Saturday, January 30, 2016

No one contacted us following the visit....

I MUST admit to being quite impressed with the attractive new Salvation Army building which came as a happy surprise in the rough-looking neighborhood we had entered. Free Sunday Municipal parking across the street also gave us some positive first impressions.

However, it was not until we had entered the building, hung up our coats and walked towards the sanctuary that we were actually greeted. At this time we were handed programs and given a simple "good morning." The hall was quite full - about 200 people were present - and someone (probably the corps sergeant-major) came to welcome us and ask us our names. Then in the preliminaries to the meeting, this person welcomed us publicly - a nice gesture!

Perhaps it was natural that we felt slightly uneasy, walking in as strangers - the gap is not easily bridged with "regulars." Most of the people ignored us, but some displayed what was more a formal politeness than a warm welcome. Maybe this has something to do with the size of the congregation.

There was some humor injected into the Bible message which I thought was a good way to gain attention and keep it. I found myself listening (even though I could not see the speaker) and my mind was nor wandering elsewhere.

As I watched other members of the congregation it seemed that their attention was also captivated by the speaker. The message did not inspire or challenge me so much as instruct me, helping me to see a relationship between an Old Testament incident and my own need.

I can't say I felt special spiritual excitement in the meeting or among the people. It was more like a series of rituals, one following the other. Probably listening to the band benefited me most because I found the music so positive sounding - it gave me a happy feeling.

Apparently the officers conducting the meeting were former corps officers, so at the end of the meeting there were many people eager to get reacquainted. We simply bade our goodbyes and departed.

To the question, "Could you easily become part of a corps fellowship like this?" I would have to say that it would take considerable effort. I do not fault the Salvationists there, but simply feel there was nothing special enough for us to want to go out of our way again to attend. We do not live in the area. No one contacted us following the visit, but then they didn't have our phone number or address, anyway. And frankly, we would have felt uneasy, had a visitor been too pushy.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Marco Rubio: Pastor in Chief?

2016 New Year’s Resolutions: An Introduction

[A Series Stemming from the 2-Part New Year’s Article, “Shape Your Life.”]

This series of 6 weekly articles will be posted on Fridays and will explore how we can be successful in accomplishing New Year’s resolutions with an emphasis on down-to-earth considerations and suggestions. The New Year holds great possibility of changes and improvements leading to a more satisfying life.   Yet many individuals have experienced the disappointment of broken resolutions, along with feelings of failure and defeat. A leadership seminar speaker emphasized the need to have a plan to execute our goals noting that, “failing to plan is planning to fail.”  Yet, every year, many people make New Year’s Resolution lists without a concrete plan to achieve them. It comes as no surprise, then, that 50% of us have given up on our resolutions by the sixth-month mark. This year I am taking a new approach via exploring the elements that produce the positive goal-achieving results we all desire. May you also find what you need to achieve your goals.

The “The Bucket List” (2007), starring Jack Nicholson (Edward) and Morgan Freeman (Carter), was a sad, yet heart-warming movie about two men that met in the hospital after both had been diagnosed with lung cancer. Carter began writing a list, but tossed it in the trash after the doctor advised him that he had less than a year to live. Edward retrieved the list, questioned Carter about it, and discovered it was a ‘bucket list’ (i.e., things Carter wanted to do before he ‘kicked the bucket’--died). The film inspired many to create their own bucket lists. The concept became so popular that ‘bucket list’ appears in the dictionary: “A number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime,” (OxfordDictionaries ). Experiences often happen at warp speed in movies, and to recount the story of two men dying of cancer requires such a pace. This resulted in the “bucket list” resembling more of a ‘to-do’ list, where experiences were quickly crossed off before hurrying onto the next exciting adventure.

Alternatively, resolutions are sometimes treated like bucket lists. How is a bucket list different from a resolution? The Oxford Dictionary describes a resolution as, “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” So is a list of resolutions different than a bucket list? Yes! To summarize the distinction, New Year’s resolutions are something that we need to do (e.g., lose weight, get in better shape, develop better job skills, etc.), while a bucket list a list of the fun things that we want to do (e.g., skydiving, skiing, hiking, etc.). Bucket lists are often preferred, because the focus is on new and exciting experiences. Conversely, many folks perceive resolutions as negative endeavours (e.g., things we need to give up or stop doing, such as losing weight, eliminating fast foods, or to cease drinking diet soft drinks).

I wonder if this bucket-list-approach to life is hindering our resolution to make essential life changes; because in our microwave-minute mentality, we want to see quick results. However, in spite of the propaganda of sleek informercials, resolutions take time, planning, and implementation. In other words, we shouldn’t pin our hopes and dreams on media-promoted rapid and easy weight-loss, painless and effortless solutions to fitness, the ease of quitting smoking, the speedy achievement of financial freedom, nor instant spiritual growth. Therefore, realistically, we need to devise a plan of action for each of our resolutions. The reason that so many of us give up on our resolutions within a few weeks or months is that we fail to devise a plan of action that breaks each goal into manageable and achievable steps.

Jesus taught about the importance of having a plan of action. He noted that builders need to determine costs before beginning construction.  He also emphasized that kings assess their military resources prior to deciding whether to engage in battle or aim to forge peace treaties.  These examples were to notify His disciples that they needed to count the cost of following Him (Luke 14: 28-34). These truths also apply to our decision-making: we must count the cost of either pursing or setting aside our goals and live with the results of our choices.

Join me to discover some of the essential elements of resolution success, including  Choices, Changes, and Challenges—and, of course, a Conclusion.  Many blessings. 

Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

It's Thursday - Howard Webber


Thursday 28 January 2016

Thursday word from Genesis 56
'And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!”
“Here I am,” he replied.' Genesis 46:2

Although anxious to see his son Joseph, when Jacob reaches Beersheba he stops. It is where, years before, his grandfather, Abraham had called on the name of God, (21:33) , and later, his father Isaac had built an altar to God and called upon his name (Genesis 26:25). It is also the place where Jacob had a dream of a stairway between heaven and earth with angels ascending and descending, and God spoke to him, (Genesis 28: 10-15).  After the dream he thought to himself, 'Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.' (v 16). It was the place where God had told Jacob, 'I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.' (28:15).

Consequently, one can understand why that place was so special to Jacob. Arriving there, he offered sacrifices to God on the altar his father had built, and as he drew near to God, God drew near to him. What is it that James 4:8 says? 'Come near to God and he will come near to you.' That is how God is and ever has been. He draws near to those who draw near to him. He responds to those who desire his company. Back in 2 Chronicles 15:2 we read 'The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you.'

'Jacob, Jacob,' God called. Having got his attention, God assured Jacob once again of his company and care, and repeated the promise he made when last they met there, that he would bring him back again to Canaan, adding that Joseph would close his eyes. Reassured and encouraged by God, I am sure Jacob was able to go to Egypt with much more confidence and peace. May we never be so busy, so pre-occupied, (even in our service or ministry activity), not to be able to stop and worship and seek and find that self-same closeness with God. 

God bless you allHoward 

Howard Webber


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

I Often Use MY Tattoos

This is the story of how Jesus changed my life. I was raised in a Christian home, and I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior at a young age.  I went to private school from K5- 6th grade in North Carolina. In the 7th grade I had a life altering experience when I changed over to a public middle school. Then my dearly loved grandparents died when I was in high school, and I got angry at God. To drown the pain and anger that I was feeling, I rejected Jesus, dropped out of high school, and fell hard for sex, drugs, women, and rock and roll. I just didn't care anymore.

For 15 years my life has been a struggle with addictions to sex and drugs. Because of my lifestyle, I shouldn't be alive; I should be dead or in jail, like many of my dear friends. Through the years I noticed a hole in my heart that I tried to fill with everything except Jesus. No matter what I did, I still felt empty inside.

Five years ago I cried out to Jesus to forgive me and fill my heart with peace. Jesus changed my life forever, and now I am the happiest that I have been in many years. With Jesus’ help, I'm completely sober: I quit drugs and alcohol without going to rehab. I have a good job at the Post Office. Plus God even lead me to meet my beautiful wife, Reshma, from the tropical island of Fiji!! God is so good!!!  My life choices led me down a path of sin, but I found redemption in my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. I chose to follow Jesus, and it has finally led me to the place where I was meant to be. Now I share my story with others. I often use the tattoos that are on my arms that are special to me, to show people that they have two choices in life. On one of my arms, there are tattoos that are related to heaven and on the other arm there are tattoos that represent hell.

I urge everyone to stop filling themselves with the things of this world, which only make you happy for a short time. Instead, fill your life and heart with Jesus Christ. He can give you life everlasting. No one on their death bed has ever regretted being a Christian. Remember that Jesus says, "I'm standing at the door and I'm knocking. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in." Please, my friends, if you don't know Jesus as your personal Savior, you can receive Him right now. Here is a simple prayer that might help you: "Jesus, I want to know you. I want you to come into my life. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sin so that I could be fully accepted by you. Only you can give me the power to change and become the person you created me to be. Thank you for forgiving me and giving me eternal life with God. I give my life to you. Please do with it as you wish. Amen.” You are now a new Christian, and you have begun a personal relationship with Christ. 

Now turn from your sin, and trust His Holy Spirit to give you the power to follow Him on a lifelong journey of change and growth. Read your Bible regularly to mature in your faith. Find a Bible-believing church where you can benefit from good teaching and spend time with other Christians. Also Jesus calls us to be baptized to make a public confession of our faith. Billy Graham said that 95 percent of Christians don't tell others the story of how Jesus changed their lives. Your story could change someone’s life; so share it with family members, friends, and others, because you do want them to go to heaven, right? Jesus is the only way!


This is a free 24 hour/7 days a week helpline, where you can receive Christian counsel and encouragement: 1-800-NEED-HIM (1-800-633-3446).  

Monday, January 25, 2016

THE BLIND BEGGAR"—Mrs. Captain Kathie Ljungholm joins friends at Kiev's hippest youth spot; The Blind Beggar Cafe.

Opens For Youth 

A downtown vodka pub co-opted by the Kiev I Corps turns into a haven of soda and popcorn-filled fun and fellow­ship for two hours each Saturday night for more than 100 teen-age junior and senior sol­diers and their friends.

"It's a safe alternative to hanging out on the streets," says Mrs. Captain Kathie Ljungholm, who opened the "Blind Beggar Cafe" in September. She notes that many of the youth at the corps came through the camp program conducted last summer by the USA Western Territory summer service corps team.

The cafe is a good example of the cre­ative leadership of Captain and Mrs. Sven-Erik Ljungholm, regional comman­der, Ukraine and Moldova. In the past eight months, two corps have opened in Kiev, and hundreds of junior and senior soldiers are actively involved in corps programs.

Starting a work in a city where it takes five years to get an apartment and seven years to get a telephone line—and where doctors earn as little as $5 a month—isn't easy.

"Kathie just found new offices for the command," Ljungholm says. "She negotiated a pay­ment of $700 less per month than the asking price, and it even has two sepa­rate phone lines - in the very centre of Kiev!"

The Kiev I Corps, under the leader­ship of the Ljungholms, with the assis­tance of newly commissioned Russian officers Lt. and Mrs. Philip (Svetlana) Rybakov, has a grow­ing ministry with more than 20 hearing impaired stu­dents in addition to a full complement of traditional Army programs. (The Rybakovs were recruits and sworn in as soldiers under the Ljungholms in the Moscow Central Corps, Russia just two years earlier)

In January, Ljungholm will teach classes on social services at the Internal Affairs Academy, which is responsible for running the country's prison system.

Social work is a new field in the for­mer Soviet Union, and the need for social services is dire. (Canadians) Captain Lois Dueck, assisted by lay worker Janette Lewis, oversee a variety of social service programs in Kiev, which include prison visitation, family services work, feeding, and counseling.

"Teams of five Salvationists visit men and women in prison, and we will soon start a Bible study in the prison," says Dueck. "We distribute a lot of food and clothing, especially to the elderly and invalids, and even to the working people. I don't know how people survive here." She notes wages are very low, with the principal of the school where they rent office space earning only $8 a month. (wages are often paid months late, with no adjustments made for the 100% per moth inflation rates)

The Army has a feeding program at a school of 1,000 students and a cafe for pensioners, and operates soup runs at train stations, where they feed over 1,000 each week.

The Blind Beggar was located just off Kreschatyk Boulivar, Kiev’s m
ost famous street in a quiet park like setting, around the corner from the Command Headquarters