A homeowner went out to promote his yard sale. As he was putting up posters, some fell to the ground and were washed down the gutter. Some were in windy places and were soon blown away. Some posters were hung along busy sidewalks and were soon covered by other posters and left unseen. Still other posters were placed in good neighbourhoods where they sparked interest and produced customers—some … [Read more...]
Digging at the root of Jesus’ stories.
April 30, 2013 by Major Fred Ash Leave a Comment
A drama based on Jesus’ Parable of the Great Banquet.
April 11, 2013 by Major Fred Ash Leave a Comment
Note: This sketch is designed to be presented in a church setting to a general congregation. Its purpose is the same as that of Jesus’ Parable of the Great Banquet found in Luke 14:15-24, to remind the congregation of their calling to seek and save the lost and that Christ will build his church with or without them. Props: A desk, paper, pen and two phones. Costumes: Casual clothes. Pastor … [Read more...]
Remembrance Day reminds us to see others through the eyes of Christ
November 11, 2012 by Major Fred Ash 2 Comments
November always makes me sad. This is odd because autumn is my favourite season. I love the harvest, colourful trees, Canada geese honking overhead and clear air. But overshadowing all this is Remembrance Day. Perhaps it’s my childhood memories of standing in chilly November gales at my hometown’s cenotaph, cold feet cramping and body shivering. Maybe it’s the lonely sound of a bugle … [Read more...]
Can we celebrate the holiday without debasing its Christian message?
December 20, 2011 by Major Fred Ash 1 Comment
Pity poor Scrooge. He saw Christmas as an interference, a day when he paid Bob Cratchit to stay home and enjoy himself with his family. To Scrooge this was like having his pocket picked on an annual basis. Bah! Humbug! If only he’d known the art of commercializing Christmas, Scrooge could have made himself a lot more money, and Christmas would have been something for him to anticipate all … [Read more...]
God’s call on our lives is still real. And this calling presents each of us with a choice.
June 10, 2011 by Major Fred Ash Leave a Comment
Those who know me best know that I am a poet at heart. Not that I am capable of writing good poetry. I am, however, one of the few people who actually have bought a book of poetry—several in fact. Two of my favourite poems are by the same poet, an American by the name of Robert Frost. The first is one called The Road Not Taken, a curious title because the poem focuses on the road he actually … [Read more...]
When was the last time you had a serious theological discussion? Do you ever stop to think about what you believe and why?
April 29, 2011 by Major Fred Ash 7 Comments
Old teachers never die, they just lose their class.” With an opening like that, some of you are probably thinking that I have finally lost mine. You may be right. If so, I take solace in the fact that I am not alone. It seems that most of the Evangelical Church, including The Salvation Army, has lost its class. Bible class, Sunday school class, soldier’s class—many no longer exist or are … [Read more...]
When we look at some of the heroes of the Christian faith, such as Brother Andre and Sister Gladys, it’s clear that God often chooses the unlikeliest of people to carry out his ministry. Given this, should The Salvation Army revisit its standards for officer recruitment?
March 30, 2011 by Major Fred Ash 6 Comments
Five months ago, the Roman Catholic Church acknowledged Alfred Bessette, better known as Brother Andre, as a saint. This came 74 years after his death and 141 years after he applied to be a candidate in the ministry. How many other saints are out there unrecognized? At birth, Brother Andre was so weak that a priest baptized him the very next day for fear that he might die. The sickly boy … [Read more...]
Our new General must be blessed with courage and discernment
January 17, 2011 by Major Fred Ash 1 Comment
This month the international leaders of The Salvation Army meet to elect a new General (click here to read more). When it comes to the international Salvation Army, my position is similar to that of a flea on an elephant’s ear. From where I stand, the view is grey and fuzzy, and somewhat precarious. I cannot see the whole elephant. Now, if I were the General, I’d probably be able to see the … [Read more...]
Making spirits bright during the holiday season
December 16, 2010 by Major Fred Ash Leave a Comment
Hunched over the wheel of our minivan, my wife beside me, we gingerly weave our way through the crowded streets of downtown Toronto. It is past mid-December and Christmas is only days away. Cars line both sides of most streets. Even the back alleys are crowded. Shoppers wait impatiently at the traffic lights, their heavy bags weighing them down. In the back of our minivan are three large green … [Read more...]
Do our churches attract the nostalgic and the curious while the masses of humanity pass us by?
October 15, 2010 by Major Fred Ash 6 Comments
An-tique: 1. a relic or object of ancient times; 2. being in the style or fashion of former times. As I drove through the main street of a southern Ontario city, I saw ahead of me a large sign that read ANTIQUES. When I drew closer, I realized that it was attached to the front steps of an old brick church. A cross stood over the door and another on the roof. Stained-glass windows still invited … [Read more...]