Trackers Of The Lost Pedestrians
Tract #3 in the Pamphleteers Of Jesus series
v1a, version of Nov. 15, 2006. Copyright 2006 by Roddy Kenneth Street, Jr.
Inspiration From The Lives Of George Bowen, Frank Jenner, Rev. Francis Dixon,
and Dr. Raymond Wilson
Unsung Heros In The Church Of Jesus. . .
Frank Jenner was indeed a faithful servant of Jesus, even if he was not such a grand speaker as David Smethurst or David Wilkerson. He had witnessed faithfully for his Lord for 40 years, without any visible signs of success. But he got big results— lots more than he had ever dreamed.
The American missionary George Bowen had died as a martyr for his Lord in 1888; he had gone to Bombay, India, and stayed there for 40 years, but had seen little success before he died. He died as an unsung hero of Christ, largely unnoticed by the English-speaking portion of the world's Christian population. Frank Jenner was also a missionary, working as a tracker and a street evangelist in Sydney, Australia, for a total of 40 years. He too died as a martyr of Christ, as an unsung hero of the Christian faith.
The Jenner Of George Street biography informs us that Frank Jenner suffered an affliction of Parkinson's Disease during his last years on Earth. I was sorry to learn that. I know of 2 other great Christians who have also suffered from this same affliction: Billy Graham and Bill Pearce. Bill Pearce made me a Bible believer in 1980 through his Christian radio program called Nightsounds— and for the last 26 years, Bill Pearce has been disciple-training me through his magnificent audio-recordings of the entire NIV Bible. It's not easy to realize that such great Christians can end up with Parkinson's Disease.
The Jenner biography also makes a very tiny mention of the fact that the author, who is a Christian and a medical doctor, often saw Frank Jenner during his last years. Although Dr. Raymond Wilson's book does not mention any medical help that he may have given to Frank Jenner in his final years, I assume that this is how he saw Frank so frequently at that time. There are a lot of unsung heros in the church of Jesus, and I suspect that Dr. Raymond Wilson is one of these.
I was particularly pleased to read in the epilogue that Dr. Raymond Wilson ended up on George Street for a while, passing some evangelism tracts to pedestrians on that thoroughfare. This seems to indicate that Dr. Raymond Moody, following the fine example of Frank Jenner, ended up being a bit of a tracker himself!
I guess even highly-educated people, as for example holders of M.Div., D.D., Ph.D., and medical degrees, can learn something from Frank's humble example. It's nice to know that Dr. Wilson is a fellow tracker.
Dr. Wilson's account of Frank Jenner's lifetime has given me a lot of inspiration, and I trust that a great many people in the U.S. and other parts of the world will soon be eager to read the biography that he produced. It's called Jenner Of George Street: The Story Of Frank Jenner, Sydney's Soul-Winning Sailor.
Unappreciated By His Own Church Congregation. . .
Dr. Raymond Wilson’s book reveals that Frank Jenner never held an official position in any church, and that one of his fellow church members at Goulburn Street Assembly made a surprising comment about him. When told of Frank’s fruitfulness at a much later date, his response was to make the comment: “He couldn’t preach, in fact I didn’t think he would be much good at doing anything.”*
That comment might lead us to wonder if many churches do not fail to recognize the talents of their members, and as a result, fail to put their people to good use. I think that there is very little encouragement for “trackers” to be found even in the modern-day churches. They usually put all the attention, instead, upon the church members who are eloquent and great speakers— the ones who have the “silver tongues.”
Frank Jenner said to Rev. Dixon, quite a few years before his death, that a considerable number of people on the streets had prayed with him, and had even made professions of faith during his efforts at street witnessing— but he had never before heard of anyone “going on” with the Lord. He was happy to learn this good news at last, concerning just 4 persons who had benefitted from his street ministry.
But Dr. Raymond Wilson's biography also reveals that, in his very last years on Earth, Frank Jenner felt hurt by a lack of appreciation that he received from the Brethren members of his own church congregation.
In one of its chapters there is a little paragraph that gives us a fine commendation for this little-known street evangelist, whom Dr. Wilson knew during his final years on Earth:
"There is no doubt that Frank Jenner was hurt, especially in his declining years, by the lack of appreciation and by some of the well-meaning but unwise treatment he received from his fellow brethren. Such a unique man is invariably misunderstood. I spoke and listened to him many times over this period. Never once did he or his wife Jessie complain or manifest a proud or resentful spirit. He was indeed 'clothed with humility,' 1 Peter 5.5."*
Since he was feeling unappreciated even during the final years of his life, I must conclude that Frank Jenner and his Brethren congregation never even learned, at any time prior to his death, just how fruitful Frank's street ministry had become. It had become extraordinarily fruitful, and yet it seems that, right up until the day Frank Jenner died, no one in his own church was fully aware of this fact.
Maybe Rev. Francis Dixon knew the truth about Frank's success, and he is reported to have told the story of Frank's street ministry in many churches, on many occasions, over the many years until he himself passed away. But Frank's own church apparently never realized how much one of their unnoticed church members had accomplished.
"Why Is This Man Such An Extremist Anyway? He's A Fanatic!". . .
If they were like the Christians in many of our churches in the United States, the members of his own congregation probably regarded Frank Jenner as a bit of a "nut" who was always standing around on George Street, and in too many other locations of Australia, bothering all the passers-by with his excessive zeal.
I wonder what they thought of him? Nominal "Christians" in the U.S. will frequently declare of a tracker like Frank Jenner that he is "giving Christians a bad name" by standing in the street and passing out evangelism tracts. They think that he is an oddball, a fanatic, and that he is doing more harm than good. He's not really reaching anybody with his excessive enthusiasm, they say. He probably makes people feel Christianity is offensive and repulsive, they say, rather than helping people to find the path of Christ.
Oh, yeah? I'll believe that fantasy, Mr. Pew-Sitter, when you can show me that you reached 100,000 people with the gospel of Jesus Christ without any enthusiasm or zeal, and without ever passing anybody a tract-booklet! Then you can get back to me again with your strange ideas concerning an "inoffensive" technique for evangelism.
A Fool Did Not Die That Night. . .
The value of being "a fool" for Christ is an old idea, and it goes back a long ways... to the Apostle Paul and Saint Francis and quite a few others. I believe that Frank Jenner was on the Right Track, and I think it's a technique that works just great!
The real "fool" is not the person who asks others, "If you die tonight, where will you spend eternity— in Heaven or in Hell?" Frank Jenner asked pedestrians this question frequently, repeatedly, day after day, for all of the last 40 years of his life. He kept asking people that question right up until the day of the night when he himself finally died. He was not a fool to do so,
The real fool, as Jesus Himself has told us, is the person who accumulates treasures on Earth and does not prepare for death. The fool dies unprepared and goes to an eternity in Hell.
"Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee," says Jesus in Luke 12:20.
Frank was 73 years old when he died, and it happened on the night of May 8, 1977. Frank Jenner died at a quarter till midnight on a Sunday night, and I can tell you with certainty that a fool did not die that night!
Rewards In Heaven. . .
His lifetime was well-spent, and it was not lived in vain. He didn't get as much encouragement for his missionary work as he should have gotten, that's for sure. But we can at least be glad that Frank wasn't completely ignorant of the good results that were accomplished by his labors.
All Christians should be glad to know that Frank Jenner learned, before he died, at least a little— a very minuscule portion— of the truth concerning the fruitfulness of his own evangelism activities. But as Dave Smethurst suggests, it is probable that Rev. Francis Dixon saw "only the tip of the tip of the tip of the iceberg" concerning Frank's fruitfulness. Frank Jenner himself, I deduce, saw not even that much of the "iceberg" that resulted from his evangelism work.
His impact on world history and the future of Planet Earth was much greater than Frank Jenner could ever have imagined.
We all know that Jesus has already said to this Australian gentleman, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
And I think it’s easy to guess what Frank Jenner would say in response to Jesus’ commendation. He would of course say, like a good soldier of Christ: “I am an unworthy servant, and I have only done my duty.”
But Jesus will undoubtedly raise him up and give him one of the best seats in the House of the Lord.
Now, when I first listened to the audio file that contained Dave’s account of the life of Frank Jenner, I actually cried. The ending of that story actually brought tears to my eyes. I felt that Frank Jenner was “a kindred spirit,” and that my own life might turn out to be rather similar.
I felt, as I listened to that audio file again and again, all through the month of Feb. 2005, that my own life might turn out to be much the same. Maybe there would be more fruit coming forth from my little tracts ministry than I had been able to visualize. If not during my own lifetime, I thought, then maybe the fruit would start to appear later, after my death.
The Troubles Of Trackers. . .
At that time, I was still having to earn my money from a rather lousy job, for which I was certainly over-educated. I was certainly not having any financial success at all, nor getting any reasonable number of donations for the tracts ministry work. But I kept plugging away at my tracts ministry efforts anyway, despite my own impoverished and distressed living conditions.
I had kept on writing these tracts, working persistently in extraordinarily humble circumstances, even while living in virtual poverty and trying to cope with family discord.
Life had been full of trouble, yet all the while I had been continuing to write evangelism tracts for Jesus. Just as I had already been doing for the past 16 years. The past 3 years had been the years of my greatest distress (as I contended with an unhappy employment situation, crushing poverty, and family discord), and yet somehow God had still managed to use me to produce a new tract for India that was already translated and printed in Tamil language, and 10,000 copies of it would soon be distributed in Tamil Nadu.
Interestingly, I have since then read in Dr. Raymond Wilson’s book Jenner Of George Street that when Frank Jenner was legally discharged from the Navy in 1937, jobs were hard for him to find at that time. So Frank was often out of work, jobless, with his family running out of money, as he, in 1937 and 1938, began his own little evangelism/tracts ministry in Australia. He ran into quite a few obstacles as he began his street ministry work.
Even before he became a follower of Christ, Frank Jenner had been rather unreliable as a provider for his family. During his many years as a sailor, he had developed a gambling addiction, and his favorite game was one he had learned from Americans— a game of dice-throwing called “craps.” Frank loved to play this particular game of dice, and he did so at every opportunity. He had gambled away a lot of his money as a sad result of this addiction.*
Those Bones Are Going To Walk Around. . .
Frank back then had a rabbit’s foot that he always carried in his upper left shirt pocket for good luck. While throwing the dice with his right hand, he would always use his left hand to rub the bones of the rabbit’s foot that was in his shirt pocket, hoping that this would bring him “good luck.” Because of these superstitious habits, he had been given the nickname “Bones.”*
Now when I read in Dr. Wilson’s book that Frank was commonly called “Bones” Jenner, I had to laugh a bit... because I already knew what Frank would be doing later, after his own conversion to faith in Christ. He would soon be walking around in Australia as a street evangelist, passing out tracts to the pedestrians. I momentarily laughed at the idea and then began to sing out the words to a very old but familiar song: “Those bones, those bones gonna walk around...! Those bones, those bones gonna walk around...! Those bones, those bones gonna walk around: Now, hear the Word of the Lord!”
Tracts Are Better Than A Rabbit's Foot. . .
God would soon after be allowing Frank to trade his “dry bones” for the security of a home in Heaven, and He would give him a new heart of flesh for the heart of stone that he had before possessed. Jesus gave Frank a heart of love for the imperiled people of our lost and dying world. So, like Jesus, Frank would try to save just as many people from Hell as he possibly could.
Dr. Wilson relates that when Frank was converted, the rabbit’s foot in his upper left pocket “was replaced by tracts, which he gave out freely.”*
Rather than believing in a world of chance and blind luck, Frank would henceforth tell people the good news of Jesus Christ. The only way to face the prospect of death with a peaceful mind is to be saved by Jesus; then the Holy Spirit lets you know that you’ve found the narrow and straight route to Heaven, the one that passes through the narrow gate. It’s a lot safer, and a lot better in every way, than taking the wide road that goes to Hell.
Frank knew that, deep in his heart, and he wanted to rescue just as many people as he could. He knew what Jesus wanted him to do, and he was determined to do it.
Converted By A Street Evangelist. . .
Frank would end up becoming a street evangelist, so it is perhaps appropriate that he himself got saved through a street evangelist that he encountered in Melbourne in 1929 (?), when he was only about 25 years old. He was walking on Collins Street as he saw a street evangelist preaching the gospel with an “open-air message” for passers-by, for anyone who would stop to listen.*
Well, Frank listened politely to the street preacher, and when he was finished, Frank stepped up in a congenial way and said, “I’ve got some good news for you too. I’ll listen to your story if you’ll listen to mine.” Frank thought at the time that he had an obligation to show these fellows how to play “craps,” so he promptly pulled out his dice and started an explanation of the game.*
When he had finished “instructing” them as to the clever aspects of his favorite hobby, one of the men there invited him to come drink some tea, and to learn more about Jesus, through whom he could be saved. Frank took the man up on the offer, and it led to a decision for Christ that changed his whole life.*
More Troubles For Trackers. . .
Yet he immediately faced a lot of obstacles in his efforts to share his new-found faith in Jesus with others, even with his own family members and relatives. He wrote letters home to his parents and relatives back in England, in which he urged them to accept Jesus and be saved, but none of them even responded.*
Frank’s wife for countless months thought he was crazy, and wanted nothing to do with his new religious beliefs. Frank tried to reach her brothers, but they only mocked him. He was so persistent about their need to get saved that he once got into a fistfight with them over this Jesus matter, and the brothers never reconciled with him after that. Frank may have been too persistent (at least in the eyes of some) in warning them all so frequently about the danger of Hell. But he certainly showed how much he cared about the eternal fate of his wife and her brothers.*
Eventually his wife became a believer, but only in the mid-1930's, after Frank had kept after her for several years. He had learned never to quit trying, to never give up, to never say die.
How To Stay Focused On Jesus. . .
Frank and his wife became part of a Brethren church, and because they did not want to be caught up too much with concern for “the world,” they had a habit of not bringing newspapers or even radio broadcasts into their home.* They therefore focused rather exclusively on a simple life of devotion to Christ, one that was, for the most part without a lot of worldly distractions. This fact may have assisted Frank somewhat in establishing his lifetime habit of reaching out to at least 10 individuals every day.
Frank knew, you see, what was really important in life, and what was not... even though he did not have a great deal of education, nor any special training by a church.
No one but Jesus Christ had authorized him to be a missionary and a street evangelist. But he did the job quite well, and our Lord was surely pleased that Frank proved himself to be a diligent and devoted servant.
This humble gentleman had been a sailor during the early years of his life, but now Frank Jenner had become a valiant soldier of our Lord. He remained faithful in the struggle throughout all of his 40 years of service to our Savior, even though he was often plagued by health problems. Our Lord Jesus could use a lot more servants like him— persons who are courageous, persistent, and diligent.
But it is interesting to note that, according to Dr. Wilson’s book, Frank Jenner was feeling a little scared every time he had to challenge a stranger to believe in Christ. It is reported there that Frank claimed to have been nervous every single time. So each time Frank got ready to approach a new person, he would pull out of his pocket a paper with a scripture verse written on it: “I can do all things through Christ, Who gives me strength.”*
Hunting Big Game For Christ. . .
And then he would plunge ahead, capture the person’s attention, and issue the challenge that Jesus had put upon his heart: “If you died tonight, where would you go— to Heaven or to Hell?”
That would make the pedestrian stop and think for at least a moment, and this undoubtedly made it a lot easier for Frank to get the person to accept the tract that he was eager to hand over.
When you are hunting Big Game on the trails of life, it doubtless helps to be standing in the Right Track and know that you are doing what God wants you to do. It's smart to be standing on a Solid Rock, so you don't lose your balance or your footing at the last moment. It's probably also wise to get that Big Target to freeze for just a moment or two, lost in thought, while you pass the person the "arrow" that's going to pierce his heart and bring him to his knees.
That seems to be pretty much what Frank Jenner was doing. At least that's the way it seems from my perspective. I'd say that Frank Jenner was a truly great tracker. He was diligent, dedicated, and he was on the Right Track. He knew where he was standing— on the solid rock of Christ— and he was always watching the trail as the Big Game went passing by, because he knew he was doing the Lord's work.
Frank Jenner was a watchman of the Lord, a tracker and also a hunter, helping Jesus hunt for lost sheep. He wanted to help Jesus save human souls. And he did indeed manage to help Jesus in a big way, by putting quite a few of those imperiled sheep back on the Right Track. It's the only path that will lead lost sheep back to safety in the eternal Green Pastures of God's Heaven.
The Arrow Of God's Word. . .
The Word of God in a tract is like an arrow, and it can easily pierce a human heart because, as we all know, the Word of God is Truth and it is "sharper than a two-edged sword."
When we shoot that arrow, we know that the tract will eventually hit somebody, because the Word of God can never be sent out and return to us void of any effect. If it doesn't help bring immediate conversion for that person to whom it is initially given, it will at least try to plant a mustard seed from God's kingdom in his heart.
The seed may not grow much, even so, because it's on hard ground instead of good soil. But let's not worry about that too much, because the unbeliever who takes a tract may pass it on to another person. The next person who sees the tract may have a heart that will be a much better soil, more conducive to growth for the mustard seed of God's Kingdom. And even if the tract gets thrown away by an unbeliever, it may be God's Plan that someone is going to find that booklet in a trash can, or even on top of the garbage dump... to then pick it up and start reading it.
Zzzzziiiiiinnnnnggggg! The arrow finds its target at last. The person falls to his knees, awestruck by the power of Almighty God. A zinger from the Lord's bow has brought him down.
It's a bit like "Cupid's arrow," in a way, because the person will suddenly repent of sin, say a prayer, and will abruptly starting loving God The Father, God The Son, God The Spirit, and even his fellow human beings!
Now who would expect that God could make a miracle and have somebody read that discarded tract after finding it in a dumpster on the other side of town, or on top of a garbage pile at the county dump?
Well, you should expect that. And I should too. Because God tells us that when we shoot that "arrow" of God's word (a tract), it's going to find its target, no matter what. His Holy Word is there in the words of that humble tract. God tells us that when His Word goes forth, it cannot return void.
This means we don't need to be uptight or nervous about what we are doing when we use tracts for evangelism purposes. That tract is going to find its target eventually!
If an archer shoots a wooden arrow straight up into the sky, he would be wise to worry that there is a chance— a very good chance— that his arrow might come back down to Earth and actually hit somebody. Somebody might get killed or horribly injured. In a rural countryside area, the odds of this happening are perhaps less, and in a big city area, the chance of catastrophe would be much greater.
We should have a lot of God-assurance when we are using tracts. I figure that when a tracker shoots his arrow, the tract is always going to hit somebody, somewhere, sooner or later. Hey, you can even shoot that paper-tract "arrow" straight up at the sky... and then be confidant that when it comes back down to Earth, it's going to hit somebody.
The "arrow" of God's Word, once launched from your bow, goes forth to find its target. By God's command, it is never going to return void of effect.
The Planting Of A Mustard-Seed. . .
Thus, there are powerful repercussions from every single tract that is passed to another human being. Pass many tracts and there will be many repercussions, many significant effects. The Holy Spirit of God will coordinate and direct all of these significant effects, and in God's Providence, miracles will occur. People will in fact get saved in a great variety of ways, over a very long period of time.
These significant effects can greatly influence the future of an individual... the future of many individuals... and even the future of a nation. In this way, a small action— a minuscule act of faith— can have a very big impact upon the future of our world.
Jesus says the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed that is planted in the ground. It's the smallest of all seeds, but it grows into a tree so large that birds can come to sit in its branches. Indeed, it can grow so fast that it will absolutely astound you!
Abraham simply believed in God when other people did not, and with a tiny "mustard seed" of faith, he stepped out when God asked him to do so. God said for him to leave and go look for another country, so Abraham stepped forward with a tiny bit of faith. Later, God gave him a very difficult test of faith, but his "mustard seed" of faith was already growing inside him... so Abraham passed through his time of testing with God's approval.
Now Abraham's descendants by Sarah, through the Jewish population of the world and the "grafted" Christian population of the world, have indeed become so numerous that they are "like the stars in the sky." Just as the prophecy of Genesis predicted, Abraham's descendants have since come to include more than 2 billion Christians living in many countries all over the face of the Earth. Additionally, there are now over 1 billion Muslims living in many countries who are rather like "illegitimate" descendants of Abraham, coming through Hagar, the handmaiden of Sarah.
Altogether, that makes well over 3 billion people on Earth, right now, who qualify as the descendants of Abraham. Certainly enough to fulfill the Genesis prophecy, as written down by Moses, that Abraham's descendants would become "like the stars of the sky."
The Kingdom of God has grown like a mustard seed into a mighty tree, and the remnant that God will save for Himself now includes some portion of the more than 2 billion people who now claim to be Christians. Thus, the church of Jesus has also grown to be like "the stars of the sky."
Reaching Out To India, Sri Lanka, And Nepal. . .
The number of professing Christians already on the Earth is now estimated to be over 2 billion (that is 2,000 millions of people!) in countries all over the globe. That's mind-boggling, but we still need to reach a lot of folks in nations like India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
In those nations, the Christian believers comprise only about 1 or 2 % of the population. It's an outrageously small number! Especially in light of the fact that we know it can't be much longer before the Return of Jesus Christ to Earth.
When He descends from the sky on that Glorious Day, do we really want to tell our Resurrected Savior that we "never quite got around" to the evangelization of places like India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka?
George Bowen certainly made that effort in the 19th century. Regrettably, a lot of the Christians who have come along since Bowen's time seem to have been unwilling to invest much time and energy (or even money) in such a difficult project as the South Asia region of our planet.
The Impact Of Frank Jenner & His Family Members Upon India. . .
I have mentioned before that there are some interesting parallels between the life of George Bowen and the life of Frank Jenner. One of these is the fact that Frank Jenner and his family members ended up having quite a considerable influence on the nation of India, where the American missionary George Bowen had labored for 40 years in the previous century.
I was interested to read in Dr. Wilson’s book that in 1939, when his family was running out of money and his wife had developed a bleeding ulcer, Frank wrote a letter to his aunt in India, asking her for help. His aunt was Emily McKenzie, a Christian who lived in Kotagiri, a town in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. His Aunt Emily ran the Keswick Missionary Home there, and she carefully read the letter from Frank, learning of his family’s financial problems and his wife’s poor health. Dr. Wilson writes that Emily wrote back to Frank, saying that she had been praying for him for all these years.*
Aunt Emily’s intercessory prayers, I’m sure, were a major factor in the Holy Spirit being able to reach out to Frank and ultimately bring him to a saving faith in Christ. In her letter to Australia, she also told Frank that it would be good for him to provide his wife with a healthier environment. Emily suggested that Frank should send his wife Jessie and his daughter out to her location in India, and she said that she would pay for their expenses while his wife recovered her health.*
So in Oct. 1939, his wife and daughter left for Kotagiri, India. His daughter went to a school in Bangalore until she was 10, and his wife was able to recover her health in a beautiful part of South India. Kotagiri, as it happens, is located in the lovely Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu, where the air is known to be fresh, healthy, and invigorating. When they later returned from Tamil Nadu to Australia, Jessie’s health had been fully restored.*
Now I cannot help but wonder if the seeds that George Bowen had been planting in Bombay during the previous century did not in some way have repercussions upon the life of Frank’s Aunt Emily.
Aunt Emily lived and worked in a different area of India, but I feel sure that George Bowen’s Christian work as a street evangelist in Bombay must eventually have had some repercussions upon her own Christian work in Kotagiri.
George Bowen’s seeds may have been planted long before, in a previous century, but I suspect his work may have become “a link in the chain” for the native conversions that Aunt Emily could later see in Kotagiri.
George Bowen had “paved the way” for her, so to speak, and had thus made her own Christian evangelism efforts a bit easier. Perhaps she may have even encountered natives of India who had their hearts changed, in part, as a final result of Bowen’s long-ago work in Bombay. These later Christian believers in India had probably helped to strengthen her own faith in Christ.
And then Aunt Emily, with a stronger faith in the power of Christ, had prayed for years that her wild-hearted sailor of a nephew, one Frank Jenner by name, would repent of his errant ways and get saved.
Her prayers were certainly heard, because Frank had ultimately given his heart to Christ. But only after having a personal encounter with a street evangelist in Melbourne, who had helped him see the Light.
Frank Jenner's Missionaries Go To India. . .
Frank Jenner, in his turn, had confronted thousands of pedestrians on the streets of Australia, and on George Street in particular. Of the countless thousands of walkers in Sydney that Frank challenged to consider their eternal fate, one is to me an especially interesting case. This was a young lady who, after coming to a saving faith in Christ through Frank’s street ministry, committed her life to Christ and determined to go as a missionary to India.
Rev. Francis Dixon in 1957 went to India for a visit of 6 weeks, where he would be ministering to a large number of India’s missionaries. He was there for one special retreat that was an annual event, and at some point he was asked to speak to a gathering of 40-50 missionaries. It just so happened that this annual missionary gathering was taking place, as it did every year, in Kotigiri, a town located in the Nilgiri Hills area of Tamil Nadu.*
Francis Dixon thought the missionaries were too tired out to listen to a long sermon, so he decided, instead, to just tell them the simple story of a humble street evangelist who was living in Sydney, Australia. When he finished his story, he saw that a young lady missionary, only about 30 years old, had put her head down and started to cry.*
This young Australian missionary then confessed to Rev. Francis Dixon that she was another of Frank’s street-witnessing converts. Francis Dixon was astounded to realize that he had now found a seventh person whose heart had been changed through Frank’s humble little ministry on George Street.*
Frank’s converts had gone on to become evangelists themselves, working not only in Australia, England, and the United States— but in India as well!
In 1953, Rev. Dixon was in Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu, India, and he was telling the story of Frank Jenner's George Street converts to a group of missionaries. There in Kotagiri he discovered Jenner Convert #6, a male missionary. In 1957, Rev. Dixon was in Kotagiri again, telling the Frank Jenner story to another group of missionaries, and there in Kotagiri, he found Jenner Convert #7— a female missionary from Australia.
As it turns out, Rev. Francis Dixon and this young Australian lady both ended up going in 1957 to Kotagiri, located in the Nilgiri Hills region of Tamil Nadu. This was the 2nd time that Rev. Dixon had providentially found a Jenner convert in Kotagiri, with both of them now in India as missionaries.
The hand of God was in this. That's why the British pastor was able to meet in Kotagiri this 30-years-old Australian lady who had gone to India as a missionary. Amazingly, 2 of Frank Jenner's George Street converts ended up being missionaries in India. They met because Rev. Dixon was speaking so frequently about Frank Jenner for many of the annual Keswick missionary conventions in Kotagiri, but it was also a display of God's Providence at work in worldly affairs.
The Keswick Missionary Home that Frank's aunt Emily McKenzie ran in 1939 was also there in Kotagiri, at the very same place! Kotagiri, found in the Nilgiri Hils region of Tamil Nadu — at an elevation of 5,000 feet above sea level— is the very same place of India where Frank’s wife and daughter had gone to live many years earlier. Jessie Jenner had gone to this same spot, 18 years earlier, to recover her health!
Now that seems to me more than a wonderful coincidence. It was not mere chance that these two people ended up meeting at Keswick in the town of Kotagiri. I think it is an example of God’s Providence having an influence on the affairs of humanity.
A tracker of Jesus cannot help but see a pattern there, as he studies the movements of the Holy Spirit and its impact upon human societies.
Let's see now... George Bowen lived for 40 years in Bombay. Frank Jenner's aunt Emily McKenzie lived for years in Kotagiri, where she ran the Keswick Missionary Home. Frank's wife and daughter lived in Kotagiri for many months in 1939. Rev. Francis Dixon spoke many times at the annual Keswick Missionary Convention in Kotagiri. The Australian lady who was one Frank Jenner's George Street converts went to India as a missionary and somehow ended up in Kotagiri...
Well, I don't want to give away the exact details right now. I particularly don't want to give away my little discovery in the matter of Tamil Nadu geography and world history.
From Bowen And Jenner To Kotagiri And Pollachi. . .
Suffice it to say that I believe all of these aforementioned Christians, while they were living in India, did good works for the Lord and may even have had a secret impact upon the life of a tracts-publishing friend of mine who lives in India. Personally, I'm convinced that they must have.
But to make my position persuasive for you, I'll first have to show you how to imagine the power of God's Providence, and I'll also have to help you recognize the evangelical activities of human beings as a force that is always having a really big impact on the future and on people's lives.
To do that, I'll have to explain some of my ideas concerning repercussions and God's Providence. So I'm doing that in booklets #5, #6 & #7 of this series.
God's Providence is really quite amazing!
* * * * *
How To Be On Fire For Jesus. . .
Now, you may be wondering how on Earth anyone could ever get to be like Frank Jenner— so enthusiastic and determined about the idea of evangelizing for Jesus Christ. Imagine— someone so obsessed with Jesus that they are actually passing out evangelism tracts on a daily basis! How does anyone ever become one of these Jesus nuts anyway?
Well, I’m glad you asked, because it’s really not so difficult to explain. It happens quite frequently, you see. What happens is that someone prays for the Holy Spirit of God to come inside and take control: You just ask that He will come into your heart and make you His humble servant... you ask that He will lead you and make Jesus become the absolute Lord of your life.
When the person really means that prayer, it’s not long before he (or she) finds himself evangelizing for Christ and running around everywhere “on fire for Jesus.”
That's what happened, for example, to Dave Smethurst, an Australian evangelist that I greatly admire. He has loads of energy and enthusiasm as he seeks to reach the entire world. He's "on fire for Jesus" and burning brightly for his Lord!
You should do as Charles Wesley once said: "Fuel yourself each day with the Word of God, and people will come from miles away just to watch you burn!"
Would you like to see your own life “on fire for Jesus Christ”?
If you’ve never asked Him to become the Lord of your life, here’s how you can do it: Just pray to God in faith, believing that Jesus always was, and is, and always will be God The Son. Believe that Jesus exists for all time and for all eternity as the Holy One of God. Believe that He was there in the Beginning as part of the Divine Trinity which is Almighty God.
Believe that Jesus lives eternally, and know that all things in this Universe were created by Him, through Him, and for Him. Believe that He came from Heaven and that He was born into our world with a human form, in order that He could grow to adulthood and one day rescue our world from the due punishment of sin.
Pray to God, in faith believing, and ask Him to become the absolute Lord of your life. Just ask, and you will receive.
Express what's in your heart. You can say, for example:
"God Above, have mercy upon me and hear my prayer. For too many years I've been following the World, the Flesh, and the Devil instead of Your Son Jesus Christ. I've been living in the darkness of sin and Hell, but now I'm finally starting to see the Light. Almighty God, I want You to become the absolute and awesome Lord of my heart. I don't want to live in arrogance and rebellion for even one more day. I want instead to live in humble reverence before You... as a servant who shows You proper respect and one who gives You all due honor. I want to be Your humble servant and a genuine follower of Your Holy Son, Jesus Christ. Forgive me for all my sinful habits and my unbelief, I pray. Help me not to live like a pagan any more. Make me a genuine believer and a follower of Jesus, I pray. Transform me with Your Holy Spirit. Make me a "soldier" of Christ. I pray all this believing, in Jesus' Holy Name. Amen."
Before you know it, you’ll find yourself running around to tell everybody all about Jesus and why He came to Earth, and you’ll be talking just like one of those Jesus boosters.
On the other hand, if you are already claiming the name of “Christian,” but you certainly don’t consider yourself to be “one of those Jesus nuts,” then don’t worry about it too much. It’s not too late for you. There’s still time for you to become one.
If you’ve never done much for Jesus before, even though you’ve claimed to be a Christian, it’s not yet too late for you to make Jesus truly the Lord of your life. You can just pray to God in faith, telling Him that you know you have often failed him in the past... and say frankly that you know you have in past years been a lazy and unproductive servant, not worthy of Him.
Ask Him to become truly the Lord of your life. Ask Him to help you repent of your laziness and to transform you into a fruitful evangelist. Tell Him that you want to be a better representative of His Holy Name, and that you would like to become a real “soldier” of Jesus Christ.
Ask God to transform you into a humble servant, one who is fearless and effective, as Frank Jenner and David Smethurst have proven themselves to be. Ask to have your heart set "on fire" for Jesus. Ask that your breast will be utterly filled with the fire of God's Holy Spirit, and that His Light will shine, through you, for everyone to see!
Just say something like this: "God Above, hear my prayer. Almighty God, I want You to become the absolute and awesome Lord of my heart. I want to live in genuine reverence before You. I want to be Your humble servant and a genuine follower of Your Holy Son, Jesus Christ. Forgive me for all my sinful habits and my unbelief, I pray. Help me not to live like a pagan, an unbeliever, or what Jesus calls "a lazy and worthless servant." Help me to be productive and fruitful for You, the way You want me to be. Help me to plant a lot of seeds for You, and then please shine Your Light upon those seeds, so that they also grow up to be fruitful trees. With the Light of Christ upon them, and with nourishment from His Living Water, let these many seeds grow into tall and strong trees for Your Garden... like mighty oak trees planted by a river of Living Water. Let's bring many more people, many lost souls, into Your Kingdom. I ask this in Jesus' Holy Name. Amen."
If you say words such as the above, you must truly believe them in your heart, and you must confess this desire with your mouth as a proclamation of faith. When you do that, your life as a nominal "Christian" will be forever changed.
You need to put the Sun of Righteousness in your heart! Let Him be truly your Lord; let Him illuminate any darkness and unbelief that is still hiding there in your breast. He will vanquish the Prince of Darkness and make you victorious, if you just give Him a chance.
Any human being can gain inner peace and Eternal Life with God by placing Jesus Christ, Who in the Trinity of God created our Universe, upon a throne at the center of the heart! He deserves that position and that kind of respect. He was first God The Son, but when born in human flesh He became the only sinless and righteous person who ever lived. Yet He sacrificed Himself on a cross for your sake, taking all guilt and sins upon Himself— for you and for me, and for all people everywhere on Earth— that whoever wishes for salvation might be rescued from the due punishment of sins.
If you will do this, you will gain a new contentment and peace as you accept God's organizational plan for the Universe. . . because you'll be letting God be the Ruler of All Things in this world. . . and in your own life. He will forever after be the "Sun of Righteousness" Who shines in your heart!
All it really takes is a simple but sincere little prayer— one that you should make up in your own words. The prayer for faith, for deliverance, and for God's leadership... should come from your own heart!
Some important elements that you might include are:
1) your desire to turn away from all the wrongness or evil of your past life, and your remorse over all the sins of your previous life,
2) your desire for God's forgiveness and mercy through the act of sacrifice of His Only Begotten Son (Jesus Christ),
3) your desire to know God's leadership in your life,
4) your desire to learn more of God's truth through Bible study,
5) your desire to find fellowship with genuine believers.
When you’re saved, you’ll know Jesus is King of the Universe and the Lord of your life.
You’ll know the three faces of God Almighty: God The Father, God The Son, and God The Spirit. His Holy Light will start to be visible in your own face and actions!
Jesus said of the people of God that "The kingdom of heaven is like a net that God has cast into the sea, and it gathers of every kind: When it is full, it will be pulled up on the shore, where they will sit down to sort the catch, and they will collect the good fish in baskets, but the bad things will be thrown away. This is the way it will be at the end of the world: The angels shall come forth, and they will separate the unrighteous persons from among those justified by God. . ."
Excerpt from the book of Matthew, who was a constant companion of Jesus
and his devoted disciple [13:47-50].
Jesus spoke of the people of God as being like a seed that is growing secretly, saying, "As for the kingdom of God, it is as if a person should cast seed into the ground; and then he sleeps, and he rises up night and day to see that the seed is springing forth and always growing up, although he knows not exactly how. The Earth is bringing forth fruit from itself; first the blade, then the ears of corn, and after that the fullness of the ears of corn. And when all the fruit of the Earth has come forth, immediately God will use the sickle to reap the fields, because the harvest-time has come."
Excerpt from the book of Mark [4:26-29].
It's also important for all of us to remember this:
1) WE SPEAK TO GOD by our prayers.
2) GOD SPEAKS TO US by the words of Holy Scripture.
So we must try to read His words and His Book just as often as we possibly can!!
God wants to bless you for all your long efforts to understand this very confusing and difficult Universe in which we live— so let Him reward your search with the grace of His forgiveness and enlightenment!
* All factual data in this tract booklet concerning the lifetime of Frank Jenner is of course derived from Dr. Raymond Wilson's excellent biography Jenner Of George Street. It's the only book I have about him, so the only one available for my use. Take it from a former librarian (me): This is a very good book, well worth reading. I recommend it to everybody. But be sure you have first heard the remarkable audio account by Dave Smethurst, and that will make the biography a lot more interesting for you. And by the way: David Smethurst has a couple more evangelism stories in his repertoire that are almost as impressive as his account of Frank Jenner's impact on our world! — RKS
THIS GUIDE WAS WRITTEN FOR YOU BY. . .
Ken Street, a baptized follower of the Way.
Copyright 2006 by Roddy Kenneth Street, Jr.
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God is continuously harvesting the Earth... as His long-range plan for the Earth's transformation goes ever forward...!