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Straight from the Heart

With the end in view: The promise is coming

By Major Joanne Senft

John 16: 7-11

Major life events such as birth, death of a loved one, marriage, graduations, moving to new locations or any other type of change, whether positive or negative, often cause us to reminisce on the catalysts that brought us to the most current place.

I can't help but wonder what might have been going on in the mind of the disciple, John, in the wake of the major events of the Passion of Jesus. Three years of John's life held one experience after another of walking with the Messiah, watching miracle after miracle, listening to the very words of the Torah, the prophets and the writings from the living Word present with him, sculpting him into a very different man by those words and events and walking with Jesus.


   John missed, and we continue to miss, the uncompromising words of our Master: If you want to be great in the Kingdom, learn to be the servant of all.


We tend to see John as this tender-hearted man with a gift for writing. Truth be told, it was this "tender-hearted" man that wanted to call down fire from heaven when a village gave no time or credence to Jesus. He was known as a "son of thunder." That tender heart could turn tyrannical before you could blink your eyes.

Now, sitting in the Upper Room, with 119 other disciples of Jesus, John looked back to sort out the last three or so years of his life. What a ride! The thrill of the catch moved from fish to men. The familiar gave way to the adventure of following with no known destination. The provision of life by the sweat of his brow gave way to a purpose in life centered in Jesus.

I wonder now as he sat in that room waiting for the promise, what he thought and felt about the ongoing press of those three years to be the greatest in the Kingdom. Inching toward Jesus and away from the other disciples, John wanted to be the greatest. I'm not sure what that would have looked like in concrete terms, but it would not be much of a stretch, given the nature of the conversation recorded for us, that it included lording it over other people. Being the boss. Holding a position of prominence. Esteemed by those "under" him. Being set apart in a notable manner from others in the same conclave of people. After all, it was not that John did not want others to follow. It was that he, himself, wanted to be set apart as special and distinct from other followers.

He missed, and we continue to miss, the uncompromising words of our Master: If you want to be great in the Kingdom, learn to be the servant of all. It's a nice concept - for other people. It's a great sentiment but, c'mon. No one gets anything done right unless you have the ability to "whip people into shape." It's a great philosophy, but if it doesn't produce the results we want, then it gives way to other, more pragmatic ways of relating. Jesus was waiting for the time that John would own his own humanity, for without that, John would miss living out of the very quality of grace that called and shaped him to this point.

Now, in the Upper Room, John could see the face of his Master in his mind's eye. He caught the scent of the sea as he listened to the teaching about Kingdom life. He felt the dirt under his feet and recalled the faces of those set free. John began to reminisce, and His spirit, consisting of a kaleidoscope of many fragmented pieces, was then illuminated by the most important insight of his life: "I am the disciple whom Jesus loves." That love continued to transform John's heart until he sat again with Jesus. It is the only truth from which we will live effectively.


Recording studio gives Memphis ARC men an outlet for talent

Duane Gibson has found a way to express his love and talent for music production, and at the same time help the men of the Memphis, Tenn., Adult Rehabilitation Center in their recovery therapy. Gibson was lead guitarist for several popular groups during the late 1960s. He owned his own recording business but lost everything because of his addiction. A few years after he met Christ and achieved sobriety at the Memphis ARC, Gibson asked to be allowed to run a recording studio, complete with synthesizers. Each man in the center is welcome to record their own CD, and the program is proving to help increase self-esteem. "Memphis is where Elvis was discovered. Who knows, maybe we have the next Christian superstar here," Gibson said.


 Majors Lawrence and Thelma Holmes took 12 musical instruments to Haiti to start up new bands at two corps. They were impressed by the joy and enthusiasm of Haitian Salvationists.

Gift of instruments to Haiti helps keep international 'language' intact

By Major Thelma Holmes

Praise ye the Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul.

 

Psalm 146:1

Psalms 146-150 are all hallelujah psalms. Each begins and ends with praise to the Lord. How better to praise God than with the sound of musical instruments.

My husband and I have just returned from Haiti, where we took 12 instruments to begin two new bands. When we arrived at the airport in Port-au-Prince, the divisional leaders, Majors Ron and Carol Busroe, met us and gave us a royal welcome. We were taken to a sitting room, where someone else took our passports, and everything was taken care of while we waited. The instruments passed through customs without a problem, and we were within airline weight allowance for baggage. When everything was completed and the instruments were in the corps van, we left. The Busroes took us to their house, and we were comfortably settled in.

It was decided to divide the instruments up rather than take them all to one corps. We planned to take eight instruments to Gros Morne on Sunday to be dedicated. Unfortunately, we would have to scale a large mountain to reach the corps. The road was rugged and steep, and it took eight hours to travel the 70 miles to the corps. We stopped for the night and continued the next morning for another two hours to reach our destination.

We were met by our corps officer, Captain Victorin Lamour, who was promoted to major in the morning meeting. He was a gracious person, and we were welcomed with great joy. The soldiers looked so good in their white uniforms and hats. The building was packed to capacity, 200-plus, and the cooling was provided by the cross-ventilation from the windows. The temperature was 100 degrees, but the heat did not diminish the enthusiasm of the people. They sang with hearts full of joy and listened with rapt attention. The children were well-behaved and none were allowed to sleep. The service lasted two hours and included several special vocal numbers. The congregational singing was accompanied by a three-piece band and drums. I gave my testimony, and Major Lawrence Holmes brought the message. All had to be translated into the Creole language spoken by the congregation.

We heard more hallelujahs in that meeting than we have heard in a long time. When we dedicated the instruments, everyone was rejoicing with praise and thanksgiving to God for His goodness. The Haitian people have so few material things, but they never lack for joy. They are gracious and full of joy and full of love for God and The Salvation Army.

We are more convinced than ever that music adds a powerful element to the meetings. It is truly an international language.

We thank God for the opportunity to take these instruments to Haiti and pray they will bring honor and glory to His name.


Austin community warms up to first annual Family Affair

With temperatures in the 100's the Austin Area Command was uncertain what the turnout would be for its first "Family Affair" event - a free outdoor neighborhood celebration. Yet, with the heat index rising, hundreds of people of all ages attended and participated in the celebration complete with live music from the Salvation Army's Gospel Silvertones, all-day children's activities, a smorgasbord of food and the special guest, former pro football player Oscar Roan.

Roan, a member of the Cleveland Browns during his playing days, shared his testimony and spoke about God's life-changing power at the celebration and again at the Sunday morning holiness meeting the following day. Numerous individuals and families who came to the Saturday event attended the Sunday service at the Austin Citadel Corps. Many in attendance at both events responded to the calling of the Holy Spirit and came forward to receive prayer and to rededicate their lives to Christ. Nineteen individuals at the outdoor celebration accepted Christ.

Captain Henry Houston, Austin Citadel corps officer, chaired the planning committee to stage an event that would draw individuals and families from Army facilities including the Red Shield Lodge, women and children's shelter, adult rehabilitation center and the corps community center.

"We are committed to having a seamless ministry that deals not only in bringing people to Christ and helping them become more Christlike, but also helping them to develop their gifts and serve others through fellowship," Houston said.

Major Dan New, area commander and his wife Captain Sheila New orchestrated competitive events including watermelon-eating, pie-eating, doughnut-on-a-string-eating and a bubble gum-blowing contest. "In traditional models of church, you often have evangelism and service; however they're separate," New said. "In The Salvation Army we make every effort to do both at the same time."


 

Second-class prayer

By Major Larry Repass

Most of the evangelical churches in a certain city sponsored a "Day of Prayer," inviting all who would to assemble at a certain auditorium to pray "all during the day." A number of pastors were selected to give short messages on prayer at the beginning of each hour.

One pastor surprised the attendees by saying, "All of the praying we do here today is second-class." Perhaps "startled" would be a better word than "surprised." He let the thought intrigue them for several seconds, and then he read this text:

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet,

and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:6, KJV)

He then went on to say that however sincere and full of faith our public prayers are, and even if they "get results," they are at best only second-class prayers. The praying that Jesus commands is private prayer, secret prayer.

Someone openly objected that Jesus must have meant "individual prayer" when He said that, not the "corporate prayer" of a congregation. But the speaker countered by returning to the context of the text cited.

"His disciples came unto Him . . . and

He taught them, saying, ..." (Matthew 5:1, KJV)

The pastor closed his meditation by challenging those present to pray as sincerely as possible that day together, and to take the burden of prayer home to "finish the job in first-class praying - in secret."

Oswald Chambers explains in a number of his devotional teachings why secret intercession is the best. I have no one to impress if I am in secret as no one will know that I am praying. I can be my most honest with God. I have no reason to "put on airs" of pretended piety or humility. And He already knows the whole truth anyway.

Comrades, I too want to urge us all to pray well in our public services. But the greater lesson is that the most effective (first-class) prayer is when only the one praying and the One being prayed to know about it.


The Job Board

Salvation Army employment

 

The Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex Command

is looking to fill the following positions:

 

Financial manager

Experienced in Great Plains/Microsoft Business Solutions, B.S. in accounting or finance, MBA preferred, 7-plus years experience. Must have supervisory and budgeting experience. Resumes to: Danny_Cancino@uss.salvationarmy.org

Major gifts manager

Must have proven track record in major donor development, provide oversight and coordination of all requests for major individual donations, prepare comprehensive major donor development plan, create and manage annual budget, identify and cultivate new donors. Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university required. Resumes to: Linda_Lehner@uss.salvationarmy.org

Direct mail manager

Must have proven track record in managing a successful direct mail program, including tracking vendor performance. Must interface with all levels of DFWMC management and corps in the five-county area. Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and three to five years' experience. Resumes to: Linda_Lehner@uss.salvationarmy.org

Performing arts manager

Lights! Camera! Action! Bring hope and joy to children in community center settings as the performing arts manager. Seeking experienced music and drama educator. Experience with budgets, teacher supervision and curriculum implementation preferred. Resumes to: Carol_Klocek@uss.salvationarmy.org

Social services manager

Organized? Interested in system development? Social services manager needed to oversee multiple residential and basic assistance services for adults. Master's degree required, with five years' management experience preferred. Resumes to: Carol_Klocek@uss.salvationarmy.org.

The Salvation Army Dallas / Fort Worth

Metroplex Command

8787 Stemmons Fwy., Suite 800

Dallas, Texas 75247-3702

 

 






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