Saturday, December 4, 2010

Running for Freedom

Seriously crazy men are running from the red light district in Amsterdam to the red light in London. WHY??? 
Freedom ticket for life is a new campaign from Stop The Traffik that tries to get at the Root causes of human trafficking and really change the reality of girls on the ground in high trafficked and risky neighbourhoods... the reality is that if a girl is educated she is almost completely saved from the reality of human trafficking... the odds accumulate in her favour. If she is not... we might as well put a sign on her so the trafficker can find her a bit easier...

Soooo, these crazy men are not so crazy afterall... actually, they may be the most sane men on the planet.
Why not join the journey.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

the attitude of gratitude

So, I think it's really cool that in The Salvation Army our 'self denial' period (where we deny ourselves stuff so that other people can have something - world missions) was collected on thanksgiving weekend. It works out well. I was struck by the beauty of it in our local front because we had just preached on Jubilee... and the spirit of the anointing of Jesus which is to 'preach good news to the poor... to proclaim the year of jubilee - God's favour'. That concept is an old Jewish one (right to the roots of Moses baby) and was God's attempt at bringing equality and fair distribution to earth (as it is in heaven...). The story goes that the Jewish people never fully celebrated a Jubilee... in the full economic sense... so, when Jesus stands up and announces that the Jubilee is here.. it's no wonder they tried to kill him. Jubilee threatens people who live close-handed lives. But, followers of Jesus get the joyful decree and with wide-open hands and eyes we give joyfully, thankfully, abandoned to the worry-free living of God's kingdom come. There is a lot more to be said on the subject... everyone should check out Ched Myers 'Sabbath economy' stuff...
So, come on... join the jubilee - give more away with joy. ;-)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Janis Joplin

I was contemplating the life of Janis Joplin today - it's been 40 years since her death.
I've always been a fan of her music... almost a blues/rock worship type of thing really... Larry Norman wrote a song to her when he used to open for her shows in the 60s called 'why don't you look into Jesus, He's got the answers' and it's a great word... she was completely unsatisfied with her life - even with fame, and success - she never felt loved or knew who she really was.
I guess we've all gone through that (although not nearly as upfront and in public I'm sure). The reality is that life doesn't make any sense without Jesus. Which is amazing when we consider how much time and energy we spend trying to find meaning in things and money and status and jobs and family... yet all of this falls short. The dark side of this reality is death... which is where Janis landed... dead. Without hope and without God - life does seem pretty meaningless. I wish she had chosen life. IF you feel like her... why not look into Jesus like Larry Norman suggests... he's got the answers

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Media Release from Honour Consulting

For Immediate Release
October 5 is International Day of NO Prostitution we ask the question
Should men be able to buy sex, is that a right?

October 4, 2010 

On October 5 at 11am on the steps of the Ontario Court at 361 University Ave. where the recent ruling was handed down by Judge Himmel. Former sex trade workers and human trafficking survivors from across Canada will be holding a press conference to address the recent ruling. We will be addressing the concerns that this ruling brings up and the next steps Canada must take to keep women & children safe and to further women's equality. 

While all groups are happy with the decriminalization of the women in prostitution we are all deeply troubled with the fact that living of the avails and running a bawdy house have been decriminalized. From our lived experiences we know that some of the most exploitive and harmful practices happen indoors by pimps who profited of the exploitation of our bodies, who through this ruling are now legitimated into buisnessmen

 All groups are in total agreement that it is the root problem that allows prostitution and human trafficking to thrive, that must be dealt with, which is the demand for paid sexual access to bodies, pimping, procuring and trafficking.

To make Canada a truly progressive country whose laws are rooted in equality and that further the dignity of all women our groups are saying that Parliament MUST criminalize the demand, pimping and procuring of women & children. Prostitution is the oldest oppression that must be dealt with in a manner that stands up to the patriarchal belief that men must be able to access sex on their terms at all times. 

While the debate rages about whether legalizing will make women "safer" and whether or not women "choose" to prostitute the real question hides. Should men be able to buy sex? Is that a sign of an egalitarian society, when one half of the population based on gender is allowed to be commodified and sold to satisfy the sexual needs of others? 

We will talk frankly and honestly about how the setting aside of these laws with no further action is the utter and complete abandonment of marginalized women and particularly aboriginal women and address how the removal of all laws is a gift to pimps and traffickers. 

While there are 3 women in Ontario who are happy they won the court challenge our question is “If Canada does not deal with the unchecked male driven demand for paid sex, who's daughters will take their place?”

Friday, July 9, 2010

Spiritual Readings - a love language

Evangelism is hard work in a country that has closed itself to 'religion' as a conversation of interest.
Today in the heart of Coppenhagan's educational city hub we tried a new strategy - it's called Spiritual Readings. It's basically using the language of 'spirituality' as a way of introducing people to the living word of God. I learned these tactics from Patricia King at Extreme Prophetic. We simply set up a booth of three chairs and made a sign inviting others to have a 'free spiritual reading'. What it means is that we pray to Jesus and ask Him for a specific word for the person we are praying for.
This was a brand new strategy for the young people I was doing it with in Denmark on a Salvation Army mission team.... but they were absolutely brilliant. Every single person we prayed with was  amazed at God's voice and open to receive more instruction and the message of the gospel freely afterwards. Tears, exposed fear, love revelations, confession, spiritual hunger - all of that was present after Jesus began to reveal Himself through our faith venture. It's so exciting to be in God's plan... the adventure never seems to stop.
I'm spurred on by the team - who is willing to step out in faith and confront their fear and the darkness with the never failing love and light of Jesus. And I'm spurred on by the love of God for His people... all of His people... oh, how He loves us.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Justice made fun in Denmark

I've spent the night at a camp in Denmark with 150 kids (of all ages) many of whom have not embarked on the Jesus adventure yet. Last night there was a special all ages game that was an incredible time together. It's difficult to explain but every small game/challenge was about helping kids here understand a little about life for others in developing countries. All of the games were connected to the Millennium Development Goals and included a brief idea/glimpse of how people can make a difference to change the situation. At the end of each challenge we received an ingredient for a cake we had to make together. Everyone received different portions and in order for any one team to make their cake they had to share/borrow or trade with others. It was a bigger lesson in how we can only challenge injustice by working together to redistribute wealth in a just way. All of this was done as a game - it was fun and it was really challenging.

It seems Denmark Salvationists take their justice seriously. What a great way to engage in a meaningful evening with those who know Jesus and those who don't know Him yet. The night was capped off with an International Night from the Time To Be Holy delegates - which was sensational... a very clear and celebratory declaration of the love and life of Jesus... what a great way to celebrate Justice again - from the inside out.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Time To Be Holy Revolutionaries...

Only a few more days left with this revolutionary, global team of committed Salvationists trying their best to challenge evil and extend God's kingdom in their own nations. It's been an incredible time of free worship, intercession, study, fun and strategic Holy advance as we've gathered at the ICO for the first ever 'youth focused' event in the hallowed grounds of 'The Cedars' in London.Thanks for your prayers and support - God has clearly answered and will continue to pour out His spirit on all of us as we continue in mission to Denmark and then on to Sweden for the final celebration! God's kingdom come!

Friday, June 25, 2010

moderate degrees of talent

Catherine Booth wrote to her husband, "Nothing can hinder a holy person from bringing forth fruit unto God. If my dear, you are altogether giving up to God, you cannot but be a soul saving minister. Holiness with a moderate degree of talent will produce far greater results than great talents without holiness..."

This is a great reminder in a western culture that struggles for 'qualitifications' and clammers after degrees and need ego boosting titles and positions... the truth is that you don't have to be a rocket scientist or even extraordinary in any venture - if you are filled with Holy Spirit - you will do His will and work in His power and see God's kingdom come.

This is a real struggle. To resist the urge to make it happen ourselves. The Psalmist suggests that unless the Lord builds the house we labour in vain... this is along these lines. God's work must be done with God's power. Holiness is the power of God at work within us and then coming out of us.

I'm praying for a holiness revival.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Time To Be Holy

I'm at the International College for Officers - a Salvation Army global training centre for leaders around the world. Under the direction of the Munns (legends and heroes) and a great team - there is a first ever youth focused spiritual development strategic time of holiness teaching and experience... it's going to be amazing.
If you can, please pray for us and with us that God would awaken The Salvation Army to be even more alert to what the Spirit is doing in us and through us to bring His Kingdom come.

Friday, June 11, 2010

the gospel truth for the religious and not so religious

I had an interesting conversation this week about religious language and the presentation of the gospel. The gospel is simply the good news that it's not too late for our hearts to be awakened from the deep sleep that we entered when we bought the lie that evil gave us. We are cursed. We are broken and bent towards wrong. We are deeply twisted and death lurks in us. So what can we do? We can allow the God of angel armies to enter into our lives and beat wickedness with love and awaken us to Life and give the death in us a final kick until life itself pulses through our veins and we can't help but cry out 'yeah God'! We can awaken, not just to be awake - but to be fully alive... in living colour for the purpose we were born for.. to spread the good news that Jesus lives and to help awaken others - to live a meaningful life bent on good, sold out to life, and full of love. This is the good news.
Others might say that God sent Jesus to save us from sin and hell. Repent and believe. Turn from your sins and follow Jesus. Whichever way you want to say it the gospel remains - Truth and Life. I'm going to be shouting this good news from centre stage at the State Youth Games in Victoria, Australia this weekend. My last weekend down under will be full of the proclamation of the gospel. This death defiant act will not be my last - I plan to shout the good news until my breath runs dry...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Packing and Pilgrimage

When you pack you are constantly reminded of the stuff you carry that you don't really need.
It's amazing. There is also another thing: when you have finally cleaned house - really, taken out the trash and the thrift store stuff and the things you were meant to return a long time ago - it feels better. Then I wonder why I didn't just live like that?!
Obviously the spiritual is the same. Why do we carry so many things around... burdens, fears, bitterness - when it would feel so much better to throw those out.. and the other things... old spiritual things, habits, tools, bibles and the like - why don't we pass those on to people who could use them? and then the things we should be returning to God - our gifts, our time, our hearts our minds, our attention... it just feels better to live like that.
I've been doing some thinking about simplicity recently... there is much to be said about simplicity when you are moving!! ;-)
The Psalmist suggest that I'm blessed because my heart is set on pilgrimage. I'm following God. Jesus said when you go don't take much with you - I'm trying to follow His advice... although very hard in todays world. Onward.

Monday, June 7, 2010


"The time is ripe for looking back over the day, the week, the year, and trying to figure out where we have come from and where we are going to, for sifting through the things we have done and the things we have left undone for a clue to who we are and who, for better or worse, we are becoming. But again and again we avoid the long thoughts….We cling to the present out of wariness of the past. And why not, after all? We get confused. We need such escape as we can find. But there is a deeper need yet, I think, and that is the need—not all the time, surely, but from time to time—to enter that still room within us all where the past lives on as a part of the present, where the dead are alive again, where we are most alive ourselves to turnings and to where our journeys have brought us. The name of the room is Remember—the room where with patience, with charity, with quietness of heart, we remember consciously to remember the lives we have lived." Frederick Buechner (A Room Called Remember: Uncollected Pieces)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Nefarious: Merchant of Souls - Trailer 1

World CUP

The group Exodus Cry has created a 31 day prayer guide for the World Cup
(being held in South Africa this year). Follow this link to view the prayer

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I'm sorry.

I'm learning more and more about the essentials of free speech lately. 
I've been part of speaking tour called Sex On Demand (and pretty busy - which is why I haven't blogged lately - sorry!)... none the less the speaking tour has been with a guy named Victor Malarek who has recently written a book called 'The John's: sex for sale and the men who buy it'. 
Victor is very passionate about trying to limit and indeed shut down the sex industry - the people who profit from women 'for sale'. Victor points out the reality - when you legitimize the commodification of women's bodies you perpetuate the growing evil of the global sex trade and contribute to inequality.

Thankfully this is supported by The Salvation Army Internationally (see the positional statement on human trafficking which suggests that we combat both the commodification of women - the sex industry. AND the demand for sex - men who buy it). 

Apparently the 'sex industry' was insulted by the advertisement for the speaking tour. I've attached it here for you to have a look at. The reality is that when you make women's bodies commodities, no matter how you 'dress it up' it is degrading. 
It's not the poster you should be offended with - it's the reality

So, to the sex industry I say that I am deeply sorry. I'm sorry for the hundreds of thousands of women and children that are exploited into sexual servitude EVERY YEAR - I'm sorry for the equality of women being hijacked and set aside by people who desire money over freedom. I'm sorry for the future generations that grow up believing that subjugation and humiliation are 'empowerment'. I'm sorry that I've been quiet for this long and I'm sorry that I haven't offended you more often. I'm sorry that I've been apathetic and indifferent to the plight of women stuck in the grinding poverty and the gradual death of their bodies and souls as a result of this prostitution. 

Not only am I sorry - but I'm repentant. I'm going to change my ways. I'm going to speak up more. I'm going to remind society of the costs to real women with real names and real lives who live as virtual prisoners to men who demand sex and use their economic power to get it - at great costs. I'm going to remind myself of the names and faces of women and children who suffer the real pain of sexual servitude... the young 12 year old girl in Tasmania who was raped by over 100 men - pimped out by her own mother... the 14 year old boys charged with gang rape as they re-inacted what they watched the 'sex industry' pump out as 'normal behaviour' on the internet... the young girls lured into prostitution from TV shows that glamorize the life of prostitutes and LIE to bolster their industry at the expense of the innocence of girls and the health of society. 

So, let it be known. I'm sorry. And I've changed my ways. I determine to stand up, speak up, and fight for a society that protects it's most vulnerable and disadvantaged citizens. I determine to protect and serve women and children who have been exploited from economically poor conditions to sexual slavery in Australia (they say this is a better life!). I determine to set my sights on a day where Australia and the rest of the world will believe deep within their hearts that women and children ARE NOT FOR SALE. Where men are held accountable for violence against women - ALL women. And where little children are taught the value and dignity of every human being! 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sex on Demand challenge.. speaking of free speech.

Today kicks off the Victor Malarek speaking tour in Melbourne. This tour is about raising a conversation about human trafficking and prostitution in Australia. Award winning journalist and international speaker, Victor is going to present what he has discovered in his research and what several of us have discovered in our brothel visits, and what the UN has also declared - that prostitution is connected to trafficking. No matter how you slice it. So, the question we want to get to is 'what can we do about it?' What are the ways that the Australian public/society can combat human trafficking? That's the stuff we are after. Check out THIS LINK for his schedule. And take an event or two in. It's bound to be informative and confronting. Maybe even enough to cause some action! ;-) It's the best kind of free speech.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

the right to speak

I recently watched a documentary on the life of Larry Flint - founder and promoter of Hustler magazine and all things pornography in America. His life is ironically celebrated as a champion for the freedom of speech - a constitutional privilege. I was struck by the irony that something created to protect people's freedom can so easily be manipulated to take it away. And yet, that same freedom is challenged in court and in public opinion if the content of the speech is unpopular... or, let's say Biblical.
Read this article from the National Post about some students who will challenge their freedom to speak for those who can't speak for themselves. Then maybe give some thought to using our rights and freedoms for the liberation of those who have none.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sex On Demand

As you check out the videos below with Victor Malarek - prepare to come to an event during his speaking tour of Australia. It's sure to be an amazing time of conversation that will challenge and inform us to combat human trafficking and be the solution towards equality and justice. Go to for details on the speaking times and cities.

CBC News Sunday interview with Victor Malarek part 2/2

CBC News Sunday interview with Victor Malarek part 1/2

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sledgehammers and other holy things

There seems to be a bit of a theme happening in the conferences I've been at of late - idols. Interestingly in scripture when God is on the move - and wants to mobalise the people he first calls them to smash their idols. I've been thinking about our idols in culture... fame, success, wealth, comfort, beauty - to name a few. What does it mean to smash an idol in todays context? In Minehead it meant taking a sledgehammer to some cans/cabinets that represented various aspects of our idolatry... people were naming their own idols and we smashed them together - figuratively. I couldn't help imagining what it would look like if thousands of Christians actually smashed their idols... TVs flying off balconies and out of houses/alcohol bottles flowing as they come crashing down/computers and ipods??

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Volcanic Ash and other fun things...

So, turns out the whole of the UK transit system is in lock down due to a volcanic eruption in Iceland. Who knew? I was remembering watching those end of the world movies where everyone is stuck and can't get to safety - turns out that it may not be that far fetched. Loads of people are either stuck in the UK and can't get out - or stuck out and can't get in. Heathrow airport is deserted.
I wonder if it may just be a divine hint to slow down and enjoy life a bit - a life always on the run is fun for a while but there is sometimes an invitation for us to take a break, slow down and smell the roses - hang with friends - waste some time.
I'm terrible at this. I'm much better in a constant state of 'catch up' where everything is pending and depends on me... this is a driver for me - the next book to be written, trip to take, speak to give, project to launch etc... but sometimes, if we listen we can hear the voice of God saying - let's just hang out and have some fun... could that be God?
The sabbath instruction was along these lines... it was to be a constant reminder (economically, socially, emotionally, spiritually) that the people of God were not born to be slaves!! That I can 'amen'. I'm praying that all of those people 'stuck' would listen and hear the divine invitation to throw their lives in the hands of a playful God - and simply have some fun. That would/could cause it's own volcanic eruption - in praise perhaps?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Not sure I can describe the events of the last few days. People saved, delivered, healed and the people of God allowing His Spirit to transform them... it's exciting days at Springharvest.
Malcolm Duncan delivered a call to 'stand up and fight' - using Esther's declaration 'if I die - I die' as a foundational scriptural call to be counted for change in the world. He used William Booth's words 'I'll fight' and wrote this poem for the occasion - I LOVE IT... it's a powerful word. Read and apply:
I want to be a God-gazer,
captured by the brilliance
that springs from the radiance
of You.
I want to be a God-gazer!
Not a cheap food grazer
or an easy option lazer.
I want to be a trail-blazer
for the ordinary, everyday life.

I want to be a God-gazer -
not just copying the halcyon ways
that shimmer brighter in the haze
 of by-gone rays and the good old days.

I want to be a God-gazer!
Looking beyond the trappings of success,
cutting through the stucco of respectability
like a laser piercing darkness.

I want to be a God-gazer!
Reaching for the stars and
seeing beauty in the moment by
becoming fluent in the language
of the God Who is here, Who is now.

I want to be a God-gazer
until my imagination is saturated;
until my thirst is sated;
until my passion is stirred;
until my intellect is stretched
as far as it can be;
until my yearning yearns
for others to be free.

I want to be a God-gazer -
 not a meetings manager
or a people pleaser
 or a 'tea and sympathy' vicar -
not a leadership trainer,
not just a speaker
but a seeker.

I want to be a God-gazer...
and for the moment I want God
to gaze through me.
I want others to see
His eyes
and Love
above everything else in me.

I want to be a God-gazer
captured by the brilliance
that springs from the radiance
of You.

I want to be a Life-giver
not a life-sucker,
I want my life to be releasing
not appeasing or placating.
I want to be a Life-giver,
A drainpipe without blockages,
A circuit without stoppages,
A connector without breakages.
I want to be a Life-giver!
A 'you can do it' releaser,
A 'have a go' preacher,
A 'you were born to do this' pastor.
I want to be a Life-giver -
Seeing rivers flow, not die,
Seeing others rise and fly,
Helping friends reach for the stars
even if they sometimes miss.
At least they can say they tried.
I want to be a Lie-giver,
Generous in spirit and in heart,
Letting the forgotten make a start
at being Life-givers, too.
I want ot be a Life-giver
because I am a God-gazer
not because it's about me
but because it's about Him
because life can't spring
from any other 'thing'.
I want to be a Life-giver
connected ot the Sorce
and pointing to the Son -
standing in the shadow of the Light
celebrating Him.

I want to be a World-changer
not just a furniture re-arranger
or an 'it could be better' winger
or a 'have the left overs' stinger.
I want to be a World-changer!
A doer, not just a talker.
I want to spread the clothes of heaven,
No more or less than a poor man's dreams,
beneath the feet of Jesus.
I want to be a World-changer -
'Cos on a morning many winters ago
the tomb was open
and the curse was broken.
Death had to let go
and re-creation burst out
of an old wineskin
like water from a geyser,
Like the cry of a child
pushed into the world
and nothing
would shut Him up.
I want to be a World-changer
because it's started...
because the vanguards on the move...
and love is pushing out hate
and light is shining out
and darkness can't understand it
beat it
change it
hide it
kill it
stop it
I want to be a World-changer
because there's safety in this danger.
There's meaning in this purpose.
There's joy in this mission
and too many others are missing
the power of life in all its fullness.
World-changer? LIfe-giver? God-gazer.
God, break in - then break out
Fill - then make me leak.
Plug me in and push me out.
In me, through me, around me
Make me a Patrick.
Make me a Brendan.
God-gazing, life-giving, world-changing.
Capture by the brilliance
that springs from the radiance
of You.

Malcolm Duncan
January 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Camp and Jesus

So, I've been traveling the three campuses of Easter Camp (the New Zealand youth movement at Easter time) this weekend. What a trip. :-)
It was incredible to see so many young people (about 9000 all up) engaging with the events of Jesus' death and resurrection. So many folks were first time seekers and the stories seemed to stream in endlessly about Jesus showing up in their lives - warming their hearts and impacting their futures.
What an amazing God we serve. I was humbled and inspired by what I saw. God really means what He says 'those who seek me will find me.'
You know, this culture really curses young people. the main message seems to be that the most they can hope for is to be good consumers, stay dissatisfied and unhappy and hope to express themselves in extravagant sin. But the gospel is good news for THIS time. They/we/you can be free, holy, true, pure and the redemption shapers of todays world... this is all TRUE and it's only the beginning of what Jesus wants to do in all of us. I'm pumped up. Jesus really is alive - I saw Him all over New Zealand!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Palm Sunday

It was kind of fun preaching on Palm sunday in Tasmania this past week-end. I was over for the final weekend of Graceworks (which was a blessing) and stayed on for the Sunday to preach at a corps and a divisional youth event. Beside Tasmania being filled with great people - it also really reminded me of British Columbia - with lush green colours and bush and hiking and hills... good times.
The Palm sunday was a refreshing lead up to the Easter weekend events coming. I was struck, as I prepared, by the deep meaning of the events.. how political and justice focused Jesus was and for the youth meeting I camped out on Matt 21 when Jesus entered Jerusalem 'everyone was stirred.'
It got me thinking that Jesus does do a lot of stirring and reminded me of Martin Luther King Jr. quote 'peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of Justice'. Catherine Booth has said it herself, 'there is no changing the future without disturbing the present'. I was challenging myself really to be a disturber of 'fake' peace (that Vanilla comfort status quo curse thing)... the events of Easter were (and are still) disturbing things... Jesus going the distance - all the way through the pain of death, and death on a cross to bring about a final victory where love triumphs over all. I wonder if we are willing, like his example, to be the people who stir it up? When you enter a city, a home, a workplace, a school - is the whole place stirred? That's something to aim for...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Grace and Justice

The Graceworks conference was a great celebration and a joy to be a part of.
Part of the highlights for me was sharing a workshop with Melinda Tankard-Reist. Melinda is a tireless crusader for justice in Australia. Work through the Women's Form Australia - she has written some amazing books and articles and gives us the truth about the sexualisation of women and girls in australian society. Check out her blog - and her new website and movement 'Collective Shout'.
The stuff she presents is so important - it's painful to watch and to become aware of - but it's essential for our future.
I think the future of our children are dependant on our getting involved now. Challenging current cultural norms that suggest women are measured by their 'sexiness' instead of their ability to create a better world. What better place than a women's conference to mobalize?
Perhaps Justice, is one of the ways Grace works in the world?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Grace explained?

I'm gearing up for the Graceworks conference this weekend in Melbourne (next week in Tasmania).
And I'm amazed again... that's the thing about Grace. It's really difficult to explain. It's like trying to explain beauty or love - ever try that? It's like trying to nail down why you can't wait for your best friend to phone - or why you get tingles down your spine when your lover holds your hand - or why a good book and a hot bath can be like a balm to your soul.
But looking at Grace is essential. Because it's the one ingredient of the Christian recipe that is always needed. Circumstances can change, seasons of life can change, relationships shift, needs and gifts come and go - but Grace. That's the one thing. The true thing. the only thing really - that is always needed. Good thing it's in unlimited supply. I've been thinking of holding a competition to see if it's possible to run out. The truth of it is that I'm a grace hog. I love grace. I need grace. I breath in grace. I relish Grace. My hope is in Grace. My future in Grace. My past in Grace... it's, well, I think I mentioned it's hard to explain? well. there you go.
The real question I suppose is how does it work? I'll save that for Saturday! ;-)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Rescued from ourselves

If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.
Aboriginal Activists Group, Queensland, 1970s

Thanks to BG for the quote... a very deep reminder of our shared humanity with the rest of the world. Bishop Tutu talks alot about this in his book 'No Future Without Forgiveness' it's the concept of UBUNTU:
"In a real sense we might add that even the supporters of apartheid were victims of the vicious system which they implemented and which they supported so enthusiastically. This is not an example for the morally earnest of ethical indifferentism. No, it flows from our fundamental concept of ubuntu. Our humanity was intertwined. The humanity of the perpetrator of apartheid's atrocities was caught up and bound up in that of his victim whether he liked it or not. In the process of dehumanizing another, in inflicting untold harm and suffering, inexorably the perpetrator was being dehgumanized as well."

This idea rescues us from our best attempts at paternalistic goodwill. Jesus says, 'give and it will be given to you' - even linking our forgiveness with the need to forgive others... we are connected and that connectedness is an amazingly powerful thing. When I'm at my worst - humanity suffers. When I'm at my best - humanity is better. Perhaps that gives even more weight to Gandhi's suggestion, 'be the change you want to see'.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

David Ruis

I was privileged to be part of a gathering of songwriters in Melbourne last week. We were keen to hear from David Ruis - his experience, his theological drive - practical steps etc... David shared ALOT of things - among them was worship being the fragrance of Christ in the world... "For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing." (2 Corinthians 2:15) he spoke of his experience that it's not just that you write songs with justice in them (words etc...) but that you write them from within a justice seeking community... that's different. It's not just a sexy lyric or a nice thought - but the songs themselves are formed on the justice journey - then they take on a weight, an authority - they have about them the 'smell' of justice. I've been thinking about justice as a fragrance ever since. We often approach justice like it's a to-do list of just more things we have to do or can't do... similar to the way we approach our religion I guess - but the justice God is truly seeking is a fragrance (to some it smells like life and to others death) - it's more of a sweet smell about your life... because it's rooted and is growing - it's living and organic - not rigid and dominated by systems and structures... the other thing about this passage of Scripture brings David to the KEY question about worship. The verse says that we are TO GOD the fragrance of Christ... not to the world but to God. So, he says that we always ask the wrong question about worship - 'are the lost listening? are the people pleased? do they get it? but what we should be asking and caring the most about is: IS GOD LISTENING? because true worship is to be the fragrance of Christ in the world TO GOD... it matters ALOT about whether we worship with God in mind... with God central... with our hearts trying to please Him more than anything else. This will change the way we worship - David suggests that this will change the way we live as well. The two are connected. So, here's to living as the fragrance of Christ in the world.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Local Influence

So Claudio suggests that there is no 'macro' influence that matters. Actually he suggests that to claim to have a 'global vision' is to assume you are 'like God'. Who are we to say we have a global vision? How can we know or even assume to know the whole world? I get what he means. It does appear a bit arrogant to suggest that we know what's best for the world - or that we can somehow get a view that's above local culture.. and we can't. He suggests the best thing we can do is apply ourselves wholly to the local scene. To get involved in our own communities and hunker down and do the small stuff of the kingdom - to live a different way in front of people - to know and love our neighbours - to be life and light to those around us... then, He says, God's kingdom will come... we don't need to concern ourselves with strategic plans, and global visions... we just need to live out the gospel where we are.
He doesn't suggest that we stay where we are but that we follow Jesus into the world and simply do what he says as he says it... the journey of pilgrimage. Interesting. I've been thinking about this on multiple levels - and I get it. The only thing I don't get is the necessity of having to remind ourselves of how the rest of the world lives... the importance of putting ourselves and our world into perspective with the rest of the world. For those of us who are among the richest people on the face of the earth I think that kind of global vision is essential.
Claudio has embarked on an experiment in his local community. He has simply applied himself to being a great neighbour - not telling anyone that he is a Christian and certainly not a minister. He said it only took about a month before people started to ask him to pray with him and for a bible and for some help etc... he lived out Francis' quote, 'preach Christ. If necessary use words.' Of course we use that quote as an excuse to not preach the gospel - but what Francis meant and what Claudio is living is that our lives should so reflect a different life - a different way of living - an outloud version of love in public... that it is enough. Our lives will be the contagious gospel... now, that's a real challenge.
How is your local influence?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

where to start

I've been offline for almost a week.. crazy times actually. But so rich and full that I'm not sure where to start. I've been trying to process a lot of information and thanking God for new and renewed relationships and rejoicing in a lot of truth that was declared over the Surrender weekend. Even the post-weekend events (we hosted a song writers symposium with David Ruis - where I took at least 6 pages of notes as he talked about the biblical models for justice and worship - GOLD) were amazing. Over and over again I am amazed at the witness of the lives of christians who are living radically different lives than the world. Some of them are famous but many of them aren't (at least on earth)... but they are challenging evil and re-shaping the world the way God dreamed it to be - it really is miraculous and encouraging. Anyway, I'll be back with a whole lot of info and feedback - you can catch some of it online at isalvos on the justsalvos LIVE show!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Claudio Oliver

If you have a chance you may want to check out the lecture Claudio Oliver gave at the Southern Australia Training College Social Justice class. It was incredibly interested... when asked what he does he mentioned that he was a conspiracy specialist... and then broke down the Christian meaning of the word conspiracy etc.. it was fascinating. He is a challenging guy - and you can tune in to the lecture at - be prepared to be challenged and inspired. Be warned though - it's not for the fainthearted!
We also had the joy of the company of many current witnesses to the power of incarnation as a gospel strategy... amazing stuff really. What a joy to have some time to share the good news of the gospel with great hearts and warriors as we travel together.
Also, this weekend will feature some Surrender events on isalvos (we will stream them live as we can!). Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Blog read via podcast

Turns out you can just click on the icon on the right side of this blog (odiogo) and have it read to you. Or, you can subscribe to my blog on itunes by simply typing in armybarmyremix in the search on the podcast section and you can download my blog to be read to you by an automated person! it's really fun. Or you can go to this site direct and subscribe at your vehicle of choice... Check it out - it's a brave new world!

Saturday, February 27, 2010


I'm shaping some plans to write a book about God's liberating plans for women. I can't recount the number of times I've had long conversations with women and girls that still don't understand the kind of freedom God has for His people - particularly women.
Women are still the most oppressed people group in the world. They are systemically killed and aborted and subjugated. This is a far cry from the kind of creation that God exclaimed 'very good' over! I'm determined to get the Word out - God's kingdom includes a whole different set of values and His strategy to bring Good News to the earth involves women...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

NEW STOP THE TRAFFIK video (disturbing but important).

Thursday, February 18, 2010

catching up to Ash Wednesday

I forgot about Ash Wednesday - a fairly central event on the Church calendar that kicks of the "LENT" season where we prepare ourselves for the Passover (Easter). It seems quite ironic to miss the start of what has often been an increased season of prayer, reflection and personal discipline - when I've also been trying to pay attention to those things this year. Funny how busyness is like an infection and spreads to all areas of our lives. The seemingly inevitable inertia of small projects simply hip-checks the huge realities of Christ's journey to the side. I feel bad. Not the kind of bad where I'm overladen with guilt and can't catch-up - just bad that I missed it...bad that I allow the tyranny of the urgent to crowd out the important moments of reflection.. bad that I preach about discipline and lack it myself. hmmm. that said - what I have been reflecting on (and in community) is the Exodus account... which of course is the beginning of the story of Passover... pointing to Easter and all that jazz... I was reflecting today (in my catch up) about how Jesus also began his long walk to freedom (the cross and resurrection) with a confrontation in the Temple (you know the whole turning the tables episode?!). And of course that Pharaoh confronting occasion was all about justice... hmmm. So, I may be busy and running around and trying to play catch-up in a multitude of ways - but I'm only one day late... I'm going to spread ashes on my checks too in penance ;-) - and I'm definately going to be eating the Passover meal with my coat on and my gown tucked in - chewing as fast as I can.. ready. ready. ready. ready to go on God's word and make a sprint for the red sea! FREEEEEDOOM. Bring. It. On.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

confronting Pharoah

our cell group has been looking at exodus and for some preach prep I've also been looking at Exodus and it's an incredible book - particularly the take down of Egypt. A few things I've been thinking about:
1. confrontation of cultural norms takes guts and is often done (first) alone
Moses has to obey God in the first confrontation of Pharaoh. This has got to be a scary thing.. I mean I know we've been educated on The Prince of Egypt and the lovely idea that Pharaoh actually loved Moses and all that jazz.... but the Bible paints a different story. The direct confrontation of Pharaoh was potentially the death of Moses (and Moses knew it - thus all the whining...) - but HE DOES IT ANYWAY. That my friends, is the way we de-throne the enemy. radical obedience.

2. confrontation of cultural norms/gods is hard work.
After the initial confrontation Pharaoh doubles the work of the Israelite slaves... it now costs them more than ever before. Does it feel like freedom? no. To get up the nerve to confront culture takes a lot of effort and energy - then to deal with the ramifications of it - well, that is the really hard work. If you get rid of your TV for example - a VERY hard confrontation in a culture addicted to it. You have the hard work of deciding to do it - then doing something else instead... reading, games as a family, creativity etc.. it's hard work. It's hard work to decide and then to explain - how do you explain getting rid of your TV without confronting the dominant culture in other people... it's tough.

3. confrontation of cultural norms/gods is the first part of freedom. We hear alot about freedom and how great it is and how 'easy' it should be - like an instant deliverance... but I've been thinking of the time lapse between the Moses and Pharaoh encounters... I mean it was whole seasons, years of signs... and even during all the plagues, the Israelites are still slaves... confrontation of dominant culture in order to be free is hard work.

4. confrontation of cultural norms/gods attracts suffering. This is just the reality of confrontation. It hurts. It's bound to hurt. It's the kind of hurt that is worth it - but it attracts suffering - whether it's from the hands of the dominant culture itself - like a Pharaoh trying to maintain His authority and pride - or from the hands of the slaves you are trying to free because of the cost involved... it's bound to be misunderstood and result in suffering. It's no reason to back away - but it is a reality in the confrontation of false gods.

There is a lot more to say and a lot more I'm being challenged with personally... but this journey into freedom - wow - that is something to live for, something to die for even. And I'm in. All the way in. I've been wondering lately if I'm confronting Pharaoh enough - perhaps I need to take a deep breath and march into a dominant cultural norm and confront it with the deep love and beauty of a Jesus life... perhaps I'm just gearing up for Surrender...

Friday, February 5, 2010


Even though SURRENDER is a conference, it’s also an invitation. An invitation to SEE powerlessness and poverty locally and globally, to HEAR God’s heartbeat for justice and to JOIN with the Jesus who pours out his life in loving the lost and least. It’s about going on the journey together in unity with His Spirit … the journey of SURRENDER.

Surrender, a partner of Just Salvos, is a movement dedicated to the radical call of discipleship and the mobalisation of every Christian to hear and respond to the call of Jesus towards mission among the poor.

Speakers from all around the world, musicians and artists of the highest quality, all practitioners in social justice action in local contexts, provide us with an amazing opportunity to participate by sending delegates to this conference.

Three years in a row, I’ve attended and participated and watched God move ordinary radicals in declaring God’s kingdom come in new and amazing ways.

Surrender’s partnership taps into a deep-rooted Salvationist calling and mission to announce good news to the poor - up close and personal. This year there will be a Salvation Army stream (running through-out the conference) that will gather Salvationist delegates to maximize our time together in preparation for action through opportunities and strategies in Australia – local and national.

Don't miss this last weekend of early bird registration.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


The newest Corps innovation in the Australian Southern Territory is isalvos.
Tonight the live broadcast featured a discussion on holiness with Rowan Castle, Stephen Court and Olivia Munn (live from USA)... great discussion - to be sure the great feature for me was the live chat at the same time with folks from around the world. Amazing opportunity to discuss and pray together... to interact with one another. Don't forget the amazing worship contribution from Phil Leager - a legend!
Tonight made me desire holiness more. Why not tune in and check it out for yourself: isalvos
The leaders of this initiative are Grant and Bev Whitehead - holy warriors themselves. Good on ya both! thanks for your ministry tonight. And may perfect love so fill me that it leaks.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A prayer

Methodist Covenant Prayer
“I am no longer my own but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for you or laid aside for you,
exalted for you or brought low for you; let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things, let me have nothing;
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.

Will worship

I've been thinking alot about the term that Richard Foster uses in celebration of discipline to refer to the way we go about spiritual disciplines. Often we apply the 'exercise' principle to our spiritual lives and we 'will' ourselves to keep some sort of religious code.. when in fact, that only adds up to 'will worship'. We actually start to worship our own ability to be disciplined. It's a tricky thing to get right... rather than a new chore - it needs to be an abandoned surrender... a giving up of ourselves - and yet it still requires some application of ourselves, our will - but instead of it being our accomplishment - it actually is more of our sustaining... so, some of the principles of will work - we have to apply ourselves... but the attitude and the motivation is different. Foster offers some great ideas and solid exercises to help. I'd recommend them to you as we all seek to fight against self sufficiency and the tyranny of the urgent in our daily lives - often spiritual disciplines are easily replaced by business and productivity that leaves us drained and empty. I've decided to work on the basics of spiritual disciplines this year - to surrender to the rhythm of God's grace.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pat Robertson was right - great article!

Pat Robertson Was Right
By Lakita Garth-Wright on January 20, 2010

Pat Robertson waxes prophetic on The 700 Club.

Haiti does have a long history of "dealings with the Devil." But not in the way the televangelist suggested.
Last week's earthquake in Haiti has turned the world's attention to this poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Haiti was rocked to its very foundation by a 7.2 earthquake that decimated its capital city, Port-au-Prince, leaving countless thousands dead and millions more homeless, hungry, and in need of medical care. As much of the island is reeling from the recent devastation, without electricity and water, this is but the most recent disaster in a string of tragedies to hit Haiti's shores.

Over the past several decades Haiti has suffered famine, civil war, hurricanes, and floods just to name a few of its many unfortunate trials. And now the most devastating earthquake ever recorded on the island has the world watching and praying. Many of us are also taking crash courses in Haitian history in our need to know more about this Caribbean island that has suffered hardship after hardship. We've watched the reports from Haiti on CNN and Fox News, listened to scholars and commentators on NPR, and tried to understand the complicated story of this star-crossed nation. read more...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The booby trap

Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) / Booby Traps
By definition, booby traps are disguised or well-hidden, victim-activated devices. The initiating object is going to be fairly obvious, as it is the object that the enemy hopes a soldier will interfere with in order to set off the trap. Booby traps rely on an unwary or distracted soldier touching or pulling a physical object (such as a war souvenir) or provide a too-easy access or simple solution to a problem (such as leaving only one door open in an otherwise secure building).

In an operational environment where booby traps have been used, soldiers must be trained to constantly question why things are positioned where they are or why the enemy might have left obvious routes open. The enemy will watch reactions and procedures executed when moving through an area. They will be looking for natural behavior and weaknesses in soldiers' drills. For example, in Vietnam, the Vietcong (VC) noticed soldiers liked to kick empty soda cans that were lying on the ground. It was not long before the US troops found that the VC were leaving explosive devices in empty cans lying alongside regular patrol routes. The devices were activated when the cans were kicked.

I was just talking to some friends about some of the justice issues surrounding youth in these times. One thing that keeps coming up is women. Equality should be an issue of the past - it seems women have been advancing on that front for years now - but inequality has discovered new strategies and seems to have made a comeback - particularly with women.
I've recently found out that Australia has the lowest rate of breastfed babies in the western world. That stat's a real shocker. It seems as though everyone is quite 'liberal' in this part of the world... but it turns out (after some studies/articles I read) that any place where women are highly sexualized breast feeding rates plummet. As a matter of fact the health nurse in my own suburb says that even more alarming are the plummeting rates of breastfeeding among mothers from other nations who have immigrated to Aus. It's tragic. It should be an alarm for women and men in Aus - sounding the need to fight against sexualisation and inequality.

It seems as though a male dominated society doesn't like the idea that breasts have other functions - proper functions, real functions - less romantic ones but essential to the nourishment and development of babies. It's a booby trap if you ask me.

There is another move about in the Christian world that champions inequality as a gospel standard. Obviously we read different books - because the gospel I read is all about equality and liberation - freedom and truth. If you'd like some updates on the equality issues in the christian tradition I recommend this website: Christians for Biblical Equality and if you need a refresher on some specific biblical texts I'd recommend Why Not Women? by Lauren Cunningham and David Hamilton.

Women, let's get to the front - it's time to deal inequality a good punch to the chin and send it to the ground. The war is raging and to the front we go. Join me.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

meditation, love and other things about life.

So, this year I've started out trying to celebrate the discipline of meditation... and I've been camping out on 1 Corinthians 13 - committing it to memory and meditating on it's meaning and application in my own life. That's the trouble really. I'd rather meditate on love without application - 1 Corinthians 13 is THE love chapter - read at most weddings and celebrated as great literature/poetic and romantic - the problem is application. What I've found is that the kind of love that the Bible talks about it pretty much impossible for me to do. Actually it is impossible. the only way I can live a life that looks like the Love in 1 Cor. 13 is by letting Jesus love in and through me. My love runs out quickly. My own love is rude and self seeking - it boasts, is proud and obnoxious, it envies and keeps a long record of wrongs... etc... but the love talked about in the passage is not mine - it's God. God is love. And if you'd like to know what God is like - read Paul's definition of God in 1 Cor. 13. God is patient. God is kind. God does not envy. Is not proud. Does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
This is an interesting thing for meditation - substitute the word love for God. Chesterton suggested that what you think about God is the most important thing about you. I know I often think God is different from who I've found Him to be. He is kind. I've always thought Him to be judgmental or defensive - but He is not... He is patient and He doesn't keep a record of wrongs. Who knew? God is love. The greatest revelation of God is love. I was listening to a preach that suggested one of the great features of Christianity is how it can take open attack and criticism and still respond with love. Ravi Zacharias suggested that any other faith wouldn't be able to respond in that way - but Christianity (in it's truest form) is a revelation of God's character - LOVE. So maybe the Beattles had it right? Perhaps RENT's suggestion is my new year's ideal - I'd like to measure my life in love.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Holiness - spread the word...

It's sanctification day - this is the remembered day when Samuel Logan Brengle (a big holiness teacher) got holy. He had an encounter with God that left him good. I recently talked to some young people who gathered for a holiness weekend retreat and asked what they thought of about the concept of holiness. I shared that when I was young I thought holiness was synonymous with religious... that it was about rules, and external conditions and boring lives etc...
They said they had never heard of it.
They said they had never heard of it. Wow.
I often wondered how in the Old Testament a whole generation can grow up without knowing the powerful reality of God's presence when their parents and grandparents were right in the thick of it... this is how: One generation rejects something out of ignorance or apathy or indifference or misunderstanding or lack of personal encounter or experience and then never mentions it again. Holiness meetings turn seeker sensitive and no-one mentions the idea that we could live without sin because it may cheapen grace and make people feel guilty if they do sin.. we stop talking holiness because we aren't really holy and it just feels hypocritical...
The thing is I've met many holy people. People who are completely sold out - no compromise left in them - they are submitted fully to the Lordship of Christ and they are the most fun, free and abandoned people I know - they live adventurous lives - they life full and large. I want what they have and here is the news if you haven't heard it before.. I can have it and so can you. You can completely surrender to the Lordship of Jesus and live a fully abandoned, holy life. Revolutionary?! Let the Holy revolution begin in you and then spread the word.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

the future of our children

We had the dedication of my youngest son last week. In The Salvation Army we 'dedicate' our children to the Lord, a.k.a Hanna with Samuel. It's kind of a cool tradition since The SA is close to a Nazarite order and that's what Samuel was... there is a call of Salvationism that runs counter-culture in todays world. Steve and I decided to use an older version of the ceremony because there have been some interesting changes in the wording and the content itself.
Conspicuously missing are things like:
protecting my child from harmful influences (including wealth and finery) and not withholding my child from hardship or suffering for Kingdom advance.
Those promises are simply not in the latest dedication ceremony. Weird. Or is it? Perhaps we've become conformed to the culture of our world. Think about it - the world would suggest that happiness is found through wealth and that finery is what we deserve... most of the Western Salvationists I know have more entertainment money that most of the world has for food. As a matter of fact I think these days in most Corps it's a badge of honor to collect more and more people who are wealthy - like James (in the New Testament) suggests, it is easy to favour the rich.

To say you are willing for your child to suffer or face hardship for the gospel is akin to criminal behaviour. It's as though we think God's ultimate desire is my personal happiness, or to make my life into a Hallmark commercial (a.k.a the American Dream). Meanwhile, God's ultimate and greatest desire is the salvation of the whole world. A bit bigger than my small life and family.
Should we succumb to an individual perspective and a happiness that neglects the majority of the world? It's as though we agree with the notion that somehow we deserve to be filthy rich while the world suffers. It's as if we agree that somehow we CAN withhold our children from suffering by giving them wealth and expecting them to be happy. If wealth were the recipe for happiness then western world depression and suicide rates would not be skyrocketing.
We've got to start listening to the Spirit of God again for our standards and for our families. I'm agreeing with a counter-cultural revolutionary stance that I will protect my child from wealth and not withhold them from suffering... not because I want them to suffer - on the contrary - I wish them every deep blessing... but because I see something larger is at stake... my children belong to God and He is much more capable than me at determining the best course for their lives. I relinquish my control for His wisdom and guidance. That is a trade up - by the way.

I want my children to understand that to obey God is the only kind of wealth worth seeking. I want them to understand that we live in a big world and that they have been chosen to be part of it's salvation. I want them to see and know God and as a result of that knowledge to be able to join the revolution in telling others about a Love that is an answer to this culture's bankruptcy. I want them to understand that even in the valley of death there is a provision that is eternal. Catherine Booth used to tuck her kids in bed and tell them, 'you were born to change the world'. Now, that's the ceremony that will ensure the best future of our children.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Years...

I read the introduction to Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster yesterday... some great reminders about how spiritual disciplines work... Foster takes the opportunity to suggest that willpower alone is not enough to change a condition of the heart. Spiritual disciplines are less about external measures to clean up your life... and more about a deep surrendering to the rhythms and words of Jesus. These patterns of behaviour foster a deep reliance on God's presence in our life - this sort of dependancy is a requirement for freedom and often the last thing we do. This year I'm aiming to be more surrendered to the beautiful song of God's great Grace through spiritual discipline. I'm NOT going to simply add commitments to my already busy life... but take some time to reflect and follow - to breath deeply the pattern of God. This is the aim. I'll keep you posted.