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.

Happy St Patricks Day!

St Patricks Breastplate – warfare prayer

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.

Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

Welcome to 2009 at Army Renewal

Happy New Year to all! Unfortunately, it’s been a rather cold/flu/infection-filled start to 2009, knocked us all for six, but we’re all gradually gaining strength again!

January is about getting down to the business at hand. We begin with sharing in strategy discussions with DHQ in the next week or so as we begin to communicate how we see things develop here.

Stage one of the operation, as already indicated on these pages, is the establishing of some small groups/cells/wards and the development of a monthly gathering of those groups. In larger terms, our vision is to build a vibrant faith community that reflects the neighbourhood in terms of its make-up. This is the exciting bit. We’re wedged to no-ones plan or design other than the direction of the Holy Spirit…we’re out to reach people with the gospel, disciple them as soldiers, and help them engage in mission with us.

Our current strength stands at two active soldiers plus ourselves. What can I say, we can only grow!

I hope you’ll join us in our advance here in prayer and by joining us for regular updates!

Under the fence

We’re in a situation here on our front where we have no money (as in much less than zero in our accounts) and we’ve few people (as in soldier fighting force). You could, of course, help us with that by either sending some cash or moving yourself up here, getting a job in our city and moving in. However, prayer for us will do equally as well.

Here is what we have discerened our strategy is. We have a vision to plant small groups across our city…when I say small, I mean we only want two or three in each group. We will start a new group each time it gets to four (the simplest biblical form of ‘church’ is ‘2 or 3’). At some point, when there are enough groups (say 4 or 5) we’ll gather the people together and form a nucleus for a small outpost for public worship and ministry in some form or other. We have 4 areas identified for doing this…4 potential outposts, two that will start in embryo form next week.

Its called ‘Under the Fence Warfare.’ Why? Because we don’t have the resources to go into these communities all guns blazing. All we’ve got is air cover (prayer) and on the ground warriors. We’re not so much basing ourselves ‘Scottish Regiment of the British Army’ but more ‘French resistance’ (low key but strong effort behind enemy lines)

Pray for us as we start going ‘under the fence.’

Parade Ground Battle Ground

The difference I’ve heard many a time is the difference between a parade ground soldier such as you may see standing outside Buckingham Palace and a soldier, for example, fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The parade soldier is standing guard ceremonially in the possible occasion that the ‘enemy’ may confront him, but can spend the time looking pretty because he’s not out to look for a difficult shift. Actually, the armed police at the gate are the ones really doing the real protection job. When the soldier changes shift, he returns to the relative safety of the barracks.

The soldier fighting in ‘the trench’ has to be aware of his enemy coming from anywhere, at any time, and is there to secure the nation under threat against the usurped power of bands of loosely networked assassins. He doesn’t have time to sit pretty. Even in his rest time his weapons are by his side.

Interestingly, the parade soldier and the engaged soldier have the same training, have potential access to the same weaponry, and are both active in the army.

The difference is that the location and role of one soldier makes it pretty much unnecessary for him to use his skills, training and weaponry at all. He is simply standing guard over the establishment and the people who are part of the establishment. Potentially, however, the soldier may actually be deployed the next week to the same environment of the other soldier.

The challenge is this…if we accept at all that we as The Salvation Army have to maintain parade ground soldiers at all, do those who are occassionally deployed in that regard actually have the ability to fight in the trench the next day? To what extent do we have warriors as opposed to ceremonials in our ranks?

When I turn my mind to military bandsmen, what you have there are musicians who have a very minimal military training, because they’re very rarely, if ever, in combat. Their role is often ceremonial. I think that only Scotland can claim to have offensive weapons in their military bands in the form of the bagpipe…many an enemy would run a mile at the sound…however, I digress. Will we ever see the return of the non-ceremonial warfare fighting Salvation Army band? I, personally, live in hope, but I’m not sure if its founded on good ground or if its just wishful thinking.

Flicking through reports in many editions of the Salvationist its perfectly clear to see the distinction between ceremonial Salvationism and militant Salvationism. Having said that, ceremonial Salvationism tends to get more space. In one report, a band plays at a civil function, in another a group of Salvationists raises money for new chairs, in another there is hob-nobbing with city officials.

In contrast, there is the reports of a young officer couple who I know personally (younger than me) pioneering a corps in a land in desperate poverty and no concept of what the Salvation Army is, innovative creative arts programmes to introduce children to faith. Perhaps news of a new soldier who was saved through the Army who hasn’t been brought up through the ranks or transferred from another church. But as I said, militancy difficult to spot in the Salvationist!

So…parade ground or battle ground? Soldiers or warriors? Status quo or trailblazing? Sheep-stealing or soul-winning? Beautiful bands or bazooka bagpipes?

Stomping on Darkness

Here in Wick we’ve stopped closing our blinds when we go to bed. The simple reason for that is its still daylight so it just seems wrong! Here is the pic to prove it. This was taken at 11pm tonight. It hasn’t been doctored or changed in any way!

Dispelling darkness must continue to be a key aspect to our mission and not just dispelling it with good works, campaigning and ‘shining our light’, but engaging in active warfare prayer. Paul reminds us that our battle is with spiritual powers in heavenly places (cf Eph 6) We conquer in Jesus’ name through the blood.

It means we don’t just help the poor, we pray against the spirit of poverty.
It means we don’t just clean up the alcohol, we pray against spirits of addiction.
It means we don’t just preach the gospel, we pray against the blinding work of Satan.
It means we don’t just increase our presence in poor areas, we pray against the variety of spiritual forces keeping those area poor.
It means…..a whole lot more.

We don’t just pray in our buildings, we get out there and stomp around, lay hands on things, claim back ground, march and worship in the streets, cast out demons…basically, we go out and usher in the Kingdom of the Lord and his Christ.

If you’re reading this and you don’t think the above will make the slightest bit of difference, the only suggestion I can make is that we continue to ask the Lord to reveal to us what can only be discerned spiritually. We so often look at things from a worldly and human point of view. We forget, not only demons, but the angels the Lord assigns to battle in the heavenly realms against the agents of satan. We’re on the winning side, ours is the mop-up operation.

Our meeting leader today asked us ‘who do you say I am?’, not her, Jesus. When we come to the concept of Christian warfare, who do we say Christ is in it? Is he a Jesus who never tackled a demon, a spirit, the devil or a corrupt authority or government? Or perhaps to you he is only gentle Jesus, meek and mild.

Lets continue to pray in the Kingdom.

From the Northern Front….

So, apologies for the lack of blogging, but I’ve been about my Father’s business! Things are progressing well on the northern front! People are responsing well to our ministry in the corps and we’re getting more and more well known in the town. Can’t go out with out a wee kid shouting “Hello Captain Andrew!” Tis good.

Thankfully, there is no discernable negative spiritual strongholds in the life of the corps. Things are healthy spiritually, the soldiers are prayerful, well saved and doing well on the whole. There are many who are ready for some deeper level of things…hallelujah. Tonight I introduced the concept of power evangelism and the response was enthusiastic. Hallelujah again.

The town though, is in possession of a strong anti-Christian stonghold. There seems to be no logical reason for that other than its a device of the enemy. We do have freemasonry in the town…that may well have something to do with it. The average church attendance for Scotland is 12% but here in Wick and Caithness only 6% of the population go to church. When you consider a whole 1% of Pill went to the Army alone, you will understand the contrast.

The vast majority of people are very warm and weloming, but in the several witnessing situations I’ve had so far, the discussion has been very anti-God. We are praying God will lift up the veil of the enemy so that we can see some eyes opened. We’re in the middle of teaching the warriors here how to pray more specifically and biblically, so we’re hoping that will be of great benefit. This is warfare stuff though…this is where we become open to the attack of the enemy…cover us in prayer if you have the time to.

I think the Lord has laid out the strategy for the battle on the kids front…I’ll be working that through and letting you know the plans in that area in due course. I’m excited about what God is going to do.

We had our divisional welcome meeting last Saturday. I was interviewed and in the process was asked to explain primitive salvationism to the people gathered. Nice opportunity to share that message.

Was even more fascinating to discover that whilst the Lord was preparing me for an appointment in North Scotland, the appointments board had been intending to send me somewhere else until the Lord interupted proceedings and changed the plans…had it from the mouth of one of those involved (who shall remain nameless in case he gets into trouble…although, seeing as he testified to the fact during his sermon, I reckon the damage is already done!! lol) I was able to confirm that the Lord had already communicated this fact to me previously to bolster his arguement that we must listen to God!

So, over and out for now.

keep fighting like a warrior

Andrew C

The beginning of the end…

The reality of moving appointment is slowly beginning to sink in. Our second appointement as officers in charge of a Salvation Army corps is coming to an end.

I’m not altogether sure I like it, but I know its right. When a place begins to tire you to an extent you don’t feel there is much left you can give, its definitetely time to move on. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be a fly on the wall for the next stage of the developing ministry and witness of this corps. There are, as always for us, exciting prospects.

Unfortunately, there are the same old strongholds too…some which will not give up their grip very easily. Pill is one of the best corps in the territory, but one which has ‘thorns in the flesh’ that need major uprooting…like many places I suppose.

I’ve always had a policy of choosing my battles carefully. There are somethings, that whilst they may seem urgent and pressing, that are actually not worth exerting any breath about at all. I think I’ve fought some pretty major battles here…won some, lost others. I look back at them, and although some of them have been and are difficult, they have all been worth fighting. There has been suffering involved, but no resurrection ever came about except through the other side of suffering.

I came here determined that I wouldn’t leave the corps as I found it. Now, depending on what each persons view is of my ministry will depend on whether they think that is a good thing or a bad thing! Regardless of any of that, I can say, hand on heart, that we’ve been faithful to God in this corps. We’ve tried to follow him whilst leading others. We’ve heard him calling us to deeper waters that we’ve dreaded to even go near, yet he has been faithful.

Its hard to express just how much I will miss the corps, in spite of the ups and downs, but I will.

My prayer is that our successors will continue to shout ‘Freedom’ very loudly. My prayer is that they will shout ‘Salvation’ very loudly and that they will shout ‘holiness’ even louder. As some wise man once said, ‘holiness is the solution to every problem.’

There is a song by the (im)famous Wurzels of ‘I’ve got a brand new combine harvester’ fame which goes: “Pill, Pill! I love thee still…even though I’m leaving.” True.