Shaun Tabatt Show Ep 28 Vance Christie Andrew Murray Christian Focus

Last week I got to visit with Shaun Tabatt and share about my new book on the life of Andrew Murray. Listen to our interview below.

-Download the MP3: http://ow.ly/SMDUz
-Read the show notes: http://ShaunTabatt.com/028
-Subscribe to The Shaun Tabatt Show on iTunes: http://ow.ly/Pxz1x

To find out more about Andrew Murray: Christ’s Anointed Minister to South Africa, visit the Andrew Murray book page on my website.

Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray

Several weeks ago I was delighted to submit to Christian Focus Publications the completed manuscript of my newest biography, Andrew Murray of South Africa. In the coming months running up to the book’s publication I’d like to share some of the many valuable lessons to be learned through Murray’s remarkable life. I begin with the tremendous model he was of combining a high degree of both action and contemplation in his Christian life and service.

Andrew Murray (1828-1917) was a man of tireless action. He served for fifty-seven years as an active minister of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa, pastoring four separate congregations, including his final pastorate of three and a half decades. Murray was chosen by his ministerial colleagues to serve six terms (totaling some twenty-five years) as Moderator of Cape Colony’s Dutch Reformed Synod. He traveled and ministered more extensively throughout all of South Africa than any other minister of any denomination in S.A. in his day.

Murray played a key role in the founding of several educational institutions. He personally carried out a number of major evangelistic tours of different parts of the country, pointing large numbers of people to salvation in Christ. He took the lead in establishing and promoting the work of various foreign missionary societies to carry the Gospel to unreached people groups outside the bounds of the Colony. Murray sponsored and was featured at numerous conferences aimed at calling believers to a higher plain of Christian living and service. He actively supported a number of student ministry organizations as well as home mission works that ministered to military personnel, the poor and moral outcasts. He also carried out prominent preaching ministries in Europe and America.

Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray

While being a man of seemingly-constant action, Murray was also a contemplative individual. His mind constantly probed new avenues and depths of biblical, spiritual truth. His thinking and teaching were thoroughly devotional in nature. He lived with a profound awareness of the presence of God and a preoccupation with matters spiritual. He was deeply devoted to prayer. He had an appreciation for the writings of certain Christian mystics and has sometimes been classified as being a sane, sanctified mystic himself.

Through his prolific writing ministry, which saw nearly 240 works (including over seventy books) published, Murray shared his fervent spiritual perspectives on numerous subjects. His writings reveal the breadth and the depth of his spiritual reflections. Both his preaching and writing ministries clearly set forth the great importance he placed on active, consecrated service on the one hand and the cultivation of deep personal piety and devotional practices on the other hand.

Many Christians tend to incline more toward one or the other – active service or reflective contemplation – in their Christian lives. Andrew Murray’s example (to say nothing of such biblical models as King David and the Apostle Paul) reminds us that both service and contemplation are vitally important in our living for the Lord. We ought to actively cultivate and seek to maintain a healthy balance between both emphases. As we do, by God’s grace we’ll be well-equipped and useful servants of Christ.

Copyright 2015 by Vance E. Christie

My book Women of Faith and Courage presents abbreviated biographical accounts of the lives and ministries of five outstanding Christian women: Susanna Wesley, Fanny Crosby, Catherine Booth, Mary Slessor and Corrie ten Boom. (You can read a thumbnail sketch of each of their lives in my March 6, 2014, blog “Five Inspiring Christian Women Worth Getting to Know.”) Here are several reasons I’d encourage you to get and read the book:

Fanny Crosby

Fanny Crosby

1. It provides the opportunity to become acquainted (or reacquainted) with a handful of Christ’s choicest female servants from the past three centuries. These women gained great and abiding renown (which they certainly did not seek) for their exceptional Christian piety and service. Their examples are absolutely worthy of our consideration; through them we will be encouraged, inspired and instructed in our own Christian life and service.

2. Not only women, but also young people as well as men can profit greatly from the examples of these consecrated Christians. Women of Faith and Courage would be a great book to read with one’s children as part of family devotions. It could also be used beneficially in ladies study and discussion groups.

Susanna Wesley

Susanna Wesley

3. The lives of these women show that God has different ministries for each of His servants to fulfill. Susanna Wesley’s ministries centered on her children in her home and, to a lesser degree, on the people in her husband’s parish. Fanny Crosby’s primary ministry was hymnwriting. But she also used that as a platform for speaking ministries in missions, YMCAs and other public settings. In addition to placing a priority on the spiritual upbringing of her children, Catherine Booth carried out a powerful preaching ministry, especially emphasizing evangelism and a proper Christian response to the down-and-out of society.

Mary Slessor and adopted children

Mary Slessor and adopted children

Mary Slessor’s missionary career in Calabar (southern Nigeria) involved school teaching, itinerate evangelism, church planting, foster care and judicial responsibilities. Corrie ten Boom’s varied service included ministering to young people and feebleminded individuals of her community, harboring fugitives from the Nazis, providing a bright Christian witness in the darkness of German concentration camps and, after the war, heralding the message of God’s love and forgiveness throughout the world. Their examples remind us to identify and fulfill the unique ministries the Lord has for us, and to remain sensitive to new ministries He will lead us into as we go along in our service of Him.

Corrie ten Boom

Corrie ten Boom

4. Each of these women experienced marked hardships in life. For most if not all of them, difficulties were regular rather than periodic occurrences. Instead of turning away from God because of such adversity, they drew near to Him for His help and strength in getting through the trials. As a result, their faith was progressively strengthened rather than weakened. As it was with them, so it is with contemporary believers: Hardships tend to be part and parcel of the Christian life; God uses those difficulties to strengthen the faith and develop the character of His children.

5. All these women were characterized by selfless service of the Lord and others. Their lives were all about serving Christ and benefiting others, not at all about living for self. They sacrificed many personal conveniences and comforts in order to faithfully serve as they did. Periodically they were tempted to feel sorry for themselves in light of the constant and sometimes heavy sacrifices their service required of them. But the vast majority of the time they bore their self-sacrificial service willingly and without complaint. Their example is a necessary corrective to many modern Christians who are absorbed with their own interests and comforts while manifesting little inclination or willingness to expend their lives in serving Christ and those around them.

6. Another commendable characteristic of these ladies was their proper balancing of family and other ministry responsibilities. As younger women, Mary and Corrie were both extremely devoted to helping care and provide for their family members. In addition, for many years Mary served as a loving foster mother and Corrie as an affectionate adopted aunt to numbers of children. Neither of them married, though they had that fond desire for a season. They were content to remain single and thus be freer to carry out the specialized ministries the Lord had for them to fulfill.

Catherine Booth

Catherine Booth

Susanna and Catherine were loyal to and supportive of their husbands’ ministries. At times that required considerable effort on their part, due to heavy ministry demands, straitened finances or, in Susanna’s case, having a domineering and insensitive husband. Susanna and Catherine also dedicated a great deal of time and effort to the training of their several children. They raised their children with strict but loving discipline. Their primary concern with their children was that they would develop into devout, active Christians.

The positive examples and high principles of all these women with regard to fulfilling one’s family responsibilities, deciding whether or not to marry, and raising children for the Lord are worthy of emulation by Christian singles, spouses and parents today.

Copyright 2014 by Vance E. Christie

 

Over the years I have read with great appreciation and benefit the biographies not only of many great men of faith but also of numerous outstanding Christian women. The abbreviated biographies of five such noteworthy Christian women (Susanna Wesley, Fanny Crosby, Catherine Booth, Mary Slessor and Corrie ten Boom) are featured in my book, Women of Faith and Courage. To follow is a thumbnail sketch of each of their lives to pique your interest.

Susanna Wesley

Susanna Wesley

Susanna Wesley (1669-1742) was the godly mother of John and Charles Wesley, key players in England’s evangelical revival and founders of the Methodist movement in the eighteenth century.  She faithfully supported and helped to strengthen the ministry of her oftentimes-difficult husband, Samuel, a clergyman in the Church of England.  She also poured her life into the educating and scrupulous spiritual upbringing of her numerous children. Her life models the shaping of an exceptional character through assorted trials, including religious persecution, financial deprivation, family heartache and poor health.

Fanny Crosby

Fanny Crosby

In an era filled with prominent Gospel song composers, Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) became the world’s premiere hymnwriter. Blind from six weeks of age, she wrote nearly 9,000 hymns in her lifetime, including a number that are still sung today – to name but a few, ‘All the Way My Savior Leads Me’, ‘Blessed Assurance’, ‘He Hideth My Soul’, ‘I Am Thine, O Lord’, ‘Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross’, ‘Redeemed’, ‘Rescue the Perishing’, ‘Tell Me the Story of Jesus’ and ‘To God Be the Glory’.  A Presbyterian by upbringing, she ministered in various denominational settings as an adult.  Well into her eighties, she traveled widely, ministering in churches, Bible conferences, rescue missions, YMCAs, patriotic rallies and various other settings.

Catherine Booth

Catherine Booth

Catherine Booth (1829-1890) is commonly thought of as the mother of the Salvation Army, having co-founded it with her husband, William. Before that time they were involved in itinerant evangelistic ministry with the Methodists. The Salvation Army, which experienced explosive growth and spread to a number of countries in the Booths’ lifetime, emphasized ministry to the spiritual and material needs of the lower classes of society.  For over three decades Catherine carried on a powerful public speaking ministry, becoming the preeminent female preacher of her generation.  The pronounced influence she and her husband had on their nine children (including an adopted son) resulted in all of them growing up to become devoted believers, most of whom entered vocational Christian service.

Mary Slessor

Mary Slessor

Mary Slessor (1848-1915), a Scottish Presbyterian, overcame a difficult childhood that included coping with an alcoholic father, grinding family poverty and exhausting labor in a textile mill as the primary provider for her mother and siblings.   She went on to invest thirty-eight years of her life in carrying the Gospel to savage, degraded tribes in the dense forests of Calabar (southern Nigeria), West Africa.  She courageously pioneered in areas where other missionaries and even traders avoided, planting churches and schools in several locations. Through her efforts, a variety of unthinkable pagan practices were eliminated or greatly reduced, and many individuals were led to saving faith in Christ.

Corrie ten Boom

Corrie ten Boom

Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983) is well known as one of the brave Dutch Reformed Christians who assisted and sheltered Jews and other fugitives during the German occupation of Holland in World War 2.  After being arrested for their underground work, Corrie and her sister, Betsie, carried out a phenomenal ministry of Christian witness and mercy in the Nazi concentration camps where they were incarcerated.  Following her providential release, Corrie returned to Holland where she established a recovery ministry to victims of the war.  She devoted the final three decades of her life to itinerant evangelistic ministry in more than sixty countries throughout the world.

I think you’ll be spiritually encouraged and benefited by reading the life stories of these dedicated Christian women. I would enjoy hearing how you’ve been inspired and challenged by their examples.

Copyright 2014 by Vance E. Christie