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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Stewardship 10

Message of Stewardship 10

Peril to Stewardship

Taken from “The Message of Stewardship” by Ralph Cushman

“Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey, Where wealth accumulates, and men decay.”

“John Wesley never showed more keenly his powers of discernment than when he said, ‘Christianity has in it the elements of its own destruction.’ Of course the statement needs explanation, and Wesley proceeds to explain: ‘When a man becomes a true Christian, he becomes industrious, trustworthy, and prosperous. Now, if that man, whilst he gets all he can and saves all he can, does not give all he can, I have more hope of Judas Iscariot than of that man!’”

A Wikipedia snippet: Whitefield inclined to Calvinism. In his first tour in America, he embraced the views of the New England School of Calvinism. When in 1739 Wesley preached a sermon on Freedom of Grace, attacking the Calvinistic understanding of predestination as blasphemous, as it represented “God as worse than the devil,” Whitefield asked him not to repeat or publish the discourse, as he did not want a dispute. Wesley published his sermon anyway. Whitefield was one of many who responded. The two men separated their practice in 1741. Wesley wrote that those who held to unlimited atonement did not desire separation, but “those who held ‘particular redemption’ would not hear of any accommodation.” In 1770, at the death of George Whitefield, Wesley wrote a memorial sermon which praised Whitefield’s admirable qualities and acknowledged the two men’s differences: “There are many doctrines of a less essential nature … In these we may think and let think; we may ‘agree to disagree.’ But, meantime, let us hold fast the essentials…”[57] Wesley was the first to put the phrase “agree to disagree” in print. 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.

“This is an appeal to the Church to uproot the prevalent sin of covetousness, a sin that is the more devastating because it stalks abroad in the guise of respectability, not only blocking the progress of the Kingdom but deceiving the very elect. Pity the man whose money, intended to be his servant, actually becomes his master; who does not see property as a stewardship, not to be lavished on self, but to be used for the saving of the community and of the world-in the name of the Father. Property can bless to heaven or tempt to hell.”

“Just before I went to Brazil I was the guest of the President of the Argentine Republic. After lunching one day we sat in his sun parlor looking out over the river He was very thoughtful. He said, ‘Mr. Babson, I have been wondering why it is that South America, with all its great natural advantages, is so far behind North America, notwithstanding that South America was settled before North America.’…Well those of you who have been there know the reason, but, being a guest, I said, ‘Mr. President, what do you think is the reason?’ He replied, ‘I have come to this conclusion: South America was settled by the Spanish, who came to South America in search of gold; but north America was settled by the Pilgrim Fathers, who went there in search of God!’” Roger W. Babson

Roger Babson from rogerbabson.com: He was a protestant and believed firmly in God. At 15 he was converted and he always felt it was the greatest experience in is life. Because of this he was always involved with the church and from 1936 through to 1938 was even a National Church Moderator for the General Council on the Congregational-Christian Churches. During this time he tried to change the council for the better like he tried to change himself and everyone around him. Being Roger Babson he tried to do so using statistics, showing how to attendance at the church was dropping. He thought it was because of the morality in the world changing for the worse. He tried changing the church (and society) to become more popular and stay on a morally correct road, but most people would have none of the meddling and turned against him. He was very disappointed because of all of this and in 1938 resigned his position at the council.

 

Because he was very disappointed with all the resistance he was met with at the church, he tried to promote a project called Open Church. It’s goal was to have church doors open all day on every day. So that people of all faiths could worship inside these churches at any time they wanted. This grew from an experiment in Wellesley in 1938 into a national effort of the Open Church Association, which eventually headquartered in Gloucester, the place Roger Babson was born.

(Open Church seems to be just a tract distribution organization)

Babson adds “Let us American citizens never kick down the ladder by which we climbed up.” It is characteristic of the insidious sin of covetousness that it leads to this very thing.”

“When Gilbert Chesterton said, ‘Christianity has not been tried and found wanting—it has been found difficult and not tried,’ he might have been writing a tract on the Christianizing of property, for without question the greatest hindrance to Christian conquest at this hour is the unconsecrated money in the hands of members of the Christian Church.”

“Take just one of the statements of Jesus: ‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth.’ Since the days of the early Church what generation of Christians has taken these words seriously?”

“But what additional evidence is there that the love of money is indeed perilous? Call the witnesses.”

George Innes wrote in “The Confessions of a Business Man”: There is a sin in the church that we are afraid to mention. What is its common name? I will tell you what its common name is, and what its aristocratic anme is, and what its historical name is, and what its scriptural name is. It is covetousness! ‘Oh, well,’ you say, ‘that is not so bad. That is a pretty sort of sin, in fact, almost a virtue, for it is just saving, isn’t it? Being thrifty, being shrewd, that is what covetousness is, isn’t it? In that case, even if Paul and Isaiah and Jeremiah and some others speak of it as a sin, it cannot be so bad. ‘ Well, let us see what Paul says about it, what his idea of the thing is. Hear what he says: ‘For this ye know of a suety, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolator, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.’ Eph 5:5 ‘Put to death therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.’ Col. 3:5

Rom 1:29-30 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

 

“It is impossible to find any comprehensive definition of covetousness. Definitions can help, but cannot go to the root of the peril. To say that covetousness is ‘inordinate desire,’ or that a covetous person is ‘avaricious,” “greedy,’ or ‘mercenary’ is hardly to define adequately. All of these definitions must be further explained. For our purposes it may be enough to declare that covetousness is the arch enemy of Jesus’ philosophy of stewardship. It makes self the center and circumference of the universe; it is the negation of everything that stewardship stands for. It creates a selfish, cruel world without a God and without a heaven.”

(The OT word centers on desiring, as in thou shall not desire your neighbor’s anything, whereas, in the NT that word is still there but covetousness takes on a larger meaning of greed and avarice that takes from others and always wants to establish itself as bigger and better.)

“It has worked as a gangrene into the whole fabric of Christian society. There are plenty of people that do not have capcity to earn more than fifteen dollars a week, the citadel of whose life is clenched as tightly in the grip of covetousness as that of the millionaire.” George Innis

“Indeed, the ubiquitousness (its everywhere) of this sin explains why covetousness is a peril not only to the individual but to nations.”

Jer 6:13-14 “Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is given to covetousness; And from the prophet even to the priest, Everyone deals falsely. 14 They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace.

“The damning characteristic of covetousness lies in what it leads to. It lures men on. The commandment ‘Thou shalt not covet’ is God’s warning against the very beginnings of sin.”

Luke 12:13-15 Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” 15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

“I have had many people resort to me for confession. The confession of every sin that I have known or heard of, and of sins so foul that I never dreamed of them, has been poured into my ear. But no person has ever confessed to me the sin of covetousness.” Francis Xavier

One of the founders of the Jesuits. This from their constitution: let whoever desires to fight under the sacred banner of the Cross, and to serve only God and the Roman pontiff, His vicar on earth, after a solemn vow of perpetual chastity,- let him keep in mind that he is part of a society, instituted for the purpose of perfecting souls in life and in  Christian doctrine, for the propagation of the faith . . . Let all members know, and let it be not only at the beginning of their profession, but let them think over it daily as long as they live, that the society as a whole, and each of them, owes obedience to our most holy lord, the pope, and the other Roman pontiffs, his successors, and to fight with faithful obedience for God. (They were the soldiers of the counter reformation)

“I looked upon a sea, And lo! Twas dead, Although by Hermon’s snows and Jordan fed. How came a fate so dire? The tale’s soon told. All that it got it kept, And fast did hold. All tributary streams Found here their grave. Because that sea received But never gave. O sea that’s dead! Teach me To know and feel That selfish grasp and greed My doom will seal. And help me, Lord, my best—Myself to give, That I may others bless And like thee live.” Author unknown

Acts 5:1-4 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

“Covetousness has this one thing in common with stewardship: it cultivates an ambitious spirit. But there is a world of difference in the motive and the result. Someone, comparing Napoleon and Phillips Brooks, said, ‘The one sought the world for himself, the other sought the world for Christ.’”

“Wealth is a means, and life the end; You lose your hoard, have what you spend. Oh that unhappy mortal clay Who never learned to give away! His heaped up wealth made him its slave; He did not use, who never gave.” Saadi

A Persian Poet from the 1200’s whose life was put in disarray due to the Mongol invasions. From Wikipedia: Regarding the importance of professions Saadi writes: O darlings of your fathers, learn the trade because property and riches of the world are not to be relied upon; also silver and gold are an occasion of danger because either a thief may steal them at once or the owner spend them gradually; but a profession is a living fountain and permanent wealth; and although a professional man may lose riches, it does not matter because a profession is itself wealth and wherever you go you will enjoy respect and sit on high places, whereas those who have no trade will glean crumbs and see hardships.

“Oh joy supreme! I know the voice—Like none beside on earth or sea; Yea, more, oh soul of mine, rejoice, By all that he requires of me I know what God himself must be.” John Greenleaf Whittier

“Another peril grows out of the fact that covetousness silences the instinctive question of the good steward—‘What am I here for?’ The question that covetousness asks is not ‘What am I here to give?’ But ‘What am I here to get?’ ‘My Father’s business’ becomes an afterthought—if remembered at all.”

Mark 10:17 And as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Mark 10:21-22 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” 22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

“O Lord, how I love thy word! Surely it is better to be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to possess the riches of the world for a season! Hold me steadily in thy presence; let not the vain ambitions of this life enthrall me, nor the covetous desires of the flesh posess me; grant me thy peace; be thou my strength; let me know thy joy, that, always master of the world, I may never by mastered by it. Throught Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.”

Luke 12:19-21 And I will say to my soul,”Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”‘ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ 21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

“Unrestrained desire for the riches of this earth leads to the death of all stewardship consciousness. This is because covetousness ignores God’s claim to ownership, refuses to consider his call to service, and blindly closes its eyes to the inevitable day of reckoning. When one seeks to analyze the sin of stinginess he finds it is fundamentally the appropriating for self that which belongs to God.”

“So live, that when thy summons comes to join The innumerable caravan, which moves To that mysterious realm, where each shall take His chamber in the silent halls of death, Thou go not, like the quarry slave at night, Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch About him and lies down to pleasant dreams.” William Cullen Bryant

From Wikipedia: Bryant, for most of his lifetime, was thoroughly a New Yorker — and a very dedicated one at that. He was a major force behind the idea that became Central Park, as well as a leading proponent of creating the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was one of a group of founders of New York Medical College.[18] He had close affinities with the Hudson River School of art and was an intimate friend of Thomas Cole. He defended immigrants and, at some financial risk to himself, championed the rights of workers to form labor unions. He is also remembered as one of the principal authorities on homeopathy and as a hymnist for the Unitarian Church — both legacies of his father’s enormous influence on him. Poet and literary critic Thomas Holley Chivers said that the “only thing [Bryant] ever wrote that may be called Poetry is ‘Thanatopsis’, which he stole line for line from the Spanish. The fact is, that he never did anything but steal — as nothing he ever wrote is original.

Josh 7:6-11 Then Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads. 7 And Joshua said,… 8 O Lord, what shall I say when Israel turns its back before its enemies? …10 So the Lord said to Joshua: “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? 11 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff.

“Soon after Pearl Harbor, Japanese bombers sank two of the largest of British battleships in the hrbor of Singapore. A missionary commented: ‘In those eleven minutes more wealth went to the bottom of the Indian Ocean than had been spent in two hundred years by the Protestant churches of America in trying to Christianize the people of Japan.’ The lesson is evident. It looks as if the church members of America might have prevented the World Wars if they had obeyed the Great Commission. Anyway, General Sir Archibald Wavell said in 1942: ‘Think what a world we could make if we put into our peace endeavors the same self-sacrifice, the same energy, and the same cooperation that we use in the wastefulness of war.’”

You get a sense of sadness from his wartime experiences, yet a man whose faith kept him strong.

Matt 27:3-5 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!” 5 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.

“That is forever the indictment of repentant covetousness—‘I have betrayed innocent blood.’ And unrepentant covetousness always answers, ‘What is that to us?’ There is little honor among thieves. Without a stewardship consciousness there is no concern for God or man. And this is the tragedy of life.”

Matt 19:23-26 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

“Money is danger. We pass by too easily the searching warning words of Jesus. Nothing can fool men like money. It seems so powerful that it makes men forget the Supreme Power. It feeds pride until a man thinks he has no need of God. It constantly invites selfishness. It commands so many things that men forget the real goods which it can never purchase; righteousness, love and clear conscience. There is only one way of escape; an evil master, it can be a splendid workman; the minister of hell may become the servant of light. All power is danger except as we link it to some high goal.” Roger W. Babson

“He took a towel; My Lord Christ took a towel! To shame them from their sordid strife, To lift them to a larger life, He took a towel in his hand, With hope that they might understand Their sin—the greater need Of all disciples Blind with greed! Blind with their selfishness, How could they see The Cross, and all That goes with Calvary?” Ralph Cushman

 

 

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Stewardship 9

Stewardship 9

Stewardship and Prayer

Taken from “The Message of Stewardship” by Ralph Chushman

“To wrestle in prayer was as much a part of faithful stewardship as to proclaim the message.”

“Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, Unuttered or expressed; The motion of a hidden fire That trembles in the breast.” James Montgomery

James Montgomery was a poet writing in the early 1800’s. His missionary parents both died in the mission fields of the West Indies. He gravitated towards writing and began to aim his poetry at the issues of the day. He noted events in the French Revolution and the injustices of his England. His poetry took aim at slavery, child labor and international injustices. He was arrested for his poetry, but the event just made him more popular. During these years he was a church man who wrote hymns and was involved in many causes for justice. A monument in Sheffield cemetery reads: “Here lies interred, beloved by all who knew him, the Christian poet, patriot and philanthropist. Wherever poetry is read, or Christian hymns sugn, in the English language, ‘he being dead, yet speaketh’ by the genius, piety and taste embodied in his writings.”

“He instructed his disciples to “tarry at Jerusalem.” He told them that authority was given unto him and that he would commit his authority unto them as stewards. Thus prayer was to be the means by which the disciple was to release the resources and energies of God. Prayer, therefore, became not only a privilege but a trust, and it is required in stewards that they be found faithful.”

“Jesus demonstrated in his daily life this same need of constant communion with the Father. What does it mean to us that Jesus pointed to the field whitening to the harvest and commanded, ‘Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth laborers into his harvest’? Mt. 9:38”

1 Tim 2:1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,

“Deeper than the needs of men; deeper far than the need for money; aye, deep down at the bottom of our spiritless life, is the need of the forgotten prevailing world-wide prayer.” Dr. Speer

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.

“If prayer is the great need of the world, why is it so difficult to get men really to pray?”

“Lord, what a change within us one short hour Spent in Thy presence will avail to make! What heavy burdens from our bosoms take! What parched grounds refresh as with a shower! We kneel, and all around us seems to lower; We rise, and all, the distant and the near, Stands forth in sunny outline, brave and clear. We kneel, how weak! We rise, how full of power! Why, therefore, should we do ourselves this wrong, Or others—that we are not always strong—That we are sometimes overborne with care—That we should ever weak or heartless be, Anxious or troubled—when with us is prayer, And joy and strength and courage are with Thee?” Archbishop Trench

Archbishop Trench’s career was tied to the advancement of the Wilberforce brothers. He would teach, preach, and occupy positions of influence. He had a series of teachings entitled “The Study of Words” that exist in book form: “English Past and Present” and “A Select Glossary of English Words”. He would take on the position of Archbishop of Dublin during a time of church split. He was selected for the position because of his “liberal and genial spirit”. He would suffer much abuse during the process but came out of it as a respected man. One more note of his writings: “Notes on the Parables of our Lord”.

“No man is likely to do much good at prayer who does not begin by looking upon it in the light of a work to be prepared for and persevered in with all the earnestness which we bring to bear upon the subjects which are in our opinion most necessary.” Bishop Hamilton of Salisbury

Here is a note from Anglican History: “With Mr. Hamilton the change from Evangelicalism to Church principles was in the highest sense a matter of deliberation and conscience; and he determined to shape his course accordingly. St. Peter’s did not become aesthetically magnificent; but its religious atmosphere was changed. Henceforth there was less of excitement and more of quiet, earnest thought; less of preaching for its own sake, more of preaching as a means of sanctification and as a stimulus to prayer; less of the preacher, and more of his message; less [13/14] of men and their personal peculiarities, and more of God, of His truth, of His redemption, of His sacraments, as being the great channels of His grace and His life.”

“The book of Acts furnishes abundant evidence that this was the secret of the successful prayer life of the early Christians. Not only was prayer a blessed communion with their Lord, but it was a necessary part of the work which they were to do in the fulfillment of the great commission.”

Acts 6:2-4 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; 4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

“O Lord, my God, what is thy will for me today? What task hast thou for me? What opportunity hast thou placed in my way? Open mine eyes that I may discover thy will! Save me from wasting the new day! May I turn it into eternal profit! Amen.” J. H. Jowett

A repeat: Jowett was born in Halifax, England in 1864. “I was blessed with the priceless privilege of a Christian home,” he later remarked. His love for reading manifested itself early as he spent his evenings in the town’s Mechanics’ Institute, devouring volumes from their library.

 

After theological training at Edinburgh and Oxford, Jowett assumed the pastorate of the Saint James Congregational Church. His six effective years of ministry brought him to the attention of the Carr’s Lane Church in Birmingham, England, on the death of their pastor. For the next fifteen years the church grew and prospered. Their pastor’s vision led them to increase their efforts to bring people to Christ. In 1917, the mayor of Birmingham said the church had changed the town with “crime and drunkenness having decreased.”

 

Although his preaching style was not dynamic (he read all of his sermons), the depth of his knowledge, the clarity of his language, and the power of his life commanded respect. Attendance at the church (now in America) which had dropped to 600 on Sunday morning rose to 1,500. Lines up to half a block long formed, waiting for unclaimed seats. Jowett began preparing his Sunday sermons on Tuesday, following a meticulously detailed schedule. The workingman’s pastor.

“Stir me, oh! Stir me, Lord, I care not how But stir my heart in passion for the world! Stir me to give, to go—but most to pray: Stir, till the blood-red banner be unfurled O’er lands that still in deepest darkness lie, O’er deserts where no cross is lifted high.” Author Unknown

“Here is indicated an obligation not only upon the minister but upon every Christian steward to keep fit to conduct his Master’s business. And only regular communion with God can ensure this preparedness.”

“Note in the scripture that follows how these disciples who had been persecuted by the high Jewish court and then released with threatenings, are praying not for personal protection or heavenly raptures but to be equipped with new boldness, in order faithfully to serve as witnesses in the face of the growing opposition.” Acts 4:29-31 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”

“If thou, then, wouldst have thy soul surcharged with the fire of God, so that those who come nigh to thee shall feel some mysterious influence proceeding from thee, thou must draw nigh to the source of that fire, to the throne of God and of the Lamb, and shut thyself out from the world—that cold world which so swiftly steals our fire away. Enter into thy closet and shut thy door, and there, isolated ‘before the throne,’ await the baptism; then the fire shall fill thee, and when thou comest forth, holy power will attend thee, and thou shalt labor not in thine own strength, but ‘with demonstration of the Spirit and with power.’” William Arthur

From Wikipedia: His lecture on Systematic Beneficence gave the first impetus to that movement; and his own practice was referred to as a living example of it.[1] His intimate knowledge of India and its people made his counsel valuable to statesmen; and it was widely acknowledged that he was a power outside his own Church, and an aggressive proponent of Christianity.[1] Arthur suffered various infirmities throughout his life, but lived to the age of 83.

It was nice having read one of his books: “The Tongue of Fire”. I used one of his quotes on my “Oneminutebiblestudies.com” web page: “The symbol is a TONGUE, the only instrument of the grandest war ever waged: a tongue  — man’s speech to his fellow man; a message in human words to human faculties, from the understanding to the understanding, from the heart to the heart. A tongue of fire — a man’s voice, God’s truth; man’s speech, the Holy Spirit’s inspiration; a human organ, a superhuman power.” –William Arthur 1856

“I can but testify; Words may not tell This dear companionship I know so well; Ears may be deaf, Eyes may not see This Presence who comes near And speaks with me; But realer than this world With all its grace, Grows the Invisible And the Unseen Face!” Ralph Cushman

Luke 11:1-3 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” 2 So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven,  Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come.  Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread.

“The stewardship of prayer suggests a holy habit to be used in daily devotion, not a spasm of worship for times of special need. The Lord’s Prayer seems to emphasize the need of daily intercession and communion.”

“It has pleased the Lord to teach me a truth, the benefit of which I have not lost, for more than fourteen years. The point is this: I saw more clearly than ever that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not how much I might serve the Lord, or how I might glorify the Lord, but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished. I might seek to relieve the distressed, I might in other ways seek to behave myself as it becomes a child of God in this world, and yet, not being happy in the Lord, and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, all this might not be attended to in a right spirit.” George Mueller

George Mueller is known for the orphanages built by prayer. Here is how it started from Christianity.com: When George told his father that he had decided to become a missionary, his father became very upset. He wanted George to have a high-paying job and not be a poor missionary. He told George that he would not give him any more money for school. George knew he had to do what God was calling him to do, even if his dad didn’t support him. George went back to college without knowing how he was going to pay his tuition. He did something he thought was a bit silly for a grown man to do. He got on his knees and asked God to provide. To his surprise, an hour later a professor knocked on his door. He offered George a paid tutoring job! George was amazed! This was the beginning of George Mueller’s dependence on God.

“I know a peace Where there is no peace, A calm where the wild winds blow, A secret place Where face to face With the Master I may go.” Ralph Chushman

Matt 9:36-38 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

“It is worth while making any efforts, however desperate, to learn to pray…Often when I desire to see the Truth come home to any man, I say to myself, ‘If I have him here, he will spend half an hour with me. Instead, I will spend that half hour in prayer for him.’” Forbes Robinson

Forbes Robinson is known as the “disciple of love”. Couldn’t figure out why, yet.

1 Sam 12:23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.

Is intercession with a travail, or is it a playtime, a recreation, the least exacting of all things, an exercise in which there is neither labor nor blood? ‘The blood is the life.’ Bloodless intercession is dead. It is only the man whose prayer is a vital expenditure, a sacrifice which holds fellowship with Calvary, who ‘fills up that which is behind in the sufferings of Christ’” J. H. Howett

“More than half beaten, but fearless, Facing the storm and the night; Breathless and reeling, but tearless, Here in the lull of the fight. I who bow not but before thee, God of the fighting clan, Lifting my fists I implore thee, Give me the heart of a man!” Author unknown

“Oh God, the might of them that put their trust in thee, grant that we may be than conquerors over all that make war upon our souls, and in the end may enter into perfect peace in thy presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” Roman Breviary (A listing of Catholic prayers and times)

“I made up my mind that I must depend on god alone. Therefore, I must live closer to God than I had ever done before. I must get into the very heart of God.” James W. Bashford Bishop of China

From Wikipedia: In 1904 Bashford was assigned to the mission field in China at his own request at age 55. On October 20 he arrived in Foochow,[2] and in the same year he went to Shanghai where he became the first resident bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in China. From the summer of 1908 onwards, Bashford served in Peking until he left China in the summer of 1918. He died in Pasadena, California 18 March 1919.

“The final value of the scriptural teaching of the stewardship of prayer lies in its emphasis on man’s ultimate dependence on God as the source and creator of the divine resources of the Kingdom. No one really learns this without coming to realize that prayer must be the first business of his life.”

Eph 6:18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints — 

“But the supreme illustration of one who saw through the eyes of God and put prayer as the first work of faithful stewardship was our Lord himself.”

“There are two things which make our Lord’s example in the life of prayer of special significance. In the first place, if ever anyone could have dispensed with prayer, it was he. In the second place, his experience tried out the whole reality of prayer. Whatever he found in it, we may be sure is there.”

Mark 1:35 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.

“Those who make a rule of the morning watch should resolve never to allow a single exception. When away on vacation, or sleeping in the same room with others, on camping parties when we sleep under the stars, or out in the thick of life’s work, cling unshakable to the regular observance of this life-giving habit.” David R. Porter

Two term governor of PA in 1838.

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One Minute Bible Studies in Colton, CA

Just finished the “One Minute Bible Study Seminar” in Colton, CA for Pastor Eric Strutz. I did my science slide show on Wed. for his regular church service and then last night we did the seminar with three churches in attendance. We taught and then we went out and put into action what we learned. We did “one minute bible studies” with about 60 people and we had 12 people pray. When we all came back to the church after about 45 minutes of outreach there was a noticeable buzz of victory in the camp. The testimonies confirmed that spirit of joy and victory.

I had talked with 4 people. Damian, quitting marijuana, agitated and looking to get his life put together. He has been dating a Baptist girl for four years and wants to get his act together so he can ask her to marry him. He goes to some services with her and her parents. He prays. He knows he needs more. We prayed together asking God to draw him closer to Himself and bless his future life. I did the bible study in Spanish with two football players. We then communicated in broken English and Spanish the difference between Catholicism and Protestantism. The word picture went something like this: Jesus direct line to salvation and Jesus going through the Catholic church to salvation. I thinks that is how it works. Finally, I talked with David, a young 20 year old who just got laid off and broke up with his girlfriend. He realized he needed something new. We talked he thought. I brought it down to a choice, he chose not right now. I encouraged him and gave him a church flyer. It was nice being able to leave the park saying goodbye to Damian, now the goalie for the football match on a tennis court and David leaning against the fence of the skating park. I also came back to the church energized with a spirit of victory.

Thanks to the Colton church for their spirit and their faithfulness.

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What Would Jesus Do?

Went with the young people on an outreach to Marion. Was asked to go into Walmart and talk with people. Did my first one minute bible study with a man waiting for his girlfriend in Walmart. This is what Pastor Jon Dixon and his church do in Stockton CA. When he told me about it; I had trouble imagining myself doing it; yesterday my moment of truth came. I passed.

We were redirected to the local park where championship little league games were taking place. While people are watching their children or grandchildren it is probably a little rude to try and break in and do a one minute bible study with them. But, in between the games it was the perfect setting. I found myself challenging groups of men to a one minute bible study. They would study me and eventually they had to say yes. The reason: they intuitively knew the connection between character, which they wanted instilled in their young ballplayers, and the word of God. Had some great conversations; but that challenging moment of asking them was filled with knowledge of a society losing what really mattered.

Finally, we were talking about the bathroom wars. What would Jesus do? He would use the men’s bathroom.

We accessed oneminutebiblestudies.com about 10 times talking to about 25 people. Other people around the country and some in Great Britain accessed the web page 70 times. I am enjoying this.

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