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