Gayle Erwin's Newsletter
January, February, March 1996 Newsletter
And The Winner Is…
Brave mockers try through the centuries. Modern media suppresses. Every attempt is made to paint Jesus in a bad light. Some truly succeed, but their success simply guarantees that they all fail. No matter how you speak of Jesus, the simple fact that you speak of him causes him to win.
In the rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar," the writers viewed Jesus through the eyes of Judas. This focus caused many inaccuracies and misrepresentations, however I am convinced that this rock opera was a major contributor to that revival we call "The Jesus Movement." However you speak of Jesus, He wins.
The movie made of that musical "Jesus Christ Superstar" closes with the theatrical crew leaving the desert set and pausing, each one of them, to look back in deep thought at the three crosses still standing as part of their set. That scene alone was enough to grip all but the hardest of hearts. However we portray him, something reaches the depths of our being and yells, "He is Truth."
His Truth overpowers even in His silence. On trial before the governor named Pilate, Jesus had no defense lawyers. The prosecution had it all with many witnesses. All the witnesses in that trial gave negative reports about Jesus. Though they conflicted in their accounts, they were unanimous in their hostility. Yet, after viewing all these terrible pictures of Jesus, Pilate's declaration matches the cry of my own heart, "I find in Him no fault at all." The result of all the negatives was "no fault."
Two thieves hanging beside Jesus joined the crowds in mockery of him until one, overcome by reality, declares the innocence of Jesus and asks for forgiveness. What changed the mind of the thief? Perhaps his own repeated blasphemy sunk the Name into his heart. Jesus won.
Peter and John plunked an item of great value into the can of a beggar when they invited him, "In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." The ensuing charade brought a warning from the authorities. It was not a warning about healing people. The problem was the Name. Don't use it they warned. Jesus was winning.
Paul, in a statement far beyond my own maturity, relates that some preach Christ for selfish ambition, some to make trouble for Paul, some for envy and rivalry, some insincerely and with false motives. Yet he glories in the simple fact that Christ is preached. Amazing. Perhaps he knew from his own experience that simply hearing that name over and over produces victory.
After the televangelist scandals of the last decade, in a radio interview I was asked if I thought their actions had damaged the kingdom. I responded, "No. First of all, they, by manifesting their humanity, purified the kingdom. Second, beyond all the shame and embarrassment, these men spoke of Jesus, the one who forgives people who do such bad things. I don't believe the connection was lost in the minds of people. Third, any who came to know the Lord because of them would have no trouble separating what they did from the Truth of their Savior. Jesus always wins!" The European atheists of a few centuries ago blasted Jesus and the Bible every chance they could. Now, the house of one of them is used to print Bibles. Their attacks merely served to keep His name before the people.
Bigger Than Jesus?
The Beatles, great singing group of this century declared themselves to be bigger than Jesus. Apparently, that did not upset Jesus. You don't need to confront pride; you only need to let it have its way. Pride doesn't have to be attacked. It collapses from its own weight. Now, the Beatles' last gasp is considerably less than messianic.
On a plane that had a stop in Las Vegas, I noticed that it was made up of a tour group and had become a party plane. For some reason, they took up with me, so I whooped with them. After they had settled down, I walked toward the back of the plane. The ringleader of the group called me over and asked me, "Hey, mister. What do you do for a living?" "I have more fun than anybody," I told him. "I believe you, " he responded. "I go all over the world teaching on the Nature of Jesus," I continued.
His hand slapped his forehead as he exclaimed, "Oh my god! You just ruined my weekend." "What did I do?" I asked. "You said that name, Jesus. I am on my way to Las Vegas looking for women and you had to say that name, Jesus. Now I have to think about this again." Just the Name was all it took to reach something deep in this man.
Recently, a movie called "The Last Temptation of Christ" drew heavy negative response from the church with people even picketing the producer and carrying hostile signs. Our response guaranteed the financial success of the movie. Reviewers called it a dud, but our advertising sent flocks to see it. Were people fooled? No! They knew this was not true about Jesus. However, it caused His name to be brought up before the people. A friend of mine was asked by a Jewish friend to go with her to see it and explain where it was wrong about Jesus. Jesus wins.
The media is trying hard to remove the name of Jesus from Christmas, though it is His own season. They want to merely refer to it as a "holiday." Holiday is short for "holy day." Holy? Who is holy? Jesus still wins.
Every automobile that drives on this continent and in many other places carries a simple witness to Jesus. They all contain a date, i.e., 1995. That is 1995 AD! AD! In the year of our Lord! Who is our Lord from whom this date comes and whose birth it marks? Jesus wins again.
When people curse, they do not choose to yell, "Buddha" or "Krishna" or "Allah." No, the name of our Lord comes out. Aha! Even in blasphemy, He wins.
When hospitals and schools are named, how many are named in honor of false gods? I can't think of a one. However, I lost count of the schools, hospitals and other institutions that somehow incorporate His name. Why would they do that? Only because false gods do not inspire such benevolence. But Jesus does. He wins again.
I confess to inner pain at the abuse of His Name. I want to stop mouths or present an argument at best or invoke fire from Heaven at worst. I realize that some will never believe. Some will always mock. But as I sit at his feet, listening and watching, to my eternal gratitude, I know who He is in my life. He is the winner.
So, go ahead and misuse His Name if your heart is turned that way. The only damage will be to yourself and perhaps sensitive souls around you. But if you think you are damaging Jesus, don't get proud. Check the scoreboard.
— Gayle D. Erwin
I asked Lloyd Pulley of Old Bridge, New Jersey who, along with Dave Fitzgerald
Louis, accompanied me to India, to write the journal of the trip.
This November I found myself on a plane to India to visit the Gospel for Asia base in Tiruvalla, India with Gayle and Dave Fitzgerald from St. Louis. I was not too sure what to expect and not quite certain why I was going. We have been supporting Gospel for Asia for close to eight years, though only three missionaries, a sort of token support. Then, a few months back, K. P. Yohannan had visited our fellowship.
His message stirred our body, and there was a commitment from them to support close to 200 missionaries. Well, this sincerely intrigued me. As a fellowship, we had been working in Eastern Europe and also China, but now I felt obligated to go and see India. God was obviously doing something to move our fellowship to get behind the work there.
Okay, Lord, I thought I paid my dues in Africa years back. Thinking of the food I ate in Uganda, the horrible roads, the rough accumulations I feared a repeat. I guess I could stand to lose a few pounds and perhaps I could use a little suffering (it's easy to cloister ourselves as pastors). Okay, Lord, I'll go.
Little did I realize that we would be impressed in the same way the Queen of Sheba was by Solomon. Not the half had been told us! In short, the operation there was first class. They are doing an unprecedented work. Not only was the extent of the missionary support widespread but the new vision KP has implemented to personally train people GFA supports was staggering.
Gayle was there to teach the people they are training to be leaders at their Asian Bible Seminary as well as teach at the leadership conference for all the leaders from the 14 training centers in India and other countries. Dave Fitzgerald and I were coming alongside to be available and ended up traveling four hours away to one of their training centers in Tamil Nadu, Tenkasi to be exact. At this one (there are 14 of them) there were close to 200 there who, along with the close to 1500 will be sent out to establish works in one of the 500,000 unchurched towns and villages of India. They are doing it!
How they treated us while there was a pleasant surprise. I was ready for the worst. But to my surprise they were very sensitive to the needs of us "spoiled" Americans in regards to rooms and food and especially water--it was all bottled. It was rather hard to explain to our fellowship how I suffered when they put us up in air conditioned rooms. And I actually gained weight there from the delicious food! In fact my wife asked me if pizza was on the agenda when I got home and I said, "You know there is this little Indian food restaurant I'd like to try." Go figure!
Overall, the real need there, in my opinion, is for training (exampling, that is) the men in expository teaching. They have seen little of it and were eager to learn how to do it as well as Inductive Bible study. KP had asked us about sending qualified men to teach their leaders. He also wanted us to send our praise team there as well in May for the next leadership conference. Gayle had shared a great message on worship and KP desires that they see a model of Calvary worship to set an example for the 1000's of churches which will be planted next year. After seeing them pray and how God has answered their prayers we have little chance of not going back there to serve. We are got!
And I had no desire to go. Now I cannot help but speak to others about what God is doing there, and to pray and plan how we can support the churches there in India. They can't keep up with the thousands of applicants to their training centers--they are now building a place to room 500 men and it is already insufficient. They get over a thousand letters a week in from the radio programs they air. Their whole operation is an example of wise and frugal use of the resources they have, but so much more could be done.
The Fall edition of Servant Quarters reminded me of the wonderful time we spent together here in Honolulu with our officers. It also reminded me that on that day, we were both scheduled to leave for the mainland.
When I went to the check-in desk, I discovered that I already had seats selected. I went to the boarding area looking for you because I thought we were both on the same plane. When I boarded the plane, I found out that I was in business class. I was a bit puzzled because that represented an upgrade. I looked for you in the first class section, because I thought with all of your mileage you probably would be there and as I recall, you did mention you were in first class. You weren't there!
Just prior to the plane's departure, I wondered if you had said something at the ticket counter and somehow exchanged seats with me. I went back to the coach class seats. You weren't there.
I must admit it has been in the back of my mind ever since that you made some kind of change and arranged for me to take your seat. If that is what happened as a result of the Christian love that fills your heart, then I want to thank you for that beautiful Christmas gift and expression of caring. If that is not what happened, then please be aware that I suspected it is what happened because I believe you are a genuine Christian. You have convinced me, and that in itself is gift enough.
The Salvation Army
I'm glad to be on your mailing list. Oswald Chambers said it best, "The author who benefits you most is not the one who tells you something you did not know before, but the one who gives expression to the truth that has been dumbly struggling in you for utterance." You are hitting some places in me and apparently others. Thanks for verbalizing.
I hope we in the Boston area are among the first to get your program on the radio. After seeing your speaking schedule, I was excited to see that you'll be in the town where my mother's twin sister lives. We've been praying for a place for her to go to church. God is just so good!
I love how you've exposed the Spirit for who he is. It was sad to see him portrayed as spooky and weird or ignored as scary.
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed listening and laughing at you and with you. Now, my whole family is enjoying you through your tapes.
You have an open invitation to stay at our home. I'll stock up on chocolate covered raisins.
Black Hawk, SD
Thank you for your sermon about the Will of God and its simplicity! You will never know what a burden was lifted from me. How wonderful it feels. God is not there to confuse us, He is there to help and love us. Thank you for showing me that.
Thank you for your wonderful gift of The Jesus Style to the missionaries that spoke at Mission Fest 95. The event was wonderful and our community will not be the same. The Spanish speaking family thanked us for the Spanish version.
The study of this book through a Bible Study at my work (WCRK Christian Radio) has started changing my life. Mike Wilson of Calvary Chapel is on our staff and has led us through this book since July. The word is out about this book throughout Bowling Green and people are reading it everywhere. That is one reason I wanted to share it with the missionaries. My husband and I are getting ready to start small groups in our home. We plan to use this book in this group, also. Only the Lord knows how many people will have gone through this book by the time you come to speak next August.
Bowling Green, KY
God bless you and thank you for the generous donation of your books and tapes. I have passed out one of each to the other 13 Washington State prisons and put one of each in our seven libraries in this prison. We have 2400+ men here at any one time. All of our libraries are well used. We have our own television station where we will show the films as well as in church.
Ron Wilhite, Chaplain
Washington State Department of Corrections
I also like to tell stories, so I share one with you. I am a bus driver for the public school system and drive a small bus for special-needs children. I pray for my children and have seen the Lord do great things through my feeble prayers.
Recently, I heard I would be getting a new child five years of age who was removed from home into foster care. I prayed and hoped she would be placed in a Christian home. The first day I picked up the little one, I thought I recognized the foster woman from a Christian function or something, so I asked if she attended church. She said yes, she went to such and such church.
I praised God. Everyday when the little one got on, she said, "I want to go home to my house." This broke my heart, so I said, "Would you like for me to pray for you?" She said, "Yes." So, every new day, the first thing she would say was, "Will you pray for me and my mom's name is Patty (Name changed for this story)."
So, finally, after a week or so, I said, "Emily (not her name), doesn't your foster mom pray for you?" She answered, "No, but she prays for her food." We can see so much through the eyes of a child. At least they teach me tons about my own sin nature. To this child, it was communicated that food was more important than she was.
Emily went home to mom, but my prayer is that those couple weeks of prayer will last a lifetime for her.
I was raised in a Christian home, but somehow envisioned God Almighty as a mysterious being constantly watching to "catch us" doing something wrong. I extend a special thanks to you for describing "the Nature of the Father." Your explanations are so vivid and understandable.
I have learned more in my five years at Calvary Chapel than in the previous fifty.
You have been a special friend and we are grateful God has allowed us to have times together so often.
On a special day when you should receive gifts, you instead have chosen to be the giver of gifts. I pray that God will give as much joy in the giving as you would have in the receiving. What you gave was more than material. It was a gift of encouragement and confirmation of something God has planted in my heart. I believe it will be multiplied many times in the lives of others with the purpose of building the kingdom of God.
Willie and Diane Williams
I loved, absolutely loved, "Froth and Bubble." Extremely well done, extremely and firmly tender which was good. I hope all your response from your readership has been positive and affirming, but I don't suspect that's been true.
Most has been very affirming, but not all. Perhaps most of our readers are aware by now that John Wimber has removed the Toronto Airport Vineyard from his fellowship. Teachings and practices from there were deemed unacceptable.
It was so refreshing to see and hear you again. I do believe time has worn well for us both. Pearl and I have enjoyed the tapes very much and find your presentation most refreshing. Hard to believe over four decades have slipped past since your teen years when we had such rewarding times together. I am most pleased we added a strengthening forte to your life.
Today, I cried with my face in a bath towel because the Devil had me deceived into thinking that repentance had not started in my life, but, as I was on my knees, the Lord quickened something to my mind that you said on your tape "Freedom and Bondage." If you were there with me, you probably would have said, "The very fact that all the above took place is proof that it is working (the work of repentance)." I was so blessed by that. Thank you very much. What I appreciate most about your teaching is your humor and honesty.
The following is from a letter written to Dave Grisanti of Silverdale, WA:
I think I shared with you what an impact Gayle Erwin's seminar had on me. Since then, God has been changing my understanding of His character and, above all else, His unconditional love for me that doesn't depend on what I do or don't do or on how well I performed or how bad I failed.
Prior to that seminar, I unconsciously viewed God as "The Great Policeman," but he used this man to break to pieces this false portrait and since then He's been faithful to continually free me from that prison by showing me the abundance of his grace.
Now I can sing with the words of the song, "Like a bird out from the net, I have broken free."
"Choosing A Pastor"
Understanding your pulpit is vacant, I should like to apply for the position. I have many qualifications. I've been a preacher with much success and also have had some success as a writer. Some say I'm a good organizer. I have been a leader most places I've been.
I'm over 50 years of age and have never preached in one place for more than three years. In some places, I have left town after my work caused riots and disturbances. I must admit I have been in jail three or four times, but not because of any real wrongdoing.
My health is not too good, though I still accomplish a great deal. The churches I have preached in have been small, though located in several large cities.
I've not gotten along well with religious leaders in the towns where I have preached. In fact, some have threatened me and even attacked me physically. I am not too good at keeping records. I have been known to forget whom I have baptized.
However, if you can use me, I promise to do my best for you.
— The Apostle Paul.
Servant Quarters is published approximately bi-monthly by Gayle D.
Erwin in between his travels and is available free to the asker. If you wonder what this is all about, then please read the book The Jesus Style. Everything in our ministry issues from that.