Monday, 29 March 2010

The village and the city

On Palm Sunday, Jesus has to trust the people given the task of supplying and securing the animals for his use. They didn't fail him. Luke tells us that the donkey and her colt have more than one owner. A part share in a donkey as your list of assets isn't much to boast about. It is doubtful that these people had much influence or prestige. However their actions in the village that day made a difference to what happened in the city the next.

It may be a bit presumptuous but this encourages me to believe that when our village Corps prays for people in towns and cities across the UK it makes a difference to what happens there. We hold on to the promise that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

On Friday I went out with the Peacemakers Prayer Patrol in Bristol once again. As it turned out there was just Rev Palmer and me. Starting at 9pm and staying out for just about an hour we had an eventful time.

As we set off three young men were coming towards us, shouting and arguing but when asked by Rev Palmer if they were Ok they calmed down immediately and assured us that they were fine. We moved towards the area around the SA Social Services Centre. We stopped and prayed with a lady and her daughter before being approached by a man who said he had just had his bike and all his possessions stolen in the park by a gang of 2o youths. We flagged down a passing police car and they went off to the scene of the crime.

It was Friday night and there were more than a few people out on the streets who even at 9pm had had too much to drink. One of them, beer can in hand stopped and we prayed with him for healing for his broken arm and that he would be kept safe that night. After he went we went into the housing area and prayed about the problem that alcohol abuse is in this area, from the damage done to the drinkers themselves to elderly residents being afraid to go out.

Turning the corner we met a man outside a pub who knew Rev Palmer and we stopped and offered prayer for him and the other man who had also come out for a smoke. Within minutes the whole pub seemed to be outside, and a man started shouting about God being wicked for letting his son die on a cross. He wasn't sober enough to debate with but we did manage to tell the whole crowd that Jesus wasn't dead any longer but alive.

We finished the evening by walking through an area which in the last two years has been taken over by gay nightclubs and then further on to a road with lap dancing clubs, bars and sex shops. Prayer and the action of residents has made a difference in both these areas and some places have been closed down or been forced to take offensive art work out of their windows. We added our prayers to theirs as we walked.

Last night a small group of us at the Corps in the village prayed again for the city. Village or city, Lord may your kingdom come.

God bless


Thursday, 25 March 2010

Holiness and Prayer Week-end

Despite having to change a few plans due to circumstances beyond our control, our Holiness and Prayer week-end went ahead. Our guest Andrew Bale was unable to come on Friday evening so it was down to Alan and I to lead and preach. We felt strongly that we should keep to the planned theme, All you need is love and we used 1 John 4:7 as a base text.

We began by saying that our starting point should not be "How much do I love God?" but "How much does God love us?"

"This is love: not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." Love has been poured out.

It is only when we understand that we are his beloved, see how his love is demonstrated at the cross and recieve it that we have any hope of being truly loving people. The promise of the word of God is that not only are we loved and given an example of love but also that we can receive that same love within us, through the agency of the Holy Spirit. Romans 5:5 "And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts. Love has been poured in. The love received from God will always be more than we can contain so it will then become love that is poured out through us.

We were unable to pray the whole night as planned but we did pray until midnight. During our time together we shared our particular "heart cry" prayers with each other. The promise that God gave us through verses given to different people was that our righteousness will shine like the dawn.
Psalm 37:6
Isaiah 60:3
Isaiah 62:1

A big sigh of relief when we got news that Andrew was able to come for the Sunday. We had a blessed day when the Lord continued to affirm all that he had been saying and also giving us fresh bread to feed upon. For an outline of Andrews teaching you can go to his blog,

We would fully reccommend combining strong holiness teaching with prayer meetings. Prayer prepares the heart to receive the word of God and then the word of God informs the prayer. The results are stronger and bolder saints.

God bless


Tuesday, 16 March 2010

A halleujah meeting followed by an all night of prayer

On January 15th 1878 in Whitechapel a meeting was held where most of the evangelists of the Christian Mission were present. Bramwell Booth's quotes from his diary in Echoes and Memories:
"At night Corbridge led a Hallelujah meeting until 10 0'clock. Then we commenced an all night of prayer. Two hundred and fifty were present until 1a.m; two hundred of so after. A tremendous time. From the very first Jehovah was passing by, searching and softening, subduing every heart."

We are looking forward with faith and anticipation to our Prayer and Holiness week-end. Andrew Bale is joining us to preach the word on holiness at our Holiness meetings on Friday evening and Sunday morning. The theme is "All you need is love"

Following the Friday Holiness meeting we will be praying through the night into Saturday morning. We have no agenda for the night of prayer except to lay ourselves before God and make ourselves available to him. I am praying and believing that although there will be nowhere near 250 gathering in our hall, Jehovah will nevertheless pass by searching and softening and subduing every heart.

I assume that by searching, softening and subduing Bramwell means that the Spirit of God gently, yet powerfully leads people to the place where they yield to him and submit to his will. The Spirit is the Spirit of love and it is his love that wins us over.

I have a sense that what God wants to do this week-end is deal with love starved hearts, repair broken hearts, strengthen weak hearts and set cold hearts on fire with a passion for God and his kingdom.

"And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us." (Romans 5:5)

God bless


Saturday, 13 March 2010

A name for yourself

Pill is a funny name for a place. We have heard every joke about our need to keep taking the tablets and does our CSM write the announcements on tablets of stone. It all washes over us. My home Corps before it was renamed Bath Temple was called Bath Odd Down, (where incidentally we are leading some sessions on Prayer Walking today.) so I grew up with wisecracks about God's peculiar people!

One advantage of the name Pill is that it is memorable and it is my hope that once they get past the very obvious and usually tedious jokes people will then immediatly make the association, "Oh that's the Corps that prays!"

Since we have been holding our Pray for a Day events that is happening more and more. We are delighted, not because we want to make a name for ourselves particularly but so that people can come and then say, "somebody prayed for me"

We are now in the place where when the prayer requests come in by email, that many people include thanks for answers, which is so encouraging for our faithful pray-ers.

One interesting development is that each Pray for a Day seems to have a theme. There is no consultation between the people who sent us requests but each time we hold one of these events there is an issue that is highlighted. The time before last the majority of requests came in from people in SA social services asking prayer for their work. Last time we had loads of requests that we pray for people with cancer. This time was marked by the number of people asking for prayer about mental health issues, such as depression. This co-incided with news reports in the UK yesterday that the numbers of young people attending Accident and Emergency with injuries relating to self harm had risen by 50%.

God bless


Friday, 5 March 2010

Authentic Christian Community

This week in our Cell Groups we looked at our Core Value that we want to be an Authentic Christian Community.

As part of our time around the word of God we looked at 1 John 3:16-24 and spent some time asking the Lord to speak to our hearts through the Message translation, which is both encouraging and hard hitting. We underlined the phrases that stood out for us. I have put in bold what they were for me.

"This is how we've come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother of sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God's love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.

My dear children, let's not just talk about love; lets practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality. It's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves. And friends, once that's taken care of and we're no longer accusing or condeming ourselves, we're bold and free before God! We're able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we're doing what he said, doing what pleases him. Again this is God's command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ. He told us to love each other, in line with the original command. As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him, and he lives in us. And this is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us: by the Spirit he gave us."

For me this passage is all about possibilities. Very often we do have the means to meet another's need. I love the phrase "living in God's reality" What the world tells us is the truth about ourselves and what our circumstances tell us is real is so often a lie or a fantasy. God deals in truth. I take great encouragement from the phrase, "once that's taken care of" I once lived with paralysing fear but God dealt with it. It's taken care of. God doesn't give impossible commands. We can do what he says and what pleases him. Our relationship with him and others does not have to be shallow or superficial but deep.

One of the questions we asked was:

What does it mean to lay down our lives for our brothers?

I'd love to hear what some of the other cells came up with in answer to this or anyone else's response.

God bless


Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Cell Groups.

About a month ago Cell Groups at our Corps were re-structured and we now have 5 cells operating which includes a youth cell. The adult cells gather for a meeting fortnightly but of course we encourage people to interact with one another outside of the specified session.

I don't know about anyone else but I'm already enjoying my new cell and I am excited about what God is going to do among us and through us all.

At this time we are using the times when we gather cell meetings to look at our Core Values. The first session was all about Jesus being the centre of everything.

Anyway I thought that whilst we are doing this I would put some of the questions we are looking at on my blog.
Jesus at the Centre
There are times when:
1. Jesus is missing and we don’t notice. Luke 2:41-52

What should we do when we realise that we are not the place with Jesus that we thought we were?

2. Jesus is present but we are too busy to give him time Luke 10:38-42

Has there ever been a time in your life when you realised that your service for Jesus was taking over from knowing him personally? How do we resolve that situation?

3. Jesus is present but there is a mixed response to him. Luke 7:36-50

How much does the approval/disapproval of others affect how you express your love for Jesus?

God bless