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?

Saturday, August 07, 2010

What is the Good News?

So actually what is the Good News?

John 3:17
17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 12:47
47"... For I [Jesus] did not come to judge the world, but to save it.

So ... we have our answer in the Bible. The Good News is that Jesus saves us. But this raises another question. "Saves us from what?"

Many may say He saves us from sin. Well more accurately He saves us from the effects of sin and that is He saves us from the righteous wrath of God upon us. Why would God judge us like this and show His wrath toward us? Because all have sinned and broken the law of God. And God will judge all. But.... back to the Good News. Jesus offers forgiveness of those sins that incur God's wrath) and offers reconciliation with God who is our heavenly Father. Whilst this is offered to all it is only given to those who repent.


“In answer to your inquiry, I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.” William Booth

On 5 September Oxford Citadel Corps of The Salvation Army with the help of Regent Hall Band will be taking the gospel of Good News into the city.
It's St Giles fair week and the city will be full of shoppers, tourists, locals going about their business, homeless people and others. We will tell them of Jesus and His love, call them to repentance, lead them to the cross and make clear the way to be saved. We will do this with gentleness and love and with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Where does this power come from? Much fervent prayer, a pure heart, clean hands, sacrificial giving, Holiness and obedience. Pray to God for this power... that His name may be glorifed and His Kingdom extended.

Some words of encouragement from Catherine Booth to those he feel they cannot easily tell others of this Good News. For those who feel fear and feel weak.

The masses of people look upon Christians as a separate and secluded class, with whom they have no concern and possess nothing in common. They watch them go past their houses to their various places of worship with utter indifference or bitter contempt; and, alas! has there not been too much in our past conduct calculated to beget this kind of feeling, much of Pharisaic pride and selfish unconcern? If the zeal of the Lord's house had eaten us up,--if we had realized more fellowship with Christ in his sufferings,--if we had understood the meaning of his words, "Compel them to come in," if we had been baptized with Paul's spirit, when he could almost have wished himself accursed from Christ for his brethren's sakes, should we not have gone out amongst the people as our Master did, by the road-side and into their houses, to have spoken to them the "words of this life,"--to have persuaded, implored, and compelled them to come in? Alas, we are verily guilty; nor has it been in many instances for want of light, or for want of the leadings of the Holy Spirit; but it has been for want of OBEDIENCE, and because of our pride, or shame, or fear.I think I hear some timid one saying, 'Ah! I wish I could: the Lord knows how I long to be doing some real work for him; but I am so weak, and so little adapted to this kind of labour, I fear I should not succeed.'My dear brother, sister, we are of little use in any department of the vineyard until we have been made to realise our own weakness. The weaker we feel ourselves to be, the better. It is not a question of our STRENGTH, but of our FAITH. "Why look ye so earnestly on us (said Peter to those who marvelled at the miracle wrought on the lame), as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? . . . Faith in the name of Jesus has made this man strong, whom ye see and know." God does not call us to any work in our own strength; He bids us go and do it in His. "Give ye them to eat," said He to the Disciples, but He knew who must supply the bread; so now he requires us to break the Bread of Life to the multitude, trusting in Him for the supply. He hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the mighty. Why? That the excellency of the power may be seen to be of God, and not of man.No matter how simple the words, or how tremulous the voice, if He blesses, then it shall be blessed

God help us all in this.
For His Glory and His Kingdom.
Saved to Save.Amen

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

ROOTS Conference 2010

Went to ROOTS 2010 in May and just wanted to say what an awesome weekend of practical, bible based, life changing teaching. Lt Col. Ian Barr is the man to hear on Holy living.

The whole weekend was focussing Holiness - what it is and how you live it out socially, personally and politically. The Salvation Army is a holiness movement. It is this and the fact we are covenant people is what we are all about (hmm... and you thought it was our uniforms, music and social work). Well these are important but they are not the main thing.

What did I learn?

1) Holiness. You get it from God and only God. The more time I spend with Him the more I become like Him - the more I become like Him in His holiness. "Be ye Holy as I am Holy". We can never be divine and we can never perfect as God is but we are like a drop of water is to the ocean. A drop of water has all the characerstics of the ocean but it will never be an ocean.

2) Corporate holiness. Yes I am called to be holy BUT I am also called to be part of a "holy people". 1 peter. never really thought about this before.

3) Our good works come about because holiness needs to be lived out. Our good works DO NOT MAKE US HOLY. Thank God for that! :-)

4) The Salvation Army is alive to God! I read a great definition of a Salvationist recently. "A Salvationist is God's covenanted warrior excercsiing holy passion to win the world for Jesus". So, everything I do must be toward this end.

5) My children who I went with (Abii (16) and Michael (8)) absolutely loved it and want to go again next year.

6) My tent is hard to put up in the wind!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Fear and the Gospel of Jesus

So what makes it so difficult for us to tell other people about the gospel of Jesus?


But there are different types of fear. Fear of being embarrassed, fear of getting a negative reaction, fear of sounding like a complete fruit-cake, fear that my good and upright friend will not want to hear that he is a sinner or fear that they may tell my other friends and then the whole world will know that I'm a Christian.

These are all legitimate and common fears but I'd like to suggest that there is one of fear above all that keeps us from witnessing to the saving power of Jesus and that is we fear that the Gospel of Jesus is not powerful enough to transform lives and save sinners.

If we believed that "there is a Redeemer, Jesus God's own son" and that He is "mighty to save" and will "set the captives free and bring sight to the blind" then all other fears would vanish and we would weave into every conversation something of the love of God, something of His purpose for mankind. We would have boldness in approaching friends and strangers in order to bring them the Good News!

A few questions....

1) Has Jesus redeemed you?
2) Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God?
3) Are you saved by His blood?
4) Have you been set free from sin and do your eyes now see the glory of God?
5) Do you feel the warmth, strengthening, guiding and peace of the Holy Spirit of God in you?

If you answered YES to these then what other proof do you need that God's power is enough for your unbelieving friends and family. If God can save me then he can save anyone. See 1 Tim 1:15.

So give it a try today. Tell someone that God loves them, offer to pray for someone (not just at home but right there and then... right now).

Do not be so arrogant to believe that God is only interested in you.

"For the World, For the World, Jesus Died, Jesus Died"

God help me believe once again in your power to save.
God help me tell the world about you.
God help me to be humble.
God, reveal the beauty of Jesus through me.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Street Prayer

A few Christians once invited everyone that lived in their street to a Saturday morning prayer breakfast. Each house in their street received a personal invitation (not just a leaflet pushed through the door) and 20 people came! Read their story here

Two years on and the first Oxford wide Prayer Breakfast is being held on 30 January with over twenty prayer breakfasts planned. Just met with most of the prayer coordinators on Saturday for worship and prayer and can see the hand of God at work across our city in a most wonderful way. And "Much more hath God in store, much more!"

Well, the Kennington breakfast will be at our house on Saturday 30th and my hope is that I will bring together other Christians in my street to worship and pray and serve the community, bring back to the Lord those in my street that once believed and bring the light of Jesus into the lives of my neighbours.

God make us humble in your presence and give us a servant heart. Amen.
Come beautiful Christ
Radiate thy beauty in me
Tis thee I adore
What can I ask more
Than to live for thee
Beautiful Christ

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

New Year Resolutions

Been asked by many people what my new year resolutions are and until I read Major Stephen Court's blog I didn't really have any. These are great "hooks to hang your coat on" and my own coat is going to be hung on all of these as I "resolve" to make a difference just where I am.

"Lord bring your church alive to worhsip you, live and love in community and to save the world. Amen."

From the ArmyBarmy Blog....

More on yesterday's Armybarmy Top Five For Advance in the next Decade

1. cell-based system
sc - it is certainly A future for The Army, for the following reasons:
a. historically the Army Ward System worked well;
b. historically our spiritual grandfather John Wesley's class meetings worked very well;
c. the 33 AD Salvos met house to house;
d. the biggest churched in the world are cell-based;
e. there is no ceiling on growth either with leaders or with geographic proximity;
f. it is flexible, which is important with some of the last 82 countries left for us to invade;
g. every 5-10 people get primary pastoral care from a cell leader (according to a model with which I am familiar);
h. it lends itself to bi-vocational leadership and pioneering...

2. communication
sc - it is increasingly important, in the following ways:
a. the devil attacks this most often and most successfully (arguably);
b. borders softened by the shrinking of the world will require improved communication;
c. aggressive advance in the great salvation war requires increased communication to coordinate attack;
d. AUS's TC - the techie TC - is leading the way for the world (way over 30000 Twitter followers, blog, facebook, etc.);
e. new media to communicate with the local fronts.
f. communication will increase in richness and frequency (general and commissioners will/should be able to receive weekly results soon, and more frequent results within a decade).

3. spiritual warfare and justice
sc - 'this' will become more prevalent, as follows:
a. justice should be seen as an aspect of spiritual warfare;
b. we need to fill the teaching vaccuum on spiritual warfare that has resulted in extremists who either see no demons in scripture or see them under every bush;
c. part of the identity crisis resolves our reticence about engaging in spiritual warfare ("The Salvation Army");
d. Catherine Booth dug it;

4. primitive salvationism
sc - as we advance on the more difficult fronts we will be reminded that PS is the only proven strain of salvationism. It means charismatic-flavoured, mission-focussed heroism.

5. stewardship
sc - this will be increasing important, both individually, and corporately. Check out Rowan Castle in HOLINESS INCORPORATED for some solid teaching on it (and parameters). John Wesley taught, 'make all you can, save all you can, give all you have.

God help us.