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With the end in view: Jesus teaches disciples in His final hours

By Major Joanne Senft

 

John 16:1

We continue to listen in on Jesus' conversation with his disciples during his final hours. His words have not been altogether comforting to this point. "I'm going away. You cannot come. The world will hate you as it hated me. You will suffer persecution and alienation by people of the world."

There are points on our journey when we really would like to see the end from the beginning. Jesus is speaking here with the end in view. It is not, however, only the end of His earthly life to which He makes reference but to the end of every disciple's life on earth. Yes, physically Jesus was leaving and there would be an ending of sorts. The disciples had no idea at this point that the ending of Jesus' physical presence would be the ushering in of His constant presence by way of the Holy Spirit. So, to keep them from throwing in the towel, Jesus said to them: "I have told you these things to keep you from giving up."

Has that thought crossed your mind lately? Have the circumstances of your life caused you to want to throw in the towel? Join the human race! Anticipating that reaction is exactly what prompted Jesus' advice. He gave the disciples information that they could hold on to so that in the midst of circumstances that would stretch and nearly break any person, they would have His words to call to remembrance. Don't give up! Hold on! Remember, I told you it would be difficult at points.

Jesus was pointing to the way in which each disciple would "take up his cross daily and follow Him." The cross was still in Jesus' future, a mere couple of hours away. But it was for this that He came: to suffer, die and rise again to be the life-giving source to every believer. His disciples were called to participate in that very same lifestyle. No, our blood would never be enough to provide salvation for the world, but our suffering, like His, would be used to point to the loving heart of our Father and to our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Suffering purifies. But suffering also points to the fact that our Eden has yet to be restored. We are at odds with the world in which we live. There is a higher, greater, more noble Kingdom, whose King has purchased the citizens by His blood and offered them a place of peace, joy, love, beauty and harmony.

It seems too difficult here. We are blinded by the realities of this world to the greater reality of the Kingdom. Jesus knew we would want to throw in the towel, so to us, as to His disciples of that day, He declares: "I have told you these things to keep you from giving up!" Hold on, dear friends. This war is worth fighting.

Being there

Mission team from Southern Territory sows seeds of evangelism at World Cup games in Germany

By Brooke Redwine

Southern Spirit staff

Imagine having a worldwide stage with eyes from every nation staring back at you, waiting to see your next move, hear your next word and wondering why you're there. That experience summarizes what happened when the USA Southern Territory sent a missions team to Germany for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in June. Members of the team learned that just being there, being different, captivated hearts with the revelation of God's love.

For 10 days, team leader Captain Alejandro Castillo, Naples, Fla., area coordinator, and team members Paul Brackett, property insurance analyst for the Risk Management Department at THQ; Luke Walker, community center outreach ministries coordinator in Tampa, Fla., and Jimmy Taylor, public relations associate in the Texas Division, spent time getting familiar with presence evangelism. The team quickly learned that "just being there" was as much a witness for Jesus as any organized evangelism strategy.

Although the team resided in Dortmund, most of their ministry was 45 minutes away working with a small corps in Gelsenkirchen in the northwest corner of Germany. Castillo was impressed with the humility, enthusiasm and dedication of the corps officers. They organized a café outreach, and the team advertised the café to fans in the streets. The aim was to draw people into the corps and engage them in spiritual conversations. Team members also handed out copies of the Jesus film, flyers about the dangers of sexual trafficking and special editions of the War Cry published just for the World Cup. The team - along with other Army personnel throughout Germany - distributed more than 75,000 special editions of the War Cry and 4,000 Jesus videos.

Captain Castillo even had an opportunity to steer one Spanish-speaking man away from soliciting a prostitute (which is legal in Germany). Not realizing that the team was handing out pamphlets against prostitution and sexual trafficking, one man approached Castillo and asked where he could find prostitutes. "I had the opportunity to witness to him about Jesus," recalled Castillo, "and about the danger of involving himself with a girl who may have been brought from another country with false promises."

Another aspect of the team's outreach was presence evangelism simply by being a soccer fan. The German government had set up large-screen televisions in the city center so that fans who couldn't afford to attend the World Cup could gather in the street and watch the games. These crowds, known as Fan Fests, meant that the team could meet people where they were in casual conversation. Walker commented, "I truly believe that our best outreach was done when we just went into the bars or Fan Fests to watch the games."

It was a struggle at first when some team members experienced rejection as they tried to share the gospel. But then they realized that it's still ministry to be a shining light in the darkness, even when the results are not immediate. As the team went about their days, they carried with them the hope of Christ revealing Himself through their joy. "A lot of people think that becoming a Christian means you stop having fun," added Walker. "But I'd like to think that we showed this isn't the case at all."

DFW Metroplex Command wins award for workplace flexibility

 

The Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce awarded The Salvation Army's Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex Command with the Alfred P. Sloan Award for business excellence in workplace flexibility. The award, part of a nationwide initiative from Families and Work Institute, was given to the command for its introduction of flexible work standards to ensure higher levels of employee satisfaction. Flexible work schedules and casual Friday dress are two of the standards for which the Metroplex was recognized. "In the 21st century," said area commander Major Mark Brown, "it's important to recognize that if we want to find and keep good employees, we have to give them options."

 

Territorial Stewardship Campaign 

Every Sunday each of you must put aside some money, in proportion to what he has earned.

(1 Corinthians 16:2)

 






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