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Features: "Preach Christ Crucified" "As Much as in Me Is" Christ's Public Relations Methods The Real Secret

"Preach Christ Crucified" "As Much as in Me Is" Christ's Public Relations Methods The Real Secret

We are not commissioned to convert men, but we are commissioned to preach to them of a power that will convert them. "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." But how are men to know the truth unless they have heard it? "And how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" Rom. 10:14, 15.

The preacher is a messenger. A messenger is one who is sent to carry a message. He is not the originator of the message; he is simply the carrier of it, and he has to give the message just as it was given to him. He is not to add to it or to take from it. He is to give it in word and in spirit, that it may accomplish all that the giver and the sender of the message desires.

The minister of God is spoken of as God's ambassador. An ambassador is "a minister of the highest rank accredited to a foreign court to reside there and represent his sovereign." He is to represent his sovereign, but he cannot represent his sovereign unless he knows his sovereign and knows what his sovereign wants him to say and to do. He is not to represent his own views, but his sovereign's views, and it is his duty to be so well informed regarding the mind of his sovereign that he knows with absolute certainty that he is representing him. What a great responsibility does God thus lay upon men in asking them to represent Him at an alien court!

We know God through Jesus Christ, for He is the revelator of God the Father. "Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." How important then is it that we preach Christ and Him only, for in no other way can we make known God the Father, who is the author of all that is good and true. But we cannot preach Christ without knowing Him, and we can not know Him unless He Himself dwells in us and walks in us. He has promised to give us His mind, so that we can think His thoughts after Him. Thus did Paul exhort his Philippian brethren, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." When the mind of Christ is our mind, then truly are we God's ambassadors; and then, and then only, can we as ambassadors of Christ beseech men "as though God did beseech" them, that they be "reconciled to God." Let it be said again that it is the work of the ambassador of heaven to reconcile men unto God, but he can not possibly do this unless he actually knows the purpose and will of the Ruler whom he represents.

Paul at Athens

In his travels Paul visited Athens. Athens was at that time the mind and heart of the learning and wisdom of the world. Paul himself was a very learned man, and it was but natural that he should visit Mars' Hill, the meeting place of the Greek philosophers. Ever seeking to make God the Father known as the Creator and Upholder of all existence, and His Son Jesus Christ as the Saviour and Judge of lost men, Paul eagerly embraced the opportunity these philosophers gave him to make known to them the Creator and His plan of salvation.

This Mars' Hill speech of Paul's, in which he quoted from their own Greek poets, is reckoned by scholars to have no superior in literature. But though a few believed, there is no mention of a church in Athens. It would appear from what Paul wrote the Corinthians in his first epistle that he felt that in his masterpieces of oratory he did not preach Christ crucified.

He went from Athens directly to Corinth. Of his coming to them he says:

"And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of poverty: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." 1 Cor. 2:1-5.

"Humility, that low, sweet root, from which all heavenly virtues shoot," must first, last, and always possess the spirit of him who would preach Christ crucified with compelling power.

 

"As much as in me is"!

 FREDERICK GRIGGS

What wholehearted consecration is expressed by these words: Nothing more could be asked, and nothing more could be given. Every ounce of strength, physical, mental, and spiritual, and every faculty of being is called into play by these words. When a man uses all of his ability in each day's work he has an increasing fund. The exercise, to its full measure, of his strength today gives him an increased strength for tomorrow. That is the way one can best build the faculties of his being. "Unto every one that hath shall be given." If we trade upon the strength of today, using it all in fullest measure, we soon find it doubled and trebled. God miraculously adds to man's endeavor.

Those words "as much as in me is" occur early in Paul's epistle to the Romans. They were not idle words, and those of his Roman brethren who knew of his conversion and of his faithful, constant life of self-denial and service knew them to be sincere words. Their expression must have given a ready ear to hear the deep, spiritual truths that follow in this epistle to them. Paul endeavored in all his preaching and writing to give the very best that he had. And he had great good to give, for it was Christ in him "the hope of glory" that he was presenting to these brethren. Christ was revealing Himself to them through His servant Paul.

Ready to Preach

Now let us notice the whole verse from which our title is taken: "So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also." "I am ready" of course Paul was ready, thoroughly prepared for every work and for all occasions.

The true servant of Christ is always thus prepared. Christ Himself heard every cry for help. He always rendered loving service. The servant of Christ makes it his business to be prepared ready to tell men of the love of the Master for them. He studies first of all the Word of God. It is the man of his counsel. It is the guide in all his study, and with it he also studies the works of nature. He observes and he reads what others have observed regarding the works of God. He is thus more capable of imparting the truth which God would have man know, for God has revealed Himself and His truth in the works of nature as well as in His Inspired Word. The true servant of God also has a good and continually seeks for a better understanding of God's providences as revealed on the pages of history. He values his time for study and prayer. Mighty teachers of righteousness have always been men of much prayer. One of the most solemn, heart-searching moments of my life was when, in Westminster Abbey, I stood at the tomb of David Livingstone, that man of prayer, who passed from this life on his knees in an African hut. From such lives we may well borrow the full measure of devotion.

We live in a time when God's Spirit of might and power is to possess the hearts of the ministry as perhaps at no past time in earth's history. God is going to have a pure, strong ministry. His servants are going to be filled with Holy Ghost power. But it is a matter of choice with each of us whether we shall be among that number. Our diligence in seeking God and in using the power He gives us will determine whether we are among those whom He favors with this saving power. May every one of us who professes to be Christ's servant be able to say with that great evangelist, Paul, "As much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel." Then let us see to it that Christ does dwell in our hearts; let us take time to seek Him; let us be instant in season and out of season in pointing men to the way of salvation.

Christ's Public Relations Methods

L. HAROLD LINDBECK

The minister should not shy away from public relations for reasons of doctrine or tradition. For it is a fact that Jesus Himself was a Master Artist in human relations and communications. In His teachings and ministry He gave the world a sound lesson on the fundamental principles and techniques which characterize modern public relations. By this, I do not mean that public relations as we know it today had its origin simultaneously with Christianity, or that the Master Teacher necessarily intended to establish public relations as a profession. But note the striking similarities between the principles and methods as found in the life and teachings of Jesus with those that characterize modern public relations practice. Here is the Master Artist at work in public relations:

The Problem

In its broadest sense, Christ had but one great public relations problem. That was the problem of public opinion the attitude of people toward Him, His mission and message. Obviously, this was a problem of communications, because public opinion usually plays a decisive role in any communications situation. Therefore, from the days of His earliest ministry, we find Him conscious of the power of public opinion, and those factors which influence acceptance moods or create prejudice, suspicion, and misunderstanding. Once this problem was recognized, and clearly defined, then He outlined His objectives and targets.

Some of these were immediate objectives and aimed at targets close by. Others' were long-range and projected to span the centuries. His immediate objective was to win and hold public sentiment in His favor, and remove or reduce, as far as possible, the resistance factors and barriers that stood be tween Him and His potential listeners. He came to communicate a distinctive message, interpret the Gospel, and establish His church. Prejudice and misunderstanding had to be dissipated as far as possible, before He could effectively reach minds and hearts. Meanwhile, He was compelled to hold in check the wrath of His enemies and opposition forces until His mission and work were completed. He reached His goals because of a careful selection of publics.

Audiences Defined

That He clearly defined His audiences and distinguished between His respective publics is attested by these statements of the Master: "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." "They that be whole, have no need of a physician, but they that are sick." Whether rich or poor, educated or uneducated, lawyers, civic leaders or educators, He always approached each in terms of their self-interests and talked their language.

While yet a lad of twelve, His parents found Him in the Temple reasoning with the philosophers and religious leaders of His time. When they reprimanded Him, He protested: "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" We find Him in frequent touch with thought-leader groups. Community leaders and educators like Nicodemus, Zaccheus, and Lazarus were His special targets. But more significantly, we find that all His relationships were governed by clearly defined policies of conduct and behaviour.

Basic Policy

The Golden Rule was the basic policy of conduct which characterized all His public relations. "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." On this basic precept of fairness, tolerance, and respect for the rights and feelings of others, He built the foundation for all good public relations. He stated this principle in the command, "Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself."

That all good public relations should begin at home, and have their basis in consistent policies, is further emphasized in His scathing rebuke to the religious leaders of His times for their inconsistencies in this respect: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the out-side of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. . . . cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. ... for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones." (St. Matthew, Chapter 23.) These principles guided Him in His program of community relations.

He made a sizable and unselfish contribution to the public welfare of His community through unselfish ministry for others. While He told people of a Kingdom of Heaven, He was everlastingly concerned with the problem of everyday living. He took an interest in people, their problems, and the relief of their suffering and sorrow.

He concerned Himself with civic affairs and was in the vanguard of every campaign against vice and corruption. On one notable occasion, He ... fearlessly drove the gamblers from their dens in the Temple court. When criticized for "eating with publicans and sinners" at civic affairs and luncheons, He stoutly defended His action as one of the objectives of His ministry.

Neither was He a social snob. He furnished wine for the wedding feast of Cana, marched in funeral processions with His neighbors, and spent leisure time at the home of His friends. His neighborliness not only won for Him a wide circle of friends, but it became a most effective way of communicating His message to others. More, it dissipated prejudice and misunderstanding, and created positive acceptance moods to ward the Gospel He preached. All this enhanced the solution of His problem of interpretation and semantics.

Used Simple Approach

His approach to this basic problem in communications was simple and effective. He was acquainted with grass-roots sentiments, because He mingled and talked with people. He discovered prevailing misconceptions of His mission. The concepts of God, His love, and the Gospel had been grossly distorted in the minds of His listeners by prevailing traditions. He corrected these negative concepts, not by abstract preachments from a sky-high ivory tower, but rather He interpreted the mysteries of the Gospel in terms of their every-day problems, experiences, semantics and thought patterns.

The pattern of this approach soon became evident. He interpreted God and His love in simplest terms, mostly in parables and stories known to all of them. He be came known to His listeners simultaneously as the "Son of God" and the "Son of man." They saw God in their friend the "friend of sinners" benevolent, merciful and just. He established areas of understanding and emphasized the things they held in common. But more than this, He employed prevailing tools and techniques of communications.

His communications problem was vastly more simple than ours today. The greater part of His time was spent in simple face-to-face communications. Besides the personal touch at civic and social occasions, neighborly contact and conversation, still He chose other methods of communicating such as the pulpit and public rostrum. Whether in the Temple court, the mountainside, seashore or in the city squares or meeting places where people gathered in groups, He told His story in simple language readily understood by all.

Emphasis on Performance

He placed special emphasis on performance, and the need of "good works." "Ye are the salt of the earth," He declared, but if "good works" were lacking, then that "salt" 'had "lost his saviour" and was hence forth "good for nothing." He definitely im plied, however, that performance and recognition go hand-in-hand. He said: "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works." In other words, the story of this performance should be made to "shine before men" let the story be told "that men may see your good works." But more, He was a master publicist. He knew how to tell His story effectively.

He had no printing presses, radio, or television. There were no newspaper reporters. But He successfully employed the publicity facilities of His time. He sent His disciples forth, and by sermon, personal conversation, by missionaries and travelers He started Christianity on its march around the world. To determine His progress, He re sorted to His own type of surveys and public opinion polls.

There were no Gallup pollsters in His day, but He took steps to determine the state of public opinion and His progress in His mission to the world. This He did by simply asking those who had the greatest possible contact with prevailing comment and opinion: "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" Or He simply asked: "What think ye of Christ? Whose Son is he?" And with this sampling, He was quick to correct misunderstanding, and keep His information program in tune with these trends in public opinion. Thus His publicity work was guided by clearly defined objectives, but more, it was timed and scheduled in keeping with His strategy of programming and timing.

Careful Timing

Perhaps the most significant part of His public relations was the strategy and careful timing of His program. From His boy hood, and baptism, to His crucifixion and ascension, every part of His life was care fully scheduled in harmony with a time table and predetermined strategy. For example, at the time of His baptism He said: "The time is fulfilled." When His time for ministry was running out He said: "The night cometh, when no man can work." As the time of crucifixion drew near, He confided to His followers: "The time is at hand."

All the great public events of His life were planned in keeping with this strategy of timing. His triumphal entry into Jerusalem was carefully timed to achieve a maximum impact on public opinion. He used public opinion to hold in check His enemies that sought to kill Him. . . . On one occasion when they had planned to take Him prisoner, they suddenly changed .their plans, saying: "not on a feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people."

Not only did Christ thus utilize the basic principles of public relations, and demonstrate the techniques and methods in terms of His problems, but more, He illustrated the magic-formula which largely characterizes modern communications. How? He skillfully combined the "high-pressure" force of His preaching with the long-range "low-pressure" force of positive public relations. The latter enhances the impact of the former, by removing the barriers of prejudice and misunderstanding which dissipate it.

After all, these are the basic pillars of modern public relations. Whether for business enterprise, or for social organizations such as churches, colleges, and hospitals, the principles and techniques are the same. These differ only in their adaptation to the peculiar problems of the organization concerned. This is the problem for the public relations counselor and the clergy man. That this can be done is attested by the following statement by John L. Fortson, PR Director of the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness:

"It is true that commercial promotional methods cannot be lifted bodily and applied to the religious field, without proper adaptation. But it does not follow that all commercial methods are therefore evil ... in good public relations there is more good religion than most churchmen would suspect."

Some churchmen will argue that the church has always believed in these principles, more as tenets of the Gospel than as public relations, and that the church, by its very nature, therefore does have public relations. What was adequate in times past will no longer suffice today. The forces, drives, emotions and conflicting factors that are a part of our social life and civilization today differ drastically from those of the past. The problem of communications today is vastly more complex than in Christ's day. The powerful competitive forces at play in the complex arena of world opinion have driven nearly all modern enterprise to the use of the highly skilled techniques and strategies of public relations.

That the church can remain aloof from these in this age of specialization is doubt ful. This fact has come home to some churchmen with increasing impact in re cent years, until today, many progressive church leaders are giving serious study to public relations. . . .

Compared ... to what we ought to be doing in this respect, public relations peo ple are only partly awake. But it is not entirely the fault of public relations. The responsibility of churchmen is equally as great. The clergyman who fails to use the "know-how" of the experienced public relations counselor is making use of only a small part of his potential resources. Nor is it suggested that the church necessarily pay for this help. Let this be our contribution to the public welfare in the fight for freedom and democracy.

The Real Secret

D. H. KRESS, M.D. Orlando, Florida

As I review my past I can see very clearly that the real secret of success in the work of God is secret prayer. "Why could not we cast him out?" the disciples asked Jesus in acknowledging their humiliating failure to bring physical relief to an only son and mental relief to the father. Jesus replied, "This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting." Matt. 17:19, 21.

By carefully reading the Gospels we will be surprised to find how seldom is mention made of the disciples' being engaged in secret prayer. Jesus did the praying. As a man, Jesus possessed no power that the disciples might not have possessed. His humanity made prayer a necessity. "I can of mine own self do nothing," He said.

At the beginning of His public ministry, while bowing in prayer upon the banks of the Jordan, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him and a voice came from heaven saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." By every praying son of God, when in secret prayer, this voice may be heard.It was not merely on the banks of the Jordan that He prayed. He had offered secret prayer before coming to the Jordan that day, and He knew that God, faithful to His promise, would reward Him openly. This one baptism of the Holy Spirit alone did not give Him the preparation for His lifework. Each morning He felt the need of a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit. Each morning as He was engaged in secret prayer, He could hear the same voice that came from heaven at His baptism, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Daily prayer was with Him a necessity.

Not being so conscious of their helplessness and great need as was He, the disciples endeavored to carry forward their work without secret prayer. To offer a hurried prayer and then rush away, not allowing God to speak to us, may be compared to hanging up the telephone receiver, shutting off the one at the other end of the line. Time should be given for God to speak to us after we speak to Him. No time is more appropriate or suitable for this communion than the early morning hour, when all other voices are shut out. Jesus took advantage of the early morning to obtain His fresh supply of the Holy Spirit for the day's duties. This was the secret of His success. At the grave of Lazarus, Jesus did not offer a long public prayer. He merely looked up and said, "Father, I thank Thee that thou hast heard me." He then said, "Lazarus, come forth." He knew that God had heard the prayer He had offered in secret before He came to the grave of Lazarus. Speaking from experience, He said to His disciples, "When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and . . . pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." Matt. 6:6.

It was when Peter "went up upon the housetop to pray" that the angel of God was sent to Cornelius, a praying man in need, saying, "Send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: ... he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do." Acts 10:9, 5, 6. This connection be tween Peter and Cornelius could never have been made had it not been for that secret prayer offered by Peter upon the housetop.

There are many in this world today who, like Cornelius, are praying for help. When, like Peter, we pray in secret, God will send them to us, and we shall see the fulfillment of Isaiah 60:4: "Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: . . . they come to thee."

Experiences

From my past experiences I can recall that it was when I prayed much in secret that God sent to me those whom I was instrumental in helping in my personal ministry. Years ago at a camp meeting I at tended, while conversing with one of our brethren at the book tent, I heard someone behind me say, "Is Dr. Kress here?"

I turned around and said to him, "I am Dr. Kress."

He replied, "Doctor, I am so glad to see you. You do not remember me."

I said, "No, I do not remember you."

Then he said, "Do you remember that fifteen years ago you came to Johnstown to give some lectures on health? My daughter, who attended your lectures, was greatly helped. She persuaded you to come to my home and see if you could offer me some help. I was a morphine addict. You came and talked with me, assuring me of the certainty of the promise given by Christ that whatsoever we should ask the Father in His name, He would give us, and then you offered a prayer before you left. I have not seen you since then, but I want you to know that from that day to this I have used no morphine. God gave me complete deliverance, and I am a Seventh-day Adventist now, selling our books and our other literature."

This man was not a believer when I first saw him, but he was in distress and was praying for help. I too at the time had been praying much in secret, and God was able to make the connection between this man, who was in need, and me. I had prayed for guidance and divine help chiefly in delivering my public addresses while in that city, but God had seen this one man who was in distress and who was longing for help.

The next day after relating to me this experience, he came to me and said: "Doctor, I did not tell you all. The night before you came to our city, I had a dream. In that dream I was told a healer would come to our city, and he would pray for me and I would be healed." I must admit that this was a surprise to me, and yet it ought not to have been, for that is the way God some times works. This is the lesson we are taught in reading the story of how Cornelius, a man in need, was directed to Peter, a man who was praying upon the house top in secret.

One Contact Led to Others

This was not all that took place in Johns town. Elder Enoch, who had just returned from India, was to give a public lecture on that country. The views he was presenting were very impressive. It was recommended that I should go before him as a kind of John the Baptist, to pave the way with my lectures on health, and at the same time meet with our people. When I arrived at the station, being a stranger, I was in perplexity, not knowing where to go. As I stood looking at my valise I offered a silent prayer for guidance. The thought came to me that no doubt there was a YMCA in that city. Why not go there? I left my baggage and started for the YMCA. Stepping up to the desk, I introduced myself. The clerk said, "Well, doctor, I am very, very sorry to say that every room is occupied, and there are applications ahead." How ever, he introduced me to Mr. Wolf, the secretary. I told him my disappointment. He said, "Doctor, we will find a room for you if we have to make a vacancy." They did.

Then he said, "I would like you to meet with some youngsters this morning and give them a talk on cigarettes." This I consented to do. He was so favorably impressed with it that he said: "We have a meeting of our Protestant ministers tonight, and I have been appointed to present a paper. The paper is prepared, but I want you to give a talk to the ministers instead. My paper will keep." I met with them, and we had a most interesting time. Then he said, "Tomorrow night we are having a banquet of our business and professional men of the city, and I want you to be the guest of honor and address the assembly."

I said, "Very well."

Going down on the elevator the night of the banquet, I tried to form a mental picture of my audience and wondered what I could say. Judge Hill, the chairman, introduced me at the close of the meal. When I rose to speak I told them that I had formed a mental picture of my audience, but had been surprised because there were so few men along in years present. I said that this reminded me of something I had read about a young man who was sent from England to America to study our business methods. In going from one large business concern to another, he was surprised to see that business was carried on chiefly by young men. He finally ventured to ask, "Where are your old men?" He was pointed to the hillside cemetery and told that they were either dead or prematurely disabled. I then said, "As I look at you in the prime of life I have been wondering if in twenty years from now I should again be privileged to address the businessmen of this city, where the old men would be." I then called attention to some of the most pronounced causes of premature disability. This talk was well received.

Next I was taken to a gathering of women of the WCTU, that I was to address. I gladly responded to this invitation also and gave them a talk on the responsibility of the mother in the home, especially in the preparation of suitable and nourishing food. I recall I mentioned the importance of serving the family with whole-wheat bread instead of white bread. One present said, "But, doctor, we cannot get whole wheat bread in this city."

I replied, "If you create a demand for it, you will be able to get it." Evidently a most effective impression was made, for the next day my attention was called to a poster in front of a bakery, which read, "Dr. Kress's bread for sale here." Meetings were then arranged for me in the leading churches, the public schools, et cetera. I was entertained royally by the YMCA while there.

Two weeks after this I received a very nice letter from Mr. Wolf, the secretary of the YMCA, containing a check for thirty-five dollars. He said, "We do not want you to regard this as remuneration but merely as an expression of appreciation of the splendid piece of work you did while here with us," and then he extended a pressing invitation to come again. He said, "When you come again, we will put it over in a big way."

I am relating this because, as I recall it, I am certain the success I had there was due to the prayers I had offered in secret be fore going to Johnstown. The program was in God's hand. It had all been prearranged in God's plan for me.

Our Disappointments—His Appointments

My failures in the past, for there have been many, I have to attribute to a lack of secret prayer. We are told: "As activity increases, and men become successful in doing any work for God, there is danger of trusting to human plans and methods. There is a tend ency to pray less. . . . Only the work accomplished with much prayer, and sanctified by the merit of Christ, will in the end prove to have been efficient for good." The Desire of Ages, p. 362.

Sometimes the Lord interferes with our well-laid plans in order that His plans may be carried out. Paul at one time "assayed to go into Bithynia," but we are told, "The Spirit suffered . . . not." God wanted Paul in Macedonia and not in Bithynia. Disappointments are sometimes His appointments.

This reminds me of an experience I had in Chicago. An appointment had been arranged for me for a Sunday night meeting in a church on State Street. I made note of it in my little book, and on that night started for the church. Arriving early, I took my seat in the front, where the minister could see me on his arrival. The church was well filled when three men came and took their seats on the platform. I waited a short time for recognition by the pastor, and then stepped up to the platform. The pastor stepped forward to greet me. In a quiet whisper I informed him that I was Dr. Kress, the speaker of the evening. He expressed surprise, and said there must be a mistake. "We have been conducting revival services here the past week," said the pastor, and added, "The evangelist is on the platform with us." But as a matter of courtesy he invited me to take a seat on the platform with them.

Then they proceeded to open the meeting. A hymn was sung, and one of the ministers was called upon to offer prayer. Then I overheard the pastor conversing with the evangelist, and I recognized the dilemma they were in. At first I decided to tell the pastor to go ahead with their plans, that evidently I had made a mistake. But on second thought I said to myself, "No. There must be a providence in this. Let us go ahead, for have I not been praying much in secret for this meeting?"

After we rose from prayer the pastor, in making his announcements, said, "We have a surprise for our audience tonight. We have with us Dr. D. H. Kress, secretary of the Anti-Cigarette League of America. We do not know how he happened to be here, but in talking it over with the evangelist, we were reminded of the Scripture, 'Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.' " He then said, "We have concluded to give the hour to Dr. Kress."

This being a revival meeting, in order not to disappoint the expectation of the audience, I took for my text: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." I dwelt on the purpose of Christ in entering these body temples of ours. He takes possession to cleanse them. I referred to alcohol and tobacco and to some of the other habits and practices that are defiling and ruinous to the health and to spiritual growth. I said, "As He enters, He will say, as He did when He entered the Temple at Jerusalem that had been defiled, 'Take these things hence.'" We had a very successful revival. Definite sins were renounced and conversions followed. I was urged to come again.

The next day I was informed that I had an audience waiting for me at another church. I have never been able to explain how it all happened. The only explanation I could think of was that my plans had failed because God had other plans for me. My disappointment was evidently His appointment.


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June 1953

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