So that CT Studd quote really sticks in your brain…
“Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.”
It struck me today when I came across it again and its just been on my mind all day. Being a sort of visual person, that whole thing just speaks volumes to me. It reminds me of a discussion I had at bible college with a good friend of mine, Jim.
Although he was much more of a lad than me, we come from similar backgrounds and similar conversions. We lived in the same town, in the same culture and I guess paid the price in different ways for it. We got to talking…in fact, we were praying and we talked to God about this stuff. The whole thing of wanting to be in the business of rescuing people from Hell. We’d been rescued, you see, and we wanted to do the same. Jim now runs a great youth project in Ayr, near where we were brought up. He is literally altering the lives of young people in our home county and although the website may not give the impression, Jim is an active evangelist and won’t be missing the opportunity to share with these kids.
If I suppose if I were to reflect on what the last 4 years as a commissioned officer and 2.5 years as a lieutenant has done to me I’d have to say that I know for a fact what God created me to do.
The struggle over these last few months has simply been a refining of that assuredness. I’m Salvationist to the core. I am extreme, I am passionate, I am a burning fire. My heart is to be seeking the lost, rescuing the poor, lifting the fallen, changing the world.
Yeah, sure, I do some of that. But my officership is a poor reflection of who I am most of the time. I had been feeling trapped with officership, but I know it shouldn’t be this way. When you take a few steps back and consider The Army, I guess its easy to be feeling trapped by it. Our autocratic heirarchy is fine when it is releasing and effectively managing resources to fuel the mission, but when its not…its a monster. Can any of us disagree with that?
We have so much freedom as officers, but there is also the expectations. No-one expects their officers to be radicals these days. For me, Salvationism is about taking the gospel to people. I’ve served in a few corps now, and I’ve so often met resistance to be taking the gospel anywhere outside the four walls of the sanctuary…and thats not a Wick specific thing. I want to be out there all the time. What Salvationism SHOULD be is a creative environment where the key thing is inspiring, mobilising and equipping soldiers for the fight…as an officer, thats what I’m trying to create for the people I try to lead. Eleanor Burne-Jones tells me that this is what Andy Roxborough hints at in his book Missional Leadership.”
This is what I do for myself. I immerse myself in all that will help me to wage war effectively because out of that environment comes me! The conflict of identity comes when I ask myself why I am not the me outside that I am inside. I just never seem to be able to be the person I am. I could blame the enemy, the Army, the corps and all those things have a part, it is fundamentally about me. The downside of this is that I begin to get frustrated because people don’t see the same vision or have the same outlook. I don’t just want to avoid ‘living within the sound of the church bell’, I get angry about those who are content to dwell there when all around them people are sinking.
We are surrounded by people going to hell…unless they are saved. That is the bottom line. I need to lose my life, myself, my pride, my timidity and step forward behind Jesus, for Jesus…to do something about the lost. I want to be leading people to Jesus more and more, praying for people, talking with people, blessing people, speaking prophetically to the community about the coming of the Kingdom to them. I have opportunities surrounding me each day, I’ve got the ideas, the passion and God knows I’ve got the heart but what I lack is the courage.
I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.
Here I am, send me.