Book Now Available!

Salvationism…Out Loud! is now available by following this link:
Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.
It is available to download as a PDF file for £3.50 or, alternatively, you can purchase it in book form for £6 GBP.

If, for any reason, you are unable to order it online for yourself, please contact me and I will arrange to send you a copy, either by PDF email attachment or book form (P&P costs apply for book form).

The proceeds from the book will go to the Pill Corps of The Salvation Army…as our ‘parting gift’ to them. The book has 93 pages, and is a collection of thoughts on the topic of Salvationism by yours truly! It is dedicated to the soldiers of Pill Corps.

Ask Him!

We need to ask the question, Holy Spirit, what are you saying, what are you doing. All the time, this is intimacy. We want to be asking between 3 and 5 times a day. Quieten ourselves on this inside…we’ll hear. This will take discipline. We’re self-absorbed…we must slow that storm down to hear the still small voice. To slow ourselves down to hear the Lord is a pain, we don’t want to do it. That’s why he has to tell us to desire spiritual gifts in the context of 1 Cor 14…its about taking the time to love the Lord. To cultivate that relationship of intimacy.

When is the last time you asked the Holy Spirit 5 times in day what he is saying or doing? We need to have a lifesyle that asks that question.

Ask your local officers that, ask you officers, ask your fellow bandsmen, ask you your young people, ask youself.

TGI Thursdays

So, we launched our new youth drop-in this week. Its called TGI Thursdays, and takes the form of a youth cafe. We’ve spent a hard couple of weeks getting our youth room ready, purchasing equipment etc etc and tonight it was fab to just see the kids enjoying in. I had a real sense of satisfaction this evening to see it all come to fruition. We also had someone extra, as well as our own youth, so that was good.

We’re not really in a place to start huge youth work, so we have plenty of time for this project to grow little by little. All our youth have three invites away with them to give to their friends. Just giving it all to the Lord and praying for good things.

As for my performance this evening, I lost three games of chess and two games of pool. Pathetic record!

Passion for prayer

I found this image (somewhere) and had to share it here. I don’t know who is in the picture, where it is, of what the exact circumstance of this prayer time is, but it speaks volumes.

Are they seeking holiness? Are they engaging in repentance? Are they praying for souls? Don’t know, maybe all at the same time.

Maybe what they are praying for is irrelevant. The most amazing thing about this picture to me is that these women have clearly so much passion, that they are led to their knees. Maybe we can catch what they’ve got and bottle it…or perhaps, we just pray we’ll experience pentecost afresh in our Army at this time.

The beginning of the end…

The reality of moving appointment is slowly beginning to sink in. Our second appointement as officers in charge of a Salvation Army corps is coming to an end.

I’m not altogether sure I like it, but I know its right. When a place begins to tire you to an extent you don’t feel there is much left you can give, its definitetely time to move on. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be a fly on the wall for the next stage of the developing ministry and witness of this corps. There are, as always for us, exciting prospects.

Unfortunately, there are the same old strongholds too…some which will not give up their grip very easily. Pill is one of the best corps in the territory, but one which has ‘thorns in the flesh’ that need major uprooting…like many places I suppose.

I’ve always had a policy of choosing my battles carefully. There are somethings, that whilst they may seem urgent and pressing, that are actually not worth exerting any breath about at all. I think I’ve fought some pretty major battles here…won some, lost others. I look back at them, and although some of them have been and are difficult, they have all been worth fighting. There has been suffering involved, but no resurrection ever came about except through the other side of suffering.

I came here determined that I wouldn’t leave the corps as I found it. Now, depending on what each persons view is of my ministry will depend on whether they think that is a good thing or a bad thing! Regardless of any of that, I can say, hand on heart, that we’ve been faithful to God in this corps. We’ve tried to follow him whilst leading others. We’ve heard him calling us to deeper waters that we’ve dreaded to even go near, yet he has been faithful.

Its hard to express just how much I will miss the corps, in spite of the ups and downs, but I will.

My prayer is that our successors will continue to shout ‘Freedom’ very loudly. My prayer is that they will shout ‘Salvation’ very loudly and that they will shout ‘holiness’ even louder. As some wise man once said, ‘holiness is the solution to every problem.’

There is a song by the (im)famous Wurzels of ‘I’ve got a brand new combine harvester’ fame which goes: “Pill, Pill! I love thee still…even though I’m leaving.” True.

Not touching hate with a bargepole

Continuing on from the thoughts on my last blog, I don’t know if anyone caught the BBC 2 documentary (by Loius Therreaux or however you spell it)on Sunday night about the Phelps family and the Westboro Baptist Church.

I found this documentary incredibly interesting. Let me first talk about all that was beautiful about the family. Firstly, there was a strong sense of family love. These people have caught a good dose of Christian community, even although that has partly been formed by the controversy surround them (more about that later). There was a strong respect for parents, for the structure of a family.

There was also, especially amongst the young women, a very beautiful Christian modesty. By that, I mean that these (quite attractive) young women weren’t hooked on the dating culture, nor were they actively looking for husbands. They weren’t closed to the idea of marriage, but they were more committed to serving the Lord than being distracted by marriage.

Now, I am a married man, I love being married, I love my family. However, I often think that singleness is undersold. Paul speaks about the values of singleness in that it does free a person to serve the Lord without having the responsibility of having to think of the needs of others you are responsible for. Although I wouldn’t want to be unmarried, I think that I’d have considered singleness a lot more if I had had the sense to think of it.

More than that, they dressed modestly. This is quite a non-politically correct statement to make, but I think many young women today (and men perhaps) need to cover up. I don’t say this because I’m old fashioned, or because I’m sexually addicted, but simply because modesty is a beautiful thing. Am I totally weird in thinking that there is great beauty in modesty? I get really tired of being ‘presented’ with the breasts and bottoms and tummys and legs and thighs and shoulders of Christian women.

We seriously have to consider how we instruct our young people on the topic of dating too. I don’t know many (or should that be ‘any’) young people at all who have managed to keep themselves pure. That’s a sad statement. Of course, when we think of Primitive Salvationist practice, I suppose modest was enforced. I’m not suggesting we return to that….but I am suggesting that modesty for both men and women springs from the life of holiness. I’m not advocating an Islamic fashion trend, just a percent extra modesty!

Now for what I see as the major flaws of this church/family which cause the serious controversy. Now, there is a sense in which I share their thoughts in a sense, but they carry that through to a sad and hateful conclusion. They believe that their nation (USA) is under judgement from God. They proclaim that all the catastrophe that comes upon American is part of divine judgement. I can agree to part of that, because its a scriptural notion. I believe God does judge nations. They also practice the very biblical instruction to rejoice in the judgments of the Lord, because they are all good…even negative judgements.

What I have a problem with is the way they express this belief. They have become hateful. They preach hell without offering the way out. This is hellfire preaching…preaching hell without offering the way out.

This church practices the deplorable practice of picketing the funerals of servicemen in Iraq, amongst other things. They also picket churches and anyone else who advocates homosexuality. Their favourite slogan is ‘God hates fags’! They are anti-semitic, anti-catholic, anti-mormon and actively picket all of these.

I think it is totally possible to have a strong evangelical line on all these things. Its possible even to speak out condemning certain things, but there IS a spirit in which these things should be done. You see, I strongly oppose catholic, mormon and JW doctrine, witchraft, the occult etc etc, and I’d actively witness to any of those, I’d witness at a spiritualist or new age fare, I’d protest at Jerry Springer, but not with hate.

What I found sad about the whole thing is that the so many beautiful Christian values that this family/church exemplified we tarred with the brush of hate, making the very scriptural values they promote come across as part of an obscured and dangerously extreme Christian life. This is a concern about evangelicalism and fundamentalism that we always must guard against.

If you missed the documentary, you missed an interesting programme. Certainly thought provoking with regards to the ways in which some of the ‘normal’ aspects of Christianity were presented as weird!