A Gracious Woman

Mrs. Mitchell (Nelda) passed away last week. The funeral will be tomorrow in Prescott. Some passing thoughts about the woman who graciously signed us in when we would come to conference. Most of my knowledge of her centered around conference and Pastor Mitchell’s reference to the woman he loved. Each conference at its end would have Mrs. Mitchell go up to the platform to stand with her husband to receive prayer from our leadership and the conference attendees. There was always something special about the moment of her walking to the platform.

Barbara, from our Ballard church, had let me know that she wanted to go on the Israel trip with the Mitchell’s. I had tried to include some thoughts in my sermons about idols and figures and such, but nothing I said could take the big wooden cross from around Barbara’s neck. Off she went, cross and all. On her return she reported to all that she spent most of her time with Sister Mitchell. This spoke volumes about what kind of woman Nelda Mitchell was.

Our family, minus my two oldest girls, would return to Prescott after our seven years in Zambia. We got to be around the Prescott church and Pastor and Sister Mitchell. Sister Mitchell would attend Joan’s get together at the house. I once told her after I gave her a proper “good morning” that I felt like Eddie Haskell from “Leave it to Beaver” when I talked to her. She laughed. She gave me what I consider the supreme compliment. We were talking and I mentioned that we would be heading down to Wickenburg for the evening service. She responded: “I always forget you are from Wickenburg”.

Audra had a tougher time in Prescott than Joan or I. Unbeknown to us, her body was not behaving and this would end up in a 21-day intensive care stay 6 months after our arrival. The two people that took time to minister to her were Adam Porter and Sister Mitchell. Sister Mitchell and Audra seemed to actually have a friendship. Audra will be representing our family at the funeral.

We got a little glimpse into the Mitchell’s life when they came down to Wickenburg for Pastor Robinson’s 25th anniversary as the Wickenburg pastor. The little church they pastored many years before starting our fellowship was just down the street. Pastor Mitchell referred to the little church, the tree that still stands in which his kids would play and their memories of life in the town of Wickenburg. It turns out that they came up to Wickenburg to get married. The perfect words for the occasion.

My glimpse into their lives can in no way compare to the memories and thoughts of her family members. Yet, it is nice to be able to include a good report of a wonderful woman that touched so many lives like ours in so many different ways. Our condolences to the Mitchell family.

Proverbs 11:16 says “a gracious woman retains honor”. Mrs. Mitchell didn’t have to be gracious; she was gracious.

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Seattle Trip

We arrived in Seattle last Tuesday night about 11:00 (August 2). This was the fulfillment of a promise made on our previous trip to Oregon in which we took one day out of the schedule and headed up to Seattle. I had promised to come back in August for a longer visit. The airport was packed and Chris Pecelunas asked us to meet him just outside the airport. So after a short walk, in which Joan gained Pokémon points, we met up with Chris and we all fit into his small Fiat (his larger one was not clean enough). Our quietly stubborn Chris has grown into a mountain of a man. He manages a warehouse in which he works very closely with his boss who enjoys letting Chris deal with the human problems of the warehouse crew. Chris took our thanks with a reminder of all of the great memories he had of being part of church and doing the cool things that we all did together.

Chris took us over to his mother Jane’s house; where Nikki (Unique) and David and Jane welcomed us. Chris left and that would be all the time we had with him as life’s schedules demanded his time. I met a new friend; Manny. Jane is slowly going blind and has been given a dog that is supposed to be for the blind but has not really been trained. We stop at the intersection, he even looks, but he doesn’t know to start the process of crossing the street. I would be walking Manny each morning and night for the next 4 days while we stayed with Jane. Joan and I would wake up early each morning (the good kind of jet lag) and take Manny for his walk as we finished up at a Safeway Starbucks for coffee.

Wednesday, I would be picked up by Enterprise. A week’s rental at the airport was $600; offsite $300. We do the same thing every time we fly into Phoenix. The only inconvenience in this case would be turning the car in before they closed at 5:00 and then having them take me to the metro station where I would take the train to the airport area.

Our agenda for Wednesday was lunch with Lorraine and then service that night in West Seattle. Traffic has definitely become more of an issue in crossing town these days. 17 years ago we knew the windows to try and make trips across town, those windows have shrunk considerably. It all started with the genius planner who took the 4 lanes of Highway 5 coming into Seattle and reduced them to 3 and just at the center of the city reduced them to 2. He got a bonus from what I understand because it was all designed to get us onto busses.

Lorraine chose to have lunch at the Original Pancake House. Was this connected to the Original Pancake house that Joe took us to in San Diego? Yes, and it was just as delicious for lunch as it was for breakfast. We had the added bonus of Lorraine bringing pictures to share with us all. It was Jane and Unique and Joan and I and Lorraine. I think I mentioned that Lorraine was 80 in my blog entry about the Oregon trip. Actually she is 86 and still looks like she looked 17 years ago as well as the 12 years before that. She seems to never age. She enjoys church, she testifies at the family reunions (much to their dismay) and she gives rides to the people she lives with who are unable to get around for shopping and appointments. What I noticed also was the entire time she didn’t complain about health issues once except for giving us pictures of her operation on her hands; only because she knew my hands were curling up also (something to do with Eastern European heritage). She goes to the Philadelphia church and was familiar with a prophecy writer I am currently enjoying: Bill Salus and “The Now Prophecies”. We got all of her family news with special mention of her son Denny, whom we had many cool moments with. We closed down the restaurant as they let us hang out past 2. I had hoped to rendezvous with Dorothy Hargis who was on a cross country trip with her daughter, granddaughter and grandson. She was scheduled to be in Seattle that very afternoon but they were running behind schedule and I wasn’t able to get Lorraine and Dorothy together. Both of them are faithful letter writers.

Jane makes soaps, so the next stop was across the highway from Ballard to the University district for a visit to Zenith Supplies. Joan and Jane (mostly Jane) would be making soaps during our visit and it looks like we came home with about ten different soaps including one that Jane said was especially for me. I walked in, took in the smells, looked at their books and then waited outside walking up and down the block. I was pleased to see an Olympia Pizza. In our opinion the 3 best pizza places in Seattle were Olympia Pizza in Wallingford and University district, Stacie’s in Ballard and Pegasus in West Seattle. We then flowed with the traffic south to Jane’s and got ready for church that night.

Jane has become a bit of a celebrity in the neighborhood she lives in. She attends church right across the street from her house. That first morning Joan and I were given the history of the building from the caretaker. The church shares the property with a community center. Jane cheerfully asks people if they know Jesus and when they say “yes” she says “I thought so” with an enthusiasm that is tough to not admire. Her community watched her faith tested when Unique was attacked while walking Manny and she lost the dog along with her things. Would Jane get her dog back? Her faith was put on trial and everyone apparently had an opinion. Days turned to weeks and then a local TV station wanted to interview and broadcast a story about the missing “guide” dog. Jane left church one night to be welcomed by a mobile TV crew surrounded by people. She gave her interview with a special plea for the return of her dog.

Again, as she was heading home after church two men were arguing over whether or not she was going to get her dog back. One man saying that God was going to return her dog; the other man denying it. David then shouts out to her as she is talking with the men “They found Manny!” The one man who was denying was now telling the other man that God found Manny for Jane. On one of my walks with Manny a man would stop me on the street and ask me if I was looking for Jane the owner of the dog I had. Just kind of cool.

These walks through the neighborhood of South Seattle are refreshing. Seattle parks are set up in such a way that you can actually go from park to park staying in the green. I am saying this only from memory. I might try and link to something when I transfer this to WordPress. We were able to walk Manny to one park, and then through green to another, then to Safeway for coffee and then back by Rainier Beach High School and then through the neighborhood back to Jane’s. Joan would be moving from level to level while we enjoyed the floral beauty of Seattle in the summer, the Blue Angels practicing and all of the apples, plums and blackberries we could eat along the way.

It worked out that Jane, who is part of her church’s choir, would be able to join us in West Seattle for church with Tom Drout. Instead of choir practice they would be preparing for a rap concert with rappers coming up from California. We went over and met her pastor and his wife. Harold and Annisfay Franklin are the pastoring couple of the church. They came across as a great couple who cared about Jane and her walk with Christ. As a note to Warren Bailey, Harold is a graduate of University of Washington and a player on the football team.

A week and a half later I will try and pick up the threads of our Seattle trip as even now the pleasantness of the stay there begins to fade with the daily hustle bustle of life, which now includes substituting. We made our way over to the West Seattle church pastored by Tom and Cindy Drout. It is the memory of the faces, now a bit older, that brings a smile to my face. I mistakenly called Gene’s nephew Gene, and yes he could have been a younger version of Gene. Jane would have a great time talking with Elisabeth, our Ballard church member, as well as talking with the other ladies of church who all remembered her from those past years. Wonderful song service and nice presence of God. Preached an easy sermon, that worked as an expression of my joy in being there. Pastor Drout would let me know that Jason Coleman was also part of church, a Ballard guy who lived in our basement for a bit, who was now a truck owner and out of town at this moment.

Let me insert a story here about our Ballard days. We let Toby Bleeker stay at our house in the basement for a bit. Well one thing led to another and we had Toby, Malachi, Jason, Dave and a guy who ate his gold fish staying in the basement also. I came home from work one day and the girls were all excited and Laura Michelle let me know that they were going swimming at a hotel. I began to realize that Joan needed a break from our boarders. She had made hotel reservations for the weekend, and yes I could come along, but the time to clear out the basement had come. Toby had already moved on being the working man he was. Joan always appreciated Jason’s willingness to get some things done around the house while they lounged around.

Pastor Drout would have us over in the morning for a trip up into the mountains for a bike ride so Jane, Joan and I headed back to South Seattle and found a Mexican restaurant to eat at just before closing time at 10:00. This little section along Rainer had become a night life hot spot. Lots of action. Once again just enjoying the company in the city of Seattle.

The next day Joan and I would join the Drout’s for a trip to Rattlesnake Lake and a bike ride up the old railway line making its way through the Cascades. It would be seven miles up and seven miles back, a very easy ride for the Drout’s and manageable for Joan and I. Tom would have the extra weight of a trailer carrying their dog. Some biking kids in front of us would even come across a bear. As the song goes: “the greenest green” and the “bluest blue” are in Seattle. Beauty plus refreshing Huckleberries, ripe and plentiful. Huckleberries are tough to grow commercially because it can take up to 15 years for the bush to become fruitful. Kind of like church sometimes. We had a Vietnamese lunch with the Drout’s before heading back to Jane’s.

That evening we would head down to Tacoma and meet with Jane’s daughter Sabrina and her family. She warned us that the freeway was a parking lot so we didn’t leave until 7 but still found ourselves sitting in traffic just before entering Tacoma. Sabrina is now a sought after hair stylist giving $100 haircuts to Seattle’s tech elites. Her husband is an executive with Costco, yet they still had to go to Tacoma to find a good house to buy. Commutes became a common ground for talk as the husband (sorry cannot recall his name) (but he described the funeral of his LA grandfather who was a preacher and how surprised he was at all the lives he had impact on) talked of his 2-hour commute to work at the Costco headquarters in Issaquah. They have a beautiful house for a beautiful couple and their beautiful children. Jane had shared with us that the middle daughter had adopted Jane’s Christianity and thus the voice of truth has a place in their lives. Thanks!

That Friday I was going to run around with David while Jane and Joan concentrated on soaps and blackberry jams. David wasn’t up yet after I walked Manny so I took off to check out my old place of employment: Biblesoft. They had moved to a smaller set of offices, I imagine doing business in the age of free apps is more difficult than my days there when they were called programs not apps and you actually paid for them. I always like to point out one of the differences that make America stand out from the rest of the world when I talk about Biblesoft. We were the only nation that had a retail industry for software in the early days. The point being that as it was easy to get any software on the cheap without paying the retail price it was amazing that Americans as a group would do what is right even though they didn’t have to. I think times have changed since then, in many different ways.

At Biblesoft I met with Kathy and David Hielman’s wife, the only people still there from my days at Biblesoft. A single programmer was playing games during a break and it seemed very quiet. As far as I can tell companies like Biblesoft and Logos mainly are marketing to their customer bases new biblical works to work with their respective engines. It would be fun to sit in on the thinking that would go with trying to be more relevant again. They let me know that Jim and Leanna, the Biblesoft founders still come in once in a while and encouraged me to drop by and visit them. So I did.

This would be my third visit with Jim Gilbertson since leaving Biblesoft and coming back from Zambia. He has sold the business now and looks happy and content in his home overlooking the Sound. It has always been a pleasure to visit with him. He could be difficult to work with as I am sure the many managers could confirm. I had a joke that you needed to speak Jimbonics in order to truly communicate with him. That is all behind us now, but life was always adventurous during my ten years at Biblesoft. We talked of life, church, one minute bible studies and our first sales on credit. We started doing business at Biblesoft on a cash COD basis. As members of CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) we needed to switch to credit terms after the stores began to reorder the product. Jim was starting out with his retirement funds on the line and wasn’t sure about floating product out there on credit terms; yet that is how we had to do business if we were to continue on. Our sales manager could not bring himself to explain all of this to Jim so we just continued doing credit business on the sly. One day Jim burst into the sales office demanding to know who was doing credit business. When he realized that we all were and heard our explanations of how important it was, he seemed satisfied and that was the last we heard of it.

Biblesoft came together with a special group of people at a time when those parts of the whole could never exist again as the technology and way of doing business has moved on. It was quite the privilege to be a part of that exciting time. I was landscaping and pastoring at the time; but had been encouraged to seek higher pay at a conference. I went home and saw an ad for Biblesoft. Pastor Robinson was preaching for me and we talked about it. I had already had one interview with them. We decided it would be foolish to give up my good job for a job that would only pay commission. Plus, you would have to deal with the stigma of sales.

That night Warren Bailey would visit our church service. He sat through the service, even spoke in tongues with us as we praised God. Afterwards, he spent a lot of time talking with Pastor Robinson more than me. At dinner that night Pastor Robinson was impressed enough with Warren to recommend giving it a try if I wanted to. When I got called for a second interview I was hired.

A few last notes about my time with Jim Gilbertson at Biblesoft. I was always given time off for church events and lots of latitude with my schedule and my managers. Managers would come and go and several times I stood in during the in between times. Our most successful marketing strategy was to place displays in Christian book stores with a touch screen to show off what PC Study Bible could do. This had us making a film, creating PowerPoint presentations and looking for higher levels of creativity. I loved every minute of it. When it all came together the different parts of the display shipped directly to the stores from the different sources. The stores then put it together. Something was wrong. I had mis-measured by about ¾ of an inch the space needed for the visuals (didn’t take thought of the wiring). I had to tell Jim. The stores were making it work, but the workarounds were second choice. I was ready for Jim to explode; but instead he calmly thanked me for letting him know and then took charge as the executive he was and began to seek a solution. We would end up shipping two strips of wood, colored to match the display, of an inch in depth with two screw holes and two screws to give the display the space it needed. This was the suggestion of one of the store owners. Everyone was happy.

There also was the time I thought I was being unjustly accused of some things and decided that I wasn’t going to submit myself to what seemed like a kangaroo court of my managers. I left the meeting being chased down to my car by Jim who demanded that I return to the meeting. Thank God, I listened. I am not sure what life would have been like if I went home to Joan and told her I quit this great paying job because my ego was being jostled. It all worked out; but then there was the time I sang a basketball Jones song at our Christmas party. My tongue in cheek references had been misunderstood and the next Monday I was told by my manager that he wasn’t sure I still had a job. We had started playing basketball at lunch and I was talking of playing basketball as though I was backsliding and then had the other backsliders (basketball players) join me as Cheech and Chong sung their song. Well one guy had explained to Jim that it was about Jonesing for drugs and another thought that I was blaming Jim for my backsliding and I had to explain to Jim, who was insisting that he was not responsible for my backsliding, that it was all a parody, although not well thought out.

I could go on and on and someday will. For now, let me leave you with a “Jim” quote that has always stayed with me. The final decision to hire me would ultimately be made by Jim. Pastoring and working is always second choice. Even now I am subbing in Carbondale high school in between covering for teacher’s meetings with the kids streaming by going to their classes. Working as a landscaper gave me lots of opportunities to think about sermons and life while I worked. An office job is different in that my mind had to engage with the tasks at hand. One was good for sermonizing in my mind as I did hard work that got me tired; and the other was good because I wasn’t exhausted at the end of the day. Jim was understanding this as he was making his decision. He made this statement to me at that time: “A man can only do one thing to the best of his ability.”

I am part of a fellowship with hundreds of pastors who want nothing more out of life than to pastor a church that could pay them a salary so that they did not have to work so as to be able to totally give themselves to the call of God. Yet, most of us work and work we do as we wait. What are we waiting for? Once again another time. It was leaving Biblesoft and going to Zambia that gave me my first opportunity to be a pastor who did not have to work a job and it was wonderful. No splitting my time and energy. Just one task to focus on. The way Jim said it should be.

I returned to Jane’s and picked up David and Unique and we headed off to Ballard. It was a chance to hang with them for the rest of the day. My agenda was to have lunch at “Gorditos” on 85th St. close to our old home and cruise around for a while and get some ice cream somewhere. “Gorditos” is one of those success stories we got to watch happen. I would take pastors and outreach teams to eat there. It was started by the parents of a student who went to school with our girls at Greenwood Elementary. The first location was a small space on 85th with a few tables. The challenge in those early days was to order the burrito hot; and was it hot. The husband didn’t speak much English but always greeted us and the wife was very personable. They built a loyal customer base and moved to a bigger location and the place seemed to explode with jubilant customers singing the praises of their dishes. She (can’t remember her name, I think his was Thomas) would be driving around town now in a great big hummer. It was a pleasure to see her driving down the street.

I found it; but something wasn’t right. My first thought was another spoiled fairy tale of life. It looked like work was going on; maybe new owners, I went inside to investigate. I found a workman and began to talk to him about the restaurant. He let me know there had been an explosion next door that had impacted the safety of the building the restaurant was in. Opening day would be the day after we were leaving; so I would miss something I had been waiting for these many years. I shared my memories of the restaurant with the young man and mentioned that my girls went to school with the owner’s son. He asked me what their names were; and after I answered said he was the young man. Shannon Hall had taken over the restaurant some years previous. His parents have retired to Hawaii. He mentioned that they got bored and now have opened a restaurant there, also. I texted the girls about my meeting up with Shannon. Good memories all around.

We settled for some excellent Mexican at the crossroads of 3rd Ave and 85th st. I would buy lunch and Unique would buy her own Mexican beer. We would talk about the changes in life that took us down our different paths. David Pecelunas was this electronic, computer kid who had some things going for him. He brought up his early days of winning spelling bees and getting awards in school. What happened? He laid out a much more gangster life than I was aware of. I knew the language changed from our shared language to gangster slang. Church stopped. School became a problem. Drugs. I knew and watched and prayed but life took him down that path. We started talking about what happened to start him down that path. He talked of his friend who would end up in prison for murder. Unique would add details as we went along. This was all good.

We visited the old house, always a pleasant experience. David wanted to visit West Seattle and I reminded them that ice cream was still on the agenda. Unique asked me what my favorite flavor of ice cream is. I like all ice cream; but she wanted a specific one. Thinking, I selected the ice cream flavor I have only had a few times: licorice. She was delighted because she knew of an ice cream place in West Seattle that had licorice ice cream. So off we went on a slow cruise from Greenwood/Ballard to West Seattle. Once again, Seattle is beautiful. So we stroll the Alki beach with our ice creams in hand (yes, they had licorice) watching the people. We wondered what was going on with one group. Unique had some good insights. We would stop by some of the houses they had lived in and then try and beat traffic dismissing after the Blue Angel practice run. Great to have some time with them both.

Easy Friday night at home. I would share my science presentation with David. I know he is into beats and I was hoping he would want to put some beats to the slide show. He settled to give me a CD with a bunch of his beats. Joan and Jane were still working on jams and soaps. They squeezed in a chicken dinner, I walked the dog and got to bed early for our new day in Everett the next day.

Why Everett? That is where Doug and Karen Begg go to church. Our faithful couple, along with Barbara would end up in the Everett church with Pastor Tony Uriarte and his wife April. Barbara has passed away with Tony doing her funeral. Doug is always quick to remind me that their song leader, Oswald is fruit from our old church. Yes, Doug sees something cool when it came together. I am in Zambia, the church is coming to an end, and with its last gasp it welcomes Oswald, the Zambian from Lusaka, into the church. He is now married and I want to assume that God has a calling to ministry on his life; et least, I know Doug thinks that.

Pastor Uriarte would allow me to have the perfect ministering visit with his church. We did a one-minute bible study outreach on Saturday. I did my science slide show for Sunday school and then preached his Sunday morning service. We showed up Saturday morning a little early and of course Doug was there. I have tried several different presentation ideas to introduce a church to doing a one minute bible study outreach. The one that flows the best is a simple recap of the different outreaches I have been involved in. When I talk about the Ballard parade and the Roman soldier beating the made up Christ making front page Seattle Times; it was a little more real as I showed everyone the picture of Doug, the Roman soldier, beating Toby, the suffering Christ from the Seattle Times. It was even better to describe the new converts calling into the talk radio station 28 years ago when the topic was our parade float knowing that Doug was one of those new converts calling in for Seattle to hear.

We had a great outreach with about 20 of us. I went with Pastor Tony to a local park that was teeming with people. I noticed plenty of Pokémon players. We all did several studies with good conversations and witnesses. Two people would pray a prayer of salvation as on the outreach. We wrapped it up with testimonies and then we headed to Mexican for some lunch. Karen with one of the grandkids would join us. We would spend the night with Karen and Doug.

At their house we touched base with Ronnie, Doug’s brother and heard the latest about Al and the gang. We also met a sister from the Isle of Man that we had never met before. She asked if we would pray for her to marry an American, who was saved. We went over to Stephie’s (Doug and Karen’s daughter) for dinner. She made a nice steak and potato dinner. Her kids, with the oldest being the spitting image as her when she was that age, were a lot of fun. We went on a walk after dinner with their dog and Steph and the kids. Why? Pokémon, of course. Joan has been moving from level to level and the kids were fascinated with the process. We ended up coming into the same park we outreached in via a back entrance. Doug and Karen would give us a walking tour of downtown Snohomish that evening. In the morning Doug prepared his famous camping breakfast for us before church. It was then off to church and not nearly enough time.

We had a good time in church, it always fun to work with the technicians about setting up for the slide show. Everything went smoothly and we had church in a packed house. Pastor Tony’s pastor is Pastor Bob Overson who was my pastor for two years before he went on a supernatural journey as an evangelist. One of his stops would be Sparta where he carried on the “Sparta Fire” for 6 weeks. I would hope he can be proud of me as one of his disciples and he certainly can be proud of Pastor Tony. We would share our “goodbyes” with the Beggs as they were off to Ron Begg’s son’s wedding and we went and had Indian food with the Uriarte family.

I have always enjoyed pastor’s families. Obviously, I see so much of Joan and I and our children in them; but they always impress me beyond the politeness and correctness that they exhibit. They are loved and you can tell it. There is a TED talk where Johanne Han talks about addictions and concludes that all they need is some connections to someone who will love and care about them. That is what I felt as we sat with them at lunch. They are loved! Joan would do more talking with the girls and I would do more with Tony and his son; but we came away blessed.

It was then up to Chilliwack, Canada to preach the evening service for Pastor Dave Marks and his family. Originally I was going to preach twice in Everett and just visit Dave and Sherri on Monday but they insisted I preach and I am more than willing. I left Wickenburg some 28 years ago to come to Seattle. My first Sunday in the Northwest would have me preaching for Pastor Larry Beauregard in Vancouver and Pastor Marks in Chilliwack. We have been friends ever since then.

The drive to Chilliwack is full of memories. We once made the trip in a snow bound hurry just to share with the Mark’s our Russian adventure. Our Russian adventure came at a spiritual price that was paid by the Mark’s and we know it and we always want to be thankful for their willingness to pay that price. There are several ways you can make it there and several places to cross the border. It is all different now, with the need of passports and such so we took the easiest route for me to remember, missing our ice cream stop. We made our way to the newly painted church and were early enough to taste some apples and plums hanging over onto the church property. I would pray with Dave while Sherri “mischievously” would take Joan to Starbucks.

Pastor Marks took a fall while running that did neurological damage. He has managed to preach every service since the fall but he has had to reteach his body to do almost everything. At conference in July he was running again, although carefully. Sherri had some heart issues this spring so there is some delicateness to the get together. That’s why it was so nice to see that Sherri still had that “mischievous” shine in her eyes. You might ask what I am talking about. Sherri taught Joan how to geo cache. Now Joan is kind of geo caching with Pokémon. We have shared this knowledge with everyone on the trip; but I told Joan under no circumstances was she to say anything about it here. Probably within minutes Sherri had enticed this information out of Joan and it would become a topic of conversation over the next couple of days, much to my discomfort, and much to her delight, although you could never tell it except for the eyes.

We had a good church service that night with two bonuses. One was Nate with his kids. I was in the front of the church and entered into a conversation with a group of young men there. I preached here as an evangelist 10 years ago and it was probably 7 years before that when I had visited. The church is full of second and third generation kids. Dan, Dave’s brother, would talk with us, thanking us for putting him up in Seattle one time, when I asked about grandchildren. Seventeen. Yes, the Chilliwack church believes in generational Christianity. Well, the next thing I know this bear of a man has wrapped me up in his arms. It was skinny Nate and he wasn’t skinny anymore and I had not recognized him at all. I was a bit embarrassed and I think Nate has forgiven me. Nate is my buddy. He saved me from the Canadian Mounties when they were looking for American salmon fishermen without licenses. He has reached the heights of business and he has plunged to the depths. I am sure God will help him find that perfect balance for he and his family.

The other bonus was the baby Garrett. No he is not a baby anymore. But, he still has that youthful skinniness that we seem to lose as we get older, no offense Nate. Garrett would lead the song service and he is married to a young Australian girl. She is pregnant, so there was joy in the camp. After the service Pastor Marks would have me share the one minute bible study with anyone who was interested. It was nice to have a platform filled with people as we had no problem getting it on everyone’s phones.

It was all easy living. We stayed with the Marks and ate all of their leftovers. We had special estate blends of Starbucks coffee each morning at the house before prayer. We would spend time up at Harrison Springs just walking around. We were able to visit further with Nate and his family, Garrett and wife as well as Shanda Lynn and her new husband (can’t remember the name) who is a psychiatrist. I had just referred to “Reality Therapy” again in a sermon so it was on my mind; but the time or place wasn’t there to hear his opinions. All in all it was just a nice time.

We talked about health. Pastor Marks has improved his posture since I saw him in July. A week after our departure he would be heading to Russia. Health is now a concern of theirs and ours as we all advance in age. We are cut from the same piece of cloth, howbeit, from opposite ends. I want a revival where people begin to live righteously out of a born again experience that springs out of their souls. Dave sees revival as more of a return to standards of righteous living. His point is that historically revival always comes with a return to holiness. My last couple of sermons here took some thoughts about Methodism and Wesley. Pastor Marks is right when it comes to the Methodist revival in England which would correspond with the Great Awakening in America. The Methodists would have meetings where strict rules of conduct were reinforced with verbal acknowledgements of failures. Dave might be right.

The next morning before going to prayer he let me know that we should take some time to work on a sermon. He said he had a title and everything. I asked what the title was: “In a Perfect World”. You are mocking me aren’t you. All is good and we did put some notes to his sermon in as much as I shared with him my take on Balaam’s strategy or counsel and how it applies to the church today. Sharri took Joan to an English shop to spend the left over Canadian money I had from 10 years ago and Dave and I met them at the bookstore before leaving town. The Marks of Chilliwack; somebody ought to write a book, I’d buy it.

Joan and I headed back to Seattle. We missed our Mission crossing but caught the next one much to my delight. It took us right by our old ice cream stop. You can’t miss with root beer ice cream. Joan only had one more stop she wanted to try and squeeze in. She had read about: Starbucks Reserve Roastery & tasting room. So we made our way to it just outside of downtown. Impressive place. We had to use the new transgender bathrooms. Well it just a common washing area with very, very private stalls for anyone to use. I guess that’s my new American future. We sat down with 6 small cups of our choice of 3 of their reserve blends. We bought some Fran’s Chocolates to enhance the flavors of the coffees. Fran’s was a small shop that I used to buy from for special gifts for Joan. Now it is allied with Starbucks. So we enjoyed the buzz in the room, very international, we sat at a small bar looking out through huge windows onto the street scene passing by.
I dropped Joan off at a hotel by the airport for the night, turned in the car, took the train to the airport and then got picked up by the Drout’s for a last Seattle meal at Pegasus Pizza along Alki Beach in West Seattle and made our way home the next day.

 

 

 

 

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Tonight’s Sermon

Three Verses for the Mind

  1. 2 Tim 1:6-7 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

The context is the idea of rising up and doing the will of God.

Paul reminds Timothy of a gifting from God that came into his life by the laying on of hands; but more importantly from the relationship that he had with Timothy.

Paul had previously referred to this gifting talking of the laying on of hands of the eldership and the giving of a prophecy.

It is more personal this time.

1 Peter 4:10-11 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

So Paul’s exhortation to Timothy can be summed up by saying: fan up the flame of charisma that has been put in you.

It is the next verse that tells us what the problem is. Timothy is not fanning the flame of charisma; but is paralyzed in fear. He is not walking in power and love and his mind is messed up because the fears of life are not allowing the grace and gifting of God to move through his life.

Right now our natural condition should be one of living in the spirit of power, the spirit of love and a sound or disciplined mind; not the spirit of fear which did not come from God.

This Greek word for a sound mind is only used one time in scripture. A disciplined mind or a sensible mind. One translation is “holiness with sensibility”.

Now let’s look at a verse every one of us should intuitively know when we find our minds becoming cluttered and confused.

  1. 2 Cor 10:4-6 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

The weapons of our warfare involve these three actions in conjunction with our minds.

1) Fighting against the powers of the world that “militantly” oppose the things (knowledge) of God. Our weapons, our faith, the power of God and unconquerable love must rise against the push of these lies and deception that seek to steal what we have in Christ. Today, we can name atheists, evolutionists and homosexuals.

Thinking of that look at this verse: 2 Cor 11:19-21 For you put up with fools gladly, since you yourselves are wise! 20 For you put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you, if one exalts himself, if one strikes you on the face. 21 To our shame I say that we were too weak for that! But in whatever anyone is bold — I speak foolishly — I am bold also.

2) The demonic strategy is to affect our thinking patterns; bringing confusion and unbelief. Therefore:

“bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”

I do not know of a more powerful verse cure for a mind infiltrated by the lies of this world and the spirits of anti-christ.

Paul would plead with us to take the time to describe the mind battles, the situations and emotions that we are carrying to Christ in prayer. The verse is taking aim specifically at the lies that the world puts on us; but many times our minds have been ransacked by many lies since we failed to fight against the first one that attacked us.

The best strategy is to take each moment of doubts and confusion immediately to the throne of grace.

3) The goal of all of this: to live a life in obedience to Christ.

The lies, the manipulations and the deceits of the world have a way of producing disobedience to the simple ways of following Christ. I am purposely saying simple ways; because we live under a grace with a personal relationship that trumps rules and regulations. The devil’s aim is to come in between you and the grace of God by clouding up your relationship with sin.

Your obedience triumphs over your disobedience; if you return to the life of grace and truth in relationship with Him.

It really is that easy. I am writing this under the umbrella that is describing weapons of war being used in a war over our eternal destiny. It still is that easy. If what I am saying doesn’t jive with your confused and hurt state; all I can say is “bring every thought into captivity to Christ”.

III. In conclusion: Paul’s prayer for us:

Eph 1:17-20 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,

Thinking of the mind; this verse talks of: a spirit of wisdom and revelation centered upon a knowledge of who Christ is; your mind (understanding) (view of life) enlightened. Your mind can grapple with calling, inheritance and the greatness of the power that resides in us.

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Pastor Wayman Mitchell

Having finished preaching from “The Message of Stewardship”; I am reminded about how impressed I am with the fellowship God set me in. I got saved while on the road in the town of Wickenburg AZ. I prayed on Wed. and spent Thursday and Friday night in Conference in Prescott AZ where I heard the leader of our fellowship preach for the first time.

I got ahold of another book by our author Ralph Cushman entitled: “Will a Man Rob God?”. What struck me was a sense of failure that I sensed. Here is a man who has preached and taught “stewardship” in every avenue made available to him. He, along with many others, believed if the church could realize their potential in stewardship they could solve the many problems facing the world.

He takes a look at his Methodist fellowship and sees that only a small percentage of church members tithe; the minimal entry point to entering a life of stewardship where everything we have is considered a stewardship we have received by God.

I look at our fellowship and see a group of people that have taken Pastor Cushman’s teachings to heart. Faithful to tithe, attend church, pursue service and ministry; with an overarching understanding of the great commission to go out into the world to preach the gospel. Reading his book as a new convert prepared me perfectly for the calling on our fellowship.

These were all thoughts I felt as I taught the series in church the last couple of months. Then this piece of information was added to the mix. John Coon from Newsmax wrote an article in May of 2015 about 10 famous missionaries and much to my surprise and delight included Pastor Wayman Mitchell at number 5. He was included in this list: Saint Paul, Saint Peter, William Carey, Eric Liddell, Pastor Mitchell, Saint Patrick, David Livingstone, Hudson Taylor, George Muller and David Wilkerson.

While doing the series on “Stewardship” I came across this description of the end of John Wesley’s life from Wikipedia: “Because of his charitable nature he died poor, leaving as the result of his life’s work 135,000 members and 541 itinerant preachers under the name “Methodist”. It has been said that “when John Wesley was carried to his grave, he left behind him a good library of books, a well-worn clergyman’s gown” and the Methodist Church.”

From Newsmax’ article: Pastor Mitchell: “Wayman Mitchell is the founder of Christian Fellowship Ministries, a Pentecostal Bible-based fellowship of 2,100 churches in 112 nations. Personal evangelism and church planting are basic foundations of his organization, which grew out of early concert ministries he used to convert former hippies in the 1970s.”

Pastor Mitchell will be leaving behind, given more years of life, 2500 to 3500 itinerant preachers doing battle with the forces of darkness as we watch the unfolding prophetic calendar.

May God’s blessings continue to flow on Pastor Mitchell’s life.

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Stewardship 12, Last One

Stewardship 12

Stewardship and World Missions

Notes taken from “The Message of Stewardship” by Ralph Cushman

“…he laid upon his disciples the stewardship of being his witnesses to the ends of the earth? ‘Go ye into all the world,’ he said, and he repeated the command so many times that there was no doubt as to his meaning. But how slow his Church and his disciples have been to understand!”

“’Did I ever tell you how I came to be a missionary?’ ‘Tell me,’ I answered. ‘I was born in China,’ he replied. ‘My father and mother had been missionaries for a long time. I begged to be sent home to America for school and college. They consented, and I went to America. One thing I had agreed with myself: I would never be a missionary! And then I went back to visit my parents. The months passed quickly. Then one day I started with the old servant of the mission, in a bullock cart, a long distance to the railroad station. Halfway to our destination one of the wheels of the cart broke, and we were obliged to go into a blacksmith shop in a little Chinese village. While the blacksmith worded, it seemed that the whole town gathered around, out of curiosity at the presence of a white man! For our old servant, it was the opportunity to bear his Christian witness. He stood up on a stump and told them the story of God’s great love in Christ. He talked until the wheel was fixed, and then we started away. When we reached the outskirts of the village, we heard a voice calling to us, and stopped. It was the blacksmith. When he came up, I said in direct American fashion, ‘What is the matter? Didn’t I pay you enough?’ ‘O sir, that is not it. I wanted to ask you a question. When you were gone, the people asked how long ago was it that this Son of God came down to earth. Can you tell me?’ ‘I replied, ‘It was about nineteen hundred years ago that Jesus came to earth’. It was at this point that my friend paused in his story. ‘Do you know what made me a missionary?’ he asked. ‘It was the look in that man’s face as I spoke those words. ‘Nineteen hundred years ago!’ he repeated. ‘Nineteen hundred years? Why haven’t we heard of him before?’”

“It must be because the Church as a whole has never understood that to be a Christian is to have what Paul felt when he said, ‘I have a stewardship entrusted unto me…Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel’”.

“That was what George Gordon meant when he said, ‘Our churches are full of people who have never understood what the call of Christ really is.’ There is no doubt that it is a call to a regenerated personality, but it is just as true that the gospel of the Kingdom is a call to help our Lord regenerate this earth. ‘After this manner therefore pray ye:…Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth’”

From Wikipedia: George N. Gordon (1822 – May 20, 1861) was a Protestant Canadian missionary to the Pacific Islands. Due to the murder of him and his wife, they are considered by many to be martyrs of modern times. George Gordon was born to Scottish parents near Alberton, Prince Edward Island in Canada. In 1848 at age 26, he was converted to Christianity and began distributing Bibles and religious tracts. In 1850, he attended Presbyterian Theological Hall in West River, Nova Scotia. Gordon began his missionary work in Halifax City Mission where he would minister to the poor about the gospel of Christ.

He arrived on the coast of Erromango, an island near Vanuatu, in the Pacific Ocean, in June 1857 to evangelize among the natives. About forty natives of Erromango were converted to Christianity. However, in March 1861 sandalwood traders intentionally exposed the natives to measles, and Gordon spent most of his time caring for them, however, the two children of one of the island’s chiefs had died in his care, and the chief thought that he had put a spell on his children, he banded together a group of warriors and killed both George and his wife on May 20, 1861. Gordon’s younger brother James followed him to Erromango, and was also martyred.

“But how slow even the leaders of the Church have been to recognize the fundamental truth of Jesus’ message—that the very life and vitality and prosperity of the Church would depend upon obedience to the great command to take the Christian gospel and life to the ends of the earth!”

Matt 28:16-20 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

“The Great Commission has been called by the unfriendly ‘The Great Absurdity.’ But think how absurd it must have sounded at the beginning to some half-consecrated disciples of Jesus! Picture such when they heard for the first time of the great stewardship which Jesus had entrusted to his disciples—to preach the gospel to all people everywhere! Just how absurd that command seemed may be imagined by recalling how absurd it seemed at the beginning of the nineteenth century to the money-seeking East India Company, rebelling at the going of missionaries to India. They said: ‘The sending out of missionaries into our Eastern possessions is the maddest, most extravagant, most costly, most indefensible project which has ever been suggested by a moonstruck fanatic. Such a scheme is pernicious, imprudent, useless, harmful, dangerous, profitless, fantastic. It strikes against all reason and sound policy, it brings the peace and safety of our possessions into peril.’”

Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mark 16:19-20 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

“No Christian can rightly say he does not believe in missions, for that would imply that he does not believe in his own religion. Christians should look upon the whole non-Christian world as the ‘prodigal son’ of humanity and believe that it is the duty of true Christians to call this prodigal humanity home to God and to share with them their treasure—the gift of the Father’s love.” Sherwood Eddy

From Wikipedia: After college Eddy attended Union Theological Seminary (1891-1893) in New York. He enlisted in the Student Volunteer Movement, which sought to “evangelize the world in this generation.” He also worked on the staff of a local Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). In 1893-1894 he served as a traveling secretary for the Student Volunteer Movement in the United States. Eddy’s father died in 1894, leaving him an inheritance that made him financially independent and enabled him to work for the causes he believed in without concern for finances. He attended Princeton Theological Seminary, from which he graduated in 1896.

Eddy was one of the first of sixteen thousand student volunteers who emerged from the leading universities of the U.S. and Europe to serve as Christian missionaries across the world. In 1896, he went to India and worked at the YMCA-organized Indian Student Volunteer Movement. He served as its secretary for the next 15 years. Working among the poor and outcasts of India he mastered the Tamil language and served as a traveling evangelist among the students and masses of southern India beginning in Palamcottah. In 1911, he was appointed secretary for Asia by the International Committee and he divided his time between evangelistic campaigns in Asia and fund-raising in North America.[2] He is also known today for his works with the Oxford Group evangelical group, a predecessor to Alcoholics Anonymous. He spent the next 15 years doing student evangelistic work across Asia – from China, Japan, and the Philippines]], through the Near East to Turkey, Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, and then to czarist Russia and made 15 trips to the Soviet Russia. He admired the Soviet system and refused to believe reports of famine; in 1937 he agreed that the victims of Stalin’s show trials were traitors as charged. His was criticized as a “fellow traveler.”[3][4] The Fellowship of Socialist Christians was organized in the early 1930s by Reinhold Niebuhr and others on the left. Later it changed its name to Frontier Fellowship and then to Christian Action. The main supporters of the Fellowship in the early days included Eddy, Eduard Heimann, Paul Tillich and Rose Terlin. In its early days the group thought capitalist individualism was incompatible with Christian ethics. Although not under Communist control, the group acknowledged Karl Marx’s social philosophy.

“Dreams are they? But ye cannot stay them Or thrust the dawn back for one hour! Truth, Love, and Justice, if ye slay them, Return with more than earthy power!” Alfred Noye

A famous poet known for the “The Highwayman” an epic poem about Drake and “Sherwood” about Robin Hood. From Wikipedia: In 1940, Noyes returned to North America, where he lectured and advocated the British war position. The following year, he gave the Josiah Wood lectures at Mount Allison University, New Brunswick, Canada. Titled The Edge of the Abyss, they were first published in Canada in 1942 and then, in a revised version, in the United States the same year and in Britain two years later. In The Edge of the Abyss, Noyes ponders the future of the world, attacking totalitarianism, bureaucracy, the pervasive power of the state, and the collapse of moral standards. George Orwell reviewed the book for The Observer and, like The Last Man, it is considered a probable influence on Nineteen Eighty-Four.

In his review, Orwell wrote that The Edge of the Abyss “raises a real problem” – the “decay in the belief in absolute good and evil”, with the result that the “rules of behaviour on which any stable society has to rest are dissolving” and “even the prudential reasons for common decency are being forgotten”. Indeed, in Orwell’s view, Noyes “probably even underemphasises the harm done to ordinary common sense by the cult of ‘realism’, with its inherent tendency to assume that the dishonest course is always the profitable one”. On the other hand, Orwell finds Noyes’ suggested remedy, a return to Christianity, “doubtful, even from the point of view of practicality”. He agrees that the “real problem of our time is to restore the sense of absolute right and wrong”, which in the past had ultimately rested on “faith”, but he thinks that Noyes “is probably wrong in imagining that the Christian faith, as it existed in the past, can be restored even in Europe”. Orwell offers no suggestion, however, as to what, other than faith, could serve as a basis for morality.

Acts 1:7-8 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.  8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

“It was a promise of power—power to do the impossible! Woe unto any one of us who forgets what the Great Commission was: ‘Ye shall be my witnesses…unto the uttermost part of the earth.’ Repeat those words: ‘Unto the uttermost part of the earth.’ What an impossible task, a monumental stewardship!”

“You really expect to make an impression on the idolatry of the Great Chinese Empire?” It was an amused American ship-owner who asked that question of Robert Morrison. And the answer came: “No, sir, but I expect God will!” And God did.

From Wikipedia: Robert Morrison was the first Christian Protestant missionary in China. After twenty-five years of work he translated the whole Bible into the Chinese language and baptized ten Chinese believers. Morrison pioneered the translation of the Bible into Chinese and planned for the distribution of the Scriptures as broadly as possible, unlike the previous Roman Catholic translation work that had never been published.[8] Morrison cooperated with such contemporary missionaries as Walter Henry Medhurst and William Milne (the printers), Samuel Dyer (Hudson Taylor’s father-in-law), Karl Gutzlaff (the Prussian linguist), and Peter Parker (China’s first medical missionary). He served for 27 years in China with one furlough home to England. The only missionary efforts in China were restricted to Guangzhou (Canton) and Macau at this time. They concentrated on literature distribution among members of the merchant class, gained a few converts, and laid the foundations for more educational and medical work that would significantly impact the culture and history of the most populous nation on earth. However, when Morrison was asked shortly after his arrival in China if he expected to have any spiritual impact on the Chinese, he answered, “No sir, but I expect God will!”

Morrison’s conversion: It was about five years ago [1798] that I was much awakened to a sense of sin … and I was brought to a serious concern about my soul. I felt the dread of eternal condemnation. The fear of death compassed me about and I was led nightly to cry to God that he would pardon my sin, that he would grant me an interest in the Savior, and that he would renew me in the spirit of my mind. Sin became a burden. It was then that I experienced a change of life, and, I trust, a change of heart, too. I broke off from my former careless company, and gave myself to reading, meditation and prayer. It pleased God to reveal his Son in me, and at that time I experienced much of the “kindness of youth and the love of espousals.” And though the first flash of affection wore off, I trust my love to and knowledge of the Savior have increased.

“We will miss the whole secret of the missionary movement if we suppose it is a man-made movement. Notice what was expected of the disciples: ‘Ye shall be my witnesses.’ “It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful,’ said the Apostle Paul. The witness is very important, but witness unto whom? ‘Unto me’ declares Jesus! It is vitally important to note that Matthew quotes our Lord as saying, at the end of the command to ‘Go’: ‘Lo, I am with you always.’ It is the Christ-Presence who is to change China –and the world! To the same point Mark’s Gospel ends with these words: ‘And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them.’ That was the secret of victory; ‘the Lord working with them!’”

“The primary work of the Church is to make Jesus Christ known and obeyed and loved throughtout the world.” John R. Mott

John Raleigh Mott (May 25, 1865 – January 31, 1955) was a long-serving leader of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF). He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946 for his work in establishing and strengthening international Protestant Christian student organizations that worked to promote peace. He shared the prize with Emily Balch. From 1895 until 1920 Mott was the General Secretary of the WSCF. Intimately involved in the formation of the World Council of Churches in 1948, that body elected him as a lifelong honorary President. His best-known book, The Evangelization of the World in this Generation, became a missionary slogan in the early 20th century.

An added tidbit: they were offered free passage on the Titanic; but refused and chose a more humble ship to make the Atlantic crossing. You know their thoughts.

“If I were to follow my own inclinations, they would lead me to settle down quietly with the Bakwains, or some other small tribe, and devote some of my time to my children; but Providence seems to call me to the regions beyond”. David Livingstone

“I will have faith That God is still in Heaven; I will have faith that he is by my side; I will have faith though every star is darkened, That he and truth abide!” RSC

Acts 8:1 At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Acts 8:4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.

“He who loves not, lives not; He who lives by the Life cannot die”. Raymond Lull

From Amazon: ‘There is no more heroic figure in the history of Christendom than that of Raymund Lull the first and perhaps the greatest Missionary to Mohammedans.’ Raymund Lull ((Ramon Lull), was years ahead of his time; described ‘a reformer before the Reformation’ and ‘Dr. Illuminatus’, he was a great thinker as well as doer, establishing missionary colleges to carry the Gospel to Moslems, while personally obeying Christ’s command to ‘Go’ himself. In the Dark Ages, Heaven enlightened Lull to know the love of God and to do the Will of God as no other of his generation. From a powerful vision of Christ’s unrequited Love at the time of the bloody Crusades, Lull began his own crusade of love. Lull’s motto was, ‘He who loves not lives not; he who lives by the Life cannot die.’ In 1315, Lull was stoned to death while preaching to the Moslems in North Africa. Although nearly seven hundred years old, Lull’s story still powerfully speaks to Christians today.

“No enthusiasm will ever stand the strain that Jesus Christ will put upon his worker; only one thing will, and that is a personal relationship to Himself.” Oswald Chambers

A note on “My Utmost for His Highest”: It is among 30 works published by his wife who collected his sayings in his preaching at 250 words per minute.

“I wonder if Christ had a little black dog All curly and woolly like mine; With two silky ears, and a nose round and wet, And eyes brown and tender that shine. I’m afraid that He hadn’t, because I have read How He prayed in the Garden alone, For all of His friends and disciples had fled, Even Peter, the one called a ‘stone.’ And oh, I am sure that that little black dog, with a heart so tender and warm, Would never have left Him to suffer alone, But, creeping right under His arm, Would have licked those dear fingers in agony clasped, And counting all favors but loss, When they took Him away, would have trotted behind When they took Him away, would have trotted behind And followed Him quite to the Cross!” Elizabeth Gardner Reynolds

Acts 11:1-3 Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2 And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him, 3 saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!”

“As a result Peter made some great discoveries. First, that there are noble souls among the foreigners, that the hunger for God is a universal hunger, that God is no respecter of persons—Jews or Gentiles. And he discovered that spiritual regeneration has no geographical or ecclesiastical limits.”

“An interesting thing happened the other day at Conference. The president of the Woman’s Society of Christian Service remarked, ‘Wendell Willkie need not have gone around the world to learn that missions and missionaries are the chief factors in building good will toward the United States.” From a preacher’s diary

“I came home certain of one clear and significant fact; that there exists in the world today a gigantic reservoir of good will toward us, the American people. Many things have created this enormous reservoir. At the top of the list go the hospitals, schools, and colleges which Americans—missionaries, teachers and doctors—have founded in the far corners of the world….Now, in our time of crisis, we own a great debt to these men and women who have made friends for us.” Wendell Willkie

He ran for president in 1940 as a Republican after a life as a democrat. He was selected in a deadlocked convention.

1 Cor 1:26-28 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.  27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;

“God chose the weak things of the world, the things that are despised! In 1808 at Williams College a little group organized themselves, as Sherwood Eddy says, into ‘the Society of Brethren, the first foreign missionary society in America whose members proposed to go themselves to work for the ‘heathen.’ The story is that this society was kept secret because of the almost universal opposition to an idea so bold as missions. The subsequent history of these ‘strange’ young men reds like a romance. It is strange, too, that the greatest missionary since the Apostle Paul was an obscure shoemaker, William Carey. In 1792 he preached his great sermon ‘Expect Great Things from God; Attempt Great Things for God.” The Baptist Missionary Society, which was organized ‘with sixty-five dollars in the treasury,’ would seem like a joke to the missionary leaders of today. So God has chosen ‘the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong.’”

From Wikipedia: Five Williams College students met in the summer of 1806, in a grove of trees near the Hoosic River, in what was then known as Sloan’s Meadow, and debated the theology of missionary service. Their meeting was interrupted by a thunderstorm and the students: Samuel John Mills, James Richards, Robert C. Robbins, Harvey Loomis, and Byram Green, took shelter under a haystack until the sky cleared. “The brevity of the shower, the strangeness of the place of refuge, and the peculiarity of their topic of prayer and conference all took hold of their imaginations and their memories.”[3] In 1808 the Haystack Prayer group and other Williams students began a group called “The Brethren.” This group was organized to “effect, in the persons of its members, a mission to” those who were not Christians. In 1812, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (created in 1810) sent its first missionaries to the non-Christian world, to India.

“The eighteenth century, for example, with its collapse of an old social order, its appalling economic maladjustment and poverty, its rampant immorality and atheism…was more like our generation than any period in history. Christians were in despair. Did not their enemies say that Christianity had one foot in the grave and needed only decent obsequies to complete its history?…Then came the Wesleys to light a fire that broke into such a conflagration of triumphant faith as the English-speaking world had never known before. Once more came an authentic outbreak of a spiritual life, hope born out of despair…If we Christians were worth our salt, we could reproduce that now.” Harry Emerson Fosdick

From Wikipedia: In 1918 he was called to First Presbyterian Church, and on May 21, 1922, he delivered his famous sermon Shall the Fundamentalists Win?,[8] in which he defended the modernist position. In that sermon he presented the Bible as a record of the unfolding of God’s will, not as the literal “Word of God”. He saw the history of Christianity as one of development, progress, and gradual change. Fundamentalists regarded this as rank apostasy, and the battle-lines were drawn.

A Time magazine cover story (notice which side gets the cover story) on October 6, 1930 (pictured). Time said that Fosdick “proposes to give this educated community a place of greatest beauty for worship. He also proposes to serve the social needs of the somewhat lonely metropolite. Hence on a vast scale he has built all the accessories of a community church—gymnasium, assembly room for theatricals, dining rooms, etc. … In ten stories of the 22-story belltower are classrooms for the religious and social training of the young…”[9]

1 John 5:3-5 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

“What we now need to discover…is the moral equivalent of war; something heroic that will speak to men as universally as war does, and yet will be as compatible with their spiritual selves as war has proved itself to be incompatible.” William James

William James from Wikipedia: “James was one of the leading thinkers of the late nineteenth century and is believed by many to be one of the most influential philosophers the United States has ever produced, while others have labelled him the “Father of American psychology”.”

 James for all of his intelligence came close to knowing God, yet couldn’t quite manage it. Two quotes: “First, it is essential that God be conceived as the deepest power in the universe, and second, he must be conceived under the form of a mental personality.” AND: “James held séances with Piper (after his son died) and was impressed by some of the details he was given, however, according to Massimo Polidoro a maid in the household of James was friendly with a maid in Piper’s house and this may have been a source of information that Piper used for private details about James.”

“A glorious band, the chosen few On whom the Spirit came Twelve valiant saints, their hope they knew And mocked the cross and flame; They climbed the steep ascent of heaven Through peril, toil and pain; O God, to us may grace be given To follow in their train!” Reginald Heber

From Wikipedia: Reginald Heber (21 April 1783 – 3 April 1826) was an English bishop, traveller, man of letters and hymn-writer who, after working as a country parson for 16 years, served as the Bishop of Calcutta until his sudden death at the age of 42.

 The son of a wealthy landowner and cleric, Heber gained an early reputation at Oxford University as a poet. After graduation he expanded his view of the world by undertaking, at the height of the Napoleonic Wars, an extended tour of Scandinavia, Russia and central Europe. He was ordained in 1807, and took over his father’s old parish of Hodnet in Shropshire. He combined his pastoral duties with other church offices, hymn-writing, and more general literary work which included a critical study of the complete works of the 17th-century cleric Jeremy Taylor.

Heber was consecrated Bishop of Calcutta in October 1823. During his short episcopate he travelled widely in the areas of India within his diocese, and worked hard to improve the spiritual and general living conditions of his flock. A combination of arduous duties, hostile climate and indifferent health brought about his collapse and death while visiting Trichinopoly (now Tiruchirappalli), after less than three years in India. Monuments were erected in his memory in India and in St Paul’s Cathedral, London. A collection of his hymns was published shortly after his death; one of these, “Holy, Holy, Holy”, is a popular and widely known hymn for Trinity Sunday.

Rev 19:6-8 And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! 7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”

“This is the scripture that inspired Handel’s ‘Hallelujah Chorus.’ St. John is setting over against the tribulations of the early Christians the vision of glorious and final victory. The blood of the martyrs is avenged by judgment descended upon the Great Harlot, Rome. At last God reigns, and Christ is King of Kings!”

“Nothing will induce me to form an impure Church. Fifty added to the Church sounds fine at home, but if only five of these are genuine what will it profit in the Great Day?” David Livingstone

“’Ye are not your own; for ye have been bought with a price.’ This text fairly leaps out of the Scriptures. After these years of war no man can say, ‘My life is my own and I shall do with it as I please. My possessions are my own, I shall do with them as I will.’ Should such a man be found among us, he is not worthy to be alive. The present sacrifices of our sons and daughters should compel us to face the meaning of the Cross and the call of Christ.” Harry D. Henry

“Is there some desert or some stormy sea Where Thou, good God of angels, wilt send me? Is there some sod, Some rock for me to break, Some handful of thy corn to take And scatter far afield, Till it in turn shall yield Its hundred fold Of grains of gold, To feed the waiting children of my God? Show me the desert, Father, or the sea! Is it thine enterprise? Great God, send me! And though this body lies where ocean rolls, Count me among all faithful souls.” Edward Everett Hale

Famous for “Man Without a Country” a pro-north civil war piece as well as grandson of Nathan Hale the Revolutionary War patriot. From Wikipedia: Decades later, he reflected on the new liberal theology there:

 The group of leaders who surrounded Dr. [William Ellery] Channing had, with him, broken forever from the fetters of Calvinistic theology. These young people were trained to know that human nature is not totally depraved. They were taught that there is nothing of which it is not capable… For such reasons, and many more, the young New Englanders of liberal training rushed into life, certain that the next half century was to see a complete moral revolution in the world.

Hale was licensed to preach as a Unitarian minister in 1842

 

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Stewardship 11

Stewardship and the Tithe

“The writer was speaking to a national gathering of a great missionary society. The subject was ‘Stewardship’. The speaker was trying to bring his hearers to see the imperativeness of stewardship as the Christian philosophy of life. He emphasized the Christianizing of money and property as the key to the solution of the problems of labor and capital, as well as other social and personal problems. He ended with the plea that Christians renounce ownership and subscribe to the platform of Jesus: ‘Whosoever he be of you that renounceth not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.’

A question and a response: “’I share your solicitude that Christian people shall be possessed by the stewardship consciousness. I believe it must come before Christ’s Church can possess the world; but how can we bring this message home? I want to ask you one question. You are acquainted with many Christians who truly are possessed of the stewardship passion. How did it come about? Is it not true that most of them began with the acceptance of the principle of the tithe?’”

There was only one possible answer to make to that question, and the speaker made it. ‘Yes, it is a fact that most of the people whom I know as good stewards of their possessions began by setting apart the first tenth of their income. Many of them have graduated into a real sense of God’s ownership of all, but there is no question as to how they began. Whatever may be said about the perils of subscribing to the ancient law of the tithe, it certainly has proved an excellent schoolmaster to lead men into the experience of stewardship.’”

“Robert E. Speer has said: ‘I think every man will find, as every man who has passed through the experience can testify, that the acceptance of a principle like this marks a distinct era of a spiritual enlargement in his life.’ Moreover, the tenth as a beginning serves to test the philosophy. It seems evident that there is little hope of combating the natural covetousness of the human heart, or of really furnishing an adequate support for the Kingdom program, until men are ready to set apart at least the tenth of their incomes as the earnest of their consecration.”

“Therefore it seems just to think of the historical and scriptural tithe as: The Acknowledgement of God’s Ownership, The Token of Our Surrender, The Fellowship with His Purpose, The Pledge of Our Allegiance and The Witness of Our Faith.”

Dr. Speer was a major figure in Presbyterian and ecumenical church history with a 46-year career in the Presbyterian church as Secretary of the Board of Foreign missions. He emphasized the primary evangelistic aim of foreign missions, the necessity of developing indigenous local churches with native pastors, and the basic distinction between the proclamation of the gospel and the spread of civilization. Sounds about right.

“In confirmation of our proposition that the tithe is generally the beginning of the stewardship alphabet, James L. Sayler, a member of the Chicago bar, some years ago made an interesting survey. Concerning his findings, he wrote as follows: ‘It is sometimes said that the princely givers to the churches and to charitable and educational purposes have been men who in the beginning of their careers have set aside a tenth of their earnings to religious and charitable purposes. The statement has interested me, and I have made some effort to study such biographical matter as can be obtained, and through correspondence find the truth in these assertions.’ Mr. Sayler gives the result of his survey in a booklet entitled American Tithers.”

“Probably the greatest event of my life occurred on January 1st, 1877. On that day my wife and I made a written vow that we would devote a definite share of our income for religious and humanitarian work, and that this should be a first charge. Since that date we have often increased the proportion so that the original percentage is left far behind. The distribution of the Lord’s portion has been the greatest joy of my life and a real means of grace. It has kept me in constant touch with the promotion of Christ like work of all kinds, and anything I have been able to do for Christ and humanity (including profit-sharing with my work people for over twenty years) has grown out of the vow made thirty-three years ago.” William B. Hartley

“Henry Lansdell in The Sacred Tenth concluded that the practice and preaching of tithing in the Christian Church ‘begins with the very commencement of church history, after that recorded in the New Testament, and continues steadily and increasingly, nearly every century yielding one or more writers who persistently uphold the doctrine that the tenth of a Christian’s income is the property of and the least he should offer to God…So again, conversely, while we have found all these testimonies in favor of the practice of tithing, we have not met with a single bishop of these centuries who ever condemned or opposed the doctrine, or even suggested that less than a tenth is the proper proportion to be set apart for God’s service.’”

Henry Lansdell (10 January 1841 – 4 October 1919) was a nineteenth-century British priest in the Church of England. He was also a noted explorer and author. Lansdell began long and often arduous journeys to little-known parts of Asia. He distributed multi-lingual religious tracts and bibles provided by London missionary societies wherever he went, most notably in prisons and hospitals in Siberia and central Asia.[3] Such activities sometimes aroused the suspicions of the Russian authorities and on one occasion he was arrested while travelling on the Perm Railway after it was thought he was distributing revolutionary pamphlets.[4]Lansdell’s journey from Hotan to Yarkand in present-day Xinjiang “across deserts abominable” was probably the first by any Englishman

“It is significant that the earliest instance of worship recorded in the Bible is accompanied by the offering of material possessions to God”: Gen 4:3-5 And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering.

“The first specific mention of tithing in the OT”: Gen 14:18-20 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all. “Evidently Abram presented the ‘tenth’ as an act of worship, as an acknowledgment that the Most High God was ‘possessor of heaven and earth.”

“Where did Abraham learn the obligation to pay the tenth? Dr. Lansdell says concerning this: ’We may venture the hypotheses that God from the beginning taught that it was the duty of man to render a portion of his increase to his Maker, and that that portion was not to be less than a tenth; then we shall see that the facts recorded in Genesis not only do not contradict such a supposition, but corroborate and strengthen it.”

“Almighty God, from whom all good things come; give thy grace, we humbly beseech thee, to those whom thou hast entrusted with riches; that they, as faithful stewards, may dispense them in the service of thy kingdom for the increase thereof; to the honor and praise of Him, who, though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.” Bishop Wilbur P. Thirkield

Bishop Thirkield: From Wikipedia: Thirkield served as president of Howard University from 1906 until his election to bishop on June 1, 1912.[3] During his tenure at Howard, he was friends with Booker T. Washington, the latter being a member of the board of trustees of the school. Washington was one of Thirkield’s strongest supporters on the board at the time. Thirkield finally left Howard to take up duties with the Methodist Church. Thirkield advocated racial cooperation at a time when segregation was not questioned by most.

Lev 27:30-32 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is holy to the Lord. 31 If a man wants at all to redeem any of his tithes, he shall add one-fifth to it. 32 And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord.

“It was the acknowledgment in holy worship of God’s ownership, that: ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; The world, and they that dwell therein.’”

“Then God’s purpose in asking the tenth rises above systematic or other giving; indeed, the true steward cannot give anything to God.”

“We give thee but thine own, What’er the gift may be: All that we have is thine alone, A trust, O Lord, from thee.” William W. How

From Wikipedia: his energy and success made him well known, and in 1879 he became a suffragan bishop in London, under the title of bishop of Bedford, his province being the East End. There he became the inspiring influence of a revival of church work. He founded the East London Church Fund, and enlisted a large band of enthusiastic helpers, his popularity among all classes being immense.

“O God, my Saviour, teach me thy will. What hast thou for me to do this day? What hast thou for e to say? Open thou my lips, that I may speak, but open first mine ears that I may hear. Help me to wait upon thy word. Save me from lost opportunities and from mistakes. Reveal to me thine every detail for my life. In nothing let me live apart from thee. Sanctify my home, my place of business, and my resting hours. So let thy leaven for me begin on earth; for Jesus’ sake. Amen. “

“It must not be supposed that the Jew stopped with the first tithe. That, indeed, acknowledged God’s sovereignty, but it did not fulfill the obligation of the worshiper. In addition to the first tithe, there was the second, or festival, tithe; and then, in addition to this, every third year a third tithe for the poor, the widowed and the orphaned.”

Deut 14:22-23 “You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. 23 And you shall eat before the Lord your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.

Deut 14:28-29 “At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. 29 And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.

“Let us not fail to note that in each instance the basic motive for paying the tithe was stated: ‘That thou mayest learn to fear Jehovah thy God always,” and “that Jehovah thy God may bless thee in all the work of thy hand which thou doest.’”

Prov 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Prov 3:9-10 Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.

These verses go together.

“When I survey the wondrous cross On which the Prince of Glory died, My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride. Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were an offering far to small; Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.” Isaac Watts

“While the scripture makes it clear that the tithe was necessary to sustain the priesthood and the house of worship, yet the bearuti=ful ritual which was given to the Hebrew and which he was to repeat whenever he came with his first fruits and tithes makes it appear that God’s primary concern ws that his children should remember and acknowledge their dependence upon the Lord, the Giver. Accordingly, the worshiper would come before the priest, and presenting his tithes and offerings, would say: Deut 26:3 ‘I declare today to the Lord your God that I have come to the country which the Lord swore to our fathers to give us.’

Deut 26:4 “Then the priest shall take the basket out of your hand and set it down before the altar of the Lord your God.

Deut 26:5-10 ‘My father was a Syrian, about to perish, and he went down to Egypt and dwelt there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. 6 But the Egyptians mistreated us, afflicted us, and laid hard bondage on us. 7 Then we cried out to the Lord God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and looked on our affliction and our labor and our oppression. 8 So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. 9 He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, “a land flowing with milk and honey”; 10 and now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land which you, O Lord, have given me.’

“If one reads carefully the above, it will become evident how effective a piece of religious education was this ritual, and how deeply significant in the life of Israel must have been the presentation of the tithes and the offerings. No wonder then that at a later date—at a time of great apostasy, when the selfishness of many led them to neglect their tithing obligations—Jehovah sent his prophet with a flaming warning: Mal 3:8-9 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me,

“Dear Christ, help me this day to keep loyal to the holy habits thou didst teach. I know how much I need them in the barren hours when God seems so far away and life so empty. But help me never to mistake, to think of holy habits as the end, for it is thee I need, not habits, but thyself, dear Lord. Amen.”

Deut 16:16-17 they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. 17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you.

1 Cor 16:1-2 have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper,

“Coming now to the New Testament, it seems impossible to discover that there is anything new taught concerning the necessity and methods of the stewardship of possessions. There is the same insistence that worship is insincere which comes emptyhanded. There also stressed the importance of systematic and proportionate beneficence. The tithe seems to be endorsed as a bottom standard, and freewill gifts are urged just as they were in the Old Testament. The only difference seems to be that the New Testament exhorts Christians to do as a matter of loving loyalty what, in the old dispensation, was made a matter of law.”

“Proportionate giving is taught and exemplified in both the Old and the New Testaments.”

“The Old and New Testaments can neither be divorced nor put in antagonism; they supplement and complement each other. God’s ‘Law” and God’s “Grace” are not opposed.” Elijah W. Halford

He was a soldier and newspaper editor. He also was the private secretary for President Benjamin Harrison from 1889 to 1893.

“It is astonishing how soon the whole conscience begins to unravel if a single stich drops; one little sin indulged in makes a hole you could put your head through.” Charles Buxton

Charles Buxton (18 November 1823 – 10 August 1871) was an English brewer, philanthropist, writer and member of Parliament.

“In all the little things of life, Thyself, Lord, may I see; In little and in great alike Reveal thy love to me. So shall my undivided life To thee, my God, be given; And all this earthly course below Be one dear path to heaven.” Horatio Bonar

He came from a long line of ministers who have served a total of 364 years in the Church of Scotland. He had married Jane Catherine Lundie in 1843 and five of their young children died in succession. Towards the end of their lives, one of their surviving daughters was left a widow with five small children and she returned to live with her parents. He was a popular writer who wrote tracts and over 140 hymns.

“Did Jesus advocate by example and precept the paying of the tithe as the acknowledgment of stewardship? Looking at our Lord’s perfect example in scrupulously keeping the law, we are led to infer that he not only paid tithes and all other religious dues, but that he probably exceeded what the law required.”

Matt 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

“In this scripture Jesus tells the Pharisees that they did well to pay tithes, but that they did wrong in thinking that the tithe, or any other holy habit, is an end in itself. The failure of the Pharisees was a failure to perceive the meaning of the tithe as the acknowledgment of the total surrender of all possessions and the pledge of a godly life of mercy and justice.”

“The need of our day is for a church that lovingly pays to God at least the first fruits of all time, energy, and money.” Frederick A. Agar

Churchman who wrote about church finances and a book entitled “Help Those Women” and “Deacon at Work”.

“Whoso neglects a thing which he suspects he ought to do, because it seems to him too small a thing, is deceiving himself; it is not too little, but too great for him, that he doeth it not.” E. B. Pusey

From Wikipedia: Pusey’s sermon before the university in May 1843, The Holy Eucharist, a Comfort to the Penitent, so startled the authorities by the re-statement of doctrines which, though well known to ecclesiastical antiquaries, had faded from the common view, that he was suspended for two years from preaching (authorities citing near-obsolete traditions as their justification). The condemned sermon nearly immediately sold 18,000 copies; for the next quarter century, Pusey became possibly the most influential person in the Anglican Church.

“We do not give God a fraction of that which we possess, but we loyally acknowledge God’s sovereignty over the whole.” Harris Franklin Rall

A churchman and educator in America and champion of the social gospel.

“When the tithe is used as God commanded it to be used—as the door into the larger life of Christian stewardship—it becomes not only the much-needed sinews of Christian warfare but also the witness of our faith and the pledge of our allegiance, and the token of our surrender to the blessed God.”

“J. Campbell White is quite right when he says: ‘The strongest passage in the Bible on the enforcement of the tithe does not say anything directly about tithing, but it states a principle which applies to all the law of God.’”

Rom 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

“Few things could happen so far-reaching and high-reaching in the life of the Church as the recruiting of an army of tithers, who, declining to be Pharisees, and refusing to b bound by any mere law, still use the tithe in giving to the work of God as a schoolmaster to lead them to Christ. After such an army the windows of heaven would not remain shut; and the assured blessing would come from God.” Bishop Edwin H. Hughes

An American churchman. One title caught my eye: “A Boy’s Religion”.

“And, as the path of duty is made plain, May grace be given that I may walk therein, Not like the hireling, for his selfish gain, With backward glances and reluctant tread, Making a merit of his coward dread, But cheerfully, in the light around me thrown, Walking as one to pleasant service led; Doing God’s will as if it were my own, Tet trusting not in mine, but in his strength alone!” John Greenleaf Whittier

Our abolitionist poet/writer.

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Got No Soul

I spent a day with the Cope students. These are the kids who have been removed from the schools due to their actions. They did a great job, as the school year was ending and they were all busy completing their work online so they could go back to regular school next year. I read this article about a Christian principal who is choosing to leave his school for a private school.

Here is a quote from the principal:

One of the worst things about public schools is that they are raising our children as if they do not have souls. In a public school, discipline and motivation to do the right thing are based purely on external stimuli–school-wide behavior programs and incentives for the good kids and discipline for the bad ones. These are simply controls that do not prepare anyone to do what he ought. This Skinner based approach is pervasive and inescapable. The poor and poorly behaved get the worst of it, for they are truly treated like soulless animals and governed purely by external stimuli. Christian kids do okay, but I have seen even these struggle to do the right thing when the external stimuli is removed. Schools are teaching our children to merely respond to pain/pleasure responses. This is no way to raise children to stay in the faith or to live in and perpetuate a free society.

So here I am watching over these “poor and poorly behaved” and have to admit that there are moments when it seems that they are acting like “soulless animals” and thus being treated like “soulless animals”.

Those with good behavior charts are allowed a break to walk around the building three times. I did a one minute bible study with the four that were rewarded with the “external stimuli” while on the walk.

I am coming to believe more and more the value of “oneminutebiblestudies.com”. I was talking with four blank slates. The word of God was not part of the mechanisms that shape their consciences. As far as a God given conscience to do right and wrong; they seem to be on the path of “searing” that conscience or having been reproved many times they are now at their young ages hardening their hearts towards the rights and wrongs that God has naturally placed in their hearts.

So we press on!

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