Archive for October, 2007

Beyond Humiliation 21: “The Cross Day by Day”

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

“If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” Luke 9:23

These words, usually associated with Jesus’ searching question to the rich young ruler, continue to call through the intervening centuries to a life of constant dying to self and following after Jesus.

To the one first quieried, the happy “only one thing thou lackest” anticipated response, became the sorrow-provoking, “sell all that thou hast, give to the poor, and follow me” disappointing and eventually rejected mandate. And so, though rich in the goods of this world and supposedly rich in spiritual things, the young ruler turned sorrowing away, much to the amazement of the disciples who thought riches were a reliable indicator of one’s relationship with God.

They asked, “Who then, can be saved,” and heard Jesus beckon them to a life of ongoing crucifying and dying to self in order to follow Him. They didn’t want that kind of life any more than the rich young ruler and quietly resisted, but it was apparently the only way, for they later came to embrace such a life, and with the exception of one, paid the ultimate sacrifice in pursuing it.

To be fair, the young ruler probably didn’t understand what Jesus was talking about, having so long bought into the prevailing opinions of his day. I hope he eventually recognized the error of his ways, returned to Jesus, and took up the cross-bearing life–though there is no mention of him later in the New Testament.

In our day, knowledge of, and appreciation for, the need to die to self and take up the cross is little known, most people having bought into the prevailing opinion of our day. But it doesn’t change the need to die, and I believe this lack, more than anything else, explains why there is so little power in God’s church today.

So what is the “take up your cross” life and how does one embrace it? Is it something you do or is it something God does in you?

In this final chapter from Gregory Mantle’s wonderful book Beyond Humiliation: The Way of the Cross, we learn some final secrets.

Here are a few successive paragraphs to give you a taste of the chapter.

The life to which He calls us, and the path along which He leads, is characterized by cross-bearing from beginning to end. In outward appearance the cross varies, but it is always something which crosses self, and frees us from our own self-will. It is therefore the way to rest, for the only place in the wide world in which the soul can find true rest is in taking up the yoke or cross of Christ. In doing our own will there is never rest, but in yielding to the will of another there is. “The soul abiding under this cross comes into the true, pure, and perfect liberty, where it hath scope unto holiness, freedom unto righteousness, and is in strait bonds and holy chains from all liberty to the flesh, and from all unholiness and unrighteousness of every kind.” [Isaac Pennington]

Someone has described this cross-bearing life as a spread-out surrender, a surrender which covers our whole sphere of action, and lasts all our days. It is often in little things that Christ asks us to deny ourselves, and it would be far easier for some to take up a great cross and die once upon it than to take up these little crosses day by day and die a deeper death upon them. So the word “daily” becomes to some, what Christ’s Cross was to the Jews, a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.

Yet, as we have already suggested, it is only in this cross-bearing life, in ever yielding our will to our Lord, that we find rest and peace. The way of the Cross is the Royal way, and they who tread it are kings and priests unto God. It is always to those who tread it the way of glory as it was to Christ, “Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the Cross, despising the shame.” It was because of this that Paul gloried in tribulation, “knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us” (Rom. v.3-5). “He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.”

I am pleased that I have finally been able to add all of Mantle’s chapters to path2prayer.com. It is a long-held dream and I pray you will be blessed in reading his book as I have been blessed.

Here is where you find all of “The Cross Day by Day.”

Of course there is more on this subject at path2prayer.com.

“Graveyard Religion” from His Robe Or Mine is very helpful by Frank Philips.

I have also been blessed by this chapter on the “Believer The Temple of the Holy Ghost” from Gerhard Tersteegen is also helpful.

You will also be blessed by Gordon’s chapter “The Price of Power” in his Quiet Talks on Power.

Happy reading!

Beyond Humiliation 20: “Step by Step”

Monday, October 29th, 2007

“If you live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galations 5:25

What does it mean to “walk in the Spirit”? This question is taken up by Gregory Mantle in the next to the last chapter of his book Beyond Humiliation; The Way of the Cross: “Step by Step.”

Notice the following paragraphs taken from different sections of his chapter:

“Step by step” is the secret of a life which is never perturbed, never surprised by sudden assaults of the evil one, never shorn of its spiritual strength. With returning consciousness there is, in such a life, a resolute determination to take no step in the untrodden pathway of the day but by the Spirit. His guidance is sought and His will consulted in the choice of food. Anything that has been known to dull the spiritual vision, and unfit the body for the sacred uses for which it is designed, will be avoided. “What effect will this book have upon my spiritual life? Will it increase or diminish my relish for the Word of God?” are questions we shall ask when opportunities for reading are afforded us. “I never spend a penny,” said a poor widow one day to the writer, “without asking that I may be guided how to spend it.” She was seeking to take step by step by the Spirit. We need not particularize further. Here is the principle by which our life is to be governed, and to follow it will fill our life with such joy and power as we never dreamt of before.

Later Mantle states:

Our life is made up of these little steps. We fancy we could be heroic on some great occasion. We could die for Christ we think, if called upon to lay down our life for Him. It is questionable, however, if we could, unless we have cultivated the martyr spirit hour by hour, for if our strength and desire to please God has failed in the trifles of our life, how can we be sure of them in the great testing time? It is far harder to live for Christ moment by moment than it is to die once for Him; and if we wait for great occasions in which to display our fidelity, we shall find that our life has slipped away, and with it the opportunities which each hour has brought of proving our love to our Lord, by being faithful in that which is least.

I like the idea that we can live in such contact with the God through the Spirit, that every detail of our lives will be regulated by Him. Granted, one must desire a “step by step” or “moment by moment” life if one is to experience such a life.

I want that kind of life. I hope you do too!

Have you experienced that kind of life? Perhaps you could share your testimony with me and many could learn from your experience.

Here is where you will find Gregory Mantle’s chapter, “Step by Step.”

Learn more about what it means to be a Christian on a practical basis at path2prayer.com’s Practical Christianity link.

Beyond Humiliation 19: “The Tests of Obedience”

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

In the lastest chapter posted from Beyond Humiliation; The Way of the Cross, Gregory Mantle discusses the fact that all of us are given testing experiences. Note the following paragraphs from his chapter:

God always has a number of His children under examination. Some of them pass with honors, but a few are turned back to learn their lessons over again. Many fail in this critical time in their spiritual history because they do not understand the Divine purpose. They cry out with Job: “He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, He hath set darkness in my paths.” They do not perceive that the position they have taken over and over again is being put to the test.

Madame Guyon puts it thus: “God will give us opportunities to try our consecration, whether it be a true one or not. No man can be wholly the Lord’s unless he is wholly consecrated to the Lord; and no man can know whether he is thus wholly consecrated except by tribulation. That is the test. To rejoice in God’s will, when that will imparts nothing but happiness, is easy even for the natural man. But none but the renovated man, none but the religious man, can rejoice in the Divine will when it crosses his path, disappoints his expectations, and overwhelms him with sorrow. Trial therefore, instead of being shunned, should be welcomed as the test — and the only true test — of a true state. Beloved souls, there are consolations which pass away, but true and abiding consolation ye will not find except in entire abandonment, and in that love which loves the Cross. He who does not welcome the Cross does not welcome God.”

Needless to say this is a very important and practical matter to consider. I hope you will take the time to read and spiritually grow as a result of reading “The Tests of Obedience.”

Learn more about the more abundant life at path2prayer.com.

Behond Humiliation 18: “School of Obedience”

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

“Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” Hebrews 5:8

These words speak to the fact that Jesus, who was already perfect, was somehow taken to a higher level of experience–in this case obedience–through the things that He suffered.

Many have debated what this means exactly, but nonetheless, the experience of suffering was known to Jesus, and Scripture suggests that it is needful for us.

My question for you is this: Are you aware that suffering is a necessary part of character development? Have you personally experienced this suffering? Are you able to cheerfully accept suffering as something God allows in your life?

Perhaps I am raising questions that you have pondered? You are not alone.

The following three chapters come from the latest chapter made available from Gregory Mantle’s Beyond Humiliation: The Way of the Cross, and deal with my questions regarding the necessary experience of suffering in the Christian’s life.

Mantle strongly suggests suffering IS necessary in the following three paragraphs, which are not concurrent paragraphs, in his chapter “The School of Obedience”:

There is great danger lest the preciousness and indispensableness of the experience of suffering should be not sufficiently emphasized. It is pleasant and easy to learn obedience under some teachers, but before we have graduated in this school we must pass into the hands of others whose lessons are not pleasant or easy; we must go out of the sunshine into the darkened room; gladness and joy must give place to anguish and soul-travail, and through an experience of suffering from which, perchance, we start, and shrink, we learn obedience.

The Divine nature of Jesus could not be perfected that was perfect already; but human nature is born weak and undeveloped, and it has to grow. One of its essential laws is its capability of improvement, and thus it was that Jesus, by passing through a long curriculum of trial and suffering, learned obedience. He could only learn obedience by becoming incarnate, by stooping to share our discipline, and bearing the Divine will as a yoke, instead of wielding it as a scepter. His obedience was perfected by suffering, and with His obedience His human character. The means produced the end with Him that it might produce the self-same end with us, and from the moment of His perfection Jesus consecrated suffering as a minister of the Divine purpose, so that His followers need no longer shrink from and tremble at it, but rather glory in and welcome it as a conquered foe that has become their friend.

To shrink, therefore, from suffering is to shrink from what is a requisite part of our education both for earth and for heaven. We shall be spiritual babes all our lives, spelling out nothing but the alphabet of Divine truth, if we refuse to drink of the cup of which Jesus drank, and to be baptized with the baptism that He was baptized with, for “it became Him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” He could not have become our Leader and Captain had He not trod the rough road He calls upon us to tread. Exemption from suffering would have meant exemption from Leadership. He could not have lifted us into a share of His glory had He not stooped to the companionship of our griefs; nor can we rightly call ourselves His soldiers unless we are following in His steps; or expect to be lifted into the companionship of his glory unless we are among those who know the “fellowship of His sufferings.”

The experience of suffering is well known. Recognizing that suffering is necessary in the Christian life is less known, and results in much confusion. This is somewhat surprising since there are so many examples of individuals who suffered in the Bible, including Jacob, Job, Jesus and Paul, to list only a few.

Looking beyond the Bible, we find Mantle is not alone in pointing out that enduring suffering is foundational to spiritual growth. Note for example L. E Maxwell in his book, Crowded to Christ:

Most Christians are not brought into the overcoming life without passing through afflictions, both external and internal. This happens through two chief causes, viz., ignorance and self-will. More generally it is through the latter. We are slow to learn what is to be done, but still more reluctant to submit to its being done. While most Christians would like to have full enjoyment of Christ, they want other enjoyments as well; and therefore attach their affections first to one object and then to another. All the time they long to have the benefits of reckoning themselves dead indeed unto sin though Jesus Christ, they are secretly bowing to some idol seen or unseen. From this they refuse to be detached-”and there they remain for a time, fixed, obstinate, inflexible.” How blessed that our God is patient and loving and determined! If He sees that He can utterly detach us from every earthly tie and fuse us into a living union with Himself through the Crucified, His love will not shrink from reducing us to the very dust of despair and death. He will apply the sword to every tie that binds us to the world. He will spoil all our pharisaical foliage. He will lay the axe of the Cross to the very root of the tree of self. We may find the whole of our inward fabric of our lives overwhelmed and burned and blasted to the very extremity of endurance. Shrink not, fearful soul. This is God’s undoing of the old life. Remember that we can enjoy the new only as we learn to put off the old. In the midst of all this dreadful baptism God is teaching you to unlearn self and learn Christ. Who teacheth like Him?

One of my favorite authors put it this way:

A refining, purifying process is going on among the people of God, and the Lord of hosts has set his hand to this work. This process is most trying to the soul, but it is necessary in order that defilement may be removed. Trials are essential in order that we may be brought close to our heavenly Father, in submission to his will, that we may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. God’s work of refining and purifying the soul must go on until his servants are so humbled, so dead to self, that when called into active service, they may have an eye single to the glory of God. Then they will not move rashly from impulse, and imperil the Lord’s cause because they are slaves to temptation and passion, because they follow their carnal desires; but they will move from principle and in view of the glory of God. The Lord brings his children over the same ground again and again, increasing the pressure until perfect humility fills the mind, and the character is transformed; then they are victorious over self, and in harmony with Christ and the Spirit of heaven.

The purification of God’s people cannot be accomplished without suffering. God permits the fire of affliction to consume the dross, to separate the worthless from the valuable, in order that the pure metal may shine forth. He passes us from one fire to another, testing our true worth. True grace is willing to be tried. If we are loath to be searched by the Lord, our condition is one of peril. God is the refiner and purifier of souls. He places us in the heat of the furnace, that the dross may be forever separated from the true gold of Christian character. Jesus watches the test. He knows just what fire of temptation and trial is needed to purify the precious metal, in order that the radiance of divine love may be reflected. E. White, Review & Herald April 10, 1894

Some of you reading may know what I am talking about when I speak of the necessity of suffering; others perhaps have been wondering. Perhaps reading these paragraphs has proven a little helpful in coming to conclusions in this matter. To gain the full benefit, read the rest of Gregory Mantle’s chapter from Beyond Humiliation: “The School of Obedience.”

You can find more resources on the meaning of trials at path2prayer.com.

 

On Confession

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

“Confess your faults, one to another.” James 5:15

“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” Matthew 18:15-17

In studying revival I have found confession was often a continuing ingredient of ALL genuine revival movements.

One of the great revivalists of Christian history, Jonathan Goforth, made confession a central part of his efforts. And God blessed his efforts and marvelous revivals swept China and Korea. Later, wanting to bring revival to his own country Canada, and seeking to use the same methods that had been so blessed in Asia, he met resistance and was eventually thwarted, something which gave him much sadness in later life.

What does it mean to confess? Does it mean to share everything ever done with anyone present? Are there some things that should only be confessed to another individual, some to a larger group, and some ONLY to God?

From what I’ve studied, confession is absolutely necessary to a vibrant Christian life, but confession should be made in a particular way, in the appropriate setting, and to the appropriate people. Failure to do so brings reproach upon God, opens the way for greater temptation, tempts others to do the same thing, give Satan opportunity to cause mischief, and generally works against the desired outcome.

Below are links to articles that I have placed on path2prayer.com from a variety of authors who speak clearly on the subject of confession. I begin with Jonathan Goforth for he actively used confession in all of his meetings.

I hope you will read and be blessed as I have been blessed.

Jonathan Goforth: By My Spirit “Appropriate True Confession”
Charles Finney: “On Confession and Being Cleansed From Sin”
Andrew Murray: The New Life “Confession of Sin”
J. C. Ryle “Do You Confess”
Ellen White: “The Duty of Confession”
Ellen White: Steps to Christ “True Confession”
Ellen White: “Erroneous Ideas of Confession”

If you want to read more on this subject, I strongly recommend Goforth’s By My Spirit, his recounting of revival work in Korea.

Learn more about the more abundant life at path2prayer.com.

James McConkey: Holy Ground

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

What does it mean to continually live on Holy Ground? This is the question that James Mcconkey seeks to answer in his booklet, Holy Ground.

In the booklet, McConkey shows how consecration, responding to God’s call at GOD’S TIME, patience, suffering, service, and soul-winning, are all facets of what it means to live on Holy Ground.

Regarding patience, James McConkey says the following:

Much of our prayer life consists in beseeching God to surround us with a new set of circumstances. Instead of that we should pray for grace to stay under the present circumstances while He works out in us His purpose of Christ-likeness. God does not need a new set of circumstances to make you Christ-like. All He needs is for you to “stay under” the old set with which He has environed your life. I question if there is any Christian reading these lines who needs a change of circumstances as much as he needs that Christ-like change in himself which God is seeking to work out as he stays under his present conditions. A young man came into my room one day for a conference. He said he had been praying earnestly to God to make an important change in his environment, but God had failed to do so. So his faith had been much shaken. I suggested that God might have a purpose in keeping him where he was, and that it might be well to submit it all to Him and stay under His hand while He worked out His great purpose. We got down upon our knees together and I prayed that he might make such a committal. I waited a moment to hear it, but when I looked up he was standing with his hand upon the door knob ready to go out. He had no intention nor desire to stay under God’s hand, but was getting ready to get out. We pray to God to change our environment, but when God puts His hand upon us to change us instead of staying under that hand we reach for the door to get out. Of course if God Himself changes our circumstances it is different. But until He does so, it is well for us to stay under our present environment, realizing that the place whereon we stand is the holy ground of patience for us.

This is a VERY INSIGHTFUL discussion on this all important subject. I shared a written copy with a friend of mine today, and she immediately asked for twenty more copies to share with friends in various places. Read it, you will understand why she was so interested!

Here is the link to read James McConkey’s Holy Ground.

Here is where you can find more of the books and pamphlets of James McConkey.

Here is information on practical Christianity.

The God-Planned Life

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path. Prov. 3:5,6

A well known quotation on prayer goes as follows:

He gives “to every man his work.” Each has his place in the eternal plan of heaven. Each is to work in co-operation with Christ for the salvation of souls. Not more surely is the place prepared for us in the heavenly mansions than is the special place designated on earth where we are to work for God. E. White, Christ Object Lessons, p. 326

What this means, of course has been hotly debated. Does it mean that God has a CERTAIN plan and we don’t really have any choice in the matter? Does it mean that we are to park our brains and our good sense at the door and function as robots as God leads us forward? What is the place of human choice in all of this?

In the God-Planned Life, James McConkey gives us much to think about, particularly in the thought that we have been created in a particular way, to achieve a particular end result, which no other person can accomplish in quite in the same way.

He also shares some interesting thoughts on what following God’s plan actually means. For some, to hear a call from God is to immediately abandon what has been going on before and taking up work in some new location, often not using the skills developed over years and doing it in a location, and under circumstances very foreign to the way God seemed to be leading formerly.

Here is what McConkey said on this point:

Talk God’s plan and consecration to it to Christian men and straightway many of them think you mean them to give up their business and head at once for the pulpit or the foreign missionary field. To come into God’s plan is to go into some other place, as they view it. But there never was a greater mistake. Consecration is not necessarily dis-location. Not by any means. God’s plan for a man’s life does not of necessity lift him out from his present realm of life and surroundings. It is not a new sphere God is seeking. It is a new man in the present sphere! It is not transference; it is transformation. The trouble is not usually with the place; it is with the man in the place. And when a man consecrates his life to God to find and enter into God’s perfect plan for that life, God will usually keep him right where he is, but living for God and His kingdom instead of living for self. So until God shows you differently, stay where you are and live for God.

It is interesting that another favorite author, F B Myer, felt the same way and often decried the alacrity with which people abandoned their posts to go and serve God elsewhere. He was quite convicted that usually our primary calling is where we have been planted.

Now I’m not in any way suggesting that we shouldn’t be serving God in some other location, but we need to be CERTAIN of God’s call, and make sure we FOLLOW GOD in pursuing that call. It seems to me that too many are somewhat convicted and go off to do God’s work in their OWN way. Unfortunately the results sometimes fall far short, God is blamed, and He is left on the hook for something that He may not have been intending at all.

Let me know what you think of McConkey’s thoughts on this very important subject after you read The God-Planned Life.

You can find more on guidance at path2prayer.com as well.

Beyond Humiliation 16: Not I, But Christ

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

Most of us are acquainted with the hymn “Not I, But Christ.” Written by A. B. Simpson, his words speak to the desire to have Jesus supreme and the “all in all” in our lives.

Not I, but Christ, be honored, loved, exalted, Not I, but Christ, be seen, be known, be heard, Not I, but Christ, in every look and action, Not I, but Christ, in every thought and word.

Not I, but Christ, to gently soothe in sorrow, Not I, but Christ, to wipe the falling tear, Not I, but Christ, to lift the weary burden, Not I, but Christ, to hush away all fear.

Not I, but Christ, no idle word e’er falling, Christ, only Christ, no needless bustling sound, Christ, only Christ, no self-important bearing, Christ, only Christ, no trace of “I” be found.

Not I, but Christ, my every need supplying, Not I, but Christ, my strength and health to be; Christ, only Christ, for body, soul, and spirit, Christ, only Christ, live then Thy life in me.

Christ, only Christ, ere long will fill my vision; Glory excelling soon, full soon I’ll see Christ, only Christ, my every wish fulfilling — Christ, only Christ, my all in all to be.

Of course the challenge is how to bring about His supremacy and the desired “all in all” experience? Is is something we do by trying really hard? Is it something that comes as we “die to self”? Is it by being a part of an accountability group? All of these methods and more have been tried, but with limited, transitory, success.

As I write, I am reminded that the ever struggling Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission, experienced new victory as a result of his friend McCarthy sharing a few lines from the book Christ is All by Henry Law.

Since his day many Christians have been seeking answers.

In this “Not I, But Christ” chapter, Mantle shows that the secret is not only putting something off, but also putting something on.

Here are three paragraphs to hopefully whet your appetite to read the entire chapter.

The secret of possessing an unfailing love is to claim the fulfillment, moment by moment, of Christ’s own desire, “That the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (John xvii. 26). The indwelling of Jesus, and the indwelling of Divine Love, are conceived of here as one and the same thing, and they truly are inseparable The conditions on which this love may become ours are clearly revealed. They are separation from the world: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (v.16); obedience to the Word: “The words which Thou gavest Me I have given unto them, and they received them” (v.8); and unity with the children of God: “That they may be one” (v.22). …

We cannot be too frequently reminded that it is only by “putting on” Christ that we “put off” self. Our moral nature abhors the vacuum that would be created by an old affection taking its departure from the innermost chambers of our being, without any new affection to succeed it. The old monarch — the imperious I — will retain his position until the new monarch — Incarnate Love — is invited to supplant the tyrant, restore tranquillity, and enthrone Himself in our nature. The ruling monarch will not abdicate at a mandate from the chair of reason; nothing can displace him but the all-victorious rivalship of Jesus, whose love is the divinely appointed prescription for the exorcism of self. “He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him Who died for them and rose again.” “I saw,” said George Fox, “a sea of light, and a sea of ink; and the sea of light flowed into the sea of ink, and swept it away for ever.” …

We cannot close this chapter more appropriately than by quoting the words of that robust thinker and manly Christian, the lamented Dr. R. W. Dale. “We must ‘put away’ our old self. It is not in a single limb or a single organ that we are affected; the very springs of life are foul; corruption has already set in. The whole structure of our former moral character and habits must be demolished and the ruins cleared away, that the building may be recommenced from its very foundation. We are to ‘put on’ Christ. We are to make our own every separate element of His righteousness and holiness. We are to make His humility ours, and His courage, His gentleness, and His invincible integrity; His abhorrence of sin, and His mercy for the penitent; His delight in the righteousness of others, and His patience for their infirmities; the quiet submission with which He endured His own sufferings, and His compassion for the sufferings of others; His indifference to ease and wealth and honor, and His passion for the salvation of men from all their sins and all their sorrows. We are to make His perfect faith in the Father ours, and His perfect loyalty to the Father’s authority; His delight in doing the Father’s will; His zeal for the Father’s glory. The perfection at which we have to aim is not a mere dream of the imagination, but the perfection which human nature has actually reached in Christ. Christ’s human perfection was really human, but it was the translation into a human character and history of the life of God. He is living still. The fountains of my life are in Him. It is the eternal purpose of the Father, that as the branch receives and reveals the life which is in the vine, I should receive and reveal the life which is in Christ. When, therefore, I attempt to ‘put on’ Christ, or to make my own the perfect humanity which God created in Him, I am not attempting to imitate a perfection which in spirit and form may be alien from my own moral temperament and character, and which may be altogether beyond my strength; I am but developing a life and energy which God has already given to me. If I am in Christ, the spiritual forces which were illustrated in the righteousness and holiness of Christ’s life are already active in my own life.

One of my favorite authors put this way in the book Steps to Christ:

“By faith you became Christ’s and by faith you are to grow up in Him,—by giving and taking. You are to give all,—your heart, your will, your service,—give yourself to Him to obey all His requirements; and you must take all,—Christ, the fullness of all blessing, to abide in your heart, to be your strength, your righteousness, your everlasting helper,—to give you power to obey.” E. White, Steps to Christ, p.70

Here are the words that were so life-changing for Hudson Taylor:

“The Lord Jesus received is holiness begun; the Lord Jesus cherished is holiness advancing; the Lord Jesus counted upon as never absent would be holiness complete…. He is most holy who has most of Christ within, and joys most fully in the finished work. It is defective faith which clogs the feet and causes many a fall.”

Here is where you can find “Not I, But Christ” from Gregory Mantle’s Beyond Humiliation: The Way of the Cross.

There are many articles on practical Christianity on this page of path2prayer.com.

Witnessing Quotations

Saturday, October 13th, 2007

As you may have figured out, I love reading old books. It’s not that I’m into old bindings, but I’m into the glorious message of what God can do in and through His children that isn’t as clearly articulated in our day.

When thinking of books on witnessing, one book that comes to mind is Conant’s Every Member Evangelism. This is a wonderful book and I’ve been adding chapters to path2prayer.com.

Here are some quotations that were meaningful to me. I hope you are also blessed!

The command to go “is a personal, individual command to every child of God to go into his own personal world and do soul-winning witnessing to every creature…. We are never told to ‘either go or send.’ It is God’s prerogative to send; not ours. We are commanded to do one thing only, and that is to GO. And that is a command that cannot be obeyed by proxy; it can be obeyed only in person.” J.E. Conant, Every Member Evangelism, (NY, Evanston: Harper & Row, 1922) p. x

“While the Great Commission is sufficient authority for every-member-evangelism, it is not and cannot become sufficient motive. We may be authorized, and urged, and commanded to take the Gospel in person to the lost, but the power to go does not lie in a command; it lies in a Person.” J.E. Conant, Every Member Evangelism, p. xi

“It is not we who win the lost by the help of Christ, it is Christ himself who does the soul-winning through the lives and lips of yielded disciples. And so it is not so much a question either of equipment or lack of it, as it is a question of his absolute possession and control, by the Holy Spirit, of whatever equipment we may have.” J.E. Conant, Every Member Evangelism, p. xi

“We are to discover that every Christian without exception, is to do this work; then we are to learn that no Christian, no matter what his capacity and training, can possibly do it; then we are to find that he whose commands are always his enablings is the only one who can do it, and that he will and does do it through every yielded disciple…” J.E. Conant, Every Member Evangelism, p. xii

“It was the private witnessing of all the disciples, reaching its climax and culmination in the public witnessing of one disciple, that brought the results of that day. In other words, Peter’s sermon was the climax of that which had preceded; and if the private witnessing had not preceded the public witnessing, there is not the least likelihood that any such results would have followed.” J.E. Conant, Every Member Evangelism, p. 14

“All over the land to-day there are churches that are practically powerless and fruitless because they are giving themselves over to multiplied forms of service which are not a direct appeal to the lost to receive Christ. The church that makes that appeal its one great business is always prosperous and powerful, and its growth is both certain in numbers and symmetrical in spiritual character.” J.E. Conant, Every Member Evangelism, p. 22

“Pastors and evangelists are not appointed to be the professional soul-winners of the Church, but ‘for the perfecting of God’s people in their appointed service’ of witnessing and soul-winning.” J.E. Conant, Every Member Evangelism, p. 22

“The main business of the pastor is not the preparation and delivery of sermons and addresses so much as the development, whether by sermon or by any other method, of every member in his church into a soul-winner. His sermons-at least those to Christians-ought always to have this in view.” J.E. Conant, Every Member Evangelism, p. 24

“The Lord has given every pastor to his Church that he may train the members in soul-winning , even to the point of going right out on to the field with them and doing it by their side, or helping them to do it until they learn how, using the skilled ones in turn to help train beginners, until there is a church full of skilled and successful soul-winners.” J.E. Conant, Every Member Evangelism, p. 25

“No one can ever learn how to win the lost by studying books or listening to sermons and to addresses…. He can learn how only by going out into the field and doing it.” J.E. Conant, Every Member Evangelism, p. 25

“The Church is set in the world to win the lost to Christ. Anything that will open the way for more effective witnessing to Christ is, therefore not out of harmony with the mission of the Church…. The moment it (social service) descends to a mere sympathetic and humanitarian relief of human need, with no reference to direct soul-wining work, it ceases to be a proper activity of the Church as such. J.E. Conant, Every Member Evangelism, p. 28

“’The poor always ye have with you’ (John 13:8), said Christ when he was on earth, and he himself had great compassion for the sick and afflicted. But you will notice that he only began at the blind man’s eyes, the lame man’s feet, and the deaf man’s ears, and that then he kept on going, until he got to their sin and gave them forgiveness.” J.E. Conant, Every Member Evangelism, p. 28

“When we begin to go in obedience to the divine command and in the fullness of the divine power, then the lost of the world will begin to come. We can never expect the world to come to us for the message; we must go to them with the message.” J.E. Conant, Every Member Evangelism, p. 31

“We cannot build a finely appointed spiritual fishing station on a prominent corner, and then expect the fish to come hurrying in from everywhere to be caught, even when we put on a special fishing campaign. If we are to catch men for Christ we must go where they are.” J.E. Conant, Every Member Evangelism, p. 32

“The Lord never commanded us to pray for a harvest! But why not? Because the harvest is always white and ready to be gathered. But he did command us to pray for harvesters. The supreme and crying need is for harvesters to go out into the field after the harvest, for the harvest will never come in out of the fild to be gathered.” J.E. Conant, Every Member Evangelism, p. 33

“Once let a Christian become obedient and go with the Gospel into his own world, and he will be on fire with enthusiasm to co-operate, financially and in every other way, with those who need help to go into their personal worlds.” J.E. Conant, Every Member Evangelism, p. 34

“We are authorized, not to say commanded, to divide the field in which we are located, and into which we are to go with our testimony, into such districts as will enable us systematically to cover the whole field with our message.” J.E. Conant, Every Member Evangelism, p. 36

Enjoy more from Conant’s wonderful book at these links at path2prayer.com:

Empowering Life of Christ

Overflowing Life of Christ

Also learn more about witnessing at the Christian Witnessing page.

Witnessing: Through Sharing Videos

Friday, October 12th, 2007

Sharing evangelistic videos is one of the most effective ways to reach out to other people for the Lord Jesus.

I know this to be true, because I once attended a church where evangelistic videos were used extensively in preparing for the meetings, and we were blessed with about 80 people being baptized–includes rebaptisms–for a church that had 120 or so people normally attending.

In preparing for meetings, the members began taking videos to anyone who had expressed interest in the church, or had purchased a publication relating to the church. The speaker was great and many individuals were willing to watch the video in the privacy of their home.

Opening night had a good turnout, attendance continued growing night after night, and eventually, by the 10th night, there was standing room only. Along the way both newspapers in town had also sent reporters to figure out what was going on.

Obviously, by that time it wasn’t ONLY the videos that were bringing people, but the videos had played a major role in bringing the original group, had inspired them to invite friends, brought them out, and eventually many individuals came to hear for themselves–even the pastors in town began reacting and talking to their members about the meetings.

Like I said, we had wonderful results and I will never forget the thrill of seeing over 40 people get baptized one evening.

One of those people was my friend Sam who first learned about the meetings by watching the videos that were being dropped off to his Mom. She eventually lost interest in watching, but he kept watching. He eventually found an invite to the meetings in the trash can at his Mom’s house and came. Then he began inviting his rock band friends to come, and by the end of the meetings he was baptized, and later the keyboard person was also baptized. How did it all start? By the sharing of videos.

Sam and some of his friends are still sharing videos to this day–now more than nine years later–and watching people find truth in their own homes. Sam began sharing videos almost immediately after being baptized! Why? He hadn’t gone to any special training, had never attended a Christian school, never been coached on what to do. He just knew he could share a video–hadn’t he shared videos before–and did the same with the religious ones.

I’m personally enthused about sharing videos and at some point had a lengthy visit with one of our church’s leaders, traded some emails and letters with other people, and eventually saw a policy approved that would allow churches to to duplicate their own sharing videos on a broader basis. Granted, though I’ve read the policy–I was sent a copy of that policy–I’ve never seen anything develop further. However, the policy must be on the books somewhere.

You can read a list of ten reasons why you should be using videos and DVDs to witness to your friends at the “sharing videos” page at path2prayer.com, as well as some practical tips on doing so.

If you try sharing videos, please let me know how it goes.

Learn more about witnessing at path2prayer.com on the Christian Witnessing page.