Serving since 2007

Serving since 2007

Thursday, November 26, 2015

It's Thursday 26 Nov Number 53


26th November 2015

Thursday word from Genesis
'They told him(Jacob), “Joseph is alive! In fact, he is the ruler of all Egypt.” Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them,' Genesis 45:26. Had you been Jacob and believed your son to be dead for over 20 years, what would your response have been to the news the brothers brought back from Egypt?

Obviously Jacob was shocked at what he heard. It was unbelievable. It reminds us of the reaction of the disciples at the news, 'Jesus is alive,' that first Easter morning: how none of them would believe without evidence. Only as each disciple met with the risen Lord, did they believe.

Jacob, on seeing the evidence of the carts,(v 27), (and no doubt the 'best things of Egypt' v23, that Pharaoh sent), believed. We believe in heaven, not because of what others have told us or even what the bible says, (as true as that is). No! We believe because of the evidence, the taste of it that we have now, the presence of Jesus  within us made possible by the Holy Spirit. (1 John 5:9–12). The things that were sent from Egypt were convincing proof that what the brothers were saying was true. Our personal experience, here and now, of the presence of Jesus in our hearts is convincing evidence that what we have been told and what the bible says, is true. 

God bless you all.

Howard Webber, 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

"Joyful, Joyful" - Samuel Ljungblahd (LIVE Royal Wedding of Prince Carl ...

Swedish gospel artist, Salvationist Samuel Ljungblahd, (grew up in and remains a member of a Salvation Army church in northern Sweden) performs "Joyful, Joyful" (together with gospel choir "By Grace") live at Royal Wedding of Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist 2015 in Stockholm, Sweden.Original video from SVT (Swedish state television)

If at the end of this clip your feet aren't dancing, call the medics Quick!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Booth and the Bolsheviks Part One of 5 0r 6


On 6th September 2002 The Salvation Army’s General-elect, Commissioner John Larsson, spoke of “the awesomeness of the responsibility to follow in a line of succession of such distinguished Generals”. Larsson follows too in the footsteps of very capable SA leaders also named Larsson; his parents Commissioners Sture och Flora Larsson and grandparents Karl and Anna Larsson. His forebears were officers with impressive credentials in steering Army affairs in many lands for more than six decades. His grandfather, Commissioner Karl Larsson, took as his motto, “Work, for the night is coming.” [1]

My book, Return to Russia with Flags Unfurled, is comprised of three distinct narratives: The first chronicles the Salvation Army's decade 1913-1923 in pioneering the work in Russia. Both parts one and two include personal insights acquired from my many of business visits to Russia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Uzbekistan beginning in 1968 through 2007. I was also privileged to share with Kathie, my wife and pioneer-partner, as Salvation Army officers all of the challenges, frustrations, victories, pain, joy and heart-break God, the Holy Spirit, led us into while living in Russia and Ukraine 1989 -1994. And her input in the writing of this book is invaluable.

Part three is a supplement of articles and reports researched by my cousin Major Mikael Ljungholm, also a grandson of the Ljungholms who served in Petrograd and who pioneered the Army’s entry to Moscow. The articles are a unique treasure of SA history and serve as testimony to the integrity of Karl Larsson’s work ethic, his courage, intense tenacity and unwavering faith in God’s leading. Much of the material has never been translated from its original Swedish and will now be available to both English and Russian language audiences.

Commissioner Karl Larsson, is known primarily, in the broad annals of Salvation Army history, as the person who "opened fire" and planted the Army’s colours in the Empire’s soil officially the first time. (1914).[2]  Others  dispute both the year of the Army’s entry and the identity of the person credited with The SA’s historic achievement. Some question whether the Army was ever officially recognized or legally registered in Russia in accordance with the Army’s legal and well-defined regulations.

A look back at the extended history of the Salvation Army in Russia: 1889-1944[3]

The first expression of The Salvation Army’s work in Russia began in November 1889, within the Finland General-District of Czarist Russia. (administrative division of St Petersburg) The first corps was established in 1892 in Vyborg and a Vyborg Division was created in October 1905 and grew to include 13, four slum stations, and two homes to serve military personnel. However, the Salvation Army had no official or practical presence in Russia.

“George Scott Railton was drawn to William Booth’s Christian Mission in 1873 on the recommendation of his brother and by its militant evangelism. Railton became Booth’s right-hand man and was a prime contributor to the constitutive doctrinal statement of the Army and its earliest Orders and Regulations. Railton, the first person attaining to the rank of Commissioner was Booth’s foremost assistant. He championed an aggressive, unconventional mode of evangelism, the equality of women in ministry, and the sacramentalization of the whole of life.

In 1880 he was appointed by Booth to head a mission to the United States; subsequently he provided leadership in Germany and France. And from 1885 onward he traveled as Booth’s ‘vagabond’ ambassador, surveying new mission fields with what Bramwell Booth called the “restless, fearless, struggling spirit of advance.” [4]

Sven Ljungholm - Key note speaker and coordinator: First ever Russian social work conference hosted by The SA - Leningrad Russia 1990

Saturday, November 21, 2015

ISB Prelude on 'Lavenham'

The Salvation Army's  International Staff Band, London playing Geoffrey Nobes lovely arrangement of his tune Lavenham. The words were written by the Rev. Nick Fawcett.
I have meditated on the tune and words daily since Nov 13th, the day of the Paris terrorist's inhumane sacrilege of human life. I share them trusting you'll find them helpful to our troubling world circumstances.

Lord, there are times when I have to ask, "What?"
times when your love is not easy to spot.
What is life's purpose and what of me here?
Grant me some answers,
Lord, make your will clear.
Lord, there are times when I have to ask , "Why?"
times when catastrophe gives faith the lie.
Innocents suffer and evil holds sway,
grant me some answers,
Lord, teach me your way.
Lord, there are times when the questions run fast,
time when I fear that my faith may not last.
Help me, support me,
Lord , help me get through.
Lead me through darkness till light shines anew.

Sven Ljungholm
Penny Lane, Liverpool

Friday, November 20, 2015


They shall come from the east, they shall
come from the west,
And sit down in the Kingdom of God;
Out of great tribulation to triumph and
They'll sit down in the Kingdom of God.

From every tribe and every race,
All men as brothers shall embrace;
They shall come from the east, 
they shall come from the west,
And sit down in the kingdom of God.

General John Gowans


As a result of the ongoing Syrian civil war, there are currently two governments claiming to be the de jure government of Syria, using different flags to represent the state. The incumbent government, led by Bashar al-Assad and the Ba'ath Party, is using the red-white-black United Arab Republic flag in use since 1980.

The Syrian Interim Government, led by the Syrian National Coalition – seeking to overthrow the Assad government – readopted the green-white-black Independence flag in 2012.


President Assad (who is bad) is a nasty guy who got so nasty his people rebelled and the Rebels (who are good) started winning.

But then some of the rebels turned a bit nasty and are now called Islamic State (who are definitely bad) and some continued to support democracy (who are still good). 

So the Americans (who are good) started bombing Islamic State (who are bad) and giving arms to the Syrian Rebels (who are good) so they could fight Assad (who is still bad) which was good. 

By the way, there is a breakaway state in the north run by the Kurds who want to fight IS (which is a good thing) but the Turkish authorities think they are bad, so we have to say they are bad whilst secretly thinking they're good and giving them guns to fight IS (which is good) but that is another matter.

Getting back to Syria. President Putin (bad, as he invaded Crimea and the Ukraine and killed lots of folks including that nice Russian man in London with polonium) has decided to back Assad (who is still bad) by attacking IS (who are also bad) which is sort of a good thing?

But Putin (still bad) thinks the Syrian Rebels (who are good) are also bad, and so he bombs them too, much to the annoyance of the Americans (who are good) who are busy backing and arming the rebels (who are also good). 

Now Iran (who used to be bad, but now they have agreed not to build any nuclear weapons and bomb Israel are now good) are going to provide ground troops to support Assad (still bad) as are the Russians (bad) who now have ground troops and aircraft in Syria.


So, a Coalition of Assad (still bad) Putin (extra bad) and the Iranians (good, but in a bad sort of way) are going to attack IS (who are bad) which is a good thing, but also the Syrian Rebels (who are good) which is bad. 

Now the British (obviously good, except Corbyn who is probably bad) and the Americans (also good) cannot attack Assad (still bad) for fear of upsetting Putin (bad) and Iran (good / bad) and now they have to accept that Assad might not be that bad after all compared to IS (who are super bad).

So Assad (bad) is now probably good, being better than IS (no real choice there) and since Putin and Iran are also fighting IS that may now make them good. America (still good) will find it hard to arm a group of rebels being attacked by the Russians for fear of upsetting Mr Putin (now good) and that mad ayatollah in Iran (also good) and so they may be forced to say that the Rebels are now bad, or at the very least abandon them to their fate. This will lead most of them to flee to Turkey and on to Europe or join IS (still the only constantly bad group).

To Sunni Muslims, an attack by Shia Muslims (Assad and Iran) backed by Russians will be seen as something of a Holy War, and the ranks of IS will now be seen by the Sunnis as the only Jihadis fighting in the Holy War and hence many Muslims will now see IS as good (doh!).

Sunni Muslims will also see the lack of action by Britain and America in support of their Sunni rebel brothers as something of a betrayal (might have a point) and hence we will be seen as bad.

So now we have America (now bad) and Britain (also bad) providing limited support to Sunni Rebels (bad) many of whom are looking to IS (good / bad) for support against Assad (now good) who, along with Iran (also good) and Putin (also, now, unbelievably, good ) are attempting to retake the country Assad used to run before all this started?

This should clear it all up for ONE and ALL!