Thursday, 27 November 2008
The people who were coming to view the quarters, which is for sale have cancelled.
I have a temperature, my nose would not look out of place on Rudolph, I speak a couple of words and sound like I have been on the Woodbines and I'm running out of clean hankies. I should be at Quest Group (Youth Cell) which I love but Alan says I'm not fit to be seen out.
I've just had a call from Alan to say the central heating is not working at the hall and kids have been playing up outside the hall.
But am I downhearted????? Well I'm not exactly jumping for joy, jumping would make my nose run but if those are all my woes then they are not many are they?
Even when life has been really tough and not just mildly annoying like now I have found that as the saying goes God is good all the time and all the time God is good.
Also it has been a really postive day in other ways. I managed to complete an important report in between sneezing. I have been able to get the ball rolling on my involvement in Peace Patrol, which aims to keep our cities safe through visible Christian presence and prayer.
Alan has had a really good morning in Portishead, where he sells the War Cry each week.
There is a man in the town who Alan often saw out and about and who is a bit of a character. The first prayer Alan prayed was that he would have a chance to talk to the him. He now stops regularly to talk and share his philosophy on life. However last week he just ranted about all the things he was angry about and seemed really disturbed and distant. So we pray harder.
This week he stopped to talk for over 20 minutes, Jesus was brought into the conversation and he accepted an invitation to come to the Carol Service we are holding in the town. Thank you Lord! Also the response to invitations to War Cry customers to that same Carol Service have just been amazing.
Thank you Lord
Thursday, 20 November 2008
One of the core values of Pill Corps is that we demonstrate the sacrificial love of Christ.
I found this quote from an old book called Passion for Souls.
"Here then is a principle. The gospel of a broken heart demands the ministry of bleeding hearts. If that succession be broken we lose our fellowship with the King. As soon as we cease to bleed we cease to bless."
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
We had a great time over Friday and Saturday with an intense season of prayer. The theme of the prayer room was Called to be God's people, loosely on the themes of the International Spiritual Life Commission from a few years ago. Alan and I had used this when we were at Northallerton and found it a useful base for engagement in prayer.
Our prayer room, at present is a reminder of the following crucial aspects of what a Salvationists life must include:
Called to Worship
Called to God's word
Called to the Mercy Seat
Called to Holiness
Called to Battle
Called to Service
Called to the World (to the lost)If you look closely you will notice that Pill Corps is no 911. Mention that number these days and most people will think of either of two things, 9/11, a disaster or 911 the number of the emergency and rescue services in the USA. Well I don't believe Pill Corps is a disaster and I pray that we might live up to our calling to save and rescue the lost!
Friday, 14 November 2008
We are now a good few hours into our 36 hours of non-stop prayer. Alan asked for prayer requests of all who have an army e mail address and we now have had over a hundred responses, which we are delighted about. Many have said that they will also pray for us.
And no one was surprised that we asked or that we are doing this. Things have changed so much since we became officers in 1982.
About 18 years ago we introduced half nights of prayer and prayer walking into the programme of the Corps we were at. We had some wonderful times but people were at first quite daunted by the idea of praying for more than the usual 15 minutes before the salvation meeting interspersed with choruses from the back of the songbook to break up the silence. Back then the older comrades of the corps talked about the fact that this kind of thing hadn't happened since they were children and some said nights of prayer were events their parents spoke about with nostalgia from the early days of the Army.
But in 2008 no one thinks we are doing anything unusual by going prayer walking every week, praying in small groups and holding prayer events. They are happening somewhere in the terrirtory all the time.
Now that has to be encouraging doesn't it?
Monday, 10 November 2008
More advice from O& R 1942
"An officer must possess the spirit of the Salvation Army, that is he must devote himself to the purpose of the army - the Salvation of souls as the end for which he exists; choosing of his own accord to give himself up to a life of warfare as the means of accomplishing that great purpose.
Without this spirit an officer will be out of place in the Army and will soon feel that the sacrifices it calls for are more than he can make.
An officer with this spirit accepts not only the Army's aim but also the means by which alone that aim can be accomplished. That is he chooses not only to toil for the salvation of souls but to make self sacrifice, without which souls will not be saved. He sees that as his Master could accomplish the salvation of the world only through the cross so he can be a means of saving souls only by endruing when necessary, shame, loss and suffering and he is willing that it should be so.
The officer with this spirit will not need to be driven to labour by arguments or by the consideration of advantages and disadvantages. He will prefer a life of salvation warfare to any other; yea it will be his delight! He would rather go out and fight than stay at home at ease."
I say Amen to that.
Thursday, 6 November 2008
Both the present and older orders and regulations for officers point out the essential qualities of a Salvation Army officer.
Unless an officer is converted, however acceptable his abilities or however strong his desire to continue as such he/she will not be equal to the requirements of their calling."
An officer should possess this experience because:
he/she was commissioned as such upon profession of faith in this doctrine and their personal life must exemplify the initial pledge;
they can hardly lead their people into this experience unless they enjoy it themselves;
the most powerful argument in his/her platform ministry in a holiness meeting will be their own clear testimony.
The officer who is a man or woman of God will also be a man or woman of prayer. It will enrich an officers own spiritual life, it will exercise influence upon the lives of their people and the officer will become more and more senstive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
I know that this is basic stuff but if we don't get this basis right we don't get anything right. So hopefully to reassure my leaders and those for whom I'm responsible I thank God for my salvation. I thank God because I can point to a day when the power of sin was broken in me so that my desire is to live wholly for God. I thank God because along the way I have discovered more and more the joy and necessity of prayer.
Yet I need to know it all more and more.
"Not that I have already attained all this, or have already been made perfect but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus has taken hold of me." (Ph 3:12)
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
Alright I admit it, I have never read Orders and Regulations for officers from cover to cover. In 26 years of officership I have dipped into them from time to time usually as a last resort and I don't usually give them much thought.
However the other day I was given a big box of books by our retired Home League Secretary who was moving away to a smaller house. Among some really good old gems was Orders and Regulations for Officers of the Salvation Army 1942.
It contains all kinds of advice on all kinds of matters.
"An officer who has a reasonably strong constitution may take a cold bath every morning; one who is delicate will find it helpful to sponge with cold and tepid water, have a wet towel rub or apply a cold or tepid dripping sheet."
"The officer should wear a flannel or woven woollen garment next to the skin all the year round. Only in this way can he pass from hot meetings into the open air without risk of catching cold."
It is highly important that every officer shall cultivate self control in his eating and drinking avoiding costly and luxurious diet and taking food which both in character and quantity he knows to be conducive to health.
He will gain an influence for good over those who sit at table with him or who are acquainted with his habits of life. If an officer is unable to deny himself pickles and sauces or other things which he knows are injurious to him, in short, if he does not practice the self denial which he preaches his influence will be impaired."
Except in extraordinary circumstances an officer should be in bed by eleven and up by seven. If in a locality where earlier hours are generally observed his hours should be earlier also.
"Everyone should as a rule, sleep with the window open at the top all the year around. In fact it is usually advantageous to have it open both top and bottom provided that the bedstead is our of the draught."
"Exercise which brings the greatest benefit is that which is taken regularly and not in fits and starts in the open air which is interesting to the individual which brings into use as many parts of the body as possible and which is not too violent." (that's kick boxing out then!)
These days we probably find such detailed regulations a little funny and if issued today we might even be a bit insulted by them. We have to remember that these were pre-NHS day, when TB was rife and before many of anti-biotics we take for granted today existed.
But sometimes I wonder if we don't need a bit more straight talking about our lifestyle as leaders. What would yesterday's officers make of the amount of take away food we consume, never mind sauces and pickles, the number of lattes consumed at Starbucks, the time we crawl into bed after watching a film on TV, and how many times we get in the car when it isn't that far to walk.
As they say in Yorkshire, Think on.