John Towy was so short you might wonder why he bothered to line up. He competed against men whose elbows would literally hit his head as he ran. Once he entered a two-mile race – twenty-two laps of an indoor board track so cut up that it was mainly splinters. After the first half a lap, tragedy struck. His shoe came off. It was the end of the race for Towy. No one can compete against champions, with only one shoe. Yet he kept running: one leg now effectively shorter than the other; splinters, like fiery darts, shooting into his foot. Resisting the pain, closing his mind to the sheer insanity of it, he pressed on, lap after lap after lap. At the end of lap twenty, he took the lead. A lap later, still in front, gold seemed a certainty. Then Forest Efaw, towering eleven inches taller than Towy, began to close in. Efaw gave it everything he had. Towy kept pumping those aching legs; pounding that paining foot. The finish was just feet away. Towy was still ahead; Efaw still gaining. Just before the tape, Efaw burst through to win by a foot (take whatever way you like).272
If athletes do such things, often without Christ, just to prove they can rapidly put one leg in front of the other, then I can hardly wait to hear what you will accomplish, empowered by the Spirit, eyes fixed on eternal goals.
Born in despair; reborn to conquer.
Lost in defeat; saved to triumph.
Destined for greatness,
Bound for glory,
Held in love,
Girded with truth,
Filled with might;
Free the slave,
Heal the sick,
Raise the dead,
Astound the world.
Out on a Limb for God
We should not demand iron-clad guarantees of success before attempting something big for the Almighty. What value can we place on one human soul?a The slightest possibility of winning someone for Christ should be enough to set us ablaze.
We must resist the urge to play safe and bury our talent.b Why let fear of failure immobilize us? Look not at the impossibility of the situation; look at the impossibility of God ever failing. Like Peter walking the waves, if we begin to sink, Jesus is there, ready to grasp our hand.
Work hard. Make financial, social and recreational sacrifices, like an athlete training for Olympic gold. Invest time and effort into a ministry that is presently non-existent. That’s faith in action. That’s following the path of the good and faithful servant. In submission to God, ears tuned to heaven’s frequency, such risks are honoring to God. You’re investing in eternal glory.
Grub, stretch your wings;
Worm, you’re gonna fly.
Dunce, astound the school.
Slave, prepare to rule.
Cleaner, address the throng.
Welder, inspire with song.
Plumber, rebuke that cancer.
Mother, kings you’ll counsel.
Stone, you’re gonna sparkle;
Rock, you’re solid opal.
Though most of the following have little in common with the subject matter of this book, I have drawn from them in my search for powerful illustrations and for confirmation of my biblical expositions.
Andersen, H. G. Mark, John IN Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible in Five Volumes Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1976, 4:88-89.
Andrew, Brother with John and Elizabeth Sherrill God’s Smuggler Hodder and Stroughton, Kent, UK, 1967.
Avery, Gordon Companion to the Song Book of the Salvation Army Salvationist Publishing and Supplies Ltd., London, 1961.
Bacon, Ernest W John Bunyan: Pilgrim and Dreamer Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1983.
Barclay, William (1) The Letters to the Corinthians St. Andrew Press, Edinburgh, UK, 1956.
Barclay, William (2) The Masters Men SCM London, 1959.
Barclay, William (3) Revelation of John (Vol 2) St. Andrew Press, Edinburgh, UK, 1960.
Barnes, Albert Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament Kregel, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Beattie, David J. The Romance of Sacred Song Marshall, Morgan and Scott, London, 1931.
Beeson, Ray & Hunsicker, R M The Hidden Price of Greatness Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois, 1991.
Blundell, Nigel The World’s Greatest Mistakes Octopus Books, London, 1980.
Boehme, Ron If God Has A Plan For My Life Why Can’t I Find It?? YWAM Publishing, Seattle, WA, 1992.
Breese, Dave Seven Men Who Rule From the Grave Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, UK, 1990.
Bridgeman, Harriet and Drury, Elizabeth, editors The Last Word Deutsch, London, 1982.
Brown, Keith and Hoover, John It’s Never Too Late to Say Yes! Regal books, Ventura, CA, 1987.
Brown, Theron and Butterworth, Hezekiah The Story of the Hymns and the Tunes Geo. H. Doran Co., New York, 1906.
Buckingham, Jamie (1) Daughter of Destiny: Kathryn Kuhlman Logos International, Plainfield, New Jersey, 1976.
Buckingham, Jamie (2) The Truth Will Set You Free But First It Will Make You Miserable Creation House, Altamonte Springs, Florida, 1988.
Carnegie, Dale How to Win Friends and Influence People Revised Edition, Angus & Robertson, North Ryde, NSW Australia, 1981.
Catherwood, Christopher Five Evangelical Leaders Hodder and Stroughton, London, 1984.
Carpenter, E. E Tithe IN Bromiley, Geoffrey (Ed) The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Vol 4:861-4, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1988.
Cole, Margaret Never too Old for God Spire Books, Old Tappan, New Jersey, 1979.
Corsini, Raymond J., (Editor) Encyclopedia of Psychology Wiley & Sons, New York, 1984.
Cousins, Norman Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient: Reflections on Healing and Regeneration Bantam Books, New York, 1979.
Cowart, John W People Whose Faith Got Them into Trouble: Stories of Costly Discipleship IVP, Illinois, 1990.
Cowell, F. R. Everyday Life in Ancient Rome Putnam, New York, 1961.
Cruz, Nicky Brothers & Sisters, We Have a Problem Dove Christian Books, Melbourne, Florida, 1988.
Cunningham, Loren Is that Really You, God? Chosen Books, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1984.
Douglas, J. D. (Gen. Ed.) The New Bible Dictionary Inter-Varsity Press, London, 1962.
Dunn, John (1) John Bunyan: A Biography New Creation Teaching Ministry, Blackwood, South Australia, no date
Dunn, John (2) George Whitefield: Man of Grace New Creation Teaching Ministry Blackwood, South Australia, 1992
Edersheim, Alfred Sketches of Jewish Social Life in the Days of Christ Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1876, reprint 1982.
Edman, V. Raymond They Found the Secret Clarion Classics, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1984.
Finney, Charles G. The Autobiography of Charles G Finney Condensed and Edited by Helen Wessel Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, Mn, 1977.
Finnie, Kellsye William Carey Baptist Missionary Soc., Didcot, Oxon & OM Publishing, Carlisle, Cumbria, England, 1986.
Foulkes, Francis Ephesians: An Introduction and Commentary Tyndale Press, London, 1963.
France, R. T. The Gospel According to Matthew Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1985.
Gaebelein, Frank E. (Gen. Ed.) The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 8 Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1984.
Gilbert, Martin The Holocaust: The Jewish Tragedy Collins, London, 1986.
Greenman, Bill How to Find Your Purpose in Life Whitaker, Springdale Pennsylvania, 1987.
Guthrie, Donald New Testament Introduction Third Ed. (rev.) in one vol., IVP, Illinois, 1970
Guthrie, H. H Tithe IN The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible Vol 4:654-655, Abingdon Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1962.
Hacking, W Smith Wigglesworth Remembered Harrison House, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1981.
Haggai, John (1) Forward in Reginald Klimionok God Sent His Angel Vision Enterprises, Mt. Gravatt, Queensland, 1984.
Haggai, John (2) Lead On! Leadership That Endures in a Changing World Word (UK) Milton Keynes, Eng., 1986.
Hanks, Geoffrey 70 Great Christians Changing the World Christian Focus Publications, Ross-hire, Scotland, 1992.
Hanks, Kurt and Parry, Jay A. Wake Up Your Creative Genius William Kaufmann, Inc., Los Altos, CA, 1983.
Harrison, Frank Mott John Bunyan Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, 1964.
Hart, William J. Unfamiliar Stories of Familiar Hymns W. A. Wilde Co., Mass., 1940.
Havergal, Maria V. G. Memorials of Frances Ridley Havergal James Nesbet & Co, London, 1881.
Hembree, Ron The Mark Buntain Story Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, 1979.
Hendriksen, William New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1973.
Hodge, Charles A Commentary On 1 & 2 Corinthians Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, 1974 reprint.
Huxley, Elspeth Florence Nightingale Putnam, New York, 1975.
Hulse, Stewart H., Egeth, Howard, Deese, James The Psychology of Learning McGraw Hill, Singapore, 1980.
Inventors and Discoverers: Changing Our World National Geographic Society, Washington DC, 1988.
Johnson, Barbara Pain is Inevitable but Misery is Optional so Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy! Word Publishing, Dallas, 1990.
Kavanaugh, Patrick The Spiritual Lives of Great Composers Word Publishing, Keynes, England, 1992.
Kenton, Leslie & Susannah Raw Energy Arrow Books, London, 1984.
Knight, Peter Positively No: The Book of Rejection Unwin Paperbacks, London, 1985.
Knight, Walter B. Knight’s Treasury of Illustrations Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1963.
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Koren, Tedd Neurological Basis of Disease Koren Publications, Philadelphia, 1990.
Lawson, James Gilchrist Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians Warner Press, Anderson, Indiana, 1911.
Leon-Dufour, Xavier Trans. by Terrence Prendergast Dictionary of New Testament Times Harper & Row, New York, 1980.
Logsdon, Duane Lord, Let Me Give You a Million Dollars Kingsway Publications, Eastbourne, 1983.
Lucado, Max The Applause of Heaven Word Publishing, Keynes, England, 1990.
Lyall, Leslie T John Sung China Inland Mission, London, 1954.
Mable, N Popular Hymns and Hymn Writers: A Course of Lectures, Second Ed. enl. Deighton, Bell and Co., Cambridge, 1886.
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McKenzie, E. C. 14,000 Quips & Quotes For Speakers, Writers, Editors, Preachers and Teachers Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1980.
Maltz, Maxwell Psycho-cybernetics Pocket Books, New York, 1960.
Manning, Helen, with Sumner, Peter and Pearl Through Blindness The Christian Foundation for the Blind, Hawthorn, Vic, Australia, Second Edition, 1980
Maus, Cynthia Pearl Christ and the Fine Arts, An Anthology of Pictures, Poetry, Music and Stories Harper & Bros, New York, 1938.
Monty, Shirlee May’s Boy: An Incredible Story of Love Mowbray Unity Press, London, 1981.
Morris, Leon The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians: An Introduction and Commentary The Tyndale Press, London, 1958.
Morris, Leon The Revelation of St. John: An Introduction and Commentary The Tyndale Press, London, 1969.
Mr. T Mr. T The Man With The Gold Allen, London, 1985.
Norfolk, Donald Farewell to Fatigue Michael Joseph, London, 1985.
Oates, Lynette Hidden People: How a Remote New Guinea Culture Was Brought Back From the Brink of Extinction Albatross Books, Sutherland, Australia, 1992.
O’Connor, Greg A letter to supporters Open Doors with Brother Andrew (Australia), 13:7:90.
Oech, Roger von A Wack on the Side of the Head: How to Unlock Your Mind For Innovation, Angus & Robertson, North Ryde, Australia, 1983.
Olson, Bruce Bruchko Creation House, Florida, 1978.
One Hundred Great Lives Odhams Press, London, no date, no author.
Orr, James Bible in Bromily, G. B. (Gen. Ed.) The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1979, 1:482-492.
Petersen, William J (1) Martin Luther Had a Wife Bridge Publishing, Chepstow, UK, 1984.
Petersen, William J (2) Catherine Marshall Had a husband Living Books, Wheaton, Illinois 1986.
Petersen, William J (3) Johann Sebastian Bach Had a Wife Living Books, Wheaton, Illinois 1987.
Phillips, J. B. The New Testament in Modern English Collins, London, 1972.
Pickering, George Creative Malady Allen & Unwin, London, 1974.
Pollock, John (1) Moody Without Sankey: A New Biographical Portrait Hodder and Stroughton, London, 1966.
Pollock, John (2) A Fistful of Heroes: Great Reformers and Evangelists Marshall, Morgan & Scott, Hants, UK. 1988.
Pratney, Winkie A. Revival: Principles to Change the World Whitaker House, Springdale, PA, 1983.
Prescott, J E Christian Hymns and Their Writers Independent Pr., London, 1944.
Renwick, A. W. The Story of the Church Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester, England, 1958.
Richards, Bob The Heart of a Champion Spire Books, Fleming H. Revell Company, Westwood, New Jersey, 1966.
Robertson, Pat The New Millennium Word Publishing, Keynes, England, 1990.
Robinson, J, Armitage Commentary on Ephesians The Greek Text Kregel, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1979 (reprint).
Routley, Eric Hymns and Human Life J Murray, London, 1952.
Ryden, Ernest Edwin The Story of Our Hymns Augustana Books, Rock Island, Illanois, 1930.
Scott, J Julius Jr. The Synoptic Gospels in Gaebelein, Frank E (Gen Editor) The Expositor’s Bible Commentary Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1983 Vol I:501-516.
Searle, John D Twentieth Century Christians: Twelve Mini-Biographies St Andrew Press, Edinburgh, 1977.
Shea, George Beverly Then Sings My Soul Hodder and Stroughton, London, 1968.
Sheppard, W. J. Limmer Great Hymns and Their Stories Religious Tract Society, London, 1923.
Sherley-Price, Leo (Trans.) Bede: A History of the English Church and People, Middlesex, England, 1968.
Skoglund, Elizabeth R. Wounded Heroes: The Secrets of Charles Spurgeon, etc Who Triumphed Over Pain Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992.
Smith, Malcolm Turn Your Back on the Problem Logos International, Plainfield, New Jersey, 1972.
Spangler, Ann & Turner, Charles Heroes: Five Remarkable Christians Who Influenced . . . IVP, Leicester, UK, 1991.
Tan, Paul Lee Encyclopedia of 7,700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times Assurance Publishers, 1979.
Taylor, Dr. and Mrs. Howard Biography of James Hudson Taylor Hodder and Stroughton, Kent, 1965.
Telford, John The Methodist Hymn-Book Illustrated Charles H. Kelly, London, 1906.
Temple, Arthur Hymns We Love Stories of the Hundred Most Popular Hymns Lutterworth Press, London, 1954.
The Youth Bible: New Century Version (Anglicised Edition) Nelson Word, Milton Keynes, UK, 1993.
Tucker, Ruth A (1) From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1983.
Tucker, Ruth A (2) Guardians of the Great Commission: The Story of Women in Modern Missions Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1988.
Tucker, Ruth A (3) Stories of Faith, Inspirational Episodes for the Lives of Christians Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1989.
Tucker, Ruth A and Liefeld, Walter Daughters of the Church of Faith, Women and Ministry From New Testament Times to the Present Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1987.
Unger, Merrill F. Unger’s Bible Dictionary Moody Press, Chicago, 1966.
Virkler, Mark Dialogue with God Peacemakers, Woy Woy, N.S.W. Australia, 1986.
Wallechinsky, David and Wallace, Irving The People’s Almanac 2 Bantam Books, New York, 1978.
Ward, Geoffrey C, Burns, Ric and Burns, Ken, The Civil War: An Illustrated History Pimlico, London, 1990.
Wiersbe, Warren (1) Great Christians You Should Know Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester, England, 1984.
Wiersbe, Warren (2) Living with the Giants: The Lives of Great Men of the Faith Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1993.
White, Paul Alias Jungle Doctor Paternoster Press, Exeter, Devon, 1977.
Whittaker, Colin (1) Seven Pentecostal Pioneers Marshall Pickering, Basingstoke, Hants, 1983.
Whittaker, Colin (2) Great Revivals Gospel Publishing House, Springfield, Mo., 1984.
Whittaker, Colin (3) Seven Great Prayer Warriors Marshall Pickering, Basingstoke, Hants, 1987.
Wilkerson, David Beyond the Cross and the Switchblade Hodder & Stroughton, London, 1975.
Wilson, Dorothy Clarke Ten Fingers For God: The Biography of Leprosy Surgeon Paul Brand (Updated Edition) Hodder & Stroughton, London, 1985.
Yager, Dexter and Wead, Doug Becoming Rich Freedom Distribution Co., Charlotte, NC, 1980.
Zahn, Theodor Translated by J. M. Tout et al. Introduction to the New Testament in 3 volumes, Klock & Klock reprint, Minneapolis, Minn., 1977.