Corps Officer Major Nigel Schultz led both meetings at Chatham yesterday due to the absence of his wife Judy who was attending a national WAGS weekend at the Hayes Conference Centre, Swannick, Derbyshire.
Associate officer Major Karen Smith led the morning meeting at Strood, however we are reporting both the Chatham meetings.
Following the introduction of his theme (New Heaven and a New Earth) and prayer Major Nigel began the morning worship with the songs ‘Heaven came down and glory filled my soul’ and ‘All over he world the Spirit is moving’. The Singing Company (children’s choir), very depleted because the older members were enjoying a ‘retreat’ this weekend, contributed ‘Simply trusting Jesus, There seemed to be an extra effort put in because the six younger members sang beautifully. Scripture chosen was from Revelation 21.
A further song for the congregation was ‘Day and night show evidence of God’s creative hand’ and the Songsters brought ‘Go forth in his name’. Major Nigel’s message is summarised as follows:
I can remember, when a young person, thinking that Heaven is a long way away. Now I feel it’s much nearer. Today is Founder’s Day so July is a special month in The Salvation Army so let’s pause and think about what Heaven will be like, this ultimate experience.
At this point Major Nigel showed some pictures depicting what is beautiful in this world, for example a beach in Tanzania, the Twelve Apostles in Cape Town (South Africa) and the top of Mount Snowdon (Wales).
So, what is Heaven? Two of the Salvation Army’s Doctrines will help us.
We believe that it is the privilege of all believers to be wholly sanctified, and that their whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We believe in the immortality of the soul; in the resurrection of the body; in the general judgement at the end of the world; in the eternal happiness of the righteous; and in the endless punishment of the wicked.
Scripture says there will be a new Heaven and a new Earth. Let me ask, what is new for you, a new phone or a new car perhaps? There will be many things we are used to which will not appear in Heaven (check our scripture passage again) but the difference is that God will be there and with us.
This world is tainted by sin and is being destroyed. It is not what God wants for us so there is need for something new. What does John mean in his writing? I think he means there will be no more turmoil or chaos, no more wickedness and no place for Satan and anyone who challenges God. Let’s add a few other human things like cancer, lies, murder, theft, dissatisfaction and worries of any kind whatsoever.
So, what makes creation new? The world will be purged of everything God does not want in it. God will be dwelling with us. This is something we can look forward to with eager anticipation. Today God is present with us in so many ways but this is not the same as it will be when we live in God’s presence. It is time for us to prepare prepare our selves for this.
The prayer song ‘Move Holy Spirit’ gave time for reflection and the meeting closed with ‘We’re bound for the land of the pure and the holy’
As previously advertised on this website the evening meeting had an American theme, recognising that Independence Day occurs tomorrow. This is also an important weekend in Canada. As can be seen some people came in suitable ‘red, white and blue’!
Following the playing of a march (God’s Children) by the Band Major Nigel introduced the theme and the evening began with the famous American Civil War hymn ‘Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord’ followed by prayer and scripture from Isaiah 53:1-5
The American National Anthem (Star Spangled Banner) was played followed by the song ‘America the beautiful’. The Band’s second contribution was a combination of the ‘Canadian National Anthem’ and ‘Simple gifts’ and the song ‘God bless America’ was sung before scripture from Genesis 15:5 and Matthew 2:1-2 and 9-10 was read. The ministry from the Songsters was ‘Jesus will still be there’ and Major Nigel’ message is summarised below:
There are many references in scripture to both stars and stripes. Americans are very patriotic but there are strong feelings in some parts which seem to be contrary to our own. The United States needs our prayers.
In India stars are used to indicate Christianity in a country which is full of other religions. While I was in Bangladesh I thought, in an emergency, this was the time I needed be a doctor. But I am squeamish and soon realised that I am an administrator and cannot cope with emergencies. But only Jesus has the real power to heal (refer again to our scripture – ‘with his stripes we are healed – note the present tense). Look again at our doctrines:
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has by His suffering and death made an atonement for the whole world so that whosoever will may be saved.
We often speak about the cross in a matter of fact ‘black and white’ sort of way but scripture says that the process is a long one (we are healed). Surgeons will do their best but only Jesus does the healing and he can do it for you. He can give you the grace to cope when suffering.
My challenge is simple. Where do you need healing? Only Jesus can provide it.
The songs ‘When he cometh, when he cometh’ and Emblem of a thousand battles’ concluded the meeting. In recognition of Founder’;s Day the Band played out with ‘O Boundless Salvation’.
Two groups of people within our Corps have been missing this weekend. The younger members of the ‘Youff‘ group have been enjoying their annual retreat and we have heard of great times being had. Some ladies have also been away at the Hayes Conference Centre in Derbyshire for a WAGS weekend (WAGS = Women And God not Wives And Girlfriends!!). We pray that both groups have been richly blessed in this special time.