Sunday, 20 February 2011

The River of God

This is Burnsall, one of the Young family's favourite places. The river is central to the village, it brings fishermen and tourist. Not only is it a great place to sit by, it is clean and accessible so you can get in it, even if it is a bit cold!

I love the word picture in Ezekiel 47:1-12 which speaks of a river that is central to life and which we are invited to get in.

The following is part one of my sermon from this morning, which my husband has encouraged me to blog.

The water that Ezekiel sees flowing from the throne of God represents the Holy Spirit being poured out into the world and transforming it. The river flows out of the temple from the south side or the right side of the altar. In the Bible the right hand side was seen as the anointed side, the side of power and strength. The right hand of God is where Jesus is right now. And it is from Jesus that the River of the Holy Spirit flows.

Mark 1:7-8 “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7:37-38)

In the original language there is a word picture created here by the author. The water began as a trickle, like water being poured from the neck of a small flask or bottle. As it runs from under the Temple threshold the trickle became a stream, then the stream became a creek, then the creek became a river then the river became a torrent, a mighty flow of water to deep and strong to wade across.
History shows us that this is the way the Holy Spirit was received by the world. In the Old Testament the Spirit came in a limited way and touch a few people, like prophets, priests and kings to fulfil a task, we see an increase in the activity of the Holy Spirit in the lives of people around the birth of Jesus and then with the day of Pentecost, the Spirit is poured out to all who would receive him.
This fulfilled the promise that God gave to Joel that “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh” (Joel 2:28-29)
We live in a time when the river is in flood. The river is flowing, the river is here.
Ezekiel first saw the waters. He could not and did not go into the water alone. He says “The man brought me back to the entrance of the temple and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple.”

Who was the man in Ezekiel’s vision?
Ezekiel 40:2-3 "In visions of God he took me to the land of Israel and set me on a high mountain on who south side were some buildings that looked like a city. He took me there and I saw a man whose appearance was like bronze; he was standing on the gateway with a linen cord and a measuring rod in his hand.”

This man then led Ezekiel through a series of visions of which the river is one. Who does he sound like to you? The apostle John had a similar vision on the island of Patmos, “And among the lampstands was someone like a son of man dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet, with a golden sash round his chest. His head and hair were white like wool as white as snow and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace and his voice like the sound of rushing waters.” (Revelation 1:12-16)

It sounds like a very good picture of Jesus to me. It was the man who took Ezekiel to the river, who offered it to him as a promise and a hope.
I for one find it hard to think back to before the time when the promise of Holy Spirit was presented to me. I only know that aged 14 I knew something was missing in my Christian experience and it was around that time that people at my corps started to talk about being baptised in the Holy Spirit and someone put a copy of Brengle’s Heart talks on holiness in my hands.”

I got in the river and started to wade out into the middle, until the day came when I actually surrendered to his current and found myself swimming with new power.
But look, if you will not trust the word of this Pentecostal, charismatic, happy clappy, blessing of holiness believing Salvation Army officer will you trust Jesus? Will you let Jesus take you to find the living water, just as the "man" took Ezekiel to the river?

Never mind it’s not something that you grew up with, or were never taught. Although I don’t know how if we know anything of Salvation Army history how we missed it. We are not being led to some new style of worship or denominational emphasis. We can’t have Christianity without the Holy Spirit. We certainly can’t have revival without him and you will never be free, never be full and never be fruitful until you get yourself wet!

It’s no good saying as a Salvationist that the outward ceremony of baptism is not a necessity because Jesus came to bring the inward reality of baptism in the Spirit if we don’t claim it ourselves. We’ve gone out on a limb over baptism for nothing if that is the case. Our stance on sacraments only stands if we lived a baptised in the Spirit life and our life really is Christ’s broken bread and outpoured wine!

God bless


Friday, 18 February 2011

Kindle the flame in young people

Continuing from yesterday about children here is part of an interview from the Young Soldier November 1935 with the then British Commissioner, Charles T. Rich.

A journalist had commented to the Commissioner that there was a deep desire among young people for God and in conversation they had agreed that this yearning was like fuel waiting to be struck with a match that will cause the fuel to burst into flame.
In the interview for the Young Soldier the Commissioner was asked, “How do you think we can kindle the desirable flame?” This is the Commissioner’s reply,

“God will kindle the flame, I have said that our young people are thinking their way to God. They are not being driven by fear of what will happen if they do not follow the rules laid down by those who have gone before them. They are not enticed by promises of rewards. They are reasoning young people, looking ahead, counting the cost. I believe that the call of service and sacrifice will be "the match” that will kindle the flame. The service and sacrifice that demand their best, their all and because the young people are thinking, it is inevitable that they will hear the call. And then I think they will answer fearlessly, voluntarily, quietly without urging or waiting for the stirring of emotions. They will have the courage of their convictions.”

Interesting. I was talking to the daughter of one our soldiers who was visiting our corps last Sunday. She works for Rob Parsons who heads up a high profile ministry in the UK called Care for the family. They have just recently published or are about to publish a book called, "How to get your kids through church without them hating God." The thinking behind it is that some kids leave the church because of rebellion against God but many just get disillusioned with church. Many leave not because it is not entertaining enough, or liberal enough but because they are expected to be passive recipients of endless teaching. The cause is not presented as big enough or challenging enough and mission is seen as the preserve of those who know enough or who are old enough.

We, in the Salvation Army know this stuff but we have forgotten it. In our Corps, we are in a situation where the children of our soliders have, in the main already left. It is true that we have a a geographical challenge of young people moving away to further education and for work but when they have moved many have not gone on to link up with other Corps or churches. Somehow they didn't pick up the mission and ministry baton. Maybe that was because the older generation didn't offer it or model it?

We have a great group of people who are passionate about reaching young people and children for the kingdom. This week alone we have had Messy Church, held a youth drop in the the secondary school, had youth cell with a group of unsaved teenagers and tonight we have a kids outreach at the hall. Our whole corps is praying earnestly about the lost generations in our churches. The team that are heading up all these activities are all over 50 except for one and we are believing God will use us to win families and kids for Christ. I am praying that once they are won, we don't quench their passion for the cause of Christ by presenting a soppy discipleship and being over cautious about presenting the challenge of being a disciple as the greatest adventure of all.

God bless


Thursday, 17 February 2011

Children and the war effort

I was privileged to grow up in a Salvation Army home where I was never just a passive recipient of the adult ministry to me, but from an early age to get involved in ministry myself. I was expected to pray in the juniors, to sing a solo when my mother took me with her on speaking engagements and was the teacher of the other children at the tiny corps I went with my father every Sunday morning when I was 10 or 11 years old. Although it was probably down to the fact I grew up in a small corps and there was nobody else to do it, that I was singing company leader at 16 and corps cadet guardian at 18, I am forever grateful for those early experiences of Christian leadership.

Last week-end, Cadet Xander Coleman and I were discussing this fact that children can be evangelists and involved in the salvation war and were bemoaning the fact that we seemed to more reticent about this these days. We happened to be looking through a bound copy of Young Soldiers from 1935/36 at the time. The Young Soldier in those days, as well as an outreach to “non Army” children was also the equivalent of a young people’s Salvationist magazine and it contained constant appeals to the children to do their bit for the Kingdom.


Have you brought someone to Christ yet?

I loved this story from October 12th 1935
“During some special meetings in one of the centres of the Central Territory, USA, Commissioner W.A McIntyre had been outlining the special features of the “World for God” campaign including the Generals wish that we shall make it our aim to win at least one million men and women boys and girls over to the cause of Jesus Christ. At the Penitent Form that night knelt a lad who wanted to give his heart to God. The officer speaking to the boy suggested that he pray aloud. Responding to the request the boy prayed: “Dear Lord, you know we have to win these million souls: I want you to make be good enough to do my part.” It may be that a boy can only do one-millionth part of the great task but if everybody purpose as he did to do that part, who soon our work will be accomplished.”

And I loved this story too.

“The chief of the Staff and Mrs Mapp conducted the Sunday’s meetings at Regent Hall. In the Holiness meeting, on Sunday morning, three little Sunbeams were the first to come forward when the call was given. They were followed by a Life Saving Guard and a little later by a Young People’s band member who come to consecrate himself for officership. Later on in the same day this lad brought another boy to the Penitent From, thus commencing his work as a soul-winner. Two little girls who had been standing listening to the Open Air service followed the soldiers to the hall with the result that one of them came to the Mercy Seat.”

But what delights me even more is that my daughter is now the Singing Company leader at Regent Hall Corps and the children are still leading the way to the Mercy Seat in 2011. She delighted to tell me that, on Commitment Sunday, it was the children who very movingly immediately responded to the call to the Mercy Seat with their pledge cards and who set the tone of the response of the whole corps.

We dare not hold the children back. They have kingdom work to do.
“From the lips of children you have ordained praise.” (Psalm 8:2 Matthew 21:16)

God bless


Sunday, 13 February 2011

It's been quite a week-end

About half way through last week I was beginning to wonder how mad we must have been to sign up for Fastforward, the season of prayer and fasting taking place in the UK Salvation Army between January and May and on the same week-end launch Messy Church at the corps. Coupled with this Alan and I were away at Divisional Officers Retreat most of the week so preparation time was limited.

Now it is Sunday night and we're all shattered but feeling really blessed and excited about all that we have experienced in God's presence this week-end. The Holy Spirit ministered in a very gentle but firm way, through our times of prayer and worship. Our guest for the week-end Cadet Xander Coleman led the whole corps in worship this morning with just the right message and inspired response time. Overall we really felt that the Lord was affirming that our future is in his hands and that there is much to hope for.

And as if to say that the future starts now, it was just wonderful to see 20 adults, two teenagers and 9 children coming along to Messy Church. Ok the numbers are not huge but to us it was a real answer to prayer and represents a real breakthrough in the lives of some individuals.

So maybe it wasn't such a mad idea after all!

God bless


Saturday, 12 February 2011


We have spent the day in fasting and prayer. Whilst numbers of people praying are small, we are in earnest and we are keeping at it. We take courage from the fact that revivals often begin with small groups of faithful people praying.

It was humbling and a blessed moment to kneel in the hall with some of our prayer warriors and lay ourselves, our corps and our mission before God.
Our prayer is simply this

"O see us on the altar lay
Our lives our all this very day
To crown the offering now we pray
Send the fire! Send the fire! Send the fire!"

(If you know our recent history you know that there is only one kind of fire we want in Pill and that is the Holy Spirit !)

We look forward to what God has in store tomorrow and continue to pray that his manifest presence will be evident among us.

Please pray for Messy Church in the afternoon, to which we have invited local families to come. It's a new venture and a step of faith.

God bless


Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Revival and Fire

A few more quotes on revival to whet your appetite.

"A man may study? What are prayers if the heart be not ablaze? They are the battles of the soul. In them men wrestle with principalities and powers...The prayer that prevails is not the work of lips and fingertips. It is the cry of a broken heart and the travail of a stricken soul."
Samuel Chadwick

"You never have to advertise a fire. Everyone comes running when there's a fire. Likewise, if your church is on fire, you will not have to advertise it. The community will already know it."
Leonard Ravenhill

"It will not do for us to go to Heaven by ourselves. We must be on fire, friends for saving others. To be workers will draw heaven down and will draw others to heaven. Without a readiness to work, the Spirit of prayer will not come."
Evan Roberts

"There are different kinds of fire; there is false fire. No one knows this better than we do, but we are not such fools as to refuse good bank notes because there are false ones in circulation; and although we see here and there manifestations of what appears to us to be nothing more than mere earthly fire, we none the less prize and value, and seek for the genuine fire which comes from the altar of the Lord."
William Booth

God Bless


Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Revival and Prayer

Here are some thought provoking quotes on the connection between revival and prayer.

"Bear up the hands that hang down, by faith and prayer; support the tottering knees. Have you any days of fasting and prayer? Storm the throne of grace and persevere therein, and mercy will come down.” -----John Wesley

"You must pray with all your might. That does not mean saying your prayers, or sitting gazing about in church or chapel with eyes wide open while someone else says them for you. It means fervent, effectual, untiring wrestling with God...This kind of prayer, be sure, the devil and the world and your own indolent, unbelieving nature will oppose. They will pour water on this flame." William Booth

"A man may study because his brain is hungry for knowledge, even Bible knowledge. But he prays because his soul is hungry for God." ------Leonard Ravenhill

"Prayer is not a collection of balanced phrases; it is the pouring out of the soul. What is love if it be not fiery? What are prayers if the heart be not ablaze? They are the battles of the soul. In them men wrestle with principalities and powers...The prayer that prevails is not the work of lips and fingertips. It is the cry of a broken heart and the travail of a stricken soul." Samuel Chadwick

“Elijah on Carmel did not only pray; he kept his eyes open to see
the rising cloud.” – Theodore L. Cuyler

God bless


Monday, 7 February 2011

No short cuts

I am an avid reader and I love stories. My biggest temptation in reading any book is to get half way through and read the end. Part of this is that I don’t want to waste my time getting involved with the characters and all their trauma’s if having gone through all that, the story has a miserable end. I like to know that any problems that the characters have are resolved.

Most revival stories begin with outlining the desperate state of the church, the lack of converts, the levels of morality and the prevailing social evils of their time. We tune in because in our own day we mourn the complacency of the saints, we are burdened by the lack of evangelistic results and the fact that God is ignored or mocked in our land. We identify with the people who turned to God and cried out for change and we are inspired by the fact that their need was met, their prayers were answered, their issues were resolved. The amazing outpouring of the Spirit upon them inspires us to believe such things might be possible among us.

However there is a huge temptation to by-pass the middle bit of the story. We misunderstand what people are actually experiencing when the Spirit is poured out. One of the characteristics of all genuine revivals is a terrible conviction of sin that grips people and their turning to God for mercy. What we want so often is blessing, approval and the relief of knowing that all our labours for the kingdom have not been in vain. In praying for revival are we prepared for the Spirit to convict us of our nakedness, poverty and lack of love?

The other thing is the compassion in us often wants that our friends who are lost, not to have to go through the agony of conviction. We would rather point out to them that they need Christ to fill the God shaped hole in their lives than confront them with the fact that they need his mercy because they have severely offended him. We cannot by pass the cross in our evangelism or in our praying for revival. If we pray for revival we are praying for God to deal with our sin as much as we are praying for him to bless our efforts.

If you have made it thus far here are some revival quotes for today.

"We often have a tinted view of revival as a time of glory and joy and swelling numbers queuing to enter the churches. That is only part of the story. Before the glory and joy, there is conviction; and that begins with the people of God. There are tears of godly sorrow. There are wrongs to put right, secret be thrown out, and bad relationships, hidden for years, to be repaired openly. If we are not prepared for this, we had better not pray for revival" (Brian Edwards)

"Tell me in the light of the Cross, isn’t it a scandal that you and I live today as we do?” (Alan Redpath)

love and prayers


Saturday, 5 February 2011


At Pill Corps we are in a season when we are studying the word of God concerning revival. This is not an academic exercise but the desire to ground ourselves in the scriptures as we seek revival in our day.

Last Sunday we looked at Psalm 85 and in particular v 6 “Will you not revive us again that your people may rejoice in you?” Tomorrow we turn to Revelation 3:2 “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of God.” The following week-end we are taking part in the Fastforward prayer initiative that has come out of the SA 24/7 Prayer network which directs us to 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

During this week I am hoping to do a daily blog with quotes and thoughts on revival. So here goes!
At Cell Group this week we asked on a scale of 1-10 what each person’s level of faith was that revival In the UK was possible in our day. It was encouraging to see that most people were nearer to 10 than 1. Interestingly everyone had a slightly lower score when the question was changed to whether they believed revival could happen in Pill! Actually, I was encouraged at how hopeful they all were because it is always easier to believe that God can do miracles everywhere but where you are and we can all suffer at times from “ the grass is greener on the other side” syndrome.
I hope these following quotes will raise our faith level even higher.

“Evangelism, conferences, seminars, rallies, and the other activities of the Church, while important and necessary, are, however, inadequate in themselves to arrest the attention of an unbelieving world. God must come down from heaven and visit us in mighty Holy Spirit power. My personal conviction is that, in conjunction with His prepared people – He will.”Selwyn Hughes
(Revival – Times of Refreshing, p9)

Let’s get serious about being that prepared people.

And a final word from the Founder
“ God loves with a great love the man whose heart is bursting with a passion for the IMPOSSIBLE.”
William Booth

God bless