Sunday, June 17, 2018

Matthew's Miracle




On Saturday evening May 26/18, our son, Matthew, and I were praying prior to him saying goodnight. When we concluded, he put his arms around me and said, "My wallet slipped out somewhere. I hope that you can forgive me."   
          When I asked him when he had last remembered having it, he told me, "at the library book sale"--that was on May 6th! So I assured him that he didn’t need to apologize, that I was sorry that had happened to him, and we would buy him a new wallet. However, as he restlessly paced in his room, I realized that he was agitated and unhappy. I said goodnight to him and told him I would see him in the morning. 
            After I left his room, I began to pray, “Lord, where is Matthew's wallet?" I believe that Jesus put the thought in my mind, "Check with the movie theater." Well, he and his dad had been to a couple of movies in May, but this seemed unlikely. The following afternoon I detoured from our list of errands and stopped at the theatre. Matthew asked why we were there. I told him I wanted to ask if the cleaning people had found his wallet or if someone had turned one in. 
          I spoke with one of the managers, explained the situation, and was surprised when she admitted that a man’s wallet had been found. I also shared that Matthew had been at the theatre recently, but that he is autistic and doesn’t have a sense of timing. Thus, he may have lost it on May 24th or Friday two weeks prior. The manager began to ask questions to determine if I could identify the wallet, such as the colour, brand name, and contents. I knew there would be no ID card in the wallet, which complicated things. Eventually, after a number of questions, I was able to relay that there should be at least 2-$20 dollar bills in it, and pointed out that if Matthew could see the wallet, he would know whether or not it was his and would not say it was his if it wasn’t. To reinforce that truth, I recounted that our son had recently found a wallet that was not his and had promptly returned the wallet to its owner. 
          As I called Matthew over to the office, the manager immediately recognized him and said, “He’s one of our regular customers.” She was holding the wallet in a way that we couldn’t see it and asked the names and times of the movies that Matthew had recently seen. I provided the requested information and she seemed satisfied.     When she passed the wallet to Matthew, his whole countenance changed. He had been so upset and out-of-sorts. Instantly, he was smiling broadly as he shook the manager’s hand and thanked her for taking good care of his wallet and keeping it safe for him! The manager apologized that she had to ask so many questions, but she needed to make sure the wallet was going to its rightful owner. I thanked her profusely, pointing out that she had just made Matthew's day! 


          Later, at the car,  I said to Matthew that I had prayed to God about his lost wallet. I also told him that God put the idea in my mind to check at the movie theater. I said, "Isn't it great that God helped them find your wallet and keep it safe for you, and did you say thank you to Him?" He agreed, and then he prayed, "God, thank you for keeping my wallet safe and getting it back to me. Amen.”

What a faith builder for both of us! Thank You, Jesus: This is the year of the favour of the Lord...” (Isaiah 61: 1-3)! Hallelujah! 


Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor) Canada





Friday, May 25, 2018

My Covenant





Fifty six years ago today was my commissioning as a Salvation Army Officer. 160 plus young people with me as we set out on the ‘best job in the world’ (as the posters of the day called it). And for me it was the best job and one I felt hugely privileged to be accepted for. It was hard work, very little money, (sometimes wondering where the next meal would come from), late nights, early mornings. It was poor living accommodation filled with furniture cast off by Corps folk and at one time with only an oil heater shared with the family downstairs to try and keep warm in one of the coldest and longest winters on record. But ‘the job’ did not disappoint. The deprivations were far outweighed by the privileges. I could hardly believe that the people in my Corps and the area where I was placed, were mine to lead, encourage, comfort, dedicate, marry, bury, and bring to a knowledge of God as Saviour and Lord. I was privileged to have nothing of worth in the world’s eyes, because I had all the resources of my Saviour and was rich. That it came to an end far too soon, because I had no other choice when my husband resigned, was my greatest sorrow and can bring me to the point of tears even now. 
I have been blessed beyond measure with my family and with the things I have been able to do within the Army. I have endeavoured to keep my covenant even without the trimmings. I thank God every day for his faithfulness.


Carol Gibson













MY COVENANT

Fifty six years ago today was my commissioning as a Salvation Army Officer. 


160 plus young people with me as we set out on the ‘best job in the world’ (as the posters of the day called it). And for me it was the best job and one I felt hugely privileged to be accepted for. It160 plus young people with me as we set out on the ‘best job in the world’ (as the posters of the day called it). And for me it was the best job and one I felt hugely privileged to be accepted for.was hard work, very little money, (sometimes wondering where the next meal would come from), late nights, early mornings. It was poor living accommodation filled with furniture cast off by Corps folk and at one time with only an oil heater shared with the family downstairs to try and keep warm in one of the coldest and longest winters on record. But ‘the job’ did not disappoint. The deprivations were far outweighed by the privileges. I could hardly believe that the people in my Corps and the area where I was placed, were mine to lead, encourage, comfort, dedicate, marry, bury, and bring to a knowledge of God as Saviour and Lord. I was privileged to have nothing of worth in the world’s eyes, because I had all the resources of my Saviour and was rich. That it came to an end far too soon, because I had no other choice when my husband resigned, was my greatest sorrow and can bring me to the point of tears even now.  

I have been blessed beyond measure with my family and with the things I have been able to do within the Army. I have endeavoured to keep my covenant even without the trimmings.




Carol Gibson





Tuesday, May 22, 2018

May I make a request for prayer?





The Disciples of Jesus Session



40 years ago the Disciples of Jesus session held our Covenant Day at the then International Training College. 

On Wednesday 23rd May about 30 sessional colleagues and partners will be meeting at Denmark Hill to remember the occasion, and participate in worship by following the Order of Service once again.

Lots of things have happened in the intervening years, and it is bound to be an emotional occasion for us all. There are those who have remained in officership (some now having retired), others who have moved into other spheres of Ministry, situations where relationships have broken down and new partnerships formed, not forgetting those who have since been Promoted to Glory. 

I would ask that you support us in prayer as we meet, and think particularly of any who are unable to attend or have no desire to do so because of events in the intervening years. 

Just as the first disciples, we were all sent out in the footsteps of Jesus, and He will not have turned his back on us.


Monday, May 21, 2018

No Figurehead Founder Part 4 of 4


Among many other initiatives, he recruited the first editor, Carl F. H. Henry, and when the first issue came off the press, sent him a lengthy critique. 
Though constructive and celebratory, his letter was brutally frank—and, as a CT editor recently observed, "he was right about everything in it."

Graham had a sense for what worked with readers, and I personally learned that five decades ago. Not long after he launched CT, he started his own organization's Decision magazine. As a college student, I received a letter from editor Sherwood Wirt saying he planned to include in the first issue my short story that had been published in Youth for Christ magazine. A few months later, Wirt wrote again saying Graham had looked over the layouts and decided the story didn't fit—and he was absolutely right.

Despite his multitude of commitments, Billy managed to keep guiding CT until the end. With his tremendous sixth sense about people and communications, he recruited editors and trustees and communicated regularly with CT's leadership as the organization grew from one magazine to a broad communications ministry. CT continues to resonate with his original vision.
Harold Myra was named publisher of Christianity Today by Graham in 1975. Myra retired as executive chairman in 2007 and is coauthor of The Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham (Zondervan).

Friday, May 18, 2018

No Figurehead Founder Part 3 of 4


Everywhere Graham traveled, he absorbed what he was hearing and reading. Before writing that 2 a.m. paper, he had long been listening carefully as he logged thousands of air miles in pre-jet travel. As a former pastor, he had great empathy for them and their struggles. His immersion in their concerns provided essential insights into the magazine's priorities and clear convictions about how it should be positioned.
One of his deepest convictions was his rejection of harsh, judgmental approaches, declaring in his seminal paper that CT should "take the responsibility of leading in love."
All through the years, that spirit has been at the heart of CT's editorial philosophy, often surfacing with use of the word irenic. When I joined the hallway, like many a new staff member, I had never heard the word, but soon learned it was a perfect fit for "hybrid" Christianity Today and was used regularly—with a self-deprecating edge. The dictionary definition for irenic is: "pacific, conciliatory; irenic theology, concerned with promoting unity among Christian churches." That's exactly what Graham had emphasized.
He sought out wise counselors and colleagues, chief among them L. Nelson Bell. Among the other evangelical leaders also thinking about the need for a magazine like CT was Billy's father-in-law and mentor. Billy's wife, Ruth, recalled her father and husband having intense conversations about it on their porch. Bell had spent decades in China as a medical missionary and had played a key role in launching another publication, The Presbyterian Journal.
They knew the launch of CT would require large capitalization. Graham wondered if the funds could be raised; business leaders were interested but not ready to make a commitment. He told J. Howard Pew, head of then Sun Oil Company, that he "was giving more thought to the possibilities of this magazine than to any other single thing in my life."
Bell had written to Pew to arrange a special visit and later wrote, "On 10 March 1955, we boarded the overnight train from Black Mountain, the station below Montreat, for the definitive discussion with Pew at Philadelphia. They had a two-berth compartment, and as we neared Philadelphia, Graham said, 'Let's pray.' He got down on the floor, not exactly kneeling but almost as if prostrate before the Lord." More than 10 years later, Bell told the CT staff, "I had never seen a man pray like that before exactly. There was an earnestness in his prayers."
Above All, Prayer
The hallmark of Graham's lifetime of leadership was the centrality of prayer. Many would point to that as the key factor is his "improbable" accomplishments. Allan C. Emery, longtime president of Billy's organization, once told me at a CT board meeting, "That's the difference between Billy and so many others. When he's wrestling with a major issue, he'll spend the entire night in prayer."
In Philadelphia, Graham and Bell persuaded Pew to provide significant funding for the first two years. A short time later, Graham wrote to him, "I am a relatively young man and I am determined to see this vision, that I believe is from God, carried out and properly controlled. I would suggest we form a board of trustees immediately."
Graham established a structure that fit the mission and hovered over it for five decades. Some urged Graham to make CT part of his own organization, but he understood that would lessen its credibility. That's why he did not become chairman of the new board but turned to Ockenga, with his academic and theological credentials. Graham became chair only after Ockenga's death 25 years later.
Harold Myra was named publisher of Christianity Today by Graham in 1975. Myra retired as executive chairman in 2007 and is coauthor of The Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham (Zondervan).


Thursday, May 17, 2018

No Figurehead Founder Part 2 of 4



Billy's idea that night was for a magazine that would "restore intellectual respectability and spiritual impact to evangelical Christianity."
His paper shows the intensity of his concern for Christian leaders in the 1950s. From his contacts with hundreds of clergymen, he concluded, “We seem to be confused, bewildered, divided, and almost defeated in the face of the greatest opportunity and responsibility possibly in the history of the church. … In a sense we are almost leaderless.”
However, he also observed that most of the denominational and academic leaders in positions of power were on a different page. "Thousands of young ministers are really in the evangelical camp in their theological thinking and evangelistic zeal," Graham wrote. "I am convinced we are in the majority among both clergy and church members. However, we have no rallying point. ... We need a new strong, vigorous voice to call us together that will have the respect of all evangelicals of all stripes within our major denominations."
Visions in the night of great enterprises are not unusual. But most of them end up in a file. Graham did not just talk about the concept or hand off his paper to others to implement. He took point, personally tackling many of the countless challenges.
An Irenic Anthropologist
So what did it take to actually found Christianity Today? And what did Graham personally bring to the challenge that made it possible for all the disparate players to come together and invest themselves in the dream?
Graham was intellectually prepared. He often said later in life that he regretted not getting more education, but what he learned at Wheaton College gave him essential insights and attitudes that would permeate his lifetime ministry. He was, against our intuitive expectations, an anthropology major. This gave him a spirit of inquiry rather than judgment about others, so he did not simply caricature liberals or critics but sought to understand and learn from them. Always downplaying his intellectual capacities, he was likely off the scale in emotional intelligence. Though Graham wasn't a scholar himself, his enormous respect for scholars and recognition of their influence in and outside the church was a crucial element in founding CT.
This is seen clearly in his relationship with the scholarly Ockenga, first president of Fuller Theological Seminary and pastor of Park Street Church in Boston. That Ockenga would become CT's chairman and until his death work in harmony with Graham in giving dua

Harold Myra was named publisher of Christianity Today by Graham in 1975. Myra retired as executive chairman in 2007 and is coauthor of The Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham (Zondervan).


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

No Figurehead Founder Part 1 of 4

To glimpse Graham's dynamic leadership style, look no further than his founding of Christianity Today magazine.
HAROLD MYRA
Billy Graham was the founder of Christianity Today magazine.
To most people, that fact brings little more than a shrug. Billy's biographers chronicle many significant achievements, and founding CT is one on a long list.
But go back 50 years to the context in which he founded CT, and the case could be made that this particular achievement was both unique and improbable. How likely is the following scenario?
A young evangelist, best known for preaching to large crowds and often accused by academics and mainstream church leaders of oversimplifying the gospel, dreams of founding an "intellectually credible" publication. From a broad constituency of fundamentalists and evangelicals distrustful of scholarship, the then-38-year-old evangelist convenes a diverse group of national leaders, including titans of business, renowned scholars, and influential ministers. Their goal: to produce a thoughtful publication rooted in historic Christianity to address "the current crisis." At its launch, they distribute it "fortnightly" to all clergy and theological students in the nation, gaining wide impact and recognition. Described for decades afterward as a cross between Time and The Atlantic, it immediately exerts significant influence both nationally and internationally.
So what transformed Graham's improbable idea into a reality? Was this a perfect storm of positive dynamics, or a driving force moving mountains against all odds? Where did this self-described farm boy get the vision and passion to launch CT, and how did he persuade so many to give so much to sustain it for the next five-plus decades?
The Missing Rallying Point
When the trustees of Christianity Today brought me on as CEO in 1975, I was aware of Billy's connection with the magazine but not his role as founder and sustainer. At that time, the magazine was in a financial crisis. The board realized that its hybrid nature—"intellectually credible" yet widely circulated—presented huge editorial and marketing challenges. Should its readership drift dramatically lower to concentrate on a smaller market?
We met as trustees in the Airlie Center in Northern Virginia to evaluate CT's mandate. Harold John Ockenga was then chairman, although he often made it clear that CT was "Billy's magazine." Reaching deep into his battered brown briefcase, he searched for and finally surfaced his copy of Billy's original speech outlining the vision for CT. Ockenga stood and read the entire text.
As soon as he finished, one trustee exclaimed, "That's it!" Said another, "Remarkably prescient. That's still the essential CT, and should continue to be." For the next four decades, Graham's paper provided a detailed mandate for the magazine.
Where did that paper come from? Billy recalls in his autobiography,
About two o'clock one night in 1953, an idea raced through my mind, freshly connecting all the things I had seen and pondered about reaching a broader audience. Trying not to disturb Ruth, I slipped out of bed and into my study upstairs to write. A couple of hours later, the concept of a new magazine was complete. I thought its name should be Christianity Today. I worked out descriptions of the various departments, editorial policies, even an estimated budget. I wrote everything I could think of, both about the magazine's organization and about its purpose. … I wanted it also to be a focal point for the best in evangelical scholarship, for I knew that God was already beginning to raise up a new generation of highly trained scholars who were deeply committed to Christ and his Word.
Harold Myra was named publisher of Christianity Today by Graham in 1975. Myra retired as executive chairman in 2007 and is coauthor of The Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham (Zondervan).