A Vibrant Army of Action and Hope - Salvation Army Canada

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    A Vibrant Army of Action and Hope

    In her May 2012 installment of Sharing the Vision, General Linda Bond states that our mission flows from our relationship with God. May 23, 2012 by General Linda Bond
    Filed Under:
    Opinion & Critical Thought
    Dear friends:

    The Lord continues to open my eyes to the amazing ministry carried out by Salvationists around the world. The vision of One Army, One Mission, One Message is not just an expression of hope. It captures the reality of an Army living out its faith in each community and country where it serves.

    Mission flows from our relationship with God and the impact of our ministry relates directly to the message we proclaim. As Salvationists we never pretend to be able to fix everyone's problems. Yes, we try to meet the hurting, broken, lonely, dispossessed and lost at their point of need. We offer the most appropriate help and are consistently grateful for the way the Lord uses our service in a transformational way. Yet we know that deep pain, alienation and brokenness can only really be addressed through the saving power of our Lord who ransoms, heals, restores and forgives.

    Since writing to you in March, I have visited many places and witnessed a vibrant Army of action and hope. You may be receiving details of these visits through International News Releases, but let me share with you some personal comments.

    Three of these visits were in the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland. A divisional celebration in South and Mid Wales gave a bird's-eye view of their great community programmes and then captured my heart with their awesome Welsh singing. What a feast of blessing! Easter weekend at Norwich Citadel in England was not only a time for reflection and celebration around the Easter themes at the Army hall, but the corps also took its message to the streets with three open-air meetings. The open-air ministry there is very intentional, providing a weekly outdoor meeting. People from the community attend regularly and see this as their church. The ROOTS weekend in Scotland may have been a very cold weather experience, but there is a spiritual fire burning in Scotland and the flame will be fanned by the Holy Spirit.

    Please keep the international Army in view as you pray. Some places may seem far removed from your setting, but often they are the ones most needing our prayer support. Visits to Estonia and Moldova were eye-opening experiences. Both of these countries have been part of the Soviet Union and, like other places in Eastern Europe, are finding their own identity while at the same time learning what it means to be The Salvation Army. You would be thrilled to see this young Army that really understands that the message of Jesus is the motivation for their relevant and practical service.

    During the past weeks I have been the guest for both 125th anniversary celebrations in Denmark and The Netherlands. During the commissioning in Copenhagen, I had the privilege of announcing the commencement of the Army's work in Greenland and then appointing the first officers. This congress built further on the hope that was already evident in Denmark. Though a small territory, it has a huge impact on society. In Amsterdam, Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands graced one of our congress meetings with her presence. She was particularly interested in meeting some of the people who belong to our social centres and was grateful for the Army's work among the marginalised and disadvantaged.

    One of my regular highlights is to visit the International College for Officers. I speak to each session at their spiritual day and also spend a day with them teaching about spiritual authority and answering their questions. These visits are always very special. The 26 officer-delegates come from every corner of the Army world and consider this experience one of the richest in their officership. Their eyes are truly opened to the international Army as they journey together for two months.

    If you have not already signed up through your territory or the international website for the worldwide prayer meeting on Thursday mornings, I would encourage you to do so. The prayer topics are the 12 Mission Priorities of the One Army, One Mission, One Message vision. Add to these your own corps/centre/divisional/territorial needs. But above all, beyond petition and intercession, may your prayer be saturated with praise, thanksgiving and expectation. The Lord waits to hear from you. Let's be an Army marked by prayer. 'The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective' (James 5:16).

    Thank you for your faithfulness in ministry and prayer. God bless you richly,

    Sincerely,

    Linda Bond
    General

    Click here to read other installments of Sharing the Vision.

    Comment

    On Sunday, June 3, 2012, Robert Barber said:

    Amen, We can do a lot of good without doing anything right. The gauge of how we are doing is when the world stops patting us on the back and goes back to throwing rocks, rotten produce, and boiling water. Even so, come Lord Jesus!.

    On Friday, June 1, 2012, Alonzo said:

    The General’s vision, One Army, One Mission, One Message and with all due respect it is ideal but what is the reality?
    Jesus had a wonderful vision when He said, “That they (Jews and Gentiles be one”.
    My heart yearns for a oneness but from a different perspective and let me put it bluntly: I was asked to pray on behalf of new recruits for Officership. Do you know what that means? That means talking to Almighty God about the unnecessary, devastating situation re the lack of Officers. Are we not saying that we are smarter than God? One time God called people but now there are worldly conditions attached that sometimes leaves out God’s Mighty Spirit from moving when officers did absolutely unbelievable miracles in the saving of souls.
    God’s response through my heart is that you, The Salvation Army, is not My Army anymore; you have pulled away from your calling and doing in your own strength. That is blunt but He said that before and the Children of Israel is the prime example left for us and that fits us well. We take the name of the Lord in vain when we contribute the blessings of our hands to His name. We limit what the Almighty can do for us and through us.
    What does it mean in Romans 12: 2 – don’t let the world pull you into its mold? How different are we than the world? Why do we say what we do? What does our advertising mean? Are we deceptive like the world in all their advertising and pricing of articles? You have seen it or did you? The world says that an article is worth $1.99 with the emphasizes on the One; do we do that?
    Part of the Generals vision says and I quote: “Mission flows from our relationship with God and the impact of our ministry relates directly to the message we proclaim. As Salvationists …”
    Dear friends, Salvationists are one part of the Army but they are not on the front lines where our calling is, where ‘the rubber meets the road’. On the front lines are people that do not know the Lord and they are not required to be Christians, like when one becomes a soldier. Let’s just leave for a moment about what God thinks of us and consider what would happen if William Booth walked into your department. If he came to the first employee and said “Are you crucified to the world and how many souls did you bring into the Kingdom today”. What would likely be the response of that employee? Many of our front line people that represent The Salvation Army are not Christians and I mean do not knowing the Lord. How can that be? Look back at that word again – Salvation. Where is the saving power of Jesus Christ? Our programs are operated by using the law and the expertise of the world system. I am not knocking the support of AA, 12 steps or Gorski but when these replace, and they have; the saving power of Jesus Christ then we are in serious trouble; and we are.
    The education of the world is stinking in God’s nostrils; where is being filled with the Holy Spirit to work at serving the tables?
    Hold it, you say, you are bashing The Army. Really? Do you not know what the Almighty says about leaving His heart and going on your own wisdom?
    I said all that to say we are on sinking sand; we are not one; true. God is not blessings us with recruits or finances because we can do that without Him. The world should be looking on and seeing God, seeing the impossible take place. The world is crying for the light and two examples are: Bullying. The world is using the law not a heart change. Take back the night; again a heart change.
    Yes, there are absolutely great ‘hot spots’ around where God’s people, in spite of, the whole, are doing great things. I am part of one of these ‘hot spots’. What a glorious opportunity we have had but lost in Corrections and in the social field.
    There is still hope if there is repentance and obedience, a coming back to the heart of God. Is that not what is preached every Sunday? Do we not say are mission is to save souls?
    Let me share, just for a moment, about one of the ‘hot spots’ because I work there. Do you realize that every month we have approximately 10 men come to our program and in our Corps? Can you imagine approximately 100 men coming each year and spending six months; these are sitting under the Gospel, study everyday life topics from the Scriptures, attending Alpha and daily have the opportunity of one on one with the Chaplain for growth and counsel. The exciting part is that most of these men are gloriously saved and move out into the world and we hear from them as they pursue God. Oh, I know some of you say there is ‘us and them’. No! These men come from every walk of life and just like in your Corps – some make it and some don’t – we have the same four grounds/seeds story here too. Every Sunday morning at least 10 or 15 men at the mercy seat with Corps comrades gathered around. Is that not exciting?
    Folks, we quote William Booth often. Why? Is it for a good interesting article? Let me quotes him in relation to the above.
    He said, and I quote: ‘ I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be Religion without the Holy Spirit; Christianity without Christ; Forgiveness without Repentance; Salvation without Regeneration; Politics without God; and Heaven without Hell.’
    Friends, we are out of order!

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