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