Every now and again you get the ‘interesting’ opportunities in a community to speak about the Army at all sorts of places. Today I visited the ladies group at a local baptist church.
On my first visit to these groups, I generally give my testimony, sing a couple of solos and give a gospel message using the flag as a prop. It gives me the opportunity to tell my story again. The second visit, I usually talk about special moments in ministry – usually involving to ministry to the poor and ‘un-desirables’. People can debate scripture and the existence of God all they like, but they cannot deny our stories.
As the years go by I find myself becoming more and more distanced from my past. In many ways that is good, but I am always determined never to forget what it is like to be lost. I am determined never to stop marvelling at the way God has transformed my life. I am determined to sing my salvation song forever.
I came away from my meeting today with £10, a bunch of daffodils for my wife and some valuable thoughts…not just from the meeting, but in reflecting on what I’m about:
1. God has plucked me out of a living hell as well as an eternal one through his Son.
2. I will never understand lack of urgency in mission…from anyone…and I’ll always act to counter it by stripping away apathy. Hell is hot and it gets fuller by the day. I find myself getting angry about this, and I’m not always sure that the anger is misplaced or wrong. Its more what you do with it I suppose.
3. I will be confident in ministry because it is God who has given me it and it is him who has shaped, and continues to shape it, to be what he wants it to be.
4. I must continue to embrace prophetic ministry, even when that is unpopular, when I’m misunderstood, misinterpreted or misrepresented.
5. Although I’ve perhaps not always communicated well or demonstrated as fully as possible where I’m coming from, I’ll continue my ‘crusade’ to transform our concepts of pastoral care, resisting at all times the ‘clericalisation’ of the pastoral ministry in favour of every member ministry.
6. I’ll continue to shout about freedom as an essential part of holiness and discipleship to see believers living as fully Christian lives as possible.
7. I’ll never understand or accept worldly values that creep into the salvationist mindset
8. I’ll continue to advocate gift-oriented ministry and a widening awareness of spiritual gifts in general….but especially the gift of prophesy. Paul said he though it was one worth eagerly desiring!
Every now and then you have to capture these things, write them down and allow them to speak to you afresh.