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Volume 26 No.4

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The Salvation Army USA Southern Territory

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March 31, 2009

 

 


the general

By Major Frank Duracher
SOUTHERN SPIRIT STAFF


The early morning is a strange time. It can
be filled with positive expectation or deep
apprehension. How are you, early in the
morning?
The 15th chapter of Mark’s Gospel opens with the
words, Very early in the morning (New International
Version), and then goes on to tell us what took place
in those history-splitting pre-dawn moments. The
Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, had been arrested
in the night by Jerusalem temple guards who had
known where to find him because his close friend
and follower, Judas, had betrayed him for 30 pieces
of silver.
His yet more trusted friend, Peter, had
openly denied even knowing him. The High Priest
in Jerusalem questioned Jesus in public, and judicial
condemnation soon followed.

“Very early in the morning,” Jesus, your Savior and
mine, was handed over to the Roman occupying forces
for final judgment. The governor, Pilate, interrogated
Jesus but could extract no replies. Jesus was like an
innocent, defenseless lamb led to the slaughter. By this
stage he did not even open his mouth to speak. Urged
on by the early morning crowd, Pilate delivered Jesus
to the executioners. To curry favor with the subjugated
but volatile citizens, the governor then released from


prison a known killer, their compatriot, Barabbas.
All of this “early morning” action was but a
precursor to Golgotha, the place where Jesus would
die. They mocked and abused him first. They thrust
a crown made of long thorny spikes onto his sacred
forehead. They offered him sarcastic homage. Then
came history’s most tragic, poignant walk – all the
way, outside the city walls, to Golgotha on Calvary Hill.

 


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Breaking ground
in Kerrville

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Q&A:
Jude Gotrich

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Young adults
ministry update

     






















Very early in the morning
An Easter message by General Shaw Clifton
Continued from above.

“There, with two common thieves, Jesus was put to death by crucifixion, a cruel and exceptional punishment by today’s standards. They hammered nails into his hands and feet, then raised him up on the cross to hang in slow suffocation as his body slumped downward. At the very end, six hours later, he muttered words to his Father in Heaven asking
forgiveness for his persecutors.

“Very early in the morning” is a good time to ponder these events. Jesus himself was accustomed to rising early in the morning to seek out the presence
and the face of God the Father. Pre-dawn, for some, is a time for dubious deeds. It
was like that for the arresting guards and their masters.

It was as though their plotting needed to be done in secret and completed in a hurry. The goodness of Jesus was to them a threat, not a blessing. How do you see it all? In the stillness and objectivity that come “very early in the morning,” how does it all look to you? Do the events of that night and the next day, as recorded in the Scriptures, arouse your emotions? Do you feel the ugliness and injustice of it?

Do you feel the tragedy and pity of it? Yet at the same time there is another dimension to our responses, a subtle sense of gratitude that it happened, a growing sensation deep within, witnessing to our personal realization that Jesus knew exactly what he was doing.

He faced it all with determination – for our sakes! It was all out of holy love for the fallen human race! “Very early in the morning” we begin to see also the growing light of a new dawn. It is the glow of the Resurrection morning and the empty tomb. Calvary was a beginning – not an ending! It is good to come to Calvary early in the morning.

It is always good to come to the Lord early in the day, each and every day. Now, our Risen and Ascended Lord awaits our approach, and a smile of loving approval comes early to his face.

I pray that his smile and his forgiveness may rest upon each one of us this Good Friday and this Easter Day..

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Kerrville, Texas, celebrates as work begins on Kroc center
kerville
Kerrville_img











(Above) Commissioner Max Feener is shown with Captain Brett Meredith, commanding officer in Kerrville, at the groundbreaking ceremony.
(Left) The dirt flies at the ground-breaking for theKerrville, Texas, Kroc center. 

After years of planning, local and regional Salvation Army leaders, advisory board members, elected officials, donors and residents of Kerrville, Texas, and surrounding areas gathered to break ground for the Kerrville Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center.

“This is, indeed, a red-letter day for the community of Kerrville,” said Lt. Colonel Henry Gonzalez, Texas divisional commander. “Thanks to community support, good leadership and God’s goodness, we are here for the ground-breaking of this wonderful facility that is going to make a tremendous difference in the lives of many people in this community.”

The significance of Kerrville being the only community in Texas chosen to construct a Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center has not gone unnoticed. After expressing his and the community’s gratitude to Salvation Army territorial leadership for choosing Kerrville for this honor and opportunity, Mayor Todd Bock read a proclamation from Texas Governor Rick Perry recognizing The Salvation Army
Kroc Center ground-breaking.

“For The Salvation Army and the Ray and Joan Kroc Foundation, ‘Doing the Most Good’ is a way of life,” Bock said. “The Salvation Army is always there for communities when the communities are in need.”

Based on a recent community needs assessment and survey, the 47,500-square-foot center will include a multi-purpose chapel, full-sized gymnasium, weight and exercise rooms, dance and aerobic studio, locker rooms, coffee bar, teen lounge, dining hall, classrooms, meeting rooms and a multi-purpose foyer with rooms for art and music exhibits. The center will also feature a warm-water outdoor family leisure pool with slides, a heated lap pool, an outdoor soccer complex and a walking trail.

“Our goal is to touch every life in the Hill Country in some way, shape or form,” said Kerrville Captain Brett Meredith. “The center will provide a safe place for young and old alike to come and laugh, play, learn, swim, dance, enjoy sports, drink a coffee, read a newspaper, eat a sandwich – but most importantly, come to know Christ in a deeper way. That’s what this center is all about.”

Following the historic groundbreaking ceremony, a luncheon was held to honor the donors whose generous support has brought the Kerrville Kroc Center project to its current status. Recognizing the importance such dedicated donors have in making the Kroc Center dream a reality, Commissioner Max Feener commended their faithfulness to seeing the building project out to its completion in June 2010.

“It is our prayer that as a result of this great center being built in Kerrville, people will glorify the name of he who has made it all possible,” Feener said.

 

Angela Best

 

 

 

Q&A:
Jude Gotrich
Territorial director of worship development and prayer initiative

Jude Gotrich

Jude Gotrich became territorial director of worship development and prayer initiative in July 2007. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in English at Gordon College, and studied performance at the New England Conservatory. She completed her masters program in worship theology at the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies.

Major Frank Duracher of the Southern Spirit staff recently interviewed Gotrich about the importance of worship and prayer to the territory’s spiritual health.


SS: In the planning of worship, what would be the essential focus as each corps develops their order of service?

JG: We begin with a point of agreement. We
should all agree that our worship is Christ centered and Trinitarian, and this is where the Worship Council must start. Then when we look at all the components of our worship, they should all point to these two things, the object of our worship. The whole idea of Sunday morning is to tell God’s story, not ours, because we are grafted into God’s story. Our duty is to tell the narrative of his story. We are naturally part of that story, but the adoration and thanks goes to him, not the merits of our own doing.

 

Therefore, if our theme for a given Sunday or a series of Sundays is on the Full Armor of God, for instance, then that means that the things we put forward in planning our worship services help to unpack that story, and things that have nothing to do with that narrative would not be included on that day’s order of worship. This means that the band piece, the prayer segments, the Scripture presentations would all assist and not distract from the unfolding of this story. It may very well be appropriate at another meeting, but not here.

SS: What would be next?

JG: Then we should start storyboarding – taking each meeting, beginning with the Scripture reference (the sermon seed for that day) – and begin to build ideas. It is very helpful here if the commanding officer is able to give some basic direction of the Scripture focus so the group can brainstorm ideas that support
the lessons for that day.

Also important, if your congregation is made up of different peoples and ethnicities, they could share some things that are significant to them to help explain God’s story on that particular Sunday. This helps in reaching the full extent of your congregation and engaging the idea that we are all a part of God’s story.

In our worship council at the Lawrenceville Corps, we use a website called “37 Signals” which allows us to chat online around a virtual “campfire” to share
ideas as they come to us during the week. We use this Internet option because it accommodates our busy schedules; it avoids expensive alternatives, such as
costly worship software programs; and, it allows us to build each worship service as we continue to pray for God’s guidance. We comment back and forth: “Maybe this would work for this week,” or “Perhaps we could try this.”

SS: Why is worship so important in your personal walk with the Lord?

JG: Worship is something that has been on my heart for over 20 years – especially when I started to see people leaving the Army for other churches, or
worse yet, not going anywhere. It pained me to think we were not doing something about it. In my personal worship, when I would sing, it would be as if I was
in my own sanctuary and pouring out all of my being into my song and basking in his presence. If other people were present that was fine, but for me it was the sharing of this second skin, his gifting of music in me, that made this incredible connection in my worship.

But worship is for everybody and what if a person had a gifting in another area – what is worship for them? So that begged the question for me that worship was something far greater than how I was defining it and it needed to encompass all whom God loved, and they needed to participate equally. Many people equate music as worship, but music and the arts are simply tools, our feeble attempt in comparison to a perfect God, to offer something that looks like our greatest offering of worship and it is only one aspect of what worship is because worship is a lifestyle!

SS: What should comprise the structure of our worship?

JG: There is a four-fold pattern I encourage: the gathering; the service of the word (and not necessarily just the sermon, but how Scripture is presented); the
response to the word; and then, finally, the dismissal.

By the way, the dismissal is just as important because we are a holiness people. As we become full of what God has given us, and we respond to what he has shared with us, then we can’t help but be different by the time we are dismissed to go out into the world to share that grace with others.

Not only must that be true, but the change we encounter on Sunday should affect our lifestyle on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and so on. Then we are a holiness people: We are whole and we are holy during those six days, and then we “explode” in our worship on Sunday in a corporate setting to prepare
us for another week.

We are not righteous on our own or because of the good we do. If that were true, we’d burn out. It’s not our fire, but the heat of the Holy Spirit. The reality of the people that we are throughout the week is introduced on Sunday.

SS: How important is participation in worship?

JG: Worship is not a spectator activity. It’s not a congregation observing people on a platform. Worship is about community; participating as a family of believers.

We need to be very conscious to make sure we are engaging the congregation in many facets, many components of the worship process. That’s why we need to be intentional in including Scripture and prayer.

Scripture is God speaking to us; prayer is our speaking back to him. We want that conversation to happen during our worship.

SS: You’ve told me about the content and structure of worship; what about the style?

JG: The style of our worship will be dictated by the scriptural focus.

When we go to worship, we are going to God’s house. When we enter the sanctuary, however, we are entering his living room!

It’s intimate. It’s family. It’s a sense of belonging. It’s a conversation. It’s a place of safety and a place where we can be ourselves before a holy God.

If we’ve prepared ourselves for worship, we often feel like Isaiah. When we come to his house, we can feel “dirty.” We want to become clean right away. If we’re serious about it, we would recognize our dirtiness on a daily basis. We’d want to shed ourselves of anything that would keep us from him.

We should want to be filled with who he is, rather than who we are.

Also, there is no template for worship – no onesize-fits-all. That is why it is important for people to assess their context: what their congregation looks like and then what the community surrounding them looks like. Inner-city corps worship will look completely different than one in a mountain community or resort area or a retirement community. That is where we start, and then the four-fold pattern helps to direct the
structure of our worship.

SS: Would you like to add anything else?

JG: Worship is a verb with many meanings. Worship relates to liturgy (yes, we have liturgy in the Army!). It means to serve others. It means posture. It tells the story of Scripture. It gives service to the community. It is a love language that is exchanged
between the Creator and the created. It is a sacrifice. It is a ministry of multiple gifts (the giving of our varied gifts for the full function of the Body of Christ). It is educating the believer of God’s character. It is relational.

So, you see, there is no just sitting in the pew if we are worshipping as he designs, we are active “in Spirit and in Truth.”

 

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Young adult ministries &
CAMPUS OUTREACH

imageTaste of life at Asbury


Salvationist students attending the Asbury
College Visitation Weekend sample
Asbury student life, staying in dorms, eating
in the cafeteria and attending classes. For
Salvationist students, the total Asbury
experience would not be complete without a visit to the Moulton Memorial Student Fellowship Center and fellowship
with members of the Salvation Army Student Fellowship (SASF). Visiting students participate in fellowship activities with current SASF members. Drs. Ronald and Bea Holz also encourage the visiting students to
join in the SASF Band and Vocal Ensemble. Saturday
imageafternoon fun and Saturday evening fellowship also
add to the students receiving a taste of what it means
to be a Salvationist Asburian. The entire fellowship,
along with visitors, chaperones and professors, come
together on Sunday morning for a time of worship
before the students leave. The 2009 visit included the
enrollment Sunday morning of three Asbury College
students into the ranks of The Salvation Army.




Sarah Raymerand the youngimage
adults of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex enjoyed a retreat on the slopes of the Angel Fire ski resort in New Mexico.








DFW young adults combining
fun, fellowship and learning

The Salvation Army Young Adults of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex are a close
knit group who enjoy being active in the community and enjoy the fellowship they
share. SAYA’s events for 2009 started in January with 15 Metroplex young adults
joining 73 others at the Texas divisional young adult ski retreat at the Angel Fire Resort in New Mexico. In addition to having a great time on the slopes, the young adults learned about facing adversity.

Also in January, two of the young adults shared their testimonies at a soldiers rally.
Johnathan Flowers told the congregation about how God has blessed him through music
and by providing him with a God-centered family. Maggie Rumbelow shared about her
experience on the Salvationist Service Corps and how God touched her life through that
mission trip to Guatemala. Later in January, a small group volunteered in Tarrant County’s
Homeless Count.

The group’s first contemporary worship night was held just before Valentine’s Day.
After Major Mark Craddock brought the message, the group had a time of fellowship,
food and volleyball. Recently, a group of women from SAYA has been meeting for a
Bible study. Also planned were a trip to a Chris Tomlin concert and volunteering at the annual Cowtown Marathon by serving water to the runners.

SAYA has plans to remain active throughout the entire year with fellowship opportunities,
community service, worship and other fun activities.

 


 


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