About Me

My photo
I am a Salvation Army Officer currently serving in Melbourne, Australia.

1 April 2017

Being a Significant leader.

I haven't blogged for a little while and I thought I would just jot down some thoughts today that are going through my head.

These thoughts arise out of a busy week...with a mixture of great stuff as well as some not so great stuff, which is what it is like in ministry and has been for the past 22 years or so.

As I conclude my quiet time today I am drawn to think about a good friend of mine who is involved in a significant ministry and is making some key differecnes to those around him. In fact his future ministry is looking very exciting and he will end up being a world changer for some people who need a change in their world. (For Jesus that is )

It leads me to think about what is " A Significant Ministry ".. what does it mean to be a man or woman of significance ?

Well in man's eyes, we make judgements on this very issue all the time, I am not sure how we come to some conclusions around whether a person is significant or not, but I do know this, anyone who chooses to lay down their life to serve the Master and His Kingdom, in HIS eyes , is significant.

Jesus said, whoever wants to be great must be servant of all.... its a hard thing, isnt it ?

We are not always that keen to be a servant to everyone... and let's just clarify that it's not about being a slave or a doormat to everyone, but rather to think about others before ourselves, to see what we can do to help others, to lift them, to encourage them, to add value to them.  I am not so good at this, and still working on it in my own life.

Am I a Christian leader of Significance  ? (Well dont answer that !)

In some ways, no way...especially when in comparison to many around me who are.

And I guess that's where we get unstuck... we compare ourselves to those around us, we look at others and think I could never be like them, or do what they do, or think the way they think... when at the end of the day we were never asked to be like anyone else, we were asked to live our lives like Jesus. And to be like Him, and thats the way to be significant, if that is a goal to be aimed at.

But at that very level we must understand that Jesus said He was servant of all. And there is arguably no one more significant than what He was and is.

There are times when others make you feel insignificant, and devalued and thats a sad place to be placed. When we look for affirmation and it doesn't come, when we are overlooked for something we would love to have a crack at, and it is given to someone else, when we want to make a name for ourselves and the ones in power cant see it in you, these are all times of discouragement and devalue...

All you can do...all that any of us can do, is seek to serve the King, and find our meaning and the definition of our life in Him.

And thats makes us all significant.

Just a thought.











29 January 2017

Reflections on Salvo Ministry

I have just taken up the role as Divisional Mission Resource Secretary in the East Victoria Division of Melbourne. As such it affords me to visit various corps and centers and share in their ministry. Today as I worshipped with my friends at Mooroolbark, they used some songs which took me back to some days of ministry at Craigieburn, where we ( Julie and I) planted a corps and stayed there for 12 years.

12 years is a long time in one place and it is natural that it will form a huge part of my perspective on ministry as well as my life.

This blog entry is in no way intended to speak of the current Craigieburn ( Salvos 3064 ), for really .. I have no idea what is happening there right now.... but rather what I have learned since leaving 3064.  And I guess what I am willing to confess today about missing from/about it.

Over these past 4 years, since leaving 3064, my journey has taken me along some different ministry paths. Some for which I am grateful for, and some for which I am not.

Has God been with me along the journey ? Absolutely ...He has never failed me, ever...but the truth is that since leaving 3064, I have felt something seriously missing.

It's bad, a bit, I think to have your identity tied up in a place, but how could it not after such a long time, the better way is for our identity to be tied up in Christ alone.

That's common sense for the Christian leader, - however in reality, we are all human and at times we find ourselves characterized by what we do and where we sit.

For me that was very much 3064 for such a long time. It's been hard for that to change.


I draw on others who are also characterised by such circumstances of longevity ...
Bill Hybels/Willowcreek, Brian Houston/Hillsong, Rick Warren/Saddleback etc etc.
Not that I put myself in their league..I do not. It's just about tenure. Etc

Anyway... this morning as I reflected in worship on the time when I first heard those worship songs, I remembered times in my life where my ministry seemed to count for something and made a difference.   Those worship times and prayer times at Craigieburn were amazing.
Monday nights especially.

I look around and see a number of people in full time ministry either as officers, or ministry assistants and workers and know that God did great work in us all in those days.

After 4 years away, its probably been the first time that I have really noticed just how much I miss those times of power and praise.

I know full well you can't go back to "the good old days"..... however thats what they were... and I think that's when people get off track in churches, by trying to recreate the good old days.
They were for that season of life and maybe that season alone.

I can only hope that my life and ministry counted towards something for eternity in those good old days.

To the astute reader, you will pick up that I am feeling nostalgic and sentimental a little today, and perhaps a little sad... and I will need to work through that, but it has caused me some degree of self examination today to ponder "what was", and "what is..." and "what will be"... in the future for Gary Grant as a Salvo Officer.

Here is something of what I reflected on today, (bullet points only)

* Powerful Holy Spirit driven prayer meetings is where I discovered the leaders of that church.

* The excitement of new people coming to faith, sometimes in crazy radical ways that were a bit out
   there for this Trad salvo from Perth.

* The wonder of being lost in worship, sensing God touching your heart and mind and shaping your
    life every single week.

* Seeing people rise up into leadership and go off into ministry... 5 Officers now.

* The "aha" moments in our leadership meetings where penny's dropped for us all as we learned
   together about how to lead in Gods Holy Church.

* Seeing 3 different worship/music teams develop as we started growing into an outstanding
   contemporary church in The Salvation Army.

* And did I mention the prayer times, the Gateway Groups and the influence we had on community as we developed community forums, lobbied for infrastructure development for the local community and impacted the policies and politicians in our region...

Ahh those were indeed the days, highlight days of my ministry...and since then Satan has been attacking me with all guns ablazing.. not relenting in fact..

I haven't always won. I have gone under a few times since then, but today am pleased to say that I still stand.. still stand for Jesus, still desire to serve and please Him and to be victorious for Him in my life.

Ministry has shown me various ministry styles and issues and problems, but for me it only makes sense, if it is all about Jesus, and I firmly believe that when churches make life about Jesus, with Him as the priority and focus, and I mean that... evidenced by who turns up at the corporate prayer meeting,

then it is "then" and "only then" that church finds meaning, purpose and power and can make a difference to the community in which it is placed.

Anyway, its just my thoughts about my ministry so far... I am not finished yet, but I do know I can't go back to the "good old days, I must create new "good old days" , which in my future will be my new "good old days"


Just a thought.





































25 December 2016

When things dont go the way you thought they would !?

I am 56 years of age, and have lived a pretty good life, mostly. I have made so many mistakes in my life that I cant count them all... at times,  I think I remember every single sin I have ever committed.

I have also had my fair share of victories and sometimes I can also remember those.

There have been times in my life when I have been in complete despair over my own stupid actions, and then there have been times when I have felt elated over a situation or circumstance.

As I sit here and reflect on all this, this early Christmas morning 2016, I have just received a SMS message thanking me for my contribution in another persons life.  I thought the message was a mistake seeing as though I didn't recognize who it was that sent it, and have had no ministry contact in more than 12 months with this person.  I feel like I have had little impact on anyone else's life this year... actually, so it was a bit of a surprise to me to receive the SMS.

Anyway it caused me to just sit and ponder my life again. Some of which makes me more sadder than I would like to talk about.

There have been days in my life when I have felt like I could burst.... such happiness and overflowing joy, flowing in my heart... one such day, was just amazing for me ...so much peace and joy it overwhelmed me.... such satisfaction and ...well I can't explain it...

only to be followed not long after by a day of total devastation that I wondered whether I would ever recover. In fact I dont think really I have recovered from it  at all. I was helpless in it, and there was nothing I could say or do to make it right.

has your life been like that ?

I have felt, at times, overlooked, abandoned, forgotten, .... I have felt useless and weak, and also a waste of space. I have felt others treat me in ways I shouldn't be treated and haven't deserved to be treated and I have felt like I am of no worth to anyone or anything.

And there have been times when I felt like I could in fact make a difference to the little world around me and help others to find hope and a way in the madness .  There have been times I have felt like I could contribute something ..  and there have been times when I knew I could help.

I dont think I am stupid and I have learned a fair bit over the past 20 years or so and have tried to apply that knowledge and experience to my ordinary everyday life.  Sometimes with success and other times to be rejected completely.


Its kind of what life is all about isnt it ?

So what do I do as I approach my 57th year.... ? Live with regret and sadness ? Or live with hope and a sense of gladness ? Will I think I am better than others ?  Or will I try to help others ? Try and better things... or make them worse by my potential selfish ambition ?

Do you ? What will you do ? With 2017 ?

I (and most likely you too) dont want to live my life being buffered around by the rejection or mindlessness of others .... I dont want to wallow in my own self pity of feeling forgotten. I dont want to be defined by my past mistakes....  I truly want to be defined by my past victories and potential to make a difference to the present and future.


To add value to those around me, no matter what the circumstances look like. Or feel like. Maybe its easier said than done... maybe !!!

So in my life, and in yours too.... we all have regrets, mistakes, lost opportunities, sin, and feelings of being abandoned or overlooked... and without getting too preachy on this Christmas Day 2016... there was the arrival of Jesus on the earth so long ago that made a difference to us all.

We listen to carols sung about it every year.

Many have no idea what they are singing about.

BUT JESUS.... He is the difference and makes the difference and so when things dont turn out the way you thought or hoped they would, remember Jesus is with you, He is with us, through every up and down of life, He is standing alongside us all the way, and never abandons us or forgets us or rejects us or overlooks us. He is our reason, well he is mine... and today as I consider the gift of Jesus to my life... and also consider the topsy turvy life I have lived so far, I am deeply thankful that below the surface of my visible life, there is a saviour and what a saviour He is to me.

So if things haven't turned out the way you had hoped in your life so far ? I get it... but don't stay there... allow the deep peace of Jesus to fill your mind this moment and choose a new path for a new year that will lead you closer to Jesus than you have lived in the past.

that's what I am gonna do.

Merry Christmas.










5 December 2016

An " Anaemic " blog...

These past few weeks has seen a few episodes of unsettling articles blogged and reported in social media.  I am not against social media, in fact I think these days it is a valuable and helpful way of communicating to the current world.   I am a blogger afterall. I am active on facebook. I tried instagram, but struggled... also twitter. ( struggled there too).

Last week there was this blog written that was not that complimentary of TSA. There had been a previous article which slammed us, and after some horrid weeks and some adjustments, TSA modified its wording, which whether you loved it or hated it, was a little more aligned with our positional statements. Well anyway, this blog had another go.  I felt enough was enough, so I challenged it and my first challenge was published. And then shot down. Actually the writer called me in subsequent blogs, "a biblical anaemic Christian" which of course messed with my head.

What I think is sad, is that I responded to these allegations and my follow up comments were not published. I challenged the writer if he had made contact with senior TSA leadership to discuss our position and gain clarity ? But he did not respond to me, nor print that comment in his blog. Which tells me he didn't contact senior leadership at all before going to print. I also invited this guy for a coffee and a chat ..face to face... so far, no response.

When you blog, you do in fact leave yourself open for criticism and all kinds of wonderful remarks, and yes you can control that and decide what you will or wont publish, however if a thread starts and then is cut off, it reaks of something a little deeper, especially when you dont agree with the writer or challenge them. It seemed to me, and in reading this guys blogs, if you agree ..you get published, if you dont agree or challenge ? You will get slammed .

This is a big debate, which will in fact divide the church worldwide over time, if it hasn't already.
You wont win any friends anywhere by making comment one way or the other.  So having said that, I sometimes think, it may be best left unsaid... and prayed about.  Not everyone will agree with even that. And especially that guy.

Sigh !!!!

So here's what I really think... for what it's worth.

Love Jesus.  Serve Him.  Look for ways to honour Him. Understand and read the Bible. Understand the human condition. Understand how God made us the limitations and expectations of our humanity. What it means to be God's Children. And to be salt and light in our world.

To speak truth with grace.

To show compassion and love to others, to try and be the kind of people that would do what Jesus would do if He were here in person on the earth today.  To call sin what it is. And to offer grace and a way for forgiveness in the process. To be gentle and kind, to be loving and sincere, to be self controlled and merciful, to be firm in our faith and to seek forgiveness for our sin (everyday if needed), to not boss others around, to be true to what we said we would do and be in our soldiers/officers covenants when we signed them,  and if we have failed, then confess our sin and repent and get back on track ourselves.(personally)

And for us in TSA to remember this...

We are The "Salvation" Army.... we are in the business of getting people saved and added into the Kingdom of God. Whatever and however we do that, who cares, as long as it happens.

When Christians turn on each other its a sad day.
When one Christian thinks He has complete truth, or is better than someone else, its a sad day.

Jesus came to save the lost, the least and the last.. I am one of those kind of people.

And you might not want to hear it... but so are you !

Praise the Name of Jesus for His love is for all people.
He loves us all, He wants us to stop sinning and to start living in His pure love.

Oh what a day it will be when we do that .

.........

Finally, I got to preach a brief word to 20,000 people over the weekend.  What a privilege that was for me, I pray we will all take our opportunities when they come along and speak truth to our world, that Jesus is a loving God who cares about every single person on the planet.

He hates sin, but love us anyway.

that has a lot of implications, yes... but lets be gracious in how we share that truth.






















16 November 2016

What comes First ? (this is important right now)

its not called a prime mover for nothing !!!

 

Today we have seen some fireworks around the place as The Salvation Army in Victoria made a statement in regards to Safe schools. It has caused a bit of an uproar around the place and in some ways fair enough.

One of the key problems we have, which in many ways is a good problem, is that injustice and the fight against injustice has lifted around us so much that many people are standing up for other  peoples rights, thats a good thing. Right ?

In fact TSA has always been a movement where we have done that.

Now I pre empt what I am about to say, (as I know it will upset some apple carts), with the disclaimer that this is my opinion and not a statement from TSA. 

In my opinion we have gained so much momentum in fighting against injustice that we have left the gospel behind. 

However that is the incorrect order.  The Gospel always goes first and followed closely behind is the cause for our fellow man, namely the fight against injustice. It cant be assumed its happening. It has to be as intentional if not moreso than the cause for justice.

The image above is helpful, the trailer never can go anywhere with out the prime mover in position.  
The sad analogy /  reality has become, it seems, in some ways, that all we ever hear now is the need for our stand against injustice.

So we speak less about the gospel for fear of offending others, and we speak more about various humanitarian issues.  It's back to front.  Maybe a very clever ploy of the enemy of the cross. Subtle. Blatant. And weakening.

When we proclaim the gospel less, we lose power, momentum and purpose.

When we help our brothers and sisters in need, it is seen as a good thing. And it is a good thing.

The problem is though, that fighting for injustice will not in fact get anyone into heaven, only a full surrender to the Lordship Of Jesus Christ will do that. (the gospel)

It's a natural order of the Christian life that once Jesus enters our heart we want to help others to live a better life, and to find Him..... the gospel  and its transforming power always must come first. 

If all we ever hear is declarations about justice issues..... and we don't balance that out with the full gospel about Jesus, well....perhaps, the writing is on the wall.

When the writing is on the wall you can be sure that power, and spiritual authority is gone or about to go.  

Has TSA lost that ? no I dont think so... I dont think God has finished with us yet.  But we must heed the call from Him back to our first love and that means Jesus and His authority and love and grace and truth.  

We all, everyone of us, without exception must place Him first. Injustice comes second.

Here is a place in scripture where God deliberately wrote on the wall... read this...  (you can read the full account from Daniel Chapter 5 ( here is a link  Daniel Chapter 5 )

25 “This is what was written: ‘MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN.’ 26 And this is what it means: ‘MENE’ means that God has numbered the days of your rule and has brought it to an end. 27 ‘TEKEL’ means that you have been weighed and found to be too light. 28 ‘PERES’ means that your nation has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

 

 I want to say, that I don't want to have God start writing on the walls in my house, about how I am living about what comes first in my life.  I know I fall short all the time on this ... but I choose Him every single day and am never wanting Him to need to write on my wall that I have been weighed and found light, or as it says in some translations, "found wanting".

So before I end this blog, let me reiterate my view.

The gospel can be active without injustice. 

But injustice and the fight against it, can and never should try to be be active without the gospel, from a Christians point of view.

 our world is not the same as it used to be.

We cant impose our Christian beliefs on the world and expect the world to just buckle down and accept it. We now live in a post Christian society.  Does that change the truth of the gospel ?  NO WAY.
Jesus Christ is still the answer. And we must still proclaim it, share it, live it.

The world will not change to adopt us any more.  
And we (the church) must not change our beliefs and purpose just because its now harder. 

I think what the world is looking for, is someone, something, that will stand up for what it says it is and make that stand courageously and boldly and also  with grace and truth and love.

We are, The SALVATION Army.   The Army of Salvation...seeing people saved. Bottom line

Have we lost our power ? Have we lost our spiritual mantle ?

what does the evidence show us...?

 the evidence always gives an accurate conclusion.

what does the bible say ?

in its simplicity, it says come to Jesus, all who are weary and burdened and He will give us rest. 

Now that's not a bad idea right now is it ?

and one final matter... its not about you or me...its not about how good we think we are, or if we think someone should be elevated or not... its not about us big noting ourselves, or thinking more highly of ourselves than we should, its not about one single human being on the planet at this time... even if they super smart or not...

as I recall it, its about Jesus Christ and His compelling love for humanity that all would be saved and none would be lost, and we... who call ourselves Christ followers, or Soldiers or Officers in this TSA must do all we can to join Him in that supreme purpose.

here is what Officers signed when they were commissioned:
please note which comes first.


MY COVENANT

CALLED BY GOD
to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
as an officer of The Salvation Army

I BIND MYSELF TO HIM IN THIS SOLEMN COVENANT
to love and serve him supremely all my days,

to live to win souls and make their salvation the first purpose of my life,

to care for the poor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, love the unlovable, and befriend those who have no friends,

to maintain the doctrines and principles of The Salvation Army, and, by God's grace to prove myself a worthy officer.


 I hope I haven't offended you.

Jesus must become greater and we (all of us) must become less.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



24 October 2016

Stuck in a rut !!! Choose to get out !!!



I have done it and so have you ...and so has everyone else around you, even if they wont admit it they have,we all have. Its stupid and we feel stupid afterwards, at times we are embarrassed and ashamed, even disgusted in ourselves, and sometimes we feel trapped by it as well. But..you can bet your bottom dollar that every single person on the planet has at one time or the other made a silly choice and stupid decision.

Whether it was the first drink of booze, and now you are an alcoholic, whether it was the first look at porn and now you are addicted to it, whether it was a silly relationship choice, or perhaps a wrong career path, maybe even you took something that didn't belong to you, and suffer the consequences of that choice...at one point in your life and certainly mine, we have all made a stupid mistake and now suffer the consequences of that choice.

You can be certain that every choice has a consequence... it always does, one way or the other.

There are a couple of other issues surrounding these choices... one is that we at times find ourselves in denial, no... I am not an alcoholic, no I am not addicted to anything, well... pull back the blinkers from your eyes, if you can't see a way out, then there is a good chance you are stuck in.  If you can't live a day or so without the booze or porn, or drug, or whatever it is, then there is a good chance you are locked in ...and the only way out, is to "choose" to be out.

For every bad choice, it can be rectified with a good choice.

When I was very young, I too, chose some things in my life which I have struggled with my whole life, and the only way out is to choose to be living it differently.

There is one other matter which must be addressed.

Why did we choose it in the first place ?

An escape ? A distraction ? Running away from the truth ?  Running away from a calling ? Running away from someone ? Or something ? Or what ?

When we are tired, or frustrated, or discouraged or even feeling sad, its in these times that often we find ourselves falling back into the addiction or rut. To try and alleviate our feelings of dismay or discouragement.

It isnt the answer.

By the way a good definition of a rut, is an open ended grave. Its no place to live. Graves are for dead people. Life is meant to be lived and to be lived to the max.

So finally, in this little bit of a serious blog entry... may I encourage you ..if you have found yourself stuck in a rut, one of the key ways to escape it, is to make choices that are opposite to what has led you there in the first place.

Know this, the only way to get a different result, is to change what you do.
Change the choices .... change the patterns, let go of the addiction, seek help doing so if needed, but change up the choices.

I can guarantee you, when you choose Jesus, for real !!!
Your life will never be the same again.

Why not just whisper a prayer right now and ask Him to help you and to come into your heart once again.

Its the best choice you could make.

By the way, if you need some help,  you can email me and or Facebook me and i will do my best to assist you. And to support you in changing up your choices. Or if not me, then get someone to help you.



15 October 2016

When God whispers into your ear !


Earlier this week I attended a discipleship practicum in Harrington NSW, led by some Officers from Sydney, it was a good time, meeting Salvo Officers from QLD and NSW and spending some time with our Territorial Mission Resource Secretary (Major Graham Roberts -a great man of God) from Melbourne.

After a tumultous journey out of Melbourne and into Port Macquarie, what should have taken us 3 hours to get there, took us basically 12 hours.  So before we even started I was exhausted.

Anyway all that to just put into context the few days we had together in Harrington, culminating with a prayer and ministry time together on Tuesday night where words of Prophecy were spoken for various people in the room as well as very personal and meaningful prayer.

So what does one do when God speaks to you, deeply, intimately and timely through the words of prophecy ?  Well I think the first thing you do is pay attention . The second thing you do is work out what it means and how it applies to your present situation, and thirdly you thank Him for bothering to care enough to speak to you about where things are at.

I have a sneaky suspicion by the way, that He is speaking often, but we are not always ready and willing to listen. (just a thought).

A few of my friends have asked me to share what was spoken and whilst it is very personal  for me, I am happy to share for those interested and wanting to walk with me in my journey for and with Jesus.

So here it is...it's not long or too detailed...

2 key statements were spoken to me...

The first, will be a bit strange to others, but to me, it made perfect sense. It involved a road, a long and straight road. This road had loads of side roads. Distractions. Detours. Options. The words spoken called me to stay on the straight road, and to ignore the distractions, and not to take any detours. To not look for options. To stick at it and keep on track.  

The second was Zechariah 9:12

Which says:

“Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.”

I didnt take this for one moment to mean that I needed to go back to Perth Fortress, my home church, but rather...return to the fortress of my faith. To be reminded that I am indeed a prisoner of Hope, actually, I am a Messenger of Hope (it was our sessional name in training to be Officers). But for me the depth of meaning was about the restoration bit, twice as much than what I have lost.

I am not going to go into any detail here, but I have felt, and am well aware, that I have lost a fair bit of momentum in my ministry life and experience, and a big chunk was taken from me, and in this prophecy spoken,  that was broader than just these words of Zechariah, that what I have lost is going to be twice given back.

As the words were spoken I teared up, and became emotional, for it spoke into my very core.

I claim it as my own.

So that's about it. It will mean nothing to anyone else, but it has enormous ramifications for me.

So listen up, God speaks to His kids today, still.. He loves us and cares about us deeply.

His plans are still by far the best plans.


If you haven't heard from Him in a while, why not simply just ask Him to speak into your situation and then make sure you are watching and listening as He responds to you, with His quiet still and powerful voice.

It is not coincidental by the way, that 2 days previously, I saw an eagle, the first one in nearly 2 years, just saying.


😉😉😉