Sunday, 31 December 2006

Last Chance in 2006

Even as the hours wind down for the year 2006, we can take a moment to set things right. I'm so grateful time is of no consequence in heaven. Here, it can limit us significantly in our dreams and in our hopes. It can, however, help us in much the opposite way. With time constraints we are encouraged to get to things and to finish what we've begun.

I'm thinking the gift of time yet today is for you and me to do or say something significant that we've put off. A call to someone, an e-mail, a letter, or some communication of God's redeeming grace would be a grand thing in these last few minutes of this year. What is the Spirit encouraging you to do as you read this?

Psalms 31:14-16 (NIV)
14 But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God."
15 My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.
16 Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.

Saturday, 30 December 2006

Twelve Apostles

I thought they were people too. Turns out that along the Great Ocean Road, the 12 Apostles are world famous stone islands on the southern shore of Australia. Originally known as the "sow and the piglets," no doubt the existing name gives these formations a little more significance.

They are beautiful and they stand out against the natural elements. One can begin to understand why they're called the 12 Apostles. If you have a chance to see them, go.

I'm still hooked on the wonder of God's creation. I notice that we're seeing some activity around the creation/evolution questions. Let me throw another iron in the fire. I believe God hasn't concluded His creation. Just imagine what He is doing in you.

Psalms 51:10 (NIV)
"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."

Friday, 29 December 2006

Phillip Island

So Phillip Island is a great place to visit. It's probably a great place to live too. We visited the Koala Conservation, Seal Lookout and, of course, the Fairy Penguins. They were amazing. They marched (waddled) out of the ocean onto shore and to their dwellings in the grass. Some of them live 2 Kilometers on shore. We understand that over 1,000 of them came out that night, starting at about 9 pm - sunset.

As we watched and observed, we were overwhelmed with the reality that these creatures are the handiwork of God. There's absolutely no way they evolved to this practise, and anyone who suggests the possibility hasn't seen them in action.

Look around and see the glory of God presenting Himself to us in undeniable ways. That's what we are supposed to do too. Are the penguins more telling?

2 Corinthians 4:6 (NIV)
"For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."

Monday, 25 December 2006

Happy Christmas!

John 1:14 (KJV)
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."

Sunday, 24 December 2006

Carols by Candlelight

This has been a great night at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. It's a great production and is publicised for the benefit of Vision Australia, a charity for the vision impaired.

The weather was a little uncooperative, but considering that I've been praying for rain, one cannot complain when it rains on your plans.

Most of the program was sacred music which we enjoyed thoroughly. They even sang a section of Handel's Messiah (Hallelujah Chorus). It has been a beautiful Christmas Eve.

Ephesians 5:19 (NIV)
"Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord"

Saturday, 23 December 2006


When you're traveling, one of the greatest disappointments is when the airlines misplaces your baggage. If travel was ever a thrill, it has morphed into a series of inconvenience, line - waiting, cramped seating, flight delaying factors that render it less than thrilling. Whatever thrill present is dashed when the long wait at the baggage carousel reveals nothing of yours and directly precedes another line at the missing baggage desk.

If you know me, you know that I am not a complainer, and intentionally look for the positive. What strikes me about air travel today is that the costs are very high and those that work in the industry attempt to make this a good experience. It's most likely in the volume that the pleasure turns. We'd probably have less to complain about if we cut back on our baggage.

Luke 10:4 (MSG)
"Travel light. Comb and toothbrush and no extra luggage. "Don't loiter and make small talk with everyone you meet along the way."

Friday, 22 December 2006


I have said here before that Australia is facing a severe drought. Just now it is raining and we are grateful. Thank you, Lord for that sweet moisture that drops from the clouds and begins to nourish the soil, the plant life, the wild life and the streams.

We would be happy for more. We do not intend to be greedy, only needy.

Hear our combined gratitude for rain in unison and in harmony with a land and a people whose throat is almost too parched to plead. We do so earnestly with every intention of giving you glory and honour. Thank you, Lord.

Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV)
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Thursday, 21 December 2006

Wombat Divine

We looked at the beautiful displays in the windows of the Myer store on Bourke Street today. They're world class and very well done. At first I was a little taken back by the title. Then, I took in the story. To get to the point, the Wombat doesn't fit in the manger story anywhere, until he is selected to be the baby Jesus.

They've told the story...the whole story. We, each don't fit in the story until we realize God wants us to be like Jesus. He wants us to resemble the Saviour of the people of the world...and it's only possible because of the baby Jesus and the adult Jesus and the resurrected Jesus. Hallelujah!

Thank you Myer for getting it so right.

Philippians 2:5 (MSG)
"Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself."

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

The Ashes

I'm a recent convert to Cricket...the game, that is. Australia just won the Ashes back from England. (It's like the trophy) Of course, the match isn't over even though we already won. If you have to ask, you won't get it.

I see it as a blend of baseball and chess, because of the strategies that must be engaged to win. Yes, I know it takes five days to win a match, but it actually grabs you if you take a moment to understand and watch.

It is just a game. Isaiah has a comment about the ashes that makes eternal sense.

Isaiah 61:3 "...To give them beauty for ashes." We get the beauty of the Messiah, the Christ in place of the ashes of life. Hallelujah!

Tuesday, 19 December 2006

House Calls

There was a day that Doctors made house calls. I'm old enough to remember a Doctor coming to my house. I imagine that it would be pretty rare today, although I have not researched the matter here in Australia.

One of our jobs as Salvationists is to make house calls. There's no excuse for us not to. There's no excuse for officers and local officers not to make house calls. The faithful ones do it.

Our ministry towards drought relief is a "house call" ministry. It is the most effective way to reach families and independent people with the help they need. Is it too far of a stretch to understand that God has saved the people of the world by a house call? "The word became flesh and dwelt among us." Thank you, Lord for making a call to my house.

John 1:14 (MSG)
"The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish."

Monday, 18 December 2006

Christmas shopping

Have you purchased all of your Christmas presents? We're getting close to Christmas, and well, we're running out of time. By now you've noticed that I'm including myself in the mob that still has shopping to do.

First, you make a list for whom you need to buy presents. Then you begin to write down what you want to get them. At some point, you need to reconcile how much money you have to spend, and then sort out how you'll buy what you want with the money you have.

One year we gave presents of things we cherished because we didn't have much money. If you asked our family, they might just remember that year as being very special. When in doubt, give yourself. It's what God wants.

Romans 12:1 (MSG)
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him."

Sunday, 17 December 2006

Inala Chapel

We made it back to Inala. This time to the chapel for Sunday morning meeting. The choir was on duty and sang magnificently. They even sang a bit from Handel's Messiah. That makes them a Hallelujah Chorus.

Captains Tim and Dabak Lynn are the officers assigned to the chapel. They do a good work and serve the Lord with gladness. Majors Jeff and Jeanette Philp were there to support the cause and were a blessing to us and all.

God bless the people of Inala Chapel. They are precious and deep in their faith. I believe we're blessed by the abundance of prayer that emanates from this fellowship.

Luke 2:20 (ASV)
"And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, even as it was spoken unto them."

Friday, 15 December 2006

Christmas Caroling

What a beautiful opportunity to spread the message of the gospel of Christ in Christmas Caroling. We met a group tonight from Doncaster Corps. They sounded good. They looked good. They were adding to the atmosphere of the season. They gave the message through the Christmas Carols that we heard the people around us sing.

Most Christmas Carols tell the story in deep theological terms, but terms we sing with enjoyment. Joy to the wold, the Lord is come. O little Town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie. O Come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant. These are great verses with great promise for all.

Luke 2:13-14 (ASV)
"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased."

Thursday, 14 December 2006


There comes a time at which we just have to say "I'm sorry." We cannot act as if we are holy if there is sin in our heart, nor can the Army be a holy Army if we act as if we are sinless and ignore what we know to be wrong.

I have read with interest TSA apology to Aboriginal people recently and applaud the act as an attempt at repentance. It wasn't simply a trendy idea or a popular and public way to appropriately ask forgiveness of a people and of God.

So why wouldn't we do the same where we have erred with individuals? Well, we do when it comes to offended residents of our children's homes in years past. It's about time that we searched the soul of the Army for where we have sinned and ask for forgiveness from people and from God. Lord, help us and forgive us from our sins.

2 Peter 3:9 (Wesley NT)
"The Lord is not slow concerning his promise (tho' some men count it slowness) but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Aussie Bush Fires

Tasmania fires
The fires have flared up significantly again. Grave fears for a very small town called Cornwall with 30-40 houses. Evacuations are being carried out in St Mary's, another nearby town which is under threat.

The Salvation Army has one crew providing catering services at Fingal. Another crew is on route to Scamander with 400 sandwich packs and 200 ration packs.

A replacement crew will be sent to Fingal in coming days.

Victoria fires
The Salvation Army has provided bedding and other relief supplies for 600-700 people thus far for many towns in North/North East and Gippsland areas.

We have trailers with material needs (bedding etc.) at Moe and Morwell, and Salvos Stores at Traralgon and Morwell have been advised that their assistance may be needed if predicted hot weather arrives again. Local shops, such as camping shops, Kmarts and supermarkets are being contacted to arrange 24 hour access where needed to meet immediate needs for evacuees such as baby supplies, towels etc. mattresses/camp beds, blankets, toilet paper and soap.

South Australia fires
Teams from Adelaide have been involved in one of our longest duration turn-outs for many years assisting at a fire in the Wakerie area. They were onsite for more than a week providing some 600 meals a day.

Luke 20:37-38 (MSG)
37 Even Moses exclaimed about resurrection at the burning bush, saying, 'God: God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob!'
38 God isn't the God of dead men, but of the living. To him all are alive."

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Getting the Job Done

Finishing well...very important. Sometimes we're really good at starting things. It's exciting and even fun...getting something going. We have the hope that what we started will amount to something and that it will have effectiveness.

Then there are times when we just don't get around to the finish line. Reasons abound and explanations for coming up short sound quite convincing...but the real satisfaction comes when you finish the job.

Were you able to finish something today? Then you know the satisfaction I'm writing about. Good for you. Otherwise, well, there's always tomorrow...right?

1 Corinthians 9:26 (MSG)
"I don't know about you, but I'm running hard for the finish line. I'm giving it everything I've got. No sloppy living for me!"

Monday, 11 December 2006

Korean Ministries

Calling all Koreans. Come to the love of God. Seek Him through the love of His Son, Jesus Christ. He wants you to know Him, and you can.

We at The Salvation Army believe that there is a place for you in God's family. Come and meet Captain Seong-soon Hwang at 17-23 Nelson Road, Box Hill, Victoria. You can call him at (03) 9890 2993. He will tell you the good news of the Bible, the Word of God. You just can't go wrong.

Cost? Free. Value? Priceless. Purpose? Life. When? Now. Who? You.

Go for it!

John 3:16 (MSG)
"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life."

Sunday, 10 December 2006


The Hobart Citadel Corps is a wonderful expression of Salvationism in the great state of Tasmania. Carolyn and I were with them for two days this weekend which culminated in a blessed Holiness Meeting at the corps Sunday morning.

This first class and very large corps has been without corps officers since June 2006 and it is still fully functioning by the grace of God. Notice that I did not say they were without corps leaders. Both CSM Tony Foster and Assistant Corps Officers, Lieutenants Cherie and Chris Clarke have teamed up to advance the mission in these less than optimal circumstances. New Corps Officers are expected to arrive with the general change in January.

Thank you, Hobart Citadel. You make us all proud to be Salvationists.

John 17:19 (MSG)
"I'm consecrating myself for their sakes So they'll be truth-consecrated in their mission."

Toy Run

On Saturday we enjoyed being a part of the Toy Run in Hobart, Tasmania. TSA here, led by Majors Daddow, has an amazing annual event with over 7,000 motorcyclists who each bring a toy or two for us to give to children at Christmas. It is a great event.

SA soldiers, officers and volunteers all come to help in the process. It takes three trucks to gather the toys and food that's collected. The whole town turns out for the excitement and there are people everywhere in this Salamanca section of Hobart.

This is evidence of a good partnership doing a lot of good. Thank you bikers and thank you workers for your faithfulness in supporting the mission of God.

James 2:22 (MSG)
22 Isn't it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners, that faith expresses itself in works? That the works are "works of faith"?

Friday, 8 December 2006

The Handwork of God

Do you remember the old TV serial called the A-Team? It was an interesting show at the time. I recall that with all the shooting and violent type acts, no one ever died on the show...not even the bad guys. Another thing I remember was the phrase by Hannibal, "I love it when a plan comes together."

That's what I'm thinking about today. We're seeing God's incredible plan come together in aspects and from sources that are mind boggling. Hallelujah! He is crafting among us a great plan that will recast the mission of the Army in this territory with even wider influence.

Pray with me for the perfect people and the perfect support to do His glorious, perfect will.

Hebrews 11:40 (MSG)
"God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours."

Thursday, 7 December 2006


After study comes the tests. What's the point of studying if you're not facing a test? Why bother gaining information and experience if there is no use for it? Is this a wealth we put into our savings until a rainy day?

The test is where the study becomes focused and purposeful. The test is the fire that tempers the steel. Now what have you learned and what tests are you facing?

We need to put ourselves to the test. Have you learned of the love of God? Test it. Have you gained faith from your experiences and relationship with God? Test it. Have your observations caused you to have a certain understanding? Test it.

These tests will not result in failure...only more learning, ready for more testing.

1 Peter 1:7 (TLB)
"These trials are only to test your faith, to see whether or not it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests gold and purifies it--and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold; so if your faith remains strong after being tried in the test tube of fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day of his return."


There is no substitute for studying. We need students of the Word in TSA. We need students of prayer, evangelism and holiness. We need students of spiritual formation and leader development. We need students of culture and social policy. We need students of economics, architecture, construction, strategic thinking, compassion, counseling, administration, drug and alcohol addictions...etc...etc...

We are a dynamic army facing a changing world with layers and multiple dimensions of complexity, and even that is changing. It's as if the whole planet has Attention Deficit Disorder. That's OK. We serve the Lord who never changes and who loves us even as we morph into the 'interest de jour' of our journeys.

So let us be students, each one. Learning the ways of God to relate to the ways of the people to His glory and honor.

2 Timothy 2:15 (WesleyNT)
"Be diligent to present thyself unto God approved a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Tough Decisions

Life is loaded with decisions. Many of us have developed habits in our day so as to minimize the decision making. These would be good habits. All of us, no matter how much we may try avoidance, end up making plenty of decisions throughout the day. Some are big and some don't seem to be.

What was the biggest decision you've made today? The day I was saved was the best decision and the day I committed in marriage was another really big (and beautiful) decision. Then there are tough decisions...decisions that have a huge impact and that we have to make without the best information.

I've learned to trust God. The decisions aren't necessarily easier, but the anxiety is greatly diminished.

Hebrews 10:23 (TEV)
"Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep his promise."

Monday, 4 December 2006

Myer and The Spirit of Christmas 2006

I would imagine that there are many in Australia that collect the annual Christmas Music CD called the Spirit of Christmas, produced by the great Myer company. These recordings have been made since 1993 and have been generating the spirit of Christmas in people's hearts and in the way the income is used. The sale of these CD's this year goes to The Salvation Army's Children and Youth programs. This is a very good thing.

I salute the Myer folks and thank them for their well placed generosity. The donations given in this cause represent the spirit of Christmas, which is unconditional love. You take an important company, mix it with an important cause, and the outcome is a better place to live.

Thank God for the Salvos...and their friends.

Philippians 4:19 (MSG)
"You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus."

Sunday, 3 December 2006


The Heritage Centre is an incredible place to visit and to learn. Carolyn and I met with Lindsay Cox for a tour and a lesson in The Salvation Army. The museum and archives are chock full of wondrous stories and artifacts that tell the glory of God. This place is more about God's work among us than anything else.

Based on what we saw, the territory has an illustrious and dynamic heritage. It speaks of how we came to this point in time and shouts where we're going. We saw some great things, but as we were carefully and interestingly guided through the exhibits, I saw that God wants us to be all that and more. Do you think He's finished with us or determined that we are now on a level maintenance mode? I don't think so, and I'm prepared to live and lead as if He sees our today's and tomorrows with an increasing glory...His glory!

Come join our Army!

Revelation 14:7 (MSG)
7 He preached in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory! His hour of judgment has come! Worship the Maker of Heaven and earth, salt sea and fresh water!"

Saturday, 2 December 2006

All the people

Sometimes on Saturdays, we have a chance to get out and walk the streets a little. There are so many people around us. Do they know the Saviour? How will they ever know? Major Donna Peterson wrote a song by that title years ago. It's a beautiful song with close harmonies and is dedicated to General Bramwell Tillsley (Rtd.) who was her Training Principal.

The chorus reads,
If I don't have your joy to share with another;
If I don't have the peace that comes from above;
If I don't have a heart with compassion for others,
How will they ever know,
How will they ever know of your love?

The close harmonies of our walk in Jesus will bring the holy music to the hearts of the people.

Philippians 4:9 (MSG)
"Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies."