Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Win the world through prayer

I don't think there is a day that goes by at Pill Corps, where one group or another are not getting together and praying.
In this last week we have been on our knees for all the requests that have come in from the UKT and we have poured out our prayers for the Salvation Army mission in Papua New Guinea and Kuwait. We have delighted in the fact that we are not just praying for the mission of other people but we are fully engaged in bringing the gospel to our own community to a wide range of age groups.
The quote of the week from one Mum last week has to be, "Jesus died for me, so what! I didn't know the bloke. Why should I care?" We think its great we are even having those sort of conversations.

It was against the backdrop of news of fellows salvationists and our own endeavours to share the gospel in our community that I read this quote from William Booth, speaking about the Christian Mission in 1876
"We are more and more struck as time passes us with the extreme difficulty of the task we have in hand. Thousands upon thousands listen to the Mission every day in the open air. Multitudes of these are impressed even to tears, and yet it is positively terrible to reflect how few after all, of those who have been accustomed to neglect the house of God are really gained to our certain knowledge for Christ every year. While in no wise disposed to discouragement, we feel very deeply the need for increased prayer, power, effort and labouroers, that larger, very much larger results may be realised"

(William Booth "Christian Mission Work, The Month, Christian Mission Magazine Vlll 1876 quoted in A New People of God - A Study in Salvationism by John R Rhemick)

The Christian Mission has not got any easier and in the west, at least we are not even seeing the results that William Booth felt were so meagre. However, like him we are not disposed to discouragement but feel very deeply the need for increased prayer.

How about you?

God bless


Thursday, 5 May 2011

Messy Church

Pill Corps is among the 400+ churches in the UK who now run Messy Church. I don't want to go into the dynamics of what Messy Church is other than to say that it involves craft, worship, the Bible, prayer and food. We run Messy Church once a month on a Sunday afternoon and in the three months we have been going we have seen at least 8 new families sharing worship with us. One of the best things has been the way it has developed a friendship with a Mum, who has moved to our village from India and is a Muslim. How great is it that we made an Easter garden together, which included a cross and an empty tomb and I had the joy of explaining to her what it all meant?

But I think our corps is messy anyway, regardless of whether we are joining in this latest outreach opportunity, labled Messy Church. Our youth group is messy, not just because they have a tendency to leave crisp packets and sweet wrappers all over the floor but because these unchurched kids are chaotic. They are loud, stroppy and are forever falling out with one another. Yet at the same time they are so, so vulnerable and insecure. I worry about the danger of one of them ending up as a teenage mum, whether one will be able to resist the lure of spiritualism and the anger issues of another are scary. We attempt to introduce them to Jesus and now and then we know that they sense his presence. We keep praying that the Holy Spirit who hovered over the chaos at creation will envelop them and bring each of them new life in Christ.

Sometimes I get up in the morning and I imagine what it must be like to know what the day ahead will bring. Wouldn't it be nice to have a tick the box kind of life, where a task could be started and finished and moved on from?

But for me, officership and ministry isn't like that. A phone call from someone I did prayer ministry with years ago reveals again the necessity of discerning the difference between spiritual oppression and mental illness. And I find myself telling her the same things over and over again. Why do good ideas for meetings come not in the planned prep time but on Saturday, right in the middle of Dr Who? A promise to pray for someone can turn into me nervously giving that person a challenging prophetic word, hoping that they will accept it graciously. When someone comes to faith, another is filled with the Spirit or a corps becomes excited about prayer, it's not just a result, it's another new unpredictable adventure.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a tick the box kind of life, where a task could be started and finished and moved on from?

As they say in Yorkshire, "Would it heck as like!"

No. Give me messy any day of the week.

God bless


Tuesday, 3 May 2011

A prophetic word for the Salvation Army

It was my privilege to one again be part of the Prayer team at Roots this year. We had a great time and I am delighted to say that in the Prayer Room alone we saw God deliver people, restore people and get saved. I know that there were other conversions, people responding to the call for officership and freedom found in Christ in other settings at this event.

This did not happen without a quite intense spiritual battle taking place, which we believe was won through prayer. Whilst I was praying for the event, I believe that the Lord gave me a word about Salvationists finding their voices. This was given me in part before, expanded this week-end and this afternoon confirmed in my mind and heart.
Here it is.

Salvation Army. Sing to the Lord! Sing, sing, sing.
Release praise from your hearts. You must find your voices. Where are your songs?

You say that the Army is full of singing but I am not talking about the borrowed words from others, but the songs of love that are hidden in your hearts but never find their way to your lips. You know I am not talking just about music here, but expressions of love, the release of joyful hallelujahs and the testimony of agreement through a vocalised Amen!

You have lost a freedom you were known for. You were a people whom other Christians looked to for an example of a people who have the ability to voice prayers from the heart, rather than read from a book.

If you are embarrassed by my love, when among God's people, how will you stand for me when the world is hostile? If you stifle joy in worship, who will release it in the wider community? If you are worried about affirming that you believe the word of God by the shout of your amen before each other, how will you find the courage to declare my word with confidence when your belief is questioned in the workplace or the leisure centre?

My word says "There is a time to be silent and a time to speak." You often mistake the time. Of course I want you to listen but I am grieved by the times that I have to wait so long for my presence and my name to be acknowledged when you meet together.

It has been said that we are called to live as holy examples of love and compassion and "if necessary use words" It is often necessary to use words. I gave human beings the unique gift among my creation of being able to communicate through words. I want you to use them to speak to me, I want you to use them to speak for me on behalf of the voiceless millions living in poverty and under injustice. I want you to use them to speak about me and my promises. There are many speaking words in our generation but saying nothing very much. It is my word that brings hope and salvation.

Is this too hard for you? Hear again what I said to Moses
"What I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, "Who will ascend to heaven to get itand proclaim it to us so that we may obey it? Not is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, "Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so that we may obey it?" No the word is very near you, it is in your mouth and in your heart so that you may obey it." (Deuteronomy 30:11-14)

Yet I know your hearts. I know that there are many among you who long to speak out their praise, their testimony and to speak for those who are silenced through oppression. You want to speak but you are tongue tied. You want to speak but you feel you cannot. It is not lack of ability to articulate that prevents you but the bondage of fear. Will you recognise that we have an enemy whose business it is to silence worship, testimony and the word of God? Satan has gagged worship, testimony and protest for too long.

There was a man that Jesus met who couldn't speak because a demon silenced him and he was mute. But here this good news, "And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute, spoke." (Matthew 9:33)
Hear this Salvation Army. We need to go to Jesus and he will deliver us too. Then it will be said of us, "THE ARMY THAT HAD BEEN MUTE SPOKE!"
And then it will be rumoured among the people of God, "Nothing like this has ever been seen."
(Matthew 9:33b)

God bless you