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Fire 'em all

"I'd fire'em all if I were you."

That was my advice to my divisional youth secretary at the time, Captain Mark Bell. New to The Salvation Army, I had quit my job with the railroad to work at Camp Happyland before entering Salvation Army officer training that fall. After listening patiently to my rationale for firing every last one of the camp employees, Captain Bell asked me a brilliant question: "Jim, if I fired them all, who would run the camp?"

Over the years that question has stuck with me as I have watched divisional youth secretaries handle the multi-faceted and complex jobs of running camp, being an advocate for candidates going to training, recruiting candidates and directing youth councils, Girl Guards, Sunbeams, Adventure Corps, Corps Cadets and young adult retreats. That's not to mention their duties as building managers and finance/budget officers.

What impresses me most about divisional youth secretaries is their unrelenting patience with teenagers and young adults as they bounce from mature individuals with the wisdom of the ages to brain-numbed individuals performing death-defying acts.

Twenty years ago I watched my divisional youth leaders, Captains Mark and Alice Bell, exhibit love and patience as they handled individuals who were trying to make life decisions without the benefit of fully-formed brains. Today, I sit at a desk typing this article after hearing my campers come back from camp saying, "I want to be just like Major D and Mrs. Major D (Kent and Melody Davis)."

I know that our youth leaders, Majors Melody and Kent Davis, are better people than I would ever hope to be. This summer I saw them deal with campers, staff and officers with equal amounts of compassion, grace and good humor, even when it was obvious that they were worn with the work of the summer. In the same circumstances I would be impatient, ill-humored and downright cranky.

People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:13-16

Divisional youth secretaries and their staffs all across our territory are bringing children to Jesus. What are we doing to support them in this great effort? I would suggest that the small things would count in lifting them up in their personal and professional lives. When the kids come back from youth councils fired up for Jesus, are we allowing the youth leaders to share in that joy, with follow-up notes and telephone calls to let them know that their months of planning and prayers have resulted in life-changing occurrences in young people? Do we allow ourselves the privilege in our private devotions and corps prayer events to pray for them as people in authority as biblically mandated? Are we encouragers or discouragers to them?

By the same token, what are we doing to support our long-suffering corps cadet counselors in the corps? What about the young people's sergeant-majors? Are our most frequent words to them complaints about the noise the children are making during the service? Is our only conversation concerning the youth about how they should be better behaved?

Our children, our young people, our young adults, see and hear all of this. They sense whether they are welcomed and loved or if they are merely tolerated. If we are not careful, we will lose the young people who rearrange the songbooks, who leave the bathrooms dirty, who are not always careful to be quiet when it is time to be. They may decide to leave our halls. Then who will run The Salvation Army of the next generation?


‘Gentlemen, this is a football'

Coach Vince Lombardi and his struggling Green Bay Packers were at the end of their rope. A long string of losses had already sunk their season, and the coach decided that the best course of action was to go back to the very basics.

His statement must have dumbfounded the players, but it was the first step in building a championship dynasty by which others would be measured.

Jesus went back to the basics to answer Nicodemus in a heart-to-heart conversation that lasted all night. Nicodemus had asked how one could be saved, and Jesus could have given him long discourses with such theological depth that not even the most learnéd rabbi would fully understand.

The answer Jesus gave was simple and true: Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3).

Never mind what doctrinal differences you and I may have. Don't worry about what observances you practice and which ones I don't.

My question for you today is: "Are you born again?" If you know what that means, then you probably are - however if the term "born again" confuses or makes you uncomfortable, then you probably aren't. But you can be!

Becoming born again is easy to do - in fact, Jesus has already done all the work. All you have to do is believe in faith that He is your Savior, and then make Him your Lord.

It is "square one" in getting your life right, and it's the first step toward what God the Father wants for you - a dynasty with Him that lasts forever.

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 Opening in grand style

The Winston-Salem, N.C., Area Command recently celebrated the grand opening of its new thrift store on Peters Creek Parkway. An estimated 150 shoppers were lined up when the doors opened, and sales for the first two days topped $25,000. Leading the ribbon-cutting ceremony were (L-R) Gary Creswell, divisional thrift store operations director; Lt. Colonel Jack T. Waters, Winston-Salem area commander; Lisa Parrish, director of operations; and Andy Brown, Winston-Salem Advisory Board chairman.

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Major Earl Short

Major Earl Short was promoted to Glory Aug. 13, 2006, from Weirton, W.Va., after a lengthy illness. The service celebrating his life was held at the Weirton Corps with Captain Charles Adams, corps officer, presiding and Major Mark Bell, Maryland-West Virginia divisional commander, speaking. The burial was at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta. Lt. Colonels Donald and Connie Canning officiated.

Earl Luther Short was born Oct. 30, 1921, in Tulsa, Okla., to George and Ethel Short and was converted as a small boy at The Salvation Army in nearby Sand Springs. His father passed away when Earl was 2 years old, leaving his mother to raise seven children alone. The Army was prominent in the family's life, and at a young age Earl set his goal to be an officer. In the fall of 1942 he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served over three years.

While he was stationed close to Charleston, S.C., he fell in love with Nellie Virginia Perry. They were married Aug. 17, 1945, and moved to Sarasota, Fla. They entered training in Atlanta and were commissioned June 2, 1947.

They spent 37 years serving faithfully in corps appointments in Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and Maryland. Baltimore (Hampden) was their last appointment before entering honored retirement Aug. 31, 1984. Earl continued his ministry during retirement, serving as corps sergeant major in Anniston, Ala., and teaching a Sunday school class for the men of the rehabilitation center. He loved people, was a prayer warrior and faithfully preached the Word of God. Even at the assisted living facility where he lived the past few years, he and Nellie were known for their Christian witness and example.

Survivors include his loving wife of over 60 years, Nellie; daughters Major Virginia (Dewey) Alderson and Mary Ethel (William) Travers; sister Ethel Short; grandchildren Captain Deborah Alderson, Captain Melissa (August) Pillsbury, John (Morissa)Travers and Jason (Alecia) Travers; and four great-grandchildren.






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