from theDesk of…
by James Knaggs, Commissioner –
First of all, Carolyn and I are glad to be here in the Western Territory, USA. In our journey of service to the Lord, He has taught us that since we are His, we will be fine where He sends us. This great territory is a blessed part of His vineyard that we are appreciating with everyday of our lives.
Like Paul, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.” (1 Timothy 1:12) This is the joy of knowing Jesus personally and following Him. We are, firstly, grateful to God for this privilege and calling.
In these first days we have been meeting the command heads in the territory in their own settings for the purpose of pastoral visits. Don’t we know that God has designed us for relationships and that we will find our deepest concerns met and joys shared in these relationships? From these early opportunities to pray and read the Word with them, we can attest to the fact that these leaders in the territory are holy people with conviction, courage and compassion. In doing this, we acknowledge that the journey through the territory requires a fair bit of travel, worth every minute, in order to be in ‘one accord’ with these good people.
Our first impressions, then have been most positive. The scenery in the territory is amazing, but the people are the real treasure. Without exception, we have found enthusiastic and engaging people, serving the Lord with a holy focus. We’ve been to camps, headquarters, corps, SA thrift stores, social programs, officers’ quarters, ARC’s, mercy seats, the CFOT and many other places in between. We are seeing volunteers, employees and Salvationists serving God with clear intention to honor Him at every turn. Hallelujah!
This brings us to our first priority: Win the world for Jesus!
There is nothing more important to The Salvation Army. It is why God brought us into existence and must be at the forefront of our every effort. Jesus is the Savior of the world and our joys, hopes, and deepest love will only be satisfied in a holy relationship with Him. He is the only way we can approach the Father.
Our first priority, then is not a simple task or responsibility. It begins with a deep love of God and involves a vast commitment to helping people as Jesus would, being available to our neighbors in His name. This mission priority has caused us to be as Commissioner Israel Gaither indentifies us ,“one of the anchor institutions in America.” He presents us in the context of the great needs of the people around us and how in demonstrating the love of God, we help on a personal level and on an international scale. This is no minor effort. Our mandate compels us to influence as many people in as many communities as we can. I pray we leave no one out. With God, this is absolutely possible.
We have an undeniable first calling to those without hope; those who are marginalized; and those who are impoverished both economically and spiritually. The gospel leaves no one out and neither should we. Our first message must be of eternal, uncompromising and nonjudgmental love that transcends culture, language and attitude to the glory of God.
So in these first days of our service in this great land known as the Western Territory, USA, we affirm that we join you who have been faithful, diligent and intentional to fulfill the gospel and consequently, the mission of The Salvation Army until everyone we meet knows the love of Jesus in transforming measure. We have hope for those who, knowing Him, will be open to grow deeper in God’s love.
From the start, we join you in prayer. We join you with our every waking moments to serve the Lord with gladness. We join you as leaders, motivated by the love of God in the passion of the mission of our beloved Salvation Army. Hallelujah!