Olly and I are taking some time out of our sectional responsibilities... we feel a discontent within our souls and need to take time out to understand what we are called to do and where we are called to be.
To some people in the Salvation Army this is tantamount to sacrilege... but to us its a necessary step. We need to get our priorities right... our Founder didn't say:
“While women weep, as they do now, I'll attend a practice; while children go hungry, as they do now I'll sing in the choir; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I'll play in the band; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I'll spend time in my church, I'll be in there until the very end!”No... he didn't! He said...
“While women weep, as they do now, I'll fight; while children go hungry, as they do now I'll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I'll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I'll fight, I'll fight to the very end!”We need to find our fight!
So we're taking some time out. We haven't said we won't be back... and haven't burned any bridges. We need to rest... with our inspiration for this coming from Matthew 11: 28-30...
We are looking to learn the unforced rhythms of grace... the being where the Lord wants us to be... being who the Lord wants us to be... being with the people the Lord wants us to be with... and realising where we are, who we are and who we are with already.
So this morning we sat back... soaked up all that was prepared... and were knocked off our feet!
First off... the YP Band played the song that's being going through both Olly's and my mind this week... Matt Redman's The Heart of Worship ::
When the music fadesBy opting out of the sectional worship, we are able to strip a layer of busyness away... a layer between us and God... and just simply come into His presence. We gathered for worship and it was all about Jesus... not about what we had to do or when we had to take part... just Him.
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that's of worth
That will bless your heart
I'll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You're looking into my heart
I'm coming back to the heart of worship
And it's all about You
It's all about You, Jesus
I'm sorry, Lord, for the thing I've made it
When it's all about You
It's all about You, Jesus
King of endless worth
No one could express
How much you deserve
Though I'm weak and poor
All I have is yours
Every single breath
Then the Songsters sang a song that says "all who are weary... come home"... which was so apt for where we are.
Afterwards... Major Alec spoke on obedience... quoting Acts 9. He emphasised the fact that we are ALL called, in some way or other, to do something/be someone/be somewhere that the Lord has called us to do/be. There should be no spectators in this fight. We are all called to different things :: Saul was called to his journey... Annanias was called to accept Saul... what would have happened if Saul or Annanias had refused their calling? And yet we are all called to work together.
He spoke to us... but, more importantly, he spoke to everyone gathered. We all need to understand our calling.
Then to sum things all up... the Band played a tune that speaks of being "in the love of Jesus..." where "...there's perfect rest".
Rest. There is an irony that we were ministered to by the Sections we are on hiatus from... and I'm not sure what to say about that other than our experience is a Mary AND a Martha thing.
Martha criticises Mary (and indirectly Jesus) because Mary sits listening / being with Jesus while she is busy preparing stuff. We side with Mary... she gets who Jesus is... but then so did Martha... who, no doubt, was preparing the food/drink and being hospitable.
We need to be like Mary... and take time out to sit and listen to Jesus... but this time out is only to prepare for the time we are called to be like Martha and do the jobs allocated to us.
This is a faith AND action thing! The Army, in my opinion, has become too busy... to action orientated without the balancing act of sitting at Jesus feet. I have witnessed too many people express their faith by what they do or don't do... and not who they are. Last time I checked, this is how the Pharisees expressed their faith... "Thank you God that I am not like this Tax Collector... etc... etc".
I am not criticising the action... far from it. God needs people who are prepared to do what He wants them to do. BUT we need to ensure we are ACTUALLY doing what He has called us to do. How do we ensure this..? by sitting at Jesus' feet and keeping company with Him.
This is why we are doing what we are doing... and why I would encourage everyone engaged in the fight to make sure they are doing/being what the Lord wants us to do/be.