Sunday, October 31, 2004

Tuesday

I may not have the time to write until after we all vote on Tuesday.

I used to be a die hard ditto head.

I got saved.

I would vote for Nader but that is a vote for Bush.

I hope Kerry isn't lying and will do something about our health care system.

I just answered the phone and it was a recorded message from Arnold asking me to vote for a liar and ditty politician named Greg Hill. He has lied about his opponent more often not. And these are all personal attacks. I hate election season.

Anyway, a vote for bush is a vote for more war and I believe an anti-Christian politic. I thought this post (october 18) was great. Sept 11 was not war it was murder and billions of dollars latter and millions to Cheny's Halliberton the culprit comes on TV. Bush wants war because war puts money in their pockets.

Vote Kerry.

3 Comments:

I voted for Bush...my wife voted for Bush...

We believe that a vote for Kerry would've been a vote for a liar and someone we just could not trust. Where were his core values? Does he have any? At least with Bush, you know where he stands.

Happy that Bush won re-election,

By Blogger Dave C, at 7:29 AM  

Captain Dave,

Maybe knowing where Bush stands is the problem. Bushianity is not Christianity, but no one I talk to in church seems to realize that.

Also I find it interesting that you post on this five days after the election. He posted this before it. You strike me as someone (from this post) as someone who has to feel right all of the time. Good luck with that.

By Blogger Dwight, at 10:08 AM  

Hi, Bill & Dwight!

It could be that given a choice between unseating a president during time of war, many felt unsure or unsafe doing that. John Kerry had many good qualities, but perhaps people felt the experience that President Bush gained from "9-11" placed him in a better position.

Both candidates said some things during the campaign that were not quite true which saddens me as they approached Election Day. There may have been voter fraud on both sides which bothers me as the rest of the world looked on.

Seems to me that we as a country weren't very good examples of what free elections are all about and we should be somewhat ashamed. No one was killed, but things were done and said that falls in the area of character assassination on both sides. Anyway, I'm glad the election is over!

I must admit that Senator John Kerry did a very remarkable, courageous, and honorable thing by conceding and saving the process further acrimony.
I'm not sure it would have happened if the shoe had been on the other foot, so to speak.

Either way, we can only do as the scripture instructs and pray for our leaders, whether we agree with them or not.

God bless you!

Lloyd Michael Fletcher, Major (R)
lmf4@mchsi.com

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:14 PM  

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Saturday, October 30, 2004

Future and happiness

I have been very busy lately and have been thinking a lot about the future.
I have one job the part of it I am beginning to enjoy while the other part I am starting to hate.
Our church has a strong community but we do not belong.
I am finding that I am good at this business stuff I would have taken it as a personal insult if you ever called me a businessman before.
I feel like something must change soon.
Tomorrow I speak and try to be real. Talking about the past nine months or so and how my faith has changed and suffered. I do not know why God allows so much pain I am pissed off at God often because of this. I have started to go back to Praiseworks after taking the summer off. It is helping a bit mostly because there are real people there. It is a safe place. I remember Maslow he was full of it at times but one thing is true if I am not safe I am not free. If I am not safe then I can not do much of anything accept try to find safety. There is no freedom no happiness no joy just sorrow and depression.

God lead us to a safe place.

(by safe I am referring to emotional safety not physical safety)

1 Comments:

Hey Bill

It takes a while to become part of a church community, you must remember that whoever was there before you was part of their community, now you come along and it takes time to be a part of this group. It is worth challenging though, becasue can you imagine how new believers would feel trying to break into this tight nit group. Sorry thing is they probably dont even realise because they are happy...

The challenge is to get people to focus on those outside the kingdom and not just inside. Remind them of their main purpose as a Chrisitan. They are not in a Jesus club... they are warriors on a mission to bring others into the Kingdom of God.

Leadership is sometimes lonely and we need to look for friendship amongst fellow officers because they are our colleauges and comrades...

Glenda

By Blogger Listeningear, at 10:44 PM  

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Friday, October 22, 2004

aol

Alot has been going on. New tasks kettles and a building in San Pedro to get ready for an adult day care to move in.

But last saturday my wife told me "you don't have enough faith"

She is right I have faith in the presence of God, but can really do anything else? Can God heal, bring about justice, or peace?

I have doubted all this lately.

But for the last week a song has been going through my head


Blessed Be Your Name
by Matt Redman
Album
:
Blessed Be Your Name
by Matt Redman
- - -
Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name
Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

But I need new music. where is God speaking in the world? where are the lyrics, guitars, and drums. All I hear is garbage fake music and phony people. Where is God speaking?


1 Comments:

Hi, Bill!

God heals, is just and bring peace to those who know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. I believe God brings peace not found in the world.

Why not provided the ministry he has gifted you to do and let people see share God with them? You will show them the God who heals, brings justice, and peace.

If there are people around you who my be phony....move on to those who are genuine in their experience with others. You can minister to both by your words, actions and deeds.

As an officer, I found more "touches of ministry" on one day than many pastors do in a week. Sometimes I had to resolve to put "self" last and see all the people God permitted my life to touch.
I found them to be looking for the "real thing" and they found that in an officer's caring and his/her pointing to a real God who loves them, really loves them.

Right now, with kettles upon you, and a building for your adult day care looking you in the face, you will need to stay focused and let God deal with bringing healing, justice and peace. You will have enough "on your plate" to be responsible for. You are not responsible for the healing, justice and peace that can only come from Him and His personal touch. Stay focused on the ministry you do for you know it will bring healing, justice and peace of sorts and may lead people to follow God and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. Once they find Him, God's Holy Spirit will help them continue their walk with God for healing, justice and peace. What a reality! To think that God uses you, Tolani, others, me, to be instruments for Him. WOW!

Bill, best wishes as you and Tolani face this busy season! May God bless you and be there for you in a special way as only He can!

Lloyd Michael Fletcher, Major (R)
lmf4@mchsi.com

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:38 PM  

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Thursday, October 14, 2004

Update

Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts.

I am doing better I only occasionally feel like I'm failing. I Love my wife so much.

The Seahawks lost on Sunday I was watching it. It pissed me off.

Anyway, I think things are getting better.

1 Comments:

Hey Bill,

Good to see other Officers with a blog. I just started one on blogspot as well. salarmyofficership.blogspot.com

Captain Dave Collins

By Blogger Dave C, at 7:49 AM  

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Friday, October 08, 2004

Officers Councils and thoughts

Well we spent the last three days at officers councils (all the SA officers gather to have conference) Mostly I like seeing other officers who are further away. But this councils was hard.

If you have been reading you know I am depressed. I still am but I am beginning to understand why. That said three things came up that I want to talk about.

yesterday a Colonel Moulton was with us from THQ. (denomination's headquarters) He showed us a new "corps standard." That is a list of programs that the Army expects corps to run. It is the answer of an older generation to a problem, corps not doing anything. So we have a check list. They say its not but stats will tell whether or not a corps is meeting the standard or not. While I do not think this is the right answer, (do things the same way you've always done expect to get the same results) it raises a bigger issue for me.

If I do not do these programs I am a bad officer. But the community pays my salary and benefits. Colonel told us that NO corps in the western territory funds its church programs 100%. So we are taking community money to have a church. At one point that was okay. People understood. They were all Christian at least in name. But, we live in a post-Christian era. I am of this era. I oppose all public funding of religion. No one knows we are a church. People give us lots of money. See the problem? The internal line is that people give us money knowing what we do and who we are. I disagree. We are given money for what we do. We ask for money based on what we do. We do not say please give us money so we can have a church. I will not be a full time pastor on community money. I will pastor either based on how my congregation tithes or as a volunteer. But can we ask a volunteer to run youth, women's, means, senior programs and do the important aspects of pastoral work caring: carring for peoples spiritual needs? Does my question make sense? Do others see the problem? It is ethical for me.

But I have two things that are going on that are larger issues. I feel like Elijah right now. In 1 Kings 19 he runs away because he is alone. No one has the heart of God. No one cares. I feel like to the church is a bunch of pharasies. We care about our rules and the law calling it God's word. We keep all the rules but we seem to forget about the basics. We do not love our neighbor. We turn our backs on the poor. Hospitals close because of the uninsured but we do nothing. We give a food box because that is what we do. Does our heart break because people are oppressed? Do we cry at systemic injustice?

God where are those with your eyes?
Where are those who hear the cry's you hear?
God give me those eyes and ears.

Finally, my wife told me yesterday that she had not seen me pray in a long time. She is right. Prayer is still a struggle but I have failed her. This hit me hard. I'm sorry.

7 Comments:

Bill,

Your depression sounds very much like wrestlessness, sometimes we become wrestless because we know things arent right.

The thing about accepting public monies to fund Corps as I see it is this, The majority of funds goes towards our allowances and I see that I contribute in a significant way to the community therefore it is justified in this context, however if your Corps is one of those that exists for itself I can see your frustration.

Use this wrestlessness to create change, sometimes it is not right to just accept the status quo. If your Corps is inward focused, why not start challenging them to look outward. We have been doing this for three years now by preaching that we exist for those outside the Kingdom of God, not just inside.

Get others to pray for you if you are finding it difficult at the moment, your wife is right you need to get back into your own spiritual disciplines or else you will go down.

I am not sure if the check list thing would work, because this is what the Army did for years and it didnt work, now we have the freedom to be the Salvation Army to meet the needs of the situation we are at. You need to get praying and get your people praying about what it is that He wants to do in your situation.

It is awful though, when you feel depressed and you have to meet the unending needs of others. Hope your break away gives you enough refreshing.


You possibly didnt want all these words, but anyway, I feel for your situation, it can feel like we are boxed into playing out other peoples agendas at time, I pray that God will break through in your situation.

God Bless

Glenda

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:33 PM  

Hi, Bill,

The Salvation Army is unique among all the churches. It is not designed to be "only" a church for a few. It's greater mission is to the community and most of our programs should be designed and offered to the community.

I do have a problem with "strings being attached" that would "water down" evangelism and cause us not to be able to share Jesus Christ. As most of our programs are not 100% funded by the government, one could assume that they would not be offered by another church or agency for their inability to fund the difference.

If the people of the corps have lost their willingness to help others, they should take another look at scripture. God would not have us sit back and let people suffer when we have the ability to help them. We often throw our hands up in the air and tell God that the world is injustice and why is that? He could very well ask us the same! We need to be doing things to help people and give the "cup of cold water" in
Jesus' name. The community is our church!

Now, as it comes to expectations, The Salvation Army ought not to expect its officers and soldiers to follow an agenda that is doomed to fail, by not having enough time and finances to succeed. An officer who is expected to wear as many hats as they do cannot be "all things to all people" without something not happening.

I would tell my superiors that I have a "full plate" and I will do what I can to serve my denomination in a trusting way, but I cannot give 150% to every aspect the the corps and expect success in every category - whether it be church or its caring ministries to the community. You do your best and if that not good enough, they can move you to another place. The officer to follow you will have to make the same decisions you are having to make.

I think we spend far too much time "worrying" about the future. Take each day...touch lives that God has placed in your path....and move forward. If you do it for His sake, it will all come together. It may not be everything you want, your people want, your headquarters wants, but it will be worthwhile over the long term.

Each morning when you look at the work on your desk, you have to determine what you can do now, what is to be set aside for the future when things are right for it, and the rest you give to God for His intervention.

DHQ/THQ may believe they can "push you" but they really can't. Each corps and each situation is different. Each officer has different gifts and they will not always work at each corps. You share what God has given and move on. Maybe the next person will have the gifts you lack and will do things a little differently and they might work. Other things you have done, won't be done any better, because you did them right the first time.

I will tell you that The Salvation Army has no desire to lose your officership. You are of great value to the organization. They know the struggles you face. Take the information they have given and see how it fits in your corps. Some things will work, others will not, some will be delayed until God's time for that corps. No one can ask you to do more than your best and try to find some joy in doing it, if nothing else than to give that "cup of cold water" in Jesus' name and to teach your people that God is in it.

God bless you as you work through this, Bill. I believe it is workable over time, but don't let it spoil your day. Take one step at a time and work it through.

Lloyd Michael Fletcher, Major (R)
lmf4@mchsi.com

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:19 PM  

Bill,

Be still, but unsatisfied with what you see.

Be brokenhearted, but hopeful that He will deliver us still.

Be in communion with Him, but remember that the rest of us reflect His image too.

Be assured that you are not alone, but remember that it isn't crowded on the mountain top.

Be unbending in your commitment to Pastor, but mindful of your officership.

Be prepared to preach the Gospel in and out of season...and know its out of season today, but be bold anyway.

Be Bill! For I have never met another my brother. It's exciting to serve a God that is a lot like you, but more exciting to see that He is breaking you to make you more like Him.

If you were not brokenhearted over the condition of God's people...you should quit, but seeing that you are...don't.

Waging War With You,
Tom Fenton

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:20 AM  

Bill,
I wish I had some great wise things to say, but I don't. I will tell you that Lisa and I are praying for you and your lovely wife. Tom is the one good at giving great wordy encouragement (Love ya Tom) The Salvation Army is standing in the gap linking "modern" and " Post-modern" We can't let go of either side as long as people live in each. It is true we must not let the modern be an anchor in which we are prevented from preaching the Gospel in a way people understand. Yet, how do we find that balance? I don't know. I just know that I go out to my people and love them. I go to the smelly homeless guy sitting in my church and love him. Is this a touchy feely over simplified answer , yes. Maybe thats the problem..We don't simply love.

Love Ya Bill,
Jay

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:42 AM  

Dear Bill

It is depressing to come to councils to be read a lesson like that. Problem with councils is that they rarely lead to dialogue: to be told what to do is the problem really. Do they really feel the pinch at the executive level ? It is not just a matter of how much YOU do
One would feel that it would be a time of refocusing and centering, to be together with our Servant Lord who knows what we are going through

It is true we (SA)are not postmodern when we believe in koinonia fellowship. The postmodern world is hard: community/communion is being made suspiscious: self-promotion/egocentrism is all: people may work-out but will not join a sportsclub. Or church for that matter

That's why churches today cannot recieve public funding
look at the history of the churches over the last 100 years: they have been centres of fellowship and community. What has happened to them: shrivelled away? What we call community today is a loosely organised group of individuals, living in the same neighbourhood: where is the life of those communities: on the mall on sunday ?

On the other hand men cannot live without companionship/fellowship May be our mission is mostly about showing God given fellowship today
We may feel like we are crying in the desert
or like Elyah left alone in the land

Are we still convinced,that it was our God who called us into a community of faith that spills over in the surrounding community ?
To me it is a phase, postmodernism: it will give way to a new era of new communities
And if we are faithfull to our calling and not to our methods we wil find new ways of creating such fellowships in unlikely places

Your cry at the end sounds to me like a prayer as the psalmist could have voiced it. It's allowed to pray like that may not so pleasant, but God knows and hears and answers prayer like that, sometimes in ulikely ways
I am convinced of that

God bless

By Blogger GM, at 1:59 AM  

Thank you for your honesty and your struggles. Praise the Lord that He hears our hearts' cry, and the tears of his prophets. My service is to Christ, and my goal is to share his heart. My prayers are with you, brother. Grace.

By Blogger Aurora, at 8:11 AM  

Hi. I don't know you. I understand the problem, though. Programs can be good, but they can't be the standard. Every community is different. And money- that's all from God, so just depend on Him. I'm all about the volunteer stuff. I figure- put me on the team, or staff or whatever, just not on the payroll. Y'know?
That's why we do tentmaking, right? anyhoo, I'll be praying for you. And all this stuff. Stuff...pfft...it just gets in the way. And also, press in and continue praying because that's the only thing that's going to change anything.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:50 AM  

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Saturday, October 02, 2004

sick

I hate being sick

Last night I had the chills and almost lost my cookies a couple times.

I'm on a needed weeks of vacation.

We are just hanging out with friends it has been good I just realize how tired I am.

I think I am mostly struggleing with the fact that I am at a church that cannot be a community for Tolani and I. Though a community exists it is not mine.

Thus I struggle to see the relivance.

I ask why.

I am tired.

So here is a question: What is the point of Church? or Why are christians expected to go to church? Is the a neccesary thing? Can there be community with "church" as we know it?

So there a couple different formulations of a similar question. Please repond I'd like to hear some thoughts.

3 Comments:

Hi, Bill!

It does sound like you need a much needed rest with friends and just "kick back" and unwind!

Could you explain what you are feeling that you and Tolani are missing?

How is The Salvation Army failing your worship needs or not meeting your "need for community" as a church? I'm somewhat lost!

Get some rest!

God bless you!

Lloyd Michael Fletcher
lmf4@mchsi.com

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:29 PM  

Hey Bill, how was your time with the Pocketts? I hope it was relaxing and refreshing to get away. I'm sorry it been so difficult for you and tolani. Are there any no salvation army church groups you guys can go meet people your own age? or are there any groups that you guys can join to get support systems going? i think thats what your feeling when you say "not feeling part of a community"..you no longer have friends outside of your pastoral aqaintances with your congregation. As far as--do I think church is necessary? Yes, I think it is necessary because people need to be surrounded by other believers to help keep straight in their walk. Your and tolani's situataion is a little different because all of your members are older but they need you. and right now that is where God needs you. I don't know why He needs you there, but what doesn't kill us makes us stronger...Right--- =o)) Oh well, its late and i am probably not making any sense.. i will write later. i'm praying for you guys.....my love to the both of you..SHORTY

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:18 AM  

Hey, Bill

I am not a fan of blogs, but google led me to you - or do you believe it's a God thing? Let me explain.

I am a Captain who has been out of college since 2000. My wife and I had good careers but eventually God wore our resistance down. Our first appointment saw us placed in a very senior corps where no-one knew what to make of us - we are very youth/social/contemporary in our mission call. But we endured because God had a work for us there. Eventually we began to feel at home and that was God blessing us with opportunities outside our de facto corps, and we also managed to find officers who were compatible in outlook. We put boundaries on behaviours that people believed were their right as congregants, but were in fact somewhat abusive of the access to the leadership.
After our third year we were moved a goodly distance to a corps that is only marginally different. After one year here we now feel the same pressures as before. We are not in our perceived gifting for ministry, so I know of what you speak. So...

Rest assured first of all that God has indeed planned for you, since before creation (first chap. Ephesians) and indeed planned in hope and blessing.

The Army has sown you into a difficult area. Whenever man sows something, some goes where it will find difficulty in growing. Perhaps the spiritual soil is shallow, or played out, or contaminated. I have found lots of this among modern congregations. What's the good news? Regardless of where it is planted, it is God who makes the seed grow where it shouldn't, in it's season according to His good purpose.

Practical things to do...

Let your leadership know. They should be smart and honest enough to know that mistakes can be made. A formal meeting and honest prayerful sharing can make all the difference. I do not recommend you start off with "If we don't get out of here..." but rather admit the challenges and ask for advice. If I read your brief timeline you are in a first appointment.

If you have friends nearby, arrange an overnight for each month and do it. If you don't, pray that God will open an opportunity and bring you to someone. I join outside groups in the immediate area but don't draw attention to my 'status' unnecessarily.

There are other measures, but officership nowadays is not just 'suck-it-up.' I actually sat in a meeting where the leadership scolded older and retired officers for their attitude against inexperienced officers. If we believe that as we approach the end times Satan is to be allowed greater leeway, then we should accept his influence to be more and more noticeable. You may be seeing the effects of spiritual attack, and therefore all of your life is put under strain, as well as ministry.

I am traditionally long-winded, but I would hope that you and others who browse through here would be encouraged to be under attack. Disheartening though it is, Satan leaves those who are on his side alone; but those who are a threat he rallies his powers against.

You guys are in our prayers; like Paul, we thank Almighty God for you.

A Brother in the Battle.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:59 PM  

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