Enoch Walked with God


Enoch walked with God; then he was no more,

because God took him away.

Genesis 5:23


One of the subjects that has occupied my interest in terms of knowing Christ is that of what it means to walk with God.  Although this is addressed numerous times and in various ways in the scriptures, the above passage is the most thought provoking.  The picture we are given in Genesis 5 is the first example in scripture of one who “walked with God”, since the fall of the human race into sin.  It stands in marked contrast to the world at that time, characterized by the Lord in Genesis 6:5:  “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”  In the midst of that decaying and wicked culture, this one man is singled out as one who “walked with God.”   What can we learn from this man about walking with God that will affect our lives in the midst of our culture?

 We see references to Enoch on three occasions in scripture.  In Genesis 5 it is stated that he “walked with God, then he was no more, because God took him away.”   We read in Hebrews 11:5, “By faith Enoch…was commended as one who pleased God.”   In Jude 14 it relates that “Enoch…prophesied… the Lord is coming….to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken  against him.”  Enoch’s emphasis on the judgment given to the ungodly indicates that the goal of his walk by faith was one that would lead to Godliness, which stood in opposition to all he was around in this world. Taking one of the words from each of these three references for further analysis, let us look at the word  “walk” in Genesis, the word “faith” in Hebrews 11, and the word “Godliness” as it stands in contrast to the ungodliness referred to in Jude. 

In Amos 3:3 it says “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (KJV)  Enoch was in agreement with God, and God with Enoch.  To walk also implies that they were walking in the same direction, and at the same speed.  It requires availability to one another and results in fellowship with one another.  This walk was energized by faith.  It was this faith that commended him as one who pleased God in Hebrews 11. 

Faith is contrasted to sight in II Corinthians 5:7:  “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (KJV)  Enoch did not walk by sight.  He walked by faith.  Seeing is not believing.  Believing is seeing.  Faith looks beyond sight. Sight can only substantiate that which can be appreciated by a physical sense.  Hebrews 11:1 states:  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for.”(KJV)  A more accurate rendering of the word translated as substance may be the word “substantiating.”  Faith, then, “substantiates” things hoped for.  It verifies their existence.  As our hearing verifies the noise of a train, or our sense of smell verifies perfume, so faith verifies or “substantiates” that which no physical sense can do.  The Kingdom of God, and our walk with Him in His Kingdom is one of faith. 

A walk with God by faith is a walk which stands opposed to ungodliness and will in itself bring judgment upon the ungodly.  Who are the ungodly?  The ungodly are those who live without reference to God.  They do not consider God as having any thing to do with the course of their lives; their use of time, resources or their daily decisions. They are content to live without Him.  As a result, all their ways are ungodly, their actions are ungodly, and their words are ungodly. They may possess high moral standards, or they may be criminals in our jails. They may live in palaces, or be homeless.  They may be highly regarded as leaders in our world or common place laborers.  Enoch saw all this in his day and his walk with God by faith stood in contrast to ungodliness.  His walk was one towards increasing Godliness. It was a walk that brought all aspects of his life under the dominion of God.  As the ungodly declared their independence from God, Enoch was declaring his dependence upon God.  It was a walk which depended upon God for His ways, His words, and His deeds to be manifested in Enoch’s life.

And what was the result of that walk?  Genesis says that “God took him away.”  I love the way Ray Stedman has described this.  He related that the two were out walking as they did every day.  One day they walked a longer time than usual.  The Lord turned to Enoch and said, “Enoch, we have walked a long time today.  We are closer to where I live than where you live.  Why don’t your come home and spend the night with me?” And Enoch did. 

 Enoch’s life reminds me that it is still possible to walk closely with God in the midst of an ungodly world.  It also challenges me to live each day in such a way that I am closer to where God lives at the end of the day than where I was at the start of the day, for someday, I will hear His voice, saying something like this:  “Richard, we have walked a long time together.  Why don’t you come home and spend eternity with me?” And I will. 

May our Lord encourage your hearts in your daily walk with Him. 

In Christ , Richard Spann

Grace teaches our hearts to fear


“Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

and grace my fears relieved.”

Isaac Watts

We are very familiar with the above words from the song “Amazing Grace” and sing them often. They relate to us that grace has two effects.  One is to teach us to fear, and the other is to relieve our fears.  His grace relieves fears of the known and the unknown, fears for today and for tomorrow, fears for others as well as for ourselves.  Before we received His Grace, we were also fearful of God Himself, living in fear of His judgment.  This was a type of fear which drove us away from God.   The grace that teaches our hearts to fear replaces this cringing fear of God with a reverential awe for our Lord.  I John 4:18 relates to us that “perfect love drives out fear”.  The Living Bible version states it this way, “We need have no fear of someone who loves us perfectly.  His perfect love for us eliminates all dread of what He might do to us.  If we are afraid, it is for fear of what He might do to us, and shows that we are not fully convinced that He really loves us.”  Grace received in Christ eliminates this fear (cringing fear) and replaces it with a fear (reverential awe) which is characterized not by a fear of what He may do to us, but a fear of what we might do to Him.  What might we do to Him?   We may by our actions tarnish His image as seen by others, rob Him of His Glory, and prevent His work in and through us.  Our lives can cause discredit to His Name when we act inconsistently with who we are in Christ.  We can also, by failure to follow Him, diminish the visibility of the light that would glorify Him.  (Matt 5:16)

The grace that teaches our hearts to fear should produce in us a fear of having an imperfect relationship with Him. II Corinthians 7:1 states “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”  What are the promises referred to in this verse?  Here are some of them.  II Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  II Corinthians 3:18,  “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.  It is through His grace that by appropriating our new life in Christ, and by allowing His Spirit to change us into His image that we demonstrate the fear of God in our lives.

The grace that teaches our hearts to fear should also produce in us a fear of imperfect representation.   II Corinthians 5:11 states, “Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men.” (NIV)  The connecting verses in this passage explain this further. II Corinthians 5:14, “For Christ’s love compels us,” II Corinthians 5:19 …”and he has committed to us the message of reconciliation,” and again in II Corinthians 5:20, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us, we implore you on Christ’s behalf:  Be reconciled to God.”  If we fear God, we are involved with the lives of others.  This can be demonstrated in various ways; by prayer for them, serving them, and sharing the Gospel and our lives with them.

The fear of God (awe, reverence) that we enjoy in His presence should result in His presence being seen in us (relationship) and through us (representation).  The relationship is foundational for representation just as character is the foundation of conduct.  Being precedes doing.  Relationship is the root.  Representation is the fruit.

It is truly Amazing Grace that has produced His fear in us and through us.  It is a fear which causes us to come continually to the Lord in dependence upon His Spirit to glorify Him through our lives.  It is a fear demonstrated daily in our words and actions.  It is a fear as visible in the marketplace as it is in the pew.  This is the fear that reflects His character in us and through us.

May His Grace so teach our hearts to fear.

In Christ, Richard Spann

Thoughts on Leadership




Lorne Sanny

I was privileged along with many others to hear Lorne speak about leadership on numerous occasions.  One of his messages was based on Psalms 78:72.  Lorne later requested small cards to be printed, capturing the key points of his message.  They are but another example of how the Lord used Lorne to provide us with “goads” and “nails” for our spiritual journey.  His thoughts contained on the cards are as follows.




Vision to see what

Ought to be done

Faith to believe

It can be done

Courage to persevere

Until it is done

Like many of you, I spend time weekly with individuals and some small groups.  I need to ask myself. What is my vision for each individual/group?  Do I have faith that the Lord will accomplish this vision in their lives?  Am I persevering until it is done? Unless I do the above, there is no clarity of purpose for our meeting, no change to be expected, and no commitment to persevere on my part. 

Lorne continues his thoughts with the following from the viewpoint of those to whom we are ministering.

What am I supposed to do?

Will you let me do it?

Will you help me when I need it?

Will you let me know how I am doing?

In these brief questions, we can see that the focus is on clear communication to others, not interfering with what we have asked them to do, being available to them, and being willing to give them direction when needed.

On one occasion as some of us sat down for dinner, Lorne turned to me and said, “I have discovered that people don’t care as much about what I think as they care about what I think about what they think.” 

As I have thought about this statement over the years, I have found that it describes three aspects of Lorne’s leadership. It communicates: 1) A willingness to relinquish his own agenda for that of others. 2) A commitment to listen attentively to others. 3) A desire to respond to others in such a way as to build them up in their faith (“-minister grace unto the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29)

All of us have different leadership roles and varying gifts, but we can all profit from Lorne’s example of leadership. 

The note card also contained the verse which inspired his thoughts.

“So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart;

and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.”

                                                                                 Psalms 78:72 (KJ)

May the Lord grant us integrity and skillfulness as we serve Him. 

In Christ, Richard Spann

Whatever is not of God


“Whatever is not of God
that excites our fears,
or stirs our efforts,
or awakens our hopes,
or makes us glad
hinders us in our perfect
waiting on Him.”

— Andrew Murray

I saw this notation written in the margin of my mother’s Bible about eighteen years ago. I was visiting my brother in Seattle and he happened to ask me if I wanted to see her Bible. She had died when I was fourteen years of age and the Bible had been given to my older brother. I found copious notes in the margins of her Bible, and I spent several hours that day reviewing all that was important to her in her spiritual life. One of the recurring themes of her notes was that of waiting on God. Of all the notes she had written I found the statement above by Andrew Murray to be the most arresting. It impressed me so much that I thought I should memorize the statement. (It was only years later that I found it in Andrew Murray’s book “Waiting on God”.) I have found it profitable to review regularly.

There are so many things happening in our lives and in the world around us that may excite our fears. By recalling Andrew Murray’s words, I am forced to ask myself. “Is this of God?” If not, then my fears hinder my waiting on Him. Are my efforts stirred by other than Him? If so, then that too hinders my waiting on Him. Are my hopes awakened by things of the world? If my hope is placed there, it is also a hindrance to waiting on Him. Does my gladness have a source other than His perfect will and direction for my life? If it does, then that gladness hinders waiting on Him. The Lord uses this statement of Andrew Murray’s frequently in my life to reign in unnecessary fears, inappropriate efforts, misplaced hopes, and unwarranted gladness.

Leroy Eims has stated that there are two ways to renew our strength. The first is simply to get some rest. The second is to wait upon the Lord. Isaiah 40:31 states: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.” What does it mean to wait upon the Lord? The three words that I would choose would be attentiveness, expectation, and availability.

Attentiveness means that my focus should be on the Lord. My eyes should be on Him. He is the one on whom I am waiting. My spirit, soul and body should remain alert to His desires and direction.

Expectation implies that I am convinced that He will give directions at some point in time. He is certain to manifest His will and to provide guidance. He will meet the need and provide resolution for any question I may have. This is not a passive enterprise, but an active one. It is characterized by asking, seeking, and knocking.

Availability is also a key to waiting on the Lord. This means that we are not only available in our devotional life, but also are available to do His will.

Isaiah 40:31 states that by waiting on Him we can expect four things in our lives:

1) Our strength is renewed.
2) We will mount up with wings as eagles. (That is to say that waiting on the Lord enables us to set our wings of faith at such an angle that the winds of adversity which would prevail against us and push us back only serve to cause us to soar to greater heights.)
3) We will not grow weary.
4) We will not faint.

May the Lord strengthen your hearts as you wait on Him..

In Christ, Richard Spann

The Ministry: Prayer


“Don’t pray for the ministry.
Prayer is the ministry.”

–Lorne Sanny

I find that the above statement of Lorne’s never ceases to challenge me in the area of prayer. I immediately think of all the times that I simply regard prayer as a part of the ministry rather than the ministry itself. Why is it so difficult to regard prayer as our primary ministry? I can think of two reasons. The first of these is that it is the most important thing we do and therefore will be opposed by the evil one. The second is that our forefathers rebelled in the Garden of Eden and chose independence from God rather than dependence upon Him. Our spiritual journey, then, consists of a reversal from a life of independence to one of total dependence. Nowhere in the spiritual life is this more manifest than in our life of prayer. Our growth in prayer requires a growth in dependence upon Him. More change is needed until we realize that our need is not partial. It is total. It requires an act of total faith on our part.

E.M.Bounds has much to say about prayer as it relates to faith.
1) In the ultimate issue, prayer is simply faith, claiming its natural yet marvelous prerogatives-faith taking possession of its illimitable inheritance.
2) Faith gives birth to prayer, and grows stronger, strikes deeper, rises higher, in the struggles and wrestlings of mighty petitioning. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the assurance and realization of the inheritance of the saints. Faith, too, is humble and persevering. It can wait and pray; it can stay on its knees, or lie in the dust. It is the one great condition of prayer; the lack of it lies at the root of all poor praying, feeble praying, little praying, unanswered praying.
3) Moreover; when faith ceases to pray, it ceases to live.
“When the Son of Man cometh,” our Lord asks, “will He find faith on the earth?” He will do so in the measure in which He finds prayer.

In Exodus chapter 17, we are given a vivid illustration of the fact that prayer is the ministry. Exodus 17:10-13: “So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up – one on one side, one on the other – so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.”

The prayer to God on the behalf of Moses and the Israelites was not just before or after the battle. Instead, it continued through the battle, controlled the battle and determined its outcome. It was a moment by moment commitment to and dependence upon prayer.

Our battles are not too different from those of the Israelites. Our foes are just as deadly and they seek to harm us and the work that has been given to us by God. It is only as we hold out our hands in prayer to God that victory is assured.

In the ministry of prayer, whose hands are you holding up as they prevail in prayer? And who is holding up your hands? As we co-labor together, let us be sure to co-labor together in prayer.

In Christ, Richard Spann

The Ability God Requires


” The only Ability that God requires
is our Availability”

I have heard this phrase from a number of sources over the years. It embodies significant truths in two areas. The first and most obvious is this: We need not be wise by the world’s standards, nor do we need to be educated, refined, wealthy, or have positions of influence and authority. Indeed, scripture seems to indicate that these may represent obstacles to God working in and through us. The reason of course is that we may trust in what God has given us rather than in God Himself.

The main force of this statement to me has always been the magnitude of the significance of simply being available to the Lord. We are familiar with His invitations; repeated throughout the New Testament; “Come and see”, “Come unto me”, and “Come and drink,” which initiated relationships with Himself. What is arresting, however, is the power and extent of transformation that takes place from this one act of simply making yourself available to the Lord.

To illustrate this transformation, I would like to refer you to one of the most remarkable individuals in all of scripture. This person is mentioned only three times in scripture. In each of these occasions, this individual is found in the same position in relationship to our Lord, specifically, at His feet.

In the first instance, after helping her sister Martha with the essentials of preparation, she chose to make herself available to the Lord. In the KJV, it says “also sat at his feet”, meaning that she assisted in the necessary preparation for the meal. Her sister, who was focused on further things that she wanted to do, complained to the Lord that Mary wasn’t helping her. The Lord’s reply is stated in Luke10:42; “but only one thing is needed, Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.” He did not say several things. He said one thing is needed. Simply spend time with me. Make yourself available to me. I will take responsibility for everything else. I will do everything in you and through you. We have every reason to assume that this choice of availability was a continued priority on the part of Mary.

And what was the effect of the choice of this woman to make herself available to the Lord? We see her again, at the death of her brother, yet at His feet in an attitude of trust and worship. And on the third occasion, we see her again at His feet, demonstrating an act of worship with a costly fragrance, preparing His body for burial. In so doing, she manifested a closeness and sympathy with the Lord that exceeded that of any other person, including the twelve disciples. All of these mentioned above, the trust, the worship, the sacrificial gift of perfume, had their beginnings in the choice of availability to the Lord.

What does this say to our lives? Fundamentally, if we want to reflect our Lord and represent Him, we must spend much time with Him. Seven minutes a day may be a start, but if that is the end, we are woefully short of glorifying Him. In II Corinthians 3:18, (KJV) we have a promise from God, “But we all, with open faces beholding as in a glass, the glory of the Lord are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord.” To behold Him we need to be available to Him. Availability is God’s method of transformation. We cannot be transformed if we are not available. Our unavailability to Him slows down that process. Our availability to Him allows it to proceed at His direction and at His speed.

Hebrews 2:1 states that “We must pay more careful attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away,” This means that we do not remain static in our Christian lives. We are constantly becoming more like Him, or less like Him, as a result of our availability to Him. The day is rapidly approaching when each of us will be available to Him, and He will be available to us every second throughout eternity. We need to anticipate that Day by following the example of Mary, who chose what is better, and sat at His feet.

In Christ, Richard Spann

Starting where you are


Start where you are,
With what you have,
And do what you can.
(Lorne Sanny)

Most of us have felt at some time that our spiritual ministry was hindered because of our location. We see God doing great things in other cities, states or countries and we might wish to be a part of that work. We also hear of other ministries or churches which seem to be more productive than ours. We are tempted to say, “If only I were a part of that neighborhood/ministry/church/culture, then my life would make a greater difference for Christ.”

We also may feel limited because of what we think is a lack of training. Few of us have had any formal Bible school or theological training. Our resources for ministry may be less than what we feel we need. We may lack the books, study materials, CD’s, DVD’s that others find to be useful.

The above description fits most of us at some time during our spiritual journey. Lorne’s statement as printed above is taken from a message given by him on Judges 3:31 NASB “And after him came Shamgar the son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He also saved Israel.” Shamgar was a man just like us. His background was not noteworthy. His town is not even recorded. Most likely he lived in a rural part of Israel, not near any major town of influence. By occupation, he was a farmer. He had no training in battle, no weapons, and no mentors. All he had was an oxgoad, a long pole sharpened on one end to direct the oxen into going where Shamgar wanted them to go. By faith, Shamgar started where he was, with what he had (an oxgoad), and did what he could. Undoubtedly there were Philistine garrisons nearby. It is unlikely that he called them to battle and attacked all of them at once. It is most probable that he sharpened the goad and waited until they were isolated before striking the fatal blow. One by one, day after day, Shamgar kept at his task until 600 of the Philistines were slain. At this point, the Philistines withdrew and ceased their oppression of the Israelites.

Shamgar is a model of what we are to be. Our location is established by God. (Acts 17:26) Our resources are adequate. (II Timothy 3:16,17). Lorne summarizes some of his thoughts on Judges 3:31 with this statement: “We need to start where we are (because we can’t start where we are not) with what we have ( because we can’t use what we don’t have) and do what we can.

In the early 1950’s, Lorne was sent by Dawson Trotman to a naval base near Seattle, Washington. Not only was the weather depressing with cold, rainy days, but the ministry was floundering. After repeated attempts to attract sailors to look at the Bible together, only one man showed any interest. Lorne called Dawson and related the problem to him. Dawson’s response to Lorne was to “pour your life into him.” This naval recruit, an oil field worker prior to enlisting, became faithful, available and teachable as Lorne spent hours with him weekly.

A few years later, this man (Charlie Riggs, later to become director of follow-up for the Billy Graham Crusades) moved to the Midwest. He had heard of a man in Oklahoma City who wanted some spiritual direction in his life. (Gene Warr) Month after month, he would go miles out of his way as he traveled to share with Gene what he had learned from Lorne.

In the early sixties Gene Warr met a man from Kansas who had recently been at Glen Eyrie and was challenged by the message of discipleship. He began to meet with him, providing ideas, resources and encouragement as this man (Jim Morris) began a ministry of discipleship in the state of Kansas. The rest of the history of the Kansas Navigators is well known to most of us. If we were able to enumerate the lives that have been changed by this ministry, it would probably number into the thousands.

It is important for us to remember that our Kansas ministry began as a result of one man, Lorne Sanny, who started where he was (Naval Base in Washington) with what he had (one navy recruit) and did what he could. Each of us has been given the resources we need to accomplish the tasks that God has for us. Ephesians 2:10 states that God has prepared both of these in advance. He has designed and equipped us, and matches us perfectly with the work he has for us. May God by His grace bring His fruit into your lives as you, also, start where you are, with what you have, and do what you can.

In Christ, Richard Spann

Proclaiming the Word to the World


Several years ago, one of the men I was discipling asked me to write down some principles of public teaching/preaching.  He had traveled with me on several occasions over the years and was interested in how to prepare some thoughts to share with others.  The following list was for him, but as I review the items discussed, I think they are of benefit for all of us who are asked to speak before others on spiritual topics. They are certainly not exhaustive on the subject of public teaching, only illustrative of what the Lord has shown me to be important in my own life.  I share them with the hope that the Lord will have an opportunity to use them in your life as well.

All teaching–

1) Must come from the following.

Read it through

Pray it in

Live it out

Pass it on

We cannot bypass these middle two!  Unless what we teach has changed our own lives, it is of limited effectiveness in the lives of others.  It becomes robbed of its power.  John 1:5  states “There was a man-sent from God-his name was John.” The man was the message, not merely a deliverer of the message.

God does not just send us with a message, we are the message.

2) Is inspired by a God given message.  (I Peter 4:11)

3) Is dependent upon the Holy Spirit for preparation.  (James 1:5)

4) Requires organization. (Ecclesiastes 12:9,10)

5) Begins with the scriptures.  (II Timothy 3:16,17)

What do the scriptures say about the topic in question?  Is what I say consistent with the meaning of the passage?

6) Is developed as a series of

a) Scripture references

b) Principles from scriptures

c) Life illustrations.

7) Must minister “Grace” to the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29)

8 ) Should focus on application.  (James 1:22)

Transformation is the goal, not just information.

Use specific applications that are clearly understood and are able to be transmitted to others.

9) Waits for a God given opportunity

10) Looks for the one in the audience with whom to invest their life.

In any audience, there will be the curious, the convinced, and the committed.  The ultimate goal in any teaching opportunity is to be available to the lives that desire to go beyond curiosity.  Our job is not over at the end of the message, it is just beginning! Eight years ago, a man whose interest went beyond curiosity came to me with some questions at the end of a message on discipleship. Our relationship began at that point, and countless hours have been invested in his life.  Philippians 4:9 states “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.” This man has learned, received, heard and seen over these last eight years, and has put what he has seen into practice.  The Lord is using him to help transform the lives of others into followers of Christ.  My prayer is that when you have opportunities to speak before others, you will be looking for the individual in which to invest your life, and that they in turn will be used by the Lord in the lives of other individuals.

In Christ, Richard Spann

Intentionality lived out


     Jim Morris initiated the Kansas Navigator Ministry in the 1960’s.  I was privileged to meet him in l972, and subsequently to learn some principles of ministry from him until 1992, at which time he retired as director of the Kansas Navigators.  I have chosen two of his most frequently repeated comments about ministry for our consideration.  These two are basic to ministry, yet immense in their possible application.  They are easy to understand and if we apply them to our lives, they will transform our lives and ministry. Their application to my life has been fundamental to what the Lord has accomplished in and through my life in the last thirty eight years. 

     The first of these is as follows: “There are two kinds of people in the world; those who need to know Christ, and those who need to know Him better.”  It is altogether too easy in my everyday life to converse with people, or have a relationship with them without having any regard as to their eternal destiny.  To view everyone I meet as belonging to one of these two categories motivates me to be intentional in my relationships.  To be intentional involves at least three things.  The first of these is to simply intercede for them.  I have discovered over the years that regular prayer for those with whom I am in contact opens up opportunities. Lack of prayer prevents opportunities.  The second aspect of intentionality is to simply initiate a relationship.  This may be further time in conversation, an offer to pray for a need in their lives, a lunch together, or participating in some activity together.  The third is to invite them to look at the Bible together.  This may be one to one, or as part of a small group. If they do not yet know the Lord, the word of God is foundational in beginning that relationship. (Romans 10:17)  For those who have already begun their journey with Christ, the scriptures are necessary for their growth in Him. (Acts 20:32)   I would like to challenge you to be intentional as you walk throughout your daily activities.  For whom can I intercede?  What step do I take to initiate?  When do I invite them to look at God’s word?  In our culture, we are accustomed to passing one another as ships in the night.  We need to remember the words of C.S. Lewis (paraphrased) “We never meet an ordinary human being.  Everyone we meet is destined to become such an object of horror that we would run from their presence, or such an object of beauty and glory that we would be tempted to fall down in worship.”

     The second comment of Jim Morris’s that he often repeated is “Everybody can help somebody.”  This statement comes from the understanding that everyone who knows Christ has the capacity to share something of eternal value to someone else.  It may be a life experience, an application from the word of God, or simply prayer with them and for them. It may involve either a short relationship or one over a period of years.  It may have in mind a short term objective, or one that develops laborers for the kingdom harvest.  Regardless of the degree of maturity, all believers have something to share with others.  This statement also implies a commitment.  They not only can help someone, but should be doing so. Helping others is not complicated.  It involves three simple tasks of sharing your life experiences, sharing the word of God, and sharing in prayer with them. By these tasks lives are transformed and disciples are made.  Jim’s frequent use of this statement went beyond understanding our capacity and our commitment.  I think he would also include a responsibility to communicate this truth to others as well.  Paul describes this responsibility in II Timothy 2:1,2:  “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (KJV) 

     As I conclude these thoughts, I need to ask myself the following questions. Am I committed to helping others?  Does my life demonstrate this?  Do I communicate the truth of II Timothy 2:1,2  to others in such a way that their lives are transforming the lives of others?  My prayer is that each of us involved in ministry would be enabled by His grace to answer these questions in the affirmative.

In Christ, Richard Spann

Of Goads and Nails


About three and one half years ago, I was having a conversation with our Navigator fall conference speaker, Mike Treneer. In between sessions, we had driven to McDonald’s to get away and just visit over a cup of coffee. During our conversation he brought to mind a friend, Lorne Sanny, a former president of the Navigators. This man had impacted both of our lives with his comments on the Christian life and its ministry.  Mike gave a brief summary of some thoughts from Ecclesiastes to illustrate what Lorne excelled at in his ministry.

“Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people.  He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs.  The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.  The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one Shepherd”   Ecclesiastes 12:9-11.

In even his brief comments, Lorne showed evidence of pondering, searching out, and setting thoughts in order.  He used just the right words and their effects on our lives were like goads, and like firmly embedded nails.  Mike described a goad as something that pricks us, a constant reminder to do something, challenging us to be faithful to the task before us.  This mention of a goad instantly brought to mind an illustration from Lorne’s life a number of years earlier.

After retiring as president of the Navigators, Lorne traveled with his wife Lucy to visit all of their known relatives.  Their intent was to build and deepen relationships with all their relatives, trusting the Lord to use their lives to either bring the relatives to faith or to deepen their walk with the Lord. On one occasion, as Lorne left an uncle after visiting him, he became certain that the man did not know the Lord.  His uncle was elderly, and Lorne was not sure when, if ever, he would be able to return to visit his uncle.  As he thought about the situation, he said that two questions came to his mind:  1) If not me, then who?  2) If not now, then when? Lorne said that he promptly returned to the man’s house and was able to introduce him to the Lord.

Over the last fifteen years since hearing Lorne tell this story, the Lord has used this illustration as a “goad” in my life on numerous occasions.  The one that immediately comes to mind concerns a patient in the hospital who was terminally ill with lung cancer.  Although I had visited with him on several occasions about spiritual matters, I had never taken the time to fully explain salvation to him. Just prior to a surgical procedure I was to do the next day on this patient, his niece came to me with a request. She was concerned about his spiritual welfare and wondered if I could get someone to baptize him while he was under anesthesia during surgery!  After explaining to her that I was not sure that worked well if you were anesthetized, I was immediately reminded of Lorne’s questions: If not me, then who?, and If not now, then when?  Thankfully, the Lord provided the time that day to share the gospel and opened his heart to begin a relationship with Him.  Many times over the years this “goad” has kept me on track, challenging me to be faithful in the tasks set before me.

Lorne also provided us with “nails.”  These are truths which help tie together, and cement aspects of life and ministry.  These “nails” help us find stability in a sea of confusion and a firm footing for our lives when our path lies through sifting sand.  The best example that I can find of this is in Lorne’s description of how we can choose to spend our time.  He gave five words to help define our priorities.  These were as follows: Essential, Necessary, Good, Delegate and Eliminate.  As I examine each day, week and year with these in mind, the following questions come to mind.  What is essential? (From a scriptural perspective, I find this to be time with the Lord and time with people).  How much of what I consider “necessary” is really necessary? Work is necessary, for example, but how much?  Can I limit this to make more room for the essential?  Many things are “good”, but do I settle for the “good” and let it rob the “essential”?  What can I delegate?  What should I eliminate?  I cannot think of another illustration from any speaker that has had such a profound impact on my life as these five words from Lorne Sanny.  They have helped me concentrate on the important areas of life, to use time wisely, and to be willing to say “No” to the “good”, when it would interfere with the essential or necessary.

In addition to our recollection of how the Lord had used Lorne in our lives, Mike challenged me to begin to share other “goads” and “nails” with our Kansas Navigators and ministry partners.  As time permits, I will plan to use the Web site for this purpose.

In Christ, Richard Spann