Friday, September 18, 2015

Witnessing to Life in Christ

In early October 1996, I spent a weekend at a Kairos Retreat in the Carson City, MI prison. We were an interdenominational group of Christian men involved in the Upper Room Movement and we were meeting with a group of prison residents in the Number Two Prison facility at Carson City .  Among the visitors was an older retired UMC Minister by the name of Clarence Hutchens. Clarence had a relationship with Asbury College and Seminary that went back many, many years.

After Clarence discovered my affection for E. Stanley Jones, he mailed me a copy of Jones’s autobiography, A Song of Ascents. I had learned of it, yearned greatly to read it, and Clarence sent me a copy, or his copy, with his signature in it. This many years later, I am deeply indebted to this elder brother in ministry. Thank you, Clarence! It is one of the numerous books that I will not part with until I take my leave from this earth and enter the corridors of the celestial.

With that word, I share  “Witnessing to Life in Christ” according to E. Stanley Jones. This is but one of the many lessons from life Jones learned in his lifetime of walking with Jesus Christ as both Savior from the lostness of humanity on its own and as Lord of life.  

               “When you find Christ and His Kingdom, you find yourself. I can only testify:

               Bound to Him and His kingdom I walk the earth free; low at His feet I stand straight
               before   everything and everybody.

               I have served Him these seventy years but I have never made asacrifice for Him.  Sacrifice?
               The sacrifice would be to tear from my heart this wonderful ,increasingly wonderful, thing
               He brought me when I entered His kingdom.

               When my left hand begins to shake, as it has begun to shake at eighty-seven, precursor of
                the final shaking to the dust of my mortal body,  I smile and say;

               ‘But I belong to an unshaken kingdom, and to an unchanging person, so shake on, you will
               shake me into immortality.

               And when the final shaking comes, falsely called death, but which I know to be only an                anesthetic which God gives when He changes bodies, I know this final shaking will only do
               what it did to Paul in prison:

               Loosed his fetters and bade him go to an awaiting home where love and joy abound.
Dr. E. Stanley Jones

*This was the word I shared with my father late in his life. He died the last day of 1990, three days shy of 85 (I have now passed him by some 3.5 years) …

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