Dear Salvation Army – Legacy: May They Find Us Faithful

legacy

Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.” 2 Peter 1:12-15

I asked friends of mine on Facebook a few days ago this question:
If you were to be remembered for one thing, what would it be?”  
Some of their responses: 
“He was my friend”
“She loved me”
“They led me to Christ”
“I saw Jesus in her”
“He understood and lived grace”
“She cared for others”

These and many more were wonderful responses given…what would your response be?  
What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?  What kind of mark do you want to leave on this earth?  

In our Army we have this wonder phrase of “Promoted Glory” which I wrote about this week 
“Dear Salvation Army – Promotion to Glory, Heaven on Earth”
But before this glorious promotion, what can we do now to bring Heaven to Earth? 
How can we lead other people to Christ, to live with grace, dignity, holiness and love? 
Are we even considering the kind of legacy that we want to leave behind us for future generations?  

love

Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” -Shannon Adler 

Tonight in St. Louis (Central Territory, USA) The Salvation Army will be holding a “Promoted To Glory” service for one of our own.  He was a godly man, a friend, a brother, a father.  His legacy is, without a doubt, carved into the hearts of many with whom he had the opportunity to teach, to love and to administer God’s grace.  Over the course of this week I have read tribute after tribute from people from all walks of life.  This man fought the good fight and the world he left behind is so much better because of His contributions to it.  He was able to live out Heaven here on Earth! 

What kind of legacy do you wish to leave behind in this world?  Where can you bring Heaven to Earth today?  Where has God appointed YOU so that His grace might be dispensed upon those who are so desperately in need of it?  He still needs ambassadors who are willing to serve regardless of the response or the fear of rejection.  God has accepted you and me for this holy calling!  Do not take your life for granted and the good you can do within the lives of other people because of the mighty work of the Holy Spirit!   

Light the way

I am reminded of two song lyrics within this context today: 
Switchfoot within their song “Thrive” repeats the phrase “I want to thrive not just survive
Steve Green within his song “Find us Faithful” – 
“…may all who come behind
    us find us faithful

May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave,
lead them to believe

And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us
find us faithful

lights

May it be our desire to serve the Lord in such a way that those who come after us are reminded of our faithfulness to God and that because of it they too wish to follow in our footsteps.  This isn’t some sort of arrogant desire or a selfish ambition, but rather a deep longing to live a life that reflects Christ and because of it a sweet aroma of sacrifice and holiness will compel others to walk in the same manner.   

What indelible mark are you leaving on this Earth?  
Are you lighting the pathway of Holiness for others?
Are you displaying faithfulness to God through your living?
May we thrive and not just survive!
May those who come behind us find us faithful!

-Something more for our Army and ALL Believers to ponder today!  

Lighting the way to the barn

Dear Salvation Army – You Are Home to Many!

General Booth’s vision for the army was one of safe harbor for the countless souls drowning in the billowing waves of sin.  Today that sea still ebbs and flows, still jostles people about, still causes souls to drown in their depravity.  The Salvation Army is still here ready to pull victims from the waters, prepared to love them regardless of who they are and where they’ve been.   The army has become home to the homeless and a home to others whose “home” was a constant battlefield of alcoholism, drug abuse and physical violence.  

hope1

Reshaping the word “Home”

To many the word “home” brings up anxiety, fear and sadness.  
Many have never lived within a place that was filled with love or acceptance.  

 

Too often, through abuse and selfishness, children have grown up fearing “home” and have lingered in Army halls and youth programs and even schools because the thought of “going home” meant pain and hurt.  

camp

We as an Army of Salvation can reshape the the word “home” to mean hope and love and family again.  Sometimes it means reporting abuse (which is never easy to do but necessary).  Sometimes it means that we take the initiative and visit the homes of those we minister to in our corps.  Sometimes it means simply being available to youth and even adults who need a place to hang out and someone to talk to.  

I have heard many stories of individuals that came to The Salvation Army because we were open and we became their safe harbor.  In order to escape a less than perfect home they participated in as many programs at the corps as possible and even went to summer camps just to get away.  Through these available programs and through the wonderful summer camp ministries we, unknowingly at times, are reshaping what “home” is to many.  We are replacing the dread and hurt of the word home and in its place we are instilling encouragement, love, peace, joy and hope!  

Be A Home Changer! 
Let us not become prideful in what we can accomplish in the lives of other, but may we continue to strive to be a home changer in the lives of those we serve!  Do not become hardened or calloused by the works of your hands while giving out hope as a precious commodity, instead take the initiative and share Christ’s love regardless of how you feel!  We may never know the kind of impact that we have had on the lives of those we welcome into our corps!  You ARE making a difference for the kingdom through your faithfulness to Christ and in your love for others!  

faith1

The young child who attends a youth program at your corps may one day join our ranks as an officer and boldly declare Christ and give a witness that if not for YOU they would not have known that anyone really cared for them.  You are Home!

The single mom who is broken and burnout on life and still has to make ends meet and find time to love her children may one day declare that if it hadn’t been for The Salvation Army and for YOU that she may have ended her life or simply walked away from her family because the pressures of life and depression had emptied her of the last ounce of hope.  You are Home!  

Be a refuge of faith.
Dear Salvation Army, continue to be that light of hope to the hopeless, the disparaged and  the desperate.  You are HOME to so many!  

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.‘ (Matthew 25:40) 

Just another thing for the Army world to ponder today.  

Dear Salvation Army – A Tribute To Colonel’s Dennis And Sharon Strissel…My Parents.

officer trim
Do you know the phrase “They fought the good fight”? I think it quite fitting when I bring to mind my Mom and Dad, Colonel’s Dennis and Sharon Strissel in the context of their 46+ Years (Missionary Service included) of Salvation Army Officership. I might be partial but I am blessed more than you can know to have been raise by these loving, godly parents of mine!

The Chronology Of Faithful Service:

Commissioned – 1974
The “Followers of Christ” Session.

Appointments:

Lincoln Neb – Assistant
Beatrice Neb – Assistant

Kearney Neb – Married

Council Bluffs IA.
The Island of St. Helena (South Africa Territory)
Krugersdorp, South Africa
Cape Town – Athlone Corps, South Africa
(Secondary Appointment while CO – Divisional Youth Secretary)
Wichita Citadel Corps, KS.
Champaign IL.
Divisional Youth Secretaries- Grand Rapids MI.
Lakewood Temple Corps, Maplewood MN.
Divisional Secretaries Indiana Division
Divisional Commanders – Indiana Division
Divisional Commanders – Midland Division
Territorial Commanders/President of Women’s Ministries – Ghana Territory
High Council – 2011
Divisional Commanders – Eastern Michigan
(This Chronological list of appointments just doesn’t do justice to their leadership and ministry over the years!!)

An Officer’s Kid Perspective:
Growing up as Officer’s children my sister and I didn’t see some of the hardships my parents both faced. The life of an officer, let alone a missionary officer, is not easy. Yet my folks always intentionally created an atmosphere of peace and love at home despite any outside issues or difficulties they might have been going through in their appointment. They modeled for Sherry and I how families should function within Army ministry. It was a holistic approach before we got all “fancy” with terminologies within the workings of ministry. My parents have devoted their whole hearts and lives in the service of Christ the King first and secondly within The Salvation Army.

Another aspect of their officership was their connection with people that they ministered to. I always joked that my parents knew EVERYONE in the army world because inevitably at large Army functions they would always be engaged in conversation with many many different people from the vastness of the army world. They truly love people and it is a reciprocated response by others in regards to my parents. I recall countless visitations to corps families’ homes in which the conversation went on FOR HOURS…as a child it was torturous, but as I got older the more I realized that in these moments a sweet fellowship had been taking place. My parents know how to engage and how to minister to the hearts of people, of this I am confident of…they love people regardless of background, regardless of station or position. My Mom and Dad understand the necessity for fellowship and love.

Leadership & Personal Reflection:
I might be partial but I am proud of both of my parents and that of their leadership within this Army. They not only dedicated their lives to the work of The Army but they led with integrity and grace. Many consider my father to be tough character and I am not challenging that by any means – He will always let you know where he stands and how he feels. He doesn’t hide his convictions nor, to my knowledge, has he ever wavered in a decision. Sometimes, perhaps he could be intimidating to some but within Him has always been a tender heart for anyone who has been slighted, wronged or oppressed. I have heard it countless times from my father these words – “I do not like bullies” and He, on many occasions stood up to bullies in communities, in corps, even in leadership…I don’t think I have embarrassed him in saying this, it is simply as it should be. Thank you Dad for teaching me to be a voice of reason and a voice to those who have no voice and to fight for those who are weak or slighted by society and certain cast systems in our world. To me, Dad, you are constantly displaying godly leadership and Christ-like integrity. You also taught me how to preach with passion, conviction and eloquence. I remember how diligent you would be in your pastoral studies and in crafting your sermons. How painstakingly assiduous you were (and still are) in producing your sermon manuscripts. You have taught me the value of studying God’s Words and that of relevant life application through your messages. You have made me want to be like you in every way when it relates to preaching God’s mighty word.

My mother, though quiet at times, is quite similar in her leadership style. She is articulate, very intelligent and speaks with similar authority. I have known my mother to read entire books in a matter of a day. She is more of an introvert than my father yet she will always make time for you and to encourage you. I can recall many a phone call from her to do just that as I faced my own days of discouragement. She has always led with conviction and has kept the banner and standard high in her ministry. Though it isn’t evident to many, Sharon Strissel is a rock in our family. She has, in the hardest of circumstances, pulled our family through. I recall Mom making up recipes on the fly in the kitchen on the tiny Island of St. Helena as we ate yet another meal consisting of fish (probably mackerel)…to this day I am still very picky about eating fish. That is just one prime example that sticks out in my mind…but there are so many more episodes of her resolve and strength. To me, Mom, you have been a source of encouragement, hope and love and we are all so much better because of it! As a side note, I remember your messages vividly. I know God has used you in mighty ways as you have spoken around the world. I remember as a child being excited during Salvation Meetings when you would be speaking because I knew your messages would be a lot shorter than that of Dad’s…but they were always on target for those you ministered to.

Some Photos Memories:
(You’re Welcome Mom & Dad)

Colonel's Dennis and Sharon Strissel were both honored to be on the High Council in 2011.
Colonel’s Dennis and Sharon Strissel were both honored to be on the High Council in 2011.

The "Colonel"
The “Colonel”


The RMS St. Helena - this is coming off of that vessel, the only way on or off one of the most remote Salvation Army appointments in the world.
The RMS St. Helena – this is coming off of that vessel, the only way on or off one of the most remote Salvation Army appointments in the world.

South Africa
While stationed at The Athlone Corps in Cape Town South Africa
While stationed at The Athlone Corps in Cape Town South Africa

My Grandmother Louise, Grandfather Stanley, Father Dennis and myself
My Grandmother Louise, Grandfather Stanley, Father Dennis and myself

A candid shot of Mom and Dad with my sister Sherry Blees.
A candid shot of Mom and Dad with my sister Sherry Blees.

Colonel’s Sharon and Dennis Strissel have devoted over 46 years of their lives (including overseas time) to The Salvation Army. The Salvation Army is better because of servants like my parents! They have invested their lives in people. They have labored not in vain but have faithfully served and, through the Holy Spirit, have helped usher souls to Christ. This Army needs more leaders like Colonel’s Sharon and Dennis Strissel! This Army needs more servants like my parents who have loved, served, care for the sick and dying, given hope to the hopeless and befriended countless soldiers of our Army long the way. This Army needs more Officers and Soldiers who will stand, as they have, for truth, integrity, honesty and fight for many who have no voice or lack the strength to fight on their own. This Army needs more Officers and Soldiers who are not interested in selfish gains but in other people and bettering the communities that they serve in. Officers and Soldiers who will lead and who are voices of reason and common sense. Officers and Soldiers who are called by God to win souls for the kingdom. The army needs more leaders like my parents. I am proud of my parents and that of what they have done for the kingdom. My prayer for them is that as they soon find rest in retirement that they continue to serve the Lord faithfully…and of that I have no doubt!

Allow me to take the liberty of saying “Well Done” Colonel’s Dennis and Sharon Strissel!
I am so proud of you both and I know that you have truly exemplified Christ within your service to The Salvation Army.

Well done Mom and Dad!  Well done indeed!
Well done Mom and Dad! Well done indeed!

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