Saturday, 22 October 2011


"Pill Corps seeks to offer an environment where spiritual growth is encouraged through good teaching, training and equipping. As a Prayer Beacon we aim to use all our experience and our facilities to become a resource for training and development in prayer.”

When we make this statement we have to recognise that all of us who have already made Pill Corps our spiritual home are all at different stages in our understanding of God and his purposes. However we also want to be a welcoming place to people who have yet to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ as their Saviour. In fact we want that people can come among us know that they are coming to a place of discovery, a where they can ask questions and be helped to find answers.

It is said that there are five top questions that human beings really need answering.

1. What is my purpose in life?
2. Am I valuable?
3. Who is my provider?
4. Who controls my destiny?
5. What am I responsible for?

In the story of Jesus we find those questions are addressed and Jesus giving his answers to them. Of course we might want to ask why the answers of a Jewish peasant who lived 2000 years ago matter. What gives his answers to life’s questions any more weight than those of anyone else?

We would not be the first to ask such a question. People constantly challenged Jesus about his qualification to become a spiritual leader. Yet other people recognised that Jesus had a kind of natural authority. Even when he was as young as 12 people were stunned by his grip on things and the answers he was coming up with. The other thing about Jesus was that not only did he talk sense about life, he backed up what he said by doing some amazing stuff.

He surprised a lot of people by telling them that they had God’s approval even though in the eyes of society and according to some of the religious teachers they were thought to be no hopers. In fact it was widely believed that if you had a disability it was because you or your parents had done something really bad. Jesus shut a lot of them up, by restoring the sight of blind people, healing very sick people and even raising the dead!
Jesus countered some of his critics by saying, “If you don’t believe what I am saying, judge me by my actions.”

Surprisingly Jesus also talked a lot about himself. He said things like “I am the way, the truth and the life.” He was kind of setting himself up not only as having answers but being the answer to the meaning of life itself. In using the phrase I am the way, the truth and the life, he was saying that he was more than an ordinary man. He was claiming to be God in human form. That’s a pretty arrogant claim, a pretty mad claim or a pretty fraudulent claim, unless it happens to be true.

When Jesus died a horrible death by crucifixion, his followers were pretty disillusioned and wondered about the truth of all his words. But then the man who had said “I am the resurrection and the life.” rose from dead! He had done it again. He backed up his answers to questions of life by a very powerful action. If Jesus could conquer the greatest mystery of all, death itself then he was definitely worth knowing, worth following, worth committing your life and your whole eternal future to.

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that Jesus Christ really did rise from the dead, evidence from the Bible, evidence from history and evidence from experience. If we are truly assured that Jesus is not just a figure from history but alive today and who is who the Bible claims him to be then life-long learning from him about life needs to be a central part of our experience.

Those of us who have found answers to life's big questions in Jesus, long to help others to do so as well. At the same time we are all aware that there is still so much more for us to know. As disciples of Jesus we recognise that he is constantly leading us onward into a closer, deeper, stronger relationship with him. Following Jesus never becomes boring because he keeps on surprising us with the depth of his character and the height of his love.

God bless


Friday, 14 October 2011

Prayer Beacon value: PRAYING

It is obvious that a church should be about Jesus. Pill Corps believes it can be place where people can meet with Jesus and be changed by him. Prayer is not just about adding effectiveness to what we do but is about friendship with Jesus. In any relationships intimacy grows from time spent with the one we love. As a Prayer Beacon we practise a rhythm of prayer, through which people may encounter Jesus.

Bible Notes from 24th September

The writer of Psalm 84 writes with intensity about his desire to be in the presence of God, to be with Him.

Meeting with the living Jesus through the Spirit, who takes us into the presence of God, is at the heart of what we are about. If the divine presence is missing then we are missing the whole point of our existence as a church. Experiencing the presence of God is not an empty hope. In fact we can even expect more than a once in a life-time spiritual experience. We can live with him.

1. We want to dwell with him
Some relationships between boys and girls never get beyond the disastrous first date but for others there is a progression in the relationship. They don’t just want to go on dates they want to share an intimate life together for the rest of their lives.
Psalm 84 was used when pilgrims made their way to the Temple, where they believed that God’s presence rested in a special way. But David recognised that the real blessing was not a yearly visit.
v 4 says; “Blessed are those who dwell in your house they are ever praising you.”
The word dwell means linger, hang out implies that you want to stay there!

We don’t want to have appointments with Him from time to time, like a client with therapist. We don’t want to go on dates like a boy and girl starting a romance. We want to go on more than a legal arrangement of parental access to our Father God, we want to be able to live with Him, know Him, turn to Him not just for the rest of our lives here on earth but forever.

2. We want to pay any price.
And for that opportunity to be near God we are prepared to pay any price, take any position.

Psalm 84:10 “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”
Athough we are willing to be doorkeepers it is not what God actually offers. In His story of the prodigal son, Jesus tells us that as the son made his way home he rehearsed his speech that he would say to his father. He would beg his father to let him be a hired servant, even a slave if he could just be allowed back into his father’s household. But when the son arrived expecting that he would be a servant he was welcomed as a son and given the privileges of a son.

Paul says in Galatians, “God sent the Spirit of his son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba Father.” So you are no longer a slave but a son and since you are a son God has also made you an heir.”
We deserve to be treated as servants, to sit at the back as onlookers to the glories of heaven instead we are invited in and treated as sons and daughters of the King of Kings.

3. We need to know who is in charge
We are called to dwell with God. He lives with us, we live with Him. And that sets up a question of authority. If we are living with the Lord, we need to know who is in charge.
Jesus said; "If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given to you.
This means that when we ask Jesus what he thinks about something he is very unlikely to say, "I don't mind, whatever." When we welcome Jesus into our lives and make room for Him to live, it is not as a silent guest with no opinions or commands, but as an authoritative head of the household whose opinions matter more to us than anyone else's and whose commands are the law of our life.

4. We sometimes feel like moving
What He offers us now is His presence but the accommodation we share with Him may sometimes be hard and difficult for a time although he promises that our permanent heavenly dwelling with Him will be perfect.

The Hebrew people during their 40 years in the desert often got mixed up. They looked back on Egypt which was their prison as a paradise. They then made the mistake of looking upon their present position as a permanent one, when God was actually moving towards the fulfilment of His promise. What they needed to do was rest in the presence of a God who was leading them to a Promised Land.

Your accommodation might be other than you would wish it. You may have unresolved problems, feel misunderstood, be in the midst of change or a million other things. The only promise Jesus gave us was; “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

God is not an acquaintance or even a friendly neighbour. He’s not just a relative we spend every Christmas with and communicate with on facebook. He is our home address and in a miraculous way, we are His.

Cell questions
1. What is your most recent experience of being aware of God’s presence in your life?

2. What description of a Christian’s relationship with God do you find best describes your own relationship with him? (e.g friendship, father and a child, shepherd and sheep, Master and servant, King and citizen etc)

3. What is the most comforting thing and the most uncomfortable thing about having Jesus living with you?

4. Jesus is not a silent guest in our lives, what has he been saying to you lately?

5. We sometimes have to live with Jesus through difficult circumstances, which at times feel permanent. Pray for anyone in the group or for people who we know are going through difficult times that they may be aware of the promise of Jesus to never leave them or forsake them.

God bless


Thursday, 13 October 2011

We are looking forward to the launch of Pill Corps as a Prayer Beacon on November 11th. Emerging from the 24/7 Prayer Movement, specialist prayer centres known as Boiler Rooms have been set up in numerous places around the world. Boiler Rooms are very experimental and regularly re-invent themselves to explore new territory and structures.
In the UK Sanctuary 21 based in Durham is an exciting example of a Salvation Army Boiler Room.

However there are now established Corps that are sensing a call to focus all the elements of their life and work through the lens of prayer. They are becoming known as Prayer Beacons. The first one in the UK is Banbury Corps. Prayer Beacons seek to apply Boiler Room principles and practices in the context of familiar and recognisable Corps settings, humbly desiring to help others to move deeper into prayer.

Pill Corps has been a praying corps for many years and the transition to a Cell based model of doing mission has strengthened this. You can read more about the Pill Corps' journey towards becoming a Prayer Beacon at

One of the things we were concerned about with adopting the title of Prayer Beacon was that it might conflict with our cell-church principles and practices or that we might find ourselves struggling with two sets of values to work from. The opposite is true. When we put our existing values as a Cell based corps alongside the Prayer Beacon values we found they matched perfectly and both express the DNA of the Salvation Army in a clear and confident way.

In our Sunday gathering and in our cells in the lead up to our launch as a Prayer Beacon we are re-visiting these values and I hope to blog the messages and cell notes as regularly as I can.

God bless


Monday, 3 October 2011


I am reading a book by Henri Nouwen called Creative Ministry. In a chapter on teaching and learning, he refers to the writing of Bernard Longeran who referred to the fact that people often prefer darkness to light and sees how that parallels a physical condition called a scotosis which results in a scotoma, or blindspot.

Henro Nouwen comments how this works out in practice

"Scotosis means long and fierce discussions about justice and equality while we hate out teacher or ignore the needs of our fellow students. Scotosis means endless academic quarrels in a world filled with atrocities amd much talk about hunger by people suffering overweight. Scotosis allows church people to indulge in comfortable discussions about the Kingdom of God while they know that God is with the poor, the sick and the hungry and the dying."

Where do we start to change that? Perhaps it is facing up to the idea that we have been blind to our own blindness.

God bless