Sunday, November 23, 2008

The foundation of ministry

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I attended a conference this weekend called 'Go For Souls' and was a time set aside to be trained and equipped for the work of evangelism. Check out www.whollyholy.blogspot.com for more on that.

Ephesians 4:11 says that some are called to be Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors/Teachers. I believe that. Some are gifted at being evangelists (Someone that shares the gospel of Jesus Christ with others), but all are called to evangelise. Lets be challenged to share the message of Jesus with others.

I led an elective about reaching our families with the gospel. Here's some of it: Paul and Silas, in Acts 16:16-34, after being thrown in jail began praying and singing hymns to God in their prison cell. Then the prison gates flew open and the chains fell off all the prisoners. Then the jail worker was about to kill himself (because he was in strife since Paul and Silas were going to escape), and then Paul and Silas said to him, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved - you and your household.' The rest is history.

Some thoughts here:
* The foundation for any sort of ministry or evangelism, is prayer and worship. This becomes the power of God behind our ministry.
* When Paul and Silas prayed and worshipped God, not only were their chains broken, but those in the prison cells surrounding them! The Spirit that surrounds our worship impacts others!
* The whole of the Jailer's family was saved. They began following Jesus. Let's believe for all our families to believe the gospel and become followers of Jesus.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Time is of the essence...

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Well time is flying by. Well, you know, time is still clicking over at the same speed it was yesterday, but for many cadets our minds are racing. Some have assignments to finish, others are beginning to pack boxes.

In a week and a half we have a covenant day, where we look at the officer's covenant...

Here's the covenant:
CALLED BY GOD to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as an officer of The Salvation Army I BIND MYSELF TO HIM IN THIS SOLEMN COVENANT to love and serve him supremely all my days,
to live to win souls and make their salvation the first purpose of my life,
to care for the poor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, love the unlovable, and befriend those who have no friends,to maintain the doctrines and principles of The Salvation Army, and, by God's grace to prove myself a worthy officer...

Sounds like a tiring task. Sounds exciting though. Bring it on!

Thanks to all those who have supported Jo and I so much over the last two years. For your prayers, for your practical support and for your friendship. Next year is going to be a blast!!

(Anyway, better go, I've got to finish cleaning the bookshelf)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Culture Shift

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Eddie Gibbs in his book Emerging Churches writes that the Western Church today must study culture. We cannot just 'run church' the way we always have and expect the same results as the late 19th Century, or assume the same missional outcomes as previous generations. Why? Gibbs says, because:

* Christendom and Modernity are in rapid decline.
* Cultural understandings have always been essential to good mission practice
* The West is in the middle of significant cultural changes
* The Church in the West is in decline
* The majority of current church practices are cultural accomodations to a society of a previous era
* Baby boomers are the last generation happy with modern churches (pp. 16-23).

Attempt to understand the surrounding culture. Don't bother with Rock bands if your communities into sport. Why even have the 30 minute sermon, if your community prefers to sit around coffee shops and talk through issues.

The gospel of Jesus hasn't changed. The methods we use to engage culture with that gospel must.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Clergy and Laity

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R. Paul Stevens writes some helpful thoughts on reclaiming a biblical perspective on vocation, work and ministry. Over the years we've created a clergy and laity divide in the church, and clergy has come to apply to the following things:

(1) A vicarious function - Service or ministry is applied not just on behalf of the people, but sometimes instead of the people.
(2) The ontological difference - A person becomes a priest, e.g. via ordination.
(3) The sacramental difference - The priest is the one able to offer the sacraments to others, e.g. Communion, Weddings, etc.
(4) The professional status - The priest is seemingly the only one qualified to do the work of minsitry. (The Other Six Days, p. 31).

Clergy should never mean one is more entitled to do the work of God, or is meant to fulfill the mission of God on behalf of the people. Laity actually means 'the people of God', and so actually refers to the whole community of faith. Clergy merely fulfill a different function within the mission that the church is called to.

How does this work practically in the church? The minister is not the only one who cares for the congregation! The minister is not the only one who can preach, teach or pioneer. In fact the very idea of calling this person, 'the minister' kind of assumes the other people are not 'ministers' which again is false.

Its time to rewrite the future of the church... All people are ministers, and while some may enter training to be more equipped to fulfill the roles that they will one day have, all are called to make a difference in the ministry of Jesus.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Earthquake in Pakistan...

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Here's some 'emergency' news taken from http://www.savlationist.org/:

" THE Salvation Army in Pakistan is providing assistance to some of the thousands of people made homeless by an earthquake in the north of the country. The tremor, measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale, struck the region near the border with Afghanistan on Wednesday 29 October, killing more than 200 people and destroying whole villages, leaving 45,000 people without homes. Severe aftershocks continued to be felt for another three days, making access difficult. "

Some other news/thoughts:

* God give wisdom to new President-elect Barak Obama...

* Why worry about the 'future', when God is in your 'present'?

* 17 Cadets in the Australia Southern Territory are accepted as cadets for next year. There's a still a few that will most likely be added to the list

* Here's a good verse from Philemon 1:6 - 'I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.'

Monday, November 3, 2008

God is with you!

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There are so many Bible references sharing the fact that, 'God is with you'.

Joshua 1: 9 - 'Be strong and courageous, for the Lord your God is with you whether you go'.

Matthew 28:20 - [Jesus says] 'I will be with you to the very end of the age'.

Romans 8: 39 says, 'Nothing can seperate us from the love of God'.

Psalm 139:7-8 says, 'Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there'.

The Scriptures are pretty clear. The Old Testament says it; Jesus says it; the Apostle Paul says it. God is with us...

Next time you pray, don't pray, 'God, please be with me today', but rather pray, 'God, help me understand you are with me today'.

Whatever the circumstance, whatever the situation, remember, God is with you.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Time to train

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It's a new month. There's new opportunities. I found this picture on Salvationist Andrew Clark's Website and was reminded about the mission of The Salvation Army. We're not called to live the easy, comfortable life, with a good job, nice car, and enough cash for a decent holiday. We're called to spend our life on behalf of the hurting, to share the message of Jesus with the unknowing, to love the unlovable. It's not an easy mission, but why should that stop us?

* TACO Fundraising is going to go Global! We're hoping to have over 15 venues in Australia next year and with a few other countries buying into the vision, we could have towards 30 venues! For a brief overview of this year's work, check out: http://www.taco-trivia.blogspot.com/

* Dictionary.com define a 'Cadet' as - 'A student in training for service as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, Air Force, or Coast Guard.' Can someone tell them to add 'The Salvation Army'?

* People ask me, 'Have I enjoyed Training College', to which I answer, 'It's been enjoyable, but challenging, at times exciting, but sometimes painful.'
'Would I recommend it?' 'If you're called to be an officer, then of course I would recommend it!'

* The Ambassadors of Holiness are next years session, and some of my mates are gearing up for a full-on two years of training... If you know anybody going into College next year, why not support them financially and prayerfully?

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