Featured Article: Commissioner Hudson

David Hudson of the Salvation Army: “Seeing Light at the End of the Tunnel; 5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”

There’s always a silver lining — look for it. People are coming together in ways we haven’t seen before to combat this virus. We need to take comfort in knowing we’re all going through this, because it’s in togetherness that we’ll emerge better and stronger than before.


Asa part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Commissioner David Hudson.

Commissioner David Hudson has been an officer in The Salvation Army for 45 years. Today, he leads the country’s largest social services provider as National Commander, overseeing 7,600 centers of operation across the country that help nearly 23 million Americans annually to overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships. Commissioner Hudson holds a unique position on remaining a beacon of hope and healing during times of great distress like COVID-19 thanks to his 14 years of experience as a corps officer (pastor).


Thank you for joining us David! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Igrew up in a highly dysfunctional home. My father was what I would call a “functioning alcoholic” — his drinking prompted abusive behavior toward my mother and me for many years. This had a significant effect on us. My mother, an emotionally battered woman, had a hard time showing her feelings, which continued even after my father left us.

We moved a few times once my father was out of the picture, landing in Anchorage, Alaska, where my mom reunited with an old boyfriend. Together, we moved to Portland, Oregon, before things took a turn for the worst. Sadly, my stepdad took his own life. Although the circumstances were unfortunate, I was blessed to be united with my aunt, whom I lived with the majority of the time after my stepdad’s passing.

My aunt became a constant in my life. For the first time I could remember, I felt love — she expressed love like I had never known. At the time, my aunt was a retired Salvation Army officer, and together we’d attend the local Salvation Army’s services. My mother and I would attend together off and on as well, but transportation was an issue. I remember my mom calling around to the local corps to see if they offered rides. I’ll never forget the officer who was kind enough to do this for us, which eventually became a weekly occurrence. Every Sunday, this officer would make sure we got to The Salvation Army, and it was this type of kindness that stuck with me.

My aunt and that local Salvation Army officer became the most significant people in my life, both being the first to invest in me and show me the love I didn’t have as a child. I knew God called on them to help me, and I wanted to be just like them.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Henri Nouwen’s In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership has had a significant impact on me. Every January, I reread this book (in one day) because it reinforces my core belief that there is incredible power in believing in people. Nouwen was a Catholic priest, professor, and writer and, in his later years, felt that God called him in a new direction. He spent his last years in Canada serving as a chaplain for the mentally challenged.

While this book highlights the importance of community, it also reinforces the principle that people will rise to the level of another’s belief in them. It reminds me that if I really believe in someone, they will do their absolute best to reach my level of belief in them, just as I did with my aunt, who always told me to be my best self as I was growing up. This principle has been very important throughout my life and has impacted so many the way it did for me.

Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective, can you help our readers to see the “light at the end of the tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons to Be Hopeful During This Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

1. People tend to believe our current reality is forever, but it seldom is. After 9/11, no one thought our life would return to normal, but it did. I think back to the time when we could go through airport security with a water bottle, and although we may not be able to do that now, we rarely think about it. Why? Because it has become our new normal. The same thing will happen this time, and we need to remember that.

2. There have been other pandemics in our history. The biggest difference today is having constant access to the news. In 1918, the Spanish flu infected millions of people in the midst of World War I. It was an uncertain time just like we’re all facing now. Back then, no one thought they had a chance of survival, but they did. They did survive. And we will survive this too.

3. There’s always a silver lining — look for it. People are coming together in ways we haven’t seen before to combat this virus. We need to take comfort in knowing we’re all going through this, because it’s in togetherness that we’ll emerge better and stronger than before.

4. Have you ever run a marathon? You get to the last mile and start doing everything you’re not supposed to. You think about your fatigue and how you want to stop, all while forgetting about the first 25.2 miles you ran. You forget about the progress you’ve made and instead focus on the dreaded distance you still have to go. I think this applies to our current situation, because we often forget how far we’ve come. A month ago, we did not have as many COVID-19 tests as we do now. These tests are giving us results in minutes instead of days like it previously took. We’re also moving faster to find a vaccine than at any other time in history. These are all things we should remind ourselves of and think about how much progress has already been made instead of how much further we have to go.

5. Imagine this scenario: You’re arrested and sent to jail. At your sentencing, the judge says, “I’m sentencing you to jail,” giving you no time frame on how long you’ll be in there. Don’t you think that would be worse than being told you have five years to serve? At least you could count down the days until you’re free. The unknown, like what we’re dealing with now, is hard to process. If we had a time frame for how long the pandemic will last, we could at least count down the days until it is over. Although we don’t have a specific time frame right now, the government has put plans in place to reopen businesses and lift shelter-in-place orders when it’s safe. We are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Lean into that.

From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

1. First and foremost, reach out to people, because good intentions aren’t enough. We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions. When we see that people are experiencing anxiety, we have to act, not just intend to.

2. Learn how people want to be encouraged, because not everyone is the same. Some like to be encouraged through a phone call or video chat, and it’s our job to find out what that person prefers. Giving encouragement is about how others want to receive it, not how we like to give it. Just because it may remove your anxiety doesn’t mean it’ll remove theirs.

3. Purposely do acts of kindness. Just the other day, my wife bumped into our neighbors, who had returned from the store with a case of toilet paper in tow. In the midst of their conversation, they asked my wife if we had everything we needed. She briefly mentioned some items that were running low, and almost instantly, our neighbors gave us several rolls of the toilet paper they had just bought for themselves. While we were touched by this, it wasn’t the action of giving us those items that stuck with us — it was the act of kindness they showed even though we aren’t too familiar with each other.

4. When we feel anxious, it’s often because we’re focusing on ourselves. One of the best ways to overcome that feeling is to shift your inward focus outward. Start focusing on other people, and encourage others to get involved.

5. Above all else, we need to remember that we will get through this and things will get better.

What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?

For me, physical activity is a great way to curb anxiety. COVID-19 has surely freed up time for us to focus on that. I’ve been walking every day, sometimes up to five miles, and I really look forward to this time. It’s cleansing. I usually listen to a fictional book while I walk to take my mind off what’s going on around us.

I think the sooner we accept the things we cannot control, the sooner we can stop feeling anxious. I tell myself that I can’t create a vaccine, I can’t help the airplanes fly — there are a lot of things I can’t do, but there is also a lot I can do. We need to focus on the things we can control.

Be active and present, or volunteer in your community if you can. We become part of the solution when we get involved. If that isn’t an option, call your friends and family to build a network of support to help you during times of increased anxiety.

Do things that help you relax, especially before bedtime. Studies show that laughter creates “happy hormones” that lower blood pressure and stress and make us feel good. I avoid watching or reading negative news before I go to bed. Instead, I watch something funny or uplifting. We can control what we see and hear, so choose something positive to boost your mood.

Talk to someone. If you’re feeling anxious, let people know, and tell them how they can help you. Choose not to live in an anxious state, and let people know how you’re feeling. The Salvation Army is running a national hotline for people who may need a compassionate ear or help. Staffed by our officers, who are pastors, we’re here to listen at 844–458-HOPE (4673).

Can you please give us your favorite “life lesson quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

My family and I always say, “I love you more.” It reinforces that someone loves you just as much as you love them. More recently, though, this has turned into, “I live you,” which I use just as much. This saying happened accidentally, as one day I was texting one of my daughters and typed, “I love you,” which was autocorrected to, “I live you.” The more I thought about it, the more I realized how true this saying is. If I truly do love someone, I live for them. My purpose in life is for them. I truly believe my life isn’t my own. I live for my family and everyone else I’ve chosen to invite into my life.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Every day that I’ve been going on long walks, I try to wave and smile at the people I see. Without exception, they always return the smile, even in their face masks. If I had to start movement, I think it would be to pay the smile forward — because anytime this happens, for a brief moment, we all feel better.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

You can follow me a few different ways. Keep up with The Salvation Army’s COVID-19 response efforts at salvationarmyusa.org/usn/covid19.

Twitter: @Natlcommander or @SalvationArmyUS

Facebook: “Like” The Salvation Army USA at facebook.com/SalvationArmyUSA

Last Days

Information Tsunami:
1. Until 1900 – doubled every 100 years
2. 1900-1945 – doubled every 25 years
3. 1945- 2018 – doubles every 13 months.
4. Soon – every 12 hours.

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” – Daniel 12:4

Forging A Path To The Future

general

BY GENERAL BRIAN PEDDLE

General Brian Peddle addresses his fellow officers in his first communication to them via The Officer magazine.

As this is my first communication via The Officer, I want to acknowledge my deep sense of privilege and responsibility in creating words that will become an important framework for other exchanges between us. I hope to speak clearly to those who I view as fellow elders (1 Peter 5:1) and with whom I share a very special link through our Officer’s Covenant. I am addressing all officers and I do so with thanks to God for each of you and with a deep gratitude for your faithful service.

You will understand if I state, ‘There is so much to say,’ and this article will not cover all the topics. I acknowledge the need to think further into the agenda but, at the same time, I readily commit to you to share a clear and consistent message in these coming months. For this article, I need a little space to reflect and briefly muse on the future that God has for us.

Throughout my officership (now 41 years) I have stood on the shoulders of those who have gone before me. For me this is more than a cliché. I stand today with a deep sense of gratitude, noting that by God’s grace I can see further, dream bigger and exhibit Holy Spirit courage because of them. I honour General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox. Having journeyed with them I can assure you that embracing this next chapter and the term as your General, I will stay the course on important matters relating to their legacy. There is no need to be nervous about a huge shift in direction. Due to good implementation and careful embedding there will be the opportunity to redeploy resources and tackle other important matters. On that basis, my intention is to move forward boldly, but to consult in a manner that respects all who are Army and are engaged in sharing our mission.

With a continued focus on accountability, child protection, governance, finance systems, information technology platforms, women in leadership and leadership development, some would say, ‘That’s enough!’ Without wishing to disturb you, I suggest that we are only scratching the surface. Beyond these important things, beyond The Whole World ReadingThe Whole World Praying and The Whole World Mobilising, there remains a world of broken people who need Jesus and need to hear his message of love. In my discernment of God’s will for us there is a growing urgency that we engage with this broken world as never before. We must break out of any ‘maintenance mode’ or acceptance of the status quo. We must refuse to slip into the shadows of mediocrity and stand firm amid the devil’s schemes of distraction. I would go as far as to say, ‘Why not take back what the devil has stolen?’

Let’s reinvigorate our belief in God’s call on his people within The Salvation Army to become disciples engaged in his mission of bringing people to God and God to the people. The cause of Christ is worth dying for and our people, particularly the young, are looking for a worthy cause. I appeal to colleague officers around the world to be so captivated by the mission that we convince countless others to join us in the fight.

In recent days I have often thought of the men of Issachar, described as ‘men who understood the times and knew what [to] do’ (1 Chronicles 12:32). Surely, among us there are such men and women who will lead boldly and declare the message that God is doing a new thing.

I believe that what lies ahead for the Army is unfathomable and limited only by our measure of faith and obedience. I ask you to join me in that acknowledgement and then be prepared to participate in an Army engaged in a triumphal procession as described by Paul: ‘But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere’ (2 Corinthians 2:14).

During the pre-High Council conference, leaders spoke passionately about their confidence that God is still leading and blessing the Army. With that comes a clear call…

·      to seek spiritual renewal and engage our people in mission;

·      to grasp again our deep need for holiness of heart and life;

·      to value people – officers, soldiers and employees – as God’s great gift to the Army;

·      to link who we are with the very essence of what we do, the mission that is ours.

I believe there is a clear call upon the Army and I will help us have a focus on that call. It is a call…

·      to prayer – an Army moving forward on its knees;

·      to holy living – it is more than tradition or our theological roots;

·      to soldiers to be available;

·      to officers to staff our mission;

·      to Salvationists to be living letters of the gospel truth and deliverance;

·      to be a youthful Army;

·      to be a justice-focused Army;

·      to be a Spirit-filled Army praying ‘thy Kingdom come’;

·      to be a battle-ready Army with only one desired outcome – to become his sent people.
With all of you, I want to sing the words: ‘Storm the forts of darkness, bring them down!’ However, I would point out that this means we must be ready for spiritual warfare because the enemy is real, and only a spiritually-fit Army will claim victory in the battle. I pray for God’s shield of protection around us. While we battle for souls, we must be confident that God is with us.

As General I claim God’s promise: ‘So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand’ (Isaiah 41:10).

I claim this simply because reliance upon God is critical. You will hear me talk about the strength of the Army, the clarity of the mission, the public favour we enjoy and the strength of our diversity. Yet, hear me clearly, this Army will only be at its best when God is leading the way. It is with this in mind that I make myself accountable to you by exposing myself to the scrutiny of God’s Word, to prayer so that I may discern with others God’s will for us, to be guided by the prayer impact of God’s people, to experience marriage and family in a way that God is honoured, to lead as one under authority and, most of all, to be accountable to God for the stewardship of the responsibility given to me.

I am very grateful for the Army I have been asked to lead. Please don’t view this as an indication that I am naïve. You cannot serve as Chief of the Staff and not be aware of the shortcomings, human deficiencies and failures of this Army. Having said that, I am blessed because I believe we can lead from a position of significant strength:

·      a rock-solid biblical and doctrinal foundation;

·      dedicated people who are committed to God’s mission in the world;

·      a clear sense of direction that prioritises the preaching of the gospel and serving humanity;

·      a well-managed and financially viable Army;

·      an Army whose strategic priorities are underpinned by a strong theology;

·      an accountability framework, helping us to be a more effective, efficient Salvation Army;

·      blessings from God’s hand, honouring our unique DNA and place in the universal Church;

·      capacity to face the tough stuff with courage and confidence;

·      adaptability as we serve, seeing the challenges and meeting the needs.
I am not calling for any back-to-basics or the rediscovery of our roots if that means retrenching and reclusive activity in a barracks. However, I am calling for and will encourage renewal and relevance, taking us outside our comfort zones.

On 3 August, I assumed the office of General. I am delighted that along with Commissioner Rosalie as World President of Women’s Ministries, we are joined by Commissioners Lyndon and Bronwyn Buckingham whose proven leadership will be a great resource to the international Army. I further commend to you the team at International Headquarters as, together with leaders from 59 territories and commands, and three regions, we lead The Salvation Army – God’s raised-up Army.

To all officers and Salvationists I have a ‘big ask’ and here it is: Pray as never before for those who lead; pray for an even greater opportunity for the mission; pray the Jabez prayer for The Salvation Army and believe that God is going to do a new thing; pray ‘thy Kingdom come’; pray that in all we do his name will be honoured and glorified; and pray earnestly that you fully fulfil your intended place in the march forward.

God bless The Salvation Army.

This article first appeared in The Officer magazine.

First Interview With General – Elect

04 June 2018 

Lieut-Col Brian Venables (left) with the General-electLieut-Colonel Brian Venables: We have a very good outline of your history with The Salvation Army, but we want to know a little bit about you. What excites you? What gets you up in the morning? What makes your day?

Commissioner Brian Peddle: What gets me up in the morning? Sleep and rest are a necessity but engaging a new day comes easy. I wake with three thoughts… First, I hope the family is okay, then I hope the Army is okay and finally I hope the world is okay – and all before you make the first coffee – through a check on social media. As an international leader I am keenly aware that while I am finishing my day, half the world is just beginning. The idea and thought that The Salvation Army is a 24/7 reality is quite intriguing. As never before, I am aware that the sun never sets on The Salvation Army flag.

What excites me is the ongoing reality that people are engaged in mission, and the vibrant activity of the Army continues… the gospel is being preached, suffering humanity is being served, strategies are being planned, schools opening for children, a mobile clinic rolls into a needy community, or a meal is served. What gets me up in the morning is knowing that the Army has not been sleeping – it’s a living organism and I engage with it as soon as I wake. I find that quite inspiring.

Do you hear lots of good stories?

My inspiration comes from the good stories that arrive reminding me that the world is small and very interactive. I am privileged and daily I am aware of an Army that is using its spiritual footprint in the world to the fullest extent. I never cease to be amazed at what God is doing. There are also many days when I am concerned about, and praying for, some part of the Army world where there is conflict, or there is a natural disaster, or some of our people are at risk. We are serving in 128 countries and almost without exception, a news headline draws attention to the fact our people are there as well, sometimes serving in the midst of their own tragedy. That’s the volatility of the world that we live in. I think there is lots of room, not only to celebrate God’s faithfulness but also to pray through some of the challenges faced by people and the circumstances that surround them.

What relationships do you value the most?

I thank God every day for my growing relationship with him. I am simply aware of his presence and a journey that remains an adventure with the Almighty. I am presently understanding what it means to live in this world and still do so with an active consciousness of God’s presence. Family comes next. My wife, Rosalie has been a central focus for 40 years and for all of that time we have shared a ministry partnership that’s been incredibly rich. Of course, we are both preoccupied with the broader family and the interaction with two daughters, sons-in-laws and five grandchildren. Our day usually ends with FaceTime as they get home from school or are heading out to evening events. The best time of the day is when the screen comes alive and I hear the words: ‘Poppy, I have something to show you.’ We stay connected even though we are not together often. I might admit and put out there as a caution to all that sometimes life moves so fast that personal needs are challenging. We are very conscious about making time for others.

That’s quite a commitment.

Well, they’re all important!

Commissioner Brian PeddleHow did you come to The Salvation Army?

That was an interesting time in the life of my family. I credit my Mom and Dad, who were not Salvationists, but were a bit uncomfortable with things that were happening in their local church. In obedience to God they started to go to the Army and sometimes I would go along. Early in that experience they found a really good place in the Army where they were welcomed and embraced. Before I knew it, WE were attending!

I was immediately taken by the music, by vibrant preaching… I would even now remember the animated and enthusiastic preaching and strangely I remember testimonies. I was used to a very quiet, formal liturgical experience.

I admit I was attracted, pulled in and warmly welcomed and embraced by corps officers and people who displayed God’s love and genuine interest in us. A month ago I had the privilege of going back to that corps, Trinity Bay South, in Canada to lead the 125th anniversary celebrations. All I can say is that God is faithful.

So, there were other opportunities to be engaged besides family worship. Were you involved in the music sections or corps cadets [discipleship programme for teenagers]?

No, I’ve missed most of that by not showing up until I was 14-15 years of age. I had skipped some of these formative things that many of our Salvationists get to enjoy as kids growing up in the Army. Strangely that was never an issue. I soon became a soldier and without a lot of time in between was sensing a call to officership and not to be dismissive. The rest is history as I now get to lead this incredible Army that gave me space and a spiritual home as an uncertain teenager.

What about your children? They have been part of junior soldiers and corps cadets.

As an officer family we mostly remember two corps where our girls were nurtured and cared for by wonderful people who are still our friends today. They shared in all the programmes which gave them the gift of music, contributed to their leadership capacity and helped develop their faith experience. It was wonderful and rewarding. One of my concerns is how we help our young people to be discipled in today’s world. I’m concerned, for instance, about those very good formative discipleship programmes (junior soldiers and corps cadets) that my kids participated in and I am not sure they are equally available now. You can be certain you will hear me say more in the future about our children and youth.

What will be your immediate focus as General-elect? What are your priorities?

With the help of those around me I am already in transition mode! Apparently there are things coming my way that I have to do in advance of 3 August! It seems that already I’m engaged. It does help that I have worked closely with the present General and I am already a part of every dialogue and initiative. Any handover will be easy due to a very positive relationship with General Cox.

The other huge question you ask – what will be my priorities as General?

There are agenda items that have been a part of us for the past few years – the Accountability Movement, the focus on child protection, the governance dialogue, with a focus on better systems and infrastructure. We have done that while still taking on the responsibility of winning the world for Jesus and growing the Kingdom.

General Cox has enabled the Army to implement many important initiatives and I will continue to embed these things but I don’t think they will require as much of my attention. So, my sense of priority would be to redirect some of those resources that are no longer required to make sure we reinvest those energies in our unique mission focus, engagement with our officers and soldiers while articulating as clearly as possible God’s present call upon the Army. The Army must again live up to its call to be a mission-focused Army. What I mean by that is every soldier, every officer, all of us together accepting our responsibility to be a valued army in the world in which we live.

This means that the two significant aspects of our mission statement – preaching the gospel unashamedly and serving suffering humanity – need to remain connected. I am anxious to share more and in time that will come. I am deeply aware that I need to be the 21st General for the 21st century… by God’s Grace and with the prayers and support of his people.

At this preliminary stage, what is your vision for the Army beyond August 2018?

We come to this role at an excellent time, where the Army is able to work out of a position of great strength. Moving forward and moving from strength to strength is probably what I need to say. I sometimes roll around the phrase in my mind ‘forging a path into the future’.

We stand on the shoulders of many good people and we honour them. They worked with the issues of their day to build a great and much respected Army but we have to grapple with the issues that are confronting the Army in our day. We cannot be unclear or ambiguous about things that are of concern to our people around the world, yet we must do that within a diverse reality.

We need to remember that while we are an international Christian movement we cross many cultural boundaries and we need to understand and respect the cultural context. We live in a rapidly changing world and Salvationists need to be safe in their belief structure and faithful but not disconnected. All of these things could appear to be in conflict, so as General, for the next five years, I intend to lead One Army, and keep that One Army intricately connected and focused while we honour and deal with the diversity that’s all around. That will be a particular challenge, and to do it in a way in which the movement continues to impact the world in which we live.

As the General-elect of The Salvation Army what relationships both internal and external do you want to grow, enrich or build upon?

I will leverage on the diversity we have around the world. We have 59 territories and commands and three regions. I have not forgotten the Boundless Congress where, despite our many differences and the breadth of our diversity, our worship, our doctrine, our sense of mission brought us together as an Army family. Across this diverse spectrum we are linked and we celebrate. There are committed leaders who care for the Army daily and have been given responsibility to lead the Army in their part of the world. They are an extension of the General’s office and that relationship is very sacred. I want a responsibility to both honour and lead my leaders.

My primary concern will be to have a positive consultative relationship with my leaders. I indicated to the High Council that if elected I would take on this role because I’m available to serve and, by God’s grace, I would do that with the partnerships and strengths in that room.

I don’t directly lead the Army in Indonesia or Japan. Somebody else does that. But we want to do it together, so that relationship is critical. Beyond that we have any number of relationships that are important to us.

For instance, the ISJC [International Social Justice Commission] helps us to find ourselves at various tables and sitting in partnership with groups and organisations. Salvationists should watch carefully as agendas on the world scene develop and know we are engaged.

There are constant appeals to the Army to put our name on any kind of manifesto, so we look at those and we say: ‘Is that a partnership we want to have; is that where we need to leverage?’ I think some attention to those kinds of things needs to continue and then on a more local level be encouraged. Partnerships are important to us. We cannot make an impact in the world on our own.

So, the question is with whom do we need to partner to do the best that the Army can do in different parts of the world today, that will not compromise who we are or mean we abdicate our mission responsibility.

Who has influenced you in preparing for this role?

The emphasis is not so much on ‘who’ as ‘what’ has prepared me, and that is the Salvation Army appointments I have had and the myriad people who’ve been a part of that journey.

I look at my life as having been written in chapters. These chapters are appointments that have been ours. They’ve taken us from one responsibility to the next, and God has led and prepared us along the way. Each appointment has been: ‘Are you sure?’ And we’ve moved on to that appointment and been stretched and challenged.

In all of those appointments, people have been there. They’ve been part of teams, they’ve been part of corps and on our staff. Without taking the risk of saying who and when, there has been a collection of people who helped shape us, who have encouraged us and who’ve gifted themselves to us. So, we’ve grown in our capacity and skills over the years – because it’s been 41 years of ‘school’ that has yet to finish!

In all those appointments you found a sufficiency of grace and wisdom?

Absolutely. I think that’s a given – I don’t exist outside of what God does.

I take refuge in God’s promise: ‘So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand’ (Isaiah 41:10).

I step into the role of General with that in mind – do not be afraid, do not be dismayed. I will uphold you by my righteous right hand.

Even as the Chief of the Staff people have asked me: ‘How do you sleep at night?’ Well, I confess to anybody who’s prepared to listen that I rest in the shadow of the Almighty. God is sovereign. If I do my part and do it as best I can, then I have all of the resources of Heaven that will just hold everything together – and I can go to bed and go to sleep.

Have you considered what strategies you could employ to stay connected to the Salvation Army family?

So far we have travelled to 30-plus countries in the world. Rosalie and I already have a huge heart that wants to embrace the Army. We’ll do that in a manner in which we only know how – that’s relationally. It’s our sense that the Army actually is embracing us.

I went through a lot of my years as a territorial commander or a divisional commander saying: ‘Lord, don’t let me leave obvious handprints on the Army that are Brian Peddleʼs.’ In the past years the Army has actually been leaving handprints on me. Our interaction with the Army, our people, their sacrificial service and their sense of mission has changed us. So we look forward to connecting with people around the world – as we spend time with them – we identify with who they are, what’s important to them and how they want to be a part of the Army.

So, embracing the Army with its diversity – nations, peoples, languages, cultures, worship – will be one of our greatest joys. I believe God celebrates it and obviously he blesses it with his hand day by day. I’ll find refuge in that as we move forward.

As General-elect, what is your view of the current state of affairs in The Salvation Army?

‘State of affairs’? That could take a while!

I look to the Army – and confess my knowledge of it is substantial – and I see it warts and all. We are not perfect nor do we have everything right but you would have to a very pessimistic person to not see what God is doing.

Being the Chief of the Staff for the past three years, my sense is that the Army is well and it has the ability to move forward and continue to discover and claim our place in the world. We have a number of unifying agenda items that we need to work on and though they will be difficult it will be for the good of the cause.

We are strengthening a number of support mechanisms – finance and information technology platforms. These improved structures will enable us to do the things that come into view after that.

Financially the Army is being well managed and we celebrate that while trying to figure out how we support the international Army in places where resources are not plentiful. That remains a challenge. I think the continuation of all of these will be important.

The Army faces a bittersweet reality in the area of growth and advancement. We have to call for more soldiers, more candidates. In 10 years I want the Army to be a spiritually vibrant, resourced for mission, fit for purpose Army. I want Salvationists to believe that God is doing a new thing among us. I refuse to limit God or consider for even a moment that our best days are behind us.

What I would like to see is every junior soldier, every soldier, every officer engaged in the mission of the Army – winning souls, caring for suffering humanity and knowing that the Kingdom of God is growing.

Would you say that’s the emerging challenge – making sure everyone has a mission?

If there is no mission we’ll get confused. If there is no mission we won’t be engaged. If there is no mission there is no calling. If there is no mission, why the gospel? If there’s no mission, there’s no Army. I think General Cox has been quoted as saying the world doesn’t need another army that’s confined to barracks. We need people who are willing to do business with neighbours, family members, acquaintances and strangers and talk to them about the love of Christ and that he can change their lives. Our sense of mission will sustain us even if other things become a little blurred.

How can The Salvation Army support the General?

To me that’s obvious. The prayers of God’s people will be the refuge that I will rely upon. Let’s be clear, the General needs prayer! Thus far in my life I’ve created circles of prayer around us and would continue to do that. What I like and I’m intrigued about at the moment is the fact that hundreds of thousands of Salvationists will find the small place in their prayer list to pray for their General.

This is one General who will readily say I need those prayers. Additionally the wisdom of Solomon, the strategic approach of Joshua, the courage of Peter are all needed.

Salvationists around the world can pray daily for the well-being of the General, the agenda that’s in front of him, and all that will be required – courageous leadership and so on – to make sure that we’re not managing the Army but leading the Army.

You’ve been at the High Council. I’m sure there are some highlights of that you would like to share with the people.

The High Council is a very unique gathering with a singular purpose. We take all our commissioners and all our colonels who are territorial commanders or territorial presidents of women’s ministries, and we come together. In 2018 we certified that there were 108 people in attendance. It was amazing. I believe Salvationists can give thanks for a spiritual exercise that enables the election of a new General when needed.

It’s a gruelling process that has its own life for the time that we are together. We’re only called together for the sole purpose of electing a new General, and as soon as that’s been accomplished we disband, we dissolve. What’s unique about that over the days is that there is everything from heavy debate, not always in agreement on every point, but heavy debate respectfully carried out, to moments when you know that God is speaking. The holy hush, if you like, comes and you can recognise those times and if I had the liberty I would tell you about those very significant moments. The intricacies of being nominated, being declared a candidate and then having to respond to the High Council and the many questions they prepare is quite an experience.

It’s probably one of the hardest things I have had to do in a while, yet there is immense privilege in doing it with an incredible measure of personal conviction. I could have said many things but it was important, in that moment, to speak from the heart. I had to say what my personal convictions were. What is absolutely amazing about the process is that every appointment an officer receives in a lifetime will normally come from somebody who is in authority over them. That’s how the appointment system works. The office of the General doesn’t work that way. You’re actually elected by your peers. I have no difficulty with being appointed to the position of the General, but it took 108 people to make that happen and this comes with God’s blessing and anointing.

One of the prayers we had during the High Council – and it came out often – was, help us to identify whom God has already decided, who he has already anointed, and in a moment of time I accepted identification in that way, I accept that anointing and it’s only on that basis then that I can come out of a High Council and be presented as the General-elect.

A fascinating process, quite intriguing, deeply spiritual, but tremendously meaningful for the Army for the next five years. And now I’m a part of that. That’s awesome.

I’d like to thank you for your time today, your time over the next five years. We look forward to working with you and seeing what God’s going to do in and through you, and The Salvation Army.

God bless The Salvation Army.

Tags: 2018 High Council 

Article taken from: http://www.salvationarmy.org

General’s Easter Message

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Easter is a time for us to reflect upon the grace of God.

Simple. The incredible, extravagant and measureless grace of God. But I wonder – what does Easter mean to most people today?

What does it mean to you?

Is your focus on the death and resurrection of Christ? Or are you more concerned with  egg hunts, Easter bunnies and – for those of us in many Western countries – a day or two extra off work?

We live in a materialistic world. Modern society offers us many of the things we need from a material perspective, but we know that these are not enough to ensure happiness and freedom. If you think material possessions bring happiness, then think again! We only have to look around to see  the negative effects of consumerism. Despite all our possessions and privileges, we people, on the whole, remain unsatisfied.

There is a spiritual hole that cannot be filled with things we can buy.

The truth is that, even in this world that appears to be resolutely materialistic, we see evidence that people are searching for meaning.

The Christian Church, of which The Salvation Army is part, has the answers to people’s deepest questions. Yet, sadly, so many people have turned their backs on it because they feel Christians lack credibility.

We preach love, yet the Church can be the most unforgiving place.

We preach spiritual values yet Christians often chase after material wealth, power and influence.

We preach justice for the oppressed, but how many of us actually do anything to make a difference?

As we prepare to celebrate this Easter, we should be mindful of the fact that a humanitarian crisis of staggering proportions is in the making. Rather than being preoccupied by our material concerns, we should spare more than a thought for the 16 million people who are facing famine and starvation in East Africa. We might feel a sense of powerlessnesss by a pending disaster of this magnitude and yet our faith in God should drive us to more than thoughts of compassion, and perhaps we should in this time of Lent consider what things we can do without so that others may have something.

When people come to us seeking meaning in their lives, we have to be ready to show though our actions, not just our words, that the answers to all the questions and problems in our world are found in the life, teaching, death and resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus.

As the writer of the Acts of the Apostles reminds us:

‘Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.’

This, then, is the glorious truth that we are reminded about every Easter. God loves us so much that he gave his son, so that everyone who believes in him can be saved.

Notice that the Bible says God ‘gave’ his son. Not sold, not lent, but gave.

The answer we can share with a seeking world is not to ‘buy this’, ‘spend that’, ‘accumulate more’. The peace made available through Jesus is free, if only we will accept it. He is all we need.

Commissioner Silvia joins me in praying that that will be your reality this Easter time.

God bless you.

Democracy Done Right

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This country has always been divided when it comes to political affiliation.  That is how Americans voice their ideologies and keep their government accountable. Typically, two political parties have emerged as dominant – the Democratic party and the Republican party.  Democracy is wonderful when things are done right.

The 2016 Presidential race brought out some negative elements, especially when people stop adhering to the tenants of democracy.  The obvious one was when people decided to protest the election results, with some on the edge of widespread riots. It’s one thing to fight for what you believe in and fight for your candidate ‘before’ the election, but it’s another, when people continue to fight after the clear winner has been announced. The people should’ve come together as ‘fellow Americans’ and celebrate the winner.

In general, previous Presidential elections had people come together as fellow Americans after the race.  They come together to recognize and respect the will of the people and to honor the highest office in the nation.  Regardless of who that person was or his political party affiliation, he was chosen to sit on the Presidential chair in the Oval office in the White House. In a way, it’s like the Olympics; the runner in the race has finally won and now deserves his medal. Taking his gold medal back, because a group doesn’t like him is called totalitarianism.

The losing political party (Democratic, Libertarian, Green) doesn’t need to pack up their bags, close the doors, throw away the keys and go home.  They don’t need to fight the result of a clean fight.  They don’t need to make excuses.  They don’t need to demonize the other party and its voters, nor do they need to assassinate people’s character due to their defeat.  No! What the parties need to do is this:  They need to re-strategize, re-equip, and get ready for the next election race. They have four years to prepare, win people’s hearts, and choose their best candidates.  This is the beauty of democracy!

As followers of Jesus, let us go to our spiritual hill top – wherever you commune with God, and ask our Lord for protection for President Donald Trump and his family, for guidance and wisdom as he and his administration lead and make decisions, and for God’s Will and blessings for this great nation, the United States of America!

Romans 13: 1-2 (Hawai’I Pidgin): Everybody gotta listen da guys dat stay in charge a da law. Dey get da power fo tell da odda peopo wat fo do, you know. But da power dey get, God wen give um dat. Da guys dat stay get power right now, dey da ones dat stay in charge cuz God wen make um lidat. Dat mean, if get somebody dat go agains da kine peopo dat get dat kine power, az jalike dey going agains da way how God wen go make one govermen fo us. If get anybody dat make lidat, dey goin get it from God da Judge.

New Year Prayer

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This prayer from Billy Graham, written for The Saturday Evening Post in 2008, is just as relevant this year.

Our Father and our God, as we stand at the beginning of this new year we confess our need of Your presence and Your guidance as we face the future.

We each have our hopes and expectations for the year that is ahead of us—but You alone know what it holds for us, and only You can give us the strength and the wisdom we will need to meet its challenges. So help us to humbly put our hands into Your hand, and to trust You and to seek Your will for our lives during this coming year.

In the midst of life’s uncertainties in the days ahead, assure us of the certainty of Your unchanging love.

In the midst of life’s inevitable disappointments and heartaches, help us to turn to You for the stability and comfort we will need.

In the midst of life’s temptations and the pull of our stubborn self-will, help us not to lose our way but to have the courage to do what is right in Your sight, regardless of the cost.

And in the midst of our daily preoccupations and pursuits, open our eyes to the sorrows and injustices of our hurting world, and help us to respond with compassion and sacrifice to those who are friendless and in need. May our constant prayer be that of the ancient Psalmist: “Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end” (Psalm 119:33).

We pray for our nation and its leaders during these difficult times, and for all those who are seeking to bring peace and justice to our dangerous and troubled world. We pray especially for Your protection on all those who serve in our armed forces, and we thank You for their commitment to defend our freedoms, even at the cost of their own lives. Be with their families also, and assure them of Your love and concern for them.

Bring our divided nation together, and give us a greater vision of what You would have us to be. Your Word reminds us that “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).

As we look back over this past year we thank You for Your goodness to us—far beyond what we have deserved. May we never presume on Your past goodness or forget all Your mercies to us, but may they instead lead us to repentance, and to a new commitment to make You the foundation and center of our lives this year.

And so, our Father, we thank You for the promise and hope of this new year, and we look forward to it with expectancy and faith. This I ask in the name of our Lord and Savior, who by His death and resurrection has given us hope both for this world and the world to come.

Amen                                                                                                      

© 2008 Saturday Evening Post Society. Reprinted with permission.

Thy Word Psalm 119:11

My friend and brother in Christ, Jonathan Murphy, used to recite this verse with a passion whenever he talks about the Lord.  The verse in Psalm 119 in the KJV says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”  Ever since, I have always cherished those words, and it reminds me of how my friend Jonathan lived his life.  He is now with the Lord.

I don’t remembered any conversation that I had with Jonathan where he didn’t talk about Jesus.  Somehow, he always brings our conversation back to the Lord.  Whenever we talk about our struggles or sins, he speaks against them with this particular verse from God’s Word.  I have learned this verse by heart, because of Jonathan’s example to me.  Jonathan, you’re the man bro!

The below devotional for today is from Our Daily Bread – RBC Ministry.

I have hidden your word in my heart. Psalm 119:11

I’m getting used to reading digital magazines, and I feel good that I’m saving trees. Plus, I don’t have to wait for the magazines to come in the mail. I do, however, miss the print editions because I like to run my fingers through the glossy pages and cut out my favorite recipes.

I also have a digital edition of the Bible on my reading device. But I still have my favorite printed Bible—the one I have underlined and read many times. We don’t know the future of the printed page, but one thing we do know: The best place for God’s Word is not on our cell phones, electronic reading devices, or bedside table.

In Psalm 119 we read about treasuring the Scriptures in our hearts: “I have hidden your word in my heart” (v. 11). Nothing compares to pondering God’s Word, learning more of Him, and putting it into practice in our daily lives. The best place for His Word lies deep in our souls.

We may have many excuses for not reading, meditating, or memorizing, but we need God’s Word. I pray that God will help us store His Word in the best place possible—our hearts.

Lord, give me the desire to read Your Word. Then implant it in my heart and thoughts and help me live it out.

The best place for God’s Word is our hearts.

INSIGHT:Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible, celebrating God’s law and its importance. Today’s passage is one of the most well known in Scripture. Verse 11 is often quoted and memorized and spells out the outcome of knowing the Bible: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Having knowledge about God is not enough. Knowing and meditating on God’s law is what leads to changed behavior. J.R. Hudberg

General Burrows Journey

General Burrows

Celebrating the Life of General Eva Burrows (Retired)

SOON after receiving the news that General Eva Burrows (Retired) had been promoted to Glory on the evening of 20 March 2015, the Chief of the Staff (Commissioner William Roberts) sent out the following information to Salvation Army leaders around the world, paying tribute to ‘the people’s General’ – The Salvation Army’s 13th international leader:

A daughter of Salvation Army officer parents, Eva Evelyn Burrows was born on 15 September 1929 in Newcastle, Australia. She committed her life to God for service as a Salvation Army officer while she was studying at Queensland University in Australia. Having received her Bachelor of Arts degree in May 1950, with majors in English and History, she entered the William Booth Memorial Training College in London, and was commissioned a Salvation Army officer in 1951.

Her first appointment was to Portsmouth Citadel Corps, in the Southampton and Channel Islands Division of the British Territory, as an assistant officer. Following this initial appointment, Eva Burrows was appointed as an officer teacher to the Howard Institute, a large mission station in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

During 14 years at Howard Institute, Eva became particularly concerned with the training of teachers for the network of Salvation Army schools throughout Zimbabwe. During her first homeland leave she undertook a course at Sydney University for the degree of Master of Education, and presented her thesis on the training of African teachers in Zimbabwe.

Returning to Howard Institute, she became the first woman vice-principal and, from that appointment, she became the Principal of the Usher Institute – a secondary boarding school for girls. Under her innovative leadership, Usher Institute became well known in Zimbabwe as an outstanding girls’ educational centre.

In 1970 Eva Burrows was appointed to London where she spent five years at the International College for Officers, first as vice-principal and then principal.

A significant impact on Eva Burrows’s life was her appointment as leader of the Women’s Social Services in Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1975 to 1977. It brought her into close touch with the effects of poverty and exploitation in the crowded cities of Britain.

Adaptation to a new culture became necessary when in January 1977 she became Territorial Commander for Sri Lanka. In less than three years she had made such an impression in that predominantly Buddhist country that The Ceylon Observer said of her: ‘People like Eva Burrows grace any country they serve in. The Salvation Army has been very pragmatic and practical about its work, and Eva Burrows is a symbol of the Army’s attitude to the poor and meek.’

In December 1979, she became leader of The Salvation Army’s work in Scotland where she undertook a further three years of inspirational leadership. Salvationists remember the drive and devotion which she brought to her task.

After 30 years of officer service, On 1 October 1982 Eva was appointed to the first assignment she ever held as an officer in her homeland. Based in Melbourne, she served as Territorial Commander for Australia Southern Territory. There, significant and innovative initiatives characterised her leadership style over the next four years. Such was the extent of her influence that she was regularly consulted by the Prime Minister for her opinion and advice on a variety of matters.

On 2 May 1986 the High Council elected Eva Burrows as the 13th General of The Salvation Army. She succeeded General Jarl Wahlström to office on 9 July 1986. She was welcomed for her energetic style of leadership, for her infectious enthusiasm and for her impatience with anything inefficient. She was the focus and symbol of unity, and her varied international experience eminently equipped her for the role.

The restructuring of the Army’s work in the United Kingdom was a complex issue that had been considered a number of times over many years, and with characteristic boldness and determination General Burrows addressed the issue head on, and drove it through to conclusion. In the authorised biography General of God’s Army (Henry Gariepy) it is recorded: ‘The international press of the Army headlined it “Revolution”, the term coined by its chief architect, Colonel John Larsson. “With characteristic boldness,” wrote Larsson, “the General has launched the Army’s most fundamental administrative change in the its 125-year history.” The restructuring of the Army’s International Headquarters and its British Territory was indeed revolutionary and radical.’

Under the Army’s constitution, General Burrows was scheduled to retire from office in July 1991 but, as a result of the process whereby a General may be extended in office if more than two-thirds of the active commissioners agree to the proposal, General Burrows was asked if she would consider extending her term of office by two years. She agreed to do so, thus enabling her not only to preside over the early development of the fledgling United Kingdom Territory, but also to give vigorous leadership to another of her visionary initiatives – the return of The Salvation Army to a number of Eastern Bloc countries where it had previously worked. General Eva led The Salvation Army back into eastern Europe, with work being re-established in the former East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Russia itself.

General Eva Burrows was honoured in many ways during her worldwide travel, not least by the receipt of a number of honorary degrees. On Australia Day (26 January) 1986 she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) with the citation reading: ‘In recognition of service to the temporal and spiritual welfare of the community and to social justice as the world leader of The Salvation Army.’ On the same date in 1994 this honour was upgraded to Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), with a similar citation. In 1988 she became an Honorary Doctor of Liberal Arts at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, and was awarded an Honorary LLD from Asbury University in the USA in 1988. In December 1993, she received an honorary Doctor of Philosophy from her alma mater, the University of Queensland. On 1 January 2001 a Centenary Medal, ‘for service to the Australian community’, was awarded.

However, it was through her willingness to spend time with individuals, whatever their status, that General Eva Burrows became known to many as ‘the people’s General’ – a title she did not seek, but one that she cherished. People were Eva Burrows’s passion. Her interest in people at every level of society was not a professional skill that she had developed. It was an integral part of her nature. Having met a person, she had no difficulty in recalling the name, the face, the family situation, many years later. In her biography, Eva Burrows – Getting Things Done, Wendy Green wrote: ‘She only needs to meet people once and she knows all about them. She recognises them. Puts them in the right pigeonholes. When she was elected General she received a telephone call from her former teacher, Mr Adsett, one of her “shining people”. She recognised his voice immediately, after nearly 50 years. Mention a place, a person, she can give you an instant rundown.’ Eva Burrows never lost that passion for people, nor her gift for remembering them.

General Burrows’s passion in her public utterances was to preach Christ. This came out of her own personal experience of him, which she described thus: ‘The focus and dynamic of my life is Jesus Christ. I will lift up Christ and would challenge all Salvationists to a commitment to Christ which makes them a powerful witness for him in the world today.’ And on another occasion she declared: ‘I do not preach Christianity; I preach Christ, as a living Saviour.’

Dr Billy Graham, with whom General Burrows had a warm association, said of her: ‘General Eva Burrows is unquestionably one of the most respected and influential Christian leaders of our time. She is also an individual of great warmth, selfless compassion, unusual vision, and profound spiritual commitment. She embodies the spiritual commitment and dedication that led to the founding of The Salvation Army by William and Catherine Booth over 100 years ago.’

General Eva Burrows entered honourable retirement in July 1993, but hardly slowed down. She maintained a busy schedule of international travel and, when not travelling, could be found taking her place as an active soldier at the Army’s urban corps in Melbourne, Australia – not only attending Sunday meetings, but engaging with homeless youth during the week, leading Bible studies and being what she had always been – a good soldier of Jesus Christ. In addition to all of that, she served on the board of the International Bible Society from 1995 to 2005.

In recent months Eva’s physical strength began to wane, but her mental acuity, her spiritual vigour and her indomitable spirit remained unabated. To the very end of her earthly journey, Eva Burrows was an amazing role model and an inspiration to all who had the privilege of sharing her life. We thank God for the life of General Eva Burrows and for the impact of her ministry in the name of Christ on so many people throughout the world. Our thoughts go out in prayerful support to her family and friends.

General Eva, one of nine children born to the later Major Robert and Mrs Major Ella Burrows, is survived by one sister, Margaret Southwell, and many nephews, nieces, great nephews and great nieces – all of whom meant so much to her.

Let her official biographer, the late Colonel Henry Gariepy, have the final word: ‘General Burrows, you transcend your generation as one of the greatest leaders of Salvation Army history, a leader of vision who took the Army where it had not dared to go before.’

Salvationists of the world join me in saluting one of our great Army leaders of modern times – General Eva Burrows. ‘Servant of God – well done!’
Photos of General Eva Burrows are available on the IHQ Flickr stream: http://sar.my/evaburrows

This release is available through the News section of www.salvationist.org (click on name to access). For those who have full access to The Salvation Army’s Lotus Notes databases the release is also available through the International News database. Please note that in some locations the database is replicated to the local server only two or three times a day.

Where they have been supplied, full-resolution photographs can be downloaded through the IHQ Flickr stream, sar.my/flickr. The main IHQ website, www.salvationarmy.org, uses photos in screen resolution only.

With every blessing.

Yours sincerely,
John P. Murray MA, APR, CFRE
Major
Communications Secretary and Literary Secretary