Life for us at the moment is in one of those twilight periods. You know, at that point in the day when its not fully dark, you can see stuff, but its not fully light and so there is a bit of mystery.
Now, you might think that this period of life would be like ‘dusk’..just before dark what with us leaving the Army/officership. There are some moments it feels like that. There are memories that produce tears and sorrow. Only last week I had a morning where I woke up in floods of tears. Yet, in spite of that, God is in the business of turning that mourning into dancing. One of the verses of scripture that has been encouraging me is the verse that says ‘sorrow may last for a night, but joy comes with the morning.’ Boy, is that a promise and a half!
There has been so much recently that has proven to me, the biggest doubter, that this is not dusk as far as God is concerned. It’s just the next day. After the last few months of ‘night’ the dimness of light at the moment isn’t it getting darker still, its getting brighter. It has just been so amazing to watch God’s unfolding wisdom, foresight and blessing unfold as we start to see the path before us. He has prepared a path that may not necessarily be the one we dreamt of in the night, or even squinted at through sunset but his plan and revelation has been perfect.
You know, that sounds like a lot of code. Its not meant to be all mystical. But I do have to say, what with having been presented with a fair few opportunities to grow bitter, I’m actively refusing to be bitter by the help of Holy Spirit. The honesty of all this is that God is answering my prayers. I spent 3 years at Pill Corps praying and singing that God would send a revival and that he would start with me. I’ve prayed that he would break me, melt me, mould me, fill me and he has and is doing. In 15 years of following Jesus, he’s been so faithful in leading me on, deeper and deeper. It is for that reason I can, at this time, sit quietly and simply trust him for even the smallest need.
We do value your prayers for us at this time. So many people have been faithful in that way. Here are a few ways that you can still be praying for us:
- for some part-time work for Tracy in Newcastle which will help us financially
- today we placed a holding fee on a rental property and we’re praying that goes through smoothly
- we could do with some form of transport
- for that new community which we will be living in, that God would be preparing hearts
- for the children’s schooling, we need to find places for them
- for all the difficult farewells still to come here in Aberdeen and in the Army
- for Tracy’s health…she is experiencing some really bad toothache at the moment which is proving difficult to resolve. She is also awaiting tests back from the hospital with regards ongoing thyroid irregularities.
- for the children as we try to prepare them for a new stage of life (Geordie accent too!)
Thank you for praying with us and for us.
Welcome to Kingdom Conspiracy! I hope you’ll join the ride here and be inspired, challenged, maybe educated a wee bit and most of all encouraged in your Jesus following. I hope as time goes on, through conversation and interaction, we’ll become co-conspirators to lift up the name of Jesus and his kingdom in this new ‘post-Christendom, post-everything’ age. In a day where ‘the left’ and ‘the right’ of Christianity seem equally unappealing, I’m convinced that Jesus is the way. Re-calibrating around the Lord Jesus, I suspect, will be the uniting and strengthening of the church in this time…giving him his rightful place as the head of the church and living out our call to be his body.
The last few months, since last October really, have probably seen the most radical shake-up of my own life and ‘ministry’. I set myself the task, after nearly 10 years leading Salvation Army churches of asking the big questions that had been appearing again and again in my heart and mind. The long and short of it, is that I have around 5 weeks left as a Salvation Army officer. My exploration of leadership, discipleship, ‘churchmanship’, the theology of mission and the incarnation have brought me to a place that The Army could see working….so I ‘resigned’ on the premise that there was so much of the journey that I could neither dismiss nor fully reconcile with where I was at. In any case, leaders in the Army couldn’t see how there was a place for me so even the ways I thought might work weren’t going to happen.
Truth is, I’m a Salvo at heart and Salvo thinking and people will probably continue to shape my life but there is something bigger at stake for me. In my old blog I put out a bit of a confessional about the ways I’d become side-tracked, almost institutionalised by the role I was in. It was starting to feel as if something else, other than Jesus, was becoming central and so I felt I had to strip away. One of the other titles I thought about for this blog was ‘The Naked Salvo’ – because I really want to look at the bare essentials of fleshing out Jesus faith in my life. (However, I really didn’t want to constantly inflict the image of me without a shirt on…so thought of something much more suitable!)
The author Frank Viola, in his book ‘Finding Organic Church’ advises that no-one should embark on any form of Christian leadership until they are thirty. It sounds weird at first, and even slightly “Jesus-was-thirty-when-he-started-his-ministry” type of statement…like a sort of ‘What would Jesus do?’ gone mad. I read on and discovered that it was little to do with that, but more about the cycles of life which we all go through. Psychologists suggest that pretty much every person, when they reach 30, gets to the stage of re-evaluating all that they did in their twenties and truly start to know what they want their life to be about. Maybe the first of the mid-life crises! I’m not ashamed to confess I’m in that place still.
I want my life to be about empowering others to follow Jesus above all else. I want to live out kingdom conspiracy ‘to the ends of the earth!’ Hope you join in.
just a note to say that I’ve finished blogging here at Army Renewal for now. You may or may not know that our next step will be outside the ranks of the Army. I’ll be taking up a post at Trinity Church in Newcastle-upon-Tyne with responsibility for outreach, cell groups and other aspects of that vibrant Methodist church in the city. We will be keeping a keen interest on all things Army.
The blogging journey, however, isn’t over and as soon as I can think up a suitable new title I’ll be blogging again. Meantime, have a look through the last 6/7 years of blogging here at Army Renewal and if you want, just thank God along with me for the joys, challenges and blessings it represents.
Thank you for your loyal readership. I hope this blog has been both a challenge and an encouagement.