Discover more from A Letter To The Ready Writer
The last few weeks I’ve been reading this book, originally written by an English writer named John Bunyan. Not to be mistaken with the axe- throwing lumberjack Paul Bunyan :)
John was born in England in 1628. He was an author and puritan preacher. He came from a simple family who had an Anglican faith background. In his youth he joined the parliament army of England.
In one of his writings he talks about his experience in the army where he lived a wild & reckless lifestyle until one day, he was supposed to go into battle. However one of his soldier buddies begged him to switch places with him because his buddy wanted to see battle.
That day the young man who took John's place was killed in battle and it was that moment when John realized the hand of God in his life. He left the army, now living with sort of this “spiritual reality” in the front of his mind and in his heart.
One day he came across this group of women in town who were huddled together having a theological discussion. He couldn’t help but ask to join the conversation because he had questions he needed answers to. It turned out that the group of women he came across actually founded (yes women) founded an underground church called, The Bedford Free Church.
They were a group of non-conformists that wouldn’t conform to the laws given by the queen and king of England, as to how they could gather or the theological literature that they were allowed to read. John decided to start attending the underground church and was encouraged by the church to use his gift of preaching.
John bravely went out into the streets and started illegally preaching, meanwhile he was getting citations and fines, he was threatened he would be deported, imprisoned or killed, but he along with his will and strong conviction just kept on preaching, until he was finally thrown in prison for 12 long years.
He wrote nearly sixty books (2) were amazing allegories while the others were known as expanded sermons because while he was in prison he was actually pastoring the underground church. He would write these (expanded sermons) and the church would read them from the pulpit. John Bunyan was not known by many, but his book written in prison titled, The Pilgrim's Progress is still changing lives hundreds of years later!
They thought they could silence this man of God, however all of these years later this beautiful, allegorical, creative literature is still being passed around and freeing many who come to faith in Christ.
Recently in 2020, this chronicle story originally written by John Bunyan was revised and re-published by author Alan Vermilye, after he personally felt challenged by this story. Like some of us when we try to read the new King James Version of the Bible; Alan felt like he needed a 16th century translator to read & understand this famous book. Alan accepted his own personal challenge to create a true to original modern readable version of the book, The Pilgrim's Progress.
It has been one of the funnest books for my imagination that I’ve personally read in a long time.
The Pilgrim's Progress is an epic adventure about a man named “Christian” who leaves his home in the City of Destruction and begins a life-long quest to the Celestial City. In the story he comes across all sorts of characters. Some who want to help him and some who want to steer him off the right path. On his journey he has to climb mountains and trudge through valleys to reach the Kingdom. Meanwhile all he has is this book he found called “the Bible” to encourage him not to give up.
Reading this story has made me think a lot about Paul of the New Testament, who was also in prison for preaching the gospel. Before he was thrown into prison like John. He was a missionary in Ephesus where he preached and taught and brought MANY to the faith for more than two years. Eventually the Romans threw him in prison. Paul's heart was so heavy for the church of Ephesus that he wrote what we know as the book of Ephesians. He essentially was writing adoption letters to the church. To say the Hebrew the word (adoption) is (immutz) meaning, strengthening, encouragement, straining or espousal.
His letter was full of wisdom, encouragement and lessons about what it means to be a Christian and how the church should operate given all of the adversity it faces.
Like Paul we should always pray for those around us and when inspired by the Holy Spirit we should be obedient in reaching out even if we know our attempt will be met with rejection.
Paul wanted to encourage the people. He was reminding them they were unconditionally loved and totally accepted in Christ.
Reading this made my heart ache…
I have been a Christian since 2011. I am no Paul but, my goodness; I’ve really tried to spread the good news, to share where my hope comes from.
Doesn’t this resonate? We’ve been obedient to the Holy Spirit towards others in our workplaces, at our schools, sometimes even anonymously. Many times we never see the fruit of it but our spirit man knows it's just the right things to do. We’ve been rejected and called fools but we press forward because of the fire in our bones. Also because of the undeniable presence of God in our lives.
We can so relate to Paul while he’s ✍️ writing his heart out trying to encourage the people.
*remember you are chosen 1:1-10
*remember the spiritual blessings 2:7
*remember the authority you have in Christ Jesus 1:15-23
*remember the importance of unity 2:6
*remember the war is not with man but with powers and principalities 6:12
I think my favorite part of this letter is in Chapter 4:11 where Paul is reminding them that the body is made up of MANY different gifts, such as Apostles, Pastors, Prophets, Evangelists and teachers. I think many believers come to the faith not understanding this concept and before they discover their God given gifts, and they walk away from the faith discouraged because they think they need to look and sound like sister or brother so and so…
We can do better as stewards of God's truth. We need to reach out to those we haven’t seen in a while. We need to be the new temple that Paul talks about in chapter 4 and be the church outside of a building. We need to cover our communities and relationships in prayer for wisdom before we react in fear or flesh.
At times i've felt sad because I've watched as believers who once were my mentors slip away into discouragement and hiding.
I think we often should be asking ourselves, does my church (my temple) exemplify:
Lies vs truth?
Anger vs Peace?
Theft vs generosity?
Gossip vs Encouragement?
Revenge vs Forgiveness?
Promiscuity vs Self Control ?
Drunkenness vs walking under the influence of the Holy Spirit?
If not we should be better at humility and repentance. Weve seen this heal the deepest of wounds.
I really believe it's then when we can elevate others as MORE important than ourselves. It’s then and only then when we can truly be filled with gratitude.
It’s then and only then when the lost will come home.
As I write this, many faces are flashing in front of my mind's eye. It’s time to pray for them and maybe even reach out with repentance and forgiveness.
My hope is that while you were reading this, you felt inspired to write an adoption letter to yourself or someone who came to mind.
“In prayer it is better to have a heart without words, than words without a heart”