General Linda Bond urges new lieutenants, and all assembled, to ‘get the message right.’
By Karen Gleason
The chorus “All That I Am” provided the background music and theme of the solemn and sacred Commissioning and Ordination service June 10 at the Pasadena Convention Center.
Major Timothy Foley, College for Officer Training (CFOT) principal, commended the Friends of Christ Session to General Linda Bond and Commissioners James and Carolyn Knaggs, Western territorial leaders. Foley recalled people asking him: “Is God really calling all these people? Can they not get a job somewhere else?” He also remembered when then Territorial Commander Commissioner Phil Swyers secured funding to construct additional housing at the Crestmont campus. “At the time,” Foley said, “it seemed crazy.”
Swyers’ vision has since materialized. “Now, we are running out of room at Crestmont,” Foley said. The Friends of Christ Session includes 41 cadets plus four auxiliary captains.
The cadets affirmed their faith, reciting The Salvation Army doctrines and their oath before National Commander Commissioner William Roberts.
Bond then commissioned and ordained the session members. “We rejoice that God has called you,” she said. “We believe God has equipped you for this sacred service. It is my privilege to ordain you as ministers of Jesus Christ and to commission you with the rank of lieutenant.”
Referring to Hebrews 12:1-3, Commissioner Carolyn Knaggs addressed the new lieutenants. “You will be asked to carry the flame of hope to the world in the name of Jesus,” she said. “I invite you, as your first act of worship, to go to the mercy seat and present yourself in service to the Lord.”
After Bond handed a certificate to each lieutenant, the Western Staff Songsters performed “Set Apart” (Westwood/Larsson) from the musical “Spirit! II: Empire.”
Lt. Javier Castro gave his testimony, based on Proverbs 3:5-6, to trust in the Lord and in all ways acknowledge him. Seven years ago, after the miraculous healing of his wife, Castro surrendered his life to follow Jesus. Now he can’t imagine doing anything except helping others.
Castro knows God still has more to teach him. “I am proud to be a ‘Friend of Christ,’” he said. “And I am looking forward to ongoing training for the rest of my years of service.”
Major Denise Hawk presented a dramatic Scripture interpretation, illustrating God’s eternal power and love.
Bond began her message in prayer, asking God to speak to all attendees—to prompt them, and for them to obey. “You need to get the message right,” she said, talking to both the lieutenants and the assembly. She recalled Luke 24:36, when Jesus appeared to the disciples after his death and resurrection.
“What a gathering that must have been,” Bond said. “Jesus wanted to tell them that all Scripture bears witness to Jesus Christ as the Son of God—the whole Old Testament.
“You’ve got to get the message right: Christ is the savior of the world and the living Lord. Our hope is in the fact that Jesus is alive and that we will live eternally with him,” Bond said.
“This includes repentance, which is a great gift of God’s grace. You can’t brood on the past; you must go forward—you are a forgiven sinner,” she said. “You must be the embodiment of that message. You must know Jesus Christ in a personal way. The Holy Spirit empowers and purifies. You are empowered for a purpose. You need to preach the gospel in the name of Jesus; preach it to all nations.”
Bond said it takes “All That I Am.”
“The holiness experience really relates to the surrender of your will—giving all your desires and passions to the Lord,” she said.
Commissioner James Knaggs concluded the meeting with a call to prayer and a call for officer candidates, which elicited the largest response in recent history.