Archive for June, 2005

Welcome!

June 14, 2005

My blog is finally born! I have way too many ramblings, perspectives, questions, studies and gut thoughts that I’m dying to share with anyone who’ll actually read them. Whether it’s an audience of one or a bunch more, this is going to be a blast. Welcome to my world!

A Studdly Life

June 14, 2005

I’ve been thinking about how great it is that youngsters are embracing vintage Christianity. Three years ago I couldn’t have imagined it. They actually like to hear what the old and gone, retro leaders had to say. Thank God! There’s powerful material in there. I’m learning firsthand that nothing’s new. Every time I hear an amazing metaphor I hear something similar from a retro leader. I guess that’s good – so we can modernize our language to a culture. That’s talked about in the bible in very clear terms. Thank God, for now, my pursuit in modernizing can take a pit stop and soak in the spiritual hero’s. Their words reveal so much – particularly to me how much they TRUSTED our Heavenly Father – the same kind of bond we’re all after.

Today, I’m a jottin some C.T. Studd quotes. Ooh! I feel like to not share some of these magnetic, beguiling, power-packed lines would be selfish. Allow me to take you on a journey through a bucket of spiritual aphorisms!

Yes, these are provoking thoughts for all you studdly folks. I was thinking of writing a update but Amber and I both agree that we get so many information sources that we don’t enjoy a long and compelling letter. So in reality, this is more of a upend than a update.

C.T. Studd was a famous Cricketer in England who chose to forsake his fame and family fortune and follow Hudson Taylor to China. After 21 years in China and India, he unexpectedly received a call to the epicenter of Africa. He left everything and had to trust God for everything. His answer to those who thought he was mad to go was simply: If Jesus Christ be God, and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him

Here’s my favorite for all ye fund-raisers: “Funds are low again, hallelujah! That means God trusts us and is willing to leave His reputation in our hands.” In fund-raising if we begin with nothing then our potential is huge. You can only go up. It was James who said the poor are honored and the rich are humbled. Either or, we have the God of the universe as our CEO.

I hear a lot of opinions all the time about seminary training. Personally, on some days I’d like to blow up cemetaries, uh…I mean seminaries but I guess they can be useful too. Seminaries teach a bunch of knowledge, definition-frenzies and even some bad practicality. Of course, God does call some to go to seminary and that’s what’s important. In any case, my man C.T. had a few perspective-lined thoughts too: “The best training for a soldier of Christ is not merely a theological college. They always seem to turn out sausages of varying lengths, tied at each end, without the glorious freedom a Christian ought to abound and rejoice in. You see, when in hand-to-hand conflict with the world and the devil, neat little biblical confectionery is like shooting lions with a pea-shooter: one needs a man who will let himself go and deliver blows right and left as hard as he can hit, trusting in the Holy Ghost. It’s experience, not preaching that hurts the devil and confounds the world. The training is not that of the schools but of the market: it’s the hot, free heart and not the balanced head that knocks the devil out. Nothing but forked-lightning Christians will count. A lost reputation is the best degree for Christ’s service. It is not so much the degree of arts that is needed, but that of hearts, loyal and true, that love not their lives to the death: large and loving hearts which seek to save the lost multitudes, rather than guard the ninety-nine well-fed sheep in the British pen.”

Okay, living in a prozac culture can be discouraging at times. Can I hear paradox? I think part of the problem is…besides sitting in front of a computer and TV over four hours a day (US average) we should be out and about serving the Lord, trusting Him and laying our life on the cutting edge fine lines a little more. Ole C.T. said, “The best cure for discouragement or qualms is another daring plunge of faith.” If only I lived like that…when it’s soo easy to enjoy all my movies.

Comfort and Convenience. The killers of a Christian walk. This is right where I’m trying to war against because God gives us so much freedom. But Christianity is earmarked with suffering…can I hear the cross? Paying a price is a good thing. I think we should get real good at EMBRACING the price b/c the dream can’t be fulfilled without the dreamers being molded into the person God needs him to “be”. Emphasis on “be”, rather than “do”. Like we said earlier: “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”

One of the reasons we don’t like to pay the price is because when we do we get gutted in more ways than one by the slickest, slyest of them all: the devil. Mr. Studd nails it here. I’ve had to read the fourth one at least five times. Whoa.

“Here’s my final advice to my followers:
1. If you don’t desire to meet the Devil during the day, meet Jesus before dawn.
2. If you don’t want the Devil to hit you, hit him first, and hit him with all your might, so that he may be too crippled to hit back. ‘Preach the Word’ is the rod the Devil fears and hates.
3. If you don’t want to fall – walk, and walk straight and walk fast!
4. Three of the Devil’s dogs with which he hunts us are:
Swelled head.
Laziness.
Cupidity.”

I remember traveling overseas a couple years ago. “I know so much and have so much to offer,” I thought. Yeah right! I knew stuff, not the God-given Word like these men who have nothing, except the Word. It’s the whole preach what you live thing. I’m still a-learnin. I don’t know much at all and that’s okay because it’s right there in the Word. The Word truly does take you hostage when you pursue it and challenge it. C.T. gave me some perception on this. I need to read this every day!
“Our recruits come out from home vastly raw and are largely parrots. They have been crammed with religion as though for an examination, and seem to come out to carry on their education rather than finish it. So many are just taught doctrines without ever having thought them out or searched the Scriptures for themselves. They come out like infants with pop guns. They need to be trained into soldiers with real devil-defying weapons. Some arrive thinking they are the last thing in high-class Christianity and have to find out they know little. That is why I keep the newcomers here at base for a time till I can make them really think out things and settle questions, not from hearsay but from Bible-say.”

Preach it C.T.! “How could I spend the best years of my life in living for the honours of this world, when thousands of souls are perishing every day?”
“Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.” Will the church mourn your loss and will the devil throw a party when you die?

Allow me to pose a question: Is the Christian walk that easy? “Very many are half asleep or deluded, and make up fancy doctrines of their own, which practically mean that an unholy man can get to heaven without being holy. But remember, Christ did not die to whitewash us, He died to re-create us, and none but His re-creations enter heaven.”

God wants action and I’m happy about that because I stink at this patience thing. Patience is required most right now as He tries to mold me in character. I’m truly all about living as a warrior. What challenges me is living as a warrior in holiness and loving-kindness. That’s where the miracle of God comes into play. I like to fight more than I like to love, but as I get to know Him a merge is taking place. All of sudden I’m taken hostage by love.
“Too long have we been waiting for one another to begin! The time of waiting is past! The hour of God has struck! War is declared! In God’s Holy Name let us arise and build! ‘The God of Heaven, He will fight for us’, as we for Him. We will not build on the sand, but on the bedrock of the sayings of Christ, and the gates and minions of hell shall not prevail against us. Should such men as we fear? Before the world, aye, before the sleepy, lukewarm, faithless, namby-pamby Christian world, we will dare to trust our God, we will venture our all for Him, we will live and we will die for Him, and we will do it with His joy unspeakable singing aloud in our hearts. We will a thousand times sooner die trusting only our God, than live trusting in man. And when we come to this position the battle is already won, and the end of the glorious campaign in sight. We will have the real Holiness of God, not the sickly stuff of talk and dainty words and pretty thoughts; we will have a Masculine Holiness, one of daring faith and works for Jesus Christ.”
Difficulties, dangers, disease, death, or divisions don’t deter any but Chocolate Soldiers from executing God’s Will. When someone says there is a lion in the way, the real Christian promptly replies, “That’s hardly enough inducement for me; I want a bear or two besides to make it worth my while to go.”

I hear you…that’s enough. But I leave you with one more Studd line. It’s truly studly:

“Some wish to live within the sound
Of Church or Chapel Bell.
I want to run a rescue shop
within a yard of Hell.”

Go get em this week! Live hard and faithful for God’s glory.

Bryan

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