Monday, June 25, 2012

True Disciples

There are so many theological perspectives and practices concerning how to live as a true, believing, loving disciple of Jesus. Each tends toward emphasizing certain aspects of the total process, and so bears a certain kind of fruit.

Differing types of Christians are like a great variety of flavors, each drawing different people into their focus and then re-creating more like themselves.

Although God uses each of these flavors to bring forth His kingdom in a variety of ways, each is also missing aspects or elements that would actually make any of us stronger disciples.

The greatest good would result if all these emphases were combined in some way. Hybrids in the natural world, whether animals or plants, are combined together to be stronger, hardier, and yield a greater harvest.

Wisely and carefully mixing the deepest Biblical truths from a variety of traditions or theologies, could create disciples who look more like Jesus, instead of looking like any of us or our distinctives!

Those who are becoming more fully like Jesus would be consistently focused on:
  • deep, wholehearted loving of believers, neighbors, strangers, and enemies.
  • generous  Spirit-led giving as good stewards of God's spiritual and material resources.
  • holy fruitfulness by God's Spirit.
  • humble servanthood toward all.
  • supernaturally initiated and empowered good works of faith.
  • fulfilling their unique giftings, callings, and destiny.
  • growing in the true knowledge and continuous application of the truth of God's word.
  • fully knowing Jesus is in them and they in Him.
  • glorifying our heavenly Father above all else.
Although any of these elements is in itself amazing, a lifelong process of them all together growing in and flowing out of us by God's manifold grace, would be greater still!

~Neil Uniacke
Executive Director

Friday, June 15, 2012

"God Is Faithful"

As the secretary at New Hope, one of my duties is to make the schedule for writing the blog that we post on our website each week. I didn't realize when I made the schedule in April that I had assigned myself the weekend of Father's Day and I certainly didn't realize that when that date arrived I would no longer have a father.

My dad died on May 3, 2012. Some of you may remember that I wrote about my father in the blog that was posted on September 19, 2011. Dad lived next door to me and for the past six years I have regularly spent the 1/2 hour between 7:00 and 7:30 pm with him as we chatted about the day's events and watched Jeopardy together.

My dad had an easy chair that he liked to sit in and beside the chair he kept his Bible and other reading materials. In the morning he always had his devotions and throughout the day he would meditate on it and write notes to himself and keep them beside his chair or in his Bible. As we visited together in the evening, he usually shared with me the scripture that he was meditating on that day.

On the last evening before he died, my son Jay visited with him. Dad was really tired, and didn't talk much but as Jay was saying his good-bye, my dad thanked him for coming and said to him, "God is faithful." These words were almost the final ones that Dad would say. Early the next morning he died in his sleep.

I miss my dad and I have not been able to bring myself to watch Jeopardy since his death. That show was a special time for the two of us and right now the memory is still too fresh and recent. However, God has been faithful to me as well and I am doing okay. I am able to understand and appreciate what a blessing it was that Dad died peacefully at home. He was ready to die and was excited about meeting his Lord and Savior who had been so faithful to him throughout his life. I know that eventually I will probably watch Jeopardy again and when I do it will bring back good memories of time spent with my father.

Life is a journey. Sometimes the journey is easy and sometimes it is difficult. But through it all, God is faithful.

Mary Lehman
New Hope Secretary

                                                     My Dad and his friend Chip

Monday, June 11, 2012

Jesus, I Am Resting

Difficulties come at unexpected times. They can cause us to fall apart, or to fall on our knees. When my husband was injured in September, my mind went to the words of the song "Jesus I am Resting." The beautiful words of the song went through my mind many times.

Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee, and Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power Thou has made me whole.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus, I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless, satisfies my heart--
Satisfies its deepest longings, meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings: Thine is love indeed!

Ever lift Thy face upon me as I work and wait for Thee;
Resting 'neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus, earth's dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father's glory, Sunshine of my Father's face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting, fill me with Thy grace.

Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart.

As my husband recovered I rested in knowing who God is. He is good all the time. He is always with me. He sees. He knows. He understands. He loves me and is full of grace and mercy.

Those days were difficult. But, I got through those days resting in knowing who God is and that He was always with me. When you go through deep trials, I hope that you find rest in God alone through those difficult days.

~Deb Riddell
Closet Manager

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

No Reserves. No Retreats. No Regrets.

"Do not put out the Spirit's fire" - 1 Thessalonians 5:19

At the Naaman Center Spring Banquet on June 4, 2012, guest speaker Dr. Peter W. Teague, ED, President of Lancaster Bible College shared some amazing stories with us. One of them was the life testimony of William Borden. Here is his story of courage and conviction:

In 1904 William Borden graduated from a Chicago high school. As heir to the Borden family fortune, he was already wealthy. For his high school graduation present, his parents gave 16-year-old Borden a trip around the world. As the young man traveled through Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, he felt a growing burden for the world's hurting people. Finally, Bill Borden wrote home about his "desire to be a missionary." One friend expressed disbelief that Bill was "throwing himself away as a missionary." In response, Borden wrote two words in the back of his Bible: "No reserves."

Even though young Borden was wealthy, he arrived on the campus of Yale University in 1905 trying to look like just one more freshman. Very quickly, however, Borden's classmates noticed something unusual about him and it wasn't that he had lots of money. One of them wrote: "He came to college far ahead, spiritually, of any of us. He had already given his heart in full surrender to Christ and had really done it. We who were his classmates learned to lean on him and find in him a strength that was solid as a rock, just because of this settled purpose and consecration." During his college years, Bill Borden made an entry in his personal journal that defined what his classmates were seeing in him. That entry said simply: "Say 'no' to self and 'yes' to Jesus every time."

Borden's first disappointment at Yale came when the university president spoke in a convocation about the students' need of "having a fixed purpose." After that speech, Borden wrote: "He neglected to say what our purpose should be, and where we should get the ability to persevere and the strength to resist temptations." Surveying the Yale faculty and much of the student body, Borden lamented what he saw as the end result of an empty, humanistic philosophy: moral weakness and sin-ruined lives.

During his first semester, Borden started something that would transform campus life. One of his friends described how it began: "It was well on in the first term when Bill and I began to pray together in the morning before breakfast. I cannot say positively whose suggestion it was, but I feel sure it must have originated with Bill. We had been meeting only a short time when a third student joined us and soon after a fourth. The time was spent in prayer after a brief reading of Scripture. Bill's handling of Scripture was helpful....He would read to us from the Bible, show us something that God had promised and then proceed to claim the promise with assurance."

Borden's small morning prayer group gave birth to a movement that soon spread across the campus. By the end of his first year, 150 freshman were meeting weekly for Bible study and prayer. By the time Bill Borden was a senior, 1,000 of Yale's 1,300 students were meeting in such groups. Borden made it his habit to seek out the most "incorrigible" students and try to bring them to salvation. "In his sophomore year we organized Bible study groups and divided up the class of 300 or more, each man interested taking a certain number, so that all might, if possible, be reached. The names were gone over one by one, and the question asked, 'Who will take this person?' When it came to someone thought to be a hard propositioin, there would be an ominous pause. Nobody wanted the responsibility. Then Bill's voice would be heard, 'Put him down to me.'"

Borden's outreach ministry was not confined to the Yale campus. He cared about widows and orphans and the disabled. He rescued drunks from the streets of New Haven. To try to rehabilitate them, he founded the Yale Hope Mission. One of Bill Borden's friends wrote that he "might often be found in the lower parts of the city at night, on the street, in a cheap lodging house or some restaurant to which he had taken a poor hungry fellow to feed him, seeking to lead men to Christ.

Borden's missionary call narrowed to the Muslim Kansu people in China. Once he fixed his eyes on that goal, Borden never wavered. He also challenged  his classmates to consider missionary service. One of them said of  him: "He certainly was one of the strongest characters I have ever known, and he put backbone into the rest of us at college. There was real iron in him, and I always felt he was of the stuff martyrs were made of, and heroic missionaries of more modern times."

Although he was a millionaire, Bill seemed to "realize always that he must be about his Father's business, and not wasting time in the pursuit of amusement." Although Borden refused to join a fraternity, "he did more with his classmates in his senior year then ever before." He presided over the huge student missionary conference held at Yale and served as president of the honor society Phi Beta Kappa. Upon graduation from Yale, Borden turned down some high-paying job offers. In his Bible, he wrote two more words: "No retreats."

William Borden went on to do graduate work at Princeton Seminary in New Jersey. When he finished his studies at Princeton, he sailed for China. Because he was hoping to work with Muslims, he stopped first in Egypt to study Arabic. While there, he contracted spinal meningitis. Within a month, 25-year-old William Borden was dead.

When the news of William Whiting Borden's death was cabled back to the U.S., the story was carried by nearly every American newspaper. "A wave of sorrow went round the world....Borden not only gave (away) his wealth,* but himself, in a way so joyous and natural that it (seemed) a privilege rather than a sacrifice" wrote Mary Taylor in her introduction to his biography.

Was Borden's untimely death a waste? Not in God's perspective. Prior to his death, Borden had written two more words in his Bible. Underneath the words "No reserves" and "No retreats," he had written: "No regrets."

*Borden bequeathed $1 million to the China Inland Mission and other Christian agencies.

Quotations taken from Borden of Yale, by Mrs. Howard Taylor, Moody Press, Chicago