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