Thursday, October 30, 2008

Prisoner of Hope

Sharpening the Cutting Edge
John Smith has just completed a significant rewrite of this seminal book which was originally published in the UK in the early 1990’s under the title “Cutting Edge” and it is being republished by Urban Neighbours of Hope (UNOH) as part of their Discipleship Classics collection.
I was thrilled to be at the book launch at St. Martins Church in Collingwood last night. John Smith has been a prophetic voice to Australia and has born some incredible local fruit in social reform and local, practical initiatives dealing with poverty. What a man. Guest speaker, Wynand de Kock (Principal Tabor College) suggested that John, like Desmond Tutu described himself when someone else called him an optimist was 'a prisoner of hope'. Is there room in that cell?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Intense love does not measure, it just gives. (Mother Teresa)

The truth isn't sexy campaign launched in British Columbia

check out the website!
THE LIE | Women working in prostitution, strip clubs, escort agencies and sex massage parlours choose their profession for the lifestyle and money. They are living the “Pretty Woman” dream by setting their own terms of work and keeping all the money they earn.
THE TRUTH | The majority of workers in the sex trade are trapped in modern sex slavery. They are lured by a boyfriend or recruiter posing as a friend or potential employer. Some are sold into the industry by their fathers, brothers or husbands. After recruitment, the women are trapped by drug addiction and debt bondage to a pimp, gang or sex trade ring.

There are many more truth statements exposing the lie in the campaign (check it out). On the night of the release of this campaign I happened to be in Vancouver. Walking home in the downtown eastside along a very familiar route right across from a notorious Hell's Angel stripclub is a massive bus stop poster with an image of a woman being raped (familiarly called prostitution) with the caption THE TRUTH ISN'T SEXY.
Wow. It was powerfully placed and a powerful statement in a neighbourhood where the LIAR seems to run free. Let TRUTH begin to have it's way in the web of deceit and fear that violence against women through sexual exploitation has... may God break every chain and give us wisdom, discernment and the old fashioned guts to take on the giant!
Pray for the campaign.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wisdom, Justice and more Justice...

Well, today started with a preach on Wisdom at the fun and sacred Reservoir Salvos (hint: it's all about Jesus - the personification of wisdom) to a lecture on the connection between prostitution and human trafficking (particularly on the scene in Australia)... don't get me started but this lecture by the leading experts in Australia was fuel for the fire to stop the oppression of women in Aus. through the so called 'sex trade' (aka systemic pimping and violence against women). We really must use our heads and start mobalising our forces for women's freedom... it is no accident that women are the most persecuted people group on the planet! more on this later.
The finish was a radio interview that turned out refreshingly so, to be about the things we can actually do to make a difference in the world - some ideas?
1. choose to see (willful ignorance is largely responsible for injustice in the world)
2. do what's in front of you to do (in your own neighbourhood... in your own community... be inspired by a lady who baked some muffins and took them to the local brothel in her community... started some relationships and is walking down that road into justice lived out).
3. join a campaign (,, to name a few)

anyway, here's believing that the light spreads and the darkness shakes and the kingdom of God advances... Your Kingdom Come. Yes Lord.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I got home this morning after an epic adventure of travelling for over 30 hours with a six year old! good times.
And I was thinking about home. It was a bit weird because I was technically coming from home (Canada and family) to home (Australia and friends). And I got to thinking about heaven being our true home but even more than that I got to thinking about how home grows. It's natural for us in our own human capacity to think about home having to be 'a place'... like something stagnant or solid like an actual 'house'. I was reading a book on the plane that explains it like this (regarding children in families)... you think you won't have enough love to give to a child but when the child arrives your love expands and you have more than you ever had before... then you have another and the same thing happens - you wonder will I have enough to do more than one... but then more love happens... it's like an ever, growing, expanding source. Love grows. And I think home is where the love is. Being an officer's kid I had to sort that out a bit early. Visiting your folks and having to ask where the bathroom is - is a bit awkward... but I never had to ask where the love was... that was a given. Home is where the love is. So, it's larger than any one place... and it can grow. Home, sweet home. Love, home, grow... sounds like the Kingdom doesn't it?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fall and the beauty of death.

I was running this morning in the vibrant colours of fall... honestly, Ontario in Autumn is really a sight to behold. The picture should help you imagine. I was also listening to Jesus speaking about losing your life in order to gain it (through my ipod.. gospel of John). I had my ipod on shuffle (which I've termed 'God radio') and what followed Jesus was Lauryn Hill 'when it all falls down... basically suggesting that when everything falls you only have one thing left... love'. God is love.
It was quite a time of worship and teaching... the tendency I have (and it seems I'm not alone) is to grasp tightly to things I think I need or simply want... just now my son was telling his papa that money is not what we need... we need to share - then everyone will have enough! who made him so smart? and how awkward is it to get rebuked by a six year old?! Anyway, the point is that it isn't always about money - it's about family, time, gifts, and love... it's about being free from fear and embracing an abandoned life of wonder and beauty - it's about dying to self and then living to Christ. It's not just me - check outside in Ontario Canada right now... there is a deep, spiritual beauty in death. Yesterday I was privileged to participate at Etobicoke Corps (Court family home) and sung the words of Albert Orsborne (music by Phil Laeger):
My life must be Christ's broken bread
My love his outpoured wine
A cup o'erfilled, a table spread
Beneath his name and sign
That other souls, refreshed and fed,
May share his life through mine.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What love can do.

Was watching a football (Canadian game... Toronto Argos) game today and it reminded me of hearing Pinball Clements (a hugh football star) the other day. He said the thing that defines him is not all the fame, or the family (solid) or the trophies (many) or the hall of fame (huge)... the thing that really gives him value is that he is a child of God.
Raised by a single mom with many difficulties he understands his value to the Lord and lived out his life in response to what he's been given. It wasn't that long ago I heard Bono (THE Bono, from U2) kneel down on stage and recite a Psalm to heaven 'with what can I offer the Lord for the love he has showered on me...'

It seems like an impossible question - impossible response... but the truth of it is that it is also very simple. Jesus said if you love me you will do what I ask. Do what he asks. Live your life back to the one who poured it all your way... responsive living. I'm into it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Who Will Deliver Us?

Had some stimulating conversation with my Dad today about the book of Judges... the pattern of God's people to expect and demand someone 'else' to help them and bring them into freedom is amazing. Then it seems once God does raise someone up (even someone from among them) instead of following their example and walking out their freedom - they tend to worship them and continue to spectate instead of participate.. sound familiar?
Commissioner William Francis suggested at the Harvest of Hope Congress in Toronto recently that the greatest thing the Salvation Army needs is your own holiness... that is to say - if only we would walk in our own victory, freedom and deliverance we wouldn't constantly be looking outside of ourselves for the answers... could it be that simple?
I think it may just be that simple.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Toronto Congress

I've just finished the Harvest of Hope congress in Toronto and was encouraged by the Word, the testimony of others, the worship, gifts and talents presented to God - not to mention the reunions with family and friends! I've been thanking God for His great gifts these days and find myself challenged again to match the outpouring of God's grace with earthy expressions of grace-filled responses... Commissioner Marilyn Frances suggested in one of her talks that people really should be heaven on two legs... I like that... the Kingdom of Heaven is within us Jesus reminds us... so as we GO we bring heaven near... have you thought of that lately? You are the holiness of God expressed on the earth... wow. We carry this glory in earthen vessels... jars of clay. May God give us grace to carry it well.
And just in case you think it's possible to be too heavenly minded to be of earthly good - let me remind you of CS Lewis in his book Mere Christianity, who wrote: ‘If you read history you will find that Christians who did the most for the present world were those who thought the most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.’
I'm praying for a Harvest of Hope to invade our minds and set our eyes toward Heaven and then our hands toward bringing heaven to earth. Let Your Kingdom Come.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Vancouver and flying...

I was doing a fair bit of thinking on the long trip to Canada from down under yesterday... mostly it had to do with the blessing of God showered out and over my life... today I had a chance to hang out with an old friend and again was reminded of God's great grace - it's amazing... actually, a friend of mine says it's 'ridiculous' even... it's so amazing.
What I really wonder about is why when we are so good at receiving Grace are we so hesitant to give it out freely... trapped often by this incredibly silly feeling that if we spend it we will run out - all the while knowing (if we know Him at all) that God keeps dishing out the stuff like it's the last day everyday... so, I'm finding the trick of receiving and giving a long and important lesson... and I've decided to make it a life challenge... to try and give at least as much as I receive - Grace that is... possible? Let's find out.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Aggressive Christianity Conference

ACC is now going strong... some highlights:
covenant day - a reminder of the supremecy of Christ in my own covenant... to LOVE him supremely all my days... a stirring and faith-building time with Janet Munn bringing the Word alive...
Commissioner James Knaggs bringing the word with power and intimacy last night - mercy seat lined... people responding to a personal God with a personal willingness to GO. good times.
Significant silence in worship... a sweet presence filled with Holy Spirit... we lingered for a while - really beautiful.
Russell Rook delivering a beautiful and moving take on the Emmaus walk... challenging us to GO and inviting Jesus to walk with us and catch us up on the way...

I've been struck by the simple message of Jesus - His love, presence, touch and words... and I'm praying that I will not only hear but do the work of the Kingdom.