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