27 September 2009

Nicole is no longer blogging at www.nicolebrindle.blogspot.com.

She will now be blogging more frequently at www.thewarcollege.com (and will link those to facebook). Mostly because it just makes sense - I think most of the people that read this blog also read TWC...just makes sense. And I'll be linking TWC to my facebook, so you facebook readers of my blog will still get it!

So feel free to remove this blog from your blog rolls, but make sure you add The War College to yours if you don't already.

I won't be deleting this site address (as it's got some okay past posts, and some sweet links on the right side)

And I still have Twitter (@nicolebrindle), Facebook (www.facebook.com/nbrindle), Email (nicole@thewarcollege.com) and a mobile (778-773-LIFE) - you won't have trouble finding me!

Some links I think you should check out:
www.armybarmy.com/jac.html <--- October 1st marks the first ever War College Edition

God Bless,


20 September 2009

Golly, it's been almost a month since I posted last.  I better up the posting lest I get taken off the ArmyBarmy blog roll!

Have we developed an "its-ok-to-sin-a-little-bit-if-you-sinned-a-lot-before" attitude.  
I have a bunch of friends who's lives resembled that of Paul when he used to be Saul, but have encountered the Living God since and have made huge changes in their lives.  But often these same people still stay gripped to something or become gripped to something else eventually.  Perhaps in the past they were a rapist and now wouldn't even think about harming another person sexually again.  That alone, Praise God! That's the repentance I'm talking about...except that say this person then thinks it's okay to masturbate or look up porn.  How long do we rejoice at drastic changes before we address the sin that so easily entangles?  On one hand they arn't raping people anymore, and that's such a good good thing...but on the other hand they are still not living in perfect union with the Holy Spirit and that is not a good thing at all.  Perhaps a better example would work.  Say someone is sleeping around, abusing drugs and alcohol, shoplifting daily and is quite violent, and they do that for years and years, and you stand beside them all these years, praying and praying that they would see the Lord and see how much he loves them and how much He wants them to be free, then one day they do, they do see the Lord and His love for them and receives His freedom...then a couple weeks or months down the road, though haven't left the Lord, begins to pick up some unhealthy, yet not as severe as the past, habits.  This little bit of sin can sometimes be justified because it's not as bad as it was before.  I find too often in the Church we think it's okay to sin a little bit, especially if we're not sinning like we did when we didn't know the Lord.

Take my neighbourhood for example.  I know many people who have lived in huge addictions for most of their lives.  I have walked beside people who were daily injectors.  Then those same people I have also walked beside as they have gone to treatment and are no longer using heroin.  Well, again - Praise God, it's really great and encouraging stuff.  So great, that I might think that their pot smoking habit is okay.  I mean 'its just pot right' at least it's not heroin.  Bogus!  Sin is sin and sin sucks.  Jesus as the well didn't say, from now on sin only a little bit, he said from now on sin no more!

I think that this little bit of sin thing is more dangerous then the sinful as the world type sin.  At least when your whole life revolves around sin- it's out in the open and obvious and you can only go up from here...its the little sins, the secret ones you don't tell people, the ones that are in your back closet that are the ones that will drag you deep deep down.  

And this is why holiness is so important.

26 August 2009

If there is one day I look forward to all year it is The War College grad night.

Now, let's be honest, there isn't only one day I look forward to, for I'd have to throw in Christmas, and the day of Salvation, and the beginning of The War College, and Noah's birthday, and OOB, and RAW and tomorrow...but The War College grad sure is up there.

There is something so pure and Holy and awesome and right about this day. I experienced it once upon a time ago I don't remember much from it, aside from a lot of crying, some fantastic worship, a really cool write-encouragement/words from the Lord-on-our-butcher-paper-name-thing, and oily feet...though I do remember the sense of completion it brings. Do you ever sit back and think of a memory, a really good memory that makes you forget the daily troubles and constant stress? For me, right now, that memory is my War College grad night.

This year wasn't much different. There was still a lot of crying, and fantastic worship, and a really cool dance-rap-remix to 'Lo'-performed-by-the-session. There were no oily feet this time, but there was a sledgehammer and cinder blocks. And yes, the Conquerors used the sledgehammer to smash the cinder blocks! And it was awesome.

It was so great to celebrate this with the Conqueror's, so great to celebrate it with their squad leaders and teachers, with family and friends.

Some call The War College grad the end...others it's the end of the beginning.
Either way there is a huge sense of completion achieved.

You know what, I'm sitting here typing, trying to come up with words to explain what happened that night, and how to explain what broke in the Spirit and what was shaken on Earth. How to explain the joy and grace of the night....but I can't. And I realise the best explanation would be to simply invite you to next years grad. So mark, Thursday 19 August at 1830h down in your calenders and save the date. Better Yet!! Apply to The War College and experience it first hand.

So Congratulations Conquerors! A year well spent.

God Bless The War College.



19 August 2009

God is great. Do you know that?
Ask me more and why if you don't.
But I'm pretty content (yet not content enough) with where I'm at.
It's so refreshing to be in this place, I didn't realise how dried up I was.
Praise God!

For even though I am mourning my friends who are relapsing, and literally dying and even though I am struggling with loving my brothers and sisters - I am overwhelmed with the joy of the Lord - go figure? I don't get it. I am both grieving and rejoicing...how is that possible?

I am a murderer, a filthy dirty murderer. Jesus says so.

I am looking so forward to this coming year. God is going to do great things.

Find me at www.raisedup.org, it will have the same bio you can find on www.thewarcollege.com.
I didn't really think of personalising the raisedup one, second thought probably should have.

Man, the Conqueror session of The War College graduates tomorrow! Praise God. I'll blog about the details of it later - but Praise God...I know it was one of my greater accomplishments in life. There are a couple spots left for this years session at both campus'.

Shorter blog tonight...
but I want to leave you with some websites I've :

and don't forget the blogroll to the right.

10 August 2009

I just finished painting her nails when I asked her "Can I write a story about you?".
"Oh wow", she says in her muffled and always slurred voice that you can only understand if you know Leighanne, "I'd love that". And she began to fill me in on some details of her life I never knew.

I've known her for nearly three years I think, though she has been living in my neighbourhood much longer then I have. But it wasn't until this past February that I fell in love with Leighanne. One night, probably a very cold one, as nights in February in Canada are like that, she came into the prayer room where I was nearing the end of my shift. After praying together for a moment she asked me "I want to go on the Journey before I die". This broke my heart, and marks the moment, as I said, that I fell in love with Leighanne. Let me set the scene for you. Leighanne is a 38 year old drug addict in the Downtown Eastside, though she looks more like 50. She was born a crack baby, what that means is her mother used while she was in the womb and was literally born addicted to drugs. After 8 years of abuse teaching her she was ugly, stupid and the only thing she was good for was sex, someone in Leighannes life (it is unsure if it is a relative or friend) tied a tourniquet around her arm and injected her with heroin. Yes, you read that right, at 8 years of age, Leighanne was forced to use heroin (not to mention also forced to have sex with men not twice, nor even three times, but 4 times her age). This was only the beginning and now 30 years later Leighanne is now a daily user who cannot control her muscles and cannot sit still, she has no teeth, full blown AIDS, Hep C, two kinds of cancer and according to doctors, should have been dead 2 months ago. Leighanne is also one of the most beautiful people I know. When she dresses up and pulls her hair back I am literally awestruck at her beauty. But her beauty goes so much deeper. She is so loving and has adopted the War College students, calling them her kids. She will often bring us gifts, and should there be any danger she is there defending and protecting us (and this is supposed to be our job). She makes sure to walk us home some nights and will help us with anything from lifting heavy items (though with her health and 90lb body she really shouldn't be) to cleaning tables.

The Journey is a 3 day retreat for women of the Downtown Eastside. And what a retreat it is. Women of the DTES are, for the most part, hurting and broken. Many of them are prostituted and sexually trafficked, beaten, bruised and raped. Others are suffering addictions and mental illnesses. When you are in the DTES you are surrounded with death, oppression, addiction, and poverty in it's most dire forms. The Journey offers women a serious getaway. It begins at lunch on a Tuesday where 10-20 ladies gather at the Great Room (appropriately named) and get chauffeured down to the ferry terminal where we then get on a boat that whisks us away to the Sunshine Coast (also appropriately named) for a 3 day 2 night, getaway of extravagance. You get off the boat and drive up the coastline for about 20 minutes until you pull into a long stretching driveway surrounded by trees on either side up to a very beautiful house. You walk into the house and you notice the 20 foot (maybe more maybe less, nonetheless it is big) ceiling in the great room. Followed by the lovely decor of fireplaces, stunning furniture, lovely artwork, and my favourite the use-any-time cappuccino machine. Upstairs are 5 or so bedrooms each painted different colors (and are known as the blue room, the yellow room, the pink room and so on) and two full bathrooms with the biggest bathtubs I have ever seen. Then you can walk up one more set of stairs and you get the the attic, my favourite room. Back downstairs there is an extravagant meal on the go, and the ladies (who, if they even get a meal on a normal day would have a peanut butter and jam sandwich, soup from a soup line, or if they are lucky maybe a slice of pizza from the corner store) get ready to enjoy a three course, home cooked, nutritious meal starting with a salad (and not just the kind with lettuce and dressing, but the kind with dried fruits, some variety of nut or seed, all displayed with a nice color contrast on fresh green lettuce) followed by some hearty entree, then a decedent desert. That's only day one. Day two offers spa treatments, hair cuts, art/music/photo therapy, and don't forget three more extravagant meals. The third day is just as great in showing the extravagant love of Christ. Basically there is no wonder to why Leighanne would like to experience a Journey before she died. Leighanne got to go on her own Journey last April.

Back to that cold February night in the prayer room, I realised something. I realised that yes, Leighanne could in fact die before the next Journey rolled around. Not the kind of die, as in we can all die at some point from a car accident or a lightning strike, but the kind of die where you're body is eating away at itself, the kind where you have full blown AIDS and catching the common cold is deadly, the kind of die when you are in chronic addiction and you're next high could be your last, the kind of die when your judgement is constantly impaired and you cannot control your muscles and walk out into traffic, the kind where you suffer from a mental illness and chronic pain and killing yourself seems like the better option. Leigannes kind of die and our kind of die are two very separate types.

Since this February night I have made it, or at least tried to make it, a priority to love Leighanne as best I can and to spend as much time as I can with her, as I know sooner or later (and let's face it, likely sooner) I won't get to see her everyday anymore. I'll forever remember the time she came with us to the Airport to pick up Megan, or the time she gave me Dominic sized hockey equipment to give him for his birthday (which he LOVED).

Leighanne has taught me a lot about love these past few months. I'd like to say Leighanne has made me a better person.

Today I enjoyed being with Leighanne greatly. We had tea together, I read part of the book I was reading aloud to her, and I as I was finishing painting her nails the brightest color red I had she said "I'd love that" in response to my question "Can I write a story about you".

Please if you are reading this, pray for Leighanne.

28 July 2009

I was scoping out some Salvo sites earlier today and two particular articles got my attention. I don't do this often [check out Salvo sites] but I'm following a couple of 'em on Twitter, and it grabbed my attention. I think I'm digging this Twitter thing - if you are too, follow me @nicolebrindle.

So the first article was about summer Kettle Campaigns.
If you're in New York anytime soon, you'll see the Salvo buckets, bells, and if you're lucky evan a brass band! The article ended with asking if we think Canada should do an impromptu out of season Kettle Campaign...my first reaction was no way!, but on second thought...Why not?

There is some real beauty to Kettle’s and the Christmas season. A time when giving is heightened and when the joy flooding the streets trumps the cold, and here in Canada, often bitter cold days.Salvation Army Kettles are a favored thing in the winter, what I mean by that is people expect to see them on street corners and in malls during the season - and by having a special time for them (rather then some thing that becomes mundane and repetitive) encourages others to give…

However, if people need help, and we need money to help others, then yeah, let us get those kettles out and about and spread the word. And though it might affect the Kettle total at Christmas by some, I think the summer and winter totals might actually increase the yearly total.

Plus, Kettles AND a tan - can’t beat the combo (though the scarves and bleeding knuckles do run a close second)

We just might need to forfeit the bells and use a harmonica or fiddle or some other summery-type instrument…


The Second article I read was about Evangelism...but reading it I felt more like I was reading something on how not to evangelise. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a huge advocater for 'friendship evangelism' [which is what the article was about] and in my experience it has been by far the most effective for long term salvations I've seen yet. But in the article it said, be careful of pressure tactics....now although I am definitely not suggesting we pressure someone into Salvation...I am saying we must apply the pressure! Jesus is coming soon! We can't just sit here hoping we don't offend and hoping we don't 'pressure' too hard - but I say, pressure away! Ask everyone you know if they know Christ. You might be surprised at some. I heard a story once about a Corps Sargent Major who for the first time in 20 years repented for he had never heard the gospel! Salvation isn't something that can wait! Now is the time for Salvation. If we wait around for an okay moment to share the gospel with a neighbour or friend we might end up waiting around too long. We can't wait around for the right moment to share the Good News, because the right moment is right now. Our friends and neighbours are going to Hell and I don't know how we can NOT evangelise without pressure. Boldly evangelise to your friends and to strangers. Jesus is coming. Soon.

18 July 2009

More to come on Teen Camp I said. Usually when I say stuff like that, such as I'll write about that next, I don't follow through on it. This time won't be much different.

But I'll leave you with the note that it was a great week and there were some really great moments. One night I realised that I didn't know everyone who came with me. I mean I know them sure, but I don't know the deepest parts of who they are, how they grew up and what brings them joy and what brings them sorrow - and that they likely don't know about those things of me either. There is something about campfires, late nights in gazebos with tea and blankets on a summers night that pave the way of sharing life. I think it could be one of the best tools for evangelism we have, really getting to know your friends on a deep level. I have a bunch of friends who don't know the Lord, but I don't know if I can do that effectively (evangelise) without knowing them, deeply, first.

We were sent off on the note that we are created to live in community and to live simply. I hesitate to say that I will write more on those points next blog.


So I jumped on the band wagon. I'm now twittering, follow me @nicolebrindle. I knew I'd eventually jump on this wagon, but was surprised when I did. I always was pretty vocal about not joining and thought it was silly (I also said that about Facebook and Blogger, and look where I am). My first interest though was when I heard someone say that "Tweeting" has replaced testimony, and if that's true then it's a wagon I couldn't help but jump on. But that was a few months ago. Then I saw Caitlyn's page Saturday night as she was checking it at my place and it just looked cool - so here I am.


I hear The War College is the place to be this September.

12 July 2009

I had a great week at Teen Camp. More to come on that.

Did you read my last post on Worship, and how I think (and to be honest I think I'm right) is the most unselfish thing you can do? If not, scroll down and read it now. If you did then I want to talk about the most selfish thing one can do. Sin.

Sin sucks. It just plain sucks.

I know many people, and I've been there before who just can't seem to shake it, their sinful nature that is, who are stuck in this sticky, slimy, gross sin. I had a picture, vision, dream, whatever you want to call it, once of someone stuck in this tar like goop, representing sin. The more they tried to get themselves out of it, say by trying to wipe it off, the more the tar spread. We have all become sinners (refer to doctrine 5). We are born into a world of sin and born with a sinful nature. It is who we are, and to get rid of it ourselves will cause us to get stickier and slimier and more engulfed in the tar. As the vision goes on there was only one thing that could separate us from the tar, which was oil or I'd say the anointing of the Holy Ghost. Or perhaps a better analogy would be blood, and that Christ's death and Resurrection is the 'oil' that removes the 'tar'. Analogy's aside, sin sucks, it is gross and sticky but Christ has provided a way out.

In my experience with sin, which as a sinner I'm actually quite experienced in, my focus immediately is turned to me. Hence the selfishness of it. I think "how can i cover this up so no one will know". I begin to think every time someone says "let's talk" it is immediately because they have figured out what I've done. I begin to think I am inadequate to disciple, teach, lead (which really if in sin I am). And I stop praying or evangelising or reading the Bible. Come on, I know we've all been there to some degree. Sin is the most selfish thing anyone can do. When you sin you are denying people of your holiness (Christ's holiness in you), and if you are living in community then you are denying your community of corporate holiness (for I believe that corporate holiness is dependant on personal holiness). When you sin you are causing other people to hurt and if you're doing it in secret then you are denying those who are close to you the fullness of who you are. Stop sinning and stop being selfish.

That's my angry side with sin because it really does make me angry - but as angry as I am I have such compassion for the sinner. I was going to write about a friend of mine, but as I wrote it out it got too personal. But here's the thing. I love her deeply and dearly. I am so angry at the addiction in her life, I am angry at lust and I hate alcohol more then ever - but when I see her and pray for her and think about her I am heart broken. It brings me to mourning and I long to see her set free. I still hate the sin in her life, but I love her more everyday. (Isn't there some over-used phrase about that)

When we are sin-free though we are then not selfish. And being completely selfless as I suggest means being in full worship of the King of Kings, which is just another way to say holiness. We have been born sinners, but Christ has declared us saints. I say as a sinner I know the consequence of sin all too well. But as a saint I see the beauty of holiness even more.

So if you're feeling stuck in this tar-sin stuff - get washed in the Blood of the Lamb and get free. It's really the only way.

04 July 2009

Well, I'm heading out of town tomorrow for a week (yipee for Teen Camp!) and won't have any computer access...so to keep with my regular blogging goal, I thought it be best to post something today.

I'm trying to filter my thoughts to find something bloggable. My thoughts range from hope and hopelessness to family and the spirit of adoption to victory and discouragement. All too much to break down it seems.

But let me tell you where I'm at. I'm completely hopeless with my eyes set ahead. I am discouraged by almost everything I see and hear yet my eyes are set on things above. I am feeling alone and defeated, but I am a child of the King and surrounded by a family so deep. So all in all, things are great.

It's really easy to look at the moment, well because it is happening now and let's face it a lot of it sucks (I speak personally here, but I Praise God if this is not so in your life). It's so easy to get caught up in the nitty gritty of things and to get discouraged by it all. I have to challenge myself all the time (I was going to write daily, but to be honest, it is much more of a minutely thing) to take my eyes off of myself and off of the world around me and gaze into the face of Christ. This classic song "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace" says it best.

So practically, how do we do it? How do we not get discouraged when your family members get really sick or when your friends are dying in their addiction or when your neighbourhood is full of oppression and death or when your closest buddy won't turn from their sin, or when it seems like you just can't do anything right or please everyone no matter how hard you try? The simple answer is to worship. To fall facedown in His presence and relent everything. I'm not talking about singing pretty songs or playing nice instruments (although in my experience those times have been some of the sweetest times), I'm talking about plain and simple worship. Worship that looks like honoring the Lord with your actions and thoughts. Worship that looks like abandoning idols. Worship that looks like not denying the Holy Ghost. Worship that looks like encouraging your brothers and sisters. Worship that looks like proclaiming the name of Yahweh, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the Alpha and Omega, the Wonderful Counsellor, the Beautiful Saviour.

Because it is when we worship, that it is when we forget about ourselves and those problems that seem to take over our minds. When we worship, our discouragement and fears fade away. Worship is the most unselfish thing one can do. Surely you can't possibly be thinking about your problems or those of your friends when you are facedown in the presence of the King.

So next time you are thinking too much about the moment, too much about those little (and sometimes big) things that get you or the next time you seem to be caught up in that nasty sin again, I exhort you to worship and set your eyes on things above. I exhort you to pick up the Bible and read aloud some scripture. I exhort you to pick up a guitar or tickle the ivory's. I exhort you to sing a new song. I exhort you with all that is in me to worship our Father with all that is in you.

May you find peace as you worship.

28 June 2009

More on Open-Theism:
The more I think about this, the more I am convinced that prayer changes things. The more I think about this, the more I am convinced that God is sovereign, that won't change. I still struggle to see how the two line up, but in the end do they not co-exist?

A friend of mine emailed me upon my last post, and a notable mark was,
"Does this mean He is not sovereign?
Not necessarily. I believe that God is sovereign - so sovereign, in fact, that He can limit his sovereignty, when required, to allow for humans' free will."
I have no concrete thoughts on the above, but something to think about and discuss.

Another friend of mine patented: "You can't earn God's love, but you can earn His trust".
On that, there is nothing you can do to make God love you more or less, simple, Biblical, overwhelmingly graceful and uncomprehendable, but true. However, I am convinced that through discipline, obedience, faithfulness and covenant God then trusts us more and more. I think this is where I relate to the idea of open-theism. That God's sovereignty allows Him to trust us, and in this case, to trust us in our prayer. And by trusting our prayers, things begin moving and shaking.

Here's a quote from Foster's book, Celebration of Discipline:
"The Bible speaks so forcefully about the openness of our universe that it speaks of God constantly changing His mind in accordance with His unchanging love."
(so far just a quote, I haven't dived enough into that thought to put my opinion beside it)

John Wesley stated that: “God does nothing except in answer to prayer.” (which Creation in itself might trump that, but it is John Wesley who said it...)

Of course, it is well within God’s power to do anything He wishes, at any time He wishes, in any way He wishes. Yet, He often chooses to accomplish His will and purpose through us. People often ask in dire situations, 'Where is God', but sometimes the more appropriate answer might be 'Where is God's people'.

I know that prayer is not manipulation, and hope I am not suggesting that but I would suggest it is partnership. And I'd also suggest that if we want to see God's blessings upon others (and ourselves) to increase, our prayers must increase. That said, I often fall short of that. I often get hopeless and not pray. I look out my window and see the dreadful effect of addiction and poverty. I see people I love dearly fall in and out of the same sin. I experience depression and self hatred frequently and stew in hopelessness...and in all that, I am convinced if I increased my prayers I would then see my neighbourhood dancing for joy, I would see dear friends liberated and I would be fully free.

Open-Theism, has also been described to me as God playing chess with us. That He is always one move up on us. That He will always win the game - but each individual move is new to Him. I think I might agree with that. (though that said, I do agree with the Psalmist who says, that He knows my every thought, my every move, my rising and my sleeping, my standing up and my sitting down, and with Jeremiah who says, that before I was formed in my mother's womb, He knew me)

Does this mean I'm an open-theist? I believe that prayer changes things. I believe that God listens to me. And I certainly believe that God is all knowing and sovereign. And if so, does that mean I'm a heretic?

2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.