Corrie Ten Boom

Corrie Ten Boom

Corrie ten Boom is best known through the book and movie The Hiding Place as a Dutch Christian who, along with her family, sheltered Jews from the Nazis in Holland during World War 2. Corrie and her sister, Betsie, were imprisoned in a German concentration camp where Betsie died of illness in December, 1944. At the end of that same month, due to a clerical error, Corrie was released.

After traveling by train to Groningen, just across the border from Germany in Holland, Corrie made her way to a Christian hospital called the Deaconess House. The hospital staff immediately began to tenderly care for her. Of her first experiences there, Corrie later wrote in her book Tramp for the Lord:

“Then I was eating. Potatoes, brussels sprouts, meat and gravy, and for dessert, pudding with currant juice and an apple! … How wonderfully good that food did taste. I shall remember that meal as long as I live.

“Then came a warm bath. They could hardly get me out of it. My poor sick skin, damaged by lice, seemed to grow softer the moment I slipped into that warm tub.

“Afterwards they dressed me. Several of the ex-leaders of the Netherlands Girls’ Clubs were among the nurses—girls that I had known before the war. They dressed me up as if I were a doll. One of them had lingerie, another shoes, another a dress and pins for my hair. I felt so happy that I laughed for sheer joy. How sweet they were to me.

“These young women had been trained in kindness. How opposite from the concentration camp where men had been trained in cruelty.

“I was then taken to a cozy bedroom so I could rest. How lovely was the combination of colors. I was starved for color. In the concentration camp everything was gray. But here in Holland the colors were vivid again. My eyes could not seem to get enough to satisfy them.

“And the bed! Delightfully soft and clean with thick woolen blankets. One of the little nurses brought an extra pillow and tucked it under my swollen feet. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time.

The Hiding Place“On a shelf was a row of books. Outside I heard the whistle of a boat on a canal and the merry sound of little children calling to one another as they skipped down the street. Far in the distance I heard the sound of a choir singing and then, oh, joy, the chimes of a carillon. I closed my eyes and tears wet my pillow. Only to those who have been in prison does freedom have such great meaning.

“Later that afternoon one of the nurses took me up to her room where for the first time in many months I heard the sound of a radio. Gunther Ramin was playing a Bach trio. The organ tones flowed about and enveloped me. I sat on the floor beside a chair and sobbed, unashamedly. It was too much joy. I had rarely cried during all those months of suffering. Now I could not control myself. My life had been given back as a gift. Harmony, beauty, colors, and music. … But right now, [God] was letting me enjoy the luxury of thanksgiving. I was drinking from a fountain I knew would never run dry—the fountain of praise.”

The thing that always strikes me about this incident is that most of the blessings Corrie reveled in on that occasion were simple, everyday blessings. They are the type of commonplace blessings we are so accustomed to we tend to take them for granted.

But they truly are significant blessings that we rightly should continue to be grateful for. As we tune into those ordinary blessings, we too will have the delight of drinking from the never-ending fountain of praise and thanksgiving. And our gracious God will receive a fuller measure of the gratitude and glory that is due Him for the countless blessings He continually showers on our lives.

 

*          *          *

For other inspiring and instructive true stories from the life of Corrie ten Boom, you may want to check out two of my books, Women of Faith and Courage and Timeless Stories.

Copyright 2013 by Vance E. Christie

Christians who read historic Christian biography are acquainted with the benefit and enjoyment of doing so. As we read the lives and ministries of outstanding believers of the past we receive considerable inspiration and instruction for our own spiritual life and service. But many Christians have little or no awareness of this vital source of spiritual encouragement and enrichment. Here are some suggestions of how we can share the value of such biography with others:

1. Tell interesting and beneficial stories about great Christians to our young children at bedtime. I fondly remember an occasion when my three daughters were very young when I offered to tell them a story before bedtime prayer. That was a periodic feature of our nighttime family devotions, and they knew the type of tale I often shared. So they spontaneously started chanting, competition-like, the names of two individuals about whom they had heard a number of stories. “Moody! Moody!” shouted two. “Hudson! Hudson!” countered the third with equal enthusiasm. Our kids will enjoy and profit from these stories if we will but share them.

Family Reading2. Read a children’s or youth biography to our kids as part of our family devotions. A few Christian publishers have produced worthwhile biography series for younger children and somewhat older youth: Christian Focus’s Trailblazer series (under its CF4Kids imprint), YWAM’s Christian Heroes Then & Now series; Barbour’s Heroes of the Faith series (unfortunately no longer in print). One word of caution: Some children’s biographies take the liberty to make up representative dialogues or events that are not known to have actually happened. Even with children it is better to read biographies that are discernibly more factual rather than artificially portrayed.

3. Relate biographical incidents and studies as part of our formal teaching and preaching ministries. Throughout my years of pastoral ministry I have used many anecdotes from the lives of eminent Christians from history to effectively illustrate a wide variety of life-related themes. (I also seek to employ plenty of contemporary illustrations.) Children’s teachers and youth leaders can periodically relate an ongoing series of stories and lessons from the life of an outstanding servant of Christ. I certainly join John Piper in encouraging pastors to present a biographical sermon (or short series) annually for the benefit of their congregations.

4. We can also share worthwhile biographical information and events in our informal conversations. As we’re reading a good biography we can tell people about it and relate a couple highlights from it. If a discussion brings to mind an intriguing or instructive example from a biography we’ve read in the past, that can be profitably communicated. Sharing such incidents adds flavor, perspective and benefit to conversations.

Gift Books5. Give quality Christian biographies as gifts. They make great gifts for children, teens and adults. They can be given for birthdays, Christmas or other special occasions (graduation, pastor appreciation, etc.). Or they can be given simply to encourage and strengthen people in their relationship with the Lord and service of Him. Of course we want to give biographies that we think will interest and profit those who receive them. Most biographies are priced quite reasonably, so they make affordable gifts.

6. “Share” or “like” helpful postings related to historic Christian biography that we come across on various websites, Facebook, Twitter, etc. This is a powerful tool we can use to encourage contemporary, techy Christians to connect with their rich Christian heritage.

7. Make sure we are purchasing some of the historic biographies that Christian publishers are producing as paper books and e-books nowadays. Many Christian publishers are producing few or no historic biographies because they reportedly do not sell well. That trend can be reversed if Christians will make a point to buy quality biographies and let publishers know (through their purchases and via encouraging emails) of their interest in this valuable genre of literature.

Copyright 2013 by Vance E. Christie

Author Talks With Shaun Tabatt - Episode 51 - Vance ChristieEarlier this week I was interview on Author Talks with Shaun Tabatt about my recent book Adoniram Judson: Devoted for Life (Christian Focus, 2013). You may stream or download the interview below:

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

To find out more about Adoniram Judson: Devoted for Life, visit the Adoniram Judson book page here on VanceChristie.com.

Hudson Taylor: Gospel Pioneer to China by Vance ChristieCongratulations to Timothy Harris, who was selected as the winner for an autographed copy of Hudson Taylor: Gospel Pioneer To China. Timothy blogs at activedidactic.wordpress.com.

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway and helped spread the word about my Hudson Taylor book and VanceChristie.com. Your support is greatly appreciated.

To learn more about Hudson Taylor: Gospel Pioneer to China, visit my Hudson Taylor book page.

John & Betty Stam

John & Betty Stam

After I had the opportunity to write Hudson Taylor’s biography for Barbour Publishing, Barbour invited me to write a book on John and Betty Stam. At first I had to admit that I was unfamiliar with the couple. But as I began researching the compelling story of the Stams’ lives and ministries I quickly realized theirs was a powerful testimony that I would be highly privileged to share with contemporary Christians. I concluded that it would be most unfortunate if the Stams’ inspiring and instructive story were to be lost to present-day believers because it wasn’t communicated to them.

John And Betty Stam: Missionary Martyrs by Vance Christie

Learn more in Vance’s biography of John & Betty Stam.

As a result, John and Betty Stam, Missionary Martyrs was first published in 2000, then reissued under the same title in 2008 by Christian Focus Publications. Here are several reasons I highly recommend this biography to you:

1. John Stam (1907-1934) and Betty Scott Stam (1906-1934) were both raised by committed Christian parents who diligently taught their children God’s Word and who carefully led them to saving faith in Jesus Christ. These consecrated parents loved and actively served the Lord and taught their children to do the same. All eight of the Stam children grew up to be active in Christian service as adults (two as foreign missionaries). The five Scott siblings, having been raised as missionary kids in China, all returned to serve there in adulthood. Such families have much to teach us about raising children who know, love and serve Christ.

2. John and Betty prayerfully sought and carefully followed God’s leading with regard to how He would have them to serve Him vocationally. They also sought to do what the Lord would have them to presently, not just in the future. They faithfully followed His leading even when that involved marked difficulties and when others, wanting to spare them such hardships, questioned their intentions. Their example serves as a corrective to not a few Christians who pursue their short- and long-term plans (as well as their own comforts) while giving little or no thought to what God’s will is for their life.

3. John and Betty put their commitment to following Christ’s call on their lives ahead of their budding romantic relationship with each other. They met and were attracted to each other while students at Moody Bible Institute. But when Betty graduated from MBI one year ahead of John, they did not become engaged since they were not sure it would work out for both of them to serve with the same mission agency in China. They both were following God’s call to serve as missionaries in China but John did not know if he would be accepted by the same mission agency that Betty was to serve with. They patiently waited on the Lord’s clear leading through the outworking of circumstances, and in the end God gave them the desire of their heart to marry and serve Him together in China. They remind us that Christ has the first claim on the believer’s affection and allegiance, even before one’s potential spouse.

4. The Stams model how essential a strong personal devotional life is to maintaining faithful, fruitful service of the Lord. While a student at Moody, John established the habit of rising at 5 A.M. daily for personal prayer and Bible study. He diligently sought to maintain his private time with the Lord while serving on the mission field. A fellow missionary at language school in China testified of John: “He seemed to know Christ more intimately, more practically than the rest of us. John’s spirituality was radiant and contagious. He seemed to be always in touch with the source of power, even our Lord Himself.”

5. John and Betty were committed to helping fulfill Christ’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) wherever they were at, both in America and China. Before going to the foreign field, they participated in street and prison evangelism. For Betty this was a bit of a stretch as she was reserved by nature. But she pushed herself to participate in those outreach efforts and gained confidence and joy by doing so. In China John and Betty constantly (often daily) shared the Gospel, both at their mission stations and while out on evangelistic itinerations. On those outreach tours they shared Christ in tea shops, inns, homes, chapels and open air meetings. Regardless of our temperament or degree of evangelistic gifting, John and Betty’s examples encourage us to play an active role in sharing the Savior and helping advance His kingdom.

Helen Priscilla Stam - The Miracle Baby

Helen Priscilla Stam, “The Miracle Baby”

6. The circumstances surrounding the Stams’ martyrdom highlight the fact that the Lord is sovereign over and accomplishes great good through even the seemingly untimely and unfortunate deaths of His children. While God permitted John and Betty to be captured and executed by Communist rebels, He providentially protected their three-month-old daughter, Helen Priscilla. She thereafter became known by many Christians worldwide as “The Miracle Baby.” As a result of John and Betty’s deaths, untold thousands of Christians around the globe, from that time till the present, have been challenged and encouraged to serve the Lord with greater consecration and courage. Hundreds of secular newspapers throughout the world carried full accounts of the Stams’ martyrdom, faith and dedication, with the further result that some were even drawn to salvation.

Copyright 2013 by Vance E. Christie

China Inland Mission missionaries in Chinese dress (1891). Hudson Taylor is seated in the middle of the second row with full gray beard.

China Inland Mission missionaries in Chinese dress (1891). Hudson Taylor is seated in the middle of the second row with full gray beard.

Hudson Taylor (1832-1905), the eminent pioneer missionary to inland China, was a man of outstanding and unshakable faith in God. He unfalteringly manifested strong faith in God throughout his five decades of demanding, fruitful missionary service. That faith was the key to his ability to overcome innumerable difficulties and was foundational to his tremendous ministry success. By considering Taylor’s exceptional example of faith, we can strengthen our own trust in the Lord in seeking to faithfully live for and serve Him.

While taking a medical course in Hull, England, as part of his preparation for missionary service, young Hudson Taylor once gave away his very last coin to aid a desperately poor family. Consequently, he did not know how his own food would be supplied the very next day. But within twelve hours the Lord provided him four times the amount he had given away through an anonymous source. That was one of several faith-building experiences Taylor had before he left England for China.

En route to China for the first time, the ship on which Taylor sailed was trapped in a calm and carried forty miles off course by a strong current. The helpless vessel was in imminent danger of running aground on a sunken reef off the northern coast of Papua New Guinea. Taylor led the four known Christians aboard the ship in imploring God to rescue them by sending a wind. He then went on deck and recommended to the incredulous first officer that the listless mainsail be let down in anticipation of the immediate answer to their prayers! Presently a wind did spring up and within minutes the ship was sailing safely back out to sea. Throughout his ministry career Taylor had numerous other occasions to trust God for safety for himself, his family and his fellow missionaries, not only while traveling but also when encountering violent physical opposition from some Chinese toward the Christian message.

China Inland Mission map showing China's provinces

China Inland Mission map showing China’s provinces

With the unclouded eye of faith Taylor followed the Lord’s leading in founding the China Inland Mission (CIM) to reach the vast, previously-neglected interior region of that country. (Before the founding of the CIM, missionaries had confined their ministries to China’s seven coastal provinces, leaving the eleven inland provinces, where fully half the country’s immense population resided, entirely unevangelized.) Taylor trusted God to raise up many missionaries and to supply them with the necessary finances and protection so they could spread the Gospel throughout inland China. As a result, by the time of Taylor’s death, 800 missionaries and more than 2,000 Chinese pastors and evangelists were serving at 1,000 CIM stations and outstations. In Taylor’s lifetime the equivalent of 7.5 million dollars had been given to support the CIM, and 30,000 Chinese had become Christians.

Prior to 1886, the most missionaries the CIM had ever added to its force in a relatively short period of time was seventy, from 1882 to 1884. Late in 1886 Taylor and other missionaries in China began praying, rather audaciously, that God would send 100 new missionaries to the field in just one year’s time, by the end of 1887! Everyone affiliated with the CIM was invited to pray for “The Hundred.”

A veteran missionary to Shanghai told Taylor, “I am delighted to hear that you are praying for large reinforcements. You will not get a hundred, of course, within the year; but you will get many more than if you did not ask for them.”

Taylor replied, “Thank you for your interest. We have the joy of knowing our prayers are answered now. And I feel sure that, if spared, you shall share that joy by welcoming the last of the hundred to China!”

That year an astounding 600 men and women offered themselves for service with the CIM in China. By the end of 1887, 102 new CIM missionaries had sailed for China.

These are just a few instances of the conspicuous faith that characterized Hudson Taylor’s life and ministry. His life story is peppered with literally scores of such faith-filled incidents.

Two of the books that I’ve had the privilege of writing, Hudson Taylor, Gospel Pioneer to China (P&R, 2011), and Timeless Stories, God’s Incredible Work in the Lives of Inspiring Christians (Christian Focus, 2010), contain numerous true stories of Taylor’s outstanding faith. I think you’ll find, as I certainly have, encouragement and guidance for your own faith-walk with the Lord, through reading of Hudson Taylor’s life of remarkable faith.

Copyright 2013 by Vance E. Christie

Hudson Taylor

Hudson Taylor

The very first biography I had the privilege of publishing (with Barbour in 1999) was on Hudson Taylor, one of my longtime missionary heroes. That book was republished (by Presbyterian and Reformed in 2011) under a new title, Hudson Taylor, Gospel Pioneer to China. Here are several reasons I’d encourage you to read Taylor’s biography:

1. Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) was one of the most outstanding and influential missionaries of all time. He served for five decades as a missionary to China and was the founding director of the China Inland Mission, which was intent on taking the Gospel to the vast, previously-neglected interior portion of that country. Ruth Tucker, in her book From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions, states: “No other missionary in the nineteen centuries since the apostle Paul has had a wider vision and carried out a more systematized plan of evangelizing a broad geographical area than Hudson Taylor.”

2. Taylor’s upbringing by consecrated Christian parents and grandparents encourages us in the important responsibility we have in raising our own children for the Lord. His great grandfather James Taylor endured fierce persecution in establishing the first Methodist congregation in the rough mining town of Barnsley, England.  Hudson Taylor was raised in that town and church. His parents read the Bible and prayed with their children twice each day. Taylor’s mother and sister played key roles in praying him to salvation as a teen. His parents’ intense interest in missions, especially to China, was doubtless the largest human influence in Hudson Taylor sensing God’s call to devote his life to missionary service there.

Young Hudson Taylor

Young Hudson Taylor

3. Taylor’s example inspires and challenges us to have a passionate concern for non-Christians and an earnest commitment to helping actively fulfill Christ’s Great Commission throughout the whole world. Both before and throughout his missionary career, Taylor had a pressing concern for the eternal welfare of unbelievers who would perish eternally without Jesus as their Savior. He was burdened over the untold millions who were passing into eternity without ever hearing of the Savior. That motivated him to do all he could to promote the fulfillment of the Great Commission. He tirelessly recruited other Christians to join him in actively pursuing that same objective.

4. Taylor has much to teach us about living a holy life and serving Christ in the strength that God supplies rather than under our own power. At age thirty-seven Taylor faced a personal crisis due to a collection of marked ministry trials and what he judged to be a lack of consistent spirituality in his own life. The breakthrough for him came in being reminded of and laying claim to the John 15 principle of bearing much fruit (both in ministry and one’s personal spiritual life) by abiding like a branch in Jesus the vine. From that point on, for the remainder of his life, Taylor sought to prayerfully depend on the Lord more and on his own exertions a bit less (although he remained a diligent servant of Christ throughout life). The results were increased personal joy, peace and righteousness as well as greater ministry effectiveness.

5. Taylor’s example reminds us that Christians need to be, as he was, willing to embrace considerable sacrifice and even suffering in order to serve the Lord faithfully. For Hudson Taylor that entailed: losing his first wife and four of his children to death from various diseases in China; enduring long separations from his children and second wife in carrying out ministry responsibilities; frequently living in sub-standard housing and experiencing severely straitened economic circumstances; being roundly criticized by his fellow countrymen and even some missionaries for his progressive ministry notions (such as adopting Chinese dress, hairstyle and other amoral customs); repeatedly having his own life endangered through illnesses, storms at sea and riots against Christians.

Hudson Taylor: Gospel Pioneer to China by Vance Christie

Learn more in Vance’s biography of Hudson Taylor.

6. Taylor’s example also encourages us not to be afraid to think and act outside the box when it comes to serving Christ and seeking to advance His kingdom. While ridiculed for doing so, Taylor embraced many amoral Chinese customs in order to more effectively reach indigenous people for Christ. While other missionaries were content to confine their ministry efforts to China’s coastal provinces, Taylor dared to follow God’s leading in establishing a unique mission society to reach the vast majority of China’s population living in inland provinces.

7. Last but certainly not least: One of the hallmarks of Taylor’s life and ministry was his unshakable faith in God. Taylor’s life story is replete with instances of his confidently trusting God to provide: pressing personal material needs; protection in various dangerous situations; both finances and personnel to carry out ever-expanding ministry undertakings. Reading of Taylor’s tremendous faith and how God greatly honored it motivates us to exercise increased faith in our own endeavors to serve the Lord.

I think you’ll receive significant inspiration and encouragement for your spiritual life and service by reading Hudson Taylor’s biography. I hope you’ll take the time to do so.

Copyright 2013 by Vance E. Christie

 

Vance's parents, George and Phyllis Christie, 60th wedding anniversary.

Vance’s parents, George and Phyllis Christie, 60th wedding anniversary.

I had the unspeakable blessing of being raised by committed Christian parents. Dad and Mom knew Christ Jesus as their personal Savior and were devoted to serving Him and His people. They loved God’s Word and sought to live faithfully by it. They were careful to lead their children to the Savior, to teach us the way of the Lord and to encourage us to obey and serve Him.

If ever I find myself taking my Christian heritage for granted, all I have to do is look back one generation to be reminded how blessed I truly am. Both my parents are first-generation Christians. If God’s saving and sanctifying grace had not intersected their lives, I would have had a very different upbringing in a non-Christian home.

While my mom was growing up her parents were good moral people but not churchgoers. (They professed faith in Christ later in life.)  As a young girl my mom attended a summer Bible school at a small Brethren church in the village of Ozark in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. As the church had no regular pastor at the time, a Presbyterian minister and his wife, Rev. and Mrs. Morrison, came from lower Michigan to conduct the children’s Bible school. They clearly presented the Gospel and invited the children to trust in Jesus as their Savior. At nine years of age my mom responded to that invitation and committed her life to Christ.

I don’t know if that faithful pastoral couple even knew of Mom’s commitment that day. But likely by now in heaven they’ve learned of the spiritual fruit their Gospel witness bore not only in my mom’s life but also in the lives of her children and grandchildren.

A number of years after Mom came to faith in Jesus she met and married my dad. After Dad’s stint in the Army, they moved to East Lansing so he could finish his college education at Michigan State University. They had two young children at the time, and Mom was eager for them to receive some Bible training. So at her encouragement (and through God’s gracious providential guidance), they started attending a Grace Brethren church in nearby Lansing.

Like Mom, my dad had been raised by good moral parents who did not attend church or profess personal faith in Jesus. Dad grew up believing that the way to get to heaven is by living a good life. But Rev. Dick Sellers, the pastor of the church Dad began attending in Lansing, taught that eternal life is God’s gift through faith in Christ rather than something we earn by our own good works.

“That preacher is wrong,” Dad thought to himself, “and I’m going to prove it to him!” He went home and started reading through the New Testament, searching for all the verses that show we get to heaven by our good deeds. But what he discovered was that he was mistaken and the preacher had it right. Convinced by Scripture, Dad placed his trust in Jesus as his Savior.

About a year later Dad sensed the Lord leading him to prepare for vocational Christian ministry and went to seminary. While he and Mom were there I was born. During Dad’s first pastoral ministry several years later I was reborn when he shared with me the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Christ and led me to the Savior.

As I’ve gone through my adult years my appreciation has grown for the rich spiritual heritage the Lord has blessed me with – first in bringing salvation to our family beginning with my parents, then in the abundant spiritual blessings and advantages that I and my siblings were raised with as a result.

Some of you readers, like my parents, are first-generation believers. Doubtless you are well aware of God’s goodness in bringing salvation to you though you did not have the advantage of a Christian upbringing. May the Lord mightily use you to pass on a godly heritage that will continue as a tremendous blessing to your family for generations to come.

Others of you, like myself and my children, are second- or third-generation Christians. Still others of you come from a strong Christian heritage that stretches back several generations. May all of us who have received such a blessed heritage not take it for granted. Instead may we regularly and heartily thank God for such a rich blessing and earnestly seek to do what we can to pass on that same blessing to the future generations of our family.

Copyright 2013 by Vance E. Christie

A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories That Stretch And StirLast year I had the privilege of teaching a ten-lesson course at the church I pastor on the topic of “Revival – Past and Present.” As the primary resource for the class (other than the Bible) we used Collin Hansen and John Woodbridge’s book A God-Sized Vision, Revival Stories that Stretch and Stir (Zondervan, 2010).  I highly recommend the book and encourage you to read it for the following reasons:

1. The authors are well qualified to write on the topic of revival. John Woodbridge is the esteemed research professor of Church History at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, having taught there for over forty years. Collin Hansen is the capable editorial director for the Gospel Coalition.  Both of them have published best-selling books and numerous articles in various journals and magazines. They’ve obviously done their homework for writing this book. Each chapter includes a list of endnotes, referencing several published works that can be consulted for further study on that chapter’s subject.

2. Hansen and Woodbridge handle the complex and sometimes controversial topic of revival with balance and grace. While acknowledging that some of what has been called revival doubtless was not, they nevertheless believe that revival is a legitimate, biblical phenomenon that has occurred repeatedly in Church History and that Christians today do well to prepare for and seek. The authors are of the persuasion that bona fide revival is something that God graciously brings about rather than something that people work up on their own. But unlike some books on revival, Woodbridge and Hansen are gracious in how they speak of and represent proponents of the opposite view from their own.

3. The first chapter of this work does an excellent job of laying out a biblical foundation of revival, introducing the two main camps of thought on revival (sovereignly brought about by God or initiated by man), and defining what true revival actually is. Genuine revival is shown to have its roots in Bible times, not just in subsequent Church History.

4. Chapters 2-8 of the book describe a number of major revivals that have taken place in various parts of the world during the past three centuries:

  • The First and Second Great Awakenings in North America (1730s-1740s and 1790s- 1840s).
  • The Prayer Meeting Revival in the United States, Northern Ireland and South Africa (1857-1860).
  • The Global Awakening in Wales, India, Korea and North America (1900s).
  • Revivals in China and Manchuria (1900s-1930s).
  • The East Africa Revival (1920s-1970s).
  • North America’s Evangelical Boom (1940s-1950s).

I was delighted to learn much more through this book about how God has worked in mighty reviving power not only at different times in my native country but also in other parts of the world.

5. This volume presents these revivals in an engaging and manageable fashion. The book provides a popular-level overview rather than a detailed scholarly analysis of these periods of significant spiritual awakening. Each chapter moves along at a brisk pace, with plenty of fascinating personal narratives (involving various key players in the revivals) and helpful statistical summaries to keep the reading interesting.

6. The book’s Conclusion suggests several practical ways we contemporary Christians can prepare for and seek a God-wrought revival in our own day. Doing so will strengthen our current “routine” service for the Lord even as we look for an exceptional stirring of His Spirit among us.

7. Many modern Christians know very little about the mighty revivals that God has brought at various times and places in the past. This volume is a handy way to gain an overview of those extraordinary spiritual awakenings and to be encouraged by them.

8. Some may be tempted to think that revival cannot take place today because conditions in society and the Church have reached such a low moral and spiritual ebb.  This book reminds us that’s precisely when revival has often come in the past – when conditions had become excessively dark and discouraging. Such desperate circumstances motivated God’s people to cry out to Him for a gracious, mighty moving of His Spirit that would address and correct the overwhelming difficulties being faced.

I think you’ll receive, as I have, significant spiritual encouragement and benefit from reading A God-Sized Vision, Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir.

About the Authors:

Collin Hansen

Collin Hansen

Collin Hansen (MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is editorial director for the Gospel Coalition. Formerly an associate editor for Christianity Today, he is the author of Young, Restless, Reformed and co-author with John Woodbridge of A God-Sized Vision. He has written for Books and Culture, Tabletalk, Leadership, and Christian History and Biography. He has appeared as a commentator on Fox News, and his work has been featured in Time magazine.

Follow Collin’s blog at The Gospel Coalition.

John Woodbridge

John Woodbridge

John Woodbridge (PhD, University of Toulouse, France) is research professor of Church History and History of Christian Thought at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, where he has taught since 1970. He was previously a senior editor of Christianity Today and is the author of Biblical Authority: A Critique of the Rogers/McKim Proposal and coauthor of Letters Along the Way. He is the editor of Great Leaders of the Christian Church and coeditor of works including The Mark of Jesus. Woodbridge is the recipient of four Gold Medallion Awards.

Copyright 2013 by Vance E. Christie