Sunday Sermon

Hateful Rage

School is covered with posters encouraging involvement with a day of silence for the LBLT students. I am watching a public speaking class do impromptus in front of the school. I have been told I will be entertained. Two start off in the middle on a random subject until someone says freeze. That person then taps one of the two on the shoulder and starts the impromptu in another direction.

The outgoing actors take more turns than the others although all are encouraged to participate. One girl starts crying as they encourage her to give it a go. The most outgoing man of them all starts using some profanities with the name of Jesus. Freeze, the next actor starts by asking him if he knows Jesus. One thing leads to another and we get to: “God, I hate those people.” He says it again louder with more emphasis as the impromptus move on.

There it was. No body, in a society now trained not to hate, said a word. There was no pause of something wrong was said. It was very reasonable and acceptable to hate people who pester you about knowing Jesus. If he had said he hated black people, the impromptu would have screeched to a halt. Same thing for LBLT’s.

Why is it socially acceptable to hate Christians?

Ps 2:1-6 Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” 4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. 5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: 6 “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.”

I. What are they doing?

Raging

Out of control, screaming, mad, angry. We see it at Berkeley, the birthplace of the free speech movement, now beset by out of control, screaming, angry students who can’t allow speech to take place that they do not agree with.

I saw it in that student’s rage against…against what? Does he even know? Or is it just demonic conditioning?

Acts 19:28-29 Now when they heard this, they were full of wrath and cried out, saying, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” 29 So the whole city was filled with confusion, and rushed into the theater with one accord, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus,

Acts 7:54-58 When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

Plotting vain things

I remember talking with my girls at different times about activism on college campuses. I pointed out that there are no noble causes being taken up these days. It seems to center around killing babies and having sex in any way possible. So much for noble, enriching causes.

The world’s plots are vain and empty.

That I would experience the actors followed by the day of silence for the LBLT’s says something to me about the world I live in.

This is the conclusion of Paul’s dissection of the LBLT movement. Rom 1:28-32 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 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, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

II. Why?

To break free from God’s natural laws. Notice the “theirs”; their bonds, their cords.

Everything about Christianity is about growth, freedom and a fulfilled life. My school days would be followed by Earth Day. The celebration of Mother Earth. We need to save the planet. From what? Pollution! By whom? Mankind! The planet must thrive and mankind must be diminished, controlled, rationed to and finally eliminated. Problem solved.

The vain plot of mankind is to convince us that we are nothing but an accident of materialism (evolution) and that we are no different from any other life form in the universe.

Yet, the Christian believes: Gen 1:24-28 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said,”Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them,”Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Who’s right? Let’s talk about it. How can you talk with rage and empty thinking? You can’t. So they stop up their ears and attack you. Why? Because God is God.

III. “Yet I have set My King On my holy hill of Zion”

Will God be God or will mankind triumph and remove the restraints that come with a knowledge of God?

The next verses following our text say this: Ps 2:7-9 “I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.'”

I know who wins.

Think back about our young man full of “hate”. This is why: 2 Cor 2:14-17 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

Conclusion

See everyone knows: Job 19:25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth;

 

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Morel Dinner

One of our enduring memories is our layover in London on the way to Lusaka. In the restaurant we were given the opportunity to order “stinkin mushrooms”. Actually, it was steak and mushrooms with an English accent.

Tonight Joan and I enjoyed a steak and morel mushroom dinner. What makes it cool is we spent the afternoon walking through the woods looking for Morel mushrooms. And we found three different spots with the Morels.

Thankful for life’s little blessings!

Morel Dinner

Morel Dinner

1 Peter 3:7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

Couldn’t help myself.

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Tonight’s Sermon

Will You Listen

One student describing his jail activities and the 15 years (an exaggeration) he is looking at for fighting. Another describing her main fear; because she gets into fits of rage, she is afraid she may kill somebody someday. The sympathetic ear was describing her nephew who was put away for 50 years for a murder he didn’t commit.

I couldn’t help myself. I told them that the problem was they were acting like Christians. It took a little bit of time to digest. One said she got it; I was using reverse psychology. The sympathetic ear said we ought not make judgments. The young brawler said he couldn’t help himself.

We would talk later that day after the old and wise sympathetic ear was gone. The girls anger: step mom hates her and doesn’t even pretend to want her around. Dad’s a wimp. The boy’s problem: he and his step mom got into it and his dad beat him up. Now he is alienated from his dad.

The problem is sin and the answer will always be a simple “Christ”.

Text: Ps 32:8-11 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. 9 Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you. 10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him. 11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

I Jesus wants to teach you:

“instruct and teach”

Instruct:

Getting understanding that leads to success

Receiving a wisdom that can be seen by others

To gain insight into life

Teach:

To point out, hands on

The Hebrew root points us to the idea of flowing water, it goes over, under or around all obstacles. The idea is that God teaches us to overcome and not be dammed in by life, but to live a life that is flowing with life.

There is a sense that this teaching of wisdom is reserved for those in the covenant.

Guide you with My eye

To give advise

To help you make a plan

God is personally walking with you so that you can know what to do by the look in His eye.

Walking in the Spirit

 “the way you should go”

It is a wonderful to know where you are and where you are going.

There is a confidence that is being communicated that cries out the reality of a personal relationship with Christ that impacts the daily living of our lives.

II. Free to choose

Matt 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

These young people are laboring their way through life carrying the burdens of their and their families’ sins. They all knew exactly what I was saying and they all had heard it before.

Another push from God who loves them to gather them unto Himself.

Our text describes us with the stubbornness of the mule and the horse. Yes, the law can constrain us. Yes, the law can make us do right. But, God is looking for a person to willingly receive personal training to live life to the fullest.

III. The results are in

10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him. 11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

“Sorrows”: physical and mental pain, life is marred or spoiled, the modern thought is “life stinks”

“Wicked”: guilty, guilty of sin, morally unfit, spoiled

I am preaching to a group of believers. Certainly, we have experienced sorrows; physical and mental pain. Yes, but it is different. Looking back over my life I can say that my moments of mental pain centered around people I cared for not doing what is right in the eyes of God. My physical pains are acknowledged with the promise of healing and eternal life.

Our text puts it better: “he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him”.

Having a righteous and upright heart allows me to be “glad in the Lord and rejoice” going through life with a “shout for joy”.

Conclusion

John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Yes, its true!

 

 

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John Gooding “The Regions Beyond”

John Gooding wrote a book about our fellowship that is well worth the read. The title is “The Regions Beyond” and the subtitle is “Impacting the World from a Small Church in a Small Town”. The book is an outgrowth from a dissertation. The fact that John is one of only a handful among our 2500 preachers who has higher education in religious or biblical studies just reinforces the uniqueness of the book: the Holy Spirit can take broken people, heal them and set them on course to touch the world if they will surrender to the will of God for their lives.

John’s introduction concluded with this statement: “The research for this book was to find core elements that led a broken church out of brokenness to spiritual health and world impact. This is not a history, formula, or step-by-step guide for revival. It is an example of what God can do with a common people who seek to faithfully obey God.”

The beginning of the book is heavily footnoted (his dissertation) but becomes more freewheeling as the book progresses. My incomplete understanding of footnoting is that you can’t just say what you think is true; you must find someone else who says its true and use him as your footnote to validate your statement. Whether it was his sources or his thinking; it came together in the first chapter to galvanize my thinking about salvation and what it means to be a Christian.

The first chapter was entitled “If Truly Christian”. It centered on Romans 12:1-2 as the measuring stick of the Christian experience. Rom 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. NKJV His thoughts on these verses permeated my preaching for a couple of weeks and I still refer to those revelations that we all share together now in current preaching.

Here are some quotes:

“For Paul in Romans 12:2 transform carries the meaning of an invisible process in a Christian already begun in this present life. It is a process that leads to a new moral life in Christ by the Spirit.”

“Paul with a beseeching urgency warns believers not to follow the pattern of thinking that is found in unbelievers. This requires a living sacrifice to the reasonableness of the call and will of God. The life of the world is unreasonable. The old mind boasts of knowing God but the renewed mind does the will of God. Its decisions recognize what is good, acceptable and perfect. These are moral criteria for evaluating life.”

“The transformation and renewal are set in the larger context of ministry in the body of Christ. To think ‘soberly (Rom. 12:3)’ is to think with a sound or right mind. The transformation of a believer is, therefore, a work that also transforms the culture of the church. Change that is merely outward in form is inadequate for salvation. It is simply becoming more religious.”

“It means knowing the will or wants of God (Rom 2:18) on a daily or ongoing basis and living accordingly.”

“The terminology of renewal is unique to Christian literature. Renewal of the mind involves the ability to discern or test the will of God. The process is: first the Word of God and the Spirit of God renew the mind, then one is able to discern and desire the will of God and is then increasingly transformed by it.”

“This is the challenge for every beleaguered church. There must be renewal individually and therefore corporately.”

The second chapter highlights the words “make disciples” in the great commission given in Mt. 28:16-20. He ties “making disciples” to our transformations that create a church that becomes a “distinctive people” that evangelizes, plants churches and goes into “Regions Beyond” starting churches that are indigenous. This takes us through his remaining chapters to his final question: “Will it Last?”.

Here are some quotes:

“’Only when we emphasize evangelism above all else will it receive its due.’ We cannot simply put evangelism on a longer to do list and hope that the Christian community (believers) will carry it out with the appropriate passion.”

“The proclamation of the gospel is often seen as an end in itself. Proclamation either alone or proclamation with a decision are seen as a completed process…The Great Commission, however, does not imply that proclamation is the end of the task. It does not imply that church growth is the end of the task. Yet both of these viewpoints are common and both circumvent the true issue of the Great Commission—making disciples.”

“The product of the church is a disciple…It is about making disciples for the multiplying of the work by adding committed laborers.”

“There is, according to Graham Duncan, a clear link between the command to make disciples in Mt. 28 and the command in Rom. 12 to be transformed. Transformation and the disciplines demanded by discipleship are linked. Discipline releases rather than hampers true growth.”

“It was a faith he said was ‘verified empirically, as the Bible becomes validated in everyday life.’”

“The task of the church is to make disciples. This implies evangelism and conversion. Transformation requires a relationship between the disciple and the disciple maker. The relationship is a unique and vitally important one. Without it there can be no spiritual transformation or impartation of spiritual life into the disciple. Discipleship is meant to be a long-term, stable relationship that allows for spiritual growth and maturity—transformation.”

“…one cannot be transformed without a corresponding change or transformation in the person and circumstances of their life.”

“For Hievert the more Hebrew and biblical view of transformation is both a point and process. That is, it has simple beginning of turning from wherever or whatever one is but it produces radical and lifelong consequences. Turning perhaps involves a minimal commitment to follow him in a lifelong series of decisions after an initial turning.”

“The confession ‘Jesus is Lord’ must make sense in daily living.”

“In this New Testament language we have something far more important than a casual relationship, common acquaintance, teacher-student relationship, or a master-slave relationship. There is uniqueness to the disciple maker-disciple relationship. The father-son language in contrast to pedagogue-student language tells us something akin to a genetic transfer of life occurs. It is not simply transferring of the pedagogue’s notes onto the notebooks of the students.”

“’For the little band of Christians at Philippi, constantly in danger of seduction by the majority pagan culture, there was no better textbook than the lives of those who bore the burden of leadership. Discipleship still depends on identifying examples, saints, people worthy of imitation.’”

“Indeed the making of disciples is a different matter than gathering a crowd or getting people to be followers or imitators. There must be inward transformation that matches the outward conformity.”

“The local church possesses the incredible reality of the Christian experience. Christianity is about relationships. It is not some cloud of theological jargon but a group of people who know each other, meet regularly to hear from God, and enjoy Jesus and each other’s presence.”

“There is something more than obedience or keeping the rules in discipline. Children, soldiers, students and disciples are all to come under discipline. There is more to be gained from discipline than obedience. ‘The aim of child discipline, or military, or academic, or religious, is a disciplined character which goes beyond the minimum demands of these specific disciplines and permeates the whole life. Imposed discipline…must lead to self-discipline.’ The ability to make decisions and order life by subjugating self is crucial for church building.”

Pastor Gooding has been using the Jesus Movement of the 60’s and 70’s as a comparison to the fellowship established by the Prescott Foursquare Church of Pastor Mitchell in the 70’s. It was the Jesus Movement that brought young people into the church and then it was the dynamics of transformed lives, discipleship and church planting that brought the Church to its current place of leadership church over 2500 other churches around the world.

The question was asked about the Jesus Movement: “Would it last?” He asks the same question about the Christian Fellowship Ministry that sprang from that broken down Foursquare church in Prescott Arizona.

In answering this question he takes some thoughts from the English preacher G. Campbell Morgan about the Zechariah 4:6 “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit”. Not by might (an amassing of an army with resources) nor by power (the vigorous use of amassed army and resources). He also has to take a look at the man Pastor Wayman Mitchell. I like how he addresses this here: “Another issue that requires greater mention is that of leadership. During the course of writing the dissertation there were a number of times the author was asked for more information about Waymna Mitchell. He was an intriguing figure to the author’s committee and peers.”

Here are a few quotes from his last chapter that help us see his conclusions:

Quoting Morgan: “Not by anything man can do, can man do anything for God. We are very far from believing that.”

“Of course, G. Campbell Morgan was not negating that we need to amass our resources and be relentless in the call of Christ. The point he was making is simply that without the presence of the Holy Spirit, our efforts are not enough.”

“The question to be asked, after nearly fifty years as a Fellowship, is the same one asked by Enroth, Ericson and Peter’s in 1972. Their book The Jesus People: Old Time Religion in the Age of Aquarius was the first substantial look at the Jesus people. Their question was, is it a stirring or is it a real movement?”

“The sustainability of the CFM largely rests on the ability to maintain its core evangelism for conversions, empowered discipleship of converts and a focus on church planting.”

“The conclusion of this project is that principles of evangelism, discipleship and church planting brought about a transformation in the Prescott congregation and a ministry that brought them out of brokenness to a place of dignity and influence throughout the world.”

“Two things are necessary. One, is a disciple willing to allow a pastor to speak into his life. And two, a pastor with enough courage to speak into his life. In the CFM, conversion of sinners and empowered discipleship led to church planting. It led to the multiplication of disciples and churches.”

Here are my own thoughts on ‘will it last?’. Here is a quote from a previous blog entry:

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

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

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

I think the comparison could portend to the future of the fellowship. I would like to add this thought. Pastor Gooding does such a good job as describing the fellowship as a group of people who are each in themselves seeking to do the will of God. What sustains us is not our successes, which at times can seem inconsequential, but our understanding of positioning and standing to fight in the place God has us. Our measurement ceases to be the measurement of the world but an internal measurement of doing the will of God.

 

 

 

 

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Darwin’s Creation Myth

In September I read two books about evolution. One was “Undeniable” by Douglas Axe. I had taken notes and was preparing a review when life turned upside down for me. It is almost like the “Intelligent Design” crowd have gotten tired of showing how impossible macro evolution through mutation and natural selection is. In Axe’s case, and I really enjoyed this, he did the proving and then said we do not really need this evidence to know that evolution just makes no sense. He compared common sense to common science. We just know that the odds of spilling your alphabet soup and it spilling out to spell a Shakespeare sonnet is not going to happen even if you do it a number so high that it loses all sense of meaning.

Well I will go on with that another time. I really enjoyed Tom Wolfe’s inside baseball look at Darwin and Wallace in “The Kingdom of Speech” which was the other book I was reading in September. Wolfe is describing the different cosmogony stories starting with Genesis, the Apache, Michabo the Great Hare of the Algonquin,  Yhleh the Raven of the Tlingit,  the Cherokee’s water beetle, Inktomi the spider of the Assiniboine Indians, the dung beetle of the Egyptians, and Cagn the praying mantis of the Khosian. He then moves to the Navajo where I will give you the quote:

The Navajo Indians’ creator was an insect that seems to have been identical to what is known today as the biting midge (colloquially, the no-see-um bug). Biting midges are so small you can’t see them. But you can’t mistake them when they bite your ankle. For all practical purposes they are invisible. But the Navajo biting-midge creator was smaller than small and invisible than invisible, because it came into this world without its two wings. yet it is the creator in probably the most sophisticated cosmogony ever believed in, a story of full-scale, gradual evolution from next to nothing to modern man. In the beginning, the biting midges lived in the First World, down deep deep deep beneath the earth’s surface. As evolution began, they grew back their missing wings, and one species evolved all the way into a full blown insect, a locust. Locust led the hives up into the Second World, where they began to evolve into animals of every species. Then Locust led the whole burgeoning menagerie up into the Third World, where the most advanced species evolved into men. Then Locust led all the men and all the animals up into the Fourth World, which was right below the crust of the earth. In an Inktomi like show of energy and dedication, the menagerie’s spiders built rope ladders out of their webbing so that everybody could climb up onto the earth’s surface.

A later cosmogony was a dead ringer for the Navajos’, dead and unfortunately duller, except for one thing. The creator in this cosmogony was a creature even smaller, even less visible to the naked eye, than a biting midge, namely, a single, undifferentiated cell–or “four or five” of them. “Undifferentiated” means it could evolve into any living thing, vegetable or animal. This cosmogony was the only one recent enough for people to know the chief storyteller by name: Charles Darwin. “Four or five” is from a scrap of conversation he had with a group of students not long after he told the story publicly. The students had the sort of naïve, unbridled, free-floating curiosity most youths unfortunately rein in far too early in life. They wanted to know some small but fundamental details about the moment Evolution got under way and how exactly, physically, it started up–and from what?

Darwin had apparently never thought of it quite that way before. Long pause…and finally, “ohhh,” he said, “probably from four or five cells floating in a warm pool somewhere.” One student pressed him further. He wanted to know where the cells came from. Who or what put them in the pool? An exasperated Darwin said, in effect, “Well, I don’t know…look, isn’t it enough that I’ve brought you man and all the animals and plants in the world?”

In this respect, Darwinism was typical of the more primitive cosmogonies. They avoided the question of how the world developed ex nihilo. Darwin often thought about it, but it made his head hurt. The world was just…here. All cosmogonies, whether the Apaches’ or Charles Darwin’s, faced the same problem. They were histories or, better said, stories of things that had occurred in a primordial past, long before there existed anyone capable of recording them. The Apaches’ scorpion and Darwin’s cells in that warm pool somewhere were by definition educated guesses. Darwin, a Cambridge man, after all, was highly educated by the standards of his time, but so, no doubt, was the Apache medicine man who came up with the little old man with the long beard in the disk. The difference in Darwin’s case was that he put together his story in an increasingly rational age. It wouldn’t have occurred to him to present his cosmogony as anything other than a scientific hypotheses. In the Navajo cosmogony the agent of change (as distinct from the creator) was alive. It was Locust. In Darwin’s cosmogony it had to be scientifically inanimate. Locust was renamed Evolution.

There were five standard tests for a scientific hypotheses. Had anyone observed the phenomenon–in this case, Evolution–as it occurred and recorded it? Could other scientists replicate it? Could any of them come up with a set of facts that, if true, would contradict the theory (Karl Popper’s “falsifiability” test)? Could scientists make predictions based on it? Did it illuminate hitherto unknown or baffling areas of science? In the case of Evolution…well…no…no…no…no…and no.

In other words there was no scientific way to test it. Like every other cosmogony, it was a serious and sincere story meant to satisfy man’s endless curiosity about where he came from and how he came to be so different from the animals around him. But it was still a story. It was not evidence. In short, it was sincere, but sheer, literature.

It really is a fun read for anyone who realizes that the world’s emperors do not have any clothes on.

 

 

 

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Call to Africa

I am reading “Dan Crawford of Central Africa” published in 1929. Here are a few quotes:

In the first months of 1889, all this was still future; but it explains to some extent what was the atmosphere of missionary interest which Dan entered when he was invited to the home in George Street, there to meet Miss Grace Tilsley, at that time in her twentieth year and the possessor of a personality scarcely less vivid and of a vitality no less active than his own. Almost at once he realized that he had met the one woman for him; but at that time not only was he about to embark on a most hazardous mission, but his friends were shaking their heads over him and pessimistically predicting, that, if not savage kings, then his cough, more prosaic but not less deadly, would kill him off within his first year in Africa. Accordingly he held his peace. It was not until after Africa, in place of slaying him, had kissed him with healing lips, and not until after heroic journeyings had matured his plans for the occupation of the land and not until Luanza was in the course of building, that he broached in a letter the subject that had been burning like a secret fire in his heart during the intervening years. And then she, being George Tilsley’s daughter, dared the unthinkable; she went out, a lone woman, to join he who, five years before, during a few youthful days, had flashed into and out of the missionary-hearted life in George Street, Bath.

I loved the “…Africa, in place of slaying him, had kissed him with healing lips…”. He consistently coughed up blood before Africa.

It was not until 18 months later, on the 11th November, 1890, that meeting in Excter Hall in March, 1889, had farewelled a party of fourteen. Of them all only three reached the Interior.

There were already American Missionaries along the coast.

The first white ladies that Dan Crawford greeted in Africa were a widow in the first days of her loneliness and a mother mourning the loss of her first-born babe. Nor were they themselves without their troubles. No sooner had they landed than three of the party promptly succumbed to attacks of malaria. Mrs. Arnot and Mr. Munnock wre about again within a few day, but Crawford was obliged to keep his bed for ten days, and for quite a long time after remained very tottery.

The sickest I have ever been was the first time I caught malaria. I felt it coming on during the morning service on Sunday and barely made it through the evening service. That was followed by 3 days of losing every ounce of moisture in my body. A nurse from the church took me to the market, I bought 3 pills, and began to get better the next day. After that our entire family was familiar with the beginning pains of malaria and at first got a blood test to see if the parasite was there and eventually just skipped it since the parasite seemed to always be there.

Was it a presage of worse to follow that round the camp fire one evening Mr. Morris having affirmed (by interpretation) that in Christ Jesus we have eternal life, and one burly porter having, in the free-speech manner of their own courts, objected that this could not be true (“Did not all die?”). Mr. Morris pinched up the flesh of his arm and explained that the body was but the “hut” of himself, his soul; it certainly would die, and decay, but the soul would live on in Christ its Redeemer. Such the sermon; alas that within a few days he himself became the illustration.

Could this book be entitled “Mr. Morris of Central Africa” if malaria had taken Dan Crawford? Sometimes the “why’s” of life are too much to understand. Yes, “all things to work together for good…”. Only heaven can make any sense of it all despite our little glimpses of understanding along the way.

And so on 1th July, 1889, with just those six men, Dan Crawford made his start for the Interior. He took with him some of Mrs. Arnot’s goods, so that he actually left the coast with only one bundle of personal necessities, which included his bedding, one spare coat, an ulster, two or three pieces of underclothing, a pair of slippers, a cake of soap, a cheap rifle, and as much tea as one could hold in two hands. How many others, one asks oneself, ever deliberately turned their backs on ample stores to trudge away with so little on a thousand mile trek through the midst of warring barbarians? Not even a second pair of boots did he have. What he did have, however, was a heavenly Father. He tramped along bubbling over with joy. He sang aloud as he climbed the range out of Catumbella. Two hours of curving rad amongst foothills on that day of the start brought them by five o’clock in the afternoon to emerge on to a plateau. Dan stood for a few minutes gazing back on the rolling Atlantic. Would he ever see it again, he, the blood-spitter? He turned away; goodbye–goodbye! Veering N.N.E., he sang his way into the unknown future, certain of this one thing: that his God was calling him, calling him, as he wrote at that time, “for an especial purpose.”

Should we ever and always seek to adventure out with God!

 

 

 

 

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Flags of our Grandfather’s

Strategy Page has been posting photos from the battle of the Bulge. My grandfather had fought in that battle. I have inherited a box of things from my father and my grandfather. Here are some flags that were in the box. The US flag can’t be from the battle because of its 50 stars but I wonder about the other 3.

Flags.jpg

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