Posted by: Pastor Mark

Making Friends with Dead People

Tweets and chats. YouTube rabbit holes and incessant news. Like a meal of cotton candy, it tastes great for the moment, but leaves us feeling empty.
 
Perhaps it’s time to become acquainted with some dead folks. I have found that helpful.
 
There are many thousands of books that have been printed in the past ten years. They won’t stand the test of time. Most will disappear before the decade ends. 
 
But there are some books that have had a lasting impact. They continue to gain an audience and change lives, even though the authors have long been with Jesus.
 
My new friend? E. Stanley Jones. Yep. Been dead for almost 50 years.
 
Forty years ago, I sat under an amazing teacher from India named Samuel Kamaleson. His life had been absolutely transformed by Jesus through the ministry of a Methodist missionary—E. Stanley Jones. And he said, “Read all the Jones you can! It is the theology of the future!” 
 
So I began to buy the books . . . but hardly read them. Until now.
 
Just finished his biography. The man preached 60,000 times to crowds of people all over the world, including Japan after World War II. He corresponded with Roosevelt and Truman. He spent a lot of time with Mahatma Ghandi. Thirty books bear his name and some are still widely used, especially Abundant Living.
 
I’ve been reading one of his daily devotionals: The Way to Power and Poise. It speaks with great breadth and depth about the Spirit-filled life.
 
His life illustrates how God can use someone who totally commits his life and will over to Jesus Christ.
 
Other dead people I would recommend? Glad you asked:
 
Amy Carmichael: Missionary to India.
A.B. Simpson: Founder of the Christian & Missionary Alliance
Oswald Chambers: Author of My Utmost for His Highest
Hannah Whitall Smith: The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life
Corrie ten Boom: The Hiding Place
John Wesley: Founder of Methodism (The Radical Wesley by Howard Snyder)
Lemuel Haynes: Revolutionary War veteran, social activist, and first African American ordained pastor. (biography by Timothy Mather Cooley)
 
That’s a very short list. There are SO MANY MORE! Just ask me for suggestions.
 
Or explore on your own. But make sure they’ve been dead for at least 40 years!
 
Yeah, we’ve all had too much isolation. We long to be with our friends. But you can make new friends with a few precious folks who have left their thumbprint on the history of the Christian world. Look them up!
 
Peace of Jesus to you!
 
Pastor Mark

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