Friday, October 20, 2017

It’s been about 14 years since I’ve slept passed 7 am on any single day, rain or shine, holiday or not. For all that time, it didn’t matter how late our kids were up; it didn’t matter how much we wore them out; it didn’t matter how dark their shades were in their rooms. They would wake up before 7 am.
Until this year. This year is different. As we have entered the teenage years, we’ve seen the amount of sleep on the steady increase. While that’s great in a sense – I certainly have enjoyed the couple of extra hours every now and then – I know it’s just a matter of time until the unintended consequence of sleeping late will pop up in the context of going to church on Sunday.
The wake up will be hard. The kids will complain. And they will no doubt declare, “I don’t want to go to church today.” Which leads to the question:
Should we, as parents force our children to go to church, even when they don’t want to?
Short answer? Yes. Absolutely.
But why should we do that? You could argue the opposite – that in making our children go to church we are actually turning them away from the church. They will grow up resenting this environment they had to go to week after week, even if they didn’t want to, and as soon as they get a little bit of freedom, they will abandon that practice forced upon them by their unrelenting parents.
So why should we if we are indeed running a risk like that? I’d argue at least three reasons:
1. To teach the church’s purpose.
If we think the only reason we should go to church is our desire, then we are misunderstanding the reason for doing so at all. Of course, ideally we will want to go to church, but we go there not only because we want to – we go there because we need to. We are sinful, forgetful people. We go and meet with God’s people because we need to be reminded of who God is and His promises in the Bible. We need to be encouraged and held accountable for our Christian witness. And we need to participate in this for the sake of others, not just receive it from others.
2. To show the place of feelings.
If we don’t make our kids go to church because they don’t want to go to church, we are communicating to them that their feelings are their masters. And they are not… or at least they shouldn’t be. This is one of the ways we teach our children that we are led by faith, not by sight (or by feelings). We go because we believe this is the good and right and soul-nourishing thing to do, even if we don’t feel like it in the moment. Which leads to the third point…
3. To exercise your own faith.
Taking our children to church is a means of exercising our own faith. We trust that when we saturate our child in the things of God and the preaching of the gospel that something is going to get through. Eventually God is going to use those moments to bring about an awakening to the truth of faith in his or her life. We believe this, and therefore we act.
4. To feed the right appetite.
We trust that feeding a particular area of life makes it grow. We’ve all experienced this in a negative sense. Think about the escalation of drug addicts. I’ve heard that often addiction begins with experimentation and goes on from there – from something minor to something major. The appetite is fed, and as it is, it grows.
Or this one: It’s easy to sleep in one morning and not exercise. The next day it’s easier than the first day. And so it goes. We feed our laziness, and laziness feasts and grows fat.
Doesn’t it stand to reason the opposite would be true? When we discipline our children to go to church, we are, slowly but surely, feeding their appetite for godliness. It’s one spoonful at a time, to be sure, but in feeding it we are helping it grow.
Yes, parents, I believe we should make our children go to church. It will be a battle sometimes. But even as we do, we cannot trust that this attendance is a cure-all for the soul affliction of our children. We cannot outsource the evangelizing of our own families. So, yes, make them go. And yes, share the gospel with them before, during, and after, praying that the Holy Spirit would do His work of changing hearts.



Michael Kelley

"A special moment"

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The activist mommy confronting homosexuality in the "church"/video evang...

Homosexuals have been hated throughout history.

30th June 1992

Members of GAY cricket club.
Keith Banks, Commissioner

Letter to the Editor

The Officer

REJECTED FOR PUBLICATION

     How interesting to find two articles in the June (1992) OFFICER dealing with homosexuality. The subject is so rarely dealt with in Salvation Army publications that one is tempted to say 'it never rains but it pours'! The articles, 'A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE TO HOMOSEXUALITY IN THE CHURCH' by Lt. Colonel Maxwell Ryan and 'A THEOLOGY THAT ISOLATES' by Major Ron Thomlinson are so different in style and content, immediately stimulating thought, debate and the desire to get to the typewriter! The articles certainly made me think.
     Homosexuals have been hated and hounded throughout history. People have always found it difficult to cope with those of a minority sexual orientation. That the church should have become a part of the problem is understandable when seen in its historical and cultural context, but that it should have remained so is unbelievable. The Salvation Army as part of the church universal is no exception to the rule. Our Positional Statement dealing with homosexuality takes a very definite 'hate the sin but love the sinner' approach which is about as close as any part of the church has got to a Christ like view of the subject; yet it must be all too obvious to anyone attempting a serious understanding of the issues that this approach has failed lamentably. 
     How many Salvationists do you know who feel loved enough to say 'I'm glad to be gay'? The evidence seems to indicate we have been very successful in hating the sin whilst proving woefully inadequate at loving the sinner.
     But are sin and sinner the right words to use? 
     Our sexuality is one of God's beautiful gifts to us. It is instrinsic to how we think, what we do and how we do it. It is unique. Some speak as if there are only two types of sexuality: heterosexual or homosexual. Can this be true? There are surely as many variations in sexuality as there are people in the world. We all feel, desire and act in a way that is unique to us.
     So by what, or on whose authority does the majority group labelled 'average' presume to belittle, humiliate and despise the minority group labelled 'different'?
     No appeal can be made to Jesus. Anything he may have said about homosexuality was obviously not considered important by the Gospel writers.
     An appeal can be made to Scripture as a whole, but even then the evidence is weak. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen.ch.19) is frequently appealed to but it is hard to find any condemnation of homosexuality in the story. For a start, the suggestion that every man in the city was a homosexual is going a bit over the top: And then it is a little odd that Lot should accuse men of wanting to do 'wicked things' when he was more than prepared to hand his two virgin daughters over to them for gang rape (v.8). This story offers no more than a flimsy foundation for an ethic.
     The Leviticus texts (ch.18 v.22 and ch.20 v.13) are c1ear enough, though interestingly make no reference to women. The condemnation appears alongside such things as child sacrifice, bestiality and incest. 
     Can the love of one man for another really be compared with such obvious misuse of sexuality? The text appears to be condemning the abuse of one man by another, not the love of one man for another.
     There are, of course, the Pauline references (Romans ch.1 v.18-32 Cor.ch.6 v.9-10 : 1 Tim.ch.1 v.8-11). 
     This is not the place to discuss context at length but let it be sufficient to say that there are some things Paul said that twentieth century Christians would be in no position to accept. See for example his comments about women (1 Cor.ch.11 v.5-16); his acceptance of slavery (Eph.ch.6 v.5 : Col.ch.3 v.22 : Titus ch.2 v.9); his conviction that no one should challenge the authority of the state (Romans ch.13 v.1-2).
     You simply can't take Paul out of his culture; to do so is to create confusion and pain. This has to be remembered in the light of new insights into human sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular.
     We can only appeal to experience, and Major Thomlinson does this so powerfully in his account of the love of one man for another. (Echoes of David and Jonathan?) It was moving to read, and the story could be repeated countless times.
     So is it right to persist in equating homosexuality with promiscuity and perversion?
     In nearly 30 years of officership my wife and I have met people whose needs were for same sex relationships. Such people never appeared promiscuous or perverted: simply different. For them such relationships were natural. If a relationship is founded on love and sustained by love, how can it be anything other than good. Isn't God something to do with love?
     And is it right to persist in describing homosexuality as a sickness, suggesting that the sufferers need to be cured? Is the implication that all heterosexuals are fit and well? Sexual sickness there most certainly is, and it can effect any one of us. Would we not be honouring God much more by channelling his healing love to those who are really sick in the sexual sense rather than those who are only different?
     Is it not time we realised that Salvationists are included in the national statistic that suggests that 10% of the population (UK) are homosexual? This means that if I addressed a large meeting with 5,000 people present, then it's possible that 500 of them would be gay; and if I preached to 100 people last Sunday, then it's possible that 10 of them were gay; and if I speak to 10 people today, it's possible that 1 of them is gay — and this applies whether I work at Browns Biscuit Factory or Headquarters. That's a fairly large minority.
     Homosexuals don't need to be told anymore that Christians hate what they are and that they are loved in spite of it. They need to feel loved for who they are; they need acceptance like everyone else and surely that should be second nature for a Christian.
     They need to feel it’s quite permissable to say, 'It's alright to be me', rather than be told to suppress their feelings or hide their true identity.
     Maybe the time has come for an open exchange on this crucial issue. There are a lot of people out there - many of them Salvationists and doubtless some of them officers - who live with the issue every day of their lives. It effects them personally. We owe it to them to work a way through the theological and cultural clutter of the years towards a new understanding of what homosexuality really is, asking that the Holy Spirit will lead us into truth.
     By the way, did the Editor get the wrong titles over the two articles in the June issue? Having read and re-read them many times, it seems they should be the other way round. On the other hand, it may show just how mixed up we really are.



Tuesday, October 3, 2017

GOD’S MATCHSTICK.
O Lord Jesus, 
Make me your humble matchstick; 
Not a large one that is awkward for You to handle; 
Make me willing to be small and insignificant, 
Prepared at all times to be used by You. 
Make me ready to spend myself 
Even if it costs me all that I, at present, am. 
(For must I not die that the Light might shine?) 
Make me keen, 
When I would hide in my box behind the others, 
(For what is potential if it is never realized?) 
Make me always able to keep my head, 
For to lose it would render me useless to You.
Make me secure in the warmth of your presence, 
When others would seek to dampen my zeal. 

Make me remember your purpose for me, 
To ignite the flame of your love in the hearts of men and women. 
Make me totally dependent on You, 
A tool to be used, not self sufficient or of independent means. Make fire, your Holy Fire, to be my one and only aim. 
Help me to use all that I am and all that I have in promoting your Kingdom. 
Make it, dear Lord, if perchance you should use me in some won­derful way, 
That I will never ever say 'I lit that fire,' but rather, 
That I may give to Jesus glory for using me that way; 
For I know, dear Lord, that You could set the world on fire
If only I would be your humble matchstick.










Boundless 2015: Melbourne Staff Band and Vasa Gospel Choir

"Someone Cares" - John Larrson, arr. Ray Steadman Allen

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Go Open Fire in Moscow 1991

Одной из немногочисленных привилегий москвича в те годы был "друг со связями", человек, который мог достать качественные товары да и услуги по приемлемым ценам, хоть и в твердой валюте. Наш сосед напротив был одним из таких людей - у него была высокая должность в администрации Большого Театра.
В этой роли ему удалось помочь нам обойти большинство бюрократических припонов в регистрации нашего ввезенного из за границы автомобиля, офисного оборудования, да и нас самих! Как говорится услуга за услугу, и тем не менее в тех областях, где помощь нужна была больше всего он помочь не мог. Проще говоря, нам необходима была быстрая и более качественная связь по телефону и факсу с западом! К нашему разочарованию, наши предложения твердой валюты или предметов роскоши в данном вопросе не помогали!
В первый год нашего пребывания в Москве контакты по телефону или факсу с "Западом" имели единичный, скорее случайный характер, все зависело от воли русского телефонного оператора. Все звонки шли через телефонного оператора и именно оператор информировал нас о том, когда " случится" телефонный звонок, по обыкновению часов через 48, в не зависимости от того, на сколько срочной была ситуация.


Итак, через 2 дня раздавался телефонный звонок и это могло случиться в 3 утра или в 3 часа по полудню, далее следовала русская инструкция "оставайтесь на линии" или " занято" сопровождавшаяся звуковым набором. Если на другом конце было "абонент не отвечает" или " занято" начинался новый 48 часовой отсчет ожидания. Наибольшее неудобство случалось, когда нам были необходимы ответы или пояснения были из международной штаб квартиры в Лондоне или нашего территориального командного центра в Нью - Йорке. Наибольшим разочарованием для нас было, когда нас "соединяли" в не рабочие часы офисов в Великобритании и США, так как всегда был необходим дополнительный звонок и длительное время ожидания.

И, неизменно, если связь все таки удалось установить первым вопросом всегда было" Как дела в Москве? Вы уже были в самом большом Мак Дональдс в мире?" И наш ответ как всегда был" все хорошо, спасибо и да, были". Интересно было то, что в вечерние выпуски новостей CNN, BBC и CBS попадались именно эти вести из Постперестроечной России.


Русский шоколад и мороженое, бургеры и коктейли из Макдональдс, все по ценам в рублях, что в переводе на доллары было копейки, все это было нашими маленькими еженедельными привилегиями. Преодолевая культурные различия мы делали так же как "если ты в Риме - хватай мороженное, не меньше чем 4 штуки на человека". Биг Мак стоил копейки, но надо было простоять в часовой очереди, чтобы его купить. У Пицца Хат было 2 входа, один - для русских, а другой для иностранцев, который платили в твердой валюте.

Воскресные вечера раз в две недели в эти первые месяцы нашего пребывания были особенными. Каждую вторую неделю Кэти с любовью накрывала шведский стол на пассажирском сиденьи Toyota; на шведском столе были два Чизбургера, восемь Биг Маков, 9 больших картошек, печенья и клубничные коктейли. Это была часть нашего хитрого плана по сокращению времени на многочисленных дорожных досмотрах на нашем семичасовом ночном маршруте в Санкт Петербург.


С середины ноября по начало апреля частые снегопады покрывали придорожные шашлычные ( кебаб) и посты ГАИ (Министерство Внутренних Дел) в то время, как мы двигались по М-10, Российской главной автодороге. Месяц за месяцем, прогресс измерялся в свежих слоях гудрона, которыми покрывалась дорога. На каких то отрезках можно было ехать по свеже положенному асфальту немецкого качества, до тех пор пока асфальт не заканчивался колдобинами и грязью российских дорог.

Мне очень нравилось путешествовать в некогда имперскую столицу, в которой двадцатый век встречался с девятнадцатым. По обочинам дороги виднелись по двадцать с небольшим деревянных изб в каждой из деревень, которую я проезжал. Избы в каждой деревне были примерно одного цвета - желтого в одних, зеленого в других. Наверное, цвет был отражение маркетинговых навыков рыбаков этой деревни, или просто был единственным доступным на тот момент цветом для выкраса.

END PART ONE OF TWO


Translated from the book; RETURN TO BATTLE IN RUSSIA AND BEYOND


Tatiana Arkhipova
SA soldier/translator 1992-95

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Salvation Army in Mainland China Receives Official Recognition and Registration

NEWS RELEASE: 
London, 20 September 2017
IHQ


The Salvation Army in Mainland China Receives Official Recognition and Registration 
THE Salvation Army's work in mainland China has been given a boost with news that the regional offices in China have received official government recognition and registration. The offices in the capital cities of Kunming (Yunnan Province) and Chengdu (Sichuan Province) have received official recognition and been given legal approval to conduct activities which include: disaster relief, disaster recovery, community development, social services, educational programmes and – at the invitation of Provincial Christian Councils – permission to partner with local congregations in religious activities. 
This achievement is the direct result of 30 years of patient, transparent and consistent relationship with government departments and Christian councils as well as partnerships with a multitude of non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Lieut-Colonel Ian Swan (Officer Commanding, Hong Kong and Macau Command) says: 'Over the years there have been many hands and hearts joined in this process; however, we would acknowledge with gratitude the following individuals in particular: Lieut-Colonel Alfred Tsang, Envoy Simon Wong, Major Tommy Chan, Major On Quang-dieu, Major Jeremy Lam and Dr Chan Pui-si.' 
The Salvation Army's ministry opened in mainland China in 1916 and quickly expanded across the northern and eastern provinces until 1949, when it withdrew the mainland. Ministry and social services were retained in Hong Kong. In 1985, at the invitation of the Yunnan Provincial Government, The Salvation Army provided disaster relief and recovery in mainland China. This opened the door to further collaborations and partnerships which resulted in a wide geographical distribution of service and a greater recognition of the organisation's presence. These programmes included health education, HIV/Aids awareness, education sponsorship, income-generation projects to alleviate poverty, infrastructure and capital projects, consultation and training. 
In 2015, the Central Government of China reviewed its registration expectations and procedures which resulted in the establishment of a new law in January 2017. Significant meetings in 2016 with the government and Christian councils during the visit of General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox explored ways in which The Salvation Army could comply with these new regulations while expanding its partnerships and scope of work to better serve all the people of China. These discussions were very productive and opened new approaches which have now borne fruit. 
'God has richly blessed our efforts and desire to serve the mainland and its peoples,' says Lieut-Colonel Swan. 'We now have further opportunities and responsibilities to build on these foundations so the next 30 years will produce results for future generations.'  
From a report by the Hong Kong and Macau Command

This release is available through the News section of www.salvationist.org (click on name to access). For those who have full access to The Salvation Army's Lotus Notes databases the release is also available through the International News database. Please note that in some locations the database is replicated to the local server only two or three times a day.