A new employee at a kennel who tired of the constant barking surrounding him attempted to solve his problem by tacking up a "No Barking" sign.
A lady whose newly-purchased puppy barked constantly, in spite of her rolled-up-newspaper whipping, finally explained to her puppy that if he kept that up, she would lock him in the bathroom without food or water until he quit. Fortunately, someone found out about that and barely rescued the pup before he ceased barking permanently.
Finally someone explained to both that dogs bark because they are dogs. They are built that way.
Ridiculous stories, yes, but let us apply it in a more threatening way. The proliferation of billboards with sayings attributed to God, such as "Let's meet at my house this Sunday," began with nine out of ten of them being attractive invitations. Now, they seem to have deteriorated into threats such as, "Don't make me come down there." It would be good to see "Weary and burdened? I'm your best friend."
Maybe threats warm the hearts of some Christians who perhaps respond with, "That's telling 'em." It pains my heart.
Now the clincher: Recent court decisions restrict or eliminate places where the Ten Commandments can be displayed. This infuriates many of us, sending us to our computers to e-mail to the world all the places where the Ten Commandments are on display or else quoted on or in government buildings. Again, "That's telling 'em."
What am I saying? Folks, people sin because they are sinners. The ability to keep the Ten Commandments is as foreign to humanity as not barking is to a dog. The Law was given to prove that we could not keep the Law – to prove that we needed outside help. Even those who zealously want The Ten Commandments on display are powerless in themselves to keep those commandments.
Consequently, by some of our displays, we are merely shoving in the face of the powerless the things we and they cannot do. I can understand their resistance. Even the Apostolic Court in Acts heard this testimony from Peter: Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? (Acts 15:10, verse 11 later).
So, is the Law valid and required today? Certainly, but in ways that exceed our logic and that rely on our faith. Jesus was the only person who kept the Law perfectly. He did not use his perfection to browbeat sinners. The only objects of his anger were the religious leaders. That should be noted even today.
Jesus clearly stated the role of his perfection: For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son (John 3:17-18).
The psychiatrist, Freud, recognized guilt as the world's main problem. He didn't recognize that we feel guilt because we are guilty. Jesus knew: For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man "unclean" (Mark 7:21-23). That describes the heart that cannot abide by the Ten Commandments.
So, what is our hope? Very simple. Jesus, rather than pound on the incapable, offered the answer: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matt 11:28-30).
Peter confirms that reality as we complete our first passage from Acts 15 with verse 11: "We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." But what about the Ten Commandments? Do we ignore them? Almost! We become beneficiaries of this great promise: "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the Lord. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people" (Jeremiah 31:33).
Now we live for God because we love him too much for who he is and what he has done to do otherwise (John 14:15). I would not be faithful without adding these two statements by Paul as he dealt with the Church of Galatia who had slipped back into the impossible Law: The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself" (5:14). For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love (5:6).
— Gayle Erwin
If you have been listening to our programs on radio and discovered them missing from your station, you can still hear the program at your leisure by downloading it as a podcast from our Web site.
You can now listen to any of Gayle Erwin's messages in full by what they call "streaming audio" on our Web site.
You can now watch any of the video sets or individual messages of Gayle Erwin on "streaming video" on our Web site, www.servant.org, or through the link that will take you to http://theschoolmaster.org/audio_visual.html/.
We are in process of putting all the translations we have of The Jesus Style on our Web site for you to read or download. By the time you read this, The Jesus Style should be available in the following languages: Russian, Spanish, Japanese, Norwegian, Hindi and Malayalam. The Father Style in Russian is already there. We will also be placing all of our books in English on the site.
All of our newsletters are placed on our Web site even before we mail them to you. So, if you missed an issue or wanted to copy an article from one of them, it is easy to do so.
Gayle Erwin's speaking schedule has moved from the newsletter to the Web site where it can be kept more current and available.
All of this is absolutely free to you. Enjoy and use.
Allow me, if you will, to get into your Business. That's right, I said your Business. If you're single, married, or have a family, you're in Business. Did you know that? That doesn't sound too warm and fuzzy, much less spiritual, does it? The truth is, a business exists when you have money coming in (revenue) and money going out (expenses) with the goal in any one period to have greater revenue than expenses. It's simple, straightforward, and in fact, very spiritual! Let me give you some perspective.
As a Christian counselor who has worked alongside the Church for the past thirty years I have, unfortunately, seen many Christian marriages fail. I still cringe when I see the statistics for Christian divorce mimic the secular. Over these years the top contenders for the blame in the demise of marriage have been communication issues, sexual problems and financial challenges. Of the three, financial issues have always been number one.
Marriages commonly erode over time as communication and sexual problems take years to intensify and end in divorce. But money issues can take down a marriage in months! It's devastating to watch, much less experience. Creditors want their money NOW and they don't care about your circumstances. The stress of losing a job or getting sick and losing your ability to work creates enormous pressure on your marriage. Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about.
Sometimes deeper issues fuel our financial downfall. Couples, mismanaging their anger, pay each other back out of spite by out-spending the other into financial ruin. A wife missing the love and attention she craves from her husband finds solace at Nordstrom. Parents of an out-of-control teenager pay for damaged property from a DUI accident. A wife's gambling addiction just cost them their house. Misuse and abuse of money is a symptom of deep spiritual need and wreaks havoc in relationships.
The only way to prevent personal or marital ruin due to money problems is to become even more spiritual about your business than you already are. The key to wise business management is stewardship. This isn't new. You've heard it before. So why is it so hard to implement? I believe the reason lies in the tremendous amount of toxic understanding about money. "Money is bad. Money is evil. Any focus on money makes one carnal. Money will drain your spirituality. You're either a business (bad) or a ministry (good) and certainly not both." Somewhere deep down we still believe making a profit is under-handed. We have even taken the parable of the talents and narrowed its application to the use of personal gifts when it is as much about money management as any other asset.
We Christians are afraid of money: getting it, owning it, growing it and using it. Because of this fear, we shy away from sound biblical understanding and languish in "sloppy agape." As long as we just do it in love, with love, it will somehow work out. NOT! The Church at large has suffered from this attitude with an average tithing rate of 2.5% fading from a recent 2.9%. No wonder most pastors have a second job and their wives are forced to work. According to BankRate.com, Americans (including Christians) spent more than they earned in 2005, a negative savings rate of 0.5 percent for the year. That's the first time that's happened since the Great Depression. Your family business is called to lead the way in financial stewardship, but these statistics put many of us two paychecks away from bankruptcy!
We should be the Josephs of our world, providing for others out of a storehouse of abundance, not victims of our own financial neglect. We should be unleashed for bold, God-led action by abundance thinking and not stifled by scarcity thinking. This starts in the home. Your home. How are you doing?
Here's some good news, finally! Though stewardship often has been a forgotten spiritual discipline, you can cultivate it along with the disciplines of prayer, worship and study of the Word. Sound biblical understanding of stewardship is available.
Dr. Peter Robbins is director of Turning Point Stewardship.
Servant Quarters, Vol. 28, #2
Available by request by e-mail or by post
PO Box 219
Cathedral City, CA 92235
Web site: www.servant.org
Many years ago, 1985-1986 to be exact, I attended Calvary Chapel Bible School in Twin Peaks. Not sure if you remember – I led a prayer meeting at the school and for a long season I was the only one there. I will never forget the days that you came to pray with me. It was one of those special times at the school. I also remember the great messages you shared.
About a year ago I started teaching a Bible study at an assisted living facility. It just so happens as I drive there, guess who is on the radio? Hearing your voice again just made me want to connect to say thanks.
Thanks for taking time out to come to the school to teach The Jesus Style.
Thanks for the time spent in prayer.
Thanks for being a great example of joy.
Thanks for just being who God made you to be.
Tim Kuhn (front row of CCBS, red sneakers, laughed at your jokes before you told the punch line)
At the beginning of your radio broadcast you play a song that starts: "Come to me all of you who are weary." Is there a CD of this song? If so, who is the singer? And, can it be purchased?
This is a song by Duane Clark and is on his album called "Fill My Life." You can order it by sending $14.00 to Duane Clark, 45209 Pickford Ave, Lancaster, CA, 93534. Postage is included in the price.
Know that you and Ada are in my prayers for all the time I will be gone to Africa. My prayer life goes with me. I am almost completely packed – it took four bags to hold everything I am taking. Of course most of what I am taking I am leaving there – books, etc. But as the Lord has led me, I have purchased things for them and do not regret the cost, but rather rejoice that He has blessed me with the resources to do abundantly above anything I could come up with on my own. Yes, Pastor Gayle, every time I think of you, I can hear you telling us about Jesus, abundantly full of grace and mercy, etc., standing there and giving the message in a way that I (and I hope many others) can understand and take with me. I have your voice embedded in my mind, not that it is anything weird, but that it will bring a bit of home whenever those thoughts cross my mind.
I listen to your program on KLHT Honolulu, 1040 AM. I am nine years old. I like to listen to you, because you are really funny. It really made me laugh when you said on the radio to repeat the onomotopeia words you said on the radio about the shield of faith. Please keep telling more messages on Saturday.
I was in Calvary Chapel Old Bridge, NJ for the 12:15 service. Thank you so very much for teaching me to pray for my "enemies."
I bought 3 CDs of the service, one to keep and one for one person in particular (she was supposed to come to church with me and didn't) and another one for whomever God directs me to give it to.
I think (I am getting old and recall is not what it used to be) that you once told a story you heard in Africa about a man paying a seven cow bride price for a not-so-comely bride. Do you remember that story and can I get a copy, or did I hear it somewhere else?
My son is getting married and even though his prospective bride is beautiful I was hoping to be able to relate that story at the engagement dinner.
I am honored when people think a great story was told by me. I cannot claim this one.
(Gayle Erwin, husband of a beautiful 1000 cow, 900 camel wife)
They walked in tandem, each of the 92 students filing into the already crowded auditorium. With their rich maroon gowns flowing and the traditional caps, they looked almost as grown up as they felt. Dads swallowed hard behind broad smiles, and Moms freely brushed away tears.
This class would NOT pray during the commencement – not by choice, but because of a recent court ruling prohibiting it. The principal and several students were careful to stay within the guidelines allowed by the ruling. They gave inspirational and challenging speeches, but no one mentioned divine guidance and no one asked for blessings on the graduates or their families. The speeches were nice, but they were routine until the final speech received a standing ovation.
A solitary student walked proudly to the microphone. He stood still and silent for just a moment, and then it happened. All 92 students, every single one of them, suddenly SNEEZED!!!!
The student on stage simply looked at the audience and said, "GOD BLESS YOU." And he walked off stage.
The audience exploded into applause. This graduating class had found a unique way to invoke God's blessing on their future with or without the court's approval.
While attending a Marriage Seminar dealing with communication, Tom and his wife Grace listened to the instructor, "It is essential that husbands and wives know each other's likes and dislikes." He addressed the man, "Can you name your wife's favorite flower?"
Tom leaned over, touched his wife's arm gently and whispered, "It's Pillsbury, isn't it?"
"Cash, check or charge?" I asked, after folding items the woman wished to purchase. As she fumbled for her wallet, I noticed a remote control for a television set in her purse.
"So, do you always carry your TV remote?" I asked.
"No," she replied, "but my husband refused to come shopping with me, and I figured this was the most evil thing I could do to him legally."
A husband read an article to his wife about how many words women use a day, 30,000, to a man's 15,000. The wife replied, "The reason has to be because we have to repeat everything to men."
The husband then turned to his wife and asked, "What?"
THE SILENT TREATMENT
A man and his wife were having some problems at home and were giving each other the silent treatment.
Suddenly, the man realized that the next day, he would need his wife to wake him at 5 a.m. for an early morning business flight.
Not wanting to be the first to break the silence (and LOSE), he wrote on a piece of paper, "Please wake me at 5 a.m." He left it where he knew she would find it.
The next morning, the man woke up, only to discover it was 9 a.m. and he had missed his flight. Furious, he was about to go and see why his wife hadn't awakened him, when he noticed a piece of paper by the bed. The paper said, "It is 5 a.m. Wake up."
Men are not equipped for these kinds of contests.
A children's Sunday School class at a church I served, decided to give awards to people in the church who exhibited the Christian character they were studying about.
They presented me with the award for humility!
Now, you tell me what I could do with it! Wear it? "Humbly" reject it? Receive it and just blush? I chose the latter.
A pastor, driving me to a campground where I would spend the weekend with his people, commented on my presentation of Scripture by saying, "You always make it more, but you never make it different." I took that as a great compliment.
Sometimes I tell an audience that I wish they could see the Bible through my eyes. It would truly come alive. I try to put myself in a passage, become a character there or an observing bystander, look around and think of what I might be seeing and what might have led up to the event recorded.
Then I ask what the event or passage tells me about God, about his character, about his actions. Next, I ask what the passage tells me about myself, my character, my actions and thoughts. Finally, I ask what action the passage urges or commands me to take or what warnings of actions to avoid.
Once I have begun to make those interpretations, I run that through what I call The Nature of Jesus list to make sure it does not violate that nature. The written Word must never violate the Living Word. Jesus was the fulfillment and not the alternative. If my interpretation violates his Nature, then I know I cannot teach or act on it.
That system can be applied to my actions and thoughts with great effectiveness.
The prior issue of this newsletter carried a letter from a retired police officer from Connecticut who rose from his cynicism to accept Christ while listening to my messages on a disc distributed by Firefighters for Christ. As it worked out, I met him on a trip to Florida and, at his request, baptized him. He told me he would be moving soon and I didn't hear from him for a while, so I e-mailed him to ask how things were going and if there were any questions I could answer.
Finally, an answer from his caretaker revealed his death after a time in hospice care as pneumonia conquered his body.
The news left me weak and grateful to God for intervening in a hungry heart just in time.