Category Archives: Missions

The Power of “No”

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I’ve been using this story in sermons and inspirational talks for years. It’s sorta my “go-to” illustration, especially with young people.

It’s from long ago, yes, but every time I share it, there’s a palpable resonance and it usually strikes home with more than a few. It always gets to me.

William Whiting Borden was born into affluence in Chicago, Illinois in 1887, the third child of William Borden and Mary Degama Whiting. The Bordens made their millions producing milk and dairy products and in real estate.

After Will’s mother converted to Christianity in 1894, she began taking him to Chicago Avenue Church (now The Moody Church). He soon responded to the gospel preaching of Dr. R. A. Torrey, turned to Christ and was baptized.

From then on, prayer and Bible study became hallmarks of his life. After graduating from the Hill School in Pottstown, PA, at age 16, he traveled to Europe, Africa, and Asia – a graduation gift from his wealthy folks. This, we can rightly assume, awakened his heart to missions.

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Sensing the call of God, Will matriculated at Yale University in 1905, graduated four years later, then entered Princeton Theological Seminary. The calling to foreign fields never subsided, but consumed his heart and, while in Princeton, Will was stirred to go back to the Muslims of Northern China, and focused all his efforts and energies there.

Here’s where the story turns and gives rise to being given Hebrews 11 status.

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The Gospel-ees Have Become the Gospel-ers

This video shows both the massive mission ahead but also the amazing movement afoot— in our lifetime, among those fields that once were unreached—to shrink the numbers of unreached elsewhere, and fill the House of God for the eternal party!

A Door Called Aldersgate

I get John Wesley. Before he became the guy who said, “I look upon all the world as my parish”* he preferred his parochial, amicable studies and libraries rather than the great halls. He was a cave-dweller. Ministerially, he was a good Oxfordite, a proper Anglican priest, who toed the party line and desired things be done decently and with order. He had some OCD in him, I’d wager. In short, he went with the program.

I do like my cave, but, granted, that last bit is quite unlike me. I have Baptistic roots but there are doors closed to me because of my ‘aberrant’ theology, and, likewise, I have not found a home among their polar opposites (I’m too Baptist I’m told). Ah, well, such is life. My wife quipped a few years ago that if I were the type of person to “play the game”, I would be set for life with meetings and denominational appointments. She followed that up by saying, “I respect you more because you don’t.”

She so completes me.

John-surnamed-Wesley was a fussy dresser, I’m told, always neat and fashionable without being conspicuous, starched to the gills and spotless. Hands soft and manicured, Wesley’s skin was probably sallowed from dwelling indoors by candle’s glow. Continue reading