Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Heathen England today!

I've been updating the language in GSR's 'Heathen England' (An eye witness account of the the birth of TSA was first published in 1877). I'm hoping that the ammended text might be suitable for publication.

It is amazing just how much of what GSR reports is relevant to today - people say that the world has changed but in truth it hasn't. I was walking down Dartford High Street on Market day and the scene would have been one GSR would have recognised. Perhaps the Gin Palaces have been replaced with 'greasy spoon' cafes and amusement arcades but the place is essentially as it was 100 years ago (right down to the modern equivalent of the Pawn Shop!)

Below is a taster from the updated 'Heathen England' taken from the opening of chapter 2.


Why is it that while so many churches are putting up new buildings, collecting more money, holding more services and social events (including special youth services) and thinking seriously about evangelism that the noticeable gap between Christians and ordinary people is still so great?

Part of the reason is that many Christians won’t admit (or can’t see) that there is a problem. Just stand and watch a large congregation leaving a popular Church on a Sunday evening. Watch the well dressed, comfortable, happy people. Look at their smiles as they say "Good evening" to each other. Their cheerful chatter sounds as happy as the whistling of the birds in the woods. They’ve had a great time — an inspiring sermon, a good crowd, powerful praise, perhaps they’ve even had a prayer meeting with seekers at the Mercy Seat.

Now look at the gang of youngsters who are walking by. Just a quick glance tells you they have had nothing to do with Jesus today. They are as smart as the others; but they are not the slightest bit interested in Christianity. Neither is that man with the cigarette[1] in his mouth, who guides his wife and child through the crowd of ex worshippers. He prefers to take his wife out somewhere else on a Sunday rather than go to church. The big rough men who follow him, angry at the people in their way, show their hatred of both Christians and the church in the way they swear and curse as they push their way through.

The pastor and his congregation, indeed everyone who has been in that church feels no discomfort at the thought of those who stayed outside. The simple truth is that such a thought never even crossed their mind.

[1] The original word here was ‘meerschaum’ which was a soft white mineral used for making pipes or cigarette holders."
love and prayers


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Holiness testimonies please!

I recently bumped into an Officer who was a delegate at 'Brengle' (here in the UK) some time ago but was disappointed when the teachings of Brengle were dismissed early on in the proceedings due to the fact that 'no one today testified to holiness' (as understood by Brengle).

Once again biblical standards are brought down to our miserable levels of moral ineptitude and poor performance rather than held up as an attainable goal – so let me put my neck on the line and throw out a challenge at the same time!

I am fully saved by the blood and grace of Jesus. I am saved from sin and also from sinning. I can testify that everything I have and am is fully consecrated to God. I have (in line with God’s revelation) renounced all that is sinful in my life (and doubtful) and by God’s grace I do not deliberately break any known laws of God. By God’s grace I do not sin!

I still make mistakes, I still act impulsively and I am still sometimes a little immature (especially when I play with my two little girls!) I still have to go to Christ and seek his forgiveness when these human traits make my ministry less effective than it might be but by the grace of God I do not sin.

I am not under law but under grace, I am no longer a slave to sin but I am a ‘living sacrifice’ constantly and consistently set apart for God.

I believe that the rediscovery of personal holiness and its power to deliver us from sinning (as well as from sin) will prove to be the salvation of the Salvation Army.

What about you? – do you enjoy the blessing of a clean heart? Do you walk each moment by the saviour’s side? If so then please fulfil that last condition of holiness and testify (here in the 'comments' section of this blog) to God’s power to save completely!

“Lord, give me more soul-saving love,
Send a revival from above,
Thy mighty Spirit pour.
The Army of salvation bless
With righteousness and holiness,
Pressed down and running o'er.”



Monday, October 08, 2007

The wonder of it all

Although only back in Officership for a few months I am consistently amazed at how tasks, which in my previous incarnation, I would have seen as a duty or even a right are now seen as an immense privilege.

Yesterday I went to LSE Youth Councils and at the end of the day was asked by the DC to go forward and pray for some of those kneeling at the Mercy Seat. 25 years ago I would have approached such a request in the same way I would have approached any request associated with my ‘job’. However, yesterday I felt tremendously privileged and at the same time humbled by the enormity of what I was about to do. I prayed for Jason and Gordon (who they are and where they come from I’ll probably never know) but I do know that God moved in their hearts yesterday enough to motivate them to make it to the Mercy Seat. I also know that God will have heard theirs and my prayers and the dear, ever present Holy Spirit would have touched them.

It was also good to take 5 young people from Dartford who'd never been to such an event before (although I did feel a little bit sorry for John the only boy among the 5!)

What a wonderful honour and to think I get paid for this!