Friday, June 29, 2007

Joshua the reinstated priest... The video!

The following link will take you to a video recording of the sermon, I preached at my reinstatement as an Officer. Have a quick look because it took ages to work out how to do this.

The sermon was based on the following reading from Zechariah 3:1-7
"Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not his man a burning stick snatched from the fire?" Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, "Take off his filthy clothes." Then he said to Joshua, "See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you." Then I said, "Put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by. The angel of the LORD gave this charge to Joshua: "This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here. "

Love and prayers


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thanks Clinton Trimmer

A couple of days ago I published the picture (left) and asked if anyone could shed any light on it. Rob Reardon put me in touch with the wonderful Clinto Trimmer who came up with the following:

According to the research I’ve done I believe it was taken in the summer of 1883 in Oakland California. When Major Wells (on one knee by the drum), first Salvation Army officer in the west, arrived in June of 1883 he met with the members of the Pacific Coast Holiness Association. The PCHA had come across a War Cry possibly as early as 1881 and decided to model their organization after The Salvation Army. They even went so far as to ask William Booth to send someone to the west to open the work in California. (California at this time wasn’t exactly tamed. Most images of the Wild West with stage coaches, saloons, cowboys and miners certainly apply to California at the time.)

The group in Oakland was called the #1 regiment because the PCHA was trying to keep the spirit of the military structure that was used in London. Oakland had the #1 regiment, San Francisco had the #2 regiment, and San Jose (a town on the southern end of the bay) had the #3 regiment. When Wells arrived he met with all these groups who were part of the PCHA and rolled them into The Salvation Army. Sadly by the time Henry Stillwell, Wells’ partner who had stayed in New York to handle some business matter before crossing the continent, arrived in October of 1883 most of the members of the PCHA had left the Army. One of the members, who stayed though, although not in the photograph, was John Milsaps who became the first American Salvation Army Officer in the American West.

This is possibly one of the first photos ever taken of Salvationists in the American West. This photo is definitely a treasure of the Army's past, especially the Western Territory's past.

Thank you Clinton

Love and prayers


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

To save or not to save?

Over at The Rubicon, Dion Oxford, says that...

'when I read the different musings on theRubicon and in other Salvation Army literature, I find myself wondering if we really know what our mission is. Do we now why we exist? Do we have a biblical understanding of what God desires of us?'
Dion then goes on to answer his own question - Dion seems like an OK sort of guy but I think his answer is fundamentally flawed - what do you think?

For a balance compare Dion's view with that of Matt Kean - expressed in his excellent and refreshing article 'Our first love' found in the same journal.

Where do you stand?

Love and prayers


Monday, June 25, 2007

Penguins with no bounce or squeak...

Packing enables us to discover things we either forget we had or thought we had lost. The other day in my sock drawer (where I keep all kinds of miscellany) I came across a small stuffed penguin wearing a Father Christmas hat!

The penguin used to hang from the interior mirror of a car I had back in 1991. The penguin was bought for me by my son Ben (then aged 8). The penguin used to bounce up and down on elastic whenever the car went over a bump and at the same time it squeaked. The elastic has long since broken and the penguin has lost all its bounce and all its squeak. It no longer functions in the way it was designed to. It lurks away in my sock drawer kept for purely sentimental reasons.

As I packed the penguin away I thought that he kind of symbolises the way some people view their Salvationism. It is no longer functional – not even decorative – it’s simply hidden away and held onto for purely sentimental reasons.

‘Wake up O sleeper and rise from the dead and God will shine on you!’

Love and prayers


Saturday, June 23, 2007

California dreaming...

I love this photograph. According to the drum its the first California Corps (what fantastic faith - Corps were numbered even when they only had one!).

TSA arrived in LA in 1892, this pictue must have been taken prior to 1900. It's a real wild west picture. I wonder if anyone out there can spread any further light on the photo?

If you click on the image you can see the photo full size.

Love and prayers


Thursday, June 21, 2007

A peculiar people!

A great blast from the past and as true today as it ever was...

"Salvationism is aclear and well-defined quality that represents distinctive features of doctrine and service which distinguish it from all other organizations and makes of it an entity entirely apart, incapable of being blended with any other people. Any attempt to harmonize it with methods employed by other religious bodies destroys its effectiveness and renders it incapable of achieving its purpose or continuing to develop its special characteristics." (Edward Higgins - When Chief of the Staff 1n 1928)

Love and prayers


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

World Cup Woe!

In 2004 when South Africa landed the 2010 World Cup, it estimated that costs would be around $300 million. Today, the organizing committee reports it is going to cost $1.5 billion to host a one month long football competition. That is merely five times the original estimate!

South Africa, a poor country by anyone’s standards is spending quite a bit of money building new stadiums, a questionable move considering how these stadiums end up largely redundant when all the fans go home.
Despite being Africa's superpower (having the continent's biggest economy, strong financial and manufacturing sectors, rich mineral resources and a strong tourist industry) many South Africans remain poor and unemployment is high.

The redistribution of land from white colonists back to the indigenous population is slow - most farmland is still white-owned. The government is committed to transferring 30% of farmland to black South Africans by 2014.

South Africa has the second-highest number of HIV/Aids patients in the world. Around one in seven of its citizens is infected with HIV.

Whilst some will argue that the World Cup will do much to boost the economy will these benefits ever filter down to those in the shanty towns? The country gets richer and the gulf between rich and poor seems to increase proportionately.

Maybe Salvationists should boycott the world cup and thereby draw the world’s attention to AIDS and poverty?

Love and prayers

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Positive aggression!

"Aggressive Christians are going to have to take a stand against this creepingsecularism. Already it has a stronghold in the Christian community, and I fear, in The Salvation Army itself. There is a difference between right and wrong, truthand lies. There is a heaven to be won and a hell to be shunned. The gospel isright and all other religions are wrong. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. There is no compromise.

This does not meanthat we should not live in peaceful non-violent coexistence in so much as we arecalled to love others and show the world by our example that we are Christians. But it does mean that we are at war, and our war is every bit about the mind as itis about the body and soul. If the truth is offensive, then offensive we will be. This is the very essence of Christianity, a religious system based not on philosophical mush but on the historical fact of the death and resurrection of theJesus Christ. We proclaim Christ and we proclaim him crucified. Let it offend.The Salvation Army and the Christian Church will not survive the next century ifwe do not first win the battle for truth." (John Norton)

Read the whole article at JAC

Love and prayers


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Negative Aggression!

Where does negative aggression come from?

Today I visited a very well known Computer store. I had gone to return a faulty keyboard and also to place an order for a laptop. The keyboard was worth about £5 the laptop a lot more (with all the accessories included).

I was served by the store manager. Out of nowhere came such rudeness – I know that in the UK we are not very good at working in service industries (the Yanks have service down to a fine art!) However, this man took rudeness to a new level. When I threatened to complain he said ‘go ahead’ when I told him that I wouldn’t shop there again he said ‘I don’t care’. He refused to replace the keyboard and consequently lost the laptop sale.

When I got home I emailed a formal complaint – the outcome is a promised £20 gift voucher (to buy a new keyboard) and a letter of apology from the man concerned.

Later in the day I felt guilty – although I had done nothing to provoke such aggressive surliness was I right to complain. As Christians where do we draw the line between letting people walk all over us and turning the other cheek?

Being ‘humble’ has an honest almost honourable ring to it but being ‘humiliated’ doesn’t – are the two words synonymous?

Answers on a postcard please.

Love and prayers


Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Letter from the devil

Someone emailed me this the other day - I thought it was worth passing on...

Letter From the Devil

Hi - I saw you yesterday as you began your daily chores. You woke up and without kneeling to pray went straight into the day. As a matter of fact, you didn't even say grace before your meals, or pray before going to bed last night. You are so ungrateful, I like that about you.

I cannot tell you how glad I am that you have not changed the way you live - you are mine. Remember, you and I have been going steady for years and I still don't love you yet. He kicked me out of heaven, and I'm going to use your life as long as you let me to pay him back. You see, Fool, GOD LOVES YOU and HE has great plans in store for you. But you have given your life to me, and I'm going to make your life a living hell. That way, we'll be together forever. This will really hurt God. Thanks to you, I'm really showing Him who's boss in your life with all of the good times we've had. Your day is crammed full of TV, football, cinema, DVDs, church politics - thank you for not having any time left for loving the lost.

We have been having a great time together cursing people, stealing, lying, being hypocritical, fornicating, overeating, telling dirty jokes, gossiping, being judgmental, back stabbing people, disrespecting adults, and those in leadership positions, no respect for the Church, bad attitudes. I'm so glad you don't want to give all this up. Come on, let's burn together forever. Oh, and by the way - thanks for not believing in me and judgement and all that stuff it makes life so much easier! I've got some hot plans for you. I'f I'm going down I'm going to take as many of you with me as I can.
This is just a letter of appreciation from me to you. I just wanted to say "THANKS" for letting me use you for most of your foolish life. You are so gullible, I laugh at you. When you are tempted to sin, you give in HA HA HA, you make me so happy. Instead of pursuing holiness you discredit it and laught at those who think it's the only way out - I just love the way you think that sin is inevitable - who'd have thought I could have pulled that one off!
Sin is beginning to take it's toll on your life. You look 20 years older, and now, I need new blood. So go ahead and teach your children how to sin. All you have to do is smoke, get drunk, cheat, gamble, gossip, fornicate, and live as selfish a life as you can . Do all of this in front of your children and they will do it too. Kids are like that.

Well, I have go for now. I'll be back in a couple of seconds to tempt you again. If you were smart, you would run somewhere, confess you sins, live for God with what little bit of life that you have left. It's not my nature to warn anyone, but to be your age and still sinning, it's becoming a bit ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, I still hate you.

Yours eternally - the devil

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Anonymous hits the nail on the head!

In my previous post I mentioned the deliberate sin that is committed by those (Officers and soldiers) who try and serve God with deliberately broken vows.

The comments of 'anonymous' would carry far more weight if he/she were to back up their posting with a name - however the point made is extremely valid and I am grateful to 'anonymous' for the reminder.

One thing, however - like all Salvationists and Officers there have been (and undoubtedly will be) times when I fall short of the promises contained in my covenants but there is a difference between failing, repenting and reconsecrating and deliberately breaking a promise because you think it is no longer valid or because you think the promise is wrong but do not have the courage to renounce it.

I may not always be true to the letter of my holiness manifesto but I am always true to its spirit. What would be really bad would be to attach my name to it whilst actively believing it to be wrong - that would be pointless as well as stupid.

I'm glad I published the manifesto as it will (and already has) increased my acountability.

Thanks anonymous for speaking out.

One last thing - making vows that increase our accountability to God and each other is not the same as legalism - the manifesto 'is not an attempt to earn God’s blessing but is a response to blessings already received, it is not an attempt to win ‘salvation by works’ it is a commitment to see God’s words reflected in my actions.'

Love and prayers


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Officers and soldiers who 'grieve' God...

'Have I grieved thee with an ill kept vow?'

Every Salvationist publicly states at the time of their enrolment that they ‘believe and will live by the truths of the word of God expressed in The Salvation Army's eleven articles of faith.’ In addition every soldier solemnly declares that they “will be true to the principles and practices of The Salvation Army, loyal to its leaders, they will show the spirit of Salvationism whether in times of popularity or persecution.”

In his well known song “I renew my covenant with thee’ Will Brand asks the question – ‘have I grieved thee with an ill-kept vow?’

TSA in the UK has a hardcore clique of Officers and soldiers who are openly dismissing (in both practice and public preaching) the following Army beliefs:

  • Doctrine 5 – Original sin
  • Doctrine 9 – The possibility of back sliding
  • Doctrine 10 – Holiness
  • Doctrine 11 – The general judgment and eternal punishment of the wicked
In addition we have:

  • Officers who baptise new converts
  • Corps that regularly hold what can only be described as communion services,
  • Officers who question our commitment to total abstinence from tobacco and alcohol,
  • Officers who only ever wear their uniform when compelled to
  • Officers and soldiers who openly rebel against the instructions of their leaders in these particular areas,
Under the guise of post modernism, cultural relevance, free expression and intellectual freedom these Officers and soldiers are all attempting to serve God ‘with an ill kept vow’ for they are living lives completely at odds with the two covenants mentioned above.

Anyone who disagrees with TSA's beliefs and practices to such a degree should feel morally obligated to resign their Officership and ask for their soldiership to be cancelled. Once they are not in disagreement with the covenants they voluntarily made they are then free to fight their revolution. To be so at odds with one (and for Officers two) sacred covenants is deliberate sin and dishonours themselves, the Army and most of all God.

Broken covenants are a serious business – either keep your covenants or cancel them but please don’t compromise them – such sin in the camp merely withholds God’s blessing from the Army.

“Have I ceased from walking close beside thee?
Have I grieved thee with a well kept vow?
In my heart of hearts have I denied thee?
Speak oh speak dear Lord and tell me know.”
Yours set apart by God, for the Lost, IN THE ARMY!

PS - the photo is a 'stock image' from IHQ and not a renegade Lieut-Colonel weeping over a broken covenant (at least not as far as I know!)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Make a date... Now!

I have recently encountered quite a few people who have heard the call to become Salvation Army Officers. Some of them have even gone so far as to contact their local Candidate's department. They have announced their intent by way of testimony, some have even blogged it on the internet.

However (with the exception of one of them) they have all failed to specify a date! If God has called you to full time covenanted ministry as a Salvation Army Oficer then don't delay make a date today. Get your calendar off the wall, get your diary off the shelf, get your IPAQ out of your briefcase and make a date!!!

If you don't make a date now then before you know where you are you'll be surrounded by a whole host of attractice and logical reasons why becoming an Officer is impossible.

'Come join our Army and make no delay the time for enlisting is passing away'

'Not called' did you say? 'Not heard the call', I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible and hear him bid you go.' William Booth.

Yours set apart for the lost, in the Army