Friday, November 16, 2018

When The Salvation Army Dies...

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A decade ago I signed the Officer's Covenant. What a privilege I felt in my heart, to be able to lay down my life to serve others and lead people to Jesus Christ.

That passion is still there. In fact, it is there more than ever.

See, I have such a holy discontent that we are not doing more to support people in need and see lives transformed for Jesus. I long to increase our impact upon society. I long for more people to join the cause. I long for more people to commit themselves to the ideals of the soldier's and officer's covenants.

But then this nagging feeling comes upon me.

I began to reflect one day on what would happen if The Salvation Army died. Let me qualify what I mean by that: I began to wonder what would happen if The Salvation Army lost its focus so much so that it became significantly different to the original movement that I signed up to be a part.

Maybe you have asked that question once or twice. It's not because you or I lack faith or fail to have a view that God raised up The Salvation Army, but because we don't want to see it be less than what God raised it up to be.

Recently I was walking around a large lake at a local park, praying and thinking about that very question.

'What if The Salvation Army died?'

Then I felt some words in my spirit that said:

The Salvation Army does need to die. 
It needs to die to its own image.
It needs to die to its own strategic plans.
It needs to die to its own narcissism. 
The Salvation Army needs to spend less time celebrating the mission it has achieved, and more time celebrating the source of the mission.
The Salvation Army needs to spend less time focused on how good it thinks it is, how good it thinks its forebears were, but rather point to how good it believes God is.

We need to reignite the coals of Jesus-focused, gutsy, Spirit-filled fervour, that is embedded within the very DNA of this movement. We need to re-embrace the Apostles, Evangelists and Prophets across the globe, to join again with the Shepherds and Teachers to work together to establish God's kingdom here and now.

Captain Matt Reeve quoted this recently, 'Movements start because their founder loves Jesus. They die when the movement loves its founder.' There's a tension there. One that I feel and acknowledge. We are thankful to William, Catherine, Bramwell and the team. We love their focus, passion and tenacity to raise up such a movement. We are thankful to Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit that we should be a part of such exciting times.

Though The Salvation Army didn't succeed because General William Booth always spoke about how good John Wesley was.

The Salvation Army didn't succeed because Catherine Booth chose to put Phoebe Palmer up on a pedestal.

Part of why The Salvation Army succeeded was both because Salvationists learned and were inspired by the past, but were driven ultimately by a passion for Jesus Christ.

In John's Gospel, chapter 15, we read that Jesus is the true vine, and that the Father cuts off every branch in us that bears no fruit. Jesus says we cannot bear fruit unless we remain in him, because apart from him, we can do nothing.

I look forward then to the day that The Salvation Army dies.

A day we lay our timbrels at the mercy seat.

A day we lay down our own ambition for that which is even better.

A day we commit ourselves wholeheartedly to the cause of Jesus Christ in the world.

This is the day I long for.

This is the day that we will be at our best.

And Praise God that in some places, that day has already arrived.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A Podcast about Jesus Christ!

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The following podcast is a great discussion I had recently with Captain Matt Reeve from The Salvation Army, about the person of Jesus Christ.

It's challenging. Mildly provocative. And it's worth a good listen.

Click here to listen:

A Podcast about Jesus Christ

Thanks for listening.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Pre-Order your copy of JESUS CHRIST!

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JESUS CHRIST!
Nine Lies, half-truths and outrageous misconceptions about the most revolutionary person who has ever lived...
It's Peter Brookshaw and Stephen Court's second book in this series and looks at the person of Jesus Christ. Who was he? Who does the world say he is?
Jesus Christ was not just a nice man. He wasn't just a good moral philosopher who taught us to love each other. Jesus walked the earth saying he was the Bread of Life and the Resurrection and the Life. He said he would die and rebuild the temple in three days. Either this was true, or as C. S. Lewis says he was a lunatic or at best a liar. This book, 'Jesus Christ!' will challenge you to consider this revolutionary man that transformed the world. When you read this, what will your response to him be?
This book isn't just another book for a shelf, but a great pocket sized book to read and share, packed full of amazing information that will leave you challenged and inspired.
Grab it now: 
Contact Pete Brookshaw directly for discount bulk copies of 10+ books.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Race that Stops a Nation

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* This article is featured in The Salvation Army Others Magazine - Nov2018

The Spring Racing Carnival is in full swing. The horses are being immaculately groomed, and the fashions on the fields are luring in the eyes of the crowd. The bookies are taking their bets and the lines to the bar are out the door. With the Melbourne Cup just around the corner there’s no shortage of people crunching the numbers hoping for a shot at a big return.

Some will win. Many will lose.

Amid all the glitz and glamour of the races, there’s an underbelly of gambling addiction that most don’t want to talk about, nor read about.

I think we’d rather admire the ginormous hats and the pristine fields of green.

So when I recently heard about a local council hosting an event to talk about gambling, I initially shirked at the idea, but then thought, ‘Why not?’ The purpose of the meeting was to garner people’s views on the council’s Responsible Gaming Policy. The questions they posed were intriguing:

-         How much should be allowed to be spent on the pokies every hour?
-         How do we help people who have a gambling addiction?
-         How do you know if someone has a gambling addiction?
-         What percentage of the gaming community are ‘problem gamblers’?
-         To what degree should a local council intervene into people’s personal gambling choices?

The reason for the meeting was clear. It wasn’t articulated on a billboard or placed front and centre on the flyer, but if you weren’t worried about offending anyone, you would advertise:

“I think our community has a gambling problem. Let’s discuss it”

It was only December last year that the Sydney Morning Herald were writing this headline:

Australian gamblers lose a record $24b in a year

Nick Toscano writes, ‘Pokies accounted for the largest share of losses ($12 billion), followed by casinos ($5.2 billion), racing ($2.9 billion) and Lotto ($1.9 billion).’
That’s a lot of ka-ching, ka-ching over the course of a year. I take a bet each way that there were more losers than there were winners.  
It’s intriguing, that even though the odds are stacked up against us, Australians still love to gamble.

Who am I surrounding myself with?

A research report looking into social influences on gamblers notes, ‘Those who have experienced more harm are also surrounded by more gamblers who have experienced harm, and are more likely to gamble with them despite experiencing harm.’

Sounds like the company you keep reinforces the way you act.

The report continues, ‘Thus, not only is gambling-related behaviour normalised through these social networks, so too is gambling-related harm’(page 15).

Now I know why they offer those $12 Parma nights. Let’s create a community that reinforces the way I behave. Then I can feel like my choices are legitimized because a whole bunch of others are doing the same thing. Mix in a little Spring Racing Carnival beer and you have yourself a potential problem.

Normalising the Support
I have family history in the gambling industry. No, I’m not a multi-million dollar fat cat who owns three winning horses and a holiday house in Dubai. I mean, I have family who used to be addicted to gambling. I’ve seen the effects it has on family life. I’ve witnessed a little of what problem gambling does to relationships.
The problem is, we haven’t normalised the seeking of support in our culture. We’ve done it for smoking. We’ve done it for drinking. We’ve done it for Prostate Cancer. We’re doing it for drug dependency.
But, when it comes to gambling, it’s like we either don’t think there’s a problem, or we’re too shy to speak up about it.
We need to normalise the seeking of support. There’s no shame to say, ‘I have a problem with gambling.’
You might have a flutter on the Spring Racing Carnival and drink too many Coronas and you go home a little tipsy. Do what you do. But if you’ve woken up the next day with the bank account absolutely shattered and your marriage on the line, then you’ve got a problem.  

Go get some help.

The same report referred to earlier says, ‘People experiencing problems with gambling need to be supported to develop the capacity to navigate these saturated social networks and environments. At a broader level, strategies to increase social support and normalisation of efforts to limit or abstain from gambling should also be investigated.’

Maybe we should start a hashtag:

#donewithgambling

Then we could create a movement that says it’s ok to seek help. It’s ok to bring others into your social network that hold you accountable. It’s fine to tell someone close to you how much you spend and how often you gamble.

The race that stops a nation may have nice hats, groomed horses and pretty fields, but I’ll be honest with you: I’m done with gambling.



Pete Brookshaw is the Corps Officer of The Salvation Army Craigieburn. He has a Bachelor of both Business and Theology and is passionate about the church being dynamic and effective in the world and creating communities of faith that are outward-focused, innovative, passionate about the lost and committed to societal change. He has been blogging since 2006 at www.petebrookshaw.com about leadership and faith and you can find him on:

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