Thursday, 22 May 2008

Prayers answered.

Thank You everyone who prayed about my visa for the Ivory Coast. I got it yesterday from the Embassy.

It was a bit of nuisance to have to take time out when we had other things planned, which now have to be put on hold. Nevertheless it gave us opportunity to be taken out to lunch by a friend, (thank you very much) see our daughter Katie, Chris her boyfriend and our daughter Hayley. It was great to see them.

I'm praying that the trip will prove not only to be enjoyable but that what I learn will help fomulate my vision to somehow serve women, who are trapped in the sex trade or addictions in my own culture.

God bless


Saturday, 17 May 2008

Prayer Please!

I am due to fly out to Ivory Coast on Monday 27th May. The intention is to gain an insight into the work among prostitutes that a local church is engaged in, in Abidjan.

The opportunity arose out of my trip last year to Ethiopia, when God spoke to me very clearly about modern day slavery, in partcular the issue of sexual trafficking. I happened to be with Rev Kingsley Armstrong who is president of an organisation called International Gospel Outreach, which supports missions around the world. On hearing of my interest in this issue I was invited to accompany him on his next trip to Abidjan.

A problem has arisen however over our visas. Our applications submitted in ample time were returned only on Friday with the instruction that we need to apply in person for the visas at the Embassy in London. With a week to go we are praying that we can just turn up and they will issue them on the same day. It has proved impossible to get through to speak to anyone on the phone and Kingsley is in the USA until Tuesday so time is really tight.

Please could you pray that this difficulty will be overcome. I sense that the trip will be a very significant one for me if I can get there. In addition it would be a dreadful if all the resources already expended were wasted.

Thank you

God bless


Friday, 16 May 2008

While there is one lost girl......

The more I look into it the more I am convinced that the national strongholds of the devil over the UK that were prevalent when the Army was raised up are still the prevailing strongholds of our own day.

I touched on the issue of alcohol yesterday. John Dawson also cited prostitution as a stronghold over the UK that the early SA tackled. No doubt he had in mind the Army’s Maiden Tribute campaign which resulted in the raising of the age of consent to 16. As a teenager selling the War Cry in the pubs I well remember that a common jibe was “Does the Salvation Army save fallen women? Save one for me!” Although designed to cause embarrassment and make fun the comment revealed the connection that was still made in the minds of the public with the Army and the rescue of women from vice in the late 1970’s.

If we thought that prostitution was in decline in our nation recent reports on sexual trafficking has blown that idea out of the water. There is a great demand for trafficked persons in brothels and massage parlours because they are considered to be cheaper and can often be exploited in even more horrific ways than those involved with prostitution that are of UK origin.

The UK’s cultural attitudes towards prostitution and the sex-industry mean that traffickers have found a ready-made market for their trade. A survey in Scotland discovered that nearly half of men who pay for sex are in a relationship with the majority saying only the threat of jail would stop them. Many believed women entered prostitution as a career choice and only jail, a letter to their partner from the police or being placed on the sex offenders' register was a deterrent. One in 10 said rape did not apply to prostitutes and they would commit a rape if it went undetected.

A Panorama investigation has uncovered how girls, sometimes as young as 12, are being groomed for prostitution by gangs on the streets of Britain. See

With the additional rise in pornography available through the internet it is obvious that our nation has a significant problem to deal with. I think it is wider than just organised prostitution however. In contrast to Victorian Britain the average age for losing virginity is 17 and is usually outside of marriage. Teenage pregnancy rates are the highest in Europe. The pressure on young people to have sex as a rite of passage is immense. Interestingly Christians who promote sexual abstinence as a way of tackling this have been vilified in the press as far right extremists. It seems that an attitude prevails among many “experts” that as long a teenage pregnancy is avoided through contraception, sexual activity among the very young although not desirable is inevitable.

Come on Salvation Army, we were born to fight this!

God bless


Thursday, 15 May 2008

Prevailing national strongholds

National Strongholds
The UK has had a a binge drinking culture for hundreds of years. In the 1730’s there was a ‘gin craze’ when consumption levels rocketed. In Victorian times it was possible to get drunk for a penny and dead drunk for tuppence.
Thinking about all of this I remembered something I read a while back in Taking our Cities for God by John Dawson.
“The early days of the Salvation Army are a graphic example of the power of the gospel transforming the life of the city. General Booth and his followers had clearly identified the prevailing satanic bondages of their day (alcoholism and prostitution) and they employed city wide strategies which result in city wide victories.”
My thoughts ran on a bit to think about the idea that if he is right and there is such a thing as prevailing satanic bondages over nations and the Salvation Army correctly identified them in Victorian times as alcohol and prostitution, what are they today?
Well I have first of all to say that I do think there Satan does use culture to keep nations in his grip. Whilst excessive alcohol consumption by the masses may have started out as a means of escapism from grinding poverty it could become, under Satan’s influence a stronghold which gripped a nations psyche.
I think I do agree with John Dawson’s statement that the Salvation Army in its early days recognised that their fight against alcohol abuse, prostitution and probably gambling as well was a spiritual battle that they were raised up to fight. Their strategy was not just to rant against the evils but to free those who were in bondage to their evils. It was not a kill joy spirit that motivated them but compassion.
The question for me is whether this nation is still under those same prevailing satanic bondages? If we are then the Salvation Army which had an original mandate from God to fight them head on, still has a purpose to fulfil and a mission to complete.
Is their any doubt that these three things are still the prevailing satanic bondages on our nation? I don’t think so. I haven’t done the research on the other two but the following statistics from the internet about alcohol abuse tell their own story.
In the UK more than 7m people drink more than the recommended daily amounts of alcohol.
One in three men and one in five women fail to drink sensibly.
There has been a 40% jump in female drinking in recent years and this morning the news contains the information that there has been an increase in crime among young women, some of which has been attributed to the increase in drunkenness among them.
7 million working days are lost to hangovers and drink-related illness each year
They found that there are 1.2 million incidents of alcohol-related violence a year.
The UK’s binge-drinking culture is said to cost £20bn a year
Alcohol-related problems are responsible for 22,000 premature deaths each year
Around 40% of A&E admissions are alcohol-related. Between midnight and 5am that figure rises to 70%.
Alcohol-related accidents and illnesses land around 150,000 people in hospital each year.
Up to 1.3 million children are affected by parents with drink problems
Young people are starting to binge-drink at an earlier age.
Last week a British couple allegedly got so drunk while on holiday in Portugal that their three children had to be taken into temporary care.
How will such strongholds be brought down?
Well my feeling is that the Salvation Army in recent years has simply used schemes and programmes and had limited success. Perhaps we need to get back to seeing the alcohol problem as a spiritual issue and use spiritual means to tackle it!
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2 Cor 10:4-5)

God bless


Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Aggressive Christianity Revisted

If you are ever feeling just the tiniest bit complacent, or losing sight of what your service as a Christian is all about then I recommend a dip into Catherine Booth's Aggressive Christianity. It might have been written a long time ago but her arguments still stand and still stir the soul.

How about this on the qualifications for service in the Church?

"This is the way the Lord is going to gather out his great and glorious kingdom in these latter days by the power of testimony in the Holy Ghost. He only wants witnesses to be able to go and say, "We speak that we do know" that is the qualification."

I have heard of highly qualified Salvation Army officers admit that they have never actually won a soul for Christ. How tragic is that? I have a friend who missed so much school through truancy and being in young offenders institutions that he can just about read and write. Filled with the Spirit he snatches sinners from the brink of hell every day.

We do not need to get rid of education, that is not the issue. We need to find the the power of testimony in the Holy Ghost.

God bless


Saturday, 10 May 2008

All quiet on the western blog front.

Apologies everyone for the lack of blogs from me down here in the west country. I can only plead busyness. There is just a lot to do and the majority of it purposeful building kingdom stuff so blogging slipped down the agenda. We also seem to be going through a period when both members of corps and people closely connected with us have been seriously ill. We seem to be keeping Southmead Hospital in business at the moment.

Part of my busyness has also been preparing for meetings and it has been good to get into God's word. It's always great when the message that you believe God is giving you for your people really challenges and blesses you too.

Last week I was convicted about the need to draw attention to the fact that although Jesus completed the work of redemption on earth, his ascension into heaven didn't mean that he was now in heaven for a "nice sit down" (at the right hand of the Father) and a cup of tea. It was reading good old Andrew Murray that stirred me up to look at the work of Jesus in heaven. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father in a position of honour, he is in heaven actively ruling the earth, sustaining life with his word, preparing a place for us so that we can enjoy the privileges of heavenly citizenship on earth, he is constanly praying for us and mediates for us with the Father and much more. How good is that?

The challenge however is this quote from Andrew Murray

" 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 that he sits there upon the throne as our High Priest in power, maintaining in us his own heavenly life and keeping up in personal fellowship with the living Father so that in him we too may enter the rest of God.”

I'm also excited by the fact that we just had 24 hour prayer at Pill Corps yesterday and today. We engaged in some intense, heartfelt and I believe Spirit led prayer. If God does half of what we prayed for we will be truly blessed.

God bless