Gleaning Bill’s Seminar Notes

Books.Old

These notes show the vast resources Bill used while holding seminars, generally for pastors.

Shaped by the Word:

> Studying the Word > Information (history & theology)

> Interacting with the Word > Formation (personal involvement)

Defining Faith:

“The holding of reasonable convictions beyond the possibility of final demonstration and the casting out on one’s life on those convictions as though they are true” (Harry Emerson Fosdick).

“No man really believes so long as he can help believing. True belief is always belief that is under the constraint of the Object” (John Baillie).

“Faith affects much of what we do: It determines the measure of the strength of the will; and accounts for a great deal of our energy and perseverance” (Thomas Upham, Life in Faith).

“Only the practice of faith, resulting in the habit of faith will gradually defeat the ‘fifth columnist of the soul,’ doubt” (C.S. Lewis, “Religion: Reality or Substitute”).

“It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it? . . . Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief” (C.S. Lewis).

“Only those who believe obey; only those who obey believe” (WBC).

“If our Christianity has ceased to be serious about discipleship, if we have watered down the gospel into emotional uplift which makes no costly demands and which fails to distinguish between natural and Christian existence, then we cannot help regarding the cross as an ordinary everyday calamity, as one of the trials and tribulations of life. (The idea of the suffering of the cross) has ceased to be intelligible to a Christianity which can no longer see any difference between an ordinary human life and a life committed to Christ” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship).

“In many cases (the saints) were such ordinary, even unpromising people when they began; for the real saint is neither a special creation nor a spiritual freak. He is just a human being in whom has been fulfilled the great aspiration of St. Augustine: ‘My life shall be a real life, being wholly full of Thee.’ And as that real life, that interior union with God grows, so too does the saints’ self-identification with humanity grow. They do not stand aside wrapped in delightful prayers and feeling pure and agreeable to God. They go right down into the mess; and there, right down in the mess, they are able to radiate God because they possess Him. And that, above all else, is the priestly work that wins and heals souls” (Evelyn Underhill, Concerning the Inner Life).

Decisive battlefield for the issues of life (Fosdick)

> Fight out the purposes of life

> Struggle with the desires of the heart

> Hunger and thirst for righteousness

> Strive for power to see and courage to do God’s will

“Take this rule: whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off the relish of spiritual things; in short, whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself” (Susannah Wesley to her son John).

“My own plans are made. While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan’s country, or shot over the edge of the world in some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise” (Reepicheep in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis). “May the mouse speak for us all” (WBC).

First Day of Autumn

Autumn Carpet.JD      ~ Autumn Carpet ~

I love autumn, the time of year when changes are evident in colorful array. Even as a child, my siblings and I looked forward to the start of another school year. Our children also loved school. Tommy, as a preschooler, would go to each window and watch as his three older siblings went off to school and then wait expectantly for their return. We would play homeschool (before I knew of such), and every activity, even making the bed, became a school assignment.

At Asbury College where Bill taught, we looked forward to students returning, and they looked younger each year. In church, the programs revved up for the fall. At home a more structured routine kept activities in line, connecting members better. In nature, the colors of autumn always delight us with the changes from green to golden hues.

One autumn while driving through town with two young grandsons, I tried to teach them their colors, calling out the various shades. I asked them to look for the yellow, orange, red, and purple leaves. Wes asked me why I did not say brown. “Brown is a color too,” he taught me.

I love autumn, thankful for God’s wisdom in creation. Autumn is necessary between summer and winter, turning the freshness and heat of one season and preparing for the eventual hibernation and cold of the next. Autumn is the chapter before the last one in the cycle.

Random Thoughts

I awoke with the word imperial on my mind. The best I can recall, my last dream included someone telling me that word imperial did not work in my sentence. I have no idea what the sentence was, nor why I wrote it. So I had to look up the word in the dictionary. Although it’s spelled with an i the usage is connected with emperor and government status. Imperial, both adjective and noun, can also refer to something unusually large or excellent. The imperial nature of things is sovereign.

Now to continue to show how my mind works: it’s foolishness. In my journal, I added an and sign & in a sentence. But how I write, it looks like a plus sign: + with a little loop. It’s similar to a cross: †. My mind went to work on that: and & cross; + and †. How do these connect or relate?

Quilt.CarpentersStarCross

The Cross connects us to God; it’s Christ & us. The Cross is a symbol for connectedness, representing a sacrifice, death for Christ and life for us. Yet, it’s not Christ and/plus + anything else. It’s Christ alone, supreme & sufficient, imperial & sovereign.

This week I’ve updated the family directories I send out. It includes a change in addresses such as Sarah and family moving from Ireland to Pennsylvania, and John’s marriage to Elaine. I’ve kept this directory going for many years, and family members appreciate it. For this update, I added occupations for our immediate family, and some titles are impressive, such as Nathan is an executive chef and Tom is a technical architect. This is one indication of why I find connections invaluable, the theme I chose for my blog.

Summer Is Waning – by guest blogger

As summer begins to wane here, there is a new feel in the air as thoughts shift and activities focus on the changing season. The cycle of hot days and storms is slowing, although the cool touch of dew in the evenings through the mornings continues to refresh the ground (and bare feet!). The hum of lawn mowers, kids playing outdoors, and voices of those out and about in various summer activities will also continue for a short while. School has already started back for some teachers and students and buses rumble past in their journey to further the education of their charges.

For some, there is anticipation of cooler temperatures and new beginnings and for others there is perhaps a small sigh and a determination to enjoy the last of this season as long as possible. Isn’t that so like all of our lives?

I am reminded of life’s ebbs and flows, like the seasons of the year and waxing and waning of the moon. Difficult times, changing times, happy times, and growing times are all part of our own experience. The familiar passage in Ecclesiastes 3 says it so well, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…”

What will we do with our own seasons – as we move from warmth to cool, to freshening or to dryness, to relaxation or hard work, or from trials to celebration – in an ever-moving rhythm? For good or bad, we hold on to some things and never fully experience or enjoy other things.

Struggling through the waning of things we hold dear is hard! Waiting, letting go, and wrestling with churning emotions is unsettling, a difficult or uncomfortable place to be!
Will the light grow again? Will happiness come? … But I don’t want to say “good-bye”! Even moving through new and positive seasons can be a challenge. It’s so easy to miss the goodness in the sometimes-mad rush of life!

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve made a resolve to intentionally enjoy those positive times, to catch myself in those moments. It has taken some practice! Perhaps it is a satisfying opportunity to help someone else… a new word spoken by a child I’m working with… encouragement or a positive comment from a friend… time to rest and relax after a long day of work… or moments with my family.

There’s so much to be thankful for, whether the season is ending, beginning, or even in the difficult waiting and changing times between them! We can be assured of God’s presence in them all… as we are looking back, looking forward, and taking time for the now.

My prayer for us today is that we will know God’s presence through all of our seasons and find comfort and joy in Him.

Charlotte-Anne Allen — Still Small Voice – For Just a Weed

*Ecclesiastes 3:1-13, Psalm 23

Treasure Principle: 4 Words

Impossible Colors.RG

During a Sunday school class on the sacrifice of giving, I wrote down four words: home, anticipate, influence, reward. These Randy Alcorn covered in his lesson on the third key to the treasure principle: “Heaven, not earth, is our true home.” Since we cannot take it with us, how do we spend our money? We want to send it on to our true home.

In Alcorn’s novel, Safely Home, the setting is China and the persecution of Christians. One of the two main characters, Li Quan, is in prison being tortured. He concentrates his attention on his heavenly home and seizes opportunities to witness to other prisoners.

Anticipate is a view to the future, and often in my upbringing I was kept from appreciating this idea, knowing what could happen next. My mother did not allow us kids to anticipate a friend’s birthday until the day of the party. Then during an Emmaus Walk weekend our leaders told us, “Do not anticipate.” Why? They drilled in the benefit of the moment of now. Good, but what about looking ahead with hope?

For Pam Tebow’s message at the Life Center benefit dinner, she chose to share her life of purpose and influence. She instilled in her children the importance of developing good character with the purpose of influencing others. That’s the reason I’m working on getting Bill’s sermons in print – to continue his influence that began as a high school senior when God called him to preach. God developed his skills and tools while receiving a solid education and then he taught what he learned from lessons in Scripture and experience.

Too often we shun, in the guise of humility, the reward God has for His children. It’s our Father’s pleasure to reward us. And the greatest reward is Himself, His presence. God delights in His creation, for He made us in His own image. Jesus is our love gift from the Father. Rejoice!

There and Back Again

TaylorConf.Beth & Me

Thanks to everyone who prayed for Beth and me while we attended the Writers Conference at Taylor University. When I returned Paul asked me to rate the conference from 1 to 10. I told him that for my friend Beth it was a 10+ and for me it was a 9.

For Beth, it meant a handshake (in place of a contract to come soon) agreement with Hartline Literary Agency. Beth has completed three chapters of her Bible study on Philippians with the theme of friendship, designed for women.

For me, it meant encouragement for getting Bill’s messages in print, but with independent publishers. I met with an editorial advisor with ACW Press and he gave me some figures for that route. I pitched our book on The Church being transcribed by my blogger friend. It could be about 200 pages. So I’m to send the book proposal.

I also met with an author to ask questions about the process I’ve begun with Sermon to Book for Bill’s series on the 10 Commandments. She set my mind at ease about the editors structuring the chapters. She also advised me to request transcripts in order to compare their editing with Bill’s original messages. Michael has begun converting the cassette tapes into digital audio format. I have an hour phone call scheduled with STB next Monday 8/12. So I’m getting questions and topics ready.

The keynote speakers gave inspiring talks; class sessions we attended will benefit our writing; faculty and student staff helped us. We stayed on campus, and our dorm room happened to be the one where Stephen stayed during his freshman year. We enjoyed mealtime conversations with other conferees. A good conference all around, and I’m grateful for Beth driving and our sharing on the way there and back. At the conference she kept a lookout for me, for I tend to be where she is not.

Off on an Adventure

Hobbit Home.Wales

I leave tomorrow for two days at Taylor University’s Professional Writers Conference. I have Beth Summitt to thank for driving and sharing this adventure of writing. From Bible studies she’s led at her church, she’s written a book on biblical friendship found in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Beth and I attended Taylor’s conference last year and each pitched our book proposals.

This year my pitch is for one of Bill’s proposed books gleaned from his sermons on the Church. It’s not one of his usual series but a collection of sermons preached throughout his years at World Gospel Church, Terre Haute, Indiana. My new writer/blogger friend, Callie Daruk, is in the process of transcribing these sermons from cassette tapes, masters received after Bill retired. I edit the transcriptions from speaking to reading voice, and Callie and I have appreciated Bill’s teaching during the process.

Now it’s time to wind up for the pitch to get an agent and/or publisher interested in this book. That’s the adventure for writers who attend conferences where we get some one-on-one time with an agent, author, or publisher’s assistant, in addition to attending classes.

On my return I’ll post the “there and back again” follow-up of this adventure. Pray for us.