Friday, December 28, 2007

Reaching the Muslim...

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Hope you had a great Christmas! I have a new growing interest and a growing concern which I believe the Spirit of God is building inside of me...

My growing interest...? Muslims. Reaching muslims with the gospel of Jesus. I've been reading quite a bit lately about ministry in predominantly Muslim settings. Some say there are 1.2 billion muslims in the world; Wikipedia says 1.8 billion (just less than the amount of Christians).

My growing concern...? Should there be more of us reaching the muslims? Specifically, what is The Salvation Army doing to reach the muslims? What can we be doing to reach the muslims? The Salvos are in 113 countries, and without doing the research, do many of the other 'untapped' countries have mainly muslims living there?

Revolution Earth is not just about Western Civilization. It is not just about sharing a gospel which ties in a heap of western culture, which may or may not relate necessarily to the foundational commands of the Word of God, e.g. clothing, how we position ourselves when we pray, our buildings, etc. Muslims have a particular culture which has developed since the 7th century days of Mohammad and which we need to learn to not be afraid of but to learn, so as to communicate the message of Jesus is an uncompromising but contextually relevant way.

Since entering college at the beginning of 2007, the Lord has grown in me a greater appreciation and burden for the wider Salvation Army, and Universal Church. Only recently are my eyes being opened to the potential that The Salvation Army has in ministering to muslim communities and witnessing the growth of the Kingdom in these settings.

Stay tuned for more interesting bit-sized blogs on reaching muslims for Jesus.

It's time for a Revolution. Are you ready?

* Our prayers go out to Pakistan at this time, with the murder of Benazir Bhutto and the political and social unrest in this country.
* Our prayers go out to the survivors of the 2004 Tsunami disaster in South East Asia, for the rebuilding of lives, communities and the traigc memories of the past.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas!

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Well, it's Christmas time... Hope you enjoy the moments with family and friends. As the well known cliche' goes: Jesus is the reason for the season.

I'm on holidays for the next month. So don't expect a heap of blogs during this time. Have a great Christmas, and a fruitful and blessed New Year.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Big Weekend

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Saturday morning: Collected for Carlton Corps in Lygon St., and Jo and I collected $696 in 2.5 hours. Praise God.

Satuday afternoon: My sister-in-law Lisa had an engagement party with her fiance Scott (from Scotland). We're praying for an awesome marriage and heaps of blessed years together serving the Lord!

Sunday morning: An 'In-Sunday' at the Training College, where we joined together with the kids and sang carols, read from Luke 2 (Jesus' birth!), Mjr. Greg Morgan preached on our 'Unfinished business', there's still salvation to be sought after by people, and we still need to work for peace.

Sunday early afternoon: My parents got back from America, and so we cuddled and cried and spent quality time together. My sister baptised her baby 'Ella' at an Anglican Church in Williamstown... I pray that my niece will grow up and choose to follow Jesus when she's older. What an opportunity sometimes we have to share about Jesus and pray for our families.

Sunday night: A Carols night at Wyndham City Salvos. 150 people, lots of carols, a unicycle, sausauges, magic tricks, a drama, a DVD clip about Christmas, a message, and lots of connections with the community.

The message of Christmas is Revolutionary. God came to earth as a human in the form of Jesus and lived to set people free...

It's time for a Revolution. Are you ready?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Dangerous thoughts for a Revolutionary

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Here's some of my thoughts and ventures recently:

* A teenager (who I don't know) from a local Secondary College I use to work in rang me the other day, speaking obscene words into the phone - a prank call... So I started speaking about Jesus, and telling him he needs to give his life to Jesus! Ha! Praise God!
* We don't enter Soldiership or Officership so much because of what The Salvation Army is, but more so for what it can become! What do you think?
* God promised Joshua to give the land in which he set foot (Joshua 1). I believe that can be the same for us, hence the reason we went prayer walking around a local suburb recently...
* Did some collecting down at Melbourne Central Station the last few mornings. I'm amazed at the generosity of the people of Melbourne, and pray God's blessing upon them!
* Do we encourage Christian children to be more excited for Santa than we do for Jesus? Or do we simply lack the ability to share the gospel of Jesus with kids, in ways that makes them as excited for Jesus as they get for someone like Santa? What do you think?
* Today's a new day, a new opportunity. Let's make the most of it. As the candidate's dpt say, give up your small ambitions and come change the world.
* Cpt. Stephen Court has started believing for 1000 cadets in one session. Ohh yeah! Why not? I can think of about 10-15 people from one local corps that could all sign up today if they felt needed and felt called... Lord, call people, and let us hear.
* Lets plant new ministries, new corps, new outposts. Down in Werribee, the corp's friendship group has been meeting in the local Plaza, and new people feel welcome. (What missioligists call a third place)
* Scott wanted me to blog about the fact that he has cleaned some windows recently and that they look great. Thanks Scott; Revolutionary.
* We will have power when the Holy Spirit comes upon us... to be Witnesses. Matrys. Revolutionaries.
* Is Terry McCrann in 'The Herald Sun' actually Lt. Col. Raymond Finger? Just a thought.
* Jesus is coming back soon. Lets reconcile the World back to Christ.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Revolutionary Quotes

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General Edward J. Higgins: 'Nothing is so likely permanently to stop soul-saving as the want of intense zeal on the part of our own people. How far are your soldier's meetings utilised for the development of the personal religion and fighting capacity of your people? Never mind the fewness of the numbers; if you can but get the few set on fire, the fire will attract others.'

General Paul A. Rader: 'While we are motivated by great optimism as to the possibility for change and new life for persons and communities, we are not naive regarding the fallenness and sinfulness of the human heart. Nor are we unaware of the evil desire of Satan to deceive and destroy, to demean and damn human personal. Further, we accept that there can be a powerful and pervasive demonic dimension evident in human systems and structures, institutions and cultures. We are called to live out our faith and pursue our mission in a fallen world that may put us at risk. All the more we are determined not to back down from any overt or insidious challenge to Christ's Kingdom, whether that challenge is in the form of personalised or institutionalised evil.'

OUCH! I read the following recently:

* That the biggest lie Satan tells to people, is that he doesn't exist.
* We are not called to simply be contemporary, but to be prophetic.
* We build on the past, work on the present, and impact the future.
* Sometimes praise and worship music is self-indulgent, not honouring God much... Ouch.
* The early Salvation army wrote songs that were about impacting the world for Jesus. A huge vision. A driving passion.

Get off the band-wagon and get into the throne room.

It's time for a Revolution. Are you ready?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Flagstaff Emergency Accomodation

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Jo and I spent the week at Flagstaff, which is a 64 bed emergency accomodation for men, found just north-west of Melbourne. We had a chance to 'chaplain' or minister to guys throughout the week; taking guys out for coffee, playing music with some, playing pool with others, and cricket as well. (It's a tough life!)

Before we left Flagstaff today we spoke to one of the guys about Jesus, gave him a Bible and had a prayer with him. We're praying he finds a job that he needs, and finds some people to befriend him!

On the way home, we caught the tram, and as we were getting closer to home, we saw one of the Flagstaff residents absolutely drunk, laying across the seats of the tram. We woke him up and took him off the tram, and bought him a pie and water from 7-Eleven and he sat and ate it, spilling the sauce all over himself. A guy next to us, winked at us and donated $10 to the Salvos... We caught the tram back to Flagstaff and we dropped the guy off. The workers then walked him back to his room, so he could sleep off the alcoholism. What a ministry! God bless those chaplains and employees that dedicate their lives to helping those in absolute crisis.

Thanks Simon Pickens for the week we've had.

Jesus is alive. It's time for a Revolution. Will you be part of it?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

What are we on about?

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What's the big question for The Salvation Army?

"What are we on about?"

Are we actually an Army? YES! Are we passionate about social justice? YES! Are we passionate about Evangelism? YES!

Are we here to relax? NO! Are we called to be comfortable? NO!

Do we seek first the Kingdom of God? YES! Do we commit to ministry beyond the expected? YES! Do we do it out of legalism? NO! We minister out of our passion for Christ. Hallelujah.

Is it really time for a Revolution? Will we put aside our own desires, our own hangups, our own passions, and join together to bring about this Revolution? A Revolution never occurred watching the idiot box! Revolutions are only preceeded by committed, faith-filled prayers, and a holy discontent for the way things are at the present.

Are you really ready for a Revolution? Will you stop just playing the game and being comfortable?

Signed: A holy discontented warrior, hoping to be in the Revolution when it happens...

(As Dave Collinson writes... Just a Thought)

Monday, December 3, 2007

So you think you can preach!?

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What a night last night! Without wanting to repeat myself on this awesome night. Check out Jo's blog at:
http://www.revolutionarmy.blogspot.com

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Win the World for Jesus

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This year I have occassionally fallen into a relaxed attitude about the ministry of The Salvation Army. Comfortable with how things are. Spending a considerable amount of time theologising about minstry I'm not particularly helping with overly much. Interesting position I've found myself in. But things are changing for me... Let me tell you why.

I've heard a statement recently, that I've heard before, and during Connections it has really hit my heart. It's the statement... 'WIN THE WOLRD FOR JESUS'. After spending some time studying the ins and outs of Mission in Salvation Army contexts and abroad, I am loving this statement.

If we win the world for Jesus, everyone is saved for starters. Not just that. Communities are transformed. Global warming would be a declining issue. Poverty would be non-existent. Human Trafficking would be a fleeting historical event which no longer applies to humanity. Reconciliation; Salvation; Justice. It encapsulates all this.

We win the whole World for Jesus. Every part. Every community. A big vision. A big dream. A future reality? Let the Revolution begin...

Lord, renew in us a deep, deep passion for winning the world for Jesus. It is time for a Revolution.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A NEW DAY!

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It's a new day! Amen. Let me share some thoughts following a huge week of Connections 07':

* The Salvation Army is a force to be reckoned with; watch out Devil, Jesus has conquered the grave!
* God is bringing more and more people to their knees in prayer and submission. I said to Jo on Thursday morning, after we had been down the front kneeling before the Lord in tears, I never want to stop kneeling before God in surrender, even as a future officer into the future.
* The Salvation Army Australia Southern Territory has begun a new day, a new era. A time where encouragement will be the attitude, and blessing others will be the norm (trust me I'm learning this one, as I believe many Salvationists are)
* As I prayed Saturday night prior to the two Sunday events, I saw a vision of the Holy Spirit's fire weaving in and out of the rows of seats in the venue. Like the Fantastic Four fire guy; a flaming fast fire enveloping all those it touches.
* I have a new passion for the mission of The Salvation Army!
* I'm loving the phrase, 'WIN THE WORLD FOR JESUS' I believe it encapsulates all that we are about. If we win the World for Jesus then the World is reconciled to God through Christ, the World will be just, and Nations will be Holy and Sanctified, as will all individuals!
* On the train to Parliament Station, a lady asked us for some money. She looked really drugged and sleep deprived. We found out she needed a meal. She came with us to Mc'Donalds near Parliament Station and we bought her a meal. I'm loving the opportunities God gives us to put the talk into action.
* On Sunday afternoon we sat with mates for lunch at Southern Cross Station, and we talked with a lady next to us about The Salvation Army and even better, we spoke about the saving grace of Jesus!
* I believe we need large Salvation Army gatherings at least once a year, where we can come together as a large group and connect with the Lord. Here's a vision I saw earlier on in the year, while at Rod Laver Arena... I saw the Rod Laver Arena (seating atleast 15,000) filled with Salvationists full-on worshipping Jesus, with Salvos wearing many different uniforms, united in their mission and focus. Lord let it be! Maybe some of us young people will be reaping the harvest of the painful, hard work of our forefathers...

AND LASTLY:

* The vision outlined by Commissioner Jim Knaggs in his new book, 'One Day...', will soon have to be called 'Today...' ; you understand what I mean??

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Connections is here!

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Bring your faith and put on your armour. What an awesome weekend this will be. If you're coming just for the Sunday why don't you put aside what you're doing on Saturday and join in the Parade/March and the great electives that will be on.

Today was Covenant Day for the Heralds... and many of us prayed and prayed as we watched these guys sign their covenants. Vowing to make winning souls the first purpose of their life, and committing their lives to serving the poor and needy. What an awesome thing! Will you commit your life to winning souls and serving the needy?

Bring your mates to Connections. Believe its going to be powerful. Lives will be transformed in the presence of Jesus. I believe that. Believe that with me.

Bring your faith and put on y0ur armour. This weekend is going to change the face of The Salvation Army.

It's about Jesus.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Torquay Salvation Army

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Jo, myself and Aaron Stobie had a chance to go to Torquay yesterday and help out. What a great community. From what I know things began with the Thrift shop in Torquay, and income increased through that and contacts were made in the community. Then some ministries began to sprout up from the Thrift shop, like Mainly Music programs. The Salvos then at Torquay commenced a Church service on a Sunday arvo over a year ago.

In amongst all the things we could have assisted with, we helped with the Sunday night service. About 40 people rocked up, with heaps of children running around and just having heaps of fun. We helped with the music, and parents worshipped while kids had fun playing little shaker instruments (Maracas?) Anyway, what a great missional community. The fellowship is relaxed and genuine, new people came along, people are becoming adherents, and Jesus is the focus!!

Good stuff Torquay. I pray a blessing upon your leadership team, and for Cath and Phill this coming week for Commissioning!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Planting Churches

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Here's a Church Planting Video I put together following a Church Planting Conference in Melbourne a couple of months ago. (I finally got the editing done... Check it out)

Monday, November 12, 2007

McDonalds and Church

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I've been thinking a little lately. Our churches are much like McDonalds...

When you go to McDonalds you know what to expect. The menu is set. You know the cost before you walk in. In fact, not often does the price you pay differ from normal. The service is predictable. The layout is the same in many McDonalds restaraunts.

Church. You know what to expect. The meeting lead is set. You know the cost before you walk in. In fact, not often does the price you pay differ from normal. The service is predictable. The layout is the same in many Church buildings.

Our Australian culture. People are different. Immigration sees many differing nationalities. People enjoy varying things. People have a whole lot of personalities. Our lives are unpredictable. Our homes are unique, with the style that we have chosen.

To effectively impact communities with the Gospel, with all their variety and passions, we can't put forward a McDonalds style church.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Holy Discontent - Bill Hybels

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A month or so back, I read a new Hybels book called, 'Holy Discontent'.

It's a fairly easy read, but with an important message. Each of us should find our holy discontent, that is, find the thing that frustrates us, or the injustice that needs to change... and then work on that holy discontent.

For William Wilberforce, his holy discontent was slavery. He dedicated his life to seeing slaves be set free, and for government policy to be overruled. For Mother Theresa, her holy discontent was people in poverty deserving dignity and compassion and support. She, as we know, devoted her life to aiding those in these situations.

I wonder, what is your holy discontent? Find it. Then as Hybel says, feed it. Don't lose the passion you have for that discontentedness.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Successful TACO night

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Well, the TACO Trivia Nights have come and gone. You may be wondering how much we raised... well I tell you that in a minute.
We were raising money for Cadets in Indonesia, and for the Training College in Indonesia. The money we raised will go towards supporting cadets who struggle financially, also the cadets who are waiting to enter college because of lack of funding, and also to possibly supporting the improvement of the facilities of the Training College.
We ran two events on Saturday. One at The Salvation Army Training College in Melbourne, and one in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne. We had over 60 people at the College and over 40 in the West, and everyone seemed to have a great night, plenty of laughs, plenty of itchy heads, and sore brains...

Through the running of these two events were able to raise $1,220. Well done everyone!

I would like to thank those who helped serve on the night, and those who helped prior to the two events. A special thanks to Cadet Nicole Snead for her leadership and organisation of the College's TACO night.

HERE'S THE VISION FOR NEXT YEAR: TACO Trivia nights in atleast 6 or 7 locations next year around the Territory, raising towards $5,000 for Cadets in Indonesia. Let's empower and train the next generation of officers to see the Revolution happen! Can you see it happening?

Friday, November 2, 2007

TACO Trivia: Last Chance!

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Last Chance folks! We need more people to travel down to Werribee and join us in the fun. This Saturday!!!!

Send me an SMS and let me know if you're coming... 0412 997 125

What an awesome time. Two venues, and we'll raise lots of money for cadets in Indonesia. If you're in the state, come along!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Embrace the change

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I've only ever heard Chick Yuill speak once, and it was atleast 5 years ago. I've heard a lot of sermons since then, but his message I remember very cleary... EMBRACE CHANGE. Embrace, embrace, embrace, embrace change.

Why is it that we struggle to embrace change at times? I think it is partly because of the loss of something that we grieve. A ministry changes and you enjoyed it more beforehand. A leader changes position and you really loved the leader beforehand.

There are a few things we really must do. We must learn to accept the loss that we have incurred. We should openly acknowledge the loss we have experienced, and then we must reconstruct our attitudes to embrace the new reality that is before us.

When God is the instigator of a change, I've learnt to say, God this is for a time such as this, I will follow and embrace the future with excitement!

The Salvation Army is in a time of change. We need to embrace it.
From worship as music, to worship as lifestyle.
From programs to relationships.
From maintenance to vision.
From Attractional, to a greater emphasis on being incarnational.
From Sunday meetings, to an everyday impact.
From hierarchical, to a greater empowerment of leaders.
From a CO pastors everyone, to everyone pastors everyone.
From CO's to teams.
From decline, to growth... to revival... to revolution!!!

Lets embrace change!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The day after Tomorrow

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Watched a movie last night, you may have seen it? The Day After Tomorrow... The movie is about climate change, and tells a sensational story of a large storm that freezes over the entire northen hemisphere. Anyway regardless of the plot of the movie there are some blatant points regarding the issue of global warming.

I thought it was worth highlighting this issue to people today. What an issue?! Lets use our resources intelligently. Lets advocate for politicians to be concerned with global warming. Lets pray about it more often, lets begin to be very concerned about it!
In 2 Corinthians 5 you may know the verses that encourage the people to understand that God wants the whole world reconciled to himself in Christ, including creation. We have a cultural mandate to care for the Lord's creation and so lets be good stewards of it...

Things are heating up? Can you not feel it?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Global Leadership Summit

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I went to some of the Global Leadership Summit recently and here's some leadership thoughts for you:

* Vision leaks: Recast vision all the time.

* What is a leaders greatest fear? Fear of failure...

* "The higher you rise in an organisation the less truth you hear" - Colin Powell

* Most of the time we are 'doing good', but are we doing the 'most good'? Are we using our time and resources to the best of our ability, producing the best results?

* If you're nervous when you preach, and your palms are sweaty and your lips are dry, try licking your palms.

* In your leadership teams promote a clash of ideas. Encourage team members to participate. Leave the meeting with a united resolution for the future.

* Maintain an open door policy (expect when going to the toilet)

* Don't let your position get so close to your ego, that when your position goes, your ego goes.

* Have an optimistic attitude. Adopt the idea, that things will always look better in the morning.

* Employees that are highly motivated have a 40% higher performance in the workplace than those who are unmotivated.

* Get people around you that give you a motivational 'jolt' when they walk into the room.

* Make a point of rubbing shoulders with exceptionally inspiring people!

* Connect everyone you lead to a compelling cause

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

TACO Trivia Night

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What a night!
Two venues, same time, same date:
VENUE 1: Salvation Army Training College, 303 Royal Parade, Parkville [Level 10]
Call Nicole Snead ASAP on 9342 2261
VENUE 2: Wyndham City Salvation Army, 211 Watton St, Werribee
Call Pete Brookshaw ASAP on 0412 997 125
JUST COMMENT ON THIS BLOG AND SAY YOU'RE COMING!

Monday, October 15, 2007

A time for...

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Well, it's that time of year for cadets, where the studies are pilling up and the second years are getting ready for their commissioning. Exciting times for these guys. Just been thinking about the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes, and I want to offer these thoughts:

There's a time for study and a time for ministry
A time for sowing and a time for reaping
A time for praying and a time for acting
A time for working and a time for rest
A time for evangelising and a time for discipling
A time for silence and a time for pentecostal celebration
A time for a revolution of our hearts, a time for a revolution in the world

Lord, lead us, guide us, challenge us, and empower us. Praise Jesus.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Time for a Revolution

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The momentum is building. Do you feel it? The wheels are turning. Changes are happening. Cabinet is shuffling. Training College is moving. Corps are seeing lives transformed. Communities are being reformed.

We are living in exciting times. And I've been praying for a revolution. A complete change... For example:

* Corps that are not declining but Corps that are growing!
* More cadets entering College than Officers retiring!
* More soldiers being enrolled than soldiers putting down their armour
* More corps being planted than corps closing their doors
* People filled with the Holy Spirit, charismatic, loving, passionate...
* Social Centres becoming Social Jesus Centres (where Jesus IS the centre!)

It's TIME FOR A REVOLUTION! Spread the word. Make the change. Advocate for the difference. Jesus is Lord!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

What about this Drought?

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Lord, send the rain! That's what we've been praying for. But we need to pray for it more. We need to pray with a greater faith. Farmers are losing their financial security, and according to Major Lyn Cochrane, even if the drought breaks, it could be a further 12 years for a dairy farmer to get back on top of things! Ouch!! No wonder there is depression for some, family breakdowns for others, and generations of farming communities in despair!

What can we do about it? From our end, there are atleast two things that come to mind. We should continue to conserve water. Not just for our sake, but for the sake of our communities. I also know that we need to continue to pray. While up north in Rochester, while praying with others about the drought, I was reminded of the scripture of the lady going back to the Judge to get a verdict. Back, and back, and back she went, pleading with the judge for a verdict. That's a scripture for us. Let's pray. And if you've been praying, great. But continue to pray. And if you've got that attitude right now, that's saying, 'Well I have been praying, what else do you want me to do!' Get over the attitude and pray some more. Pray with a greater faith. Believe when you ask, God will provide.

My thoughts go out to all the farmers and families directly affected by the drought.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Mission Week in Northern Vic

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What a week!
Just finished a Holiday Program in Rochester. We had 66 different kids come along at some point in the program. We were singing songs about Jesus, we had Godman and SpeedDemon dramas, Stevie the Super Salvo puppet, games and loads of fun.

Most of the kids that came along were unchurched kids, which is all the better. What an opportunity to run a creative, exciting few days full of gospel sharing and relationship building!

We spent some time Milking Cows on Monday. Ergh! Nothing but poo and wee! I think it's an oxymoron that from such filthy, smelly cows, can come warm, fresh milk!! Interesting creation Lord.
Let me say, there seems to be nothing better than letting people have the opportunity to hear the gospel and respond to it. Lets be creative, innovative and do what we can to invest in people's lives...

There's one thing that challenges me so much since being in the country these few days, and that is the draught. There's simply no water. Dams are dry. Farmers are stressed. Families are breaking down. People are committing suicide. Farmers are downsizing their stock, prices are going up. Some are moving to the city looking for new employment. GOD SEND THE RAIN! IN the name of JESUS!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

God is with us?

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Do you always hear the prayers, "God please be with us today..." "God we pray you'll go with us as we travel."

I wonder whether we've considered strongly the words of the Great Commission? Matthew 28:19-20 says, '...go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'

Did you catch that? 'Surely I am with you always to the very end of the age'. He's promised to be with us. He's promised to be there for us. He will never leave or forsake us. Do we believe it? Do we truly understand this? We don't need to pray, 'Lord please be with us...' I mean.. 'Surely!! I am with you always...' Lets just believe it! The presence of Jesus is there! Hallelujah!

Lets rather pray and say, 'Lord Jesus, thanks so much that you're with us, empower us as we go about our day!'

Maybe this is semantics. Or maybe it shows we have a deeper faith in the promise of God's Word.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Faith and what?

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The book of James has a challenge for us! No I'm not talking about James' Blog at WhollyHoly (nice plug there for a mate - I know he'll do the same for me), I'm talking about Jesus' brother James.

He says, faith without action is dead. Absolutely useless. Maybe you're an activist and this means nothing to you. Or maybe you love reading blogs and doing absolutely nothing about your faith. Then this applies to you. Or maybe you know of the guys that go to church each week, enjoy the arnott's biscuits, enjoy the fellowship and then goes home to continue to live a life with no fruit or action.

Calling all Salvationists! It's time for a vibrant faith, that believes for the impossible, expressed in action that wants to win the world for Jesus! A faith expressed in action. Fighting for the oppressed, praying for your local school, visiting the sick lady in the church, saying hello at the Salvos Store around the corner, inviting your friend over for dinner...

You wanna read of faith in action, check out some of the blogs at mercypeacegrace and of course there are many others!

Dear Jesus, I wanna take my faith to the next level. I'm sick of playing the religion game. I'm sicking of playing the theology game. I'm ready for a radical faith, expressed in daring action. Amen!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Church Planting & Evangelism

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Is Church Planting the most effective way to evangelise today?

This has been an issue to think about in some of my studies recently, and straight off the cuff we probably say, 'YES!'
I believe Church Planting can definitely inspire some new, fresh, innovative ways of evangelising, that existing churches struggle to comprehend. New church plants do have some issues that we need to be aware of though, and wary not make mistakes others have made. For instance, some church plants can emerge from a frustration with the existing structures, and just become a new hip version of church that isn't evangelising any more than the church they emerged from! Or a church plant may have been planted from a community of faith that is struggling and unhealthy, and then the new church 'does church' the same exact way, 10 km down the road, and wonders why they aren't successful either... Church planting is great, but it does not gaurantee effective evangelism and it does not gaurantee growth.

Two of the ways forward for The Salvation Army is Corps Planting, but very importantly growing healthy corps. How can we ignite the missional potential of local corps? Local corps that have a group of committed Christians, local corps that are talking about wanting to make a difference... Corps planting needs to be encouraged, and so does unleasing the latent potential that exists within every congregation that exists in the Salvation Army. If only every corps saw themselves as a passionate, soldout community of people working together to change the world, then using all the wisdom God gives them to change the world for Jesus' sake!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Yearn for more.

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Jo and I have realised so strongly that people have been praying for us recently. It has been an awakening from the desert experience we have found ourselves in. Only very recently Jo and I have had a close relative die, and it quickly helps you to appreciate the life you have and to take stock of where you are and what you are doing. We love the time we spend with other Cadets in college and the moments of influence and blessing at Packenham Corps.

I wrote recently about 'my heart' in ministry. My passion to see lives touched with the power of the gospel of Jesus... My heart will always yearn for something more. I remember running a Youth Event in Werribee about 4 years ago now, called the Mega Vibe!! It was an exciting night. God had nudged me to preach that night, so I did, and towards about 30 people responded to the gospel that night and were inspired in some way from God. Why do I share this? I remember afterwards, the excitement from the night. The exhiliration! The passion! The presence of the Holy Spirit! I felt all this... Yet a big part of me, still yearned for more. Maybe, I'm too hard to please, or I'm never satisfied, or I never celebrate the victories enough... But all I can say is, amongst my laughter and reflection, my heart yearned for more. It still does. It probably always will.

See folks, we've sung the songs for a long time. We've had the funny dramas, the nice preach, and the flashy announcements on powerpoint. We've attracted the same crowd, with their nice uniforms, and their friendly cliches, and the edible 'Scotch Finger Biscuit'. But my heart yearns for more. So much more. So Much Much more. Lets yearn for more... Ohh yeah. I'm beginning to get excited now! Lets yearn for a Salvation Army of warriors, fighting against sin and injustice. Lets pray for a Holy Spirit anointing so strong even our political leaders need to bow their knees. Lets inspire an inner passion so vibrant that our friends, are no longer our gossip buddies, but our comrades in the mission we have before us. The World WILL turn to Jesus. The Church WILL be a place of equipping and arming up and not a spiritual ghetto. Our communities WILL connect with the God of the Bible and lives WILL be transformed. Hallelujah!!!

Lets go friends. Lets yearn for more...

Monday, August 27, 2007

My Heart

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Lately my heart has been aching. I'll be honest with you and diverge a little from my usual look at mission. My heart has been aching for the lost. We worshipped at Packenham lately and I cried so hard for those that don't know Jesus. We worshipped at Werribee recently and again I wept like a baby, thinking of the enormous job we have of reaching the multitudes.

I contemplate too much recently about my lack of involvement in reaching the masses. My life cries out to do something of significance. I find myself a fish in a tiny fishbowl, with little room to swim. I'm not attempting to critique those at College. I love the staff, and the cadets and everyone is working so hard to make things right...

But something needs to change for me. Maybe it's simply my attitude. Maybe it's more. Maybe my passion for meaningful engagement in ministry is greater than my passion for interpreting the book of Nehemiah. Although maybe this is deep, important theological content that I need in order to be effective for Jesus. Maybe God doesn't care.

My heart yearns for the lost. I take the opportunities when I find them. Or when I find time. My life seems so meaningless (I feel like the writer or Ecclesiastes), yet God has a purpose in their somewhere.

This is probably a blog that belongs in the private journal, but would you be inspired to pray for the lost, for those whose lives are broken and hurting? Would you do what you can, when you can, with all that you can in order to reach as many as you can with the message of hope found in Jesus?

Monday, August 20, 2007

How far is too far? Reaching the subcultures

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How far would you go to reach the subcultures in our communities with the gospel of Jesus? Interesting question.

How far can you 'incarnate' the gospel, before you compromise it? At what point does syncretism set in? That is, the gospel message is compromised.

Looking at the provocative picture to the left, we are left wondering, how we would even begin to consider reaching into some cultures; but we need to.

Take for example, a Goth becomes a believer in Jesus. Do we now compel the new Christian to lose the black clothing, and lose the ear pearcings, in order to fit into our established Christian communities? What about the concept that God is light and no darkness is found in him, will we use that as a way to compel the new believer to join our circles and fit in our ranks?

The debate really is about, how far can we incarnate the gospel of Jesus into particular subcultures. My thought would be that we start with our belief/understanding of Jesus (Christology) and with that foundational teaching we are involved in the Mission of God (Missiology) and then our expression of Church will derive itself from that (Ecclesiology).

So if we're trying to reach the goth culture for Jesus, we would understand that Jesus is calling people to follow after him, to be a disciple, to leave the life of sin and go into the world and make other disciples. We would understand that Jesus says very little about what clothes to wear. We may even dress like a goth and connect with the goths in this way (knowing that our belief in Jesus is not compromised simply because we are wearing a different set of clothes). Goths start to follow Jesus and then a Church is established in this subculture, in which Goths can continue to be Goths, but be passionate for Jesus, passionate about holiness and passionate about the great commission.

Interesting thoughts. Am I pushing it too far? Let us know your thoughts.

Nonetheless, we must ask the difficult questions of how to ensure the gospel message is relevant today to each generation and subculture.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Church Planting/Corps Planting

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What a busy, exciting week I've had. Jo and I attended a Church Planting Conference, with guest speaker Stuart Murray, whose written numerous books, such as, 'Church Planting', 'Post Christendom' and more.

The content was helpful and interesting. We talked a little about the essentials for a church... Have a look at the limited list below and comment on which you think are absolutely essential for a Church, and are non negotiable...

* Church Building
* Prayer
* Timbrels
* Contemporary Band
* Food
* Bible exploration/study
* Soldiership
* Teaching the gospel
* Doctrinal beliefs

Which do think are negotiable? Which are absolutely non negotiable for a church?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

When is enough, enough?

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How long do you continue to pour resources into a church that won't budge, nor grow, nor change? How long do you care before you crack? How much time do you invest before the time is up? Do we continue to love and support and pamper, because we are simply a local church where 'God is love' and there is no condemnation or judgement?

These are questions I was wondering with a friend last night. If a church is unwilling to change and do what is necessary to reach the lost, be involved in mission, help the needy, etc, when is enough, enough?

Our desire is to go into all the world and make disciples. Should we close corps that are disobedient? What about closing corps that never grow, and always have the same people, week after week and never do any practical mission?

What are the effective ways of helping soldiers to see the bigger picture, to think outside the square and to reach outside the world in which they currently live?

Lots of questions at the moment... But here's my big one... Do we appoint good officers to lousy corps, or allow good officers to create new expressions of Salvation Army ministry?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pete's Pastoral Care Time!

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* Happy Birthday to Rachael Collins (a cadet in our session), hope you have a cool night tonight!

* We're all praying that the new Victorian premier John Brumby will be blessed by God as he makes decisions that affect Victoria, Australia.

* I'm praying for healing for my mate Shaun whose been unwell lately... not to mention everyone else whose sick; I hope God will bless you!

* For all those that are wanting to change the World and God hasn't brought the harvest yet... Be content where God has called you at this point in time.

* Just a thought for you, in such a pluralistic, 'anything goes' society, remember, love the sinner, hate the sin. Don't love the sinner and love the sin. (Just a thought...)

* Thanks to all those at the Training College who have supported the 75 hours of prayer we will be doing. (I hope you've heard of the 24/7 prayer happening within the Salvation Army Southern Territory)

* God comfort those right now, who feel abused, who feel depressed, who are addicted, who are hurting, who are lonely, who are supressed, in the name of Jesus!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Faith for the Future

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Who has it?
Do you have it?
Do most of our Soldiers in The Salvation Army have it?
Do the officers of The Salvation Army have it?
I sure hope I have it.

FAITH for the FUTURE!

I believe 'Connections 07' is going to be great. That the Holy Spirit will move freely and powerfully in our midst!
I believe that God is reviving The Salvation Army, and that I'll be part of a wonderful Revolution.
I believe that we will be sold out to Jesus.
I believe we will have an integrated, holistic mission in the future.
I believe God will choose the right person to govern Australia.
I believe that many of the future leaders of our Salvation Army aren't even saved yet.
I believe that the way in which we train cadets, will change and adapt radically in the future.

I believe in Jesus, the son of the living God.

Monday, July 23, 2007

I need Shampoo!

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Have you ever had your income come close to your expenses? Hmm... It's kind of interesting being a cadet, living off a small Centrelink wage and paying all the fees for College, mobile phone, etc, etc. It's actually great to have to rely on God to survive at times.

Anyway, here's my quick story. We've run out of shampoo. It's time to go shopping with hardly any money... Jo goes off and does her house duties, and in the Cadet Common Room there is a box full of free goodies for the cadets, including... yes you guessed it... SHAMPOO!

So, that's my story. God is Jehovah Jireh, my provider. Ohh yeah. Praise Jesus.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Speak. Your Servant is Listening.

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We had a retreat day today. A day of opportunity to pray and listen to God and what he would speak to us about.

I couldn't stop thinking of 'Servanthood'. That fancy word for what God calls his people to be: Servants. Jesus humbled himself and became man, and in his life he served. (John 13, he washes his disciples' feet)

I've been tossing around thoughts recently of success. How does success tie in with serving? To serve is to succeed? A life that is faithful to God is successful? You may feel the same, but sometimes I wake up and think, I want my life to be successful. I want it to mean something. I want it to reach thousands of souls for Jesus. I want it to live on when I die. But maybe God's wanting me to do one thing. To focus not on success. To focus less on fruitfulness. To not let my life be consumed with busyness, attractiveness, money, peer pressure, etc. But above all things, that I would learn how to...

Serve.

Isaiah 42:1 - 'Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him
and he will bring justice to the nations.'

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Back to School

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Oh no, I gotta go. Oh no, I gotta go, back to school...

Well, it's Semester Two ladies and gentleman... You know, I think it's going to be a good Semester. A time of learning, a time of discovery, a time of challenge and frustration, but a time where God will show himself to be powerful and mighty.

I believe God has big plans for the 'Training College system' in which I find myself at this moment. I choose my words carefully here, as I believe it's not a matter of saying God has great plans for the Training College, as a building, but if we think outside the box, and see that God has great things in store for how we train cadets (whereever that may be) in whatever, postmodern, postChristendom, posthierarchial, postpaperworkfilled place that may be.

Hmm... God is good. Will you pray with me, that for many, it is a great time to be learning, a great time to discover new things?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Is that the Lord calling?

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I was reading 1 Samuel the other day, and I felt a word from God was given to me about the Candidates... You may be familiar with the story... (Have a quick read - 1Samuel 3:4-10):

Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, "Here I am. "
And he ran to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." But Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down." So he went and lay down. Again the LORD called, "Samuel!" And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." "My son," Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down."
Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, "Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’ " So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, "Samuel! Samuel! " Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening."


This is the what God laid on my heart as I began to pray for the candidates. I said, Lord I believe you have called many candidates into officership, but I also believe many of them cannot hear your voice. They are hearing someone calling them. They are receiving 'the call' into officership, but are not recognising whose voice is calling them. God let them understand your calling so clear...

Wait! There's more. I thought this was a good prayer time, but then yesterday, I was chatting with Marney Turner, and shared her this story. She said on Saturday morning of the Candidate's Weekend, she is using this exact scripture from 1 Samuel!!!! PRAISE GOD! What an awesome word from God.

Let us hear God when he calls us...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Time to Innovate

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It has been great being on holidays. Why? It has been a time to innovate? A time to think. A time to strategise. When I get back to College I aim to spend atleast every month apart from people and have my own retreat day.

When's the last time you stood back from the busyness just to think? Thinking outside the box is hard to do when you're inside the box. Take some time out to think, to create, to innovatively solve the problems you're facing. John Maxwell has a thinking chair, maybe that's a good idea...

Here's my thinking lately: I've come up with a great fundraising idea, called TACO (Train A Cadet Overseas). I'm going to get the ball rolling with that soon. Also, I've worked out how to make my own videos and upload them onto RevolutionEarth, which is awesome! Stay tuned for some interesting videos...

To finish in a tacky way... What's the time Mr. Wolf? It's time to innovate!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Australian 2006 Census Material

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Steve Addison published some interesting stats on his blog recently. Have a read: (Or check out: www.steveaddison.net/)

2006 Australian Census
The latest figures for the 2006 Australian census are out. Here’s some highlights on religious identification:
Christianity remained the dominant religion in Australia, although non-Christian religions continued to grow at a much faster rate. Since 1996, the number of people reporting that they are Christian grew from around 12.6 million to 12.7 million, but as a proportion of the total population this number fell (from 71% to 64%).
Over the same period, those affiliated with non-Christian faiths increased from around 0.6 million to 1.1 million people, and collectively accounted for 5.6% of the total population in 2006 (up from 3.5% in 1996).
The most common Christian denominations continued to be Catholic (26%) and Anglican (19%). Since 1996, the number of Australians affiliated with the Catholic church grew by 7% to 5.1 million, while those affiliated with the Anglican faith decreased by 5% to 3.7 million. Other groups to decline were the Uniting Church (by 15% to 1.1 million) and the Presbyterian and Reformed churches (by 12% to 0.6 million). The fastest-growing Christian denomination was Pentecostal, increasing by 26% (to around 220,000).
Australia’s three most common non-Christian religious affiliations were Buddhism (2.1% of the population), Islam (1.7%) and Hinduism (0.7%). Of these groups, Hinduism experienced the fastest proportional growth since 1996, more than doubling to 150,000, followed by Buddhism which doubled to 420,000.
Since 1996, the number of Australian residents who stated no religion increased from 2.9 million to 3.7 million (17% of all residents in 1996 and 19% in 2006). New South Wales had the smallest proportion of its population not affiliated with any religion (14%), and South Australia had the largest proportion (24%).
ABS Media Fact Sheet

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Calling all Apostles!

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I once had an argument with a guy who insisted that there are no longer any apostles. The nice heated discussion started when I said something about being an 'apostle'. He didn't like that. I mean, how dare I equate my life to that of Paul or Barnabas or Peter.

But I believe in the Word of God.

Eph 4:11-12 says, 'So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up... (TNIV)

Just because I'm passionate doesn't make me an evangelist. I believe I'm an apostle. Someone who pioneers communities of faith. Someone who is 'sent' by God to fulfill a task.
Do you sit in church frustrated at times, and want to do something, or say something, to bring glory to God? Do you ever think of ministries you could start that could change the world? Do you ever dream of planting churches? Maybe you're an apostle.
CALLING ALL APOSTLES. It's time to step up and pioneer. It's time to innovate and create. It's time to invest in people's lives, so that people would come to faith in Jesus!
Would you pray with me... 'God, use us to change the World. Empower us by your Holy Spirit. May we live and breathe as Jesus would today. Salvation for the World, we pray in the name of Jesus! AMEN!'

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Invent the Future

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We can't control the past.

How we live in the present determines the future.

We can change the present.

Therefore we can invent the future.


Will you dream with me a little..? ... ... ... ... I dream of pioneering thousands and thousands of healthy churches, that reach many, many people for Jesus. I dream of preaching the gospel in South East Asia, with many people coming to faith in Jesus! I dream of seeing corps reaching thousands of people with the gospel (Mega-Church or Mega-networks -- whichever!) I dream of having the influence to make the changes I know are right...

Will you dream once again? We CAN invent the future, by what we choose to do today.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Rest is Good

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Rest is good. Rest is needed. Here Jo and I are at a place called Mannum in South Australia. Enjoying the view and taking some photos. God is good that there has been much rain lately. I pray God will send what's needed in the amounts that are needed.

Have you been too busy lately? Remember God is the one who grows the Church. Stop a little. Rest a little. Trust God that he will grow your ministry. Trust God that he will expand your business.

Rest is good. Rest is needed.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Sacred Army System?

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We work, work, work in the Salvation Army. We work efficiently and the items that need to be attended to, for the most part, are completed. We're an efficient Army.

But are we an effective Army?

Are we kept busy with lots of paperwork, that when you think about it is a little pointless? Let me give an example. We have to fill in a log book in College to highlight the time we spend in ministry every week, and we need a minimum of ten hours at our assigned corps... Is it too revolutionary to simply ask the Cadet, what they've been doing for the week? "Hi Johnny, what have you been doing this week?" "Umm... on Wednesday I went and helped out at a breaky club and then I preached on Sunday..." "Great stuff Johnny, talk to you later" Too revolutionary? Less controlling? Who knows.

My question today is this... Is anyone an operations manager in the Salvation Army? That is, is anyone stepping back from the process they find themselves in, to look for a better way to do that process? Most organisations are always streamlining their processes to be more effective with less resources and even less personnel. How many officers could we send back into the 'ministry field' if we looked intentently at quickening decision making, reducing paperwork, empowering leaders to make decisions, etc?

If you're still reading, let me give another example... Here's a radical concept. When I was a candidate wanting to become a cadet, I was sent a document that highlighted '21 steps to becoming a cadet'. I looked through this process and with a few changes I was able to reduce the steps to 16 and quicken the accepting process for cadets by up to eight weeks. How? Simply by having two or more representatives from THQ to be present on the DHQ board, and then following the interview, to make a decision THERE AND THEN about whether to accept the cadet. Then that afternoon, ring them and tell them, yay or nay.

Sounds simple? But maybe our system is too sacred to change? Or is it simply the vehicle we use to be effective, in order that souls would be saved and lives transformed in the name of Jesus?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

My Dream... A Spirit-led Revolution

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A couple of years ago, the Holy Spirit spoke a scripture deep into my being. Isaiah 61:1, which reads, ‘The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners’ (NIV). This is my life; empowered by the Holy Spirit, to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the poor and to provide physically and spiritually for the needy. Some months ago a prophet was speaking into my life and spoke the words of Isaiah 61:1 – without knowing, but just confirming this (God is good!).

I must admit something. I’m not content being the CO of a church of 40 middle-class Salvos; no offence. God has given me and you a mandate to go and make disciples of all nations, and my passion is to see effective Spirit-filled ministry multiply so that as many lives as the Lord allows us to reach, will be reached. There is a generation of young people that are not satisfied with the status quo, that are hungry after God’s presence. I would love to empower them to literally usher in a Spirit-led Revolution.

I also dream of preaching the gospel in South-East Asia, and seeing thousands of lives impacted. I dream of planting thousands of vibrant, soul-saving, social-justice minded corps that reproduce again and again. Lots of dreams and visions… But am I merely ambitious, or would you pray and believe that maybe the Lord has placed a enormous vision on my heart that with his help might just be accomplished…?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Messianic Jews!

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On Saturday morning a few of us went off to a Jewish Messianic Service... It was a little bit like Sunday Worship on Saturday.

What do I mean by Messianic? They were a congregation who worships the Messiah. The one we know of as Jesus. The ones the Jews call, 'Yeshua' which is simply Jesus in Hebrew.

What a sight! People dancing and singing and saying prayers in Hebrew. There were readings from the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) and there was a message from the book of Acts, highlighting the fact that Jesus was the promised Messiah that the Jewish people had been waiting for.

He is alive! He has come! Jesus has come to take away the sin of the World.
I've just got two words for that...

Awesome stuff!

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Founder's Desire

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Many reading this, know that William Booth started The Salvation Army back in 1878 alongside his wife Catherine. They had a passion burning inside them to see the gospel of Jesus Christ transform people's lives and to witness the reformation of society.

In Alan Hirsch's new book, he writes these great words in relation to those that are 'founders' of a movement:

'...for a movement to survive beyond the initial impulse, the Founder literally must somehow live on in his people, and the vitality of the subsequent message would henceforth depend on the willingness and capacity of his people to faithfully embody his message' (p. 114).

Will we continue to live out the essence of the passion that underpinned the ministry of William and Catherine Booth?

Friday, June 8, 2007

Cabinet needs our support

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The Chief Secretary (Australian Southern Territory) came and spoke to the cadets today in regards to the role of the CS and the leadership of the Cabinet of the Salvation Army.

You know sometimes we complain about higher leadership. Sometimes people wonder why they decide what they decide and question motives. The fact is, the staff that are on cabinet and those that are in important positions of leadership are just as passionate about growing the Kingdom of God as we are! They are in high pressure jobs, with the responsibility of making quick, wise decisions that affect our ministries. I ask that God would guide them and bless them as they make these decisions.

Why this post? I think today has helped me understand a little of the pressures and demands of Salvation Army leadership, and I want to acknowledge my support for the ministries these people undertake. Sure The Salvation Army could be less hierarchial; sure The Salvation Army could more empowering; sure The Salvation Army could be more passionate. But you know something? I'll probably always say that, no matter how flat the structure, how empowering we are and how passionate we seem to be!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Church Planting: The Foundation

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What makes a Church, a Church? Some say it is simply: Worship, Discipleship and Mission

Church planting is an effective methodology for successful evangelism in the future. We can tire ourselves out in fixing churches that are on the decline, and some are gifted to do that (see Ezekiel 37), but Church planting births new growth, new expressions of worship, new expressions of discipleship and creative opportunities for mission.

Build a team that are willing to take the Word for God and their strong belief in Jesus as Lord, and allow God to use them to bring others to himself. We need more than just humility and servanthood, but we need strong leadership and a passion for God as well, to pioneer new worshipping faith communities.

The foundation for church planting is:

* A strong, united team of people, passionate about growing the Kingdom, and reforming society

* Worship

* Discpleship

* Mission

Lets put Church Planting back on the agenda.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Wisdom teeth are Dumb: Part 2

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I finally got my Wisdom teeth removed on Wednesday... I told the doctor, 'I have a new quote... Wisdom teeth are dumb.' He just looked at me, with a straight face and continued to tell me the minor risks related to having my wisdom teeth removed.

I have a busy weekend, this weekend, with a Corps Planting Conference to attend... So here's some questions to tie you over:

* What food do they put in those hospital drips? Is it Hungry Jacks?
* Will a woman ever be appointed as a TC and the husband as 'President of Women's Ministries'?
* When will Jesus return?
* Aren't you in fulltime ministry when you become a Christian, not just when you have a ministerial job?
* Are celebrities famous for much nowadays?
* When will the emerging Church become the Church?
* Does anyone hate that filthy 'Nandos' Advertisement on TV at the moment?
* Does everything taste like Chicken?
* When will Social Justice be something the Salvation Army is once again sold out to?
* Will you step into the calling God may have been placing on your life recently?

See you early next week. Keep blogging. Jesus is alive!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

What is Worship?

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I led a small group the other day and we explored the idea of what is worship? Some said worship was singing music, but we know its deeper than that. We finally came up with the fact that it's about honouring God with our lives. This is a pretty good definition for now...
In the Old Testament, worship was mainly a ritualistic thing, with the Israelites observing worship rituals such as Passover, Day of Atonement, etc. When Jesus came along, he said, all these commandments are great, but the greatest two are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength (Deut 6:4) and to love your neighbour as yourself (Lev 19:18) (Found in Matthew, Mark and Luke).
Lets worship God with our lives. Let our love for others, our compassion for our brothers and sisters and our passion for God be evident in everything we do.
Today's thought: When you worship God, do so in the power of the Holy Spirit and the presence of Jesus Christ. Praise God!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wisdom teeth are Dumb

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Why did God create wisdom teeth? And who called them that? I have to get my 'wisdom' teeth removed next week which is not a heap of fun (especially trying to do study dosed up on pills)
Anyway, here's some of my other thoughts/questions lately:
* Why is abbreviation such a long word?
* Do we pray expecting God to answer?
* Is 'Praise and Worship' music all 'Worship'?
* Is the Salvation Army going to see revival again?
* Are we afraid to be too pentecostal?
* Do we have the integrity we preach about?
* Are some of us post post-modern?
* Why did I lose my hair at such a young age?
* 6 days creation, or a billion years?
* What about the person on the desert island that hasn't heard about Jesus?
* Are some people really born gay or not?
* Is John Howard too old to lead Australia in the next election?
* Should the period of 'elightenment' actually be called, 'endarkenment'?
* Does anyone really care about all these questions??!
Anyway, some of my thoughts... Discuss, talk and debate, so that we all come to a deeper understanding of God through this...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Red Shield Appeal

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Had a great day today. We raised about $5,000 just collecting on intersections between yesterday and today (Sat & Sun). My feet are killing me, but I feel like I've done my part the last few days...


I've been thinking a little about Salvo Corps that either support the Red Shield Appeal wholeheartedly and those that don't rally their community to get involved. Those that don't get involved argue that the money we collect goes to 'secular' welfare programs and not to support 'evangelical' work. This may be a valid argument in some instances, but is this lack of desire to support financially the social work of TSA creating a greater divide between evangelism and social? We are supporting the daily welfare of humanity through these funds, so we should support it with a great passion (as many do!) and then continue to work during the year at infiltrating the whole of our organisation with the gospel of Jesus!

If you're one of those minority that choose to neglect putting your all into the Red Shield Appeal. I say quite nicely... Repent! I mean it. Repent! We have the communities support to impact many lives. We are also part of a bigger Salvation Army. I understand you may be working your toosh off in your local Church, but TSA as a whole needs to work together for the good of humanity and for the salvation of the world. Get involved.

I had a ball today! If you were helping out too, I hope you had a great time! Jesus is alive!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Heart to God, Hand to Man

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Here's a thought: In the Salvation Army, have we let our hand for man extend beyond our heart for God? That is, have we seeked to serve others so much so, that we have gone beyond our ability to disciple and therefore people serve in TSA without a relationship with Jesus?

There's a debate to be had here. We may know the 'Good Samaritan' story, that encourages us to help those in need. Now, do we continue to expand social ministries; even if we expand without Christian influence, but knowing that humanity will be better off in the physical realm? Or do we hinder the practical support for humanity, because we don't have enough Soldiers to fulfill the 'evangelical' task? What's your thoughts?

The big question is, how does the Salvation Army seek to move forward to integrate what we have segregated as Evangelical Ministry and Social Work (Corps & Social, Heart to God & Hand to man, etc)? Is merely employing Salvo Chaplains to fill secular Social Work enough?

No easy answers.

Integrate or Die.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Skpe: Change in the Communication World

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Who wants to pay for overseas calls anymore? You simply download a program called Skype, and the other person downloads Skype and you both have a webcam and you're set. Free video calls to your friends overseas? What a Revolution?! My Uncle was recently chatting with my Dad living overseas in Michigan, USA, for one whole hour for FREE.

What about Telstra and Optus? Their whole income through Overseas calls is in jeopardy! This brings a complete change in the Communication arena...

Here's my thought for the Christian community today: Are we in need of some sort of missional method (call it emerging, call it what you will), that differs from methods used years ago (methods that used to work, but no longer work) ? Do we need to work at welcoming people that aren't Christians into communities of believers, as opposed to inviting them to a Church Building? Is it more about sharing 'life' together (whatever that means) as opposed to running nice smelling 'Christian Programs'?

Telstra's mission is most likely not to provide International Phone lines so people can connect via the phone, but part of their mission statement would probably be to provide the most effective way of connecting friends from one country to another.

Our mission is not to bring people to a Church building. Our mission is for people to believe in Jesus Christ and become a Disciple of him. If there's better ways to fulfill that, then lets explore...

Friday, May 11, 2007

Wash away the Pain...

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Jesus came to bring life to the fullest. He really did. If you're reading this right now, wondering why things are as they are... wondering where God is, in the midst of all your trials...

Jesus came to set you free. To set you free from oppression, from sin, from darkness, from apathy, from depression, from negativity...

If you're all good, then feel free to move on and read another blog. But right now; if you're in pain... Why don't you pray with me:

Dear God,

You created me to have love, peace and joy. You created me to be in Christ; to be living life to the full. At the moment Lord, I need you to wash away the pain... Will you send the presence of your Holy Spirit right now to fill me and comfort me. Help me to get to the other side of all I'm currently experiencing. I have faith that you will move the obstacles in my life, that stop me from living life to the full. Deliver me from pain, in the Name of JESUS! Thank you Lord, Amen!


God Bless you.


If you need info on depression, then go to www.beyondblue.org

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Birthdays are Great!

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Thanks to all those who helped celebrate my birthday yesterday! For those that want to know... I'm now 25 years old.

Birthdays are a great chance for others to show hospitality. I found that out yesterday. My wife Jo made me a chocolate cake and we sang Happy Birthday and I was made to feel very special! (I love my wife...)
My thought today relates to leadership... Rome was not built in a day and either are leaders. I'm 25 now, and I have to work at developing my skills as a leader. I have many dreams and through continually connecting with God, learning the Bible, and putting good plans into action, I may well see those dreams come to pass.
Becoming a excellent leader is determined by what you are doing about it today!


Friday, May 4, 2007

Stop working on your weaknesses!

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How often, when it comes to our skills, do we spend most of our time working on our weaknesses? Now, here's the thought that John Maxwell puts forward...
If you are at Uni and you get B's for Maths, and you get D's for English, most people would say, you need to work on your English, so you can improve. But what if, you spent your time working on your strength? All of a sudden, through hard work, you can go from B's in Maths, to A+'s!
If you have the spiritual gift of Preaching and Evangelising, then work on strengthening that gift. Work on your strength, and become an expert at it! Say, the same person, struggles with pastoring people. Why spend all your time working on being a better pastor, when you will probably only improve to the level of being an average pastor... Work on your strength and build others around you that compensate for your weaknesses!
Someone said to John Maxwell, during a Q & A time, and they said, 'Well, what about Tiger Woods? When he plays a dreadful round of golf, he goes back to the driving range and practices his swing. That is a prime example of someone working on their weakness!' John Maxwell thinks for a minute... and replies, 'With all do respect sir, Tiger Woods, is the best golfer in the World. This is a man who is spending time on his strength... Now if I had a bad round of golf... and went to the driving range... That would be definitely someone working on their weakness.'
Lets do it. Work on your strengths and become great at it, and not just good.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Sweet Potato Test

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Last night I was eating some roasted sweet potato. I thought I recognised the taste. It tasted just like roasted pumpkin!! I love roast pumpkin...

Then I had a thought... Say that being a Christian is like being a roast pumpkin. (bear with me a minute) Some people walk around as if they are roast pumpkin but are really just a copy; they are sweet potatos!

Ever wondered whether sometimes we pretend to be good Christians, we put on a front at Church, we wear the right uniform and say all the amens at all the right places? But are we really authentic?

This is a test on Integrity. Are we the same person in any situation? Are we the same God-fearing, worshipper at the local sports club, or when spending time with the family? Are you always living knowing that it's no longer you that lives, but Christ who lives in you? Be authentic. Be real. Be genuiune. Always live with holiness, passion, and with the power of the Spirit in your life.

Stop and think right now. Maybe its time to give yourself the Sweet Potato Test...

Friday, April 27, 2007

Time to Dream. Time to Prophecy. Time to Vision-Cast.

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What's the time Mr. Wolf? I caught up with a mate today and we spent some time writing down ideas, strategies, and thoughts for how effective Youth Ministry could be done in the surrounding community.
I believe, it's time to dream! It's a time to think BIG! It's a time for the prophets to rise up and speak boldly and positively into the Church. It's a time for leaders to rise up and cast visions that the Church yearns to follow.
No more struggling churches. No more aimless programs. No more management mindsets. No more of the status quo...
I dream of churches thriving. Churches reaching the lost with the message of Jesus. Churches connecting with communities to reform society. The Kingdom of God expanding into the Western World just as fast as in the East! Will you join this radical pursuit for God's love to impact the lives of the nations we live in? Will you not just talk the talk, but will you be challenged to walk it? Will you step into the calling God has placed on your life? No, I mean really... Will you step into it?
Just think... God called Abraham many thousands of years ago to take his son Isaac up a mountain to sacrifice him (Genesis 22). Abraham obeyed God, but just before he killed his son, an angel of the Lord stopped him. Then the Lord provided a Ram for the offering.
If the Lord calls you, he will provide. Dream big. Don't just talk it, transform it.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Whose the Revolutionary?

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I'm thinking of someone. This man has turned the world upside down. The 20th/21st centuries, especially in places like Africa and China have seen a radical growth in the number of passionate Christians in their Countries. We need teachers like this man. Preachers that keep people guessing. Teachers that unveil a new way of thinking...

I'm not thinking of Billy Graham, Rienhard Bonnke or T. D. Jakes. Someone even more revolutionary than these. This man, 'attracted and infuriated his contemporaries, mesmerized and alienated the ancient world, unleashed a movement that has done the same ever since, and thus changed the course of history forever' (Meier 1990). I'm thinking of someone greater than Aristotle, Mandela, or William Wilberforce.

Whose the Revolutionary? Jesus Christ. The ultimate Revolutionary. Both man and God. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:17)! If there is any leader that I would follow above any other, it will always be Jesus, for he came not just to lead us towards life, but he is LIFE! He is transforming the World in which we live.

Lets follow him... the Revolutionary.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Five Levels of Leadership

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Leadership expert John C. Maxwell says that leadership happens on five levels... Stick with me, lets learn some things...

Level one: Leadership is based on position. 'People follow because they have to'. At level one, you merely lead because you are appointed to a position!

Level two: 'People follow you because they want to'. You do more than just lead because of your position, but you lead more effectively out of the relationships you have built with others.

Level three: 'People follow because of what you have done for the organisation'. Production. Bring in the results and people will follow you. Read Developing the Leader Within You (John C. Maxwell) for more teaching on this.

My point today!!! If you are just beginning to try and lead others, begin by investing in building strong, trusting relationships with those that are following you. Then get some runs of the board, empower people, let God bring in some Kingdom results, and then lead people from a deeper level, even to level 4, where 'People follow because of what you have done for them!'

You want to see a Revolution? Then realise everything rises and falls on... LEADERSHIP!

Monday, April 16, 2007

The False Dichotomy of Mission

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Have we understood the message yet?

God wants us to have holistic mission? An integration of both evangelism and social action. Reaching lost souls, and serving humanity! I probably wouldn't do this topic justice, so to read more about integrated mission, check out www.urbanarmy.blogspot.com for some great blogs about this...

For those who can't be bothered clicking on the link, here's a quote:

'Those who would limit Jesus to the saving of souls and those who see him merely as introducing new ethical principles are both wrong. The purpose of God in Christ is neither simply to redeem individuals nor merely to teach the world some new thoughts. Gods purpose in Christ is to establish a new community that points to the plan of God for the world...the living witness of the Christian community is intended both to demonstrate and to anticipate the future of the world that has arrived in the person of Jesus Christ' (Jim Wallis)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Worship that shakes the foundations

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I remember a time, when on a Sunday night meeting, we were singing, 'How Great is our God' and we sang it over and over and over, each time the intensity rising. Ever been worshipping God in an atmosphere, where you feel like something is going to happen? My hands were literally burning with the presence of the Holy Spirit. The foundations of the place felt like they were going to shake!

Here's my thought... Passionate worship births effective ministry. Following this time of worship, my hands were hot, and I said to God, 'I GOTTA PRAY FOR SOMEONE!' I started chatting with a mate who owns a farm up in Horsham, and he was saying that things were tough. I said quickly, 'Can I pray for you!?' I prayed with an unknown passion, like a deep intercession that groaned in my stomach and heart for change to happen into the situation I prayed for. Passionate worship was birthing effective ministry. In this case, pastoral ministry.
I sat down, and my hands were still burning!! I sat at the front of the church after the meeting and said to God, the next person who comes to me, I'm gonna pray for... No kidding. A guy sitting up the back of the hall, immediately stood up and walked straight towards me! It was so weird! He didn't say much when he got to me, but I offered to pray and again, interceded strongly into this guys life.

What's my point... We need to encourage passionate worship, that will inturn birth effective ministry.

When's the last time you immersed yourself into God's presence when you worshipped?

Monday, April 9, 2007

The gift of Hospitality

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The gift of hospitality was shown to me this Easter.

Some of us travelled down to Rosebud, both Good Friday and Easter Sunday to share in church services there. Following both services we were taken to some people's houses for lunch. We were overwhelmed with the hospitality shown by those looking after us. What a blessing, to have Christians that simply love others, that simply care for others and want to simply bless others. Praise God!

We also spent some time at Melbourne Central Division's Easter Camp. What a great time! Lives were being transformed as people connected with the RISEN JESUS CHRIST! Again, Sandra and Mim (DYs) showed us wonderful hospitality and welcome (Thanks heaps guys!!)

So...

This Easter holiday, why not invite someone over for dinner or lunch? Show them some hospitality. I've been in the midst of it lately, and its both a blessing to the giver and the receiver!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Simple Faith?

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Everything's so theological! Well, for me anyway, at the moment. I study hard, discuss the ins and outs of how people truly get saved, what the Holy Spirit means for us, what The Salvation Army should be like in mission...

My head is about to explode. Don't get me wrong, I kind of enjoy the debates and the long-winded ever-circling talks on particular theological issues. There is just one question I have?

Do we have a simple faith? Do we believe that God can heal people? Yeah, yeah, through the doctors, God can use them... But do you simply believe God can heal people instantly? Do we believe God could deliver someone of deep, deep depression? Do we believe post-modern, 'no absolute Truth' wandering young people, could hear the gospel of Jesus ONCE and fall to their knees begging for salvation??

I'm ready and believing God may want to move in the miraculous. At least, I want to be very open to this possibility. God will never do a miracle in someones life if we never step up in bold faith, with the power of the Holy Spirit and ask in the name of Jesus. He won't. He probably can't, unless a bold Christian asks him.

Simple Faith... Simple really...

(Mark 10: 13 - 16)

Friday, March 30, 2007

Farewell to my Dad, whose now overseas...

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Just recently my Mum and Dad decided to go to live in the U.S. in Detroit, Michigan. My Dad left the airport on Thursday and my Mum is leaving in July.

A few tears were shared as Dad walked into the International Departure Doors of Melbourne Airport. I pray he is safe and well, after three plane flights to get him to Michigan.

I write this blog to say that my Dad is an inspiration. Recently his own faith journey has been ignited, and before he left on the plane he shared how he had a dream of Jo and I; that we were climbing up a steep hill and it was hard work, but that God was going to get us through...

I then commented that the Bible says (Joel 2:28), that in the last days, Old men will dream dreams and Young men will see visions. Dad, you must be old? Then the reply came, 'I'm not the one with the receeding hairline.'

Dad, may God be strengthening you and blessing you on this next step of your own life... All my love!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Uniform Wearing in The Salvation Army

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I'm sick of people thinking I'm a Security Guard!

On Southbank in Melbourne (on Sunday) we rallied against Human Trafficking and a number of Salvos were there. (Well done to guys like Dave and Sonia and others that put the day together!).

I started to reflect a little after the event, especially when it came to uniform. I looked around and knew myself that there were plenty of salvos around (not enough to have much influence for rallying though!), but from the communities perspective, they would hardly know we were Salvation Army! Now, I'm not going on to advocate strongly for our traditional uniform, just hear me out though...

We were not visible. We have so many different uniforms, we don't even look like an army!! Some people were wearing the trad stuff, some were wearing plain jackets over the traditional uniform, some with the polo shirts, some with salvo t-shirts (small, medium and large red shields!), etc, etc. Now, my point is not that there was diversity necessarily, but the fact that there was so much diversity that the community can not tell who we are.

Here's my thesis... You may agree or disagree (depending on your age most likely)... Lets get a T-Shirt, with a big red shield and we all wear it. We then acheive two things: Everybody is visible and they know who we are, and also, I don't get labelled as a Security Guard!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Shaping the system

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Here's a thought. Are you shaping the system you are a part of, or is the system shaping you?

Many of us know the Salvation Army is now a strongly beuracratic organisation, where decisions are made via levels of management and control measures are in operation to ensure the smooth running of the organisation. Being a cadet, I can somewhat tangibly feel myself entering into this system. There is not an issue in this, unless when you are entering into a new system (maybe a new job, even your family probably has its on little ways of operating) that is not all it can be.

Here's the dilemma. I love the Salvation Army, and I cry out for it to be fulfilling the Great Commission which Jesus calls us to. The question for me is, am I being shaped by the system? If I am, is the culture/surroundings I find myself in, worth being shaped into? The next question is, if the system I find myself in, is not all it can be, am I merely becoming a product of this system, or am I transforming it from the inside, out?

It's all about Jesus. It's all about souls and justice. Holistic healing. Transforming the World. Shape the system to make it be, all that God wants it to be!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Vision: Leadership of the future

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The most thriving churches seem to be ones where the leadership team is strongly focused on vision. Leaders like Bill Hybels (left) know the importance of sharing future expectations with their congregations, of sharing stories of what the future might look like... Churches with powerful vision-casting are more motivated and inspired to complete the ministry God has given them.

So why would I blog about VISION?? Whether a church grows or declines is strongly related to the ability of the church's leaders to cast an exciting vision to their congregations. It's simple stuff. Vision motivates people. The fact is many of our churches are not sharing the vision for the future and if they are, it is not always something that filters into the culture of who that church is.

Lets be leaders who inspire those we minister to. Lets share a vision, so powerful, so grand, that only God could achieve it, and a vision so motivating that people follow. Jesus is raising up an army of revolutionaries who will change the World, and we need leaders who catch onto that and bring others along for the journey!
"The future belongs to those who see possiblilities before they become obvious."

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