Thursday, February 16, 2012

When I was in prison....

God gave us a command in scripture to visit and love those in prison.  For the last 2 Christmas's The Salvation Army has joined the inmates and staff of HMP Huntercombe for their Christmas service.  What a blessing they have been.

The prison chaplain asked for The Salvation to be involved because "we known for meeting people just where they are and we live out practical Holiness (in the Weseley tradition)".  Wow... what a credit for which we give God all the glory.

Since Christmas I've been involved in leading Sunday worship there and on Monday nights ensuring we have Salvationists join with the inmates friendship group to get to know the guys better and to share what The Salvation Army is all about.

We are already connecting inmates about to be released with local Salvation Army Corps in their area, inmates too are telling their friends about these Salvo guys and how they've got to check them out.

I'm believing for GREAT THINGS, lives transformed, sin forgiven and souls rescued.... for God's Glory.

Friday, October 07, 2011

The Salvation Army in San Francisco

It all started by a few faithful Officers in 1883. It's an amazing story of daring, pioneering, obedient, Holy Spirit filled endeavour. I'll blog more when I get back home but for now here's the building where it all started. Still standing some 128 years later. It's a cafe now.

Monday, August 08, 2011

On the Streets of Oxford

“Under ordinary circumstances a daring, reckless, determined Commanding Officer can make himself known to 30,000 people in less than three days” (ORDERS AND REGULATIONS. 1879? Section 1:17).

I read this order from Major Stephen Courts blog. It's an inspiring order from around 1879 (you can read a New Zealand newspaper report from 1883 in which Booth himself quotes O&Rs for Officers.

Ok... so you know me.... I've been working on how to be daring, reckless and determined so that Oxford Corps can make itself known to 30,000 people in 3 days.

Still working on this but.... Here's a simple, not-so-daring, hardly-reckless and easy way to "make yourself known". For the past 5 months a few Soldiers and Junior Soldiers have stood at the street corner by our Army hall with the flag and signs that read HOPE, JOY and PEACE. We do 30 minutes knee drill followed by 20 minutes standing on the street followed by our 10.30 Holiness meeting.

Here's the stats as we see them

1) We pray a blessing on everyone as they drive by.
2) in 20 minutes on this road approximately 1,500 people see our signs.
3) After a few weeks of doing this a few people in their cars started waving and hooting their car horns in support. After a few months every 4th car does this. (People know the Army is in town)
4) We stand next to a bus stop and have engaged with well over 50 people.
5) We have prayed on the street with several.
6) We have had opportunity to tell the gospel to 5 people.
6) We now visit the address of 1 person in real need of practical and spiritual help.
7) 5 Christians from another Church in town turned up one Sunday morning for worship because they "wanted to know what was going on".
8) It "fires up" our own Soldiers and friends as they gather for worship as they drive past.
9) and we've only just started...

And the COST of this ? About £4.50 in paper and card and getting up for knee drill for 9.30. Easy!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Are you Happy Saved and Free

I had the great privilege of preaching and leading the Salvation meeting at Swindon Corps on Sunday and what a wonderful group of people I met. Thank you and Praise God.

I was preaching on "How to get deep roots?" Parable of the sower - seed on rocky ground - trouble comes - no deep roots - believer falls away and is lost.

There's an old Salvation Army declaration of "I'm Happy Saved and Free" and we don't use it much these days. Well I'm going to use it more and more in greeting people especially Christians. Too many Christians get saved and that's it. They never experience the JOY (Happiness) or FREEdom from sin that a close walk with Jesus brings. So many reasons why this is but sin is the key one. We do things that displease God.

So the answer....?
  • Choose to BE A DISCIPLE (not just follow - the rich young ruler followed Jesus around)
  • BE DISCIPLED by joining a cell group, house group, ward system, discipleship group (not enough time or enough intimacy on Sunday meetings to do this)
  • DISCIPLE SOMEONE. Make sure that you not only are discipled but that you disciple someone else. Impart what you know and experience to help someone else. Give!
Don't just FOLLOW Jesus but accept His invitation INTO HIS LIFE.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

January Cell Group - Heritage

The South Oxford Salvation Army Cell Group in January were discussing HERITAGE ... what it is and what it means to us today. So for those that missed this cell group meeting here's a brief summary.

HERITAGE = Something handed down, entrusted and inheritied. Heritage is not "history".

We watched a video which we used to give thanks to God for the great heritage given us by our Salvationists of the past and present.

We discussed the meaning of the 2 S's on our uniforms - Saved to Save - and how this drove our movement with great passion. This is our heritage.

We used old photos to inspire us to our mission.

We prayed that God would awaken us to this mission and that we would be obedient.

We raised the question of how relevant our movement was in this generation. We watched this video from the Salvation Army's ALOVE youth movement.

And then discussed why there had been this reported decline of 85% of young people from the Salvation Army in the UK Territory in only a few years. We prayed for renewal by God's Holy Spirit for us as individuals and for the Army here in Oxford.

We prayed over the Mission and Vision statements of The Salvation Army UK Territory and were challenged over what a "Spirit filled, radical growing movement" would look like today.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Oxford Street Pastors

The first wave of Oxford Street Pastors were commissioned on Friday. About 20 of us and 4 of them from Oxford Salvation Army. We hope to bring the presence of Jesus onto the streets of Oxford between 10pm and 4am every Friday night. I hope we can care for people, look out for their safety and wellbeing, listen and maybe share something of God's love, mercy and hope.

This week I had the privilege of going into a tough part of San Francisco with Salvation Army soldiers from Harbor Light Corps to handout sandwiches (over 1000 of them) and to listen and care for some very lost people. What an experience and one that is reshaping how I fight in the Salvation Army back home. We listened, referred guys to detox and prayed with them right there on the street. God bless those holy warriors at Harbor Light .... to Jerry, Larry, Roger, Trey.... God bless you and the team.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Invited to live Jesus life

I'm all about learning and growing in my walk with Jesus. So here's a question I've pondered this week.

Do Christians accept Jesus into their lives or do they accept Jesus invitation to His life? Is this just a play on words?

Are there any stories of Jesus in the New Testament where he invites people to take Him into their lives? Or, are all his dealings with people about asking them to "follow Him", "take up His cross", "walk His way of suffering", "give themselves over for the sake of others".

So..... do we invite Jesus into OUR life or do we accept His invitation to live HIS life?

Wow... what a difference the church would make if we lived HIS life?