Hangin’ up my hat?

I hope you had a chance to read that last quote from Brengle…I came across it recently when the ‘Primitive Salvationist’ website (linked to at the right) came upon the Army blogging scene.

My good friend Captain Eileen Haliday said something to me once (in our college days) and reading that quote brought her comment back to me. She said that ‘if the day came when you had to hang up your Army hat came it would be the day you die.’ Thats painfully true actually. When she said it I though she was picking me up wrong, but no, she isn’t far off. I’d say it was more accurate to say that I had a passion for passionate church…for me, Primitive Army expresses that, thats why I feel a burden for the Army.

The conversation (it was about 1am) was about a compromised Salvation Army. I’m the kind of fool that probably wouldn’t leave an extremely compromised Army but would hang in there and fight the corner…I’m covenanted to fight until I die. I’ve felt the call of God to speak to the Salvation Army, even the unpopular words that we’d rather not hear (myself included…remember that the message is first preached to myself before it goes anywhere else!) There are several people who walk the opposite way when they see me coming and some who try to be painfully nice whilst thinking I’m a severe pain in the neck.

I want to bring that up close and personal though. There are times when the message and the burden is heavy and you have moments of wanting to hang up your hat…those Jonah moments when you flat refuse to go. Times when you wonder if you can cope…but then a couple of things happen which help you realise that, actually, in spite of a lot of negative reactions to your ministry, there is some tremendous fruit happening somewhere in several places.

I saw that several times today and in this last week and I was so encouraged. This blog has been a source of encouragement when people have written, privately and publically, to say that my words resonate with them. I don’t do it for that, but its a blessing when people link to my page, quote me, or whatever…why? Because I sense that the word God gives is finding its landing somewhere and is encouraging someone somewhere to respond. It is a blessing to receive affirmation…particularly of those who are in leadership over me.

Now, our corps is going through a period of transition, huge transition at the moment…its not easy for anyone. It is painfully chaotic and the tendancy is to feel that its all your fault and that you’ve failed somehow. There will be some who see it like that. I believe, however, that the stage we are at is all very necessary. People worry, naturally, about the fall out consequences of such changes. People get worried about losing ‘saints’ we’ve already got. I do too…and every time I get tempted to go more light hearted, to slow up, to give it a break, to give little homilies, to tickle the ears of my hearers I become so painfully aware that I’ve not done what the Lord is requiring of me. I need to leave it in his hands.

In my eyes we are repositioning ourselves to be a better, more effective soul winning corps…leaner, meaner, holier. I’ve seen in my minds eye God’s heart for Pill. I’ve seen a glimpse of where he wants us and when you see that you say ‘yes Lord, I’ll be faithful and do what’s necessary.’

I am not a thousand feet above contradiction…people are free to challenge me, but I can only be faithful to what the Spirit says to me. If that makes me an akward person it just a bit tough. My prayer is that, constantly God will continue to refine me as a person…I pray tonnes that God would soften me. But you know what he does when I pray that? He softens me to the plight of the lost and increases an indignation of a church that sits on its bottom.

The prophetic truth of Brengle’s statement is that there will always be saints who shirk from the urgency of the gospel. There will also be saints who will be casual in God’s presence and casual with the message. But, there will be saints who feel pressed upon them that burning desire to fight and will have ‘suffering’ (the literal meaning of the word ‘passion’ by the way!) for the cause.

Hang up my hat? Not a chance in the world.

Andrew

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