I wish Brengle was wrong. (No, not my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Brengle, I’m on about Commissioner Samual L Brengle). When I look at that quotation it makes me want to weep because I see it. Although there are always glorious exceptions to the staus quo, Brengle’s words are living themselves out today. I’d challenge anyone to write a post about how this isn’t true…I’d dearly love to be writing it myself!
However, I’ve seen this week some beautiful glimmers of hope. I’ve been visiting our wards. Wards are like cells of a cell church, in case you didn’t know.
I’ve been struck by several things:
– competent local leadership..some of whom are new or only recenly re-acquianted with leadership in the church
– spirit-filled worship
– beginnings of true honesty in spiritual things
– deeper fellowship starting to emerge
– nearly 30 people regularly turning up for bible study, prayer, fellowship…something never before known in this corps
– ministry by all members
– the beginnings of missional thinking as wards explore outreach brigades
– young people casting out demons and praying for healing
– people becoming aware of the reality of corps life that they were unaware of before
– people being able to voice their very first ‘public’ prayers in the context of a small group
– being personally ministered to by my own people.
– a particular young person taking so much initiative in one area it blew my mind
If I thought hard enough, there may well be more. If you asked our corps people, you may find more. And this is all happening in the midst of what has been a difficult time of late. This is happening as we’re saying goodbye to things like songster brigades and all the fallout of that. This is happening as we, personally, are gaining strength after being ‘taken out’ by enemy and suposedly ‘friendly’ fire.
We give God the glory. But we do ask for an increase in love…not just blaise love, or tokenism love, false love, or love-because-we-must-love, but deep and authentic love.
But what about that telling phrase he uses at the end:
We shall still recruit our ranks and supply our Training Garrisons with Cadets from among our own Young People, but we shall cease to be saviors of the lost sheep that have no shepherd.”
How true it is that we must increase our effort in saving lost sheep. How important it is that we manage to raise up some officers who don’t come from the ranks. How important it is we raise up officers from within the ranks! I praise God for a few hopefuls in our corps in this area. How important it is that we recruit warriors and don’t ust make members.
Lord, do not cast us from your presence or take your spirit from us. Restore to us the joy of our salvation and then we will teach sinners in your ways.
(Psalm 51 in the bible according to my memory).
What we must do with these prophetic words of warning is to pray the opposite in. We must ensure that we always labour against being what we have become. We don’t see the words as doom, but see them as hope from God who was able to see the potential danger. We take them to heart, accept them, repent and begin living in the opposite spirit to that which prevails amongst us. Lord help us!
Amen! Blood and Fire!