Genealogy frightens me. I fear that a search of my distant ancestry might produce more than a scoundrel or two and reveal a worrying genetic leaning that would verify and make more hopeless my own struggles.
Indeed, another Erwin I know, who finds such searches somewhat hilarious, has determined that the Erwin name arose from three rebellious sons who disowned their scandalous father and his name and began the Erwin variety of names. Scary.
But then, if I trace all the way back to Adam, it is more frightening. His paradise-rejecting sin infects all of his descendants. Do you ever toy with the thought of finding Adam when you get to heaven and beating the tar out of him?! Ah, well, it is not that any of us, save one, have improved on Adam.
But what about that One who did improve? Jesus was the only person in history who could choose his ancestry; but, alas, there wasn’t much to choose from so his ancestry included all the baser sorts. And, to make matters worse, the Bible blatantly tells us about them. I don’t think I would want my family tree described in such detail; nor would I want my birth so surrounded by the tongue-wagging mined from the pregnancy of an unmarried girl.
But Jesus did. What an incredible identification with all mankind. Then, out of his perfection and his death and resurrection for me, he offers a change of ancestry. I, by receiving Him, can have a new birth that clears the record and puts a new type of genetics in me. Hope replaces despair and the Bible replaces the lineage books.
If we look closely, that is what Christmas proclaims so gaudily. I’m crazy about my new family and ancestry.
As for the old tree that this deteriorating body fastens itself to, I figure that if Jesus tarries, someday down the road, a searching descendant will shriek in horror at the discovery of the scoundrel Gayle in his past.
— Gayle Erwin
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I received the series of 40 messages (Nature of Jesus, God, and so on) as a gift from a brother at church. I work for the Department of Defense and have to leave by 5 a.m. in the mornings to beat most of the traffic. The first morning after receiving the teachings, I started listening to the first one in my car on the way to work. It really touched me and encouraged me throughout my day. I did this over and over every morning listening to the next one in line. This brings me to the point of this email. Long about the 20th teaching, I realized, as I was pulling into the parking garage at work, that there were always about 12 minutes left in the teaching. So, I just wanted to tell Gayle, that if he is ever at Harvest in Reston, VA, and he sees me get up and leave when he still has 12 minutes left, don’t feel bad. It’s the only way I can listen to him.
Although I occasionally thought that it might be heatstroke from the 100+ degree weather, I was truly moved on more than one occasion at our couples retreat — especially in the exchanging of renewed vows on Saturday night. As I looked into my wife’s eyes that night, I made a vow to myself to serve and love her as Christ would have himself.
Thanks for bringing the message to these ears via the most user-friendly means — humor! I have not laughed that hard in weeks, nor have I learned as much in years.
Moreno Valley, CA
The Jesus Style is simply the best book I have ever read. I say that because I took the basic concepts you talk about and applied them to my own life.
I have read and re-read Handbook for Servants about 739 times now. I reviewed part again today after finding my nine-year-old daughter in a bit of naughtiness (a lot this summer). The short section on anger and managing it as a believer has helped me many, many times. Today, I think it saved the life of a child.
Additionally, after reviewing other parts of it earlier this spring I was moved to begin a small group in my home. An easy step for some, but a giant leap of faith forward for me and my house.
I truly appreciate that the writing in that book is short, direct and to the point. It helps to keep the important ideas on top and accessible. I have plenty of other long boring books about theology and doctrine, but often they sit on the shelf. The Handbook for Servants is already worn-out due to constant use.
I purchased several videos about two months ago and after viewing them all with much “Oh, is that what that meant?” etc, they are now making the rounds in our little Calvary Chapel in East Islip with equal excitement.
You were speaking at South Bay in California last month. Both my sons were there along with my daughter-in-law. There was much laughter and enjoyment during your sharing. What is interesting is that my daughter-in-law was amazed that people were actually laughing and having fun in a church service. She asked me about it — I said “Sure, we always have fun in God’s house.” So I keep this incident tucked in my heart as I wait and trust in the Lord.
East Islip, NY
I teach English here and the students have absolutely enjoyed reading stories from That Reminds me of a Story. I thank God for a ministry that is free to express the Lord in line with His heart. God bless you.
Don and Tzu-Yu
I love receiving Servant Quarters and following your travels around the world. I will always remember being your secretary at Glengrove (the one who couldn’t type and accidentally locked herself in the bathroom!). Your teaching has been so important in my life and I’m forever grateful.
Servant Quarters has always been something I would leave laying around at work — and let someone else “find” it.
I was on the Horizon Web site looking for some information and came across your name and picture and I was so excited to see you on the screen. I attended Glengrove Assembly of God with my mother, sister and brother when I was younger. Those are the happiest memories for me. I still talk about the pool parties you had at your house and the best youth group the church had. It was hard when you moved. My dad only came to church with the family on the holidays so I always thought of you as my dad, and cherished every great big hug you would give me when you would see me. Well I have my own family now, and I tell my son all about Glengrove and to this day I still sing “I Will Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving in My Heart.”
My Saturday mornings wouldn’t be the same without a cup of coffee, an English muffin, and Gayle on the radio.
You, the readers of Servant Quarters, have been such a joy to us, we pray that as Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, that same joy will be concentrated in your lives and prove overwhelming.
Gayle & Ada Erwin
Dave & Audrey Bjur
David Guzik has released his verse-by-verse Commentary on Hebrews, the ninth book in his Enduring Word series. This series so fits the “everyman” concept that brings delight to any student of the Bible whether he be serious or casual. If it is possible to improve in the series, this edition does so. Though not written as sermons, the passages are so coherent and readable that a pastor would treat his congregation to a fine meal to simply read them as his message. A student will glory in the thoroughness. You can get more information at www.enduringword.com. Each book is $16 which includes priority mail postage. Send a check to Enduring Word, 514 Jurupa Ave, Redlands, CA 93065. Or you can call 1-909-307-0688.
If you want a reasoned and thorough examination of mission methods and effectiveness, the books by K. P. Yohannan of Gospel for Asia cannot be excelled. Be forewarned that if you are committed to a certain tradition, you will be made uncomfortable. If you are truly interested in winning the lost to Christ, you might jump for joy. After you read his newest book, Come, Let’s Reach the World, you just might want to put it in the hands of your missions committee. Regardless, it will make its way into your heart. Send $9.00 to Gospel for Asia, 1800 Golden Trail Ct., Carrollton, TX 75010. You can call them at 1-800-946-2742.
Servant Quarters, Vol. 24 #4
Published about four times a year.
Available by request by e-mail or by post.
PO Box 219
Cathedral City, CA 92235
By Wayne Jacobsen
It’s a tough climb with so little oxygen at 7,000 feet. But hikers who passed us going back down the hill from Hanging Lake kept encouraging us.
“You’re getting close.”
“It’s so worth it.”
And it was!
Two days after our hike to Hanging Lake we were headed up a more difficult trail to Booth Creek Falls outside of Vail. This one climbed 2,000 feet on a track that took us over two miles and started at 8300 feet. We had started early in the morning and didn’t meet any other hikers on the way down. To make matters worse this trail was not marked as well and a few times we weren’t sure we’d taken the right fork.
After hiking over an hour, we saw no sign of the falls. Had we missed it? Unsure how far we’d come, we debated whether to turn back and try a different fork. Finally, as we came out of the aspen forest to climb up a steep hillside we saw our first set of hikers coming back down the trail. It was a family of three and as we met I asked them if this was the way to the falls.
They said they thought it was, but added that they hadn’t seen the falls. “We came to where we thought they should be, but it looked like they’ve dried up for the season.” We were surprised and disappointed, but we told them we were going to press on anyway. We could hear water running in the canyon below us and couldn’t believe the falls would be dry.
“We wanted to,” one of them admitted, “but we’re on a tight schedule.” Then as they started back down the trail he turned to add, “If you find the falls, we don’t want to hear about it.”
A few hundred yards up the trail we think we found where they had stopped. We saw a rock formation that could have been mistaken for a dry waterfall, but the roar of water we could hear above us beckoned us further. In less than a hundred yards we came around a large rock outcropping and heard it before we saw it. Water plunged over the cliff and splashed 70 feet over the rock face to the creek below. What an awesome sight!
As Sara and I soaked in the moment, we couldn’t help but think of the family we had passed. They had hiked over 2 miles to see the falls and had missed it by less than a hundred yards. Of course, they would never know, but we did.
I feel the same for believers who start out to discover what it means to live free in God’s working and then find the road longer or more difficult than they thought. When “leaders” questioned their passion or when they felt uncertain about breaking their dependence on systems they’d come to trust, they scurried back to the security of the familiar.
I wish we’d met that family as they were coming up the trail. We would have told them about the falls and pointed out just where they were. That’s what we did for everyone else we passed on the way back.
This is an excerpt from the September, 2002 edition of Body Life, the newsletter of Wayne Jacobsen, that we thought would be a good running start on 2005. We have reviewed several of his books in the past. Highly recommended. I encourage you to visit his website: www.lifestream.org.