Friday, March 30, 2007

Farewell to my Dad, whose now overseas...

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Just recently my Mum and Dad decided to go to live in the U.S. in Detroit, Michigan. My Dad left the airport on Thursday and my Mum is leaving in July.

A few tears were shared as Dad walked into the International Departure Doors of Melbourne Airport. I pray he is safe and well, after three plane flights to get him to Michigan.

I write this blog to say that my Dad is an inspiration. Recently his own faith journey has been ignited, and before he left on the plane he shared how he had a dream of Jo and I; that we were climbing up a steep hill and it was hard work, but that God was going to get us through...

I then commented that the Bible says (Joel 2:28), that in the last days, Old men will dream dreams and Young men will see visions. Dad, you must be old? Then the reply came, 'I'm not the one with the receeding hairline.'

Dad, may God be strengthening you and blessing you on this next step of your own life... All my love!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Uniform Wearing in The Salvation Army

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I'm sick of people thinking I'm a Security Guard!

On Southbank in Melbourne (on Sunday) we rallied against Human Trafficking and a number of Salvos were there. (Well done to guys like Dave and Sonia and others that put the day together!).

I started to reflect a little after the event, especially when it came to uniform. I looked around and knew myself that there were plenty of salvos around (not enough to have much influence for rallying though!), but from the communities perspective, they would hardly know we were Salvation Army! Now, I'm not going on to advocate strongly for our traditional uniform, just hear me out though...

We were not visible. We have so many different uniforms, we don't even look like an army!! Some people were wearing the trad stuff, some were wearing plain jackets over the traditional uniform, some with the polo shirts, some with salvo t-shirts (small, medium and large red shields!), etc, etc. Now, my point is not that there was diversity necessarily, but the fact that there was so much diversity that the community can not tell who we are.

Here's my thesis... You may agree or disagree (depending on your age most likely)... Lets get a T-Shirt, with a big red shield and we all wear it. We then acheive two things: Everybody is visible and they know who we are, and also, I don't get labelled as a Security Guard!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Shaping the system

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Here's a thought. Are you shaping the system you are a part of, or is the system shaping you?

Many of us know the Salvation Army is now a strongly beuracratic organisation, where decisions are made via levels of management and control measures are in operation to ensure the smooth running of the organisation. Being a cadet, I can somewhat tangibly feel myself entering into this system. There is not an issue in this, unless when you are entering into a new system (maybe a new job, even your family probably has its on little ways of operating) that is not all it can be.

Here's the dilemma. I love the Salvation Army, and I cry out for it to be fulfilling the Great Commission which Jesus calls us to. The question for me is, am I being shaped by the system? If I am, is the culture/surroundings I find myself in, worth being shaped into? The next question is, if the system I find myself in, is not all it can be, am I merely becoming a product of this system, or am I transforming it from the inside, out?

It's all about Jesus. It's all about souls and justice. Holistic healing. Transforming the World. Shape the system to make it be, all that God wants it to be!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Vision: Leadership of the future

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The most thriving churches seem to be ones where the leadership team is strongly focused on vision. Leaders like Bill Hybels (left) know the importance of sharing future expectations with their congregations, of sharing stories of what the future might look like... Churches with powerful vision-casting are more motivated and inspired to complete the ministry God has given them.

So why would I blog about VISION?? Whether a church grows or declines is strongly related to the ability of the church's leaders to cast an exciting vision to their congregations. It's simple stuff. Vision motivates people. The fact is many of our churches are not sharing the vision for the future and if they are, it is not always something that filters into the culture of who that church is.

Lets be leaders who inspire those we minister to. Lets share a vision, so powerful, so grand, that only God could achieve it, and a vision so motivating that people follow. Jesus is raising up an army of revolutionaries who will change the World, and we need leaders who catch onto that and bring others along for the journey!
"The future belongs to those who see possiblilities before they become obvious."

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

College Update: How's it all going?

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Well, we've now been at college for over a month (we started classes on Jan 31st). I can't believe it's March!
Jo and I are really getting along well with all the people in the college, the staff, the second year cadets and especially our Witnesses for Christ session. Everyone in our session has a real, authentic passion for Jesus and for being involved in the ministry he wants for them.

Is College tough? Of course. Is it enjoyable? Definitely. The schedule's busy, with lots of different things to do, e.g. New Testament studies, cleaning duties, paperwork to file, prayers, eating lunch together, travelling to local Corps (Salvation Army's), Pubs on Friday nights, and loads more. It's been a challenge to coordinate everything, as their are lots of different aspects of College life, and different course expectations.

How are our finances? Well, can't let you know too much, as then we wouldn't be living by faith, but lets just say, we're still praying that our possible Centrelink payments will arrive soon, as they haven't yet...

What would I say at this point in time about other people thinking about Officership? I would say, if you are considering it, then if you have been filled with the Holy Spirit (and if you have, you know you have been...) then the Spirit will pull on your heart when its the right time... I believe we need to pray earnestly, and resist the devil's tricks, as I believe he is attempting to hold some back from diving into the Will of God! College is tough, but don't be deceived. College life is awesome and God is equipping us for the privileged task of leading the movement we call the Salvation Army into fulfilling its mission of taking the gospel to the ends of the earth. I say this nicely: Don't be wimpy and think its all too hard. Don't be so confused by postmodernist talk, that says putting aside some time for training is useless. Be filled with the Holy Spirit, and God WILL give you influence, and if he's called you into it, then he WILL use you and fruit WILL come out of your ministry.

I want to take this opportunity to say thanks for all those that are praying for us while we're in College. There has been some nights, we have literally felt the Holy Spirit lift us up into the presence of Jesus, and we said to each other, 'I think someone's praying for us!'

Praise JESUS! Send the Fire Lord! Let the Revolution now begin!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Kingdom of God & The Church

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The Kingdom of God phrase occurs more than 100 times in the New Testament. The word Church in some translations only occurs a few times. Jesus seemed to be very interested in things of the Kingdom, and many of his parables highlighted teachings about this 'Kingdom of God'.

Is the Kingdom of God like being in the rule of Christ, being within his reign... (Whatever that actually means)... ?

I ask the question: Is it more important for people to come into the Church or into the Kingdom of God?

Let me know your thoughts. The Kingdom of God seems to be quite confusing to understand, but it definitely has distinctions to the church itself.

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