Friday, February 27, 2009

Officership in The Salvation Army - Some Thoughts

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Heard some teaching during the week at 'Officer's Fellowship.' Have also been thinking...

* Following God's will is more important than the pursuit of Power, Pleasure or Possessions.

* Followers of Jesus need passion! If the leader doesn't have it, then fair chance the followers ain't gonna!!

* Luke 13 speaks of refertilising a fruitless fig tree. Our lives need to be nourished again and again by the Word of God.

* Jesus came to give life the fullest.

* In relation to the calling of people into Salvation Army officership. To what degree does God simply say, 'Who will go for us?' Does he only tap people on the shoulder and say, 'You should sign up for officership' or does he also say, 'There's a need out there; you're passionate about me, you're passionate about the Army, then will you go?' Do we always need to wait till we hear some sort of audible voice of Jesus, or some sort of radical intervention into our day to day lives? Is the inherent need of people to find fullness of life in Jesus, and the broken and hurting of our communities enough to simply say, 'Here am I Lord, send me'?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Officer's Fellowship in the NT

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I'm away at Officer's Fellowship - down at Lake Bennett. A time to refresh, reenergize, and soldier up for the year ahead. See you in a couple of days. God bless.

God was in that...

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Since starting our appointment at Palmerston Salvos, in the NT, Jo and I have experienced many times, the fact that God had played a part! Have you had those times? The times when you say, 'Wow, God was in that'.

Following our Sunday morning Church service, we thought we'd go get some Red Rooster from the Drive Thru. [This was obviously Jo's idea, I mean, I'm watching my weight!] Anyway, the young girl in the drive thru window looks at us, and says, 'Hey, are you guys the new Salvation Army ministers in town?'
'Ahh, well, yes we are...'
So we chat a little bit, and then while the chicken's cooking, Jo jumps out of the car and gets a newsletter out of the boot and gives it to the girl... What a time, where you say, 'God was in that.'
Tonight, we went to the wharf, by the water, to have some dinner. We're sitting there, telling a friend about this encounter with the girl at the drive-thru.
At our dinner time we decide we're gonna start a Youth Ministry!
We're licking our icecreams, when all of a sudden, we see the girl from the drive-thru! So we invite her to our Youth Group (even though it hasn't started yet). Got her number. She's excited. And, 'Wow, God was in that...'
By the way, we also thought of the name for our Youth Ministry; the Youth @ Palmy Army!
Thanks God for being in that.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Serve God - That's what we're challenged to do

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God calls us to serve.
*Jesus washed the disciples feet, as an example back in 1st Century Palestine, of how to serve.
* Mary called herself the Lord's servant, after a visitation from the Angel Gabriel (Lk 1:38)
* Philippians 1:1 - 'Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus...'

Check out these verses (don't skip over them!):
Romans 12:10-13 -- 'Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.'

I love the 'never be lacking in zeal'. I went out and bought a heap of veil steaks the other day, because I thought the Word said, 'Never be lacking in veal'. :)-

Keep your passion; serve God. Keep close to Jesus; serve God. Keep your spiritual fervour; serve God.

Some thoughts:
* Let your spiritual gifts and what you do to serve, Align.
* Serve humbly - 'Humility expresses itself through the serving of others'.
* Don't let your feelings dictate your serving, but let your serving dictate your feelings.
* Serve even if you're not getting noticed. God notices.

Thanks for Serving God. Thanks for honouring who he is, by being a servant.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Connecting with your Higher Power

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There's an interesting program called 'Steps' which I was reminded of today while doing Chapel at the Sunrise Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centre in Darwin. The 'Steps' program takes clients through 12 steps which help in the recovery of the client. The language used in the program is not of 'God' as such, but of a 'Higher Power'. It makes me think a little, here are some quick thoughts:

* Does the name 'God' matter? If it does, why? Is the name 'Higher Power' much different?
* Does the 'Steps' program neglect the message of the gospel, that 'Jesus is the way, the truth and the life'?
* Is it simply a way to communicate things of Christianity, to people who dislike the established church?
* Are the clients engaging with the same truth? A more watered down version of the truth? Is the gospel being shared in its fullness?

Hard to answer many of these questions, because some of the questions need exploring, e.g. what is the truth, what is the gospel, etc, etc. 'Steps' is a program that connects well with the clients who attend and I pray a blessing upon all those who are currently using the material.

Well, food for thought. Thanks to the guys at Sunrise for the opportunity to lead them in Chapel today.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Consumers of Worship

2 comments:

"I really got nothing out of worship today"
"The Church no longer meets my needs"
"I don't feel like I get much out of church"
"My kids are not catered for at church"
"I'm moving here, because my last church wasn't doing it for me"

Too many consumers of worship. Church is not a tuck shop full of things to get. It is not about receiving goods and services.

We gather together as the Church to worship God, to thank him for what he is doing in our lives, as well as all of creation. Spread the word - it's time to stop this get get get mentality. Lets rid the churches of the feed me, feed me, feed me kind of philosophy. Lets replace it with an 'others' focus. Fix your eyes on Jesus, and not the eloquence of the preacher, or the muscial prowess of the musicians...

We are not consumers of worship, rather, we are followers of Jesus.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Some more tidbits for you

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I have started a Blog called: Palmerston Daily. It can be found on my blogroll at right. If you want to read about what's happening up north, then check this out. This is not going to be a personal blog about ministry in the Salvation Army. It will be aimed at connecting local residents to local issues and to advocate with and connect and inspire the local Palmerston Community.
____________________________
The Aus. Southern Territories Mission:
* Transforming Lives
* Caring for People
* Making Disciples
* Reforming Society
Someone said today, they like the idea of the first words being 'action words', that is, we ARE transforming lives, we ARE caring for people. we ARE making disciples, we ARE reforming society.
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Hard hitting and straight to the point. Knaggs and Court's Book called 'One Thing'. What's the premise. 'Win the World for Jesus'. Those four points above could be melded into that one line.
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Three core practices of emerging churches: (1) Identifying with the life of Jesus, (2) Transforming secular space, (3) Living as Community. (Emerging Churches, Gibbs, p. 43-44).
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If you're part of a Salvation Army congregation, please support your local church 'special offering' to support the Victorian Bush Fire Appeal.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Some tidbits for you

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If you're interested in learning a language, maybe for missional reasons, check out http://www.byki.com/. I'm giving these guys a free plug. The site provides a free download program that helps you learn any of 64 languages (atm), including Greek, Hebrew and Chinese.
___________________________
Looking for Christian music, and Chord charts, and lyrics? Check out http://www.higherpraise.com/. Good site where you can quickly print off the chords for a popular Christian tune.
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Regular Church attendance may lower suicide risk. Click here for a little article.
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Struggling church? Deep painful change or slow painful death?___________________________
Severe flooding in Java, Indonesia has seen Salvation Army workers and others provide relief for those in need, including treatment for children becoming sick from the floods. More?
___________________________
Sanctify - To make holy.
Sanctification - The carrying on to perfection of the work begun in regeneration.
(1 Thes 5:23) - 'May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.' (See Salvation Army Doctrine 10).

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Worship in the midst of pain

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I wrote a song yesterday. Why? Well, at our service tomorrow I want us to pray for the people affected by the bushfires in Victoria. I wanted a song to sing/play while we intercede for these families. I started to think of songs that spoke about the greatness of God and how God is great in all things, and the songs that say 'we worship you for the great things you've done', etc, etc. It must be pretty tough for a family thats just been through a tragedy to say, 'Thanks God for everything you've done'. Well here are the lyrics to the song I wrote. Maybe these words are just as confronting, and are just as difficult to reflect on, but I offer them here for anyone needing some encouragement.

Life is a Story
In the midst of the tragedy
In the midst of the pain
We question where you are.

In the midst of the fire
In the midst of the pain
We need your comfort again
We need your comfort again

(Chorus) Life is a story worth being told
You're with your people through it all
While things might not always go to plan
Jesus you're still the Saviour

In the heat of the moment
In the stress of the day
We know that you've been there

And we know there's a future
We know there's a hope
And we trust you with it all
We trust you with it all...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Quotes on Leadership

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Here are some quotes on Leadership**:

1. "Leadership is the process of persuasion or example by which an individual (or leadership team) induces a group to pursue objectives held by a leader or shared by the leader and his or her followers." (John W. Gardner - On Leadership - Nice quote!)

2. "Leadership over human beings is exercised when persons with certain motives and purposes mobilize, in competition or conflict with others, institutional, political, psychological, and other resources so as to arouse, engage, and satisfy the motives of followers." (James MacGregor Burns - Leadership - Not sure I agree with this quote...)

3. "Leadership is influence, the ability of one person to influence others." (Oswald Sanders - Spiritual Leadership - John C. Maxwell would agree with quotes like these)

4. "A Christian leader is someone who is called by God to lead; leads with and through Christlike character; and demonstrates the functional competencies that permit effective leadership to take place." (George Barna - Leaders on Leadership - Doesn't define leadership, but a helpful quote)

5. "The central task of leadership is influencing God's people toward God's purposes." (Robert Clinton - The Making of a Leader - Simple, concise quote)

** These quotes are found in Spiritual Leadership, Henry & Richard Blackaby, page 17

Salvation Army BushFire Video

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Speechless.

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What can you say?

As I watch the news, read the Salvation Army press releases, and reflect on the blogs* I'm left with a awkward pit in my stomach. I sit here in the humidity of the Northern Territory, wondering, 'what can i do?' The only two things that came to mind, was to pray and to support the Bushfire tragedy financially. The Salvation Army have already raised over $5.5 million dollars for their Bushfire Appeal.

People up here are set to shop at Coles on Friday (all Friday's profits at Coles in Australia go to the Red Cross). The local cafe had shaker tins and people were digging deep. Buying their $8 lunch and throwing the $2 in the donation tin. It all adds up.

Thank you Lord that amongst this terrible tragedy people are seeking you out. Looking for refuge. Bring any firebugs to justice. Help your people help the needy.

Firsthand blogs on Bushfires in Victoria:
* http://www.tcspeak.blogspot.com/
* http://www.captaincollo.blogspot.com/
* http://www.boundless-salvation.blogspot.com/
* http://www.armybarmyremix.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Relying on the Holy Spirit

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"O that I could converse and reason, and plead, with power from on high. How powerless are the best-directed arguments, till the Holy Spirit renders them effectual" Henry Martyn.

In the book of Numbers, the story occurs where Joshua, Caleb and ten others come back to Moses and Aaron and give them a report about the promised land. The ten whinge and carry on, telling everyone there is no hope. Joshua and Caleb sense the Spirit of God saying we should go and take the land. How can they convince the others? They can't. They tear their clothes in grief and exhort the Israelites to take hold of the possibilities. All they can do is rely on the Holy Spirit to convince others about the possible journey.

In your life and ministry, why not rely on the Holy Spirit to bring people along with the vision and dreams you have for the future?

________________________________________

Catch the Fire Ministries are in the spotlight. Check out this article from the Sydney Herald.

Also on Andrew Bolt's Blog: http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/

Comments??

(My blog and these articles are not connected...)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bushfire Appeal

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Whether you're an Australian or from overseas, if you have been moved and upset by the tragic circumstances of the Bushfires in Victoria and other parts of Australia, please donate to The Salvation Army in Australia to support the work on the field...
Go to http://www.salvationarmy.org.au/donations .
We already have and I encourage you to do so as well.
My prayers go out to all those affected by this tragedy, in Jesus name.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Reaching Different Cultures with the Gospel

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In Starting a New Church, Ralph Moore writes, 'My understanding of the gospel and its core values causes me to want to evangelise gay people as much as straight people. It makes me care about rich people as much as the poor. It forces me to regard drug addicts with the same enthusiasm that I direct toward beautiful young children. Everyone, no matter how he or she looks or acts, needs to hear the gospel'.
While most Church leaders would agree that our churches should be inclusive of all cultures and backgrounds, most of our churches in the West are simply middle-class, white people. We find it hard to grow a community of faith with more than one dominant culture. Here in the NT there are few churches who find a nice mix between White Aussies and Aboriginal Aussies. The reason: it's difficult!
Frost and Hirsch say that missionally we need to adopt a strategy that reaches a particular people group, while making sure our discipleship heads toward heterogeneity (Kingdom of God - all cultures). Sure, I agree, but lets not stop at building little pockets of middle-class families over there, and welfare clients over here and Africans over there... Lets bring them together as followers of Jesus.

There's lots to be said. Add your comments.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Some Salvation Army Stats

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In 2009 The Salvation Army's presence is being felt in 116 Countries compared with 113 the year before.
At the start of 2007 (Globally) there were 1,082,166 Senior Soldiers and a year later at the start of 2008 there were 1,109,249 Soldiers. An increase of 27,083 Soldiers. Praise God.
At the start of 2007 there were 15,175 Corps, and a year later the amount fell to 14,869 ( Down 306).
Some more stats:
* No. of officers - Up 58.
* No. of Cadets - Up 5.
* No. of Junior Soldiers - Up 16,683
* No. of Prisoners visited - Down 74,612
* No. of pupils in Salvation Army Education - Up 10,835
* No. of people given General Welfare support - Down 113,567!

Interesting figures. Here's some food for thought:
--> With such an increase of Soldiers, why such a small increase of Officers?
--> Is Junior Soldiers the new thing??
--> I wonder why our Welfare support is down so significantly, or are our resources being pooled into different avenues?
--> Why can't the number of Corps climb dramatically? Healthy, reproducing Corps. Bring it on Lord.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Palmerston Update - Early Feb

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It's been three weeks and one day in the Top End. The weather is beginning to feel more bearable, and I know how to find the local Woolworths now. Our baby Shekinah is settling in well and enjoying the times out with people; at the shops, at church, etc.
On on our first Sunday 35 people attended, and the second week was 34. We had a couple of us at the mercy seat seeking the Lord. On the Sunday evening we had another 34 people come to Mainly Music and then stay for dinner and then hear the Gospel be preached. I sense God is stirring something in this place, and that the presence of Jesus is really beginning to move in a powerful way.

We had a Australia Day BBQ recently - 30 rocked up, and most importantly we mowed a Cricket pitch in the Backyard for the backyard cricket!

We started up a band practice, with four of us, and we worship God and then we read the Scriptures, then we pray. I tell you, the Holy Spirit was there in the prayer meeting! Praise God.

Hopefully at Transforming Mission, Jo and I can keep readers updated occassionally on whats happening on our local front, at Palmerston Salvos in the Northern Territory. We're believing for the Kingdom to grow in huge ways this year!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Thankfulness

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"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Col 3:15-17).

Gee, I wonder what this passage is about?
* be thankful...
* with gratitude...
* giving thanks to God...

Thanks Lord for this Word today. Thanks for Jesus and all he means to us; his life, death and resurrection, his ascension, his continuing empowering...

I think of one more thing in this passage. Worship is not just a Sunday experience. Singing is not the only form of giving worth-ship to God. In whatever you, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus. That is, let your whole life be giving worship to God. Thanks Lord for this reminder.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

TACO Trivia Nights exploding into 2009

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TACO Triva is going to explode this year! We are looking at having 15-20 TACO Trivia nights around the Australia Southern Territory, raising towards $20,000 for Training Cadets Overseas. A Cadet from the Australia Eastern Territory is looking to run with it over there, and their Territory wide mazazine, Pipeline, is going to do an article on it!

There are couple of interests from people in the USA to run TACO Trivia Nights themselves, and we have a TACO Trivia Night organised in Canada for next week (thanks Vangi).
The TACO Trivia Blog is taking off - Check it out at http://www.taco-trivia.blogspot.com/ Why not put it in the favourites? There are 30 people a day checking it out from around the World, using the Trivia Questions that have been getting posted! Thanks Google!

For more information on running a TACO Trivia Night, or to become a Territorial TACO Coordiator, email Pete at peter.brookshaw@aus.salvationarmy.org

Cook TACOs and play Trivia and get people along. Pretty simple concept really.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Doing Life

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Sometimes you hear this slogan tossed around - 'Doing life' - and you wonder what it means. Following a lovely night of having some new friends from the church come around for dinner, I thought again of this short phrase. 'Doing life'.

Do we complicate ministry, when really the mission we are called to is about connecting with people and connecting them with faith? We spent time around the dinner table, telling stories, crackin' jokes, talking about the amazing things God has been doing and exploring the possibilities of what God might do in the future.

Well, I'm pumped! I know I'm one for strategising and planning, and sharing the vision and empowering leaders. Yet, lets not forget that following Jesus is about 'Doing life' together. This doesn't encapsulate naturally all of what God's mission is about, but it surely a good place to start!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

When does 'Worship' end?

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When we sit in church on Sunday, sing a few songs, quite often we close with a prayer which we label a 'benediction'. Some say it creates some finality to the worship service that just occurred.

I pondered this today, finding myself being concerned that we turn the 'worship time' off and on. We rock up to church Sunday morning and we turn the 'worship time' button on. We hear a benediction and we turn the 'worship time' button back off again. Since when is the worship of God merely a Sunday morning expression?

I want to challenge followers of Jesus to see that the worship of our creator God, is not merely a 90 minute ritualistic, liturgical 'worship time'. Sure, this time set aside for God can see lives transformed and sanctified - and it should. Our devotion to God will be mostly tested and proven in the ambiguities of life.

Set your mind on a 24/7 'worship time'. A whole life devoted to following and honouring the Saviour.

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