Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What a General of The Salvation Army is Like

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The Salvation Army will soon elect a new General to lead this movement into the years ahead.

Well known Salvationist Geoff Ryan writes the following about what the next General needs to be like:

"We need a General with a razor-sharp intellect formed by disciplined reading and study of philosophy, theology, politics, economics, and science; a... natural leader who understands how to motivate and inspire people; a visionary who can think strategically and who understands organizational theory and the zeitgeist of post-modernity; a person rooted in the experience and understanding of the Wesleyan tradition -who knows exactly who they are and what our story is; a thinker with a deep knowledge and, .... a tough-minded but tender-hearted follower of Jesus with a burning concern for the excluded and marginalized of the world, who would be a shepherd of those sheep who have no shepherd."

Jesus, let the Holy Spirit guide the leaders of The Salvation Army in the days ahead!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Gift

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We can buy many gifts. We can fill our stockings to overflowing. We can eat too much roast beef, and gorge on too many mince pies. We can gather together with long lost family members or give our partners a new trendy gadget. Sure. We could do all this.

I could receive a new Xbox alongside my glow in the dark toothbrush. I could swim my way through a new swimming pool or turn the key of a new fancy V8 BMW. I could smell my way through a new Lynx deodorant, or a $50 Target Voucher. But... It can't be wooed by a sale sticker, or a fancy slogan. It can't be purchased with my credit card. It can be exchanged for another but without the same benefits. The gift won't be worn, tired or broken in three weeks. Even though the gift is so great for so many, the gift doesn't  seem to find its way much onto TV. The radio hosts and TV presenters don't want to mention it much.

Friends I know have received the same gift, and sometimes we chat together about it. Mates write their status updates about it, and make quirky statements about the gift's significance in their own life. We all laugh. Some debate the gift's relevance to today, and others reply with, 'Well, you wouldn't know...' Give the gift a chance some banter. Some have been burnt by the gift - well, not burnt by the actual gift, but hurt by the one who has received the gift and not represented the gift in the way that was intended. Others are testing out the gift, and are still wondering whether the gift provides the change that others are raving about. To be honest, I once thought the gift was 'not for me', and was only for weird people who dressed funny. Actually, I'm beginning to think the gift is not only for people who dress in old, brown sweaters, but even those who dress in black, or wear burkas, or bikinis on Saturdays. I'm beginning to think the gift is not just for 50 year old females who sing, but also for 50 years old men who drink and swear. Hey, come to think of it, the gift is not just limited to religious people, but atheists, agnostics, skeptics, philosophers, tradespeople, family people, working class people and business people. The gift is even for the Gen-X family member who can't put all the pieces together, or the young girl who doesn't understand her future. What about the pensioner who can't afford the Christmas dinner, or the working poor who has no time for the family - the gift is still for them.

The gift is special. The gift is beyond comprehension and undefinable. The gift opens the sight of the blind. The gift can heal the sick. The gift can pour healing on a broken soul. The gift promises an awesome eternal life, and a life that's eternally awesome. The gift is what God sent.

The gift is Jesus Christ.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Can we call ourselves Holy?

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We're called to be a holy people.

I want to say congrats to all the "Ambassadors of Holiness" in The Salvation Army that recently were commissioned and appointed to various places around Australia to minister in the name of Jesus. What a great sessional name, a name that exemplifies the Christian life; one of holiness 'unto the Lord'.

My mind goes to a time when someone in church said to me, 'You know, I struggle with the message today. He keeps talking about the fact that we can be holy. I can't get to the point where I call myself that.'

Interesting thought. Can we call ourselves holy? I, personally don't see why not. Sure, we don't walk around with a large badge on our chest, and tell everyone we know that we are holy! Though, we know that because of the grace of the Lord Jesus, and because of our God-given ability to have faith in Jesus we can be holy. When we choose to have faith in Christ, and in his resurrection power, and when we turn from our own lives (our sinfulness), we are made holy. We are made right with God (righteousness).

Lord, I choose to be holy today. Take my ambitions, my prayers, my decisions, my dreams and make them coincide with your will. Help me always live a life worthy of being called a follower of Jesus. Forgive me for the times when I represent you in a way that disappoints. Fill me once again with your Holy Spirit.

Turn to Jesus today. Be holy as Jesus is holy...

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