Vital Prayer

“Prayer brings renewal that the lack of prayer makes necessary.”  Let me say that again… “Prayer brings renewal that the lack of prayer makes necessary.”  
You know, the church can ‘live’ without vital prayer.  Many churches have been doing it for an awful long time.  My question is why on earth would you want to?  To the church at Sardis, Jesus said:  “These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.  I know your deeds;  you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.”  Jesus knew it was possible to have the appearance of life, to be moving around like the headless chicken only to then collapse in a heap on the floor because the body has become separated from the head.
Up and down our nation the church of Jesus Christ limps along on life support because our prayerlessness has made renewal a vitally pressing need in our day.  We’ve become increasingly separated from the Head.   But before we start pointing any fingers anywhere else, lets not neglect the opportunity to examine our own hearts before the Lord.
One of the passages of scripture you’ll find in the prayer room is an agricultural themed prophetic word from good ole Hosea.  In chapter 6 he prophesies a great harvest for Judah, a great harvest of righteousness.  They he goes on a bit about all the reasons that its just not gonna happen in their condition until in chapter 10 he says:
12 Sow righteousness for yourselves,
   reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your hard unplowed ground;
   for it is time to seek the LORD,
until he comes  and showers his righteousness on you.
13 But you have planted wickedness,
   you have reaped evil,
   you have eaten the fruit of deception.
It is time to seek the Lord until he showers his righteousness upon you.
Fast forward a handful of a hundred years and Jesus stands before the disciples and tells them
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.”
The workers are few because the need of the harvest field is something that needs to be revealed to the human heart by the Spirit of God.  Keepers of hard hearts will never see the vital need for mission in the world.  The fields will always be someone elses work to them.  Or, it will be someone else’s problem because as for them, they have their own fields to plow….the fields of self sufficiency, distraction, pursuit of personal gain and their own cauldron of scepticisms and fears about the call to take the gospel to the nations.
The church has believed a theology that came from the Kevin Costner film of the 1990s, ‘Field of Dreams’ where he has this strange ghostly voice who whispers to him ‘If you build it, they will come’  So he builds a baseball pitch in his corn field and baseball legends appear from out of the field to play in it.  It becomes an attraction and the closing shot in the film is a massive line of cars coming towards his failing farm. 
In this passage Jesus does not say to the disciples ‘if you build it, they will come.’  No, his emphatic word to those 72 disciples was hey….get to prayer, ask for a spiritual revelation of the readiness of the harvest field!  Then ask the Lord to reveal to you who the workers will be that will go into the field.  And then having done that you will recognise it is you….I am sending you out like lambs amongst the wolves, said Jesus.
“Here I am Lord, send someone else.”
If passionate prayer does not mark the house of the Lord, it shall have a name and yet be dead.  My house will be a house of prayer, declares Jesus.  Back in Solomons day as he dedicates the grand temple to the Lord, he has this conversation, this encounter with God.  You will recognise the words, they are so vital and they are such a powerful testimony to the church in these days.
1 Chronicles 7 reads like this:
11 When Solomon had finished the temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the LORD and in his own palace, 12 the LORD appeared to him at night and said:
   “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.
 13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
 17 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.’
 19 “But if you[a] turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you[b] and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All cwho pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 22People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’” 
The message trumpets through the word of God through the generations:  consider your hard hearts.  Break up your fallow ground.  Humble yourself. Remove the stones of sin and wickedness from your lives.  Pray to the Lord of harvest for a revelation of the world around you, pray, get a revelation of the plight of those who are lost.  Recognise that it is my name  that is important not yours.  When you’ve planted the seed of the Kingdom in your cleansed heart, when you have a Kingdom vision instead of a ‘you’ vision, then you’ll respond by going into all the world, you’ll reap a harvest of righteousness for yourselves and for the Kingdom.  Healing will begin in your land because salvation colonies will establish themselves once more and darkness will be pushed back….my glory will be revealed.  Only then will you have a name worthy of the majesty of him.
It was William Booth who said “Let others whose blood is fired and whose hearts are melted after the same fashion join hands with you. Make a Mount Carmel of some ante-room, or barracks, or kitchen and offer yourself up as a sacrifice, body, soul and spirit, and believe and wait until you receive the Holy Fire” 

And then he penned words to the song 

‘’Tis fire we want, for fire we plead,
The fire will meet our every need,
For strength to ever do the right,
For grace to conquer in the fight,
For power to walk the world in white,
Send the fire!

To make our weak hearts strong and brave,
To live a dying world to save,
O see us on Thy altar lay
Our lives, our all, this very day;
To crown the offering now we pray,
Send the fire!

Break up your hard ground.  See the Lord for a revelation of the harvest fields that are ripe.  Plant the Kingdom seed and a passion for his name in your heart….and then go.  Friends, we’re here to do business with God this evening.

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I can see you!

So, as The Salvation Army we’re pretty visible…or are we?  Its weird that lots of Salvos doen’t always dig the visibility thing.  I don’t want to judge their motives, but you have to wonder why people, Salvos especially, wouldn’t want to be visible when you have a mission to do.  Lets not get into the ‘fashion’ aspects of uniform….I mean, I’m talking the whole gambit of visibility here – everything from high collar to Army t-shirt n jeans.

The last year has been weird in many respets in that I’ve worn uniform very little (although I have tramped through the streets of Newcastle in a Street Pastor uniform).  Totally weird for me – at one point I hardly owned any clothes that weren’t uniform.  I’ve entered the ‘invisible’ Christian world and it has been interesting to say the least.

The first thing I really notice is that no-one talks to you.  Not really.  Its tough to strike up conversations without a context.  I’ve also noticed that its very easy and tempting to remain anonymous in the neighbourhood where I live and even where I work in Gosforth.  Thats weird….usually a year in a place I’d have established myself as a presence locally.  I’ve noticed also that because I’m not ‘dressed up’ I really don’t have anywhere to go!  When you’re a turasaiche (traveller, vagabond, nomad) like me, you have to have strategies to strike up relationships quick.

Of course, much mission strategy is founded upon relational and missional type approaches these days….this is all fantastic, I mean, I encourage that ….people should be in significant relationships with independents (those living independent from Jesus).  I encourage all the long termers in this community to focus on that as a priority.  Yet, it is foolish, entirely foolish, to put all our eggs in one basket.  It also creates a rather limited focus of outreach other than relational.  Read me, I’m not dissing relational at all….but I don’t think it will win the whole War of Love.  If this is true for my work context, its certainly true for Salvationists.

At the end of the day, we have a gift of visibility and a credible ‘brand’.  What are we doing with it?  People are generally positive (if not bemused) by us.  Whilst the days are for us, is it not prudent for the Kingdom to be using this gift to its absolutely greatest advantage?  It was seeing a uniform in the street that started me on the tracks of exploration into the Army and within a few weeks finding Jesus.

The other thing I note is that no-one in the last year has tried to ‘evangelise’ me other than the JWs.  Even local Salvos who had no idea who I am, at least in the initial months, made no attempt to talk to me inspite of hanging round to test em out (sneaky, I know).  I include in that sitting on a park bench near an open air.  I was offered a songsheet but no conversation or other engagement.  But hey, it was happening!  Those guys were there doing the stuff, regarldess of the confidence of the folks doing it.

In one way, all evangelism is relational….sometimes we just have to find ways of striking up relationships quick.  I mean, it we take the gospel seriously and don’t get misled by people who try to downplay the urgency of the gospel message by taking away the penalty of sin, regadless of where our starting point is in evangelism,  its crucial they get to hear eventually and that probably will only come with a follower of Jesus initiating a conversation.  People get silly and say ‘you can’t treat people as projects.’  Who is?  At the end of the day, we are co-workers with Christ – he sends us into the field to make disciples of all nations…..who is to say that the people we engage aren’t the ones a) who are more ready for the seed of the gospel to be planted and b) are who God has been actively drawing to himself and getting response from.

Lets use every positive thing we can to be visible, available and ready to engage folks.   Our Sally suits are one of the best tools we have when we fill them with hearts of compassion and zeal for the Lord mixeed with great love and grace.

Tugboats, Tankers, Cruiseliners and Lifeboats.

Remember Phil Wall?  I do.  Used to lead the ‘mission team’ in the UK, also CSM at Raynes Park Corps.   His influence was massive on me in my earlier Army days, particularly through the early Roots conferences at Southport.  Literally changed my life and the flavour of my Jesus following.  He got us all fired up for the gospel and a radical brand of Salvationism which was much rarer in the UK then than even it is now.

I remember one particular year….might be Roots, maybe somewhere else…..around the late mid-late 90s where he painted the picture of The Salvation Army as being a massive oil tanker forging its way through the ocean.  These things, once they are moving, take an absolute age to stop….ie around 25 – 30 miles before they come to a halt.  And then the effort comes to get them to go a different way.

Phil said ‘Who will be tugboats for Jesus….pulling The Salvation Army back into alignment with where God would take it?’  Tugboats for Jesus.  We all stood-up/kneeled/prayed/worshipped/surrendered/sang our commitment to be tugboats for Jesus.  I went back to my corps and started tugging….so they cut the ropes, to one extent or another.

OK, I thought.  If I can’t tug it, I’ll try to get onboard and steer at least one part of it.  So, they let me train to be an officer.  I did some decent tugging and steering at college and after commissioning, I steered some mini-tankers.  Well, we turned a few degrees in some places, more in others, less in some.   Soon enough, we ended up with a scene from ‘Guys and Dolls’:  “SIDDOWN…..YOU’RE ROCKING THE BOAT!”  …and the people all said siddown….siddown you’re rocking the boat.

Booth’s Vision of the drowning multitude

There are days when I’d wonder if the boat was worth it.   There have been days of late when I just got off the boat altogether and joined the crew of a cruiseliner instead!  The cruiseliner is lovely.  The captain is steering, everyone is having a great time.  But then, every now and then, I stand and look out into the sea and there is a different thing going on out there.  Vast swathes of people drowning in sin and circumstance.

The cruiseliner begins to lose its appeal.  The tugboats seem distracted, the oil tanker just doesn’t seem interested and is sometime powerless to do anything….its course seems so predetermined.

So, a different boat is needed.  The lifeboat, neglecting the need to be any of the other kinds of boats, doesn’t concern itself with the same stuff the others do.  Its much more content to be at sea whenever there are those in need.  Its often under funded, unseen, with a much smaller crew than the other boats, but the biggest difference is that it saves lives.

My theory is this:  if we man the lifeboats, we will save enough people to build more lifeboat crews.   Soon enough there will be more people manning the lifeboats than manning the other ships and the seas will be fully manned.

I want to be a lifeboat captain.  I’d advocate that Jesus manned a lifeboat crew. They missioned, rescued, saved, healed, but when they weren’t ‘at sea’ they ate, built community, were trained up, slept and prayed. He only went near the cruiseship (temple) to remind them that there was a mission to be done out at sea (see Luke 4 for example)

To change the metaphor:  “Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.”  CT Studd.

Soldiership

I wear soldier eppaulettes these days, so what I’m going to say may seem like something of an anti-officer rant. It isn’t.  Incidentally, I often would say the same thing when I was an officer, so I hope that deals with the issue of ‘biased perspective.’  I’ve written at length here about the unhealthy divide between clergy/lay within The Salvation Army and the clericalisation of officership.   I think it remains a big issue within The Army and the level to which it is dealt with and resolved is the extent to which The Army will release as much of its human resource as possible in a healthy way.  The increase in the use of the term ‘ordination’ is increasing more and more in relation to officers.  I did a bit of a litmus test between two versions of the SA Year Book.  Between 2000 and 2010, the use of the word ‘ordination’ in reference to officers had gone up from about 6 uses in 2000 to nearly 70 references in 2010 (if I remember the figure correctly).

The Officer is, of course, a soldier too.  She/he is in the fight too.  But the officer’s role is a strategic leadership one.  Its a co-ordinative role, an equipping role.  The aim is to co-ordinate the Salvation War of Love.  That is not a denegration of officership, it is a raising up of officership to its rightful purpose and usefulness.  The fact that officers are trained to be priests/pastors/clergy is a different matter entirely.

The soldier is the front line.  Even as I type that, I can hear officers getting upset.  True, there are many officers who are very front line in terms of what their appointment needs.  But this is often because the soldiery have been treated as ‘laity’ and not as covenanted soldiers.  Not necessarily by this generation of officers who find themselves increasingly front line with few soldiers, but because in the last 40 years or so, clericalisation has come upon officership and many have embraced it.  As officership has embraced clericalism, so the emphasis and potency of soldiership in the Army has declined.

As a younger man, I had a very active soldiership between the ages of 15 and 20, after which I became the then equivalent of envoy/sergeant (depending on your territory) and then an officer.  I was preaching in the corps from age 16, leading, teaching, witnessing and preaching in the open air, leading Alpha courses, pioneering children’s work, as well as all the usual minsitry in a ‘regular’ corps of band, songsters, etc etc and the ministry opportunities invovled there.  I also fed the homeless on the streets, sallied up and went out on purpose to engage people with the gospel….not to forget selling the War Cry!

The truth is that I had more opportunities for mission as a soldier than as an officer.  Thats how it should be!  At stages along the journey, you see, were officers who cheered me on and sent me out.  I had access to places, people and situations they would never have access to.  I had schools full of teenage peers, streets full of people I knew very well, I had a regular job which brought me into contact with many people.  It was the true front line.  I loved it and it made me the person I am today. I had a vigorous soldiership.

Soldiership needs to be seen for what it is, it needs to be recovered significantly.  Soldiership is not membership of a corps…it is not ‘church membership’ or even Army membership.  Soldiers sign a covenant, a particular rule of life.  It is not synonymous to being a part of the universal body of Christ.  Why?  because you don’t need a piece of paper to belong to Jesus.  You are automatically belong to Jesus when you confess him as Lord.  No, if soldiership is our standard for membership of the church it is heresy, entirely.

Soldiership is a vocation, a calling, wherein you sign up to live in a certain way: a life of mission, holiness, sacrifice and with some distinctive ‘signs’ there too (no alcohol, smoking, drugs, sex out of marriage, porn etc etc)  People get upset that there are ‘extra requirements’ to be a soldier.  I can understand that if you view soldiership as membership.  But thats not how it was intended to be and its not what it is on paper!

It is monastic in nature.  Monastic is the best way to understand the intentions of the whole idea of soldiership.  Not in the sense of hiding away in seclusion, no, we’re talking and active monasticism….like Friars, brothers (and sisters) on the road preaching the gospel and tending the poor.  Soldiership is a way of life.  (Incidentally, the then Commissioner Shaw Clifton, in my view, missed the point when he denied the monastic nature of soldiership.  Whilst its not necessarily true to call the Army an order ecclesiastically, it is certainly the case the we have an order of covenanted soldiers and officers within the Army – in theory if not in practice!)

But it has become bland church membership.  How sad, what a pale reflection of the potential of soldiership that is.  When I was a recruit, my corps officer led me to have no doubt that this was a giving away of my life, it was about more than simply identifying with the Army.  I hope that I’ve communicated that effectively to the soldiers that I have recruited and enrolled over the years.   In our day, people are again discovering the power of covenants, rules of life, missional movements and communities…..becoming bands of missioners as opposed to church members.  The Army has been out in the lead amongst the contemporary evangelical church since our conception with this one….lets not miss the boat unless this is to be yet another area where we will be robbed of our crown.

It was Dietrich Bonnhoeffer who said: “The renewal of the church will come from a new type of monasticism which only has in common with the old an uncompromising allegiance to the Sermon on the Mount.  It is high time men and women banded together to do this.”  

Let us, as Salvationists, catch up with our own vision which others are only aspiring to!

 

Falling away

Last week, with my Circuit colleagues, we toddled off to the mother house of the Northumbria comunity.  It was a good day ‘alone together’.  Good times of silence, conversation, reflection and talk over food.  God really spoke to me.

We were invited to consider the season, autumn (as it is here in the Northern Hemisphere).  A time where the vegetation begins to fall away and things change nature, colour and shape.  We were then asked to consider what was changing/falling away in our own lives.  When I look into what I see the future containing, the way the Lord is leading, here is what I sense what is, firstly,  falling away, but for each falling away, what I sense that means in the positive:

Personally:
– freedom and liberty to choose = a welcome return to a disciplined life
– sense of entitlement to my own vision – = a welcome return to community and a vision bigger than my own
– losing unhealthy approaches and habits, comforts and dependancies = freedom!
– denial of true call and DNA = embracing identity
– the scripture that came to me was ‘He who loses his life will find it.’

In ‘ministry’:
– the thoughts of permanancy, settling long term = embracing the pilgrim life…releasing the ‘turasaiche’ within!
–  good opinions of men…and then the Lord blazoned this scripture to my mind “Woe to you when people say all sorts of good things about you for this is how their father’s treated the false prophets.”  – Lk 6:26

Another highlight was what we hoped our ‘spring’ would contain, what I wanted to see.  Here is what I wrote:

“Mission-focussed communities of the followers of Jesus, rooted in authentic experience of vibrant faith and spirituality.”

All that is enough to keep me engaged for a good while!  What about you?  What is God causing to fall away from your life and experience?  What are your hopes for spring?  More importantly, what does God want to do in your life in ‘winter’ inbetween?

Mercy Seat comes home!

Ceitidh testing out the Mercy Seat

A few thoughts collided the other week and I decided to go for it!  I’ve long been wanting to set up a prayer area at home for us as a family as a constant visual reminder that God is among us and to encourage the children in particular to engage creatively in prayer rather than just at the ‘standard’ times.

I’d also been missing access to the Mercy Seat, not only in the context of public worship, but for myself.  Sure, in the words of Brengle, we can go to the Mercy Seat in our hearts.  Sure, we can pray anywhere.  But we want, as a family, to have God at the centre and a reminder of his call to us to seek him and be in relationship with him: saved and sanctified. 

So, having saved up some pennies I was gifted for my birthday, we went out in search of a simple bench that would be our family Mercy Seat.  As time goes on, we will use the tiles from the unused fireplace to post prayers and pics of those we are praying for. 

As I expected would happen, as soon as Ceitidh came in from school and saw the new addition to our lounge furniture, she just had to try it out! 

Crazy?  Yep, a bit.  But the question is: Would your home benefit from a Mercy Seat?  Go on…..you know you want one!

Set up ready to go!

Mercy Seat in practical mode as extra seating

What do we bring?

Its true.  Salvos don’t have the monopoly on the gospel.  Its bigger than us, huge, massive….salvation is absolutely colossal.  The whole of the body of Christ can get stuck in, enveloped, captured, inspire and propelled by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Its boundless, unmeasured and freedom giving.  Lets not limit it at all.

But let me tell you something today:  we have a massive perspective to bring to the wider body of Christ when it comes to the gospel.  We live in a world, especially in the West, where we are in the grips of times we’ve never seen before since our lands were filled with those who chase after other gods.  For many people Christianity and the church is but a monument of something passed.  The world is disengaged with the gospel.  But you know what?  The church is becoming disengaged with the gospel.  It is losing confidence in the person of Jesus Christ.

Its happening in the Army too.  What do we Salvos bring to the table in this whole thing?

1.  Whosoever will  – you know, most of the big name stars in the church today thinks Jesus died for a few that God fancied saving.  You’re either in or out from birth and even before birth.  Its not difficult to see how to get that from the bible and many people do.  But we Salvos don’t get it.  We hold to the fact that yes, God is Sovereign and he knows who will eventually accept him, but that its not governed by him, but that the atonement us unlimited, for who whole world!  More than that….we think they can all be holy too!

2.  The World for God  – And because we believe no. 1, we are frantic missioners of the whole world.  127 countries and counting the Army spreads the message of the whosoever.  We have a massive international vision.  The internet has brought us all closer.  I can enjoy daily interaction with brothers and sisters from Australia, Canada, the US, Romania, Russia, France, and even Scotland in the comfort of my own front room and we can scheme together, plan together for the sake of the gospel.

3.  Common covenant – Stephen Court rightly identifies that covenant is the thing that will stop fragmentation in the Army.  Not, I don’t think, because we want to create a sausage factory.  But my experience of late tells me this – it is EXTREMELY difficult to work in mission and discipleship in an environment when no one know exactly what we’re talking about when we say those things.  Sure, corps lose their way too – we lose our sense of mission and the radical call to discipleship.  But hey, we have a few things written down about what we believe as a benchmark and we can point to it.  Not to beat each other up with it, as is what sometimes happenes in corps which focus on the law of the written word instead of the spirit of it, but hey, on the whole we know what we’re on about.  That creates focus and when harnessed, should build strong communitas amongst those we mission with.  Get it? 

4.  Gospel for the poor –  let me say first of all that in this area, God is already raising up people to ‘steal our crown’ on this one.  We’re not so good news for the poor as we always think and let ourselves think.  But regarldless of how well we do it, we are a movement who is more interested in the hopeless communities than we are the leafy suburbs.  Right?  I mean, the poor are our people.  We mission not just to them, for them, but we have the theology built into our DNA from the beginning that says we mission with them (assuming that you reading are not poor because you’re reading this on the internet access you have).

Folks, I’m sure if I thought longer, there would be other things but these 4 things strike me as the things that are unique to what we bring.  These things bring a very unique shape to the way we follow Jesus.  Lets think about these things and see if we can’t live them out in the environments we are in, whether we spend our whole lives at the Army or not.

Get in line

So Friday is my sabbath day…its my day off work. I am on my own for at least 6 hours of this day whilst my kids are at school and my other half is at work. Its so important for me to get before the Lord. This is a discipline. It won’t happen if we’re not disciplined enough to do it. Can I afford to do it? Nah..on my day off, financially, I could do with finding ways to earn some cash – we’re in a recession for goodness sake. But if I’m not before the Lord, I might as well just go away.

Never mind this garbage we feed outselves about not having the time to come before the Lord. Sure, you might be saying, well I don’t have 6 hours to take out. Sure you do. You just dont want to. You just don’t make it possible. You make time for everything else apart from the Lord. How do I know this? Because I am human and for so long I’ve been a failure at this stuff. And when I am failing at this stuff, sin gets a foothold in my life and I cease being the man that God calls me to be. And I am ashamed. If I want to go round doing this stuff in my own strength, then I’m stuffed. I haven’t got any. Come on, you know what I’m talking about here.

There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…if what I said makes you sit up and take note, then thats the Holy Spirit telling you you’re getting it wrong. But if you start to think ‘oh you’re useless, you’ll never get it right scumbag, think you follow God? HA!’ well, thats the enemy trying to get you down. God confronts us to show us the right path, not to beat on us. Come on, quit fooling around and get close to Jesus. Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you says James.

I didn’t plan to say all that, but I think it might help at least one of you reading. Happy to support you if I can….let me know.

What I was going to say is that what God has been saying to me to day is to step up. Some of you who know me may not realise I’m a horrific introvert. Put me on an island for a week on my own – man, I’m almost in heaven. But yet, the journey the Lord has put me on has so often been about being out there, with people constantly. More than that, out there with a message the few want to hear, not only in the church but in the world in general. The gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those of us who are being saved, it is the power of God for our salvation.

And lots of time, especially in the last 3 years where I’ve been in situations where hope has slipped away, I’ve stepped back from the front. When we allow other things to crowd round, it obscures our vision of Jesus and his call upon us to be his disciples and to make disciples of all the nations.   Another thing thats happened is that I’ve been swayed by too many people’s version of things. You know, we all need to learn and process what we’re learning. But we have to bring it back to the Lord and say ‘is this your thought Jesus?’ ‘Do you go with this?’ ‘Do I see this in you?’ ‘Is this how you went about things?’ ‘Does this fit with your message?’ If yes, we hang onto it and put it as an arrow in our quiver. If no, then we cast it aside. What do you need to cast aside?

If your god is the god who is only ever patting you on the back and afffirming your lifestyle and your plans, then there is every chance you’ve fallen into the mistake of making a god in your own image. This god will ultimately fail you because it isn’t real. The bible tells us that God disciplines us as his children, he pulls us into line for our own good and for his glory….but then pours out such an abundance, an ABUNDANCE, of grace and mercy. It will follow us all the days of our lives as we live submitted to Jesus.

Come on, get in line.

Free E-book! ‘REVOLUTION’ by White and Court

And whilst we’re on a roll of posting documents, here is a copy of ‘REVOLUTION’ by Aaron White and Maj Stephen Court (uploaded for you at the request of Stephen). White and Court set out the radical call for primitive Salvo mission in a fresh and compelling vision

. You’ll want to download it and read it.

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Unleashing the Apostolic Genius in The Salvation Army

This document was originally a blog series and also appeared as an article in JAC 65 where I was guest editor. Here I trace the fundemental elements of apostolic mission in the early Army and how we might need to recover them today.

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