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Volume 25, No. 6

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The Salvation Army USA Southern Territory

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April 10, 2008


Comm. Feener | Maj. Mcgee | Maj. Duracher | Ms. Gotrich
Sunday school,
music program
key to growth for
Richmond, Va., Corps

By Major Frank Duracher
Southern Spirit staff

An energetic group of lay leaders and supportive soldiers is proving to be the key to a successful discipleship emphasis for the Richmond Citadel, Va., Corps. By targeting youth through two avenues of interest - music and Sunday school - children, teens and young adults are being welcomed into a corps family with a rich Salvation Army heritage.


Major Dan Proctor leads the Richmond Citadel Corps Band during a Sunday morning worship service.


One unique idea to keep Sunday school fresh and alive for youngsters is a "rotation" - a system whereby classes of students move about from one week to another, alternating teachers and room settings.

They rotate from place to place, and that keeps the kids on their toes and expecting the unexpected," said Captain Natalie Sayre, Richmond Citadel corps officer. "The teachers rotate as well, so the presentation of material and styles are anything but stagnant."

In one sense it is good, Sayre said, because it keeps the teachers invigorated. It also means teachers who might otherwise prefer one age group gets to teach that bracket while at the same time expanding his/her ability and comfort zone among others.

Ben and Linda Headley may teach an adult class for three Sundays, then move to the youth side. There they teach the same lessons but varying the methods, using computer games one week and perhaps cooking exercises the next.

The common thread for all classes are "Faith Words," widely-known terms (i.e.: obedience, free will, miracle) upon which classes that utilize craft projects, fun activities and Scripture study are built.

A lively music program complements the unique Sunday school curriculum as a discipleship strength at Richmond Citadel.

"Music is what draws many young people into the corps, and we work hard to involve them in all aspects of Army ministry," said Corps Sergeant-Major Gene Garrison.

An extensive banding program features performance groups for beginner, junior and senior band levels. At least one of the bands is on duty each Sunday. A praise and worship band is comprised of musicians of all ages.

Brad Ford, 18, came to the corps when his girlfriend invited him. When he saw the banding program, he felt right at home, he said, because he had already grown to love music since he started learning to play a trumpet in the sixth grade. In addition to various brass instruments, Ford plays piano and percussion. His enthusiasm is seen by several high school band friends, who have volunteered by playing their horns while manning Christmas kettles.

"I belonged to another church before I started coming here a couple years ago," Ford said. "I love Salvation Army music, and this is now my church home. I have grown much closer to the Lord."

The young musician was enrolled as a soldier last year. He is entering college with hopes to be a high school band director or a divisional music director. Regardless where the Lord leads him, Ford witnesses, "I'll always be a Salvationist!"

George Copestick came to the Army for a different reason (see related story).

Continued»
   


Celebrating
recovery


The road
less traveled


Richmond Citadel putting emphasis on discipleship
Continued from above.

His volunteerism in Christmas 2001 led him to discover many avenues of Salvation Army service - particularly among teens and young adults.

"In my job as a state juvenile corrections officer, I see kids without Christ nearly every day," Copestick said. "How wonderful it is to share God's love and grace with young people before they go down the wrong road!"

Copestick plays guitar in the corps praise and worship band. He recently completed soldiership classes and was one of three new soldiers enrolled in the Richmond Citadel Corps by Lt. Colonel William Crabson, NCV divisional commander.

Carolyn Gregory's children are all grown now, but she started coming to the corps when they were enrolled as junior soldiers in 1990.

"They came home one Sunday, wearing these cute little uniforms and telling me they were now ‘junior soldiers for Jesus,'" Gregory said. "I had to find out what this was all about, and I felt like I belong here ever since!"

Gregory still lives in the neighborhood and faithfully attends the Army corps programs. She cooks, serves food and cleans for corps and youth meals and is the corps cadet counselor and acting young people's sergeant-major.

"This church offered my children a chance to be with other believers their age," she said.


Weekend's start signals new kind of celebration for former addicts

For some, 5 p.m. on Friday signals the launch of a 48-hour reprieve from time clocks and cubicles and the freedom to partake in whatever guilty pleasures help detract and distract him or her from the grind of the workweek. For the men, women, and families of The Salvation Army's Atlanta Temple Corps' "Celebrate Recovery" program, Friday at 6 p.m. marks the start of a continual battle against drugs, alcohol, pornography, abuse and other such temptations that have plagued, and continue to plague, their lives and livelihood for far too long.

Celebrate Recovery, a weekly Biblecentered recovery program, offers those recovering from addictions dinner, a music- and testimonial-driven worship service, and group and individual counseling sessions led by Salvation Army officers, staff and volunteers.

Tyrone Pinder, Salvation Army Temple Corps member, coordinates the Celebrate Recovery program with the mission and desire to expand its outreach and activities to meet the increasing needs of and demands of the community. Needs he understands and attests to each week with his meetingopening proclamation, "My name is Tyrone Pinder and I am a recovering addict."

"The Salvation Army saved my life and my soul. I was a drug addict, and I've been clean, sober and saved for a long time now. But this program isn't just for the drug abuser," said Pinder, who carries a listed outline of addictions and ills that ranges from drugs and alcohol to anger and sex, all of which are addressed in the program's counseling and worship sessions.

Each week, Pinder and his supporters help shuttle participants to and from the meetings as needed, conduct speaking engagements and compile and distribute Celebrate Recovery information and materials to area churches, recovery centers and Salvation Army programs so that anyone who is seeking recovery or a church home is aware of this program and knows they are welcomed to attend."

"The program is getting bigger and better all the time," Pinder said. "We see a number of faces here regularly. People are bringing their families along with them, and there are more requests for information from area churches and from Salvation Army clients."

Lafeea Watson


Second-year cadets minister in Guyana

Cadet David Costellow

In Robert Frost's famous poem, "The Road Not Taken," the final three lines say, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." Those words are often used in a motivational context, yet in a broader framework, the actual poem deals with one's curious reflection on his choice to take the road less traveled as opposed to the one that seemed to be more traveled. Often in The Salvation Army, we journey down those "less traveled roads," and, yes, we may even wonder if the choice to do so is worth the difference.

Recently, the second-year cadets of the Evangeline Booth College encountered what some might consider "the road less traveled" that led to Georgetown, Guyana, for the annual spring mission trip. Guyana is a beautiful Caribbean country along the northern coast of South America. Offering many natural sights and wonders, it is a largely under-developed country. Although some had experienced the joy of serving God outside their cultural comfort zone, most were not so sure of what to expect. However, we all were forever changed by our nine-day experience in Guyana.

Explaining one's encounter on a mission trip of this magnitude can be comparable to describing the Grand Canyon to someone who has not actually seen it. While there are many pictures and videos to be seen and personal stories to be told, the personal feelings that result from an excursion such as this can never be fully understood secondhand. Nevertheless, among the various teams of cadets and officers that were involved in this trip, many had the opportunity to exercise both their physical and spiritual gifts to help further the work of God's kingdom through various work projects and evangelistic outreach.

Physically, many were afforded the chance to help rebuild fences at local corps buildings, paint rooms at both the men's rehabilitation center and women's home and direct other minor construction projects around the Guyana Division. We soon discovered that what seemed like small tasks to us were monumental to them. On many occasions, the work we did had been prayed about for many years.

Countless spiritual victories were also wrought during our brief stay in Guyana. Many individuals from both the Guyanese people and those on the team experienced spiritual renewal that altered their relationships with both God and one another. God blessed us as we worshipped corporately through the spoken word and the Caribbean flavor of singing and dancing. Through prayer walks, visitation, open-air meetings and a host of other spiritual endeavors, we all were honored to be a part of what God is doing in Guyana.

Mission trips often have a way of bringing life back into proper perspective. It is humbling to realize that God can use even the most finite gifts that we have to offer to produce infinitely amazing wonders in this day. While traveling along the road to Guyana and back, although the choice to go was inevitable, there were encounters along the way that made us speculate about other roads that might have been a little easier. However, in the end, the journey along that road will forever make a difference in our lives.

Cadet Matt Cunningham

I have always heard that you come home from mission trips changed more than the people you came to minister to. In this case, that statement could not be more true.

I had heard that poverty and the crime were prevalent in Guyana. I had decided there was no room for good in this country. But I would learn that my preconceived ideas were far from the truth. The second I stepped onto the black sandy soil of Guyana, we were surrounded with the love and friendship that the Guyanese bestow upon those they meet. The country is full of people who love, but they also spend every day in a struggle to survive and provide necessities for their families. Now there is a face to the struggle that my World Services dollars go towards. I am fully convicted to do more for my comrades in less fortunate situations.

Guyana is a third-world country in South America that is considered to have a Caribbean culture. When they worship the Lord, they don't need extravagant light displays, audio visual technology or full instrumentation. In fact, they use a drum set and a keyboard that is on the accordion setting usually playing in a different key than the song is being sung. However, they are making a joyful noise to the Lord, and the Holy Spirit flows freely through their worship. There is a lesson in that.

Furthermore, the people's passion for Christ and willingness to do what it takes to spread the gospel was a lesson in humility for me. They have nothing, but they have everything in Christ. Their pride in their culture and what they have, and their faith in the Lord, are evidenced by a song we sang:

"I will never suffer, I will not beg for bread"

Though we would consider them to be suffering, they are fully living their every day for Christ.

Back to top.


Pasadena Band proclaims gospel across USA South

By Major Frank Duracher
Southern Spirit staff

One of the premier corps bands of the USA Western Territory recently completed a musical tour of the Southern States, with the "Proclamation" of the gospel as its theme.

The Pasadena Tabernacle Band, led by Bandmaster William B. Flinn, performed concerts in Houston; Atlanta; Macon, Ga.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Orlando and Clearwater, Fla.

Affectionately known as the Tab Band, the multigenerational group is celebrating its 115th year. The band is well-known for its annual appearance in the Rose Parade, having marched in that New Year's event since 1920.

The 10-day tour now ranks among a number of extensive tours for the group; but it is their first to the USA Southern Territory. The Pasadena Tabernacle Songsters toured through the South in the mid-1980s.

"This tour is the culmination of a lot of hard work, preparation, planning and prayer for us to come to the South," said Captain Edward Hill, Pasadena Tabernacle corps officer and EEb tuba player. "It is our sacred privilege to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ through music, testimony and scripture."

The theme "Proclamation" fits the command of the Great Commission (Matthew 28), Hill said. One selection, written by James Curnow and titled "Proclamation," was written exclusively for the Tab Band's Southern States Tour as the signature piece on which all musical offerings during each concert were based.

Curnow was in the audience when his composition was played in Atlanta and directed the stirring opus during a concert in Chattanooga.

When asked what he thought as he heard his composition performed publicly, Curnow said, "I was thinking how were they had translated it from music into a verbal message by portraying the words behind each of the tunes throughout the piece. The proclamation of Christ is woven throughout, and that was the point in writing it."

Many more Southern Salvationists will have an opportunity to hear Curnow's "Proclamation" - it will be performed during the Sunday morning service at the upcoming Holiness Congress in June 2008, according to Dr. Richard E. Holz, territorial music department secretary.

"The Pasadena Tabernacle Band's 2008 Tour is demonstrating to the Southern Territory a superb model of a successful multi-generational corps band," Holz said. "The high standards of programming, organization and focus on ministry that were the defining aspects of Bandmaster Bill Flinn's peerless leadership of the Pasadena Songsters during the 1980's and 1990's have become the hallmarks of the Tab Band."


Going deeper with God
- loving him more

The Christians in Ephesus possessed some good qualities. Yet, Jesus said to them, "...You have forsaken your first love" (Revelation 2:4). Their love for God had decreased. They were backsliding - in danger of losing sight of Jesus altogether. Jesus warned them, "If you do not repent, I will... remove your lampstand from its place" (verse 5).

Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37).

How can we love God more?

Come daily to the cross. The cross is our life and power. Neglecting it, we become easy prey for the devil who prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). When we read the Bible and pray, or whenever we think about God, we come to the cross. The moment we are tempted, or fail Jesus in thought, word or deed, we should come to the cross. Come also whenever we begin to worry, and leave our cares there. If we do these things daily, our love for God will grow.

Thinking of the cross, Fanny Crosby prayed:

"...Help me walk from day to day With its shadow o'er me."

Seek Jesus in all things. Jesus promised, "...surely I will be with you always..." (Matthew 28:20). But he doesn't intrude. He must be desired, sought and invited. When Jesus is in our thinking, we think pure thoughts. When he is in our speaking, we speak words of truth, encouragement and love - even when correcting. When Christ is in our actions, we do our best for him. Thomas A Kempis said, "If (we) seek Jesus in all things, (we shall) surely find Jesus." Do this, and our love for God will grow.

Really love others. This means being kind, patient, unselfish and fair. It also means giving, caring, helping, listening, forgiving, protecting and trusting. This, and more, is how Jesus loves us. Paul said, ...live a life of love, just as Christ loved us... (Ephesians 5:2). If, in any area, we fail to love like Jesus, we must ask God to change us.

Doing these three things will keep us from backsliding, help us to go deeper with God, and increase our love for him.


Youth councils: Should I be grumpy?

Corps Cadet Lauren Snodderly said to me as we began breakfast on Saturday morning of youth councils, "You sure were grumpy yesterday morning, Captain."

I gave her my best corps cadet look and said, "You would be too, Lauren, if someone you knew said, ‘Oh, I forgot my horn,' and delayed us by a half-hour." At that point everyone at our table burst out laughing except for one person. The guilty culprit will remain unnamed, except by the initials Auren Nodderly.

Should I be grumpy about youth councils? Let me think ...

My son John, 19, told me the night before leaving for youth councils, "With the exception of accepting Jesus Christ into your life, youth councils is the greatest experience a young person could have."

I shouldn't be grumpy. I should be thankful to people like Captains Terry and Susan Ray, Majors Melody and Kent Davis, Captains Tony and Vicki Perez, Majors Kelly and Donna Iglehart, who are and were divisional youth leaders who gave much of themselves to providing that experience to my son.

Should I be grumpy about youth councils? Let me think ...

My 17-year-old son Mike said to me on the way back from youth councils, "I am less and less consumed by the programming and more into the standing around and doing the talking and praying thing." One complaint I hear over and over from my peers (That would be "grumpy old guys" to you) is that youth councils isn't what it used to be. My response to that is, "Thank God." Youth councils may be less structured, noisier and more unruly than the old councils. And my response is "Send the fire, send the fire." That fire helps my son see how the Holy Spirit moves the young people to form communities of believers that move their world forward for the sake of Christ. I should be heartened that our Army is not defending a static position but is storming the ramparts to take the world for God.

Should I be grumpy about youth councils? Let me think ...

As our young people huddled together on Saturday night, one lifted this simple prayer: "We are here together, and it's nice." That should tell you everything you have ever needed to know about youth councils. The draining work of getting the delegates' uniforms ready only to hear one tell you on Sunday morning that he forgot his dress shoes and only has his white tennis shoes with him can be deflating. Then you hear that simple prayer: "We are here together, and it's nice." Suddenly, it is all worthwhile.

In a troubled and terrifying world, our young people find refuge in the temporary community of believers that forms at youth councils. Their brief stay at this oasis of hope, security and love will equip them to overcome the trials they'll encounter in the world.

Should I be grumpy about youth councils? Let me think ...

I have a whole list of things that, if I was running the show, would be done differently and better. The reality is that I don't do a very good job of running my own corps. What I should be doing instead of being grumpy is to get down on my knees and thank God for the job that Captains Terry and Susan Ray, Captain Michele Limon and their staff did in pulling off the impossible.

What's left to be grumpy about? I can only hope that Auren Nodderly will forget her horn again next year.


That small, deadly space

The altar is a sacred place of prayer where victories are won and lives are transformed.

There are times, though, when kneeling at the altar can be a struggle for some. I recently watched a man kneeling at an altar. I sensed that this was either his first time, or his first in a long time. It was apparent that he was struggling. I don't know if his battle was over an addiction, a lifetime of poor choices, or even a legion of demons. He was dealing with a lot of guilt and weeping in the personal turmoil of surrendering to God's will.

Maybe it's the military vernacular of our movement, but while I watched that seeker I thought of the way armies used to fight during the 18th and 19th centuries. "Orderly warfare" dictated how opposing lines were formed - sometimes only yards apart. The area between those lines, with shot and shell searing the air, was "no man's land." Others called it, "that small, deadly space."

Scripture plainly states that a fierce spiritual battle is being fought around us, although we are blind to it. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12).

As I watched this man pour out his heart, I thought, for him this is a battlefield.

When we kneel to confess our sins before the Father, and the Savior's blood is applied to our shameful past, the devil knows it is probably his last stand. Once we are born-again, it will be harder for him to snatch us back. That is why the devil fights so hard.

But the moment we surrender to God's will, the shelling stops. Hell's forces retreat. And we stand from the altar, like that man, a new creature in Christ Jesus.


Prayer and fasting myth busters

"Want to grab a bite to eat?"
"Let's talk over a cup of coffee."
"We will discuss it during our working lunch."
"All are welcome to the covered dish supper this evening...."

Certainly our lives are not complete without food. But food is more than fuel for our bodies - it is often the focal point in our celebrations. Often it is food that draws us to action. We meet people over a meal. We get closer to family members when we eat together. We let our guard down when we ask someone to share a meal with us because it is for the purpose of building relationships. Jesus often developed his closest relationships through the sharing of food.

Clearly food is something we need in order to meet both physical and emotional needs. God created us with an appetite for food. So why would we choose to go without food? Why fast?

People often fast for reasons other than spiritual renewal. Many fad diets include fasting. Some medical testing requires fasting for accurate readings. Cleansing fasts have been fashionable after overindulgent eating habits and sometimes have even led to eating disorders. These are clearly not spiritual fasts talked about in Scripture as the subject of these fasts has been self-centered and not focused on the Triune God.

Some people fear fasting because they cannot imagine going without food. We have been lured into a "feel good religion" and often do not wish to be bothered with hunger. But we cannot deny the fact that fasting is a biblical practice that can impart some wonderful spiritual lessons.

If you have never fasted before, I encourage you to get a release from your medical professional, particularly if you are diabetic. Fasting is a physical discipline that is not recommended for everyone. Once you have been cleared to proceed, it is important that you have an understanding of what you are about to experience.

How do you fast in a way that is pleasing to God? Plan your fast. Prayerfully consider what kind of fast to which you are called. You may fast a meal or a day's worth of meals. You may do a partial fast by using juices or subtracting certain foods from your menu for a period of time. Hard fasts like Christ did in the wilderness are never recommended as a start. God knows the desire of your heart, as nothing is hidden from him, and the focus of the fast is to re-establish contact with him. The fast is simply a tool that is to be used to glorify God and designed for his purpose.

Once you have designated your time and type of fast, have a biblical course of action. Select Scripture that will satisfy the hunger and thirst in your soul for God, and plan your study of the Word. Scripture will direct your thoughts, inform your prayers and reveal things about God and about yourself.

Expect resistance, interference and opposition. Any saint of God will tell you that prayer is a battlefield. The enemy does not want you to pray. You are attempting to advance your spiritual journey, and that excites all of heaven! Fill your time with the truths of God's victorious nature and write them out in front of you. Christ, the Lord of hosts and the Warrior in the heavenly realms, tells you,"Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." (John 16:33b NLT)

For further suggestions and information go to the prayer and fasting website www.intothedepths.org.

 

 

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