Sunday, 16 December 2007

Model it

In recent days I have been increasingly aware of the need to lead by example. It is so easy to complain that people are not as enthusiastic as they ought to be or as committed or as cheerful. It came home to me that this is not always because they don't want to be but because they think low key Christianity is normal and they may not have seen anything else. So my motto in these days is this, Model it.

If you want to see something happen in others, model it for them. If you want to see openness in prayer, model it.

If you want to see freedom in worship, model it.

If you want to honesty and openness in relationships, model it in your own.

If you want to see a mobilised corps, model enthusiasm and willingness yourself.

If you want to see a servant spirit among God's people, be a servant,

If you long to see the mercy seat used to seek salvation, holiness and the fulness of the Spirit, use it yourself.

Show the way to others.

God bless


Thursday, 13 December 2007

Christmas Joy

It's been non stop Christmas for us in Pill Corps this week as it is I imagine in the majority of Army corps in December.

This week it has been brought home to me just how universal the gospel is. The ministry of our corps has touched the whole spectrum of society in four days. On Monday a group of us went to a day centre for people with learning difficulties. Carols were sung, the timbrels played and the puppets entertained with a delightful version of "We three kings". It was loud and chaotic for the most part, yet when the Christmas story was told and a prayer was being spoken a quietness descended which was very special.

On Tuesday Lucy and I visited a womens hostel, where we led a carol service attended by some asylum seekers, drug addicts, alcoholics and prostitutes. It wasn't the best singing in the world but we had fun and they showed us so much respect as the message of Jesus was shared. Afterwards we stayed around and got to know some of the women a bit. We enjoyed their company and felt immensely privileged when they shared with us some of their pain. We're going back regularly in the New Year.

On Wednesday it was the Parent and Toddlers party. We had 55 children + adults in our not very large hall. It felt like wall to wall children. We had a great time even if it was completely crazy. The older children went home with a book of the Christmas story and we hope there will be a good attendance at our Toddlers Carol Service on Monday. What an amazing opportunity it is to serve our community in this way and share Jesus at the same time. Later in the afternoon the older ladies of the Home League met and listened to the same story and were equally touched by its special wonder.
And if that were not a busy enough day we rounded it all off with our Portishead Carol Service in the URC, where Christians from every denomination in the town gathered to celebrate the story that unites us all.

This evening we have been rehearsing the nativity with the Jam Club children. "It will be alright on the night" is our motto at the moment! We sorted out a dispute among the shepherds and invented a part for someone who didn't want to be a shepherd or a wise man or an angel. He's now the star! We then went to play in a store that our ladies from the hostel could not afford to shop in. Well dressed shoppers stood by their trolleys laden with luxury goods, holding their free glass of wine as they listened to our band play the carols, which tell the story that every man and woman needs to hear.

Tomorrow......I think tomorrow is Friday......And it all starts again telling out this wonderful story.

God bless


Thursday, 6 December 2007

24 hour prayer

We begin 24 hours of non stop prayer at tonight at Pill Corps. I will be doing the night shift. On the human level this feels like madness given that it is December and as in the majority of Salvation Army Corps we are up to our eyes in Christmas mayhem.

On the spiritual level it feels exactly right. As the old saying goes, "If we are too busy to pray we are too busy." I have discovered that there is a vital and necessary need to take time out to relax and do "normal" things like go out for lunch, do the crossword, watch something daft on the TV for an hour. It is not always that easy to do especially when I actually love work and our CSM keeps on asking if we sleep at the hall! However I have also found that prayer is much more restorative than escapsim. It comes from the promise of Jesus, "Come unto me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)

It is also good as we celebrate the events surrounding the birth of the Saviour to, like Mary "ponder these things" in our hearts.

God bless


Monday, 26 November 2007

Onward to conquer the world with fire and blood

There is little doubt in my mind that in the past Salvationists were convinced that it was wholly possible that the world could be won for Christ.

"We are sent to make war and to stop short of nothing but the subjugation of the world to the sway of the Lord Jesus." William Booth

"The decree has gone forth that the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ and that he shall reign, whose right it is from the River to the ends fo the earth. We shall win. It is only a question of time. I believe that this movement shall inaugurate the great final conquest of our Lord Jesus Christ." Catherine Booth

"Thus any organisation that is able continuously to possess and impart God may become the life-centre of a religious system that shall permeate and unify the world."
Commissioner Booth-Tucker

"The salvation of the whole world could be accomplished during our lifetime if every saved person each got one other saved each year." Commissioner Blowers 1940
In his name and for his sake

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

The World for God 2

Yesterday in the light of the latest scare story in the media one of my Home League members was heard to say the often heard phrase, "I don't know, what is the world coming to?"

As my husband preached on Remembrance Sunday, this is something that Christians do not really have to ask because we do know what the world is coming to. Jesus Christ will return to judge the earth and his kingdom will be established forever.

It is not this truth that is so hotly disputed among Christians so much as what will precede Christ's return and the sequence of events after that advent.

There are those who believe that evil will increasingly dominate our world until it gets so bad that Jesus will 'rapture' the church up to heaven. There is some disagreement as to whether a particularly bad 7 year period predicted in Revelation, known as the tribulation happens before or after the Christians are taken up to heaven. Either way Christ and the Church will return to earth to establish a thousand years of kingdom rule, which will be followed by the last judgement. This "pre-millennial" view tends to be the dominant view in much of the modern church and is encouraged by the Left Behind novels.

It is not hard to be persuaded that this sequence of events is plausible. The prevelance of evil and the secularisation of the west seem to echo the events outlined in passages such as Matthew 24 and Mark 13. The object of the Gospel in this view is to take a people out of the nations for Christ's sake but what awaits the vast majority of the world is doom and castrophe.

If we are to accept this idea we must also accept that the Church will largely fail in it's great commission. This view would have us believe that Christ commands us to work to spread the gospel with only the hope that a handful of people will believe and they have no power to stem the tide of evil. This view calls us to accept that the kingdom of God cannot ultimately be brought into dominance through the peaceful means adopted by Christ whilst on earth, i.e persuasion through grace. Rather it will only happen because Christ's appearing will force everyone to admit his Lordship.

On the other hand post-millennialists believe that the world will be Christianized through the work of the Holy Spirit through the Church. When Christ gave the church the great commission it was with the expectation that it could succeed because adequate equipment was promised and given. The return of Christ to judge the earth will occur at the close of a long period of righteousness and peace called the millennium. This view does not claim that all men will be saved. Mankind will continue to exercise free will but it supports the idea that the building methods Christ inaugurated when he was on earth actually work.

I'm not sure where I saw this quote but this sums up evangelical postmillennialism. "It believes that with the power of the Holy Spirit working through the church's preaching of the gospel, in gradual stages of growth, the preponderance of men and nations will submit to Christ at some time in the future."

There are plenty of books and websites which can give the biblical back up to this second view.
I am inspired by it, it instills great hope in me and issues a challenge.

In his book the Puritan Hope, Iain Murray quotes JH Thornwell,

"If the Church could be aroused to a deeper sense of the glory that awaits her, she would enter with a warmer spirit into the struggles that are before her. Hope would inspire ardour. She would even now arise from the dust and like the eagle , plume her pinions for loftier flightes that she has yet taken. What she wants, what every individual Christian wants, is faith, faith in her sublime vocation, in her divine resources, in the presence and efficacy of the Spirit that dwells in her fiath int he truth, faith in the Lord Jesus and faith in God. With such faith there would be no need to speculate about the future. That would speedily reveal itself. It is our unfaithfulness, our negligence and unbelief, our low and carnal aims that retard the chariot of the Redeemer. The Bridegroom cannot come until the Bride has made herself ready. Let the Church be in earnest after greater holiness in her own members and in faith and love undertake to conquest of the world and she will soon settle the question whether her resources are competent to change the face of the earth."

God bless


PS Tomorrow the Salvation Army and a post millennial outlook
The world for God

It was only when I sat down at the computer today that I realised how long it is since I did a blog. My only excuse is that November has been a busy month and other things have had to take priority.

Anyway since I last blogged I have been chewing over some stuff that has been lurking about in my mind since February. It is whether I believe world evangelisation is actually possible. This kind of question gets you into the whole debate about end times and whether you are a pre-millennialist or a post-millennialist and all that carry on about the rapture and tribulation.

I must admit that my response to people in the past if they have asked me what stance I take on end times has been to simply say that the important thing to be ready for Christ's coming and to work unceasingly to help others be ready, by faithfully proclaiming the gospel. I still hold to that but my meditations have encouraged me to be more determined and more hopeful in this endeavour.

In case you wondering I have concluded I am a post-milleniallist. And because I don't want this to be a really long blog I'll post the reasons for that tomorrow.

God bless


Monday, 29 October 2007

Holiness Testimonies

Andrew Bale over at "Beyond the Brook" is asking for testimonies to the blessing of holiness so here is mine

I believe that Jesus saves me from sin and sinning.
I have loved Jesus all my life and asked him to be my Saviour at the age of 7. Since a young child I struggled with fear and anxiety rooted in pride. This resulted in a great deal of my time and energy being expended upon avoiding situations where I might fail and look foolish, gaining a sense of worth from hard work and trying to control situations and others that might threaten my carefully constructed "safe" world. I tried many times to get rid of my fear and worry and asked God's forgiveness many times for my failure to trust him and witness for him. For years I did not connect my struggle to pride but it was that which was at the core of the problem. When I surrendered pride at the altar I was set free and the Holy Spirit gave me his power and love. It was an instantaneous experience which was followed by my making changes in lifestyle and patterns of behaviour. Free from sin and filled with the Holy Spirit. It began with a specific and critical moment of surrender and I remain free and filled through the Holy Spirit prompting me and helping me to make a daily surrender of my life to him.

God bless


Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Love is the bridge to culture

The following is taken from "Redefining Revival" by Bill Beckham I just thought it was spot on

"Jesus is able to bridge the great cultural differences because of love. God so loved the world is a cultural declaration. Love can cover a multitude of cultural sins and differences. Love is not puffed up with its own personal and cultural rightness; it sees life from the perspective of others. Love values people, protects the diginity of everyone and celebrates differences. Love neutralizes the pride of life and sees inner qualities rather than outer differences. Love looks into the heart.

Around the world mothers love their children in the same way. Parents dream the same dreams for their sons and daughtes. Friendship is cherished. Heartache, depression, exhileration and laughter are exprerienced universally. People long for freedom and dignity. Around the world the babies that God creates are all the same before culture makes them different.

Jesus knew that if the heart of man changes then culture changes. change the heart and the culture becomes better. Change the culture and the heart can remain the same.

True revival always penetrates to the roots of earthly cultures and changes the fruits of culture to God's Kingdom values. Revival in the twenty first century will not happen until the church begins to live out God's kingdom culture on earth."

God bless


Thursday, 18 October 2007


We have been praying for a friend of ours to find faith in Jesus Christ for some time. He has a lot of questions, a lot of pain in his background that clouds his understanding of grace and a stressful job. We were delighted when he started attending church and thrilled to hear that his wife had accepted an invitation to attend an outreach evening where a celebrity Christian would be giving his testimony.

How disappointed we were then to hear that far from leading this couple closer to Jesus, the evening had made them very angry as the speaker in order to tell a good story had embellished facts so much that the testimony didn't square with what they knew of the places and situations he had mentioned. If he couldn't be trusted on those things, how could you trust the rest of his testimony?

The work of Christ in our lives does not need to be helped out by sensationalising our story, especially if at the same time we are trying to make ourselves out to be heroes.

A few days after hearing about this I purchased the latest CD from Casting Crowns. The words of the opening track seem appropriate

What this world needs is not another one hit wonder with an axe to grind
Another two bit politician peddling lies
Another three ring circus society
What the world needs is not another sign waving super saint that's better than you
Another ear pleasing candy man afraid of the truth
Another prophet in an Armani suit

What the world needs is a Saviour who will rescue
A Spirit who will lead
A Father who will love them in their time of need

What this world needs is for us to care more about the inside than the outside
Have we become so blind that we can't see
God's gotta change her heart before He changes her shirt
What the world needs is for us to stop hiding behind our relevance
Blending in so well that people can't see the difference

And its the difference that sets the world free
Jesus our Saviour, that's what this world needs
Father's arms around you,
That's what this world needs
That't what this world needs.

(Mark Hall Hector Cervantes)
2007 My Refuge Music/ Club ZooMusic/SWCSMusic(BMI)

God bless


Sunday, 7 October 2007

Clergy Safety

Members of the clergy are being advised to take off their dog collars when they are on their own, to reduce the risk of being attacked. Apparently vicars are attacked more often than professions such as GP's or Probation officers.

Spokesman Nick Tolson of National Churchwatch, an organisation which provides personal safety advice for churches and churchworkers says, "When they are on their own and when they are off duty for example when they are doing shopping in Tesco on their own there is no need for them to wear their dog collars."

The Bishop of Ripon & Leeds, the Rt Revd John Packer, welcomed the move on Tuesday. “National Churchwatch have made a valuable contribution to the continued debate about clergy safety. Whilst not all their suggestions will be acceptable to individual clergy, they are right to point out that we can all take active steps to become more security conscious. Active security systems are valuable, and individual interviews best take place when others are around.”
But risk was integral to ministry, the Bishop said. “Many parish priests want to be available, want to be seen around the parish, and would probably oppose suggestions to make the vicarage more anonymous.”

I don't know if Mr Tolson includes the wearing of Salvation Army uniform in his guidelines but I imagine he would. I appreciate the need for sensible security but I have to say I for one will not be taking all his advice. I am more likely to wear my uniform doing my shopping in Tesco's when I am supposedly "off duty" than to a meeting with other Christians who know who I am and who already know I am a Salvationist who is available to share the love of Christ with them. There are already too many anonymous Christians and the Church already too inaccessible.
God bless

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

If we are the body

This song by Casting Crowns always challenges me every time I listen to it.

It's crowded in worship today
As she slips in trying to fade into the faces
The girls teasing laughter is carrying farther than they know
Farther than they know

But if we are the body
Why aren't his arms reaching?
Why aren't his hands healing?
Why aren't his words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't his feet going?
Why is his love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way

A traveller is far away from home
He sheds his coat and quietly sinks into the back row
The weight of their judgemental glances
Tells him that his chances are better out on the road.

Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the body of Christ

Jesus is the way

(Lyrics Mark HAll Music Casting Crowns)

God bless


Monday, 1 October 2007

Jesus on the Library

I was walking back from the hall today and as I approached the local Library there facing me, covering a broken window was a poster size picture of Jesus. I don't know who put it there or why but it was a bit of a surprise to see him on a secular building in these politically correct days.

Its always good to see Jesus at the heart of a community, the real person of course and not just a picture.

Yesterday we began a new series looking at our essential values, the first one of which is appropriately, Jesus at the centre!

Last week was a busy week again. We finished Annual Appeal, with an increased total. Thank you Lord and everyone who worked so hard. We had Parent and Toddler groups, kids clubs and Ladies meetings, and all kinds of meetings, all the stuff that goes on in a Corps. We heard from old friends and caught up with family. At the end of the week we celebrated Alan's birthday and our 28th wedding anniversary. Yesterday our Corps worshipped, prayed, met around the word and it was good. This morning among a host of other things, I said good bye to Hayley who went off to start her first year at Uni, had a good long chat with a Mum and listened to the pain of someone who has just lost his Dad.

And I'm really so glad that Jesus was there in it all, at the centre.

God bless


Monday, 24 September 2007

The world for God?

Whilst in Ethiopia another question that gripped me was this:

"What has happened to the world for God heart of the Army?"

Does the Salvation Army still believe that the whole wide world can be won for Jesus?

Do you?

God bless


Earlier this year I spent a week in Ethiopia. It was an amazing experience. As well as visitng a number of prisons I was privileged to attend a conference for Pastors led by our good friend Kingsley Armstrong. In one of the sessions Kingsley challenged us to think about what it was that God was asking us to ask him. In a Holy Spirit charged atmosphere the question that immediately came ito my mind was, " Is Bristol still involved in the slave trade?"

Now when you ask questions like that of God, you know that God is not just going to say yeas or no and leave it at that. I knew that the question had implications for me in terms of getting involved in ministry with women, who may have been trafficked, involved in prostitution or abused in some way once we were living in the Bristol area.

The Lord has already given me some contacts and in the light of my comments yesterday about going at his pace I will be following them up in the next few weeks. In the mean time I am joining in the General's call to pray about the crime of human trafficking and asking the Lord to keep that question alive in my heart.

God bless


Sunday, 23 September 2007

On the menu

In a rare spare moment this week I turned on the TV to view Gordon Ramsay trying to rescue a hotel from going out of business. I know the guy's language is appalling but what he was telling the owners made a lot of sense. They were running too many restaurants, one of which was Japanese, whilst at the same time ignoring the obvious connection the seaside town had with France and the availability of wonderful local seafood. The menus had too many dishes and the dishes were all too complicated. The chef was trying to do too much too soon. Gordon advised that they should get a clear vision of what they wanted to achieve, know who was in charge and simplify. Also he realised that the staff were using the bar as their own social club and because they were spending money there the owners let them, fearful of losing the little regular income they did have. Unfortunately genuine customers felt they were intruding and after one visit did not return. The hotel took Gordon's advice and it worked.

Any parallels to the Church? I'll let you make your own but the one that speaks to me at the moment is the chef who was trying to do too much too soon. It's a delicate balance. We need a sense of urgency in reaching the lost and I know I spent too many years holding back because of fear of failure. At the same time, we must not be in a hurry or fall into the trap of thinking more activity is the same as effectiveness. I am always so impressed by the way Jesus allowed God to set the pace for him and not circumstances or other people. The disciples wanted Jesus to delay his visit to Jersusalem indefinitely, whilst Lazarus' sisters could understand why he took so long but Jesus went there in his own time and the ultimate result was resurrection, life and power.

And so I am trying to follow Gordon's wise counsel to seek a clear vision, let God be in charge and simplify!

God bless


(PS CSM Pete, I know you already told me I can't do everything at once but it takes a while for it to sink in)

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Nothing to lose

I was listening to Radio 4 this morning. (I hope you are impressed!!) John Humphries (I think) was interviewing a former British ambassador to Iraq about what his assessment was of the US General's report on the progress troops are making there.
He was asked amongst many other things what he thought President Bush would do in response. He honestly said he didn't know but he made a very interesting comment about what a president can do his final year of office. He can say "I've only got a year left. I just have to be satisfied with what I have achieved and there is not much I can do about what I haven't." Alternatively he can say, "I might as well go all out and take as many risks and push as hard as I can to deal with issues because I have nothing to lose."

We knew a DC who took the second attitude and it meant that a lot of people were empowered to take up new challenges with on going results that continue to bless now he has moved into service in retirement.

My challenge is that I've got, if I retired at 60, 13 years of SA officership left. If I stay on till 65 which provided I'm not too decrepit by then I would want to do I would have 18 years. I don't want to wait until I've got a year left to take risks orand I don't want to avoid issues because it might affect my popularity or my comfort before that time.

I think I'll just go for it now!

God bless


Monday, 10 September 2007

Alan preached last night on Genesis 11:31-32 making the point that Terah set out for Canaan but he died in Haran. Haran was an ok place and he settled down. He never reached his goal.

I pray that as we set out on the adventure of this appointment we will not settle for Haran, when God has called us to Canaan, to receive his promises and fulfill our destiny. It's so easy to get comfortable or disillusioned and camp at what was supposed to be as Alan put it "a toilet stop on the way!"

Yours, bound for Canaan's land!!

Never hurry a Murray

I am progressing slowing through Andrew Murray's book on Hebrews. It's not that I am struggling with it, rather chewing upon the throughts he gives.

How about this?
God has taken an oath of faithfulness . The fulness of my fatih depends upon my being occupied with the faithfulness of God."

God bless


Friday, 7 September 2007

Jesus in heaven

I am reading The Holiest of All by Andrew Murray. It is a devotional study of the book of Hebrews.

One of the things highlighted for me through the book is the truth of the ascended Jesus. We do not make much of Ascension day in the Salvation Army but we do need to remember it because without recognising it we have an incomplete salvation.

He came from heaven to earth to show the way,
from the earth to the cross my debt to pay
from cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky
Lord I lift your name on high.

It's a great song but Jesus didn't go from the grave to the sky to nothing and he didn't just make that remarkable journey from heaven to earth and back again just to pay our debts so that we could escape punishment. He enters heaven so that we could go there too, to dwell in the Father's presence, starting now.

Here's some Murray quotes:

"All the feebleness of our Christian life is owing to one thing; We do not know Jesus in heaven. We do not know that Jesus has "entered in" and that this secures to us boldness and the power of entrance into a heavenly state of life."

"Let us do what Isreal did in crossing Jordan; They allowed Joshua to bring them in; they followed him. Let us follow Jesus in the path he trod."

"All entering in means a coming out from the place we were in before . Forsake all and follow Jesus into God's presence."

God bless


Wednesday, 5 September 2007


We are back in blogland. It has taken ages and ages and numerous long phone calls to get us re-connected to the internet but last night, hallelujah we are back.

We are back in England. We have just had two fantastic weeks at Le Pas Opton, the Spring Harvest campsite in France. The first week we just crashed out. We hadn't realised just how physically, mentally and emotionally wrecked we were. However rest, fellowship, worship and the word have helped us to feel restored. The sun and French pastries were great too!

We are back in the West Country after 23 years in Yorkshire. It is true, other people really do talk like we do and our accents are getting stronger by the minute. We still find ourselves coming out with good old Yorkshire sayings though.

We are back in a Corps that we haven't had to start from scratch. It all still feels a bit odd to be in a fellowship with a history but it's been good so far. It is great to be building upon and developing existing ministry rather than breaking new ground. Nevertheless church planting is such an integral part of us now we can't help looking wistfully over at Shirehamption and Portishead and Avonmouth......... We know before someone says it. We can't do everything at once. However we would not want to lose our pioneering spirit.

Hayley is back from the USA. We met up with her at our Kaitie's house in London for the first time in 3 months on Monday. It was lovely to be althogether and tomorrow we will all meet up again for Katies graduation.

And now we are back we are looking forward with anticipation to what God has got in store.

God bless


Friday, 29 June 2007

Standing in grace

I read these wise words from 1 Peter 5:12 this morning, "This is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it."

Grace is amazing but we often tend to think of it as what we need to obtain our salvation, like entry tickets to a show. But it's not a one off gift into a temporary experience, its what we need to live a life for all eternity. I love the idea that we stand in grace, supported by it, submerged in it, sustained by it. Hallelujah

Apologies for the lack of blogs. Life is just too busy.

God bless


Thursday, 21 June 2007

Without a miracle

Without a miracle the marriage of friends I having been trying to help will end in few weeks.

Without a miracle some of "our lads" in the prison will be released and will go back to drug dependency, binge drinking and sleeping around. Without a miracle some of them won't make it to 25.

Without a miracle a young child we know on our estate will grow up with severe emotional problems because of the difficult relationship he has with his Dad.

Without a miracle my respectable neighbours will go to an eternal destiny without Christ.

Without a miracle the churches in our town will never shake off the slumber from their eyes and go into battle to save the lost.

I am praying for miracles.

Not by might
Not by power
But by my Spirit says the Lord

God bless


Tuesday, 19 June 2007

What if the people prayed

I have recently been introduced to and been inspired by the music of Casting Crowns.

The song below is based upon 2 Chronicles 7:14

Wht if the armies of the Lord
Picked up and dusted off their swords
Vowed to set the captives free
And not let satan have one more

What if the church for heaven's sake
Finally stepped up to the plate
Took a stand on God's promise
And stormed hell's rusty gates

What if His people prayed
And those who bear his name
Would humble seek his face
And turn from their own way

And what would happen if we prayed
For those raised up to lead the way
Then maybe kids in school could pray
And unborn children see light of day

What if the life that we pursue
Came from a hunger for the truth
What if the family turned to Jesus
Stopped asking Oprah what to do

He said that he would hear
His promise has been made
He'll answer loud and clear
If only we would pray

What if the people prayed

(Lyrics by Mark Hall/ music Casting Crowns)

So why don't we?
Let's do it!
Right now!

God bless


Friday, 15 June 2007

It's all happening

It feels like that everything is happening all at once at the moment.
As our ministry in Northallerton and Yorkshire is coming to an end, rather than things winding down everything feels like it is gearing up.

We have had meetings, discussions, emails and reports to write concerning the local leadership team we are putting in place for when we leave. There are hand overs to make and training to put in place. Flag days and fellowships, preaching and prayer ministry, planning and pastoral care. Oh and our house looks like a bombsite with packing boxes and ironing all over the place.

I have blogged already about the conversions in the prison. This is a climax of lots of input, teaching and prayer. But not the end of the involvement. In fact their new committments make them more demanding than ever. The lads would be in chapel every day, all day if they could. I have been in four times this week, been on the phone arranging for support for one of them when they are released, and arranged for an evangelist to come and speak later in the summer.
Spiritual warfare has geared up too. We knew that we needed to be especially alert this morning as we discussed "How can I resist evil?" All kinds of weird things happened we taught about the strongholds of evil. The distraction and disruption got almost laughable in the end, especially when Becky set her radio alarm off as we were praying and four officers burst into the chapel to rescue us!

In the parents group two mums have really opened up about some issues in their lives just as I am about to go. I am visiting one of them in her home on Wednesday. We just walk down the High Street and someone always wants to stop and talk, not just about the weather but their needs and issues.

We have made lots of friends in Yorkshire and its lovely that so many of them want to be in touch before we go. We have never had such a busy social life, (although all the farewell suppers might be people wanting to make sure that we really are going!)

In the midst of this our daughter Hayley left for Amercia to work in as a counsellor in a childrens camp. Alan and I would have empty nest syndrome if we had the time to think about it and I am 47 on Sunday. Agghh I can't be that old!

I want to assure you that all of the above is not a moan. I am so thankful for all the opportunities. There have been times in the past 7 years when the devil's accusation has been that we were wasting our time and the Army's resources here. Instead it is reassuring that in to see that in some small way the presence of the Salvation Army in this place is making a real difference.

Please pray for us though. My head is in a complete whirl. I have so much to think about here whilst at the same time there is a growing excitement about all that is in store in our new appointment.

God bless


Monday, 11 June 2007

Nothing like it

It was my privilege lead a young prisoner into salvation yesterday. When he came forward for prayer he didn't know what to do but when I said that he could pray the prayer of committment standing up, sitting down or kneeling. He chose to kneel. So in the middle of chapel, we both knelt and it's not allowed but I put my arm round his shoulders and he sincerely asked the Lord into his life. We then stood to pray as he received the Holy Spirit.

All five in the group received prayer and another asked the Lord into his life for the first time.

I do a lot of things as a Salvation Army officer but there is nothing that can top leading someone to Christ. However many times you do it (and its not often enough) the joy is unbeatable.

God bless


Thursday, 7 June 2007


"An earthly doctor cures his patients by making him better every day but conversion is God's work on man that transforms him from being a child of Satan to being a son of God. Conversion is a turning around, a being something I was not before. It is having new motive, power, new hopes, desires, relationships, going on a new road, sailing to a new port, having a new owner, being under fresh orders, having another paymaster, fighting under another Captain. Before it was self for self. Now it is self for God. Before it was justification of self now it is condemnation of self. Before it was condemnation by God, no it is justification by God. Conversion touches the very root of self and it is a revoution of the whole being, a fundamental change of every principle of life."

From "The Travellers Guide from Death to Life"
Compiled by Mrs Stephen Menzies.
The British Gospel Book Association

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Safely home

Whilst in Alderney we experienced all kinds of weather and on Sunday night there was a gale. A boat anchored in the bay broke loose from its moorings and ended up badly damaged on the rocky end of the beach.

The boat was too precious to just be abandoned and as high tide approached a local fishing boat and the fire brigade set out to rescue it and take it back to the harbour.

Finally after a couple of hours of hard work, attaching ropes and being battered about by the strong waves the rescuers were rewarded with success. At last the water was deep enough for the vessel to float and turn around. Then at last to a loud cheer from the crowd that had gathered to watch, it was towed back safely to the harbour.
Although, only about 19 years of age Steve (not his real name) has lived a stormy life. His heavy drinking led to activities that led to the wreckage of his relationships, his health and his freedom. He was in need of rescue and thankfully in the last few weeks he heard for the first time that there is a Saviour for people like him. On Thursday afternoon in prison he gave his life to Christ. On Thursday evening he died. We will miss him but we are at peace because just in time he met a rescuer who took him to a safe harbour for complete restoration.
There's a land that is fairer than day,
And by faith we can see it afar;
For the Father waits over the way
To prepare us a dwelling place there.
In the sweet by-and-by
We shall meet on that beautiful shore.
We shall sing on that beautiful shore
The melodious songs of the blest;
And our spirits shall sorrow no more,
Not a sigh for the blessing of rest.
To our bountiful Father above
We will offer the tribute of praise
For the glorious gift of his love,
And the blessings that hallow our days
God bless

Friday, 1 June 2007

Back to the beginning

On the 28th May 1982 we were commissioned as officers and given our first appointment to Alderney in the Channel Islands, where we began our ministry. 25 years later it was a wonderful to return to this beautiful place and meet up with some of the people it was our privilege to serve with. Charlie Greenslade is still the CSM and has been holding things together whilst for the last 7 years they have not had officer leadership. However they are looking forward to a lieutenant arriving in August. Hallelujah!
The hall did not look so very different from when we were there and we were pleased to see that the mercy seat still bears the message "Holiness unto the Lord" After the meeting the 86 year old retired HLT came up and shared with me how one Sunday last year the Holy Spirit visited her in a way she had never experienced before and as she made her way to that same mercy seat filled her with his power. Hallelujah again!
God bless Alderney

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

New Convert?
It was a delight to share lunch with Commissioner Hunter on Sunday. He is quite deaf and cannot see very well but his mind is as sharp as a razor. He wanted to know all about our appointment and asked informed and perceptive questions about new openings, mission in schools and prisons.
Having agreed to having his photo taken Alan jokingly said he would send it to the Salvationist. To which the Commissioner replied, "The headline could be, "Major Carol Young with a new convert!"

God bless


Monday, 21 May 2007

Cousins, Covenants and Commissioning

It's been quite a week-end. On Saturday we attended a family wedding. My cousin Liz and her husband Ivan are officers engaged in mission at the inner city corps of Sheffield Castle Corps. Their daughter Sarah married Matt, and it was lovely to be present as the happy couple entered into their marriage covenant.

It was also a chance to catch up with my other cousins, Liz's brothers and sister whom we rarely get to see because we all live so far apart. They feature regularly in my prayers for prodigals though. I keep on believing.

It was then down to London, to stay overnight at our Katie's and Sunday morning found us focussing on covenants again at the re-Commissioning of our session mate, Andrew Bale. We have journeyed with him through the process that led to this great occasion and I felt a bit like the proud parents at the wedding the day before.

What was it that got me, the one who is known in our family for not getting emotional to get the hankies out? Was it that in one weeks time we celebrate 25 years as officers and Andrew is able to rejoice with us as an officer? Was it little Bethany's prayer that Daddy will keep his covenant this time? Was it the sight of Commissioner Denis Hunter making his way the the mercy seat? Was it kneeling at the mercy seat with Alan, renewing out own officer covenant?

I don't know. I only know God is the great Redeemer. He is faithful. He is at work and I am excited about the next 25 years.

God bless


Friday, 18 May 2007

Stopping the parade

I am reading The God Catchers by Tommy Tenney at the moment. Much of what he says resonates with me at this time.

"If you ever have an encounter with the manifest presence of God, it will ruin church for you......"

I feel like that sometimes. When I have chattered on about how the Holy Spirit turned up and blessed my socks off at a meeting I later remember what it was like for me when during an all might prayer session I was so overwhelmed with God showed me of his heart that I couldn't speak and it took me days to translate the experience into words. And I know in my heart we have seen nothing yet.

I have this ache that we quickly congratulate ourselves about the liveliness of our worship and the height of passion in our praying. Yet although we might be jumping higher than some, most of the time we fail to get over the bar. I can't settle for a lower height when I've been over the bar. And I've discovered that even then, God has this way of not letting you get used to even that. He keeps raising the level.

It's similar in terms of evangelism too. I have been working in the prison for 6 years now. I have always found it a fulfilling ministry but in these last weeks, when we have seen God do remarkable things in the lives of some of our prisoners I can now only be truly satisfied with making disciples.

It's true in spiritual warfare. I'm moving. Prince Harry is apparently disappointed that he is not allowed to serve in a war zone. I am certain that I am called to venture onto enemy territory in new ways in the coming days.

And what about holiness? I am convinced of the Salvation Army's teaching on this doctrine and testify to its blessing. I believe it and hopefully live it. It's too important to tailor it to fit in with other churches or to make it palatable to those even within our own ranks who don't believe it.

Perhaps Tommy Tenney has it right when he refers to the loud cry of Bartimaeus after Jesus. His pleading halted the procession of people following Jesus through Jericho in its tracks. This annoyed the crowd intensly. They were enjoying the parade and the seeming progress they were making but Jesus stopped the whole thing for the sake of a beggar with a loud voice. Everyone experienced a miracle that day.

All I know is that I am desperate enough for God's presence, too aware of urgency of the gospel message, too fired up to sit in the grandstand and not fight, too amazed by the fullness of the salvation we have been given to worry anymore if my cry for mercy embarrasses people and stops the parade.

Merciful God
We pray don't pass us by
In your love
Remember mercy

God bless


Monday, 14 May 2007

True Soldiers Fight

Alan preached on being God's soldiers on Sunday. He included this classic quote from Bill Booth

"A good soldier of Jesus Christ is always a fighting man. This assertion may sound strange and unnecessary, but it is not so. In ordinary armies there are, beyond a doubt, hosts who don't mean war- the wages, the shining clothes, the idle life, the music, the promenade, with all the pomp and parade of war and as much more of the same kind as you will; but no fighting, if you please........................

Look at these fourteen hundred millions of our fellow men (world population in 1879) mostly in the arms and power of the foul usurper of Hell who has largely his own way with them, making this possible paradise into blackest and most hellish perdition here, and dragging multitudes down to the deeper depths of all possible woe hereafter. What do Jesus and the angels say of this long-standing army of professed soldiers of Jehovah who look on and sing and speak and read and understand all about the actual condition of things and are so very contented and do so little fighting to prevent and hinder and deliver? Oh what can we say of the professed followers of Jesus Christ who don't fight? who don't fight when they are wanted, who don't fight their way throught the darkness and devils to the salvation or a redeemed world. That they are orthodox, learned, theological, ornamental? Say anything and everything but don't call them soldiers for without excuses and self-consideration of health or limb or life, true soldiers fight, live to fight, love to fight, love the thickest of the fight and die in the midst of it."

God bless


Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Roots 2007

Was it a good Roots?

Yes but it was not an easy and there are two sides to the impact of the event. Corporate and indiviudual.

In terms of where the event fits into assisting and enabling the UK Salvation Army as a corporate body in renewal and mission this years Roots was edgy. The leadership team were determined that the descent into a fellowship weekend at the seaside mentality be halted. As a result there were a number of disgruntled people who didn't get want they wanted to consume.

There are others who really think that Roots needs to get back to its early reputation for having a radical edge and want boundaries pushed much further in the styles of teaching and worship. 13 years on the debate about what is meant by radical rages more fiercely than ever. There are still others who are passionate about the Army being renewed and returning to effective mission but who feel a disquiet that Roots is too culture led, too influenced by what the wider church is teaching and doing and not endorsing Salvation Army distinctives such as holiness and soldiership enough.

Consequently there was some flatness and some tension initially. As far as those looking for entertainment are concerned I believe there is no point in them coming next year. Roots as an extentsion of New Horizons or whatever it is called is over. But what its future looks like I just don't know. At the end the day the future renewal of the SA does not depend upon Roots. However Roots really could continue to inspire and facilitate it if there is real discernment through prayer of where the Spirit is leading.

Despite all I said above. God worked through the event in a powerful way just as he has in the past. Sunday evening saw a massive response to the altar call. Candidates for officership came forward throughout the week-end. Cafe Church worked really well, the children's and youth events all reported significant responses in terms of people getting saved and in moving forward in their experience.

For the first time I was part of the prayer team and it was a privilege to pray with people seeking God's way and for those who needed to find comfort or freedom in Christ. It was so good and we had a great team.

Roots 2008, will I be there? It's more than likely.

God bless


Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Standing out

"It is tragic when a Christian destined to be a king among men, adopts the guise of ordinariness because he fears the consequences of Christian distinctiveness."

from The Soldiers Armoury 17th April 1983

God bless

Standing out

"It is tragic when a Christian destined to be a king among men, adopts the guise of ordinariness because he fears the consequences of Christian distinctiveness."

from The Soldiers Armoury 17th April 1983

God bless


Saturday, 28 April 2007

New Start

For some reason I am no longer able to add new postings to my original blog. It is still available if you would like to read old postings but this is where I will be from now on.

All this has been some what frustrating as I rushed home on Friday to spread the great news that 5 of the lads in the prison chapel group, which my fellow chaplain Becky and I lead made their own new start and came to Christ!

We had an amazing time, the power of God visibly touching them as they held out their hands, made a prayer of committment and were individually prayed for. One lad burst into tears but quickly said to everyone, "I'm not crying because I'm sad, these are tears of joy!" As Ilocked him in his cell he said that as he was prayed for he felt like his heart was going to jump out of his chest it was thumping so much.

As ever in a prison we have to work to the regime. From a chapel, heavy with the presence of God, we had to take the lads back to the wings. Within 5 minutes one of them was serving lunches next to a prison officer who is a self confessed atheist. They face an enormous challenge but we are praying God's protection and peace upon them.

Do you believe God sometimes sends a physical thing that echoes what is happening spiritually? Well I can only share this. A prison is a pretty inhospitable place but this week a beautiful dove, (not a pigeon) has been making a nest in the barbed wire at the edge of the chapel roof. She sits there peacefully on that nest, which looks incredibly like a crown of thorns. In the middle of the week as one of the lads was being taken across the yard, he picked up a stone and aimed it at the dove and she flew away. He immediately apologised and said he had no idea why he had done that but he had felt a sudden compulsion to do it. Interestingly, on Wednesday it felt just as if the Holy Spirit who had hovered over us and had been gently touching hearts and minds had gone and instead there was tension. But the dove came back and on Friday so did the Holy Spirit. Halleujah!

God bless