Month: August 2016

George Mueller vs Howard Hughes

Posted on Updated on

I have studied both of these men and when I read this quote from a new book I found it worth reading.  Welcome to Monday and a new week.
Generosity and Your Wealth
Howard Hughes was one of the wealthiest men to have lived in the past two hundred years. He was an aviator, an investor, a filmmaker, a business tycoon, an engineer, a hotelier, and an entrepreneur. Yet he was one of the most eccentric, troubled people you could ever come across. Hughes was known as a pleasure-seeking playboy with an aversion to giving. As he grew older, he accumulated more and more wealth, amassing a fortune of over $2.5 billion.
Despite his substantial wealth, Hughes was known as stingy, self-centered, and selfish, allowing his fortune to create an artificial barrier between himself and all those who cared for him. Even as he suffered tremendously with mental and physical health, he pushed away everybody in his life. Hughes became a recluse and was known to lock himself away in one place for months at a time. By the time of his death, he was practically unrecognizable. He died miserable, sad, and alone. His life was one of selfishness and greed. His wealth became a prison, condemning him to a lonely life and death.
In sharp contrast to Hughes, George Müller lived a life marked by radical generosity, although he began life with a purpose similar to Howard Hughes’s and was known for stealing, gambling debts, drunkenness, and lewd stories. However, Müller experienced a spiritual transformation and set out to serve God and bring Him glory.
Müller and his wife were deeply affected by the plight of orphans roaming the streets in their town of Bristol, England. They decided to begin an orphanage and determined that they would never ask for money. Whenever they had a need, they brought it to God and watched Him provide. During his life Müller received over 1.5 million pounds in donations. He directed every pound to serving the orphans in his care. He and his wife cared for more than 10,000 orphans, sharing their lives and Christ with each of them.
When Müller died, he had influenced countless souls and is remembered as one of the greatest men of faith in history. He never held on to what was given to him but invested it in other people, and God always provided for him and the orphans. When any orphan became old enough to leave the orphanage, Müller placed a Bible in the orphan’s right hand and a coin in the orphan’s left hand. He prayed with the child and told him that if he clung tightly to what was in his right hand, God would always make sure he had something in his left hand.

Both of these men had what many of us long for. Howard Hughes had great wealth and power; George Müller, great faith and impact. However, in these two contrasting stories we see the destructive force of greed and the life-giving force of generosity. Only one of these men lived a life worth emulating, a life filled with joy and wonder. I recently heard a quotation by a Canadian man named Carey Nieuwhof that fittingly sums up these two stories: “There are no inspiring stories of accumulation, only inspiring stories of sacrifice.”

 

Excerpted from God Owns It All 
by Ron Blue.
© 2016. LifeWay Press

Preparing one another for Mature ministry – Ephesians 4

Posted on

As we sent off Ben and Anna to their new ministry in Lincoln, California, Pastor Steve asked us to consider who we are training next. We spent four-five years training Ben and almost two years training Anna. They leave us well prepared for mature ministry. We have a church with several young people and young adults, as Paul called us to prepare one another for the work of the ministry, who are we going to prepare now?

 

The Ultimate Leader

Posted on

John 12

23 But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

Jesus did more than tell his followers what to do; He showed them what to do.  First He told them then He showed them.

In the glorification of the Son of God, which took place at the resurrection, there was a process of dying and death.  It is this process that Jesus taught us here.  If you pick up a handful of grain that grain is going to be nice and round and ready to be put in the ground.  When the grain is put into the ground it splits open thus giving its life, it can never be planted again, for the stalk to grow and the new grain to multiply.  As long as that grain seed is on the shelf or out of the dirt it remains by itself, alone.  But when that grain is put in the ground and splits open, thus giving its life away, then it has company and knows its purpose.

Jesus uses this illustration to teach us the reason for His death and then tells us to follow Him.  Jesus did not love His life unto the death but gave of His life for the ransom of many.  If Jesus had chosen not to die His life would not have been multiplied and like the seed on the shelf His life would not have fulfilled its eternal purpose.  So then we too have an eternal purpose which is to plant our lives into the lives of others so that we can bear eternal fruit unto God.  If we keep our lives from dying for Christ, Galatians 2:20, we will never enjoy the fruit, the benefit of why we were created.

Only when we lose our lives will we find them.  Only when we hate our lives here will we keep them for eternal life.  Only when we follow Christ as He both described and demonstrated will we know the honor of God the Father both now and forever.

Yes, Jesus taught us well and yes, He demonstrated the lesson.  Let us lose our lives in His.  Let us die to our own lives so that others may join us for eternity.

It is Friday. It is a busy day for many of us.  Remember to pray for one another to know the joy of the Lord, the victory of the Holy Spirit, and Divine appointments for God’s glory. 

Pray for Sunday and for the wonderful opportunities God has for us to gather around His Word.  I look forward to seeing you. 

Our presidential candidates are imploding.  This is no surprise to students of human character.  Neither candidate has demonstrated a life of godly character so it is no surprise when things about their godless character come out.  Pray for God to show this country His plan and purpose.  Gather with other Christians for greater and more fervent prayer for our country.  I have seen more emphasis on prayer than ever before.  Perhaps this is one of God’s designs for His people in America.  We must seek His face for the future of ourselves and of our children as Americans. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Show them Jesus

Posted on

John 12

20 Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. 21 Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

When I was a teenager my father took me to preach a sermon at Pacific Garden Mission on State Street in Chicago.  It was a place for me to determine if this was what I was going to do for the rest of my life.  It was an exercise in study and proclamation of the Gospel.  While I was excited to go there, I was also quite scared.  We met with Harry Salner who was the director; Mr. Salner prayed before every service with all who were going to be a part of that service.  He prayed fervently for the men to be saved and to follow Jesus.  Then we went out to the platform and before long it was my turn.  I think I was sixteen years old.  As I walked up to the pulpit and realized that hundreds of men had preached from it I read the brass plate on the pulpit which only the speaker could read.  It said this and it set the tone of my heart from that day forward: “Sirs, we would see Jesus.”

The men in the mission did not need to see young Steve Schroeder nor did they need to see a seasoned preacher, they needed to see Jesus.

When the Greeks came to Phillip, who was an Apostle, they were not impressed with Phillip for they wanted to see Jesus.  How easy it is to get a false self-inflated view of our own importance.  Whether people know us or not may or may not be of significance but if through us people see Jesus that has eternal significance.

Whom are you pointing to Jesus?  At work, do people see you or do they see Jesus in you?  At home, does your family see you or do they see Jesus in you?  In the community, do people see you or do they see Jesus in you?  We are selfish, Christ is selfless.  We are self-exalting, Christ is God exalting, and so on.

As these Greek men wanted to see Jesus so do those around us.  Pray today for someone to see Jesus in you.

Well, last night was a huge blessing and answer to prayer.  Many were concerned about Ben’s leaving having a negative impact on our youth group.  Mike Sell and his fiancé Ashley came last night. Kyle put together a great new game, and the teens unified!  It was wonderful to see God continuing His work amongst us.  Mike stepped up in several ways and drew the teens to himself and pointed them to the Lord.  We are rejoicing in what God has done and thanking Him for continuing His work here. 

Pray for our brothers and sisters both in Christ and in the flesh who are suffering with loss of homes both in California and in Louisiana.  The pain they are facing is immense as is the rebuilding they have to face.  Pray for churches to step up with care and concern and help for these in great need. Pray for the gospel to be freely proclaimed and received.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

God’s purposes in our greatest pain

Posted on

John 12

12 The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out:

“Hosanna!

‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’

The King of Israel!”

14 Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written:

15     “Fear not, daughter of Zion;

Behold, your King is coming,

Sitting on a donkey’s colt.”

16 His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.

17 Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness. 18 For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign. 19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!”

 

When Jesus did not come quickly to keep Lazarus from dying, Mary and Martha rebuked him.  The others there also wondered why Jesus did not come to keep Lazarus from death.  But Jesus had a greater purpose. He knew that by raising Lazarus from the dead God would be glorified and more people would believe that Jesus was the Christ.  Notice in verse 17 the reference to Lazarus resurrection.  After the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday, it is noted that a part of the people’s reaction to hail Jesus as King was due to the raising of Lazarus from the dead.

Mary and Martha had to go through the sorrow of the death of their beloved brother.  They had to go through the intense questioning of heart wondering why Jesus did not come and do something.  Their faith wavered and collapsed as is evident by their rebuking of the Savior.  But God had a bigger plan.  God let them go through that apparent difficulty because He had a much greater and larger plan that required the death of their brother.  God was looking to the Triumphal Entry as a fulfillment of prophecy which required the people have a greater belief in Jesus as the Christ.  The raising of Lazarus provided that extra measure of belief and worship.

Before we think that God has left us alone, before we think that God has missed something important, we need to ask for the eyes of faith to see what God has in mind.  His purposes are eternal and they always exalt His great name.  The immediate situation may appear bleak and painful but there is going to be a greater purpose from our pain.  Jesus did not forsake Mary and Martha.  He was doing the will of the Father who knew what needed to happen.  Jesus has never forsaken us and never will.  Let us not ever be guilty of blaming the Lord for a situation that He could have fixed if He had just shown up.  Instead, let us ask for an increase of faith to be able to see what God is doing through our human tragedies.

There will not be kids club tonight nor next Wednesday.  There will be youth group tonight as it is Mike’s first night with our teens.  Pray for Mike as he steps into this new position.  Pray for him to have a love and a compassion for our teens that they will sense and trust.   We will also have prayer time and Bible study.

On Sunday, one of our church family commented on the strengths of our church and then asked me why our church is not bigger.  I have pondered this often over the years.  As I read the book, Reverberation, I find the authors answer to be clear.  As a church, how much do we talk about, reverberate, the message of the Word of God into our community?  People don’t come to church unless someone invites them. We do have much to offer but unless we bring people in they won’t know what we have.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Our Tribute to Ben and Anna Schroeder on their last Sunday with us.

Posted on

We took some time in this service on August 14th to tell Ben and Anna how much they meant to us.  Thanks Ben and Anna for your godly and selfless service to GFL.