Church Family Newsletter | November 19, 2022
Joshua, anticipating the end of his life, assembled all of the tribes of Israel and reminded them of how God had brought their people through so many trials and hardships, how they were able to fight off their enemies, and how they had prospered and made a new life for themselves in their new land. God had fulfilled all his promises - covenants - to His people. But He also warned them that God could easily take away everything that had been given them should they disobey Him. He challenged them to stay committed and follow Him.
“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14-15 NIV)
They were given a choice. They exclaimed that they would serve the Lord and obey Him.
Growing up as officers' children (AKA officers' brats/blessings or preachers' kids), there was no choice for us. Our parents brought us to church and it was an expectation that we would be involved.
The Bible text (in bold) was on a plaque that was displayed in our home and our dad's office. He quoted it many times in his messages from the pulpit. It was ingrained in our minds.
Leaving home to go to college, meeting our spouses, and praying about what path we were to follow, we can testify that God has been faithful. I can say personally that I didn't always do what I was supposed to do, and yet, with prayer and a repentant heart, God was able to make bad situations better.
On Thanksgiving Day, each member of the family had an opportunity to express what they were thankful for. You know me, I was moved by emotion, as I thanked God for my parents, their faithful witness to us, guidance, love, correction, and support that made us the family we are today. Their example has helped me in trying to instill biblical principles in my own children and encourage a personal relationship with the Lord. And as I see them now choosing to follow God and using the gifts God has given them in their own ministries - even as students - I thank God for his goodness. Of course, I wasn't actually able to express this verbally ... but everyone knew what I was trying to say when choking back the tears.
This picture above was taken at the San Jose ARC on Thanksgiving Eve when my parents led the service and were supported by their grandchildren. My prayer is that they will continue to lean on the Lord and hold on to each other as family. But more importantly, I pray that they will see each other as fellow brothers, sisters, and co-workers serving our Heavenly Father for the greater good.
No, our family is not perfect. That's not what I'm trying to say. But there are joy and blessings in following Jesus. I hope they remember that - as Joshua reminded the Israelites - when they leave home and "make their own way" to pass on the faith and practice to their children:
"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
How about you?
My prayer for us all is that we would throw away all other gods and serve the Lord.
Major AnnMarguerite Jones
Completion (Covenants, Part 5)
For generations, Israel ignored the terms of their covenant with Yahweh, breaking commands and living by their own definitions of good and evil. But, even amidst rebellion and exile, the Hebrew prophets continued to speak of a new covenant, saying that God would one day fulfill all of his promises, repairing his relationship with his people and blessing the nations through them:
“The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the Lord. “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” Jeremiah 31:31-34 NLT
This new covenant is to be everlasting. God will write his law on the hearts of his people, bring complete forgiveness of sin, and raise up a faithful king from the line of David who will restore all that has been broken.
The anticipation of this covenant pushes the story forward into the pages of the New Testament, where Jesus introduces into his ministry that it is He who is to be the embodiment of the last and greatest covenant. This covenant will contain all the symbolism of the previous covenants, but instead of being just for his disciples, or the Jewish people, this was to be available to all mankind.
As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.” And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many.” Matthew 26:26-28 NLT
After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.” Luke 22:22 NLT
Do you notice how the covenants progressively build upon one another, forming a complete redemptive storyline? God preserved the world through Noah, initiated redemption through Abraham, established the nation of Israel through Moses, promised an eternal shepherd-king through David, and then fulfilled all of his covenants through Jesus. With each succeeding covenant, God’s promises and plans to save the world through the offspring of the woman become clearer and clearer until we finally see that redemption can only come through Savior-King Jesus.
Jesus fulfills and completes all the requirements of the previous covenants — not in order to invalidate them or make them obsolete — but to become the representative of mankind who perfectly keeps all the stipulations so that we can enjoy all the blessings. He says that he does this as a sacrifice on our behalf (“poured out as a sacrifice for you”).
Now we are able to recognize Jesus as the offspring of Abraham who trusted his Yahweh, even to the point of death, and became a blessing to all nations. He is the greater Moses, leading us out of bondage, and he is the obedient Israelite who perfectly follows the laws of God. He is the royal son of David who inaugurated God’s Kingdom in his life, death, and resurrection. And he now sits at God’s right hand forever reigning as the one true creator, preserver, and king of the universe.
Jesus perfectly succeeded at every point where humanity failed. He is the guarantor and mediator of the new and better covenant:
That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant. Hebrews 9:15 NLT
Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God. Hebrews 7:22 NLT
And so now people from every nation, tribe, and tongue who trust Jesus can become a part of God’s covenant family. In the new covenant, we receive the forgiveness of sins and God’s empowering Spirit to help us live lives full of self-giving love. Because of Jesus, we can live righteously and partner with him as he renews the world.
My mind is blown and my heart says “wow!"
Next time we will look at our response to God’s great covenant with us.
Blessings on you and yours,
This will take you to Jim Black's collection of articles since starting the newsletter.
97 YEARS WITH THE SALVATION ARMY: WISDOM FOR A LONG AND JOYOUS LIFE
Now in his tenth decade of life, Kenneth Hill is an active soldier at the Concord (California) Corps.
Nonagenarian Kenneth Hill found his place early in life. It wasn’t a geographical location, but instead a home base he could return to almost anywhere in the world. It was his church, The Salvation Army, which currently exists in 133 countries.
“There’s joy in The Salvation Army,” Hill said.
The Salvation Army is the thread connecting the different seasons of Hill’s life, from his childhood and youth in the United Kingdom, to his service during WWII with the Coldstream Guards, to his years in the United States where he raised a family, to now—the “golden years” that find him soldiering at the Concord (California) Corps.
“He is a super star—97-years-old and still plays in the band and sings in the Songsters,” Concord Corps Officer Major Gwyn Jones said.
Hill was born April 26, 1925, in West London, a third-generation Salvationist with deep roots in Salvation Army music.
“My grandfather on my father’s side was the Army’s first band inspector, which is now the Secretary for Bands and Songsters [Music Secretary],” Hill said. “He was one of the founders of the music board of The Salvation Army.”
Even though his grandfather died when Hill was just seven weeks old, Hill said his memory lived on. “I was introduced as Band Inspector Hill’s grandson, and he has been my inspiration for taking the course that I have—endeavoring to further Army music,” he said.
Hill participated in youth bands from age 8 until he was commissioned in the senior band in 1942. From there, he went on to become a bandmaster, serving as such for many years.
God, music, and community—not only at the Red Kettle
Music keeps Hill connected with both God and other people.
“I guess I could go on for hours,” he said. “[The music] is my experience of getting deep in The Salvation Army religious worship; this is where the [worship] experience grew from.”
He recalled the impact the Army’s music groups have had in the community, too, especially at Christmas, when they would venture out to carol, not just at the Army’s red kettles.
“We used to go and form a ring in the street because there wasn’t any traffic,” Hill said. “We’d play our carols and spread the good word. People would come and listen to us.”
He said those people weren’t looking to the Army to fill physical needs but instead a more intangible one. “Their main objective was coming for worship and exposure to the Lord,” Hill said. At church, they might find a community of like-minded people, as Hill did at The Salvation Army.
Concord Corps Officer Major AnnMarguerite Jones said Hill practices his brass instrument, the euphonium, every day, and makes the weekly rehearsals at the corps a priority.
“To me, he is an encouragement—a constant presence,” she said. “My heart is warmed every time I see him. The words he shared during one of my messages were inspirational: ‘Be faithful. It’s not all about receiving, but giving. Use your gifts for the Lord. Use your gifts to bless others.’”
Leroy Thieme, Director of Finance for the Adult Rehabilitation Centers Command, remembers Hill from the Richmond (California) Corps, where Thieme served as Corps Officer in the 1990s. Hill was Bandmaster and soldiered there with his wife, Olive, until the corps closed, when the Hills transferred to the Concord Corps.
“As far as Ken was concerned, the band and songsters were always on duty—and so was he,” Thieme said. “Perhaps more personally important was the support my family and I received from Ken and Olive. They were truly gracious and loving people who would support us, serve with us, and love us through all the ups and downs in the corps … They were true Salvationists and more importantly, true Christians. Ken was not only a mentor to me but also a father figure. I am so grateful to have known him all these years.”
These days, Concord Corps Sergeant-Major James Black finds Sunday mornings in the corps’ band room amusing, as each individual who has ever been a bandmaster greets the others: “Good morning, Bandmaster,” “How are you, Bandmaster?” “Very well, Bandmaster…I’m sure [Hill] knows the respect and affection we have for a man who faithfully taught and led many young people to discover joy in music,” Black said.
Hill said The Salvation Army is his life. And through all the changes Hill has experienced in 97 years, one thing has remained unchanged, and it’s what he said he’d advise young Salvation Army soldiers to hold onto.
“What has stuck with me most is: For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations [Ps. 100:5],” Hill said. “This has been a comfort for me and a motivation for me. I feel very sure about the truth and the blessings the Lord bestows.”
Hill returned to how a person can find happiness. “Be happy in what you do for the Lord,” he said. He recited a favorite chorus, one from former Salvation Army General Wilfred Kitching: “I give thee my best, nothing less, nothing less. How gladly I give thee who loved me, my best.”
“The guidance and directions the Lord gives to each of us are a joy to receive and I just say, do what the Lord tells you to do, or shows you to do or commands you to do,” Hill said. “But always do it with a cheerful heart. The Lord loves a cheerful giver. He also gives a cheerful, disciple blessings.”
Fellow band member Doug Madsen called Hill his hero because of his faithful service to both his church and the Lord.
“I always greet him as ‘Young Ken’ as a term of endearment and acknowledgment of his nearly 100 years in this world,” Madsen said. “At 65 years old, there are few people I can look to as an example of how to live my life but Ken still shines like a Northern star to guide me.”
A featured article in the Caring Magazine.
Senior Soldier Enrollment of Cuevas Family
Chorus Eclectic Concert
Corps Christmas Decorating
Veteran's Thanksgiving Meal
This Week's Schedule
- 9:00 AM - Praise Team Rehearsal - Chapel
- 10:00 AM - Adult Sunday School - Library
- 10:00 AM - Sunday School - Classroom 3
- 10:00 AM - Corps Cadets - Classroom 2
- 10:15 AM - Time of Prayer - Prayer Room
- 11:00 AM - Worship Service - Chapel
- 12:30 PM - Youth Music Rehearsals - Chapel
- Angel Tree Christmas Warehouse getting organized.
- 6:00 PM - Men's Bible Study - Fireside Room
- 7:00 PM - Songsters Rehearsal - Chapel
- 8:00 PM - Senior Band Rehearsal - Chapel
- 10:00 AM - CAMEO: Friendsgiving & Christmas Party Mash-Up - Major Ann's House
- Angel Tree donations are due.
FRIDAY & SATURDAY
- The Big Ring Competition takes place.
- 3:00 PM - Call time for Christmas Concert Participants - Chapel
- 5:00 PM - Celebrate Christmas Concert - Concord Corps
- You don't want to miss it!
Mark Your Calendars!
The Light Will Come: A 28-Day Advent Journey for Families
Imagine a December spent savoring the true joy and awe of Christmas.
This 28-day journey is for families interested in a simple, meaningful celebration (even if you’ve never observed Advent before).
It will help your family take an unhurried approach to the season by:
Diving deeper into understanding the true wonder, mystery, and excitement of God sending his only Son, Jesus, to the world.
Connecting the celebration of today with the promises of Scripture.
Unwrapping the true gift that Christmas brings to each one of us.
Making more of the reality of who Jesus is as our source of hope, peace, joy, and love.
Setting aside time to look forward to his arrival with increasing expectations.
Doing good together.
Creating meaningful memories with your family this season.
Along the way, we'll send you a simple, daily email to help guide you through this Advent journey, starting the First Sunday of Advent, Nov. 27.
To sign up, click here:
There are still angels left!
TC's Kettle Challenge
Important dates, rules, deadlines, links & ideas
- The challenge will take place on either Friday, December 2nd or Saturday, December 3rd.
- Challengers may include Western territory officers, soldiers, employees, advisory organization members, Echelon members, volunteers, and local celebrities/media personalities.
- Any four consecutive hour shift is allowed on the two challenge dates.
- Sign up by close of business (local time) on Monday, November 28th.
- The challenger must ring the bell for the entire four hours at one kettle location.
- Shifts must be tagged #TCKettleChallenge22 in Kettle-Web.
- All donations must be made in person at the kettle. (no pre- or post-stuffing)
- Post ‘day of’ photos and/or videos to your personal and corps social media pages and the Kettle Academy Facebook Group page.
- Report #TCKettleChallenge22 income in Kettle-Web by close of business (local time) on Monday, December 5th.
If you're ready to accept the TC's Kettle Challenge...
- Volunteers may sign up for the TC’s Kettle Challenge via the Volunteer Opportunities site at https://volunteer.usawest.org
- For more information about Volunteer sign-in, click this link.
- For more information about Volunteer registration for a kettle shift & participation in the TC’s Kettle Challenge, click here.
- Set up your Online Kettle/peer-to-peer fundraising campaign at this link.
- The campaign starts November 1st and ends at midnight December 31st, so set up your kettle now so you can get started!
- Results will be tracked automatically and announced by January 6, 2023.
The TC is planning to sweep all three competitions! But he wants to acknowledge and recognize our top efforts.
1st Place (for each of the three categories)
- Three-day getaway for two out of San Pedro
- A 70” TV for the corps/unit represented
2nd Place (for each of the three categories)
- Two-night stay for two at Terranea in Rancho Palos Verdes
- A 70” TV for the corps/unit represented
Plus, an article in New Frontier will feature the Top 10 in each of the three categories.
International Prayer Focus
This initiative of turning our thoughts and prayers towards the same part of the world at some point in the same week is a beautiful way to unite us as a global Army family and I thank you for the commitment that you each give to this.
The Prayer Focus requests for December 2022. We will be praying for the following territories:
28 November – 04 December 2022 | Middle East Region
05 – 11 December 2022 | The Philippines Territory
12 – 18 December 2022 | Nigeria Territory
19 – 25 December 2022 | USA Western Territory
MIDDLE EAST REGION (BAHRAIN, KUWAIT, OMAN, & UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)
Regional leaders: Captains Doug and Janet Newman
Assistant Regional Leaders: Majors Jeff and Margaret Stafford
We Praise and give God all the Glory :
- That we are able to meet together to praise and honor God within these Muslim Countries /Kingdom/States.
- For the committed and passionate soldiers, who each play such a vital role within our Salvation Army families here being the hands and feet of Christ as He opens doors and leads the way.
- For the opportunities to help the vulnerable in the community with such things as food, shelter, well-being check-ups, repatriation networks and support, and social/spiritual support.
We Ask God:
- To grow the Salvation Army in the Middle East.
- To call Salvationists in the Middle East back into the Corps, to strengthen the fold for His purposes and Glory.
- To open our eyes and hearts to new opportunities throughout the Region.
- To fight injustice where we find it.
- To share the love of God with all we encounter, without discrimination through our love, care, and holy living.
- Resources to meet our many and various needs.
- To enable TSA acceptance and legal registration as a church within the Gulf states.
- Due to the distances and required travel of Officers please pray for physical, spiritual, and emotional protection and travel mercies.
- That those that have been trafficked or tricked and are deported, receive God’s protection, healing, and provision to also meet any debt which has been incurred trying to improve their family's situation.
Click here to share your requests. Requests will be prayed for in our Prayer Room and distributed through our Prayer Chain. Requests can be made anonymously.
You can make a tithe payment, give an offering, or donate towards the World Services fund.