Affirmations #5 Demonstrating the Kingdom

5. I believe that signs and wonders and prophetic and deliverance will play a big role in winning the world

Again, long time readers of armyrenewal will know that this is another common feature. As we look through the pages of scripture, the gospels and Acts etc, we see a very direct correlation between proclaiming the kingdom and demonstrating the Kingdom. Jesus very rarely proclaims the Kingdom or calls people to repentance without then demonstrating the Kingdom he is proclaiming or inviting people into.

All versions of the great commission, especially Mark’s version, leave us with no uncertainty that signs, wonders, prophecy, demon-kicking will be part of our ministry. Certainly in Salvation Army history and heritage, we’re not unfamiliar with this kind of thing. Five minutes digging in SA history will prove that…so lets not hear any silly cries of ‘its not Army.’ The SA gave birth the pentecostalism and the more modern charismatic renewal.

We experience in the Army an alarming lack of teaching on these sorts of things. It often doesn’t appear on our radar. However, this is partly because we’ve been low on discipleship in the last few decades. Things are changing though. Many salvationist are now much more spiritually aware.

Now, its not the case that we want to find a demon under every banana skin…but we will want to be aware of the enemy and his minions. We will want to fight until the very end for the freedom of every person both saved and yet-to-be-saved. It is for freedom that Jesus set us free, said Paul.

Demonstrating the Kingdom in its many forms is something that needs revisited.

Resources for that? Try SA101, SA201, SA301. Full of great stuff and available at armybarmy. SA101 available now in book form via Australian trade departments.

Other resources
‘Know you Spiritual Gifts’ by Mark Stibbe
‘Demoloshing Strongholds’ by David Devenish
‘Power Evangelism’ and ‘Power Healing’ by John Wimber
‘Come Holy Spirit’ by David Pitches
‘Prayer Ministry’ (DVD course from Holy Trinity Brompton – home of Alpha course) by Sandy Miller
‘Freedom in Christ’ course by Neil T Anderson and other books of his.

Isaiah 61

Isaiah 61:1-4

Anyone who knows me will realise that when it comes to scripture, Isaiah 61 has always been important to me. I’ve had it on my wall, in my wallet etc for a long time. For me its just a perfect picture of ministry in the power of the Spirit in the name of Jesus for the glory of the Father. Jesus was happy to quote it as his mission statement and its why we’re happy to be doing the same here at Torry.

Poetic, idealistic, romantic, strong, powerful, heroic, passionate, transformational…its all those things and much more. Yet the words on the page are but a shadow of a glimpse at its Author. John the gospel writer tells us that we have in Jesus the fulness of this word as ‘The Word’ incarnate. We want to talk up this ‘Word’ as much as we can…not because he needs the publicity, but because everyone should know him.

Lets be all about Jesus in all that we do. The world needs him, I need Him, and so do you.

Painful Prayer

There is one thing I truly love in life. It won’t come as a surprise to you, perhaps, but its the presence of Jesus by his Spirit. To sense him filling you again and again is a foretaste of heaven and since the very beginning of my Christian life I’ve been so blessed by the way the Holy Spirit has always made his presence known.

There is one thing that really breaks my heart. This might come as a surprise to you, but its the presence of Jesus by his Spirit. I prayed some time ago, really sincerely that God would break my heart with the things that break his. In a way, this is a difficult prayer to pray and I certainly think it is one God delights to answer in the sense of it just being one of those things which shapes and characterises our lives as we follow Jesus.

Since I’ve been praying that kind of stuff, my heart has been softening in so many ways. When people don’t realise that they are trapped in sin but there is a way out, it breaks my heart. When the ‘church’ don’t make room for Jesus in worship, for the Spirit of God to move, it breaks my heart.

God, in answering this prayer, has given me a pretty full experience. You know, joy, peace thats out of this world, but such a heavy heart for so many things. I’m reminded that the trailblazers of revival have often likened this pain to giving birth. Now, to be fair, many of those have been men so I’m not sure how accurate a description that is, but suffice to say that there is a very unique heavy ‘annointing’ (for want of a more accurate word) that comes.

We often equate joy and peace with God’s presence, but there is something altogether different about this ‘birthing’ prayer.

Why do I say all that? I feel that the Spirit of God needs people to feel for the lost. He needs people to mourn the way we shut him out of worship. We need to mourn the poor health of the Bride. We need to feel the plight of the poor, the oppressed and the marginalised. We need people to sense in their spirits the desperate need for worship in spirit and truth, and in all these things, to cry out to God as ‘deep cries out to deep.’

I pray that God will annoint you with His glory, His heart, His passion…in Jesus name.

Waiting and Prayer

By far the most beneficial meetings I’ve been in of late have been ones which have purposely created space for allowing the Holy Spirit to minister. The practice of giving ourselves time to reflect, for example, on a sermon/message/teaching, allowing the Holy Spirit to apply it to our hearts in the context of the worship setting is very beneficial. We often shy away from it for fear of creating an elongated appeal which can seem false, but I’m not necessarily talking about a ‘rend you heart’ appeal even.

Giving people the opportunity to be prayed for, in every meeting, is something which is ingrained in our Salvationist heritage and we may have been guilty of sensationalising it. But nevertheless, lets reclaim it an restore it to its place. Whether this takes place at the Mercy Seat is incidental, but having a clear time where people can come forward for prayer, or indeed, where individuals are encouraged just to pray for others is something healthy to build into our ‘corporate experience.’

Many in our ranks may take a somewhat ‘Mrs Beamish’ approach, as I blogged a few posts ago, but lets have a good go at changing the church culture we’re in where prayer becomes a naturally supernatural norm and where Holy Spirit isn’t scheduled out of the meeting. Its easy to do, I’ve done it myself, but how I regret every time!

So often we need to get out of the way and let the Spirt of God do as he pleases.


I went to the doctors a couple of weeks ago to have a medical done so that I can drive our minibus here at the corps. I just, only just, passed it because my eyesight, without my glasses on, is only just on the required figure.

“Your vision is only just good enough” said the good doctor.

In my heart, my vision is huge. The struggle, with any vision I think, is how to get it out of the heart, onto the paper and more importantly, into action. I’ve spent these last months since end of July doing very little other than trying to listen to the Lord. The enemy has intercepted some of this time with annoying distractions such as health and other stuff, but its been a valuable time of listening to God and to others in the community.

I’m going to start speaking hypothetically here, because although we have a few firm plans for development on our Torry front, we have still so many gaps. What I’m writing now is certainly what might be how Torry and our work here looks, but its mainly what is on my heart as a Salvation Army officer and how I see ministry.

I guess, in terms of values and ‘ideology’ my framework is very much that of the 614 network although, as you’ll see later, when it comes to methodology I may differ in vision slightly. The 614 network hinges on the passage of scripture in Isaiah 61, but verse 4 specifically

They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.

In that context of the city, we want to be making plans to give people a hope and a future…not just for heaven, but here on earth (cf Jeremiah 29:11).

Rebuild, restore, renew, plans, hope, future.

Discussions are already underway in Torry becoming 614 Torry to identify ourselves with that theological framework. The netork is quite diverse in expressions of corps, although there are two or three who are what you could call ‘primitive salvationist’ which is much of where my mission ‘pattern’ lies. There are, of course, strong cross overs in any ‘stream’ attepting to capture the essense of The Army.

Primitive Salvationism is ‘charismatic-flavoured, mission-focussed, heroism.’

– its about operating in the strength and power of the Holy Spirit; fully open to all the the Holy Spirit might accomplish in and through us, believing on Him for more, being free to engage in mission as the Spirit enables!


– it is about recovering a heart for the lost and a passion for the gospel. It is about the desire to move beyond maintaining the status quo to being driven by our God given mission.

– it is about recognising that we are to be voices for the oppressed and suffering as well as being lifters up of the fallen. The world is in the grip of hell…we are sent to the rescue!

In very practical terms: committed to evangelism, outpost planting (through initiatives such as mmccxx to see corps/outposts started in 2000 cities in 200 countries within 20 years), strong commitment to prayer, focus on authentic Christian community by building cell/ward corps, incarnational ministry to the poor, with a strong commitment to training up covenanted warriors to engage in the fight.

With all that as my own personal sort of ‘vision for ministry’ there then simply comes to the questioning as to how the Lord wants to see it in the front I’ve been deployed to. Thats the exctiting bit. Its where the tyres hit the runway!

So, there you have it, my vision for my officership…this is what God has been forging in my heart for these last 13 years as a Salvationist and I thank God for it. If I could keep sight it it more clearly, I’d do better, but by the grace of God I’ll win!

(Credit to Lieutenant Peter Lublink at for the artwork used here)


For some strange reason, I put a CD of gaelic psalm singing in the player this evening. My gaelic is progressing, but its almost impossible to work out what they are singing on the CD due to the style. So I stopped listing to the words and started listening to the worship.

My mind went straight back to the church in Barbhas in Lewis where I visited a couple of years ago where God started to speak to me about Scotland and which ultimately led to our return. As I listened, I recalled how in that church, some 50 years after a powerful revival, the presence of God was so very tangible in the church where there was nothing much modern, trendy or multi-media about the worship.

I’d say there are very few times in these last two years that I’ve sense God’s presence so intensely in a worship session, not like that, anyway. It does cause me to think how much I am desperate for the presence of God, though. Have I not felt God in the same way because its a ‘geographical’ thing, or is it an ‘expectation’ thing? I don’t know.

I think back to earlier this year when I attended a conference about healing where the Holy Spirit actively did something with the disconnected muscles in my face. Holy Spirit tingling for several hours in the affected area bolstering my faith that God indeed IS a God who heals!

I’m sure you, like me can think back to the times when we’ve felt close. Thing is, yesterday’s presence isn’t much good to us. Seek him now, just where you are. Accept his love. Accept his holiness now. Let him touch you afresh, fill you to over flowing, and then go out and infect the world.

Squeezing Out the Holy Spirit

Stephen Court mentions on his blog today that in some parts of the world, today is Mother’s Day as well as Pentecost. He reckons that Mother’s Day would win 2:1 in most preaches in Salvation Army corps today.

Here in the UK, we don’t have Mother’s day today. Our mothers day is a tiny bit more historically based in tradition surrounding the releasing of servants back to worship at their mother church in the lead up to Easter so we don’t have it today.

However, today has also been designated as Candidates Sunday in the UK. In tonnes of ways, today is a strategic day for candidates Sunday being the week after Roots. I know I had the privilege to pray for several people at Roots who were entering training or commiting themsevles to officership as they responded to God at the appeals. Lets pray that there has been a tide of response to be leaders in the Army, its highly important. Sure, any response to the call to officership will no doubt be Holy Spirit led so there is a link.

I am wondering though, like Stephen, how much of the Holy Spirit got in today. If ever there was a key celebration to recognise, it is the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church. Its as significant as Christmas and Easter but we wouldn’t think of holding candidates Sunday then. At Wick, we focussed our attention on Candidates Sunday a couple of weeks ago to free up today for Holy Spirit preaching.

As someone who places a significant emphasis on spiritual renewal and the work of the Spirit as a nutty primitive-salvo, I am disturbed sometimes by the lack of freedom Holy Spirit has amongst us. Salvation Army prayer meetings after the sermon (or the response time, if you like) have all but disappeared from some corps. I’ve been in several meetings over the last few years where the officer or whoever gives a good preach but then dives straight for the benediction.

It can be a job too to see spiritual gifts actively in operation in Salvation Army corps too. Sometimes even in spite of much teaching on the issue, where it exists, there can still be a lack of co-operation with the Spirit in these areas. I encounter now and again a cessationist view in the Army that says the gifts of the Spirit are not for today…anyone holding that position in the Army will indeed be one who as a serious problem not only with scripture, but with the pentecostal wackiness of the early Salvation Army and the rich heritage of teaching, exhortation and prophecy in the tome’s of our history.

There are glorious exceptions to all these things, but we need to be fire people again. I quoted Booth twice this morning in my message:

“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, first and foremost, I commend one qualification which seems to involve all others. That is, the Pentecostal baptism of the Holy Ghost. I would have you settle it in your souls forever this one great immutable principle in the economy of grace, that spiritual work can only be done by those who possess spiritual power. No matter what else you may lack, or what may be against you, with the Holy Ghost you will succeed; but without the Holy Spirit, no matter what else you may possess, you will utterly and eternally fail.”

God, may it sink in more and more.

Vision Alive

I read again in Floyd McClung’s book ‘You See Bones – I see and Army’ the quote “the person with a vision is never at the mercy of people without one.” I was in a coffee shop, having driven the 100 miles to our nearest car servicing garage, and nwow filling up the 5 hour wait with a good book.

The quote just stopped me dead…my heart started to beat fast, and my spirit quickened. I remember the very first time God gave me a real vision of what he wanted from his Army. It must have been about 9 years ago at Roots when the main celebration was still in the Theatre place.

Andrew Grinnell was leading the congregation in ‘The World for God’ and the screen was filled with images of early Army footage…Salvationists marching, old Booth preaching, and all that sort of stuff. Captain Geoff Ryan had just preached, telling stories about the revolutionary Salvationist stuff happening amongs the soldiers in Russia and they were now handing out calls to either pack your stuff and move to Russia or to pack your stuff and move to Manchester to help start the new Eden stuff.

It was a vision of a passionate, aggressive, winning Salvation Army with a radical commitment to discipleship and to the poor.

That evening’s worship changed my life fundamentally. It changed my view of the Army…for the first time I got it. In spite of my crazy conversion, the Army (or the corps) were slowly winning in converting me into a nominal bando. The invite to Roots was a step in God’s divine plan. It blew me away. I can trace my ‘discontent with the status quo’ back to that very evening. Since then, that vision of that kind of Army has been pumping away in my heart and all along I’ve been struggling and striving to make it happen…not in Russia or Manchester, but where I am.

I confess openly that I often fail in this. Sometimes I feel the vision is too big, too huge and subsequently impossible. I’m guilty of often look at the ‘status quo’ and getting the distinct feeling that it has won…that is until God awakens yet again the passion, the vision, the discontent. McClung’s book is dynamite. It’s dangerous reading.

Vision must be shared and shared and shared. It must be sold and communicated and published and refined and shared again. It’s about injecting people, awakening them to discover the DNA of who they are. When people discover this, it just explodes one way or the other.

As Stephen Court was saying on his blog recently, we can be slow to create new wineskins for a wave of the Spirit’s blessing, and God often has to make new skins elsewhere. I firmly believe that the largest threat to any Salvation Army revolution is our tendency to squeeze it into old skins. We try and manage stuff and keep hold of it, package it or legislate it.

My prayer for the Army in these day’s is that we’ll have the willingness to recognise that ‘where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.’ Its crucial that Salvationists in this Territory ask God for his heart and direction and then begin to lead it and live it wherever they are. It can only result in the salvation of the lost…it can only be good.

On Covenant and Officership…

I reckon that most people who know me well would know that I am very unlikely to resign as a Salvation Army officer. There are tonnes of reasons for this. This posting also offers some added info to the last post because I’m picking up that people are perhaps getting unclear messages from my cryptic ramblings!


1) I’m covenanted to stay to the bitter end. Like I posted several months ago, words from George Scott Railton: “I intend carefully to instruct my children that if at any time they see The Salvation Army a wealthy, respectable concern, the majority of whose “soldiers” simply go where they please to attend its’ “ministrations,” leaving the godless undisturbed to perish; and if they see another set of people, however they may be clothed or despised, who really give up all to go and save the lost, then they must not for a moment hesitate to leave the concern their poor old dad helped to make, and go out amongst those who most faithfully carry out what the founder of the Army laid down in his writings and acts, may God preserve them from such a day by keeping the Army free from the love of money and ease” – George Scott Railton, An Autobiography, Full Salvation, Jan. 1, 1894. Whilst I might discourage my children from battling with a dinosaur in favour of joining the people God has raised up to take our crown, I myself am committed to being ‘poor old dad’ trying to be faithful.

I’ve always had the ‘you can’t change it from the outside’ mentality. That’s not to say that I’ll just dig my head in the sand and pretend things aren’t like they are. Its much more about poking your head above the trench. This is much more about what is going on for us just now.

This thing for us just now is about the Salvation War, its about advance, its about Kingdom growth, its about how we best serve the lost in our communities, its about how we best meet the needs of soldiers, its about strategic deployment. Its about wanting all those things to be happening effectively. Don’t get me wrong, whilst I may be frustrated with The Salvation Army, its fueling my Bill-Hybels-like ‘holy discontent’ to get engaged further in ‘Army renewal.’

Where thoughts about ‘life outside officership’ are coming from are probably from misplaced fears that the Army won’t want us. It is in this circumstance that we have to have ‘de-mob’ thoughts although we 100% want to be avoiding that sort of circumstance altogether. Got it?

2) If I resigned I’d have no clothes to wear.

3) In spite of the general spiritual and missional state of the Salvation Army in my territory, I believe that even if God has taken his hand off the Army ALL IT TAKES IS THAT WE RE-DIG THE WELLS OF OUR FOREFATHERS TO BEGIN WALKING IN OUR BIRTHRIGHT. This is why Primitive Salvationism for me isn’t an aesthetic thing.

We have wells of soul-saving, saint-growing, humanity rescuing, prayer warrior-ing, spiritual warfare fighting, world changing, society transforming and world winning to undig. Re-digging these clogged wells takes work, sweat and, to be honest, tears.

4)As Captain Stephen Court points out at, and as I am fully aware, the difference between Booth and the New Connexion and me and the Army could well be covenant. I too can find no example of any sort of agreement that Booth would have entered into in his ordination into the New Connexion. That, however, doesn’t meant to say there wasn’t one and that Booth didn’t break it. I’ve no evidence to support or deny whether Booth was in covenant with the NMC…perhaps if you can find some, we can share it.

However, that aside, covenant is why we’ve not jumped ship and the reason why thoughts about life outside the Army simply become a joke between Captain Tracy and I!!! I won’t be making the choice Booth made unless I’m left with no choice as I outlined before.

The only siginificant parallel that can be made in that instance is one of calling.

5)To resign would discredit the input I’ve put into the lives of officers, local officers, and soldier’s I’ve served with. Covenant is about trust, not only with God, but with each other. I’d never want to make my breaking of covenant anything of an excuse for others to do the same. Its an integrity issue. I’ve taught covenant heavily. If I broke it willingly I’d discredit all that I’ve ever stood for and render myself ‘without a song.’

I don’t want anyone to ever doubt that I can be trusted in the war.

So, there are five reasons I am very unlikely to resign.

However, I’d like to throw out a gambit (if thats what you do with a gambit) and ask a question that I’d like to hear responses to.

The question is in regard to the people of Israel and the example that they are for the church. You know that many a time they, as a people, broken covenant with their God. There was always a faithful remnant to the true purposes of God. Many a time, faithful Jews were carried off into exile with their unfaithful Jews and stayed in covenant to God whilst out of the land and out of the temple. The mind jumps to blokes like Daniel. They were a spiritual Israel in a time when there couldn’t be a physical Israel.

My question is this: If it could be possible that Yahweh has lifted his hand or his hand or his glory in some way from The Salvation Army (in my context), is it possible for some to remain faithful to him outwith the land and the temple (i.e the Army as it is recognised)?

I’d dearly love the answer for this to be no, but my thinking is pretty much coloured by the Old Testament references to people faithful to God in spiritual terms when they were somehow prevented physically.

This is a sincere question, I things its one that we primitives especially have to discuss. I’d be interested to hear your responses…answers on a postcard (or, much easier, just his the ‘comment’ button!)

Holy Spirit

God is just so incredibly faithful. Half the time I’m not anywhere near to understanding Him, but He is faithful. In the times where there are questions floating around He comes with his confirmation, speaks a word here and a word there to give you the understanding that He is indeed trustworthy. More than that, He is thoroughly committed to communicating to us, His people, His children, if we develop ears to hear. Our lives, if we chose to place them there, are in God’s hands. We are His for Him to bless, break, send and invest wherever He pleases.

This evening God made himself tangibly present. I was in a worship meeting at the end of an evening’s worth of training tonight at a local church and as we continued in worship I start to feel the right side of my face tingle and go numb. It began to twitch uncontrollably and tight/powerless muscles began to relax and do things they haven’t done for a while.

Some of you will know that a few years ago I lost control of the muscles in the right side of my face due to a condition called Bells Palsy. I got Bells Palsy when I was in training college during a time when I was actively sharing some pretty spiritually potent stuff in bible study with a few cadets. The enemy tried to shut me up. He did it physically for a while at least. I could hardly speak for weeks. I had still been having pain from this although the muscled had greatly improved.

The healing in this area has been gradual over a period of several years. You will have no idea what Holy Spirit communicated through touching my face like that tonight though. Whether I actually eventually see a marked physical change as a result of this Holy Spirit tingling is not as important in a sense what Holy Spirit spoke to my heart. He was communicating something in the way He touched my face.

The content of that is between me and Holy Spirit, but just be encouraged that He is incredibly faithful….’and He will do it!’