Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Year of Possibilities in 2009

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I've been reading Vision 7007 from Commissioner Joe Noland recently. See www.joenoland.blogspot.com I'm struck by the idea of having faith to believe God can do more than anything we could ever consider to even ask him for. Read these words again:

Ephesians 3:20-21a - 'God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.'

Believe God for more this year. Believe that more people will begin following Jesus. Believe that God will answer your prayer for greater fruit in your life. Believe God will heal the rift in your family. Believe God will transform the heart of your friend. Believe God will bring the Kingdom growth you have been praying for.

2009 will be a year of possibilities. If we seek we will find. If we ask we will be given. If we knock, God will answer.

I'm excited.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

For to us a Child is born...

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Isaiah 9:6 says, 'For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.'

Before the birth of Jesus the prophet Isaiah records these words. Somewhat prophetic, in hindsight of what we understand about Jesus. He is a wonderful counselor, his is a mighty God, he is an everlasting Father, and he is the ultimate Prince of Peace. Thanks God for these descriptors and reminders of the nature of who Jesus is.

Have a happy and blessed Christmas. Jesus transforms lives and so we celebrate his birth this year. We pray many might come to understand the love and forgiveness of Christ in their own life this Christmas time.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Shekinah Glory of God


One day, when we are face to face with God, we will be immersed within his glory. His 'Shekinah' glory as it has been named over the years. When I think of this Shekinah glory, I think of holiness, represented by light and radiance. I think of being in complete awe of the God I have worshipped in my earthly body for so long.

Our new baby girl, we have called 'Shekinah Nell Brookshaw'. We want our child to be a representative if you like, of a glimpse of what the glory of the Lord looks like. Born Wednesday 3rd December, at about 9am, weighing 3.925 Kgs, Jo and I are very, very excited, tired and looking forward to leaving the hospital!

Jeremiah 1:5 says, 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.' (Let that be for my daughter Shekinah...)

Thank you for those who have prayed so much recently for Jo, myself and Shekinah, and thanks for all those generous gifts of support.

Maybe today is a day, to pray in such a way, that you get a glimpse of the Shekinah glory of God?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Commissioning Weekend - Come and Gone

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A weekend to remember. I'm still trying to work out how to spell lieutenant!

Thanks to all our family and friends who have supported us over this weekend, and in the last two years. What a journey for Jo and I. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. And the answer to the question is, 'No, Jo hasn't had the baby yet...' Maybe tomorrow?!

Lt. Debbie Wilson in her testimony said, that during college, 'We've laughed so much we've cried, and we've cried so much we've laughed'. This characterises some of the journey of Training College; excitement and challenge, discipline and reward, and as Lt. Kim Haworth says, 'Rosters, rosters and more rosters...'

Well, Jo and I are excited. We're off to Palmerston Corps, and are looking forward to the friendships, and joy we'll experience up north. God is good, and we aim to serve him faithfully and passionately, and our prayer is that the gospel of Jesus will transform many lives into the future.

There's still a few weeks of College left. Packing. Cleaning. Carolling. Brass bands. Farewells. Cleaning. Packing and many, many goodbyes.

God bless the future. God bless The Salvation Army.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The foundation of ministry

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I attended a conference this weekend called 'Go For Souls' and was a time set aside to be trained and equipped for the work of evangelism. Check out www.whollyholy.blogspot.com for more on that.

Ephesians 4:11 says that some are called to be Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors/Teachers. I believe that. Some are gifted at being evangelists (Someone that shares the gospel of Jesus Christ with others), but all are called to evangelise. Lets be challenged to share the message of Jesus with others.

I led an elective about reaching our families with the gospel. Here's some of it: Paul and Silas, in Acts 16:16-34, after being thrown in jail began praying and singing hymns to God in their prison cell. Then the prison gates flew open and the chains fell off all the prisoners. Then the jail worker was about to kill himself (because he was in strife since Paul and Silas were going to escape), and then Paul and Silas said to him, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved - you and your household.' The rest is history.

Some thoughts here:
* The foundation for any sort of ministry or evangelism, is prayer and worship. This becomes the power of God behind our ministry.
* When Paul and Silas prayed and worshipped God, not only were their chains broken, but those in the prison cells surrounding them! The Spirit that surrounds our worship impacts others!
* The whole of the Jailer's family was saved. They began following Jesus. Let's believe for all our families to believe the gospel and become followers of Jesus.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Time is of the essence...

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Well time is flying by. Well, you know, time is still clicking over at the same speed it was yesterday, but for many cadets our minds are racing. Some have assignments to finish, others are beginning to pack boxes.

In a week and a half we have a covenant day, where we look at the officer's covenant...

Here's the covenant:
CALLED BY GOD to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as an officer of The Salvation Army I BIND MYSELF TO HIM IN THIS SOLEMN COVENANT to love and serve him supremely all my days,
to live to win souls and make their salvation the first purpose of my life,
to care for the poor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, love the unlovable, and befriend those who have no friends,to maintain the doctrines and principles of The Salvation Army, and, by God's grace to prove myself a worthy officer...

Sounds like a tiring task. Sounds exciting though. Bring it on!

Thanks to all those who have supported Jo and I so much over the last two years. For your prayers, for your practical support and for your friendship. Next year is going to be a blast!!

(Anyway, better go, I've got to finish cleaning the bookshelf)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Culture Shift


Eddie Gibbs in his book Emerging Churches writes that the Western Church today must study culture. We cannot just 'run church' the way we always have and expect the same results as the late 19th Century, or assume the same missional outcomes as previous generations. Why? Gibbs says, because:

* Christendom and Modernity are in rapid decline.
* Cultural understandings have always been essential to good mission practice
* The West is in the middle of significant cultural changes
* The Church in the West is in decline
* The majority of current church practices are cultural accomodations to a society of a previous era
* Baby boomers are the last generation happy with modern churches (pp. 16-23).

Attempt to understand the surrounding culture. Don't bother with Rock bands if your communities into sport. Why even have the 30 minute sermon, if your community prefers to sit around coffee shops and talk through issues.

The gospel of Jesus hasn't changed. The methods we use to engage culture with that gospel must.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Clergy and Laity

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R. Paul Stevens writes some helpful thoughts on reclaiming a biblical perspective on vocation, work and ministry. Over the years we've created a clergy and laity divide in the church, and clergy has come to apply to the following things:

(1) A vicarious function - Service or ministry is applied not just on behalf of the people, but sometimes instead of the people.
(2) The ontological difference - A person becomes a priest, e.g. via ordination.
(3) The sacramental difference - The priest is the one able to offer the sacraments to others, e.g. Communion, Weddings, etc.
(4) The professional status - The priest is seemingly the only one qualified to do the work of minsitry. (The Other Six Days, p. 31).

Clergy should never mean one is more entitled to do the work of God, or is meant to fulfill the mission of God on behalf of the people. Laity actually means 'the people of God', and so actually refers to the whole community of faith. Clergy merely fulfill a different function within the mission that the church is called to.

How does this work practically in the church? The minister is not the only one who cares for the congregation! The minister is not the only one who can preach, teach or pioneer. In fact the very idea of calling this person, 'the minister' kind of assumes the other people are not 'ministers' which again is false.

Its time to rewrite the future of the church... All people are ministers, and while some may enter training to be more equipped to fulfill the roles that they will one day have, all are called to make a difference in the ministry of Jesus.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Earthquake in Pakistan...

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Here's some 'emergency' news taken from http://www.savlationist.org/:

" THE Salvation Army in Pakistan is providing assistance to some of the thousands of people made homeless by an earthquake in the north of the country. The tremor, measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale, struck the region near the border with Afghanistan on Wednesday 29 October, killing more than 200 people and destroying whole villages, leaving 45,000 people without homes. Severe aftershocks continued to be felt for another three days, making access difficult. "

Some other news/thoughts:

* God give wisdom to new President-elect Barak Obama...

* Why worry about the 'future', when God is in your 'present'?

* 17 Cadets in the Australia Southern Territory are accepted as cadets for next year. There's a still a few that will most likely be added to the list

* Here's a good verse from Philemon 1:6 - 'I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.'

Monday, November 3, 2008

God is with you!

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There are so many Bible references sharing the fact that, 'God is with you'.

Joshua 1: 9 - 'Be strong and courageous, for the Lord your God is with you whether you go'.

Matthew 28:20 - [Jesus says] 'I will be with you to the very end of the age'.

Romans 8: 39 says, 'Nothing can seperate us from the love of God'.

Psalm 139:7-8 says, 'Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there'.

The Scriptures are pretty clear. The Old Testament says it; Jesus says it; the Apostle Paul says it. God is with us...

Next time you pray, don't pray, 'God, please be with me today', but rather pray, 'God, help me understand you are with me today'.

Whatever the circumstance, whatever the situation, remember, God is with you.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Time to train

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It's a new month. There's new opportunities. I found this picture on Salvationist Andrew Clark's Website and was reminded about the mission of The Salvation Army. We're not called to live the easy, comfortable life, with a good job, nice car, and enough cash for a decent holiday. We're called to spend our life on behalf of the hurting, to share the message of Jesus with the unknowing, to love the unlovable. It's not an easy mission, but why should that stop us?

* TACO Fundraising is going to go Global! We're hoping to have over 15 venues in Australia next year and with a few other countries buying into the vision, we could have towards 30 venues! For a brief overview of this year's work, check out: http://www.taco-trivia.blogspot.com/

* Dictionary.com define a 'Cadet' as - 'A student in training for service as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, Air Force, or Coast Guard.' Can someone tell them to add 'The Salvation Army'?

* People ask me, 'Have I enjoyed Training College', to which I answer, 'It's been enjoyable, but challenging, at times exciting, but sometimes painful.'
'Would I recommend it?' 'If you're called to be an officer, then of course I would recommend it!'

* The Ambassadors of Holiness are next years session, and some of my mates are gearing up for a full-on two years of training... If you know anybody going into College next year, why not support them financially and prayerfully?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Leadership thoughts from 'Management Today'

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Here's some leadership thoughts from an Australian Magazine, Management Today (May 2008):

Sol Trujillo (CEO of Telstra):
'I least like dealing with the breaking down of regulatory or bureaucratic barriers; while all large companies have them, you always want your company to be as fast and nimble as any other'.
'I have a fundamental belief that most people underestimate what they're capable of, and sometimes it just takes some coaching to unlock their thinking'.

Deborah Tarrant on leadership:
'They are charismatic, dynamic, optimistic, socially adept - not narcissistic - and are expected to be trustworthy and have foresight'.
'In other countries, particularly in Asia, where hierarchy and authority is often valued over relationships, a relational style of leadership is not necessarily going to work'.
'Under the circumstances, the most desirable skills are adaptability and social intelligence, the ability to read the norms and the cues of a situation, and to influence others through social relationships'. [Partly sounds like Catherine Booth, i.e. the adaptability concept]

Five core words for working as a team (p. 20):
Clarity, Courage, Creativity, Connection and Care

'I believe that 20% of culture is planned and 80% evolves within every company [but] real or virtual, you need flexibility, agility and the capability to change' (p. 21). [I wonder how much of church culture is influenced by who we are as leaders?]

There's some leadership thoughts for you. I understand all the emerging, postmodern Christians on the journey might not connect with all of it... ahh well.

God bless!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Duopoly of Business

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A Duopoly is where a market exists where there are only two sellers. I have concerns about the duopoly's I see developing and the impact this has on other businesses. For example, I see these two in Australia:
* Woolworths & Coles
* Cadbury-Schweppes & CocaCola Amatil

I find myself concerned that these businesses become so powerful, they are able to control the market. Woolworths and Coles can control the price they offer farmers, because where else can the farmer go to sell his produce? Cadbury-Schweppes & CocaCola can squeeze out other competitors because they own the whole manufacturing processes that assist in bottling, warehousing, and finally getting your drink on the shelf. They then can control the price.

What about Fairtrade when it comes to these local issues? What about accountability for these businesses? Should these businesses be more transparent with their practices?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Binge Drinking - Is it really cool?

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Melbourne Corps 614 hosted a great line up of informed speakers at Urban Conversations, to speak about an increasing issue in Melbourne: Binge Drinking.

Dr. Michael Carr-Gregg spoke passionately about attempting to raise the age of drinking alcohol to 21, seeing the benefits this has had in America. He said that companies benefiting financially from Alcohol sales have the 'ethics of a cash register'. Good call.

Alcohol affects brain development in adolescents...

The Editor-in-chief of the Age promised to advocate strongly within The Age newspaper against Binge Drinking, and to bring awareness to the effects that excessive drinking has, especially amongst teenagers.

The media, and many agencies in the past joined together to change the paradigms of thinking regarding smoking; to the point where smoking is no longer seen as 'the cool thing to do'.

We should be joining forces, to change the thinking in Victorian culture today (and Australia!) that says 'getting drunk' is cool, and if movers and shakers join together to advocate against this then we will see a shift in today's culture regarding binge drinking...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Salvation Army in Decline?


Why, generally speaking is The Salvation Army in decline in the Western World?
* Is it because the Holy Spirit is not moving as much in our midst?
* Is it a lack of good leaders to stir up our congregations?
* Is it a lack of doctrinal teaching, or good biblical foundations for ministry?
* Is it a lack of good evangelists?
* Is it because we are losing our identity as The Salvation Army?
* Is it because we're too concerned with the 'good ole days'?
* Is it because we have too much 'stuff' and have forgotten how to simply trust God?

Maybe it's none of these. Maybe it's all of them. All I know is, depending on your answer will determine how you will equip and empower others into the future.

Despite all this God is turning the tide in the Western World... Maybe some people know the answer.

(Heb 12:2 - Fix your eyes on Jesus!)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Failure and Success

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Well it's been a few days... Here's some thoughts for you:

* Was listening to audio CD, 'Failing Forward' by John C. Maxwell, and he says:
--> When you 'fail' at something, this does not make you a 'failure'
--> Failure should be like fertiliser for future success
* Theologian N.T. Wright says that Christian hope is more than just getting to heaven when we die, but about God bringing about New heavens and new earth. Heaven is not just a future reality, but the presence of God around us today, this is really like heaven on earth. Thanks Jesus. We look forward to the future that you have planned for us, found in Christ.

* Are people in the Salvation Army today fearful of success (How do we define success?)? I said today to someone, 'How great would a corps of a thousand be...' and suddenly the following misconceptions propped up:
--> The corps would be a large congregation meeting on a Sunday morning
--> The corps would be missionally inactive
--> The corps would be organisationally beuracratic and slow in decision making
--> The corps would be caught up in power, and would be a reflection of Christendom (buildings matter most).

Interesting. In my mind, when I think of a corps of a thousand, I think this:
--> Possibly 100 small groups of 10, who are active in discipleship, mission, community development, etc
--> Passionate, growing group of believers, people enrolling as soldiers, people engaged in mission
--> Quick decision making, good leadership development, many people becoming committed followers of Jesus.

Paradigm shift. Revolution.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Vision and Reading the Word

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On a silent retreat recently I received a new found passion for reading the Word of God. I came across this verse of Scripture: Psalm 119:18 - 'Open my eyes to the wonderful things in your law' (the law referred to the first five books of the Old Testament - but I reinterpret it to refer to the whole of the Scriptures). Try praying this verse out before you read the Bible... It really allows God to challenge you and speak to you when you read...

Commissioner Joe Noland (U.S.A) spoke to the cadets recently, sharing how he planted a Corps, and hundreds came and heard the message of Jesus. He said:

Do not let your vision be hindered by your resources
Do not let your vision be hindered by your experience
Do not let your vision be hindered by your self-esteem

Also, 'Don't say as I do, but do as I say and do'

God bless those officers in the Australia Southern Territory that will officially be told their new appointments today...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Secular Charismatic TV?


I turned on the TV yesterday, and found myself watching some sort of Charismatic celebration, like I was watching a Pentecostal Church Meeting on the screen, but it was something else.

I had turned the TV on to 'Ellen'. Literally, for the first 10 minutes of the show, the crowd gave a continuous standing ovation to the TV presenter, and she just smiled and danced as she lapped up the attention. I then changed the channel, and you know who popped up; Oprah. Again, a crowd going nuts at being in the presence of a 'celebrity' with whistles, clapping, and mild screaming...

I don't buy it. I don't understand how you could be ok with receiving THAT amount of attention. In the Christian vernacular we have the word, 'humility'. That's why when most Christian bands I've seen, or preachers come out and preach, they turn this praise towards God. I mean sure acknowledge the encouragement you are receiving, and be thankful for it, but humility forces you to only take so much of this charasmatic support before you must sent it heavenward!

I felt that if you took away Ellen or Oprah, or Dr. Phil and put the Saviour of the World there, right in the middle of the stage.... then you'd have a meaningful, exciting, passionate worship meeting, where God was being glorified. Who do you give your praise to?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Experiencing the Journey

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People ask me how I am going, and if I am looking forward to Commissioning and other questions of the like.
At present most cadets have assignments their completing, and I've got a good handful left, but am learning much about: the nature of God, who 'I am' in Christ, some historical learnings about the Church in the Reformation Period (1500 - 1600s), and King Henry VIII (16th C) who started a breakaway from the Roman Catholic Church and thus the beginnings of the Anglican Church.

I'm excited to see where some officers are appointed and moved to, as this is communicated in the next couple of weeks.

Last night I heard Tim Costello speak at 'Melbourne Corps 614' and he spoke about:
* The fact that Kevin Rudd attended New York to attend a gathering primarily focusing on Governments fulfilling their role in 'Making Poverty History'. Kevin Rudd promised that he would raise Australia's contribution up to 0.5% of Australia's GDP, by 2015. (The promise was initially 0.7%). America is currently at a lousy 0.1% and President George Bush has not done much to rectify that! Governments can help alleviate world poverty; but will they choose to?
* We have a responsibility to live out our Christian faith by supporting the powerless in our communities; the addicted, the homeless, etc.

So the journey of College is slowly coming to an end, but there are still many exciting experiences within College to be a part of: Agressive Christianity Conference, a silent Retreat, 6 Assignments, A spiritual Day, A Convenant Day, A pancake Day, A special morning tea Day, and lots of other days. Will keep you posted on the journey...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Mindless Survey

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I did a little mindless survey during the TACO Trivia Night at the Training College. There were 10 tables, each with a pen to be used for answering the questions. At the end of the night I collected the ten pens. This is what I found:
* 5 of the pens were in the same condition
* 3 of the pens were without lids
* 2 were chewed to billio.
So next time you're giving out pens, expect 20% to be gnawed like there's no tomorrow.

Jim Scorse said to me recently, '7 days without prayer makes one week (weak)' Nice.

'Don't let your service be dictated by your feelings, but rather let your feelings be dictated by your service'

The word laity comes from the Greek word 'laos' which means, 'people of God'. There was never meant to be a clergy and laity divide. We are all part of the 'laity'. Officers and priests are not more important than other believers in Christ, they just fulfill a different function within the body.

For your information:
* 68 days til Commissioning time
* 75 days til Jo's having a baby

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Generals, High Councils and other tidbits...

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Check out the update on the TACO Trivia Nights: www.taco-trivia.blogspot.com

* We had Commissioner Wesley Harris come and speak to our class today. He spoke about the start of what is called the High Council, which first happened in 1929. The first General of The Salvation Army was William Booth, followed by one of his sons, Bramwell. The issue then arose about how does the Army elect a new General? Well, the High Council was formed, and Edward Higgins became the 3rd General in 1929. He led the Salvos through a stormy time apparently, and this was the first time The Salvation Army was empowered and led by someone outside the 'Booth Family'.

* There's joy in the understanding that a God who created everything, knows you and loves you.

* Aggresive Christianity Conference is happening soon in Melbourne. 1st Oct - 3rd Oct. Come along if you're around.

* Major Mim Adams spoke today about the program called S.A.G.A.L.A. What a facelift this program has had. We no longer work with kids from the stable family unit, with a reliable, caring Mum and Dad and lovely younger sister to play games with. Some families are broken; the Dad comes home drunk, the brother has A.D.D. and the Mum or Dad doesn't always put breaky on the table. S.A.G.A.L.A is really a creative way to engage young people in developing life skills, while finding a relationship with Jesus in amongst it all. It's updated, kids love it, and sometimes whole families find faith in God!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Can I get a Witness on?

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Do you know that the word witness, comes out of the word martyr? Interesting. In Acts 1:8 it says that you will have power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, to be my witnesses...to the ends of the earth. The kind of witnesses that radically live out their faith in Christ no matter the environment; faith or no faith; secular or spiritual; political or humanist. Whatever the world view, whatever the fabic of society holds to, there is a culturally relevant message of Jesus to be shared in every community.

The last two years at the Training College, I've been a part of the Witnesses for Christ session. In fact for the rest of my life, this sessional name will ring in my ears. To me, it conjures up images of connecting with society and the unchurched. I think of sitting around the BBQ with a mate talking of faith issues, discussing the political atmosphere with someone on the train and my Christian's view on those politics. Or, giving a positive repsonse to the Supermarket check-out assistant, or witnessing of the death and resurrection of Jesus at the Men's breaky on Saturday morning.

Witnesses for Jesus in the haunts of sin and shame...
Do some witnessing for Jesus wheresoever you may be...

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sacred and Secular


In parts of the Church you hear about a divide between the sacred and the secular. Quite often we compartmentalise our Christianity, that is, we put faith in one box, and then we put work in another box, thinking they are seperate.

Here's the thing... We can no longer talk about 'attending church' on a Sunday, as if we are fullfilling our time at 'Church', and then forget about God throughout the week. When someone becomes a follower of Jesus, they offer their whole lives as living sacrifices before God. It doesn't matter if you're praying, shopping or cleaning the toliet, why not offer it as a time to honour God.

Don't look at your work as seperate from your faith. Don't have a 'go to work' and then 'go to church' mindset. Rather have a 'Lord, let my faith be lived out at work and in the church' kind of mindset.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A new era: The decline of Christendom

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Christian spirituality has been the integral and fundamental part of society. Popes have been in charge of government and the world used to look to Christian ministers for decision making.

Times have changed. We live in a post-Christendom era. That is, the church is no longer the centre of society. In Australia, the church is on the sidelines, sometimes yelling out principles of holiness to a coutry that doesn't always listen.

It's not good enough to try and make the church the centre of it all again. Let's face it, the early church grew fastest during the first three centuries when it didn't have governmental authority and some new followers of Jesus were persecuted for their faith, some even martyred (read about a guy named Polycarp!).

So how does the church exist in this post-christendom era? I think we need to stop pumping up the idea of the church to people who are anti-church. Lets rather talk about God and the fact that Jesus can bring freedom into people's lives. After all, we're about witnessing the growth of the Kingdom of God, not the Kingdom of the Church.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Is it taking hold of you?

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As I walk down the street and see someone with their new hotted up car,
As I stroll past the electronics shop I witness someone buying a new plasma screen, and I realise I'm getting the symptoms...
When I envy my neighbour's financial position, and when I gossip about the new possessions of my friends, I realise I'm coming down with something...
As I trade my new phone in for another one, and as I complain about my other mate having a new X-Box, I realise the sickness is taking hold of me...
When I struggle to pass the clothes shop without wishing for more, and when I throw out clothes just to buy the latest fashion, I realise I have caught this wretched illness...
I've read the symptoms, I've worked out what I'm coming down with. I know the sickness that is taking hold of me; this wretched illness...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

It's time to unroll the scroll!

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Here's a sneak preview of my message tomorrow at Melbourne Corps - Project 614:

Jesus walks into the synagogue following his baptism, and his time in the desert. A Jewish leader asks him to come and teach the congregation. He unrolls the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, and finds where it says:
'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor,
to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. To proclaim the year of the Lord's favour...'

Right here, at this significant moment, Jesus tells the people his future mission. He says, and this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing this day (see Luke 4:14-30).

It's time to unroll the scroll. Too long have churches rolled up the scroll, and said, this mission is too hard, it's too costly, it's too demanding, it's too tiring. Hey. Unroll it. Check out the mission that Jesus is on about, and be on about the same.

Lay aside your life for the task of winning the world for Jesus. No other task seems to compare. Then, we won't be able to hold back the Revolution that God will bring.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Everyday an Adventure

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There's lots happening on my side of the woods, here at the Training College. We've got TACO Trivia Nights happening in Sept/Oct, raising (hopefully) heaps of money for Cadets in Third World Countries (Stay tuned).

Chris and David, officers from Tanzania, shared their stories recently at the TC, and spoke of the need to realise the power that there is in the name of Jesus, especially in a place where down the street the local witch doctor is doing business!

Do we believe that we can be sanctified (holy) this side of heaven? I mean, not merely inputed righteousness (as if we were holy...), but imparted righteousness - actually being holy! I believe it. After all, God is the one who sanctifies.

Started a microchurch (small group) at Melbourne 614 recently, and have enjoyed discussing Salvationism 101; understanding the history of The Salvation Army, and how the mission of the Army is still relevant today: Souls and Justice...

So everyday is an adventure. Ready to be lived out for the glory of the Lord. Ready to be expressed in love and service towards people, and passion and holiness before God.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Bold Faith; A Bold Mission

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Here's some thoughts for you:

In 1881, no less than 669 of The Salvation Army's men, women and children were either knocked to the ground or brutally assaulted, because of their bold faith.

Mr. E. Denison, quite a few years back said this, 'What is the use of telling people to come to church when they know of no rational reason why they should; when, if they go, they find themselves among people using forms of words which have never been explained to them; ceremonies performed which to them are entirely without meaning; sermons preached which as often as not have no meaning, or when they have a meaning, intelligible only to those who have studied religion all their lives?'

Surely the job of a theologian is to communicate and teach the truths of God in a way that the average Joe Bloe understands!

C.T.Studd said this, 'Some wish to live within the sound of church or chapel bell. I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.'

Win the World for Jesus.

And a big hello to my Mum and Dad who are reading from Michigan, USA.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

God's Heart for the World


I have been praying over the last week, 'Lord, break my heart for what breaks yours...' I didn't think much of it, and a couple of days past. Then yesterday we had a Spiritual Day at the College. In the first service I found myself at the mercy seat, kneeling before God, crying out for the visions and dreams on my heart to become a reality. That's God Kingdom would be established in every Country and in the life of every human being. The afternoon came and I found myself again strongly touched by the call to share the message of Jesus to people outside of the Church's four walls. I cried, and cried and the tissues were helpful.

Then I realised what I had been praying earlier. 'God, break my heart for the things that break yours.' I found in my spirit a deep grief for those without the understanding of the love of God. I found myself yearning and praying for Countries in which the Gospel of Jesus doesn't penetrate. I believe God is developing in me, his heart for the World. Sure, God's is loving, and compassionate, and full of grace and mercy... but God also grieves and longs for creation to be reconciled back to himself, a reconciliation that requires a response from humanity.

Some misunderstand my recent feelings as 'emotional instability', or 'Pete must be going through a rough time'. Not at all. Win the world for Jesus is the catchcry of The Salvation Army and what a good start it is to begin with capturing God's heart for the World.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Pete's Ponderings

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You probably know the verse, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength... (Mt 22:34-40) I was thinking about this:
Heart - We should worship God from our heart - with a inner desire to honour God
Soul - We love God from the deepest part of who we are
Mind - We connect with God on an intellectual level- seeking to understand who God is, our role in worship, mission discipleship, etc, etc...
Strength - We are empowered to love God with our actions, our life, our personality, our all.
We need a radical balance of these four concepts Jesus teaches us. We cannot merely love God with great passion and zeal, and let it become mere fanaticism. Conversely, merely following God from a purely theoretical position without a heart felt connection with the creator becomes dry intellectualism.

I read some of Zechariah this morning. Have a read of these great verses:
"'Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty" - Zech 4:6
"Who despises the day of small things?" - Zech 4:10
"Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other." - Zech 7:9-10

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Preaching up a Storm

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Famous Last Words was a challenging night recently as Commissioner Brian Morgan shared his 'Famous Last Words'. He shared passionately about the gospel of Jesus being URGENT, and that we should go for it! He asked the question, 'Since when did the gospel become more about maintenance than about Mission'? Ouch!! Love it! Captain Danielle Strickland inspired us to worship and she mentioned for those gathered at that time, you don't need to find the latest evangelism conference to go to, just find someone and talk to them about Jesus! (Not rocket science).

Cadet Scott Ellery preached up a storm at South Barwon Corps (Western Victoria) this morning, preaching about God's glory being revealed in creation (e.g. the Grand Canyon, or a sunset on the beach), God's glory is revealed in the Scriptures (where we learn more of who God is), and God's glory is revealed to others through our witness (Maybe people can see God in us?).

I know of a few friends signing up for Training College next year. Are there any people in leadership you need to release for them to fulfil this calling?

To God be the glory.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cheeseburgers, Holidays and World Youth Day

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Jo and I had the privelege of leading through James and Sarah Thompson's Wedding the other week. These guys are passionate for God and seeing lives transformed through Jesus! I shared a message following the Wedding Vows and the signing of the register. I said to everyone with a confident look, 'A Marriage should be like a cheeseburger. A good uneaten Mc'Donald's cheeseburger. There's something in that cheeseburger, that 20 years from now that cheeseburger is still going strong. It doesn't matter what environment that cheeseburger finds itself in, it goes on...'

Well, holidays were relaxing. We spent some time at Hillsong Conference in Sydney recently. The Hillsong team seem to be catching on to Salvationist theology when it comes to justice for the oppressed, food for the hungry, and caring for the unlovable. Praise God for this focus during the week.

I understand there are many theological differences between our Catholic friends and the Protestant churches (of which The Salvation Army are a part), yet recently on TV I've seen young Catholics singing songs about Jesus, young people gathering together because they want to set their 'faith on fire' as one girl put it. World Youth Day brings these Catholic young people together and gives them a renewed sense of purpose and passion. Maybe there's more that unites us, than divides us?

Keep an eye out for TACO Trivia Nights (in September) coming to a venue close to you! (If you're in Australia at least!)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Time for a Holiday

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Well it's time for two weeks off. I won't be blogging for a couple of weeks...
Come back in MID JULY!!!

18 months of College has passed. I'm passionate about souls and justice! I feel more equipped to be a soldier in the Army of the Lord...

Over the next couple of weeks here's a little of what I'll be doing (as well as sleeping in some mornings!)

* Preaching at Wyndham City Salvos this Sunday 29th June at 6pm. Come along if you're in town.
* Preaching at James and Sarah's Wedding on Saturday 5th July at Moreland Salvos. Jo is doing the vows. God bless this couple.
* Going to Hillsong Conference in Sydney, second week of the holidays. A time to simply worship God and enjoy a trip up and back.
* Jo is 18 weeks pregnant (as of Sat 28th June). Her belly is nearly my size...

Stay passionate for Jesus. God is always good, even if the circumstances you're in don't reflect that. He is always faithful to us. He is the Lord! Thanks for reading. See you in two weeks.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Something Interesting


We're currently in our second week of an intensive subject called 'Reformation Theology'. There's lots to think about. The Church didn't contain any 'denominations' as such until around the time of the 16th Century, when guys like Martin Luther, and John Calvin came around and began to challenge the status quo of the beliefs of the established Catholic Church.

Martin Luther came forward and communicated the idea of 'Justification by grace, through faith', that is the guilt of our sin is covered over, by the grace of God and through our faith in Jesus.

John Calvin, is probably best known because of what the follower's of Calvin focused on, and that was the idea of predestination, that people are chosen before the beginning of time on who's going to heaven and who's not. Hmm...

This blog is about passionately advocating for a 'Revolution' in today's society, like a Reformation, but a Revolution in my mind (is not a violent overthrowing of a government), but a complete change in the lifestyles of those in our communities. People would follow Jesus wholeheartedly, and other would find their salvation in him, and society as a whole would change in front of our eyes. Love, compassion, passion, spirit-led, integrity, justice-minded, joy, just to name a few would be an expression of this Revolution in our midst.

It's time for this Revolution. Will you pray for it?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The REAL World


Well I'm back in Training College, and am excited that the next six months will offer a further opportunity of growth and development, in becoming more like Christ. I'm not sure I'm overly keen on using the phrase, 'Then after College you will get back into the real world!' What does that mean?! You mean my life now is not real? My encounters now with people is not real? Of course it is, and every relationship bears an opportunity to rub off on someone else the character of Jesus and the grace of God.

Here's some more thoughts and quotes of late:

* The most important thing a congregation relies on is the holiness of its pastor - Colonel Redhead
* There can be unity through diversity - Thanks Kim for that reminder
* Sometimes we can foster an undesirable culture of a group of people, by continuing to label the group by that present culture, rather than speaking up what it could become - My thought, maybe someone can publish it in a book...??
* Maintenance is quite often decline, especially when you consider the rate of growth of population.
* "What the world needs now... is love, sweet love" - Just thought I'd put that in.
* Is 1,000 cadets in a session a mere dream and loss of reality? Or could we trust that beuracratic structures, ability to train and equip cadets, how people are accomodated and cared for could be supported and lead by the Holy Spirit and facilitated by humans? Sure 1,000 cadets is not possible under our current way of facilitating the training of cadets, but that's because the system we have created to train cadets has been developed to cater for 30 cadets in a session. I really don't see the problem with dreaming big and then asking God for wisdom on how to do the rest... It's funny you know, some would call me naive, yet others would say that's just faith.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Back in Melbourne!

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Well we're back. Back to 10 degress, and to busy traffic, and prayer meetings and College food!

People ask Jo and I whether we enjoyed Darwin. In a brief answer: YES! Here's a little sample:
* We journeyed with a ex-drug addict and saw him begin to follow Jesus, and start a radical journey of holiness.
* One young lady went back into uniform since being at Darwin
* A COKE machine is being delivered soon for the Corps building!! (Very important point to make...)
* We collected an extra $1400 for Red Shield Appeal from a PUB round I organised!
* After preaching about the BLOOD and FIRE last Sunday to an African congregation, the African Woman said from the front, in an African accent, 'Thank you Peter Brookshaw, you preach like in Africa!!' (I think that was a compliment...??)
* Some of my new mates from Darwin are Youth Leaders, and have committed to continuing on a Youth Bible Study that we begun while in Darwin.
* Jo and I were able to work as 'Community Support' Workers for a few days, and hand out emergency food, and vouchers for those needing assistance.

Jesus is alive. We need the blood and the fire. God knows were pretty useless without it. I give all praise to God for our time in Darwin, and thank everyone for their continued prayers and support for us.

Back to Melbourne. Back to College life. 6 months til Commissioning. 6 months til a new born baby. Still lots to learn. Still much more to experience. It's time for a Revolution.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Take the Plunge - Officership


In Commissioner Knaggs vision, outlined in the book One Day, he says, 'I have a dream that... our officer training programs would be taxed by the unusual response of the called to serve as officers in The Salvation Army. '

God needs warriors. He needs people willing to say, 'I'm here to serve', 'I'm here to lay down my life for the cause of Christ'. We are each called to follow Jesus, and I know many are called to step into a life The Salvation Army calls, 'Officership'. I'm believing for more than just the typical 10-20 Cadets to go into Training College. It's time for a new generation to understand their calling in life and then take the plunge. Scary, I know, I've been there. But 17-18months into Training, I'm feeling more and more equipped to be a leader in this Army... Lately, it feels as each day passes, God is cementing my calling in my heart...

For those attending Cadidate's Weekend in Melbourne AUS, I hope God blesses you heaps, and that God leads you and guides you to the place set for you...

1,000 CADETS IN 2009?!!!
All things are Possible through Jesus!

KENYA: 1,000 Cadets!
CANADA: 1,000 Cadets!
CHILE: 1,000 Cadets!
UK: 1,000 Cadets!
USA: 1,000 Cadets!
AUSTRALIA: 1,000 Cadets!
INDONESIA: 1,000 Cadets!
SRI LANKA: 1,000 Cadets!
INDIA: 1,000 Cadets!

Every Country, Every Territory. (Dream and organise big, and then we'll move forward faster than if we didn't dream at all!)

Monday, May 26, 2008

'Too many Indians and not enough Chiefs'

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I heard recently the common known phrase, 'Too many Chiefs not enough Indians'. I thought on that briefly, and thought, in many Salvation Army contexts we have, 'Too many Indians and not enough Chiefs'. I mean this, not in relation to having authoritarian leaders, or arrogant, proud leaders, but rather people who are merely touching the surface of their potential might need to step up and become a leader.

Leaders can either build followers, or build more leaders who will build more leaders. There are people in our Church congregations who have a spark of potential, if only there was someone to ignite the spark, and empower these people to step up to the next level.

For example, the garden in the church needs to be maintained. We have one person who faithfully caretakes for the garden most days of the week, but unfortunately she can never keep up with all the work. What do we do? Do we merely encourage this lady to work harder and more effectively? Possibly, but what it we empowered her to become a group leader of a gardening team? She would recruit volunteers. She would delegate jobs to them. She would encourage maybe one of the helpers to become the co-ordinator every Wednesday, as this is her day off. You understand the point.

Jesus had twelve disciples. Three of which he mentored closely. Then came Paul, who mentored Timothy to be a leader as well, among many others.

The church needs good leaders, not just great volunteers.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Private Faith


Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was on the hot seat last night, on ABC1's new show 'Q and A'. He was asked about his religious beliefs and he said that he keeps his religious beliefs private. Someone else said that to me recently; they said, 'I like to keep my faith to myself...'

I believe that a private faith, is not a biblical faith. The Bible calls us to go. Isaiah records God saying, 'Who will go for me?' Matthew writes of Jesus, 'GO into all the World...' We are told in the New Testament to be ready to give a testimony about our Lord. We should have such a close relationship with Jesus, that others need to hear the good news.

By keeping our faith to ourselves:
(1) Christianity will be dead within a generation. How does anyone ever hear about Jesus??! (It's kinda like every couple choosing never to have Children! The Human Race goes extinct)
(2) We are really showing our own selfishness. We have a message of hope, of redemption, of full salvation, and we want to keep it to ourselves!
(3) We highlight a fear/decision of not wanting to share the message of Jesus.
(a) because the message of Jesus hasn't really impacted us much in the first place...
(b) We are afraid of the consequences of sharing the faith we have
(c) We've never really thought of what our testimony about God actually is, and so we are unsure what message we are sharing.

A public faith, is a passionate faith. It makes us vulnerable. It relies on God for protection, and personal self-esteem. It does not let fear hold it back.

Do you know one of the greatest things The Salvation Army in the Australia Southern Territory struggles with? Is sharing its faith with other people (NCD results 2006/7).

The tide is turning though. Go from private to public (and I'm not talking about healthcare!)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Knock, Knock!

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Knock, Knock.
Who's There?
It's the Salvos!!

You guessed it. It's time for the Red Shield Appeal. I know you're busy... but is it worthwhile? Definitely. Put on your two pair of socks, and your tracky pants. Have your collecting bag ready to go. What an opportunity!

We could see it as a chore. Sure. We could choose to see it as a hindrance. If you like. I prefer to see it as an opportunity. An opportunity to talk to people on the streets. A chance to rally together teams united and striving after a common purpose. A moment when The Salvation Army will not only raise $8 million or so nation wide, but when differing cultures/organisations intersect, and excitement is paramount!

Play it up. It's an exciting thing and a great blessing from God. Praise Jesus.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Some comments/thoughts...

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* Happy Birthday to my Dad! Hope you've had a great day...

* A good leader turns followers into good leaders.

* 'A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defence than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom' (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

* Even if we are unfaithful, God is always faithful! (Good preaching Jo!)

* Dave Collinson has some things to say, check it out: www.captaincollo.blogspot.com

* 'Let your roots grow down into Christ and draw up nourishment from him. See that you go on growing in the Lord, and become strong and vigorous in the truth' (Col 2:7).

* Part of the Soldier's Covenant:
'I will be active in God's work both in sharing the gospel and in serving the needy, and will contribute financially to its support'.

* Thanks to the anonymous donation given on my Red Shield Appeal site (Link on right). Don't forget to make a donation and donate some time collecting. Use this as an opportunity to connect with people from the community...

* Congratulations to my mate Shaun Featherston, on his new job at Point Cook (Snr) Secondary College. Bless ya mate!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Your Mission, if you choose to accept it...


I may be a little weird, but I enjoy reading Mission Statement's of Churches and businesses. Whenever I walk into a church, I seek out their mission statement. Why? It defines what the group is on about, its purpose, its direction. So what is a good Mission Statement for a church?

I have read some that go similar to this:
* We aim to provide a friendly place where believers are loved and supported and where we care for those in our community.
Do you see that this statement is missing some things? It seems this church is more interested in merely loving and supporting its members, than empowering them to achieve something greater. What if the mission was something like this:
* Our corps aims to lead people to faith in Jesus, making committed disciples of Jesus, and reconciling the World to God through justice and grace.

Our Mission Statements are there to empower Church members to fulfil a purpose. To reach a dying world with the dynamic message of Jesus. To bring justice to the afflicted.

Revolutionary Mission Statements are not about self, they are about transforming the lives of others, and not are not just about 'reaching the lost', but about helping the lost become followers of Jesus, and about reforming society.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Time for Everything

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I've thought lately about the complexities of life. The joy we have when good news comes around. The grief we experience when there's a sudden lose of life. The anxiousness we feel when a job needs to be done and the satisfaction we gain from seeing results blossom from hard work.

Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 says some words I wish to remind us about this day:
'There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.'

God bless you as we journey the path Jesus has set for us.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Vision Worth Sleeping Through?

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Wake Up! Jesus is alive! The Revolution is happening. We need volunteers who will stop living in comfort, and live in commitment. We need soldiers who won't sleep their way through the next revival, but will jump on board with what God is doing. We plead for officers to be sold out to sharing a VISION of the potential of their communities of faith...
There is a VISION worth dying for...

Monday, May 5, 2008

115 Countries and more to go!


Salvation for the whole world! The message of Jesus must infiltrate every part of our world. The Salvation Army has begun work this year in Mali and Namibia. There are still many northern parts of Africa that need to be reached.

Have a passion for the world. Start a new small group. Tell someone about Jesus. Bring fairtrade coffee to a local supermarket. Collect $1,000 for the Red Shield Appeal. Support a TACO Trivia Night (Coming in September).

Start a Revolution!

The Characteristics of Missional Leaders

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Here's some characteristics of leaders who are mission-minded:
* Commitment
* Big Thinker
* Positive Thinker
* Decision Maker
* Self Control
* Enthusiastic
* Visionary
* A Man/Woman of God
* Can use Humour
* Open to Change - Creates change
* Ability to delegate and build teams
* Servanthood
* Know where they are heading
* Stick-ability

There's a list I found recently. How do you stack up with this list? See, we aren't called to just be servants, but I believe servant leaders; not just visionaries, but team-builders to implement visions; not just enthusiastic people, but one with a purpose; not just open to change, but drives change.

Bring justice to the oppressed. Bring the gospel to the lost. Lay your life down to God's Mission in the world.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

SALVO Purpose

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Well I said I would outline my acronym, and what it means to me. Just to recap:


Speaker - I want to ask God to use me to communicate the message of Jesus to people more effectively and to use me to open up God's word into people's lives, so that they understand the gospel of Jesus.

Apostle - I believe that from Ephesians 4:11 - that some are called to be Apostles, some Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Teaches. An apostle is someone that is sent from God, and someone God would use to Plant new communities of faith, innovate new expressions of ministry, etc. I ask that God would use me effectively as an Apostle, through his empowering presence!

Leader - I don't want to merely be a follower. Jesus is the ultimate leader, and I believe I have an obligation to lead other people to him. To lead teams that will fulfill the visions placed on their hearts, to lead congregations to fulfil God's Great Commission (Go into all the World and make Disciples). To multiply and not merely add (or dare I say subtract).

Visionary - Nehemiah had a vision of the walls of Jerusalem being rebuilt. David, the vision of a Temple. Paul, saw a vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus. Daniel had a vision of the end times. I ask God help me work towards fulfilling the visions he places on my heart. Without vision the people wander aimlessly (proverbs 29:18).

Organiser - I enjoy examining the effectiveness of Church structures, and the times taken to make decisions, improving the local churches structures to facilitate and encourage growth and innovativeness and not to supress vision, or empowerment of leaders.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Dreams of Darwin Salvos

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I made a video for Church on Sunday at Darwin Salvos. Check it out (You might see my lovely wife, Jo on there!)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My Purpose


I have been attempting to put together a personal mission statement over many months, and nothing has every clicked, until last night.
I was up until 1am, praying and brainstorming, and I came up with the acronym:


These are five roles that I believe God has gifted me in. My aim is to use these giftings to 100% capacity at all times, and I wish to go through life intentionally improving on these things...

Personally, ministry is going well. Jo and I have led times of worship recently and preached the message of Jesus to the people of Darwin Salvos. I have made much time to read lately, especially at nights and here are some thoughts:

* When we build followers, we add, when we build leaders, we multiply
* Leadership is about timing. God brought about a Reformation around the 16th Century, through people like Martin Luther. People said the same things as Luther said years before, but were not heard, as the timing wasn't right.
* Maintainance seems to me, to actually be decline. When we find ourselves comfortable, we seem to not just maintain, but things actually fall backwards.
* When we walk, we are constantly falling forward... a little bit like how faith should be.

Stay tuned for a breakdown of my 'SALVO' acronym, and some scripture references that apply.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Some thoughts from John Wesley

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In the mood for some deeper theological thought?

John Wesley back in the 18th Century writes this about 'Salvation':
'By Salvation I mean, not barely (according to the vulgar notion) deliverance from hell, or going to heaven, but a present deliverance from sin, a restoration of the soul to its primitive health, its original purity; a recovery of the divine nature; the renewal of our souls after the image of God in righteousness and true holiness, in justice, mercy, and truth.'

Prevenient Grace - God's initial move toward restored relationship with fallen humanity.

'...while God's gracious empowerment was the source of our resulting ability to sin, God is never the cause of our choice to sin' (Maddox, 1994: 61).

Wesley's understanding of the Holy Spirit:
'I believe the infinite and eternal Spirit of God, equal with the Father and the Son, to be not only perfectly holy....but the immediate cause of all holiness in us: enlightening our understandings, rectifying our wills and affections, renewing our natures, uniting our persons to Christ, assuring us of the adoption of sons, leading us in our actions, purifying and sanctifying our souls and bodies to a full and eternal enjoyment of God'.

(Things are happening in Darwin, Jo and I are well, we'll keep you posted soon!)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Some (Revolutionary?) Thoughts...

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* 'To better the future we must disturb the present' - Catherine Booth
* Galatians 6:9 - 'Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up'
* Love God, Love others (2Love) - Mt 22:34-40
* Attended my first 'Mainly Music' program recently. A heap of little kids, a lot of mums, and some good singing...
* Someone spoke to me recently about the Oasis Film on ABC. They said, 'I will never refuse to give to the Salvos ever again after watching that...' Check out: The Salvation Army website in Australia for more info.
* Do you long to be successful? Great, but how do you measure success? People won't always come up and tell you when you've made a difference in their life.
* John Wesley (18th Century), 'understood human salvation in its fullest sense to include deliverance (1) immediately from the penalty of sin, (2) progressively from the plague of sin, and (3) eschatologically (i.e. at the end of time!) from the very presence of sin and its effects' (Maddox, 1994: 143).
* A Revolution is started from a united effort; not one evangelist, not one Pastor, not one passionate Salvo, but a myriad of sold-out Christians engaging in God's mission to transform lives...


Monday, April 14, 2008

In the midst of adversity...


I preached on Sunday morning at Darwin corps... Here's a summary:
Nehemiah heard news that the walls of Jerusalem had been destroyed, and after hearing this he wept, fasted and prayed. He then felt God wanted him to travel from Persia, where he was living, (Today: Iran), and travel about 700km west (through today's Iraq), to Jerusalem.

He got there, he rallied some Jews and started rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem (c.a. 445BC). Then in Neh 4:6, it says, 'So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.'

Have you ever been half-way through something and then have just given up? Maybe it was a project, or a vision God gave you, or maybe a Uni degree... Then you just stopped.

In the next part of the story of Nehemiah, people start criticising Nehemiah, and opposing his passion to rebuild the walls. Then the Jewish people start complaining... It's never gonna work Nehemiah. It's useless, we've never done anything like this before.

But Neh 4:14 is the key... 'After I looked things over... I STOOD UP...' In the midst of adversity, in the midst of opposition, and in the midst of pessimistic attitudes, Nehemiah chose to STAND! He addressed the crowd, and inspired them to continue on and rebuild the walls. After 52 days, they completed the rebuilding of the walls around Jerusalem...

In the midst all the things you have started, and are going through, and are experiencing, will you choose to STAND? To stand before God and say, 'I'm going to finish the dream you placed on my heart! I'm going to complete the study I believe you wanted me to do. I'm going to pay off this mortgage, and reclaim steady finances. I will STAND!

If you want to go a little deeper... Nehemiah had a few things that enabled him to STAND in the midst of adversity:
* He and others PRAYED (Neh 4:9a)
* He was WATCHFUL (Neh 4:9b) -- i.e. be alert when you pray, ask God to show you things
* GOD'S PRESENCE was with with (Neh 4:14)

In the midst of adversity, will you STAND?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Going through the motions...

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Just imagine running a program in a local church and many years go by... The same program is running, and the same people are attending, and everyone is having a great time. All of a sudden someone asks, 'So, what's the purpose of this program?' Defeaning silence is heard, as people wonder why anyone would ask such a question.
'What ya mean, what's the purpose?'
'I mean... what's the purpose??'

Sometimes we run programs, and we never step back a little and assess why we are doing what we are doing.

Just simply, are we:
* Transforming Lives?
* Caring for People?
* Making Disciples?
* Reforming Society?

Or are we just entertaining a bunch of teenagers? Tickling the ears of oldies? Feeding people who already are full? Making disciples of no-one? Reforming anything that happens to be in our way?

Is there purpose behind what YOU do? Are you longing to fulfil the mission of God, by engaging in purposeful ministry that establishes God's Kingdom here on Earth?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Our time at Sunrise

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Say hello to Major Geneen Wright, she's the Manager at the Sunrise Centre in Darwin, and coordinates Drug and Alcohol Services and a Homeless Shelter.

Here's Jo and I doing some Tai Chi at Sunrise. So watch out, if any of you cross with us, we know all the skills... Only joking!

Our time at Sunrise was exciting and challenging. In the Chapel pictured above we spoke about our belief in Jesus and how his saving power can take your addictions and set you free. We did some chaplaincy, we looked at admin, we connected with Drug and Alcohol clients, we spent time in programs like anger management, and self-esteem and 'Boundaries'.
One thought... When doing drug and alcohol rehab work, I believe we should closely integrate the practical skills for clients and the spiritual truths about Jesus in all this work. Sunrise is a great example of clients who have come off their addictions and have become followers of Jesus. Sounds like success to me.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Leaders of Revolutionary Standard

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Some leaders are terrible. Others are good. But some seem to have qualities of a Revolutionary. Here are some leaders around today that I think that are worth learning from:

* Commissioner Jim Knaggs - Ever spoken to Jim? He'll stand up close, and share with you words of wisdom, and encourage you on your Christian journey. A leader who passionately shares his vision for the Territory (Australia Southern Territory) and I always personally feel compelled to follow his vision, as I have this assurance that what he speaks is of God!

* President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (Current President of Liberia) - I watched a documentary of this lady, who is a remarkable strong leader. She is attempting to bring financial security back into Liberia, eradicate coruption, and create a safe place to live. I watched how she had protesters outside her office, she invited some of them in for talks, and these protestors ended up leaving excited and supportive of all that the President was doing. (I don't know about you, but If I led a meeting of hostile people, I'm not sure I'd have the skills to have them leaving supportive of my vision!)

* General Eva Burrows - I went to a leadership day once, and people began to voice their opinions freely, and people were getting hot under the collar. All of a sudden General Eva spoke, and everyone went silent, hanging on every word she said. Now, THAT is influence. John C. Maxwell says, that when the real leader speaks, people listen.
Help us Lord to be influential leaders, for the sake of your Kingdom!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

One Hit Wonder

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Check out this video

Alan Hirsch, the author of 'The Shaping of Things to Come' knows the guys who run this site. It's authentic, and simple a good idea! Why not click on ONE HIT WONDER and donate $1 to overseas aid. Simple? Yes!

Revolutionary Thoughts, Revolutionary Ramblings

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* I read an email recently criticising Earth Hour saying that it does not intend it purpose of reducing Global Warming effects. I believe it helps to build awareness on the reality of global warming.
* Interested in injustices? Check out Free West Papua which is a site dedicated to reporting the injustices that have and still occur for West Papuans with corruption and power issues with the Indonesian Government/Military.
* Watched a documentary about Affordable Housing in Australia. There is no easy solution apparently. Pray for wisdom for the Minister of Housing in Australia! Check out: Minister for Housing - Australia (Hon Tanya Plibersek).
* I took a Drug & Alcohol client (friend!) to Church on Sunday. He enjoyed it, mostly because he felt God was speaking to his heart... He's interested in going to Hillsong Conference in Sydney with Jo and I.
* 11 Youth attended our Revolution Bible Study on Sunday night. Leaders are being developed. Youth are getting passionate for Jesus. The Revolution is happening...

* We are a Salvation Army. We want to see people saved. And for all those theologians reading... yes, fully saved, saved from sin, addictions, giving into temptations, etc. Save us Lord Jesus. Let the Revolution begin!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Communicating the Gospel in Everyday Language

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With my time spent at Darwin's Sunrise Centre (Drug & Alcohol Rehab Centre and Homeless Shelter), I have been wrestling with how we communicate the message of Jesus to everyday people. Most of the guys have never been to a 'Church' or have been burnt by 'Church politics'.

It's true the essence of the message does not change from generation to generation, but the form in which we communicate this message must change and develop. If I read John Wesley's words on salvation or justice written back in the 1700's there would be little or no comprehension. Yet why in churches do we all of sudden use poetic language, and pray like we're speaking at an upper-class English University seminar?

What's wrong with sharing the story of Jesus like this...
"Hey guys, we've all stuffed up. God knows we have. That's why Jesus came, to help us get it right with God. He wants us to stop messing around with trying to follow our own way, and start giving him a go."

Tell me; is the message of Jesus denigraded? Is the message diluted? Is not the essence of the message the same?

Lets talk like real people! Lets connect the truths of the Bible with everyday people, not just those that know the 'Church' language. Then maybe Churches may not seem so irrelevant to Jo-blow down the street!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Death could not hold him down!

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Good Friday: Jesus died.
Easter Saturday: The disciples lament.
Easter Sunday: Jesus rises from the dead! Death could not hold him down! The devil couldn't hold him down. My mistakes couldn't hold him down. He rose. He is alive!!

We've had a busy weekend. On the Thursday before Good Friday I led a Chapel service at the Drug n' Alcohol Rehab place in Darwin. I gave a chance for people to ask any questions they had regarding spirituality, Jesus, Christianity, etc. Here's some of the questions/answers:
* What about the movie where they show they found Jesus tomb & bones...?
--> How scientifically correct is this movie??
* What about where God goes on about BBQing Lambs on the altar... It doesn't make sense.
--> In Old Testament times the Israelites used to sacrifice animals on an altar, in order to make a 'SIN Offering' to God. A sacrifice that would allow them to have relationship with God. Now, Jesus has come, and he died on that cross as the ultimate sacrifice, and that his death allows us to have relationship with God!

The questions went on, and the discussion went on. We reflected and some stayed a little longer to ask more questions... One guy from the group of 15 has been really keen on stepping closer to Jesus... (Watch this space...)

EASTER CAMP! I'll post some photos soon. Youth from around the Northern Territory came and heard the message of Easter (Jesus died and rose again!).

The Revolution is happening... I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Want a Revolution? Make a Revolution!

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We have started a Youth Discipleship Group at Darwin Salvos recently, and we are focusing on being 'Revolutionaries'. Here's some highlights/challenges for you to chew on:
* Revolutionaries don't just want change, they make change
* Martin Luther King Jr. chose to stand up for the integration of both blacks and whites into American life.
* Daniel (in the Old Testament), was a Revolutionary:
-> He didn't conform to the status quo - At one point he and his mates made the commitment of eating just fruit and vegies regardless what the Babylonian royalty were doing.
->He still continued to pray to God (Yahweh) even when the society told him not to!

This weekend could be a revolution in the making. Easter Thursday I lead Chapel with about 15 Drug & Alcohol clients, and will share how Jesus can give you a new life. Easter Camp will see up to 20 teenagers hear that Jesus died and rose again for them, that they may live for him... (If you are praying for Jo and I in Darwin, please remember these points, thanks!)

If you truly want a revolution, you need to make a revolution. Decide to live passionately and sold out to freedom and justice found in Christ!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Prisoner is Free!


Do we make it easy for the Prisoner just out of jail? I thought this, as I sat in Social Service Centres waiting (e.g. Centrelink), filling out paperwork, cancelling bank cards, reissuing new cards, attending job assessment meetings and so on and so on...

There's the excuse that they have done wrong in the past by their actions, so it's their fault that reconnecting into the community is so hard. Or is this just an easy excuse, so that we don't need to improve the bureaucratic system that we have created?

Freed prisoners need our greatest support to reconnect them into meaningful community. They need people that support and love them, so they can move from relatively unknown surroundings; to employment, having a friendship base, networks in the community, mentors, etc.

The book of Isaiah says (Ch. 61:1), that 'the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me... to release the prisoner from darkness...' The early Salvos knew what this meant, as they engaged with what was called a Prison Gate Brigade, where prisoners that had just been released from 'Gaol' would be met by a soldier or two. Without the Salvos help in reconnecting freed prisoners, the person would be left to fend for themselves, possibly returning to a life of crime...

The Prisoner is Free. What will we do?

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Raid on Darwin

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Here's an excerpt taken from a Culture and Recreation site:

"During World War II,the Japanese flew sixty-four raids on Darwin and thirty-three raids on other targets in Northern Australia.
From the first raid on 19 February 1942 until the last on 12 November 1943, Australia and its allies lost about 900 people, 77 aircraft and several ships. Many military and civilian facilities were destroyed. The Japanese lost about 131 aircraft in total during the attacks."

It's crazy to think that war hit the top of Australia only 65 years ago. It helps you to appreciate the safety in which most of us live. Although we recognize that many wars still exist today in many countries around the world.

Here's a reminder today that we fight in the present, not with weapons that harm physically, but spiritually with the Word of God, against the evils and sin of the world. A spiritual war that brings peace into the lives of God's followers.

Ephesians 6:10 - "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

Check out the Bible on the net quickly at: Bible Gateway

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Weddings: A Moment of Commitment

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Weddings capture those precious moments where families unite and we celebrate the connecting of two people in marriage. For us on Friday it was my sister-in-law Lisa marrying her fiance Scott in the parkland of Footscray (Melbourne, Australia!). Reminincing back to December 2004 I remember my wedding and the promises I made that day in the sight of God and the people gathered... In the book of the Bible called Ecclesiastes it says that a three braided cord is not easily broken. When God is binding a marriage together it is not easily torn apart.

God bless Lisa and Scott today, and I hope we are each challenged to consider that a life lived for God, is a life that is lived the best way imaginable...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Key

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* The door is locked to the presence of God. I need the key.
* The door is closed on passion. Pass me the key.
* The door is locked to radical disciples entering in. Where's the key?
* The devil is prowling around, and I've accidentally secured the deadlock. If only I had the key.
* People are attempting to worship, but aren't fully expressing their love for God. Have you seen the key?
* Potential leaders never seem to be stepping into the door of opportunity. They need the key!
* Some people are bound up in depression, addictions, apathy, self-centeredness and half-heartedness. If only I had this key...

I was searching around for the key the other day, and I found it in the Word of God. Matthew 16:19 -'I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.' Then I realised... the key was prayer.

Greater things are happening in Darwin, because people have been committing to 24/7 prayer. This includes one African woman being delivered from oppression and being filled with the Holy Spirit! God opens doors, when we pick up the key and ask God to please use it!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Just a Coincidence?

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I had a chance to lead devotions at the D&A Rehab centre recently. I mentioned how some things in life seem very coincidental and maybe are just too coincidental to be coincidences... Are you still with me?

We organised a huge Fete a few years back. The weather forecast said it would rain all day. We decided to pray, that God would only bring the rain after we finish packing up. Well it didn't rain all day, of course until we just finished packing up and then it started to bucket down! Just a coincidence?

I remember giving a large sum of money to a Missionary Project that Jo and I felt God wanted us to give. Anyway, we realised afterwards we were $270 short to pay the bills. We asked the Lord for help... At the same time we were taking some Annual Leave from work, and didn't realise that the organisation pays, what is called, Annual Leave Loading (an extra amount given when Annual Leave is taken). How much was this extra amount? You guessed it, $270 exactly! Just a coincidence?

Steve, an employee here at Sunrise shared that one day him and his mate were riding their motorbikes. And they're sitting at the front of the red lights, revving their engines, ready to take off nice and fast. When the lights turned green, both Steve and his mate's motorbikes stalled. Now for Steve's to stall was unusual, but for both to stall, this is almost never heard of. Right then, a car came streaming across the intersection, failing to stop at the red light... What would have happened if both the motorbikes didn't stall... Just a coincidence?

Sometimes things happen in life that are just too coincidental to be coincidences. My friend Les Porter calls them God-incidences. Maybe you might be able to see God at work in your life, if you are able to observe all those little coincidences that happen from day-to-day...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Officer's Fellowship, Crocodiles, Alcohol Rehab, Mud Racing

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What does Officer's Fellowship, Crocodiles, Alcohol Rehab and Mud Racing have in common? I'm not sure, but it defintely makes for an interesting first week!

Jesus is alive in the Northern Territory. Unfortunately the chicken on the left is not. We have had a taste of the Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centre, (just a taste of the programs offered, not a taste of any enslaving substances...). The team at the Sunrise Centre offer a 12-week program that entails 'The 12 Steps' of Alcoholics Anonymous, Anger Management, Sport, Woodwork, Chapel services, Counselling and other services. I'm surprised by the intentional sharing of the Gospel of Jesus, as people with drug and alcohol dependencies are supported. Great work guys!

Officer's Fellowship was a time to get to know the leaders in the Northern Territory. Passionate, focused, patient and expectant characterises these leaders from my viewpoint. God is doing great things through them!

We went with the Darwin Corps Youth Group to the Mud Racing recently. Hotted up cars driving through water and mud... sounds like a good excuse for a night out! It was an opportunity to meet some of the Youth and Adam, who is the Youth Leader here. On the Easter Weekend, the young guys will be getting together for an Easter Camp. We're praying that lives are transformed, and that God meets people head on!

I read recently in the Book of Acts, where there was a bunch of believers who had only received Jesus into their mind, and the apostle urged them to receive Jesus into their heart as well. Then they were baptised (filled) with the Holy Spirit. We need to find the right balance between the extremes of Intellectualism, Emotionalism, and Fanaticism. Be smart. Be passionate. Follow God's will.

I smell the beginnings of a Revolution...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Beginnings of a New Journey

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Well, we are here. Finally connected up with the internet and able to blog. Jo and I appreciated the awe-inspiring view of the dirt-ridden landscape of central Australia as we flew from Melbourne to Alice Springs and then from Alice to Darwin.

The people are relaxed here. We live on Darwin time... Which.... ... can... .... at ... ... times ... ... be... ... a little.... .... slower... .... than .... .... other.... places... It's just different culturally, people are focused yet not rushed, and intentional yet going with the flow. We see aboringines wandering down the street without shoes, enough Palm Trees to feel like California, and so much green grass I almost want to sleep on it!

We feel safe; I mean, come on, their last cyclone was six weeks ago! Everything is fine! (Argh!)

We have spent a little time with the CO's from Darwin, checking out the Corps and RHQ and some tourist places. We have also spent one day at the Sunrise Centre, which is a Drug & Alcohol (D&A) rehab centre and a homeless shelter. They have about 14 D&A clients, and 20 Homeless Beds to offer.

The weather is balmy, with enough humidity to take your breath away. But the locals say you'll get use to it.

We are loving it here. People are passionate about transforming lives and work hard to see that transformation!

We'll keep you posted. It's time for a Revolution.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Capturing Revolutionary Moments

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Lots has happened since my last blog. Let me attempt to capture some moments worth reading:

* Jo and I are officially heading off to Darwin as of this Wednesday morning (20th Feb). We are there until the 4th June!
* Many are wanting for me to send them a photo of myself in shorts, Salvo shirt and long socks. I promise I'll put a photo on my blog in the next month... (Not quite revolutionary, but if you insist!)

* LAB ONE (A study on Pastoral/Listening skills for Church leaders) was completed over the last two weeks. When listening to conversations, it's good to listen actively, and STOP trying to tell your own story and let them tell you their's! Don't ask people WHY questions so much, but rather help them unpack their stories, e.g. So tell me about how that makes you feel... LAB ONE is actually very helpful in equipping ministers to care effectively!

* 24/7 Prayer is happening at the Training College in Melbourne at the moment. Let me warn you, non-stop prayer shakes the foundations of hell on earth, and people begin to be set free from oppression. AMEN!

* As I was praying yesterday, the Lord showed me the scripture where Jesus clears out the Temple. I began to pray for Holiness, for myself, that I would clear out all the things that hinder my relationship with God, and then I prayed for the Church, that we would clear out the things that are not of God. Stay with me a moment... Do you know what happens when the Temple is cleared? Jesus begins to heal the sick. What a thought?! When we clear out our lives of sin and selfishness, then Jesus begins to empower us to be healed and to heal. When the Church begins to clear out sin, the Church begins to be healed and will heal! I love it!

* A thought: We can either complain or conquer. Which do you choose?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Spiritual Disciplines are Spiritual Opportunities

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Quite often spiritual disciplines are labelled as 'annoying' and 'not relevant' and sometimes we simply have not considered the importance of them. Let's look at some:


We may make excuses that we love our food too much, or that we don't need to fast to prove our love for God. Yet fasting is about going without the essentials, so as to remain focused on God. Not only that, my sacrificial act of going without food, helps me understand better those in places with little or no food. Think on it: Some complain that they're going to miss a nice meal, yet in some countries people barely eat one bowl of rice a day! Try fasting. Freedom Fridays, for instance is an opportunity to fast from food, and then spend that time praying for those that are oppressed in our World.

24/7 Prayer.

In every minute of ever day something devastating is happening in the world. Think on it: Someone is committing suicide, someone is being sexually abused, someone is overdosing on drugs, someone is dying of hunger, another person is dying without Jesus in their life... The ability for a group of people to pray around the clock ensures that we are lifting our communities in prayer, asking God to protect people, bless people, etc. Sacrifice some time for it. Look beyond yourself. It may be hard, it may be tiring, but in the end, who cares? Someone else needs my intercession!

Reading The Word.

In Revelation it mentions that out of Jesus' mouth comes a double-edged sword. We also know that the sword of the spirit is the Word of God. When we believe we're in a battle, we know we need to pick up this sword and use it to transform lives. We SPEAK the Word, we LIVE the Word, we PRAY the Word. Then God by his Spirit transforms lives. Don't enter battle without first entering the discipline of reading the Word.

Spiritual disciplines are spiritual opportunities.

A Revolution will only come with sacrifice.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

An Open Air Meeting: A Step of Faith

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Sunday afternoon. Bright sunny day. Peter Hobbs, Scott Ellery, myself, Jo, Cpt. Stephen Court and some other "Prayer Warriors" joined us as we hit the streets in Melbourne at the Victoria Market.

I had the guitar, and we played some popular tunes, including "I still haven't found what I'm looking for", "I'm a believer", "Lean on me" and others. People listened and some tapped their feet. In amongst the songs we each got up and shared a quick gospel message. As people sat on the cafe chairs sipping their coffee, they uncomfortably pretended not to hear us too much. But we did have a response...

One guy from Bejing, who was not a Christian and on holidays, came up to us, and Cpt. Court gave him a bible and got his details, and he said he would read it all and email Cpt. Court later on. He was genuinly interested in the gospel message.

Here's a bizarre thing in Australian culture. We preached the gospel hardcore, and we said, to have life to the fullest you need Jesus... Just believe in him today. Following our songs, I went up to some young adults, just chilling and looking cool, and I offered them a Warcry. One guy said, 'Ahh yeah, I'll take it. We love the Sallies!' Even after going hard with the message of Jesus... Kind of weird, but I think that says a little about Australian culture. They have huge respect for TSA, and even when we've spent the last 30 minutes preaching the gospel, the reply is one of respect. We pray that people begin to connect with our message of Jesus, and for the community to realise, that they can become Salvos as well!

Bring back the Open Airs. Do them well. Be relevant. Preach the gospel. God can use it.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Day at the Funeral Parlour

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The becoming a minister thing is really happening... Today we spent the day at Tobin Brothers Funeral Parlour. We listened to the 'ins and outs' of running a funeral, and spent time visiting a grave site, crematorium, we saw a 'prepared' deceased body and other things...

Here are some of the 'not so perfect' funeral stories (all true stories...):
* Forgetting the name of the deceased and using a relative's name instead
* Accidentally pressing the button for the lowering of the coffin at the beginning of the service!
* Having to lower the coffin at the beginning because the sides of the dug grave were caving in.
* A family rings the Crematorium because they wanted to receive back their father's hip replacement, made of pure gold, only to be told the body has already been burnt and the gold had melted.
* Saying the wrong things, like praising God for the death of a 13 year old girl, because 'it must be in his will'... Gee... I don't know I would say that!
* Pastoral visits of grieving families... with all the varied reactions, for example, family disputes/arguments, power struggles, queries about 'The Will' before proceeding with the funeral, families that are actually relieved at the death of a relative because they were 'an abuser'.

This all being said... A funeral is no doubt a priveleged time of ministry for a minister. A time to support families deal with grief, to offer support, prayer, stability, and a 'shoulder' to cry on. I look forward to the opportunities I will have in the future to support families through the funeral process, and to speak prophetically into their lives at such a crucial time.

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