The Salvation Army is the church militant and advancing…only if it wasn’t for the fact that it is Monday morning and I have nil energeny to win anything this morning…

I’m sure that by lunchtime I will have caught up with myself and I can arm up an head out…!!

Had dreams last night, pretty constantly, of salvationists marching. There were all sorts of different images…images that I’ve seen on old video footage of early Salvationists marching, modern salvationists, young people, Generals (!?!?!), junior soldiers, everyone. Church militant, the church on the move.

Innoculated

Been reading Walking on the Moon by the Rev Canon Wallace Brown..not your regular CofE Canon. Spent years working in Quinton housing estate in Birmingham…he really established a great work of grace in Quinton among the poor…made Christianity real to people that religion is on par with Walking on the Moon.

I think about the folk religion that was prevelant in the community I ws brough up in where even the ‘vilest offender’ becomes a saint upon death and floats up to heaven in an ice cream cart. You turn to the church to marry you, baptise your children (!) and put you in the ground. Ever person has “their” church…you ask my mother what church she belongs to and she will say “Dreghorn and Springside Parish.” Ask her if she is a Christian and she will swear and then say “not me!” My dad, an Orangeman and a member of the Royal Blacks, signs his name and sits in meetings that are supposed to be able defending the glorious protestant faith and involves all sorts of complicated rituals supposedly based on scripture. But does he confess Jesus as Lord? Perhaps with his mouth because he has to for the ‘club’ but not in his heart of hearts. How do we communicate Jesus to people who have been immunised, innoculated by the established church and its systems?

I think to our own community and whislt I wouldn’t want to say anything against our local churches, I have to wonder if we portray the glorious gospel as we should. The barriers of folk religion are huge ones we have to pray against and have enough integrity to make the right choices.

In two years in Dennistoun I dedicated 25 children to God. Each and every time I used the phrase “nothin I can do can make this child go to heaven…I can only pray that God will bless his/her life.” God really honoured that and we had countless opportunities to share the gospel.

Openess and intgrity…the best way to go. We need to pray for those in ministry, however, who feel trapped by the system.

It takes a lot of work to beat an immunisation against something. I think it is just as difficult to conquer people’s immunisations against Christianity than for a disease to beat a jab.

in Jesus
Andrew

Blood and Fire

Really..I’m still here. This last week has been a busy but productive week. The last few weeks have seen us taking our war in Portishead (the town next door to us) a few steps forward. We’re moving towards a plant /outpost in Portishead. The corps has been sowing into the town for years…we have our large carol service there every Christmas…God has been speaking prophetically to me about of involvement there are I believe its time to begin the reaping. Looking forward to seeing what God will do. Last week we invaded the High Street with chocolate and blessed the passers by…some really positive conversations with people that were openened up by a little bar of chocolate.

Today, we went to a ‘Pray for the Harvest’ event in an open air amphitheatre…some great worship and powerful prayer…the ‘Blood and Fire’ was flying boldly decaring the heavenlies that Jesus is Lord, God is Holy and the Spirit is burning within us. People seemed to have a strange attraction to it….it was well photographed…they were either trying to work out country it represented OR being Christians they were understanding the significance of “Blood and Fire” and caught something of its declaration.

Anyway…on a personal level, the fight is tough at the moment but God is producing victory. These times of intensity in my personal experience are usually times of creating and developing passion for the things on heart of God…he is preparing me for something.

Am I ready?

yours in Jesus
Andrew

Papal Prophecy

Interesting prophecy from Rick Joyner that he received in 1992. He records this in his book ‘The Harvest.’

…very interesting.

“In 1992 I was given the understanding that there would be two more significant popes over the Roman Catholic Church. There may be more but I was only shown two, both of which were very significant. The first pope that I saw became enraged against evangelical and charismatic Catholics, driving multitudes of them from the church. This pope sought to increase the political prestige and power of the church by intrigue but ultimately brought great humiliation. After this pope I saw another who was a true lover of God and the whole body of Christ. The spirit of Josiah was upon him to remove idolatry and false doctrines from the church. This man was humble, just and seemingly fearless in his quest to restore the church to Christ. This man will bring such a revival to the Catholic church that it will have an impact on the entire church, which will esteem him as a true brother. He will be cut off at the height of the revival and the whole world will mourn for him. Though I saw these two popes in this sequence I am not certain that their times will come in this order, or if there will not be intervening popes between their reigns.”

Amen. Let it be. Prophecy should be tested by scripture and proved by its fruit. Lets watch and pray.

(a nod to Cory Harrison for pointing this prophecy out)

yours in Jesus
Andrew

Andrew Morris Clark 1926-2005

After a fantastic Easter, life turned a little bit upside down on bank holiday Monday as I learned of the death of my grandfather, Andrew Morris Clark, my namesake.

I spent the week in Scotland with family and then led his funeral service and burial on Friday. I can testify to the immense grace of God which helped me to do that final act of love for him, hopefully to the glory of God.

Family members are beginning to ask questions about the gospel and for that I give God all the glory. Even in dark times God shines his light. Hallelujah.

Pray for my family, especially my dad, who is very near to the Kingdom.

in Jesus
Andrew