Friday, September 27, 2013

Whistle while you work!

Lately, as I write,  I have been tromping around in the far distant past when Ted and I were first born again. The need for personal discipleship was so deep-set in us at that time, that discipling became our assignment for life.  You serve a God Whose Kingdom is unshakeable, so what do any of us have to fear? 

My living room is filling up with beautiful women who mostly have  husbands that would duck and run if they knew what their wives are about to get them into: discipleship. This Thursday group is  exclusive and they are figuring that out. I won't let them bring their friends for me to minister to with the Word. They are being equipped to do that themselves.

God could yet bless us with a revival in this country. Many Christians are becoming scared enough to get out of their salt shakers and shake some salt into their worlds.  ...  I think. When the Wind of the Spirit blew across this land in the late '60's and 70's, people were divided over the Viet Nam War. Everybody was uneasy.  We were in Viet Nam during that War for a short period of time, alongside Godly Christians. We are going to meet whole tribes of people in Heaven who came to Christ during that time.  Many of our military men were sharing Christ with the nationals.

O.K., finally Ted's sermons have joined his devotionals. If you want to listen to Ted's podcasts or sermons you can click on one of the following links:  12 Stones Legacy, or go directly to Ted's Podcasts; or you can go to iTunes to listen or subscribe to your smartphone or iPod. There will be two more sermons posted soon. If these messages have not come up yet, they will. It takes some time.

Here is a list of Ted's serrmons that I have been able to find. You will receive encouragement to keep on keeping on in whatever stage of discouragement you find yourself.

1) Why Discipleship is Imperative.
2) Present Your Bodies: Romans 12:, 13 and 19. 
3) Gifts of the Spirit (Romans 12:3-15;
4) Righteous/or Rebellious:  Psalm 1
5) Deprivationn of the Rich: Mark 10:23-31
6) The Right Ambition: Mark 10:32-44
7) By What Authority Mark 11:27-12:12
8) Be Alert: Don't Go to Sleep:  Mark 13:14
9) He is Risen...It's Friday, but Sunday's comin'
10) Effecting Biblical Change: Jeremiah 12:23
11) Homesteaders/Pioneers: Matthew 9:16,17
12) Breaking the Sound Barrier: Colossians 3:18-4:1

I joined my music partner, Gayel,  and three old fiddlin' and guitar playin' men last Saturday night and we played lickety-split music for a contra dance.  A contra dance is sorta like a square dance.

                            HYMN: OH FOR A THOUSAND TONGUES TO SING

My gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim
To spread through all the earth abroad,
The honors of Thy Name

He breaks the power of canceled sin; He sets the prisoner free
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.


Friday, September 20, 2013


I have been tromping around for some weeks now through Ted's and my early days as new creatures in Christ. There is a motive for dredging up these early days of our redemption and here it is:  New babies are imprinted forever by what they see, feel and remember. Because we are born sinners because of the Fall in Genesis 3, our souls (bellies) are one big messy mixture of lies and Truth. Satan and his minions watched every one of those lies being inhaled into our souls. His mission? blind our eyes to God's Truth so that the lies keep us stuck emotionally, and then, spiritually.  He is not bothered one bit by a bazillion salt shakers sitting side by side in church, but when those shakers venture out into his territory, he turns loose all his minions with their fiery darts.  He hates the word "disciple" and he hates those who do it.

I have written to you about some really cruddy experiences we had as new Christians in a Christian school. I had a response from a wonderful Christian college student who is thankful for my truthfulness, for she is struggling to understand the "worldliness" within a supposed "Unworldly" institution. While we were disappointed by those ugly sins that surfaced in leadership and students, the mighty Word of God was invading our souls simultaneously, pushing out the lies that Christ and Christians were not to be trusted. Ted immediately began to learn three scriptures a week. That powerful reservoir of the  Mighty Word of God imbedded into his soul over the years,  carried him through all the attacks of the evil one whose mission was to dishearten him to the point of settling for a traditional pastoral ministry, built upon popularity of the pastor and not redemptive reproduction carried out by the saints.

After graduating from Northwestern Bible College, Ted knew he was to go on to seminary. He worked as a brakeman on wheat trains in blistering Kansas humid heat for a summer, then we headed  for Dallas Seminary with our little son Doug, plus everything we owned packed into our '40 Ford. We knew no one in Dallas, Texas, except Jesus Who met us there. He gave us jobs and a tiny apartment. Ted worked a 40 hour week and carried eighteen units. We became teaching and music staff  for several churches, but our hearts were really with Young Life, the finest of youth ministries started by Jim Rayburn, a Dallas Seminary man who graduated a couple of years ahead of us.  Jim's mantra: "Never bore a kid with the Gospel". To this day, Young Life continues to reach kids around the world who have absolutely no frame of reference about Christianity. I have just received a call from a dear Bakersfield friend, telling me that Young Life has come to life again in Bakersfield. Praise the Lord!

It was one month before Ted's graduation from DTS.  We had no idea where we would be or what we would be doing. As is so often the case, one phone call is all it took to guide us to the next chapter of our adventure with Christ. That "one phone call" was made by Ray Stedman to his friend, Howie Hendricks, favored professor at Dallas Seminary. "I'm ready for my first staff man, Howie. Who is graduating that hasn't spent all his time in the library?" Howie: "Ted Stone. He's your man."  We entered our next level of "Training in Discipleship" with Ray Stedman. We would never be the same.

By next week, some of Ted's messages will be available to you several ways. I don't understand "the ways" but two computer gurus (They speak in an UNknown tongue) who love Jesus and us do, good stuff from Ted is a comin'.

                                           GAITHER HYMN: They That Sow in Tears

Does your heart fill with doubt when alone you pray?
Does the world your soul annoy?
Lift your sights! Look beyond! God is standing near! 
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy!


Friday, September 13, 2013

...all things to all people

When Ted and I were with "Search Ministries" in Houston, Texas, Ted wrote a booklet entitled: "Think Lost and Help the Lost to Think". I recommend that you read it on our website: under "Ted's Lessons".  He has recorded it on his Podcasts as well on the same site.

Ted's podcasts are excellent. They were recorded during the time the brain tumor was doing its dastardly work.. Many years ago, in our first pastorate at Fruitvale/RiverLakes Community Church in Bakersfield, California, every Sunday these devotionals, now in audible form on the podcasts, were distributed in leaflets to our beloved congregation.

Over the Labor Day weekend, I listened to tapes and CD's of Ted's messages from ministries stretching all the way back to Bakersfield. What a great pastor/teacher/discipler he was. As a young man, my husband  was very shy by nature.  ...except when he had a ball or the Bible in his hand. The Lord helped him overcome his shyness. Over the years he became a bold communicator of Truth. Soon these few messages that I have retrieved will be on our website. I will let you know how to find them.

Our remaining children and I talk about their Dad's steadfastness;  his remarkable ability to be in the middle of constant stresses and somehow bring perspective to the situation. When he came to Northwestern Bible College as a new Christian and began to train for a lifetime of ministry,  classes in Greek and Hebrew were required.  He was not even close to mastering English!   I watched him dig in,  believe in and apply God's power through scripture to every formidable mountain that loomed in front of him. ...all his life. ...right up to taking his last earthly breath. As our marriage hit bumps in the road,  we realized that we were in a dress rehearsal for our Heavenly marriage to the Lamb of God. That raised the bar considerably for working on "oneness" in our marriage.

Last night, as I tearfully listened to the pundits on TV newscasts interrupting each other,  I thought: "What if I hadn't read the end of the story? How would I even want to go on living?"  Oh, that our leaders would read and receive Godly direction from the scriptures. Last night I was so troubled in my spirit that I crawled out of my bed, padded out to my deck and settled down on my comfortable chaise lounge, fixed my eyes on God's amazing Creation above me and thought about the One Who came after Ted and me and cradled us in His arms like a Shepherd. ... the same One Who created all that my eyes beheld over my head. ...the One Whose Kingdom is unshakable (Hebrews 12:27- 29). That's my Abba Father. Eventually I went to sleep. "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for Thou, Lord, only makes me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8.

                                                            PRECIOUS OLD HYMN; ROCK OF AGES

While I draw this fleeting breath; when my eyes shall close in death.
When I rise to worlds unknown and behold Thee on Thy throne.
Rock of Ages cleft for me. Let me hide myself in Thee



Friday, September 6, 2013

The List Glitch

Many of you have been brought up in a church atmosphere and may view the world through the lens of your church. It is very difficult for you to understand what it felt like for persons like Ted and me to adjust to being with people who have different persuasions about what God is like and what He expects of us. We had been planted in a Bible-believing and missionary-training school with a thousand students, many of whom had been sent there by churches and parents who wanted them to be protected from "the world". We had come out of "the world". We did not fear it for we had been part of it and knew it had nothing whatsoever to offer that was worthwhile or lasting.  Gradually, we understood that most of the students and teachers could not identify with our former experiences and we could not identify with theirs. Grace was required, and it was up to us to exercise that grace when we were confronted with behaviors that were just like the world from which we had fled.

Take this one, for instance. When Ted followed me to Northwestern Bible College after I had been there for a semester, of course I wanted him to meet Godly men that would disciple him. Because I was in the music department I knew that segment of the student body. ....or I thought I did. The school quartet sang in harmony like I had never before heard. The head of the music department had trained them, wrote their music and accompanied them with chords and arpeggios that showcased them at a professional level. The four fellows roomed together and were delighted to have my brand-new Christian boyfriend share their apartment. The first morning after Ted's first night with them, I asked him if this arrangement was going to work. Hesitatingly,  he answered: "I am going to need to find another place to live." I pushed on him to find out why and here came the shocker: "Jo, these guys are homosexuals. Each one approached me in the night and I threw every one of them against the wall!". 

Ted, a seasoned Navy medical Corpsman, knew all about that sin that rots the soul.  He wanted to find another place to live that day amd forget about it;  but I was madder than a hornet, grabbed him by the hand and burst into the office of the Dean of Men who wanted to flee from this raging Irish woman. I told him the ugly truth,  and he called in the head of the music department.  These were "his boys" and this man of God was indescribably shocked. ...and scared. Financial supporters of the school would not take kindly to learning that the quartet that crossed the nation during the summers, recruiting students were homosexuals. We were being trained for a lifetime of ministry during which moral sins would often be clouded by the omnipresent god of funding. Do you recall that in last week's blog, "lying" had not been on the hallowed "No No List"? Well, neither were homosexuality or lesbianism.  As this pot was being stirred, a few women confessed to this destroyer-of-the-soul as well.

I look back on 60 years of ministry alongside the magnificent man I married a year and a half later. In every ministry he agonized in prayer before the Lord as he studied, taught and discipled while having to make difficult decisions regarding immorality of one kind or another. By nature, Ted Stone was mild-tempered, gentle and non-confrontational.  Never once did I see my husband treat anyone without grace. Remember that I told you that Don Rosenberg, with the Navigators, met with Ted once a week, teaching him scriptures that transformed his life? The Spirit of God using the Word of God was the focus of Ted's life. Until he took his last breath on this earth, he was sustained by the quickness and the power of God's Word.

God through His Word is my focus as well. All else pales in comparison. There is no way I could, even this day, go on with my life were it not for the power and peace my Father gives me through His Word. The Lord faithfully brings to me people who have "presented their bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God." They want to know His Word and be equipped to take it to others. Praise God! Thursday of this week, September 5, precious women who want to be disciplers will gather. We will learn many scriptures and depend upon the Lord to imbed deeply into our souls His deepest meanings as found in the Book of Romans. ...then these wonderful women will take what they learn to others, in their way and in God's time.

Yesterday as I was reading through Acts in preparation for beginning to teach Romans, He clearly gave me this verse and asked that I memorize it. "However I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the Gospel of God's grace".  Acts 20:24

                                                        AT CALVARY
Mercy there was great, and grace was free
Pardon there was multiplied to me
There my burdened soul found liberty

Love, Jo