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Posts tagged ‘stories’

Glimpses 35

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God speaks at home and at traffic lights

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G’day and welcome to Partake Glimpses Stories. Where we see together how Jesus is alive today, working in peoples lives in different ways and is relevant to the world today, 2000 years after He walked the earth, died, rose again and ascended to the right hand of God the Father. Today we have an experienced pastor, Jim Allis, talking about a situation where God undoubtedly entered peoples lives and transformed them. So over to you – Jim!

Hello there! My name is Jim Allis and I have seen Jesus alive in many situations in my life where God without a shadow of a doubt has entered people’s lives and transformed them. Here is one of those encounters!

One morning the Lord revealed to my heart how to help a person to Christ by explaining the Ten Commandments one by one. During this time she would repent and be converted. Her husband would not respond on this occasion but would at a later date.

When I arrived at her home, I turned to Exodus 20 and when I came to the fifth commandment regarding the relationship she had with her parents she turned to her husband and blurted out “I haven’t kept that one. I have not honoured them. Jim, can I get right with God now?” “If you know God is dealing with you” I replied. She did, and oblivious of others in the room listening, she submitted to God and her life was changed, proving she was wonderfully born again that evening. Many years later she is still going on with the Lord.
When her husband saw what was happening to his wife he said “I am not ready for this” I quietly said “ I knew you wouldn’t today, but you will one day.” Some months later just like the Lord said would happen, he was converted as he sat at traffic lights waiting for them to change from red to green. God spoke into his heart and in the time it takes for lights to change he entered into knowing the joy of the Lord as he came clean with God. He too is now a mature believer.

If you have found this helpful, please do let us know how it has helped your own journey of faith. Thank you.

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Glimpses 36

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Jenny from Taiwan

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G’day and welcome to Partake Glimpses Stories! Today I have a special guest from Taiwan giving a glimpse of how she started her Christian walk. She will be speaking in Chinese, so please do let other Chinese speakers know about her testimony. Thank you and over to you, Jenny.

If you have found this helpful, please do leave a comment! Thank you.

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Glimpses 52

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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G’day and welcome to Partake Glimpses Stories, where we see together how Jesus is alive today, working in different peoples lives in different ways. We aim to show Jesus as being relevant to the world today, some 2000 years after He walked the earth, died on a Roman cross, rose again to new life from physical death and ascended back to the right hand of God the Father. Today, once more we take a step back to recent history, into the 20th century, and a very brief glimpse at the Christianity of a well-known Christian.

Beginnings

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born on February 4, 1906 in Germany. He was a a Lutheran pastor and theologian and had spent time studying in the USA and pastored two churches in London, England in the early 1930s. He returned to Germany to lead an illegal training centre for pastors during which time, he also called for more vocal and active opposition from the churches towards Hitler’s treatment of Jews. Because of this, he was forbidden from preaching, teaching, and all speaking in public to gathered audiences. Dietrich was ultimately arrested and imprisoned for his part in a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. What we will concentrate on in this study is how he viewed and lived Christian discipleship. In doing so we will look at some excerpts from two of his published writings “The Cost of Discipleship” and “Letters and Papers from Prison”

Discipleship

Jesus Christ, when He talked about the cost of following Him and being His disciple said this:If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 10:38; 16v24-25)

Echoing these words, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote “When Jesus Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. … Discipleship is not an offer that man makes to Jesus Christ, nor is it hero worship, but intimacy with Christ.” (The Cost of Discipleship). He knew that as a Christian, a person has to take up their own cross in following Jesus and count the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Dietrich also wrote “Earthly goods are given to be used, not to be collected. … The Christian disciple must receive his portion from God every day. If he stores it up as a permanent possession, he spoils not only the gift, but himself as well, for he sets his heart on accumulated wealth, and makes it a barrier between himself and God. Where our treasure is, there is our trust, our security, our consolation and our God. Hoarding is idolatry.” (The Cost of Discipleship)

In a Sermon on 2 Corinthians 12v9, he said that “Christianity stands or falls with its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness and pride of power and with its plea for the weak. Christians adjusts themselves far too easily to the worship of power. Christians should give more offense and shock the world far more than they are doing now. Christians should take a stronger stand in favour of the weak rather than considering first the possible right of the strong.

A Cost of Following Jesus

These are strong and powerful words I am sure you would agree! So did Bonhoeffer’s life match his words? In one extreme example, we look at his first days in prison

“For my first night in prison I was locked up in an admission cell. The blankets in the camp had such a foul smell that in spite of the cold it was impossible to use them. Next morning a piece of bread was thrown into my cell; I had to pick it up from the floor. The sound of the prison’s staff vile abuse of the prisoners who were held for investigation penetrated into my cell for the first time; since then, I have heard it every day from morning to night.

The first night in my cell I could sleep very little because in the next cell a prisoner wept loudly for several hours. Nobody took any notice.

After twelve days the authorities got to know of my family connections. While this was of course, a great relief for me personally, from an objective point of view it was most embarrassing to see how everything changed from that moment,. I was put in a more spacious cell which was cleaned for me daily by one of the men. When the food came round I was offered larger rations, which I always refused, since they would have been at the expense of other prisoners.” (Malcolm Muggeridge, The Third Testament)

So, after just twelve nights in atrocious conditions, because he had good connections on the outside of prison, he was moved to a more spacious, cleaner and quieter cell. He probably had no choice about the cell he was given. He could have just eaten the extra food given to him there. But he decided not to, because to eat that extra food, he would have robbed somebody else. For him, material possessions and food were part of his Christian discipleship – part of the cost of following Jesus Christ faithfully. Just as they are of your Christian discipleship – whether you are aware of it or not.

Speak Out!

But another facet of the cost of Dietrich Bonhoeffer following Jesus was speaking out for those who had no voice. In the case of Bonhoeffer, the Jewish race undergoing systematic persecution and extinction under Hitler and the German Nazis.

He wrote those: “We have been silent witnesses of evil deeds; we have been drenched by many storms; we have learnt the arts of equivocation and pretence; experience has made us suspicious of others and kept us from being truthful and open; … Will our inward power of resistance be strong enough, and our honesty with ourselves remorseless enough, for us to find our way back to simplicity and straightforwardness?Letters and Papers from Prison

He ultimately paid the price for his speaking out for those who had no voice. His life motto could be summed up in these 2 sentences from his writings: “One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons … Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility,” He was eventually hanged on April 9, 1945 following the failure of an assassination attempt on Hitler on July 20, 1944. His life actions echoed his words. How are you counting the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ? What do your material possessions and consumption of necessities of food say about your being a Christian? Are you willing to speak up for those who have no voice in your local community, national community and global community?

If this has helped you in your journey of faith, please do let us know how it has helped your own journey of faith by making a comment below!. Thank you.

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Glimpses 49

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A Father’s Plea!

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G’day and welcome to Partake Glimpses Stories. Where we see together how Jesus is alive today, working in peoples lives in different ways and is relevant to the world today, 2000 years after He walked the earth, died, rose again and ascended to the right hand of God the Father. I tell you today a story told to me by Jim Allis about one of his experiences!

Help Me!

A man who we will call “G” had told me that his daughter just had to get saved and healed. He then asked me to go and see her. He added “She intends going to a spiritualist; please stop her.” I sought the Lord in prayer that morning and I received an assurance in my heart that He was going to heal her, but first she must hear the gospel and become a Christian.

Telling the story

Arriving at her front door she readily invited me in . I said “I know your Dad has told you the way to God; may I have ten minutes to do the same?” She agreed and listened attentively as I went to Genesis 3 and explained how sin came into the world. I moved on to the prophecies in Isaiah concerning the Messiah, and then the fulfilled prophecies in the Gospels, especially dealing with Isaiah 53 in relation to the cross and Jesus purpose in coming into the world. All this I explained is unveiled in the gospels and showed her the relevant passages.

What must I do?

She listened carefully and then said “Can I ask Him now into my heart ?” The Holy Spirit had prepared her, and she prayed and simply, sought forgiveness and asked Jesus into her heart. Then I said “I believe the Lord wants to heal you, what is wrong with you? She said “Well, it’s very painful, tennis elbow” I was ignorant regarding this problem but others tell me it is extremely painful. I prayed with her and our Lord drew near and touched her and she was healed. Praise the Lord! Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever!

If you have found this helpful, please do let us know how it has helped your own journey of faith. Thank you.

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Glimpses 43

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Entrance to the Kingdom

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G’day and welcome to Partake Glimpses Stories. Where we see together how Jesus is alive today, working in peoples lives in different ways and is relevant to the world today, 2000 years after He walked the earth, died, rose again and ascended to the right hand of God the Father. Today we welcome back once more, Jim Allis, an experienced pastor, relating to us a situation where God undoubtedly helped people and shows His relevancy to them. So over to you – Jim!

Born Again?

One Tuesday evening in a meeting , I was preaching John 3 concerning a question Nicodemus asked Jesus . “What does it means to be ‘born again?” Jesus had said “Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God” Jesus then explains it to him . Nicodemus doesn’t understand and thinks he has to return to his mothers womb in order for it to happen.

A lady who was sitting in my congregation was dozing, not because she was bored but because dying from cancer she had drugged herself before she had left her home that night.. Pain always set in when she entered the church . When I had finished preaching I walked down the aisle close to her. As I did so she grabbed my jacket and said “What do you mean we have to become Christians and be born again, isn’t this a Christian country we are living in?” I replied by asking her a question. “Well, what do you think?” She replied ” I suppose the way things are, murders thieving, adulteries and child abuse this can’t be a Christian country and what’s more I know I am not, Please will you help me?” This was a cry from her heart. I was convinced of that.

Home visit!

A day or so later I called on her and gave her a book called “By Searching” by Isabel Khun, a godly missionary. It included an account of how she became a Christian. As I left the house, Mrs D said “I am not there yet. I cannot call Jesus Lord of my life.” I said I would pray for her. A few days later her daughter rang me to say her mum had been rushed into hospital and it was 50/50 whether she would recover from the operation to remove the cancer.

Born Again with New Life!

The day I visited the hospital I will never forget, Earlier I had read God’s word for encouragement and prayed for Mrs D feeling very inadequate to know what I would say to her to comfort her in her extreme condition. Entering the ward I found her sitting in a chair beside her bed looking very pale. However there was a huge smile on her face. Excitedly she said “It’s happened” she explained. ” I can now call Jesus My Lord! I was reading the preface of this book you gave me and the writer explained how she was going through a deep mist but as it cleared she began to understand Jesus purpose in coming into this world”.

Mrs D now could understood about sin, forgiveness and her need of a righteousness not her own to cover her. Mrs D was full of joy and we praised God together.

Dead yet Alive!

The next time I visited the hospital she was in a coma after the operation. I prayed for her aware from experience that my words would be heard in her spirit even though she couldn’t respond . She went to heaven shortly afterwards. How loving and wonderful , full of mercy and compassionate our Lord is. How determined He was to quicken her through His Word before she died. “She must be born again” and she was, and she died in peace

If you have found this helpful, please do let us know how it has helped your own journey of faith. Thank you.

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Glimpses 41

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CS Lewis – Atheist to Theist to Christian

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G’day and welcome to Partake Glimpses Stories. Today we take a step back to recent history, to the 20th century and a glimpse at why and how CS Lewis started his own Christian journey and the relevancy of Jesus Christ to his life! It may not be what you have heard it said to be!

Beginnings

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Clive Staples Lewis was born in Northern Ireland in 1898. If he ever had any christian faith at all during is childhood, he soon lost it and was an avowed atheist during those formative years. The story we tell here is from his autobiographical book “Surprised by Joy” (1982 Fount Paperback), which tells of his journey of, and to, faith. He relates of his search for God, and that eventually he discovered, that in actual fact, God was reaching out for him through human reason, human experience and intellectual honesty. Because of this, the only possible conclusion is the existence of a God or Gods.

Atheism

We start his story in the chapter “Check” on page 136 “… as a schoolboy, I had destroyed my religious life by a vicious subjectivism which made ‘realisations’ the aim of prayer; turning away from God to seek states of mind, and trying to produce those states of my ‘maistry’ “

He continues in the chapter “Checkmate” on page 180: “Really, a young Atheist cannot guard his faith too carefully. Dangers lie in wait for him on every side. You must not do, you must not even try to do, the will of the Father unless you are prepared to ‘know of the doctrine.’ All my acts, desires, and thoughts were to be brought into harmony with universal Spirit. For the first time I examined myself with a seriously practical purpose. And there I found what appalled me; a zoo of lusts, a bedlam of ambitions, a nursery of fears, a hareem of fondled hatreds. My name was legion.

He continues on page 181: “If Shakespeare and Hamlet could ever meet, it must be Shakespeare’s doing. Hamlet could do nothing.” God was pursuing Lewis and it was all on the initiative of God. “Amiable agnostics will talk cheerfully about ‘man’s search for God.’ To me, as I then was, they might as well have talked about the mouse’s search for the cat.

Theism

Now we come to page 182: “Doubtless, by definition, God must be reason itself. But would He also be ‘reasonable’ in that other more comfortable sense? Not the slightest assurance was offered me. Total surrender, the absolute leap in the dark were demanded. … Now, this demand was simply ‘All!’ You must picture me alone in my room at Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England. … The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.

Many writers and speakers, conclude that this is Lewis’s conversion to Christianity. But it is not – it was his conversion from atheism to theism! On the very next line, in the very next chapter “The Beginning” on the very next page, page 184, Lewis writes “It must be understood that the conversion recorded in the last chapter was only a conversion to Theism, pure and simple, not to Christianity. … The God to whom I surrendered was sheerly non-human.” He continues “My conversion involved as yet no belief in a future life. I now number it among my great mercies that I was permitted for several months, perhaps for a year, to know God and to attempt obedience without even raising the question.

He continues on Page 186 “As soon as I became a Theist I started attending my parish church on Sundays and my college chapel on weekdays; not because I believed in Christianity, nor because I thought the difference between it and simple Theism a small one, but because I thought one ought to ‘fly one’s flag’ by some unmistakable overt sign. I was acting in obedience to a sense of honour.. … Thus my churchgoing was a merely symbolical and provisional practice. If it in fact helped to move me in the Christian direction, I was and am unaware of this.

Christianity

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Then, ultimately, we come to CS Lewis’ conversion from theism to Christianity. Writing in the final chapter of this book, on page 188-189 “I was by now too experienced in literary criticism to regard the Gospels as myths. They had not the mythical taste. … As I drew near the conclusion, I felt a resistance almost as strong, but shorter-lived, for I understood it better. Every step I had taken, from the Absolute to ‘Spirit’ and from ‘Spirit’ to ‘God’ had been a step towards the more concrete, the more imminent, the more compulsive. At each step one had less chance ‘to call one’s soul one’s own’ to accept the Incarnation was a further step in the same direction. It brings God nearer, or in a new way. And this, I found, was something I had not wanted. … I know very well, when, but hardly how, the final step was taken. I was driven to Whipsnade Zoo one sunny morning. When we set out I did not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo I did. Yet I had not exactly spend the journey in thought. Nor in great emotion.

In this story, CS Lewis has moved from atheism, to theism, to Christianity. Each a natural stage in the development of his faith and christian journey. We get a glimpse of a great God calling people to see Himself as He truly is: a God of unmistakable joy. If this story has helped you, please do make a comment and let us know! Thank you!

Links to more about CS Lewis

CS Lewis on the BBC CS Lewis Foundation

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Glimpses 38

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Rachel

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Today we have a special guest! Her name is Rachel. She lives in London with her husband and cats! She is sharing with us why she is thankful to God and how He leads her daily life.

If you have found this helpful, please do let us know how it has helped your own journey of faith. Thank you.

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