I’d be delighted to disappear from this appointment. What I mean by that is disappear in the John the Baptist sense….where he says ‘He must increase, I must decrease.’ I am desperate for God to move in the community. I want the glory of God to be displayed through the life, ministry and witness of myself and my corps. I want to see God’s glory fall, to see hearts arrested not by intellectual argument, but by the Spirit’s power.

I long to see God move supernaturally in this town, for His Spirit to have free reign and to reveal the presence and power of God. I want that the church would be full with the glory of God so much that it would be tangible and visible.

I got saved when I was 15 years old. At that time, I experienced the glory of God, all around me. When the Holy Spirit confirmed my salvation I heard music, beautiful music and surges of electricity. This is what I needed for assurance. God knew me, he knew what would convince me of him and his reality. Since then, I’ve experienced many instances of God’s glory so much that it makes you want to shout.

What strikes me, is that as we are full of the glory of God, so we display the splendour of God. I’m thirsty for more of the Holy Spirit. I want to learn more and more to follow the promptings of the Spirit. I want to dance with crazy joy like David. I want to be all about him. Don’t you?

Pub Booming news…

The good news that one of the guys we meet in the pubs regularly on our Saturday nights tours has been attending our Sunday nite Salvation meeting pretty regularly. He’s in his late forties, early fifties perhaps. He probably drinks a little too much and often has alcohol on his breath, but I’ll tell you what…he is starting to feel at home.

He was just telling me (‘Boss’, he calls me) this evening how much he felt welcome and that he wants to be on the straight and narrow. ‘A want tae be back in the fold, boss’ he says. Tonight, he requested a verse and chorus of ‘Will your anchor hold?’ Request granted.

Thank God for another one close to the kingdom.

On other pub booming news, things are getting difficult in some quarters. We’re meeting an increasing amount of aggressive types. God grant us safety, protection and grace.

We’re ready, Lord!

So its Saturday evening and that means it will be youth club again tonight. Every week at youth club, we get around 50 to 60 young people aged 10 – 13ish. Last night, we had 120+ under 10s.

And, every week that I’m there, I get to stand in front of them for five minutes and preach the gospel to them. It is only the matter of time before some get saved.

Come on Lord, you can do it!!! We’re ready! Amen!

I have moments like these too….!

Some great thoughts with good clarity from Soldier Anthony Castle (see the blog list, right):

Some days I wake up and it seems real simple…

Soldiership isn’t about us.
Soldiership is about God and His love for the lost.

He doesn’t call us to gather a crowd or fill a building. We’re commanded to evangelise, to disciple the weak, the wicked and the worst.
To see the broken changed and trained.

So why are we waiting for the world to come to Church?
When the Church must go into the world.

We’re not employees or members.
We are this Kingdom’s soldiers, and to the world we must be like aliens and emissaries, magicians and storytellers. Heroes dreaming of another Way, fighting another world into being amidst the cracks of despair in our neighbourhoods.

Throughout the forgotten places, we must be the battle-cry of war, the healing hands of Christ. We must be strangers, neighbours, friends, whispering about an ancient tale, a living Lord and a returning King.

We were made for this.

Sickness is not your friend

So this weekend has almost been a wipe out for me. Succumbed to a nasty sickness bug and it wasn’t pleasant…I’m still not passed it. Never believe that sickness is your friend, not at any level is it your friend.

Saying sickness is a friend is like saying the devil is your friend because he tempts you and you grow stronger through tempting. No…sickness is not a friend. No…Jesus tells us to pray that we won’t be anywhere near temptation, not that we’ll be strong through it (cf Lord’s Prayer)

What is going on, when people show incredible depth of faith through terrible sickness, is the Lord triumphing over sickness in a believer, not the Lord using sickness. What is going on, when people stand tall against temptation, is the Lord triumphing over the enemy, not the Lord using the enemy.

Lets get this idea out of our heads: Sickness is not of God.

I’ve been tackled

I was doing my usual flick through blogs this morning, beginning at by Captain Stephen Court and Aaron White. I glanced a couple of sentences down to read the news that “Captain Andrew Clark is tackling all kinds of stuff at his blog.” Being the kind of half-brained critter that I am, I thought to myself, “Oh…must go and see what I’m tackling!”

In all honesty, I’m tackling more in my head than what ever appears on the blog. What am I tackling? Missional stuff, the challenge of the appointment, the great opportunity of the appointment, getting people saved and sanctified; personal issues, community issues, cultural issues, raising a family, all of it. We all have it and there are times when it all needs processing.

There will be now a few more Wick readers of the old blog here and its good to have you all on board. If you look back in the archives you’ll see some pretty raw reflections, a few rants and more frustrations as well as some moments of inspiration. The biggest challenge we all face is being real and being true to ourselves and our calling and this pretty much what this blog is about for me.

I invite you to tackle some issues today. Are you close the the Lord? Are you saved? Are you praying, reading the Word? Are you evangelising, sharing you faith? Are you caring for the poor and the forgotten? Are you being the best you can be in your family? Are you keeping covenant (if you’re in it)?

Go tackle that…become a fellow tackler.

Pagan Christianity

I caught sight somewhere, in the last couple of days, of a book (I think by George Barna) entitled ‘Pagan Christianity.’ It must have been the internet, because I don’t remember having it in my hand at the time. I think the jist of this book is the fact that Christianity today is shrouded in things that can’t be decribed as authentic biblical Christianity. You know, things like pews, choirs, dog collars, candles, format of worship meetings, liturgy. And yes, flags and bands and uniforms and ranks and mercy seats and songster brigades and all that…we have as much clutter as the rest, if not more.

Now, I don’t know what his conclusions were. My experience is that traditions and elements of how we express our faith appear because for someone, at some point, they are helpful, or maybe even just practical. My theory is that if its helpful and practical then it doesn’t get in the way. The danger is when people place the peripherals in the place of the necessities, thus creating a mongrel form of faith.

For as long as Scotland has been Christianised, I’d reckon there has always had a folk Christianity, a folk religion. It manifests itself in many ways. We saw it very much in play in Glasgow when we dedicated around 25 children to the Lord, of non-Christian families, because they wanted to ‘get the wean done.’ I would always emphasise that there was nothing I could do other than pray that would change the destiny or outcome of the child’s life, that neither water, ceremony, standing on my head or some other such thing, could do anything. They accepted that, interestingly, and still had the desire to have the opportunity to thank God (admittedly a God some of them may not have believed in, or know as Saviour and Lord) for the gift of their children.

These are instances in the vague sense of being Christian, even of going to church, but yet not fully engaging. My suggestion is that this is not people’s fault. Of course they will have a desire to find out more about God, and to connect with them. HOW they do it is pretty much dependant on how we lead them.

As I reflect on our corps here in Wick, and to be honest, pretty much every corps I’ve experienced, there are often times when the formality of a meeting, the hurdles of our brand and the pew-warming culture makes it so difficult for people to engage. I love The Salvation Army, if you know me you know that, but I fully recognise that ‘The Salvation Army’ often gets in the way of Jesus. For me, it doesn’t because as a Christian, Salvationism helps give me expression of my faith. But we have to realise that all people see sometimes is Salvationism and not Jesus.

Some of you will be thinking thats a hefty statement for one who identifies himself with Primitive Salvationism, but therein lies the paradox. If it has been communicated the Primitive Salvationism is anything less than passionate, covenanted Jesus following, then its not Primitive Salvationism. It is certainly possible that ‘PS’ itself can get in the way, but yet, that in itself would be a perversion of it.

Why do I write this? I recognise the gap between folk religion and authentic faith and I want to be a catalyst for the latter. I feel the responsibility for every soldier in my care, every adherent and friend, to ensure that Jesus is evident in our ministry and when our ‘forms’ of worship get in the way, there must ALWAYS be a way for the average non-beliver to taste and see authentic faith in action.

As part of our Hope 2008 focus, its my prayer that we’ll be able to find ways to help people engage. It was my commitment as this morning I responded to God on this Commitment Sunday.

Blood and Fire from NB

I hope you enjoy this video. The New Brunswick Corps of The Salvation Army making a joyful noise unto the Lord. Its great and refreshing to see so many young salvationists active…more than that, if you visit the corps website, you will see pictures of as many as 30 senior soldiers being enrolled in the one go.

You gotta love the enthusiasm, the joy, (the dancing) and the commitment to change a community. More Holy Spirit power to them!