Thursday, April 24, 2014

No Excuses II - Stephen Court



Conclusion

Be Filled! and proclaim HIS LOVE AND GRACE!!  
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Nothing spiritual is learned except by revelation. So you need to avail yourself of the means of grace, accessing grace by faith, so that you are positioned to receive revelation. Jesus said He could do nothing except what He saw the Father doing. And from His testimony we pray, Help us to see what Your're doing and do what we're seeing.  
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How can I learn to do what Jesus did?

NO EXCUSES

We CAN do what Jesus did (even greater things –hallelujah!). Check out these Scriptures:

“God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, of love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).

And, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him” (2 Peter 1:3).

“God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

“May God himself, . . .sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
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Don't be hesitant to evangelise. Don't be afraid. People need to hear the Gospel. Listen to the prodding of the Holy Spirit. Listen includes hearing and obeying. If you feel uncertain then prepare - pray, repent, get filled with the Holy Spirit, read the Bible, learn some apologetics and evangelistic presentations, refine your salvation testimony and most of all, evangelise, evangelise, evangelise (don't put off evangelising until AFTER you have done all of this prep - as the Bible teaches, don't worry about what you'll say, Holy Spirit will hook you up [if you have prayed/repented/been filled).
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God is here.
God help us all be humble.
God bless the General.
God bless The Salvation Army.
Much grace,
Stephen Court (Major)
Canada

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

No Excuses I, Stephen Court



Some are wondering about officership and whether or not they are game for the life-long covenant it requires. I have two apparently contradictory responses.

1. Expected. It is a covenant for life. If you sign up then you sign up for life. This is the same as the soldiers covenant, which, for most salvationists, said 'til I die' on the articles of war and for the rest of you included the life-long nature of soldiership in the orders and regulations for soldiers.

2. Unexpected. not for life? Read on... This argument is triumphalist, admittedly, but there you go. General William Booth said this:

“My business is to get the world saved. If this involves the standing still of the looms and the shutting up of the factories and the staying of the sailing ships, let them all stand still. When we have got everybody converted, they can go on again.” (General William Booth)

So, technically, while you are still signing up for life, as Booth explains, once we get everybody converted, the looms and factories and sailing ships can go on again. The caveat is that the world will be won and we'll go to heaven where we might not be interested any longer in looms and factories and sailing ships, at least vocationally (and I'll argue that once you plunge into vocational Christian leadership, way before Jesus comes back, those things lose their allure). [don't anyone read this and say we are advocating a term-limit officership!]

The issue is spiritual and it deals with priorities. Listen to President Theodore Roosevelt:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
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Holiness is the solution to every problem. Here's a holiness testimony from Commissioner M Francis:

Sanctified Holy... my Junior year of University - College Houghton, NY... and Dr. J Edwin Orr was preaching at our Evangelistic Campaign on campus... and the next day... Pastor Angell asked me to sing... and I sang...
Spirit of God, descend upon my heart!
Wean it from Earth... thru all it's pulses move
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as THOU ART
and make me love Thee as I ought to love!

I was 'flooded' FILLED to overflowing with John Wesley's words... (as I was Wesleyan!!) with PERFECT LOVE!

Be Sanctified Holy... nothing less will do... it is God's WILL for us all... my life was CHANGED...


One month later... one of the choir members, Bill Francis... invited me to my first SA hall... and I saw Blood & Fire on the pulpit... The HOLY SPIRIT spoke to me... and said,

"Marilyn, you have been cleansed by the blood (at seven) and you are filled with the FIRE of the Holy Spirit... this is your NEW CHURCH HOME!" I prayed for one year..and joined The SA-Jan. 17th, 1965..Catherine Booth's birthday... and I have NEVER LOOKED BACK... from... THE STAGE TO THE STREET CORNER...

all because of that one crucifixtion night... and INFILLING OF GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT... OTHERWISE... I WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN ABLE TO FULLY TRUST AND OBEY...

GOD REVEALHIS PRESENCE TO OUR WORLD - WIDE ARMY...W E NEED HOLINESS ...!! TODAY... IN ALL OUR TROOPS...
IN CHRIST ALONE...

Commissioner Marilyn loves you each and every one!

Stephen Court (Major)
Canada



Monday, April 21, 2014

"Jesus Didn't Tap"






On April 12, 2014, Manny Pacquiao will enter the ring at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to fulfill what he believes is his God-given calling: to beat another man—in this case, opponent Tim Bradley—to bloody unconsciousness or exhaustion.

A Filipino world-class professional boxer, Pacquiao has been called a "Bible-quoting maniac" by Rick Warren, and attributes his stunning 55-5 record to Providence. When an ESPN reporter asked in 2012 whether faith makes him a better boxer, Pacquiao said, "If God is with you, who can be against you? All things are possible with God."

Pacquiao is hardly the first professional athlete to bring God into the game. But boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA)—known as "combat sports" wherein man-on-man violence is the end goal—raise unique ethical questions about whether certain games are incompatible with Christ's teachings. Meanwhile, some ministry leaders have used ultimate fighting to attract young men in a "chickified" culture. "Jesus Didn't Tap" is the name of a Christian mma clothing line, as well as a mantra for a high-octane masculinity espoused by the likes of Mark Driscoll. Guts Church in Tulsa held an annual "fight night" amateur boxing match for six years until a 24-year-old participant died in 2011. "Human cockfighting," as one senator has called MMA, draws millions of dollars and spectators—as well as concern over violence for violence's sake.

CT invited "boxing philosopher" Gordon Marino, a boxing trainer and professor at St. Olaf College, to enter the ring of debate. —The Editors

Sunday, April 20, 2014

EASTER 2014 - THERE IS SALVATION IN NO OTHE


EASTER 2014 - THERE IS SALVATION IN NO OTHER

AT Easter, in remembering the death and bodily resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we celebrate a most important event within the Church calendar. This event is significant for, in witnessing to the fact that Jesus did not remain in the tomb but rose from the dead, it points to the promise that one day we too can thereby rise to eternal life. It is important to recognise that whilst we reside upon this earth in physical bodies, we are also spiritual beings intended to live for eternity.

In too many places across the globe, a resolute turning to materialism has led to an unhealthy exclusion of those other key elements required for men and women to know deep and lasting satisfaction. Materialism can never address the deepest longings of our heart, and this superficial feature of too many societies around the world is simply incapable of giving true joy and freedom. Life is more than the accumulation of possessions and many individuals today, despite owning so much, remain unsatisfied.

Some do earnestly seek after the point of and purpose for life, and also desire an assurance that there is indeed ‘something’ after death. Too often, though, people look in the wrong place – how many readily consult horoscopes in an ultimately fruitless attempt to understand present unknowns, or gain a form of security for a sometimes daunting future?

My attention was recently arrested whilst reading Tim Leberecht’s comment: ‘We live in times of major uncertainty. The doom and gloom of the economic crisis, the deterioration of mass markets, the pervasiveness of the digital lifestyle, and the fragmentation of traditional societal institutions are not only inducing anxiety but also inspiring a search for simplicity and noneconomic value systems. Consumption-driven wealth and status are being replaced by identity, belonging, and a strong desire to contribute to – or to experience – something “meaningful” rather than to acquire more things.’

The Bible, of course, does address the most fundamental needs of and questions from humanity. It speaks to us about the purpose of our lives. It speaks to us about our destiny. It speaks to us about our eternal future being made secure. It is only as we carefully read the Bible, as we diligently study it, as we meditate prayerfully on it, that we begin to appreciate the true fullness of life that can be ours if we will but reach out and grasp it.

In the book of Acts we find an account of two apostles, Peter and John, being hauled before the Sanhedrin after they had healed a crippled man. Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, made this bold statement: ‘If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is “the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.” Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved’ (Acts 4:9-12 NIV 1984).

There is nothing more important in this life than for us to discover the truth that indeed, ‘Salvation is found in no one else’. The Christian message is unique, because this message is not merely about a set of doctrines and beliefs. It is not about religion. Rather it is about the living man, Jesus Christ. We celebrate a risen Lord and Saviour. In him alone we find peace, joy, and assurance regarding our eternal future. May this be your personal and daily experience! 


General André Cox   

Saturday, April 19, 2014

‘Welcome in the hillside’.



Well keep a welcome in the hillside.

Well keep a welcome in the Vale

This land you knew will still be singing

When you come home again to Wales.


Some memories are intended to last forever as they are deeply engrained on our hearts and minds.  For me, Easter is always one of those times. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I am doing God always seems to give me a message, a memory to treasure.

This year I will have been a Salvation Army Officer for thirty years. It really does not seem possible and I have no idea where all of those years have gone.  My second appointment, 1985-1989 took me to Cwm, a small mining village in South Wales, and a place that will always seem like home as I shared four very happy years with the people there.  And I discovered there really is a ‘Welcome in the hillside’.

One of the most special times of year there was always Easter.  Every year one of the churches in the village would host the Holy Week services, with a different minister preaching each night.  All the churches would unite and together we would journey towards Calvary.  This would come to a large climax Easter weekend, when on Good Friday morning we would gather together to share Scripture and prayer and this would be followed by a silent march of witness through the village.  Once we had reached the end of the village we would jump on coaches that would take us to the top of the mountain ‘Manmoel’ and from what I was told, it means, ‘highest point’.  Then we would walk across the top of the mountain to the edge where the cross was erected and we would share in a Good Friday Service there.

A memory that I will cherish forever was of one year when it was bitterly cold and wet. I am convinced Good Friday is meant the weather to be just that way to help us reflect solemnly on the historic nature of the day. 

As always, we had our march of witness, everyone getting very cold and damp.  Then like real troopers we walked across the top of the mountain to erect the cross. 
I recall our church friends being suitably dressed for the occasion and us Salvationists in our uniforms, the women in bonnets and high-heeled shoes.  I am convinced though that there were times when we needed our high-heeled shoes so we could stick the heels firmly into the mud so we didn’t slip and slide as we walked.  

However, on this particular occasion as we walked across the mountain I remember it getting colder and colder and wetter and wetter. It was that bitterly, ice-cold rain that eventually turned in to hard hailstones that started beating against us as we continued to walk, struggling, bent and leaning into the wind.  As I think back, I remember Father Chris, the young Anglican Priest, wearing a massive, thick black cape and as we walked. He gathered some of the young people under his cape for protection from the weather.  In my mind here was an image of our Father God protecting His young from the storm. 

Eventually we reached the edge of the mountain where the cross was planted and as we gathered to pray, looking down on to the village, we also gazed down on to a perfectly formed and extremely vividly coloured rainbow. 
It was an amazing experience to be stood above the rainbow, looking down on to it and again the image and the reminder of God’s protecting love for us.

A few years later, much to my disappointment and frustration I was ill at Easter, and Easter Sunday was also my 26th birthday.   I was so disappointed not be able to be a part of the usual Easter traditions in Cwm. 

By the time Easter Sunday morning arrived I recall feeling really sorry for myself as the Salvation Army and the Baptist Church returned to the cross on the top of the mountain to celebrate the Sunrise Service.  I so wanted to be up there with everyone, however, I had to remain down in the valley and wait for our Easter breakfast of freshly laid eggs from the hens of one of our corps folk and our Easter celebrations. 

I decided as I waited, to stand in the main street of the village in the hope of seeing my friends, the church fellowships, on the top of the mountain as they gathered around the cross.  But you know, even there God ministered to me, because not only did I see them, but I heard them, and God blessed me as I heard them sing:  ‘He is Lord, He is Lord, He is risen from the dead and He is Lord’.  And I was reminded not only is He Lord at the top of the mountain but at the bottom of the valley too.

So this Easter, whether you find yourself on the mountain top, or down in the valley, let me encourage you to seek the blessings from God that He wants to give you right where you are and together, may we confess:  ‘He is Lord … and my knee shall bow … and my tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.’

Glad Ljungholm
Major, DHQ - Liverpool
FSAOF member spouse