Perspectives Day 4 – Featuring Dennis Strissel (Colonel) “Opinion8ed”



(A series of eight installments)

Number five – There’s a Welcome HERE!


“Hey, where did all the food go?” yelled my dad, gazing into the empty refrigerator. None of us would fess up to tell him that our friends had been there the night before and pigged-out, emptying the weeks supply of rations.

Have you seen the commercial sponsored by Daisy Sour Cream? If you haven’t I have included the link, ( The mother in the commercial has to remind young Steve that he is actually not a member of the family but lives next door. Well that is the way that it was at our home. Many of our friends were over so often, I’m sure our parents were concerned that they had forgotten their way back to their own home. Though our parents often complained about the missing groceries and the teens camped out all over the home, they were pleased that our home was one where people felt welcomed to come and stay awhile.

Sharon and I can attest to the same experience, with young people in and out of our home and our weekly grocery bill much larger than we could afford. However, we would comment frequently about how nice it was that our children felt comfortable with inviting their friends over and their friends finding our home as a secondary lodging to their own.

This triggers a memory of our son’s college roommate spending an entire summer in our home while our son, Scott, was away in Moldova on summer service opportunity. Andy was a great house guest and we loved him like a son. We were pleased that he felt comfortable and welcomed in our home.

When visiting another home, it’s pretty easy to pick up on an atmosphere of our surroundings. Intuition often informs and protects us from environments that are not safe or risky when visiting but it can also help you detect places of comfort and safety, making one feel right at home. When you find such a place you don’t mind visiting frequently.

A few weekends ago, men from around the eastern half of Michigan met in conference under the teaching of a wise leader. Our praise band helped out by encouraging the men to lift their voices in praise, adoration and supplication. I don’t know about you but music moves my soul heavenward. Sometimes I am so caught up in the melody and message of the song/chorus that I simply cannot sing the words. God knows those times and His Spirit speaks so clearly to me. One of the choruses/songs has followed me since that weekend retreat. As I close my eyes in sleep and when I wake, this chorus is literally on my lips and is the genesis for this humble opinion article. I notice that the older I get the more I love the traditional hymns of the church but occasionally something new breaks through and blesses me. Here’s the song I cannot get out of my head…and maybe I don’t want it to leave.

“Holy Spirit” Lyrics


by Bryan & Katie Torwalt | from the album Here On Earth

There’s nothing worth more
That will ever come close
Nothing can compare
You’re our Living Hope
Your Presence

I’ve tasted and seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone

Your presence Lord

Holy Spirit You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence Lord

Your presence Lord

.Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness

Holy Spirit You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence Lord

I would encourage you to find the song on your favorite media site and give a long listen to these inspired words and music. However, and this is probably worth noting, that the message of the song penetrates the heart and reminds us that the most conducive dwelling place for the Holy Spirit is one where He is welcome and invited to dwell.

Some worshipers have a routine they may follow when preparing for a time of worship. Here is the way I approach most meeting where we spend time in worship. 1) I like to take in the room, looking for signs that the Savior has priority, (sermon title in the bulletin points me to Jesus and intrigues me, songs are well chosen to work in concert with the chosen theme, perhaps altar furniture features something of the theme of the meeting, etc.). 2) I like to spend some time in silence, focusing on the power of Christ in my life. 3) I search my heart for unconfessed sin that might contaminate my gift of worship to God. 4) I confess my sin through silent prayer and then ask the Holy Spirit to show up in every part of the meeting, being obvious that thought and prayer has come before the planning. 5) Then, in silence, I surrender all over again and welcome the presence of God through His Holy Spirit to have more of me as part of my gift of worship. It is all God-Centered. You know what happens? God never lets me down because my focus is on Him.

Perhaps the next time you find yourself in a time or place of worship you might try a couple of these steps and discover a new sense of His presence. Design your personal steps that direct your attention toward God, focusing totally on him, making his Holy Spirit welcome and just note the difference in that type of worship experience. God will show up!



“Perspectives” Day 4 – Featuring AmyJo Ferguson



“Holiness and Tomatoes” 


Reverend Wiley advised me not to divorce him

For the sake of the children,

And Judge Somers advised him the same.

So we stuck to the end of the path.

But two of the children thought he was right,         

And two of the children thought I was right.

And the two who sided with him blamed me,

And the two who sided with me blamed him,

And they grieved for the one they sided with.

And all were torn with the guilt of judging,  

And tortured in soul because they could not admire

Equally him and me.

Now every gardener knows that plants grown in cellars

Or under stones are twisted and yellow and weak.

And no mother would let her baby suck 

Diseased milk from her breast.

Yet preachers and judges advise the raising of souls

Where there is no sunlight, but only twilight,

No warmth, but only dampness and cold—

Preachers and judges!

From Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters


Once we lived in darkness.  I once accidently grew some tomato plants in darkness.   They were supposed to have a nice sunny window, but before they sprouted, I stashed them under the entertainment center to hide the dirt from some visiting guests.  I remembered them a few weeks later.


They came out not looking so pretty.  They were crooked, yellowish and weak.  Edgar Lee Masters in Spoon River Anthology writes about people who are similarly twisted because they had been raised in “twilight” instead of sunlight and without warmness, “only darkness and cold.”  In some way that it is the human condition: we have been born into a world which is sick with sin.  The light of God to us in this condition is best described as “twilight” rather than sunlight.  We turn out crooked and weak.


Romans 3:9-18 (NIV)
9 What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.
10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
13 “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 and the way of peace they do not know.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Into this condition, shines the light of Jesus Christ.  When I brought these tomato plants into the light and began to care for them, the change was remarkable.  They turned their leaves upward.  They began to green.  Through initial sanctification, salvation, we are plunged into the light of Jesus Christ.  Our sins are cleansed and the change in us is dramatic, YET, it is still evident that we are still plants raised in darkness.

Even though my tomato plants were now living in the light, I had to prop them up with small sticks and string.  In the life of a Christian, initial sanctification can and does bring a wondrous change to our lives; however, in some ways the sin problem is still quite problematic.  There is still a pull to remain crooked to grow as we grew before we knew the light.  As William Booth writes, “I remark that in the early stages of Christian experience this deliverance is only partial. That is, although the soul is delivered from the domination and power of sin, and is no longer the slave of sin, still there are the remains of the carnal mind as roots of bitterness left in the heart, which, springing up, trouble the soul, often lead it into sin, and which, if not continually fought against and kept under, grow up, attain their old power, and bring the soul again into bondage” (The Privilege of All Believers 9).

At some point, I had to take radical steps with my tomato plants or they might not give me any tomatoes at all.   They needed to be completely transplanted into good fertilized soil.  Most of their crooked, weak stem had to be buried in this new soil which allowed completely new and perfectly aligned growth to occur.

Romans 6:20-22 (KJV)
20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

This is like entire sanctification.  When we consecrate our lives to God and he faithfully takes us and transplants us completely into his grace.  Romans 12:1 (NIV) “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.”  Like the tomato plants that now grow in perfect alignment to the sun, our lives grow in alignment with God’s Son.

Entire sanctification is the door through which holiness (the acts of entire sanctification) enters into our lives.  Through entire sanctification, we dedicate our all to God and in turn, God miraculously heals the crippling effects of sin in our lives.  He straightens us out, in order for us to bear fruit for him.






“Perspectives” Day 4 Featuring Dennis Strissel – Opinion8ed





(A series of eight installments)

Number two – Lessons in Leadership

The shelves of my library are bowing under the weight of books about leadership. I know it’s an exaggeration, but I feel as though I have bought and read every possible piece of printed material that speaks to the study and discipline of leadership. In short … I am a student of leadership, still learning more every day, attempting to do my best as a leader. With that as a backdrop, I would like to humbly offer a few personal opinions relative to the leadership lessons learned over the years of service to our organization.

 Good leaders live as servants, exercising humility


Mark 10:41-45

41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


1)  Good leaders are focused first on others and not on themselves

Seems fundamental, doesn’t it. Unfortunately, too many want-to-be-leaders get this totally backward. I am reading the autobiography of John Dramani Mahama, current President of the West African country of Ghana. He tells about his primary school experience with a bully. The bully, who was ironically named Ezra, which means “helper”, was nothing of the sort, demanding the snacks of all the smaller boys at school. This tenuous relationship with this bully actually began as a selfless friendship and evolved in a selfish one. Leadership is not self-serving but self-giving.

2)  Good leaders don’t think less of themselves but think of themselves less

There’s an important distinction between the two. The leader must exhibit enough confidence to convince and attract followers to a goal that they believe is achievable together. The healthier part of that statement summed up in the old Sunday school chorus JOY – Jesus first, yourself last, and others in between.

3)  Good leaders live sacrificially

Boarding the SS Dorchester on a dreary winter day in 1943 were 903 troops and four chaplains, including Moody alumnus Lt. George Fox. World War II was in full swing, and the ship was headed across the icy North Atlantic where German U-boats lurked. At 12:00 on the morning of February 3, a German torpedo ripped into the ship. “She’s going down!” the men cried, scrambling for lifeboats.

A young GI crept up to one of the chaplains. “I’ve lost my life jacket,” he said. “Take this,” the chaplain said, handing the soldier his jacket. Before the ship sank, each chaplain gave his life jacket to another man. The heroic chaplains then linked arms and lifted their voices in prayer as the Dorchester went down. Lt. Fox and his fellow pastors were awarded posthumously the Distinguished Service Cross. (Today in the Word, April 1, 1992).

Good leaders are strategic thinkers and planners    

Acts 6:1-7

6 During this time, as the disciples were increasing in numbers by leaps and bounds, hard feelings developed among the Greek-speaking believers — “Hellenists” — toward the Hebrew-speaking believers because their widows were being discriminated against in the daily food lines. So the Twelve called a meeting of the disciples. They said, “It wouldn’t be right for us to abandon our responsibilities for preaching and teaching the Word of God to help with the care of the poor. So, friends, choose seven men from among you whom everyone trusts, men full of the Holy Spirit and good sense, and we’ll assign them this task. Meanwhile, we’ll stick to our assigned tasks of prayer and speaking God’s Word.”

5 The congregation thought this was a great idea. They went ahead and chose —

Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit,






Nicolas, a convert from Antioch.

6 Then they presented them to the apostles. Praying, the apostles laid on hands and commissioned them for their task.

7 The Word of God prospered. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased dramatically. Not least, a great many priests submitted themselves to the faith.


4)  Good leaders know how to set priorities

You’ve heard the expression, putting first things first? That is all about setting your priorities. There are many things that will compete for your attention but if you allow them to get out of control you will end up accomplishing very little. Start your day by listing, in order of their importance, the responsibilities for the day and you will accomplish much more.

5)  Good leaders cast a vision of a preferable future

“Not even the most perceptive leader can think of and plan for every potential turn of events. Unpleasant surprises, unexpected emergencies, and possibly terminal threats to leadership lurk in the undergrowth along almost every path. But one thing that separates good from great leaders in the extent to which the great leaders are able to foresee the unforeseeable, and therefore are empowered to deal with the unexpected” (Jinkins, Jinkins, 1998, p.49).

6)  Good leaders build a bridge to that preferable future

I often use the terms that have impressed on me the visioning process and its importance. One of my favorite authors is Dr. Robert E. Quinn from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He uses the term “Build the Bridge as you walk on it.”  He writes in his book Deep Change; “Organizational and personal growth seldom follow a linear plan. This is an important principle to remember. When people recount the history of growth, they often tell it in a linear sequence, suggesting a rationality and control that never really existed. When we have a vision, it does not necessarily mean that we have a plan. We may know where we want to be, but we will seldom know the actual steps we must take to get there. We must trust in ourselves to learn the way, to build the bridge as we walk on it”, (Quinn, 1996, pp83-84).

7)  Good leaders are not preoccupied with the problem but press forward towards a solution

This can be counterintuitive for some people. They become so preoccupied with the problem that moving toward a solution becomes too difficult. The term I use to create a picture of possibility discovery is “opening the door.” When you think of it as opening a door, the exit from one world, (the problem), and the entrance into the next, (the solution), it may be the trigger to forward momentum and attaining a solution.


Good leaders are stewards of their human capital and other resources


Titus 1:5-9

5 I left you in charge in Crete so you could complete what I left half-done. Appoint leaders in every town according to my instructions. As you select them, ask, “Is this man well-thought-of? Are his children believers? Do they respect him and stay out of trouble?” It’s important that a church leader, responsible for the affairs in God’s house, be looked up to — not pushy, not short-tempered, not a drunk, not a bully, not money-hungry. He must welcome people, be helpful, wise, fair, reverent, have a good grip on himself, and have a good grip on the Message, knowing how to use the truth to either spur people on in knowledge or stop them in their tracks if they oppose it.


8)  Good leaders are balanced, fair, not given to exaggeration or exploitation, and exercise the discipline of good judgment

When I think of living a life of balance, fairness, and discipline, I think of the Paul listing the fruit of the Spirit from the King James Version; “Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law”, (Gal 5:23). The New International Version would read like this; “gentleness and self-control”. Self-control is a great way to describe this important characteristic.


It’s way too easy to get life and all it brings out of balance. Once out of balance, it becomes more difficult to achieve balance and, in fact, often we encounter a spiral effect that leads to crisis.


9)  Good leaders invest, equip and encourage those they mentor

 In the study of leadership you’ll find a variety of styles and models depending on who you study or what source you find. The following is a summary: Autocratic (sometimes called authoritative), Participative (or sometimes called democratic), delegative (or sometimes laissez-fair). While, to a certain extent we utilize all of these styles, I would council a different method called transformative.

Transformational leadership is a type of leadership style that can inspire positive changes in those who follow. Transformational leaders are generally energetic, enthusiastic, and passionate. Not only are these leaders concerned and involved in the process; they are also focused on helping every member of the group succeed as well. (

10) Good leaders surround themselves with smarter people than themselves

The good leader understands his/her weakness, is not threatened by people who excel and have specialized knowledge needed to move an event or an organization forward. What we are attempting to do through the STEPS process is create multi-disciplined teams to bring their expertise to the table to help every corps. This only happens when the leader accepts their weaknesses and compensates with people who have those strengths.

It’s difficult to choose only a few characteristics but, per my opinion, that’s my top ten leadership lessons. I suspect you could come up with your own top-ten, and I encourage you to do so, connecting the lessons to scripture. Who knows, you could become a student of leadership too.

Dennis L. R. Strissel



Jinkins, M., Jinkins, D.B., (1998). The Character of leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Mahama, J.D. (2012) My First Coup Détat; and other true stories from the lost decades of Africa. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Quinn, R.E. (1996). Deep Change; Discovering the Leader Within. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers


High Council: Day 4 Official Report


// 01 AUGUST 2013 //

IT would be easy to say that on day four of the High Council nothing happened. However, the day – falling on a Thursday – began with the members joining Salvationists internationally in the Worldwide Prayer Meeting. This was introduced by the Chaplain (Commissioner James Condon) with words of Scripture and suggested topics for prayer. The members divided into groups to enable everyone to participate and voice their prayers more easily .

Readers who are following this High Council and who have read Retired General John Larsson’s article ‘How the High Council elects a General’ will know that once the candidates are known the High Council adjourns for a day. The candidates and spouses work on their speeches and answers to the questions they will answer when the council reconvenes.

Some members have attended more than one High Council but for other territorial leaders it is their first experience. What were their impressions of the High Council and all that had happened so far? Commissioner Vinece Chigariro (Kenya East Territory) – at her third High Council – felt that, so far, it had been spiritually inspiring. She said she was very aware of the spirit of unity among the members.

This was echoed by Colonels Patrick and Anne-Dore Naud (Germany and Lithuania Territory) who were attending for the first time. They had read General Larsson’s description of the workings of a High Council yet confessed it still sounded mysterious. However, through they felt that the articles and the information on the Internet brought the happenings closer to all interested people. They were aware of people supporting in prayer particularly for the specific happenings of each stage.

Facebook pageThis is endorsed by the interest that is being shown in the High Council website, Facebook page and Twitter account which have been set up by International Headquarters. The video of the opening day of the High Council has been viewed more than 8,000 times and the publication of photographs on Monday night resulted in 47,655 views. 

Although India and Nepal seem many miles distant from the happenings in London, Colonel Lalngaihawmi (Territorial Commander, India Eastern Territory) said that the Salvationists of her territory were very much a part of all that was happening through prayer: ‘The people are not detached in any way. At corps [churches] the High Council has been one of the main topics for a number of weeks.’

Commissioners Lalzamlova and Nu-i (International Secretary and Zonal Secretary for Women’s Ministries, South Asia) reinforced the feeling of unity being sensed in the council and their assurance that proceedings had not been rushed in any way.

Among all members there is a sense of privilege in having been called to the High Council, a feeling that they are participating in a unique event and that together they are listening to and being directed by the Holy Spirit. Colonel Lalngaihawmi summarised the experience as ‘a great privilege yet a great responsibility. We are all humble people,’ she said, ‘with a special task to fulfil.’

Tomorrow morning (Friday 2 August) the council will reconvene to continue its ‘special task’ when the candidates address the High Council.

Report by Major Christine Clement
High Council Communications Officer

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