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The Ballad of Gorgeous George and Jittery Jacob
George Mueller was a man of God if there ever was one. Spiritually I cannot place myself in his league by any means, but there are obvious inescapable comparisons, not between us but between the challenges faced. Before coming to know Jesus, Mueller was apparently something of a kind of philandering lush who was rather lavish with cash enjoying the high life. After coming to know Jesus, however, he had a heart for poor children (the urban poverty and plight of homeless children in the UK in his day was something akin to Third World conditions today as described in Dickens novels). Less noble in lifestyle than his London counterpart, Dr. Barnardo, Mueller of Bristol had been quite the character.
Mueller's refusal to buy into the erroneous excesses of John Nelson Darby's extreme Dispensationalism saw him doctrinally caught up in an ugly division within the Brethren Movement that landed him in a fight he did not want. His preference was missions and evangelism and taking care of the disenfranchised youth of Bristol, but the doctrinal war raged around him and not to take a position was to take a position. On top of the doctrinal maelstrom within dispensationalism and the conflict between the two prevailing systematic theologies of the Dispensationalists and the Covenant Reformed Calvinists, the times were difficult economically. In pursuit of his calling, Mueller needed to pray for large sums of finances for the ministry among the homeless children.
While he let the needs be known, like ourselves he shied away from continuous appeals preferring to concentrate on prayer. Except in a few extreme situations, usually involving immense natural disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti in or the Tsunami in Japan where the need was massive and absolutely urgent, Moriel and I have not believed it the Lord's will for us to do appeals. We let the need be known and request prayer.
I always set two conditions for doing Christian TV programs. The first is that I would not appear on the same stations with money preaching heretics. The second is that I would not have to engage in continual appeals to remain on the air. Continued appeals are not God's will and packaging them as 'Praise-a-thons' is cheap hype in religious dressing. It is bad.
Although I certainly cannot place myself in George Mueller's category, at times I certainly wish I had his faith. With him I share the decadent background of a worldly lifestyle that did not please Christ (in my case rife with illicit drugs etc.) from which the Lord delivered me after I was saved.Ã‚Â With George Mueller I also share a burden from the Lord for impoverished, unwanted, uncared for children. Most of us at Moriel do, including Dave and Lyn Royle in Africa, Paul Seville in the Philippines, and David Lister, an evangelist and apologist to Mormons who is Moriel's international administrator. The comparison with Mueller's circumstances in going against the hyper dispensational lunacy of the followers of Darby, with my own in opposing the hyper Pentecostalism and ultra charismatic extremism of our own day, I find inevitable.
There is a basic scriptural truth in dispensationalism (in contrast to the errors of the Covenant theology of extreme Calvinists), but those truths were becoming discredited by the lunatic fringe who carried dispensationalism beyond the parameters of God's Word with doctrinal formulas of their own at a time when Brethren gospel halls were the fastest growing Evangelical movement. Mueller faced the hyper dispensationalists on one side, who ostracized him over his rejection of Darby's extremes culminating with the Newton scandal, and the Covenant Reformed Calvinists on the other.
Today we at Moriel look at the scriptural truths of charismatic gifts and Pentecostalism being discredited and misrepresented by lunatic fringe word-faith money preachers, the New Apostolic Reformation, counterfeit revivals, and now the Emergent Church and the misguided stoic cessationism of Reformed proponents on the other. As with Mueller, we are caught in a split we would have preferred to avoid but could not have done so except at the expense of essential doctrinal truth.
The final issue is that Mueller's personality from his pre Christian background hardly rendered him a holy warrior sort of person. He was not the kind of person in any human sense one would ordinarily expect to do the things God called him to. Like myself, he believed prayer was the best shovel to dig his children out of the insurmountable financial quagmire he kept winding up in due to the demands of financing the children's ministry.
But there the comparisons end. I just can't pray and exercise the same measure of faith he could. Remarkably, he himself even denied having a special gift of faith.
Moriel has an expanding work in South East Asia with a new missionary couple coming on board in Thailand and a more confidential work with the persecuted church among the mountain people in Vietnam. We support a string of congregations and evangelistic projects in Israel and assist needy believers there. We are also hoping to open Moriel in India with the sponsorship of a mainly Asian fellowship affiliated with Moriel in the UK which hopefully will include an orphanage in Hyderabad.
But the continuous battle for souls is always matched by the responsibilities for taking care of the children. The simple sad truth is that Moriel needs a George Mueller but it only has a Jacob Prasch.
Having said that, in reading biographical material about George Mueller, he too viewed himself as inadequate to the task that God placed before him. The secret to his faith was that in recognizing his own inadequacies he was forced to come to terms with the total adequacy of God. What makes a man of God great is always first rooted in realizing that in and of ourselves we are nothing and indeed inadequate. Moreover, God makes use of our inadequacy to encourage us to trust Him instead of ourselves, or instead of first looking to others, or as King Hezekiah was told by Isaiah, looking to the things that the fallen world considers strong. Knowing the doctrinal theology of trusting Jesus is good, necessary, and important. Knowing Jesus however is infinitely more so. These precious truths are things George Mueller learned well. Perhaps I am still learning them.
The goodness of the Lord and the gracious generosity of His people have sustained much of our work in the area of missions. We have however expanded our work in Israel with a full time missionary couple. We have also taken over a new work with the rubbish dump children in the Philippines that operates under Moriel, Asia based in Japan and administrated by Geoff O'Toole and his Japanese wife and Daisuke. By God's grace Moriel was able to help Christian relief efforts after the tsunami and although Vima's wife had been missing for two days and a pastor of a church near Sendai following Moriel doctrinal teaching was missing for a week, both were found. As in Christchurch, New Zealand "“ no Moriel people were among the killed. For this we praise God.
Due to the small number of believers in Japan however and due to the Tsunami, Moriel Japan is only able to fund a small percentage of our pastoral and evangelistic ministry in the Philippines. The children's work, like Israel and Africa, must be funded mainly from the USA and Britain. Expanding the work in Israel has been an act of faith but with the prophetic tide of events we believe it was the correct thing to do. South Africa has had a good year because no children succumbed to AIDS this year, which is truly God's blessing.
All honest missions and ministries struggle financially. Moriel floats because with very limited exception, we remain volunteer based with only those in full time foreign missions being salaried. Much of our expenses are covered by the sale of our books and recorded material and the fact that neither I nor any Moriel speaker accepts royalties or a salary. We will not launch in India unless we have a solid support base. We will wait upon the Lord as long as necessary, believing the Lord has a work for us to do in India.
Missions however remains an endless endeavor to finance. Israel and Africa are just about ticking over despite the recession but the Philippines is a nightmare. The Ebyown ministry in Africa involves a smaller number of children due to the need for intensive medical supervision and treatment involving everything from diet and hygiene, to the children being medicated with a cocktail of anti retro viral drugs at fixed intervals. The Philippines is different, however. Although AIDS is not a major problem pediatric respiratory disease, infection due to poor sanitation, and the dangers of Dengue fever are. The numbers of children are much larger than in Africa and the poverty is actually worse.
If we do not feed them, they do not eat but return to scavenging for food in the rubbish pits. If we do not educate them, they do not get educated because they need to scavenge to survive; some as young as four. If we do not evangelize them they remain in a bleak cultural Roman Catholicism (known in the Philippines for its clerical pedophilia) or prey for the aggressive Iglesia ni Cristo cult, which rejects the deity of Christ and exploits the desperately poor to fund its unbelievably ornate church buildings.
Of late, however, we have faced unexpected problems when the mountains of garbage in the rubbish dumps where the children live caught fire. This drove the virus bearing mosquito population into the shanties and shacks where the children are. Worse still, the smoke and fumes are noxious.
We purchased an emergency supply of filtration masks and we make the children wear them (see attached photos) but the general situation is always a half step above disaster. This has compounded the financial drain stemming from the fact that we look after dozens of these kids daily, but our primary concerns are those of health. For this we do covet the prayers of our readers.
While missions remain the biggest practical challenge, there is also thankfully a brighter side. Due to regular television appearances (now also available on ROCU in the USA and India), You Tube, the success of the Daniel Project, BE ALERT, and an increase in sales of the latest book on how the coming antichrist will be identified to the faithful church entitled 'Shadows Of The Beast', there has been quantitative growth in Moriel which is seemingly still growing. Although the recession is taking its toll on so many ministries including Moriel, we are praying new growth will translate into bolstering our missions budget and capacity to evangelize, help the poor, and help the Body of Messiah in Israel. To this end we again request prayer. If we get the prayer, God will send the money even when I get jittery despite the global economic downturn. God doesn't have economic downturns and faithful churches and ministries can trust Him to provide wherever He guides. We profoundly thank those who support Moriel. We doubly thank those who also pray for Moriel.
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