Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Time - the enemy

Rushing against the clock can be so frustrating and really senseless. But when you have several deadlines to meet it can get exhausting. Learning to prioritise is essential and almost impossible.

Just as I thought I was getting on top of all my tasks a faithful soldier dies and we have to do the funerals (a memorial in Bela Bela south Africa and a funeral in PE south Africa). Suddenly all the well laid plans have to shift and other things take priority.

I tried to find times when Jesus was moving from one place to another with an agenda and life just breaks in - I looked to see how he handled life's interruptions. There was blind Bartimaeus and I saw him stop, take time, listen and heal. The women who touched the hem of his garment - the tassels that represent God and his law to the Jews - He stops, takes time, listens and healing both physical and spiritual take place. The women who begs for healing for her daughter, again Jesus stops, listens, and healing takes place. I guess that no matter where I looked Jesus seemed to do that every time. Even Zacchaeus. He never walked away from an interruption he always stopped, listened and acted. I tend to act, listen then very seldom stop.

I realised that I needed to develop a different look on time. It really stops for no man but God who created time for our benefit made time bend to his will and design. So I am trying to take the time to stop, listen before acting with regard to the interruptions life throws at me.

I am about to start a training for Precept on Saturday and I need to take the time to prepare well. So this is my first appointment with stopping, listening and then acting. I will take the time to do things differently. I pray that God will touch the lives of the men and women who will be trained in this exciting Bible Study programme. Precept is an Inductive Bible Study which makes you look at the word of God slowly - digging all its treasures up for yourself. We will be looking at the life of Abraham - Becoming a friend of the Faithful God.

After that we have a Divisional Celelbration at which our Band will be on duty. They are very excited and hope to do well - their first time out (playing at a Divisional event for a long time. The Band has a number of brand new players who are still learning but really enjoying their playing time.

We have a new TC - whom I have not yet met but I am looking forward to his leadership knowing he will take us to new heights. We are trusting God for even greater things.

Army Renewal: Army Meetings

Army Renewal: Army Meetings

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Life - too long or too short??

There are times when you think whats the point of all this living???? Why are so many people living such miserable lives and others seem to just coast through life without any problems? Every time I am confronted by the death of someone I ask the same questions. How successful was this person at living? I good friend has just passed away. He was the Sgt. Major at the first Corps my husband and I were appointed to straight out of college. he was a tough Sgt. Major and demanded a high standard from us.

We didn't always agree - in fact we didn't agree on a number of occasions but I know I learnt some of my most important lessons while he was in our lives. He made me search the scripture to see my position as a women in leadership. He made me question my personal calling and made me either accept that God does call women into leadership or He doesn't. He was a faithful stalwart of the Corps and now he has gone to be with his Father - Absent from the body and present with the Lord. And as I think about his life I guess the reality of it all is who will take his place? We don't have the old guard who stood their ground and taught and led by example. He was an amazing man with a exhausting work ethic. he died at 69 still working in construction!!! He would work side by side with his workers never demanding from them what he would not do himself. He never wanted you to thank him publicly. He would often say - don't take away my heavenly reward. Jesus will thank me - later!

I know the Army is a movement that has many young members but how many of them having the staying power of men like the one I have described above. He grew up in a large family and each had their various chores around the farm. As a family they started two Salvation Army Corps that are still in existence today! They love God and they serve Him in the Army with all that they are.

We're moving into a technical age with every thing going digital. Young people can type faster then ever before - creating their own language in cyberspace. They demand faster food, faster phones, faster computers - faster life. What have I left as an inheritance to the generations to come? How have I contributed to the decline in moral standards around the world. In one year we sell and buy more human beings then in 400 years of the transatlantic slave trade. We have discovered new ways of lowering the value of human life more now then ever we did through two world wars.

We have created monsters. The Newspaper headlines say boys of 8 years old form a Sex club at school!! What has happened to us?? Why have we allowed the sin in man to be so overpowering in our world?? Is this really "Still my Father's world"?

Well just like you can't eat an Elephant (not that I would want to) in one sitting I guess we have to start chewing one mouthful at a time. So for now lets build awareness about the trafficking problem that is at work in every single country in the world. Young people are being bought and sold as we speak. They will never know the reality of a safe environment or the possibility of a life shielded and sheltered by a loving family. Help educated young people about the state of mankind so that they can know there are people out there looking to hurt them and looking to take them away!

Support initiatives like Stop the Traffic and World Hope and of course The Salvation Army and get the word out to everyone!

Keep safe, help us to talk into the scourge of Human Trafficking so that we can pray it, speak it, and hopefully stop it!!

God bless


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Saved to serve

I have just had the awesome privilege to attend the Willow Creek Leadership conference. I was so incredibly challenged. It was superb. I was introduced to so many amazing concepts and ideas and left there with my mind abuzz and my heart beating just a little faster.

I have been praying for a long time for God to show me how we could 'do' church more effectively. But I'm not in a church I'm in an army so how do I do "Army" more effectively. I am reading three books at the moment Pathway to Purpose for women by Katie Brazelton, the Shack by William p. Young and IT by Greg Groeschel. Greg heads up LifeChurch.TV They are all amazing and everyone on the planet should read them.

But Katie is taking me through some really personal things. She dealt with my walk in integrity this morning. It was a difficult session and serious thinking had to really take over. How integral am I? She has a quote in the book by Charles Swindoll "When one has integrity there is an absence of hypocrisy. He or she is personally reliable, financially accountable, and privately clean.... innocent of impure motives."

WOW WOW WOW. I had some real hard cleaning up to do and so I spent a good long time before the throne just telling my Father all about it.

I was woken up this morning by God at about 3am. He needed to deal with me and so I couldn't sleep - I am studying for exams I write two in January - but he wanted me to get a new vision for our Corps. (pronounced Core) This is what he gave me

Our vision statement is an old one but we want to revive it "Saved to Serve" Our Corps really does service well. So If that is a natural strength of the Corps then we should run with it so this next year everything we do will be in service. We want to serve with excellence. The catch phrase we want everyone to catch on to maybe make it the official greeting "how may I serve you today?" We want the entire Corps to buy into this vision to make it theirs. Our Scripture verse for 2009 is Luke 4:18-19 - its the call on the life of Jesus and its the one he handed over to his followers. So we are going to ask God everyday "How may I serve you today."

I would love us to have t shirts made with Born to serve on them or something like that. We want the vision statement to go throughout the different ministries in the Corps. We want it to be translated into lots of different languages too.

Bill Hybels talked about Mother Theresa in the last session of the day before we watched a clip intitled A thousand questions. --Mother Theresa made a few vows in her time as a nun but the most profound was she told God "I will refuse you nothing". That's pretty dangerous. God may ask you to do the most impossible thing - that's always been my fear. I forget sometimes that He's my Father but then I remember what he asked His Son to do..... No I know He loves me and He will always love me but there are times when I want to limit His control over every area of my life. I would love for him to trust me with little bits of it. But I guess when I fully committ to Him He fully committs to me. Thats what a covenant relationship is all about but in the busy path of life thats not always easy to hold on to or to remember. But Mother Theresa didn't hesitate to say to her father "I will refuse you nothing". She also promised to be faithful in the little practices. I guess those are the things that no one else sees. Just you and Your Father who sees everything. Its difficult to be faithful in those moments. The the vow she made that really touched me was this "Even thous I don't feel his presence for long periods of time, I will seek to love him as he has never been loved before."

To love like that is amazing!! I made it my mission to discover what that means in my relationship with God. I love Him - I tell everyone I love him but to love him more than he has ever been loved before that obsessive - and I guess that's what he wants!

I am so thrilled to be loved by God and I am so thrilled to be his child. So pray for Pretoria Corps and pray for us as we enter into this amazing time of learning what it is to serve with excellence. may we know God's peace as we strive to serve our community as God would have us serve them.