Some of the great writings of the past tell of gift-giving with high romance or even with great flair. A popular Christmas song speaks of incremental giving during the "Twelve days of Christmas." O'Henry, the inventor of the short story, tells a delightful story of a loving couple who gave their best with somewhat comic results in his story "The Gift."
Ancient history provides us with a most unusual use of gift-giving-warfare. In some areas, kings would war by gift with the one giving the greatest gift as the winner and the loser retreating in shame. All wars should be fought by that method. Actually, the great war between good and evil, between God and Satan was won by God giving the greatest gift-his son. God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) Who among us does not have that scripture memorized?
The uniqueness of celebrating God, especially in Christmas, is that we copy him in the form of gift giving. Christmas, with all its decorations and songs, culminates in the opening of gifts. No other holiday does that. Indeed, Halloween, founded in darker hearts, does just the opposite-it takes! Hard to find a more appropriate contrast.
That brings me to the purpose of this article. I wish I could share Christmas morning with each of you, enjoying your children with you, sharing the love of the moment. Ah, if only I had the transportation and speed of Santa Claus!
However, God miraculously permits me to fly faster and reach farther and give more through this powerful thing called prayer. So, if you will scoot over some and pull up another chair, I want to place another gift beneath your tree, or on your table or wherever you gather for your celebration.
If I could give the gift I consider perfect for you it would be wrapped in the knowledge and rest of God's complete and undiminished love for you. It would be tied with a strong personal relationship with him.
Inside, I would place a love for his Word and a knowledge of his will.
I would place the true nature of the God you serve so you can bask in his compassion, grace, patience, mercy, faithfulness and forgiveness and love him with all your heart.
In that box, I would place repaired relationships and reconciliation so your mind will not be divided and your joy can be full.
Somewhere near the top of that box will be a satisfying ministry-a way to give yourself away. Also there will be a faith, seed size, but large enough to move whatever mountains you face.
Then I would cushion the whole package with the crumpled-up, down-home tissue of a joyous fellowship where you can love and be loved, serve and be served, pray and be prayed for and worship without distraction.
So, through the power of prayer, I now place the gift there at your favorite gathering place as you celebrate Jesus.
Don't miss it.
As you celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, uniquely Christian holidays that openly recognize our merciful God, the staff of Servant Quarters prays for your joyous experience of God's closeness.
Gayle and Ada Erwin
Dave and Audrey Bjur
Servant Quarters, Vol. 20 #4
Published about six times a year.
Available by request.
PO Box 219
Cathedral City, CA 92235
I LOVE your heart, and the way you write. Your books, The Jesus Style and The Father Style have been such an inspiration to me. I could not agree more with what you have written. Furthermore, I am excited about the prospect of reading your other books.
I too have found myself questioning some of the ways things are to the point of praying about it, often. I feel that your books were given to me in response to that prayer. I have literally prayed thanksgiving for your books.
I truly feel that you have captured the essence of the heart of Jesus and God-their very positive, passionate love for all of us-and how it should be our desire to allow the Spirit of the Lord to shine through us to the world without condemnation and fear.
I work for an evangelistic ministry as the assistant to the Executive Vice President. Realizing how the director thinks, I lent him my copy of The Jesus Style, and he wants a copy of his own. I have given him a copy of your most recent mailing for him to have an order sheet. The book blessed him as much as it blesses me.
If you ever needed confirmation that the Lord has touched another heart, through you, you have the testimony!
Tara R. Tippett
Virginia Beach, VA
I just recently listened in on one of your radio broadcasts on KHPE out of Albany, OR. You were talking to some students about our responsibilities as bearers of God's message and relating that to the responsibilities of the Levites as they carried the Ark of the Covenant. Understanding these things has helped me clarify the way I carry the Gospel to others and the first impression that they should have of me as a believer. It has also helped me to understand the mercy of God a little better. Thank you for God's ministry through you.
I want to let you know how much I value the "Nature of God" series. I have shown it to an adult audience here and the pastor has asked me to make it into a Bible course for the high school which I will do in November. I will run the videos and conduct discussion. The course will get credit for Bible.
We are on our way to the Philippines in two weeks. We have never been there although we sponsor a young family in missionary work there. We are very excited. I have been fashioning a one string guitar very similar to yours and I will be playing that song for a month over there.
Let me remind you of our meeting. You spoke at a Leadership Conference in Wichita, Kansas in 1993. You stayed at the home of Earl (Butch) Ritter. You slept on the most uncomfortable waterbed. You told me that when we got married, priority number one was to lose the waterbed. Done!
I had just moved from California to Kansas and Earl and I were looking forward to getting married in the near future. Marrying Earl was never an issue. I knew from the day I met him that he was a humble, honest, godly man who hungered to know the Lord better and to share his Lord with this unbelieving world. (My kind of guy, simple and basic!)
One day I was told that "Gayle D. Erwin" would be arriving to speak at the Leadership Conference. Finally, you arrived and I went in to hear this great man of God speak. I have to say I was skeptical about everything at this point. I had heard so much about you and Chuck Smith I was pretty close to believing you were some of Jesus' distant brothers. (Now I know you are!)
You were like a breath of fresh air. I could tell by your prayers and the way you spoke, that you knew my Lord. I failed you horribly as I tried to assist you in the sales of your books, tapes and T-shirts. I constantly called you Glenn. You returned the favor by calling me Marilyn, Gloria, etc. (My name is Kathi.) You gave us one of your tapes (Training of the Twelve) and we have circulated it amongst many of our friends and relatives who were turned off by the traditional church and had vowed never to step foot in one again.
I thank God daily that you love the Lord so deeply that you are willing to let Him use you through your books and tapes to reach a multitude of people who are so sure they want nothing to do with Him.
Earl and I have been married for 7 years this November 9th. We moved to Oklahoma in 1994 and have been here ever since.
We keep getting approached on the issue of starting a church and based on the teaching in the majority of the pulpits, maybe we are supposed to. One of the couples who urged us to do so got saved at Chuck Smith's church in Costa Mesa back during the Jesus movement and they are well taught.
In this area, it seems there is a church on every street corner and they are big! The mission field within the church as well as outside of the church seems to be plenty of ministry for us.
I found out you were from Oklahoma. I hope you and your dear wife would find our home to be a sanctuary if you come to Oklahoma City. You touched my life at a time I needed it most. God bless you Gayle Erwin, your life, your wife, your family, and your ministry.
I do not have a clue as to what is required of a pastor's wife other than to love the people (not always easy). I hang on to a comment that Chuck Smith always says, "Where the Lord guides, the Lord provides." I'm going to have to meet this "Chuck Smith" some day. I'm pretty sure he's a real person!!!
Oklahoma City, OK
John Gill introduced me to your book, The Jesus Style in 1997 and I have used it extensively ever since in the "live-in" discipleship training center of our mission ministry here in Catanduanes, Philippines. Since, he added to my library a year ago the other two in that writing series, The Father Style and The Spirit Style. I enjoy them also, but must admit, not as much as the first one regarding Jesus.
With this visit they provided the tape series "God's Nature." I have only reviewed a couple of the first sessions and felt so excited just to tell you "Well done and may you continue with the work the Lord has given you." I'd love to have you come some day and share first hand with the people of Catanduanes.
Rob Vanden Bos
Touch of Grace Ministries
Please add me to your mailing list for your newsletter. I have enjoyed listening to this wonderful radio station, KAWZ, part of the CSN thanks to my youngest daughter Jill who just moved back up to the Northwest from California. I am so grateful that she has come home and with God's direction, has introduced me to this radio station with all the wonderful pastors teaching us from the Bible. I am now a "new believer." This Sunday, my oldest daughter, Danette, and my two granddaughters, Alicia Anne and Felicia Marie (ages almost 11-twins) are going to be baptized! I thank GOD.
Bonney Lake, WA
I have the Gospels videos as well as the Nature of Jesus and the Father. All of them have richly blessed me.
Over the last few years I have had quite a few "challenges". Many of them I created myself. But, when I had sleepless nights from anxiety, I would often listen to your tapes to comfort my soul. For this, I am grateful, and, you are in my prayers of thanks to God.
Curtis D. Copeland
Coconut Creek, FL
I am a follower of Gayle Erwin's teaching because, of course, Gayle follows our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I had a copy of his teaching on the political parties and the election from some years past. Is this article available?
Big Bear Lake, CA
That article entitled "The Leaven of Herod" is available in rudimentary form on our website, www.servant.org, and in fine-tuned form in the new book Handbook For Servants announced elsewhere in this issue. You can order the book at a prepublication price in this issue. -Gayle
After hearing your illustration, I thought you would enjoy this. The highway patrolman said I was the fastest all night. "Where are you going in such a hurry?"
"Church, to a prayer meeting."
"At 4 a.m.?"
"Yes Sir." He asked for my driver's license and registration. In this borrowed van, I could not find it. The interrogation continued.
"So, you are driving 69 miles per hour to church at 4 a.m.?"
"And you expect me to believe that?"
"And whose van is this?" He shines the light on the musical equipment in the back.
"Whose equipment is this?"
"Let me get this straight. You're driving 69 mph at 4 a.m. in someone else's van with someone else's equipment and you are on your way to a prayer meeting?"
"Yes Sir." Well, I think he felt sorry for me seeing I was wearing a tie and just wrote me a big ticket and let me go. I carried a "pretty stupid" look the rest of the day.
A Bible College Student
There would be
14 from North and South America
52 would be female.
48 would be male.
70 would be nonwhite, 30 white.
59% of the entire world's wealth would belong to only 6 people.
And all six would be citizens of the United States.
80 would live in substandard housing.
70 would be unable to read.
50 would suffer from malnutrition.
One would be near death.
One would be near birth.
Only one would have a college education.
99 of them would not see this message, because only
One of them would have a computer.
And God would still have loved them all and sent his son...and then sent us!