Tuesday, August 28, 2007

For blessings which he gives me now!

My body is recovering quite well following my recent surgery. My external wound has healed exceptionally well but the internal ones will take a few more months. I go to see my surgeon a week today and hopefully he will permit me to return to light duties.

In the meantime, yesterday was a Bank Holiday and somehow it just didn’t seem right to do no work today and so I dealt with the Corps’s outstanding administration.

  • A letter to Reliance Bank Ltd
  • An email to THQ
  • 4 emails to DHQ
  • A polite letter to the Rotary Club declining their invitation to join
  • The processing of two soldier transfers
  • Asking payroll to sort out an error in my pay (I got paid £-20 – i.e. according to my payslip I owe them £20!)
  • Calculating telephone refunds

Nothing amazing here, no one got saved, no one received the blessing of holiness, the naked weren’t clothed nor the hungry fed but it felt so good.

I am actually an Officer again and the joy I feel is genuinely beyond words!

These little tasks were completed with real care and devotion and a sense of excitement and anticipation.

Can there be a better or more fulfilling occupation other than Salvation Army Officership?

Yours set apart by Christ, for the lost, in the Army – Forever!


Monday, August 20, 2007

TSA and the origins of Alpha.

Check out the comment from Steve Court's non-Salvo mate here

Sorry to disagree with your non salvo mate Steve but TSA did come up with Alpha and most of the over modern evangelical tools used by the church today.

We were using the ward system long before cell church poked its head out of the womb! As for Alpha our system for making and following down recruits (welcome sergeants, recruiting sergeants, rolls, visititation sergeants, recruits classes, Soldiership classes) as used prior to 1950 surpasses anything Alpha has to offer! Add to that that directory and Corps Cadets, open-airs, pub booming, slum and gutter brigades etc and there is very little the contemporary church has ‘discovered’ that wasn’t used by or even initiated by TSA. We were doing ‘CafĂ© church’ and offering a sandwich alongside Salvation before cafes had been invented – Railton mentions salvation tea-parties in ‘Heathen England’ in 1877! As for the ‘4 spiritual laws’ how many tracts beginning with ‘How to…. Get saved… find holiness… win souls’ etc did the early SA publish? Our problem is not that Salvos spend “too much time asking why they didn't come up with good stuff rather than using that time to actually come up with the good stuff”. Our problem is that we stopped using the good stuff we’d already come up with and even today continue to discard that good stuff because we think it is past its sell by date.

When TSA has the guts to be TSA and stop trying to imitate other churches we might actually notice that other churches have been imitating us and borrowing our ideas for years!

"Salvationism is a clear 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


Friday, August 17, 2007

Corps Officers - essential requirements

If there was a job description for Salvation Army Corps Officers I’d like to think the following would be listed under ‘essential requirements’
  • Leadership skills (how to make awkward decisions)
  • Administrative skills (how to organise your time rather than allowing it to organise you!)
  • Soul winning (how to close the deal)

  • Practical holiness (how to experience daily victory over the world, the flesh and the devil)

  • Spiritual gifts (how to acquire and use them)
  • Spiritual warfare (How to attack and defend!)
Corps Officers today have immense autonomy and are largely unmonitored – this lack of accountability and increased independence is a dangerous mix which can result in incompetent leadership.

When it comes to Officers shouldn’t quality matter more than quantity because quantity without quality equals decay whereas quality will always reproduce itself.

Love and prayers


Monday, August 13, 2007

Lessons from hospital (2)

The second week of my stay in hospital I just wanted to get home and as a result was terrified of getting any kind of infection. So… when the elderly man in the bed next to me began to throw up (obviously in some distress) I turned up ‘The Singing Company’ on my Ipod and tried hard to ignore his retching.

Suddenly I thought of Railton travelling steerage on one of his many evangelistic voyages. I thought of him surrounded by the poor and hungry, no proper sanitation, very little food, no fresh air. He would have been surrounded by illness and vomiting and constantly exposed to the risk of personal infection.

As quickly as I could, I unplugged my headphones, called for he nurse and did my best to comfort and assist ‘Bob’ until she arrived. Consequently, Bob began to open up and share with me and that simple act of kindness enabled me to share Christ not only in action but also by way of testimony too.

Later, in the quietness of the ward I asked God to forgive me for my selfishness, thanked him for the humbling that followed and professed my willingness to suffer whatever came my way as a result of showing kindness to others.

Another lesson learnt.

Love and prayers


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Lessons from the knife!

Well I’m back from hospital…

Made some good contacts and learnt some powerful lessons.

The period from Tuesday 31st July (pm) to Friday 3rd August was hell! That is not hyperbole but a simple fact. I have a wound from my sternum to two inches below my navel. Part of my oesophagus and intestine has been removed, my bile duct repositioned and my stomach has been opened. No food or fluids until Saturday 4th August.
Week one has kind of been wiped from my memory, but I learnt the first two of several powerful lessons (which would come my way during my stay in hospital) in this week.

Lesson 1:
Hell is torment, endless untreatable torment from which there is no relief – that’s why Jesus died to save us! These few days were torment. Not just the thirst and the pain but the horrible (deeply horrible) dreams induced by the morphine. I don’t like hell. I don’t want to go there and neither do I want anyone else to go there! I must evangelise more and my evangelism must be effective.

Lesson 2:
It’s ok to pray for yourself! Not just the ‘Lord have mercy on me a miserable sinner’ prayers or the ‘Lord be glorified through me’ prayers but the ‘please help me’ prayers as well.

In the midst of my torment all I could do was throw myself into the arms of Jesus and ask him to heal me quickly – I’ve never been comfortable asking God for things for myself but Jesus answered my payer and told me it’s OK to ask for things!

Sunday 5th August onwards I began to make a rapid recovery – one so fast even the Dr’s were amazed. I was meant to be discharged next Tuesday but here I am back in blogland and fit enough to type – Hallelujah!

Thank you all for your prayers… more lessons to share over the next few days.

Love and prayers