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Friday, March 24, 2006

Recommended Biography: "Agape Leadership: Lessons in spiritual leadership from the life of R.C. Chapman"

You've probably never heard of R.C. Chapman (left). I hadn't either until one of my mentors and friends Russell Sutherland gave me his short biography, "Agape Leadership," a few weeks ago.

Described by Charles Spurgeon as "the Saintliest man I ever knew," Chapman, who was born in 1803 and died 99 years later in 1902, was a hero of the faith. He was a pastor/elder, teacher, evangelist, hymn-writer, missionary... so much that lasted; and his life was like clay in God's hands.

If you don't mind me dropping some names for the sake of context, and if it means anything to you:
-Chapman urged John Darby (a Brethren stalwart) not to disassociate himself from J.N. Newton. In other words, he was there to try to inject grace into the first major split of, sadly, many hurt-filled splits in the Brethren movement. (Someone correct me if this was not the first split.) Chapman was still greatly respected by both men afterwards.
-Chapman also encouraged the great Hudson Taylor to go to China before the latter had ever set foot on the mission field, and was one of the first "referees" of the China Inland Mission, the mission organization Taylor later founded.
-Chapman sent two of his young mentees to work with Anthony Norris Groves ("father of faith missions") in India.

Little knowing these big names, though, the people of Chapman's day knew him instead for the little things he did; like giving to the poor, going to the train station without money and trusting God to provide a ticket (He did... on more than one occasion), having an open home, getting up early and cleaning his guests' shoes/boots, and giving to the poor.

Perhaps the main lesson I took from Chapman's life was this: Although God used him to accomplish so much, Chapman was lost to the world for hours every day. What was he doing? Spending time in prayer and Bible study. Convicting, isn't it?

I want to give my copy of "Agape Leadership" to the first person who asks me for it (I hope someone does!). Everyone else: the ISBN number of the book is 0936083050 and can be found on Amazon here. (Copies are available today (March 24, 2006) for as little as $2.55 used.)

Meanwhile, as I seek to pray more (I'm just beginning to taste what prayer is) and encourage others to do the same, I thought I'd finish with these quotes from Chapman's biography. Enjoy.
"Because the Lord's servant is 'continually ministering to others, he must be receiving fresh supplies from the God of all grace through all channels. Meditation on the Word and prayer should occupy the chief part of his time.' On most days [Chapman] read and meditated on God's Word for several hours..."

"...This time of study and fellowship with God was the source of his spiritual strength as well as his personal knowledge of God's will. He also made prayer his constant business. He spoke to God about everything that was on his heart and would pray anytime, regardless of what activity he was doing." (p. 64)

Chapman: "It is well for a child of God to pray for himself, but a more excellent thing to pray for others. God honours the spirit of intercession." (p. 70)

"With no desire to become an old man who mourned lost opportunities or looked back at what might have been, Chapman determined to live for Christ as long as he was able. In his later years, he accomplished that goal through fervent, intercessory prayer. Considering intercession to be 'my chief business now,' he spent much time in prayer, and requests came to him from around the world." (p. 71)
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APRIL

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22 Mon (1) b'fast, (2) 4pm Easter - Kingston
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JUNE
1 Sat poss. MI Scarb. gathering
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