Month: July 2005
Repentance, renewal, refreshing, regeneration, responsive, revitalised, redeemed, recovered, reborn, revival!
Some of my favourite words.
Mainly because God is into recycling….. re: doing something again, taking the old and making it new.
God can do it all again. Come Holy Spirit.
yours in war
Picture of a Prophet
Ravenhill was a great man of God who reognisd what it might mean to be great man of God….interesting stuff…I know its long, but its worth reading.
Picture of a Prophet
By Leonard Ravenhill
The prophet in his day is fully accepted of God and totally rejected by men.
Years back, Dr. Gregory Mantle was right when he said, “No man can be fully accepted until he is totally rejected.” The prophet of the Lord is aware of both these experiences. They are his “brand name.” The group, challenged by the prophet because they are smug and comfortably insulated from a perishing world in their warm but untested theology, is not likely to vote him “Man of the year” when he refers to them as habituates of the synagogue of Satan! The prophet comes to set up that which is upset. His work is to call into line those who are out of line! He is unpopular because he opposes the popular in morality and spirituality. In a day of faceless politicians and voiceless preachers, there is not a more urgent national need than that we cry to God for a prophet! The function of the prophet, as Austin-Sparks once said, “has almost always been that of recovery.” The prophet is God’s detective seeking for a lost treasure. The degree of his effectiveness is determined by his measure of unpopularity. Compromise is not known to him.
He has no price tags. He is totally “otherworldly.” He is unquestionably controversial and unpardonably hostile. He marches to another drummer! He breathes the rarefied air of inspiration. He is a “seer” who comes to lead the blind. He lives in the heights of God and comes into the valley with a “thus saith the Lord.” He shares some of the foreknowledge of God and so is aware of impending judgment. He lives in “splendid isolation.” He is forthright and outright, but he claims no birthright. His message is “repent, be reconciled to God or else…!” His prophecies are parried. His truth brings torment, but his voice is never void. He is the villain of today and the hero of tomorrow. He is excommunicated while alive and exalted when dead! He is dishonored with epithets when breathing and honored with epitaphs when dead. He is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, but few “make the grade” in his class. He is friendless while living and famous when dead. He is against the establishment in ministry; then he is established as a saint by posterity. He eats daily the bread of affliction while he ministers, but he feeds the Bread of Life to those who listen. He walks before men for days but has walked before God for years. He is a scourge to the nation before he is scourged by the nation. He announces, pronounces, and denounces! He has a heart like a volcano and his words are as fire. He talks to men about God. He carries the lamp of truth amongst heretics while he is lampooned by men. He faces God before he faces men, but he is self-effacing. He hides with God in the secret place, but he has nothing to hide in the marketplace. He is naturally sensitive but supernaturally spiritual. He has passion, purpose and pugnacity. He is ordained of God but disdained by men.
Our national need at this hour is not that the dollar recover its strength, or that we save face over the Watergate affair, or that we find the answer to the ecology problem. We need a God-sent prophet! I am bombarded with talk or letters about the coming shortages in our national life: bread, fuel, energy. I read between the lines from people not practiced in scaring folk. They feel that the “seven years of plenty” are over for us. The “seven years of famine” are ahead. But the greatest famine of all in this nation at this given moment is a FAMINE OF THE HEARING OF THE WORDS OF GOD (Amos 8:11). Millions have been spent on evangelism in the last twenty-five years. Hundreds of gospel messages streak through the air over the nation every day. Crusades have been held; healing meetings have made a vital contribution. “Come-outers” have “come out” and settled, too, without a nation-shaking revival. Organizers we have. Skilled preachers abound. Multi-million dollar Christian organizations straddle the nation. BUT where, oh where, is the prophet? Where are the incandescent men fresh from the holy place? Where is the Moses to plead in fasting before the holiness of the Lord for our moldy morality, our political perfidy, and sour and sick spirituality?
GOD’S MEN ARE IN HIDING UNTIL THE DAY OF THEIR SHOWINGFORTH. They will come. The prophet is violated during his ministry, but he is vindicated by history. There is a terrible vacuum in evangelical Christianity today. The missing person in our ranks is the prophet. The man with a terrible earnestness. The man totally otherworldly. The man rejected by other men, even other good men, because they consider him too austere, too severely committed, too negative and unsociable. Let him be as plain as John the Baptist. Let him for a season be a voice crying in the wilderness of modern theology and stagnant “churchianity.” Let him be as selfless as Paul the apostle. Let him, too, say and live, “This ONE thing I do.” Let him reject ecclesiastical favors. Let him be self-abasing, nonself-seeking, nonself-projecting, nonself- righteous, nonself-glorying, nonself-promoting. Let him say nothing that will draw men to himself but only that which will move men to God. Let him come daily from the throne room of a holy God, the place where he has received the order of the day. Let him, under God, unstop the ears of the millions who are deaf through the clatter of shekels milked from this hour of material mesmerism. Let him cry with a voice this century has not heard because he has seen a vision no man in this century has seen. God send us this Moses to lead us from the wilderness of crass materialism, where the rattlesnakes of lust bite us and where enlightened men, totally blind spiritually, lead us to an ever-nearing Armageddon. God have mercy! Send us PROPHETS!
Been reflecting a bit on the last blog. I came across that prophecy some time ago, a few years back. It has inspired my ministry in several ways…its has produced a level of ‘strangeism’ in me that has produced some good fruit over the years as I’ve responded to what I believe is a word to The Salvation Army as much as its a word to the church in general.
I’ve never tried to hide the fact that The Army sometimes makes me despair. For years and years there have been nights when I’ve sat awake worrying about our mission, our approach, where we are going and my part in it all. God’s passion and concern for this part of His church consumes me…I love God’s creation and am glad he has called me to this part of His church.
Now I’m an officer that burden of responsiblity has been narrowed down for me to the Army where I am, my corps and the city that surrounds us. I read again parts of the story of the Lewis revival last night and again I am assured that God is urging us to continue pushing though.
Keeping the momentum for revival prayer going is difficult. I will never ever understand why this does not capture the heart of people. I will never understand that, it will always be a source of frustration as to why people can be so blaise about the most important thing in the world. To many its not the most important thing in the world. That grieves me.
I’ve been preaching the same message, pretty much, for over a year now. Every now and then I think..ok, move to something else and then God calls me back to it. And I know that I must resign myself to preaching God’s word…what he is saying at this time to me for the people I lead and minister to. Surely people will hear the message eventually. God has a plan for our corps, it involves Him, and we need to give Him the space to do his work.
Our people are responsive…some more than others, and we have great great potential. We are going through a very interesting phase, one which we must not be afraid of. God is doing some painful things, but some very important things.
I sit here this morning in pain with the weight of God’s word like the pains of child birth. But the great promise is that with the pain of child birth, thereafter comes new life. God give us the strength to labour as we ought and feel the weight of responsibility for a lost world.
Once again my church will be a Salvation Army
Fantastic Word of Prophecy to the church in 1999 given by a bloke called Chad Taylor. It struck prophetic chord in my heart! Read it and embrace it.
Once again shall My church be a Salvation Army that occupies the city streets! Once again will My glory be revealed in the alley ways and the hedges. This is the place that Gideon will break the clay pots and let My glory shine. In the streets, on the corners, in every place My name shall be declared! Surely I will work with you! Confirming the word with signs following! No longer will the world hear the sound of bells on corners asking alms, but rather roars of My people declaring my power and glory! This is the hour to break the clay posts and let My glory be revealed in YOU!
IT IS TIME TO MARCH
I say to you O ‘Salvation Army’, it is time to march! It is time to shine! It is time that every street, every Samaria, every den of thieves and harlotries hear the sound of My people’s feet! It surely is the appointed time to set the captives free! For see, I have poured this anointing on thee, to bind up and pull down, to set free, and to bind, to conquer and comfort, to set ablaze the earth and to shine. This is that hour, this is that prophesied by the prophet Joel, this is that time says the Lord.
Every place of business shall witness My glory. Every Athens shall hear the Truth declared, every Samaria will see My people there, they will, ‘see and hear the miracles’ that are done by My servants. A dispensation is upon you, unto the weak I will give strength, to the poor I will fill your baskets, to the lame and the cripple you shall leap and walk. For this is that which was prophesied in days of old, “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and NEW things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them…” (Isa. 42:9)
TIME FOR MARRIAGES TO BE RESTORED
Marriages that have faltered will now be restored. My generals will rise with wives and husbands by their side. In this hour two will be better than one. A double portion I declare to you says the Lord. A double portion. My Salvation Army is rising with healing in their hands, they will lay hands on the sick and they shall surely recover. In their hands will be My anointing for the healing of the nations. The deaf will hear, the blind will see, the mute shall speak. Watch and see these things coming to pass in thee. Watch and see…
SENDING TWO BY TWO
A time of appointing, sending them two by two, Surely My power will confirm, The places you go and the things you do, For I am with you, and I will work with you, says the Lord. In this hour ‘three hundred’ will cause the enemy to flee, The steps of two or three, Will again lead captive captivity, And the lost will be found and the captive set free! By the works I do through thee! Watch and see! Watch and see! A Salvation Army is marching through this land, Pulling down strongholds and revealing my divine plan, Hearing the words of My command, ‘STAND! And having done all, STAND!’ And I will reveal My power even through your hands! Do you understand? Do you understand?
THE LAME WILL WALK—FINALLY THE ADDICT WILL BE FREE
The lame man will leap, The blind man will see, The addict will be free, The skeptic will believe, By what I do through thee! Religion will bow at My feet, Giving up her captives and setting them free! Do you believe? Do you believe? A Salvation Army will march to this beat, The sound of eternity. The prodigal will hear the sound of his destiny. Jonah will come from the fishes belly, To declare My word and prophecy!
BUT YOU SAY, “I AM UNCOMELY”
This is the hour of the ‘Uncomely!’ Kings will bow and confess, The poor and needy will be blessed, The wind will blow from the North South East and West, Bringing life to dry bones, The orphan a family, the widow a home, Can you feel it blow? Can you feel it blow? Prophesy My people Prophesy! Say to the wind, “LIFE! LIFE” Say to the sinner, “You don’t have to die!” “Jesus was crucified! ” “He is alive!” “He is alive!” “He is alive!” My army is marching. My army is rising. My army will bring salvation like a flood.
So I’ve already blogged today, pressed the submit button and it went wrong and I lost it. *sigh*
I’ve been working a lot in bringing together our Aggressive Christianity Conference. The UK needs a bit of that. We need to be discovering the heart of what it means to be in mission in an Army context. I’ve never believed the naysayers who think the Army’s war talk is useless.
My hope is certainly for this city of Bristol, that God would just use us to do some good for the corps around us too (if any of them come, that is) as well as ourselves. God has a plan for his Army in Bristol and its leathal for any corps to be individualist.
We can’t afford the big speakers of the big worship bands, but thats not what its about. Its about local people, local mission, real warfare. It won’t be for the faint-hearted who don’t like the Army thing but I hope that if any come they will at least be able to get a good taste of it!
I don’t like people sinking into Hell. It calls for war. Full stop.
Preparers of the Way
What a huge cultural difference there was between the Commissioning of the Preparers of the way in the UK and Russia. Nevertheless, both very special occassions. Also, I’m now the proud owner of sessional flags in English and Russian from what is clearly the best session of cadets there has ever been!
Was so proud to see my session commissioned…was still gald they let us out a year early though! I think of the ones that I maybe had an influence on in some small way, in some of them a big way, and I thanked God for them all.
Have to admit that I wasn’t impressed with Commissioner Cliftons over-weighted emphasis on his ordaining the cadets. He said:
“you are now ordained as a minister of the Gospel and commissioned as a Salvation Army officer.”
Hmmmm. Actually, the official line, as I understand it, is something along the lines of:
“Recognising that God has ordained you, I now commission you as an officer in the Salvation Army.” …which is what the Cheif of the Staff said when he commissioned me.
There is a very subtle (or is it subtle) difference between the two statements. Now call me fussy if you want, but I am not up for this idea of a clericalised officership. As Chick Yuill said recently (if it wasnt Chick it was someone like him) that the difference between a soldier and an officer is availability. There are so many officers too conscious about their own ‘ordained’ status than focussed in the absolute importance of the priesthood of all believers, the mobilisation of every soldier.
I am no more ordained than my Sergeant-Major…it just happens to be that I have no other occupation, fewer ‘life’ responsibilities (mortage, car, rent, whatever..) and have chosen to give my life to God as a response to God to serve in this way. Pete’s life, ministry and service has been just as valid…only different and not as a CO. Certainly I don’t deny that God has annointed and equipped us for this ministry of leading the corps, but in no greater way than what Pete has been annointed and equipped to be Sergeant-Major at this time. (Sorry for bringing you into it Pete).
So, its starting to niggle to the extent that I feel I might send the Commissioner a note. You never know.
Anyway, a really great weekend, very special to me in so many different ways. A joy to see, actually, some fruit of my own ministry both in cadets and in others. Hallelujah!
Well, here I am with another little oasis in the late afternoon…its far too hot here to be doing anything other than blogging.
Had our appraisals at DHQ today which went very well…an encouraging pat on the back, keep on going, more of the same, type of situation. Its valuable when you feel that others think your doing a decent enough job. But again, we don’t live to please men. We hope that God is as satisfied as our leaders are.
Was thinking again though about the officers role…had a long chat about it and I am reminded about how much education there needs to be in some corps, perhaps ours, about the role of the officer. Now and again its good to have someone confirm your convictions and I’m reminded that for most of us it takes a long time for us to untrain and re-train our thoughts about certain areas.
On reflection, there is always things you wish you had done better, but you can’t change the past.
I said many times to fellow cadets in the Preparers of the Way session that I thought it was really important to be firm in your convictions and go to an appointment with a clear idea of why you are there. There are a lot of things that try to move us from our main focus.
I outlined, in our first meeting at Pill what our convictions were with regards to our ministry.
- renewal by the Holy Spirit
- radical mission
- commitment to the poor
- commitment to authentic community
- hearty salvationism
These haven’t changed, but the process towards becoming a lean mean fighting salvation team is hard work, there are a lot of extra ‘pounds’ to shed to get us where we want to be. Those five things are fundamental to salvationism mission and ecclesiology and its when we start look to other things other than those that we stray.
So, yes, thanks for a helpful appraisal, good, reminded to me to do the following:
“if we know who we are – Salvationists – and it’s a non-negotiable point with us, then our passionate commitment, sheer joyful excitement and the heroic aspects of our identity will never lack in finding disciples…Simply decide who you are called to be, a “blood and fire” Salvationist and live the life unapologetically, intensely, passionately and heroically.”
Geoff Ryan, Sowing Dragons
This afternoon we had some time off. A little oasis…quite literally. Enjoyed a few hours on Weston-super-Mare beach!! It was absolutely deserted actually, but it was hot, sunny and peaceful.
I thought again about the last few weeks and decided that covenant has kept me. God’s ‘yes’ to me means that when I want to say ‘no’ I realise I can’t in response to such a wonderful promise from Almighty God. He has chosen to enter into covenant with me and so I have no choice but to make my response ‘yes, Lord.’
I think about the Preparers of the Way and I pray that covenant will be as significant for them as it has been for me. I’m guessing that a few of them have been stuttering over the words ‘and prove myself to be a worthy officer.’ I guess we don’t like to feel we have to prove ourself.
But the great thing is that we never have to earn God’s love, simply because we can’t, but we can earn God’s trust…the key is covenant. God’s ‘yes’ and our ‘yes’ make a powerful Amen.
I pray that God will make the Preparers of the Way powerful warriors, that their covenant will be their strength and that they will prove to God that they can be trusted and are worthy of the calling they have received.
The Russian Experience -4-
Last night I talked with Captain Lalac into the small hours having spent much of the evening chatting was we wandered around Red Square and through the streets of ‘down-town’ Moscow. He is Moldovan, has a huge heart for Romania having pioneered the work there, but finds himself in Russia at the training school as part of the staff. I am amazed at this mans character and the quality of his salvationism. He asks me when I am coming to Romania and I say to him ‘we will see what God has planned.’
We say our goodbyes to our friends again until the next time. The strange thing I find about travel is that its often difficult to remember that these places still exist, these people still go about their business even when you aren’t there to see them and as we give our last hug a big part of me doesn’t want to be saying goodbye. I give Roxanne a UK ‘Preparer of the Way’ hooded top and you would have think that I had given her the world.
I know that the commissioning of the POWs (as the Preparers of the Way are affectinately known as) in London in a few weeks will be a special occassion, but I will think back to the other commissioning. I love my London POW’s but I think we all need to learn something of the spirit of the Easter European POW’s. I think back to all the fuss of college and reflect that its nonsense really…I pray for all of us, as Preparers, that we will show at least half of the fighting spirit that these people will show in their ministry.
So, I’m back from Russia and again I am amazed at what God is choosing to do through his Army and its people. As I culturally re-adjust myself, I come back to my own challenge….to live, to be, to do the will of God that is that I should be an officer in The Salvation Army, whatever that means.