Donna and I are blessed with three fine sons-in-law. I say they’re ‘fine’ because among other things they are excellent husbands to our daughters and wonderful fathers to their children. All of their Dads have passed on—one I never met, another I got to know just a little, and the last one to go, in 2010, I was blessed to know quite well.
In English we have no word for “father-of-son-in-law.” He’s not really a brother-in-law, so I simply thought of him as my brother.
This brother of mine and his wife, had five children. He held a senior position in his nation’s Consular Service, which required several overseas postings. In 1980, he and his wife answered God’s call, and with their five kids, they headed off to YWAM, leaving the security of a government position. That’s when we met them (little knowing that our families would one day be joined!)
Some questioned their ‘call’ into missions. I was one of those, wondering if they had truly heard from God, especially when their savings were gone and their support dried up. During this time, two of their kids went to DTS, and a third one later. (Today, two of those three are longterm YWAMers and the other excelled as staff in a DTS that Donna and I led. Many of us lamented when God called her back to her business career.)
But for my brother, one of those tragedies of missions had occurred. After two years, with little or no support, he and his family had headed home, no longer feeling called by God, and totally discouraged. But home was not to be what they had left behind. With no employment, no home and with no good prospects of a good position at his age, he took on the job of a lowly office clerk.
Prior to this large family returning home so discouraged, a spark was being kindled in the heart our 13-year-old daughter toward their 14-year-old son. Puppy love, or so the rest of our family thought.
A small salvation of his situation came when my brother and his wife, for a period of about ten years, took on the planning and directing of our annual Renewal Camps in his nation. He thrived at this and it became a highlight for him during those years.
My brother was a very humble man, a loving grandfather, a quiet servant-leader and a bit of a musical genius. He co-wrote “Ascribe Greatness to Our God, the Rock,” (which puts the lie to our headline above! Peter was not Unsung!). He was an accomplished pianist and an anointed worshipper. But he pushed neither himself nor his musical talent. In some ways perhaps, he thought less of himself than he should. [Rom 12:3]
But cancer cornered my brother, to which after difficult treatments, he succumbed.
A large crowd of family and friends (probably much larger than anyone expected), came to his Memorial service on June 10th, 2010. I wish you could have been there. Remarkable qualities—some previously unknown even to his family—were shared by many about my brother. The crowning touch came from his 10-year old grandson David: “Papa was my hero.”
I suspect these were like revelations to many that day. Heard later, as friends and family mingled over a cuppa and grazed on Aussie snacky delights, we heard statements like, “I didn’t know that about Peter!” And, “Wow! What a man!”
Peter West, of Sydney Australia, reminds me of one of those heroes we read about in Hebrews 11, “of whom the world was not worthy . . . who having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised.” [Heb 11:39]
My brother Peter is enjoying his reward today. And perhaps most significantly, his widow Beverley is left and blessed with all five children continuing to follow Jesus; and the next generation—already numbering 12, plus generations to come—will “receive what was promised.”
True humility is perhaps the chief, yet least appreciated and most underrated grace. Peter West—not a perfect man—was truly a humble man. You might even say he was a great man, under-appreciated by many while he was with us.
We all need to cultivate true humility.
Many years ago I realized that if I want to walk the way of Jesus, I must walk in humility. Because He humbled Himself, the way of the Lord is humility.
The definition, "The willingness to be known for who we really are,” came from a well-known teacher many years ago named Bill Gothard. I first heard him say that way back in 1973 and I have never forgotten it.
Because I had not heard that definition before, when I got home from his conference, I got out my Greek and Hebrew lexicons to study about humility and found it is an excellent definition.
It seems that so many hide who they really are for fear of rejection. Yet everyone wants to be loved for who they are. To find out that we are loved for who we are, we have to take the risk to be known for who we are.
And that is risky, because once others see the real me, I don't know what they will do with me. And there is always the possibility they will reject me. But if they truly follow the “Jesus Way,” they will love me anyway.
Ron Smith lives in Minnesota and often teaches in YWAM.
Over 40 years ago, Steve & Marie Goode, hearing and obeying God’s call, took tentative steps into missions. Their journey—now a saga—covers the whole world, bringing justice, compassion and action to many in desperate need of help.
You can obtain this captivating and exciting book at:
Or Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QJ8DHZM
The greatest in the Kingdom of God is the SERVANT . . .
This is illustrated when old Eli the priest told his young assistant Samuel how to reply if he kept hearing a voice calling his name while he was asleep: say this, “Speak Lord for your servant is listening.” Little Samuel, with a childlike heart, obeyed and passed on a difficult message to his mentor. Read about this very young and obedient servant in First Samuel chapter 3.
Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be great among you, must be your servant.” [Matt 20:26] Jesus came as our example, “to serve, and not be served.” [v28] Jesus took on “the very nature of a servant.” [Phil 2:7]
Ponder this in your heart, as a son or daughter in the Kingdom of God. Are you listening to Him and do you have a servant’s heart?
We KNOW that the kingdoms are clashing. Jesus is our King, and Satan is over the kingdom of this world. Daily, we read, hear and see what Satan is doing in the world. I also read, hear and see what our King is doing through His obedient servants—those who are listening to Him.
We can’t serve both kingdoms anymore. We must choose daily, whom we are going to serve: if it’s Jesus, seek FIRST His Kingdom and His righteousness. [Matt. 6:33]
I encourage you to take a sheet of paper and make two columns, one representing the Kingdom of God and the other the kingdom of Satan. Which kingdom do you reflect—at home, at work and in your walk with others? [Luke 4:5–6] Jesus taught about the kingdom of heaven for forty days, right after He rose from the dead. [Acts 1:3]
He had already asked us to pray for His Kingdom to come and His will to be done. Remember, Jesus said this Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to ALL nations, and then the end will come. [Matt 24:14]
I love what Jesus said in John 15:1-17. Read those verses and then ponder on verse 15: “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
So it’s not what we do that makes us a servant; it’s what our heart motive is—it’s why we are serving.
I want to thank those of you who wrote to me after the last . It was such an encouragement. I believe even more, that the prophetic will include the Word and the Spirit. Let’s not make the gospel complicated, because it is simple, yet deep.
Many of you have been praying for Peter and he is improving (writing again), and we’re believing for a miracle healing so he can complete his mandate.
Finish the race well. [2 Tim 4:7-8]
May 24-30 **Rostrevor, Northern Ireland with Val Clark
July 5-11 Restenäs, Sweden with Edwin Fillies
July 12-18 Sighisoira, Romania with Edwin Fillies
July 20-25 Skjærgårdsheimen, Norway
Aug 2-8 Champagne, France with Paul & Genevieve Marsh
Aug 16-22 Châtel, Switzerland (minimum age 18)
For details on all camps, go to http://www.intouchcamps.com
The terrorist murders in Paris last month sickened most people. The defense of free speech and open expression of anything—anything at all—became the common cry in reaction to the horror. These are precious rights for society that we must responsibly guard and maintain. A vast majority identified with Charlie.
But as we know, not all did.
Millions actually admired and celebrated the bloodthirsty carnage in France. Their position was that Charlie Hebdo was guilty of blasphemy, sacrilege and total disrespect in its depictions of their god and their religion. A handful of assassins in Paris took up the challenge and retaliated.
So which is the more wrong? Murder of those who dishonor others?—legal in some nations where ‘honor’ killings are permitted; or, and it’s a big OR, so get ready for this—murder by abortion? Are genocidal baby-killings any better than coldblooded ‘honor’ executions, as we saw in Paris? Ponder that, lest we only point our finger at others.
Free speech (which includes graphic images), should be expressed with responsibility and a sense of respect for all of our fellow humans. This freedom that we treasure, is a precious commodity, to be protected at all cost.
Satire—as portrayed in Charlie Hebdo—showed little honor, responsibility, or simple courtesy; it frequently ridiculed—and still does—personalities and appearances, serving to offend, provoke and titillate.
Hey! I guess I’ve been sounding off a bit! I’ll step down off my soapbox. What do you think?
Till next time,
The Small Print
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