Archive for the ‘courage in evangelism’ Category

The Titanic’s Last Hero – John Harper

October 19, 2011

John Harper was born to a pair of solid Christian parents on May 29th, 1872. It was on the last Sunday of March 1886, when he was thirteen years old that he received Jesus as the Lord of his life. He never knew what it was to “sow his wild oats.” He began to preach about four years later at the ripe old age of 17 years old by going down to the streets of his village and pouring out his soul in earnest entreaty for men to be reconciled to God.

As John Harper’s life unfolded, one thing was apparent…he was consumed by the word of God. When asked by various ministers what his doctrine consisted of, he was known to reply “The Word of God!” After five or six years of toiling on street corners preaching the gospel and working in the mill during the day, Harper was taken in by Rev. E. A. Carter of Baptist Pioneer Mission in London, England. This set Harper free to devote his whole time of energy to the work so dear to his heart. Soon, John Harper started his own church in September of 1896. (Now known as the Harper Memorial Church.) This church which John Harper had started with just 25 members, had grown to over 500 members when he left 13 years later. During this time he had gotten married, but was shortly thereafter widowed. However brief the marriage, God did bless John Harper with a beautiful little girl named Nana.

Ironically, John Harper almost drowned several times during his life. When he was two and a half years of age, he almost drowned when he fell into a well but was resuscitated by his mother. At the age of twenty-six, he was swept out to sea by a reverse current and barely survived, and at thirty-two he faced death on a leaking ship in the Mediterranean. Perhaps, God used these experiences to prepare this servant for what he faced next…

It was the night of April 14, 1912. The RMS Titanic sailed swiftly on the bitterly cold ocean waters heading unknowingly into the pages of history. On board this luxurious ocean liner were many rich and famous people. At the time of the ship’s launch, it was the world’s largest man-made moveable object. At 11:40 p.m. on that fateful night, an iceberg scraped the ship’s starboard side, showering the decks with ice and ripping open six watertight compartments. The sea poured in.

On board the ship that night was John Harper and his much-beloved six-year-old daughter Nana. According to documented reports, as soon as it was apparent that the ship was going to sink, John Harper immediately took his daughter to a lifeboat. It is reasonable to assume that this widowed preacher could have easily gotten on board this boat to safety; however, it never seems to have crossed his mind. He bent down and kissed his precious little girl; looking into her eyes he told her that she would see him again someday. The flares going off in the dark sky above reflected the tears on his face as he turned and headed towards the crowd of desperate humanity on the sinking ocean liner.

As the rear of the huge ship began to lurch upwards, it was reported that Harper was seen making his way up the deck yelling, “Women, children and unsaved into the lifeboats!” It was only minutes later that the Titanic began to rumble deep within. Most people thought it was an explosion; actually the gargantuan ship was literally breaking in half. At this point, many people jumped off the decks and into the icy, dark waters below. John Harper was one of these people.

That night 1528 people went into the frigid waters. John Harper was seen swimming frantically to people in the water leading them to Jesus before the hypothermia became fatal. Mr. Harper swam up to one young man who had climbed up on a piece of debris. Rev. Harper asked him between breaths, “Are you saved?” The young man replied that he was not.

Harper then tried to lead him to Christ only to have the young man who was near shock, reply no. John Harper then took off his life jacket and threw it to the man and said, “Here then, you need this more than I do…” and swam away to other people. A few minutes later Harper swam back to the young man and succeeded in leading him to salvation. Of the 1528 people that went into the water that night, six were rescued by the lifeboats. One of them was this young man on the debris.

Four years later, at a survivors meeting, this young man stood up and in tears recounted how that after John Harper had led him to Christ. Mr. Harper had tried to swim back to help other people,yet because of the intense cold, had grown too weak to swim. His last words before going under in the frigid waters were, “Believe on the Name of the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” Does Hollywood remember this man? No. Oh well, no matter. This servant of God did what he had to do. While other people were trying to buy their way onto the lifeboats and selfishly trying to save their own lives, John Harper gave up his life so that others could be saved.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends…” John Harper was truly the hero of the Titanic!

Author Unknown. Sources for this article: “The Titanic’s Last Hero” by Moody Press 1997,” John Climie, George Harper, & Bill Guthrie from “Jesus Our Jubilee Ministries” in Dallas, Oregon

 

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Howell Harris’ zeal in evangelism

November 26, 2009

A strong necessity was laid upon me, that I could not rest, but must go to the utmost of my ability to exhort. I could not meet or travel with anybody, rich or poor, young or old, without speaking to them of religion and concerning their souls’. ‘Persuaded by my neighbours, I went during the festive season from house to house in our parish, and the parishes of Llangors and Llangasty, until persecution became too hot. I was absolutely dark and ignorant with regard to the reasons of religion; I was drawn onwards by the love I had experienced, as a blind man is led, and therefore I could not take notice of anything in my way. My food and drink was praising my God. A fire was kindled in my soul and I was clothed with power and made altogether dead to all earthly things. I could have spoken to the king were he within reach – such power and authority did I feel in my soul over every spirit…’ I lifted up my voice with authority, and fear and terror would be seen on all faces. I went to the Talgarth fairs denouncing the swearers and cursers without fear or favour. At first I knew nothing at all, but God opened my mouth (full of ignorance), filling it with terrors and threatenings. I was given a commission to break and rend sinners in the most dreadful manner. I thundered greatly, denouncing the gentry, the carnal clergy, and everybody. My subjects, mostly, were death and judgment, without any mention of Christ. I had no order, and hardly any time to read, except a few pages now and then, because of constant busyness. But when I came to the people matter enough was given to me, and I received fluency of speech and great earnestness, although I was inclined by nature to levity and frivolity.’

¬†Family gatherings turned into congregations so large that ordinary dwellings could not accommodate them. Family worship was instituted in many homes and churches in the neighbourhood became crowded, with many seeking admission to the Lord’s Supper.

Howell Harris’ zeal in evangelism (but perhaps lacking in knowledge)

George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revival, Vol.1 by Arnold Dallimore, page 240-1

All our conversation on the subject of religion ended in nothing. He was convinced that he was right, and all the texts I produced were, according to him, applicable only to the times of the Apostles

September 28, 2009

A certain person, though well-intentioned, tried to dissuade Henry Martyn from going to India as a missionary. Martyn remarked:

“All our conversation on the subject of religion ended in nothing. He was convinced that he was right, and all the texts I produced were, according to him, applicable only to the times of the Apostles.”

¬†…When called to encounter the ridicule of those who, not knowing the hope of Christ’s calling, nor the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, nor the exceeding greatness of his power towards those who believe, despised all labors of love amongst the heathen as wild and visionary ; the Lord helped (Martyn) to keep his ground, and to bear his testimony. “With my Bible in my hand, and Christ at my right hand,” said he, “I can do all things: what though the whole world believe not, God abideth true, and my hope in him shall be steadfast.

From, John Sargent, The Life and Letters of Henry Martin, Banner of Truth, 1985, p.60

Whitefield the field preacher

August 7, 2009

George Whitefield often preached outdoors. After dark he arrived once at Marylebone Fields to preach at the fair. As he mounted a pulpit bare-fisted boxers left their booths and stalked with fury in their faces. They had not waited to put their shirts on. Cauliflower ears and broken noses were not a pretty sight to a man timid at heart. Hearing ferocious and horrid imprecations and menaces, his courage began to fail.

He felt a tug on his gown and looked down. His wife said, ‘George, play the man for God!’

George Whitefield, John Pollock, 1972, pp.198-199

The whole world is now my parish.

ibid., p.113

Wherever my master calls me, I am ready to go and preach his everlasting gospel.