DO 2422 3/88—The Best Ability Is Availability!
(A talk on the Japanese School, with vital lessons for all!:)
1. People need to know that they are welcome at any time! The idea of having only one hour a day to visit that School is just almost ridiculous! If that School is there for any purpose at all, it's not just for the education of our children, it is to be a witness & a testimony! Most of our kids have had enough education already to last them for the rest of their lives‚ they know what it's all about! Now what Home & what one of us only has certain times when we are willing to be a witness confined to one hour a day?
2. The visitors don't have to interrupt the kids' schooling, I think they'd even appreciate it more if they'd see school in progress! If they want to advertise a program time, "Special Program Open to the Public" at such-&-such an hour, fine, but to just visit the School, they'd just as soon see it as it actually is, in operation! The visitors can poke their heads into the classroom for a moment. It doesn't take the kids any time to applaud & bow & maybe even sing a little song! It's good practice for them! That's what they're there for!
3. If they are there for anything at all, it's to be a witness! And if they've only got one hour a day to witness, God help us! I know it's a bother, of course it's a bother, it's always a bother to witness, it's always a lot of work to witness, but that is what we are here for! Now if that School is not there to witness, what is it there for?
4. Even little toddlers are terrific, they could capture anybody's heart just to watch them in their class! Just let them take a peek! All they have to do is open the door a little ways & let them stick their head in a little bit! "This is the Toddler's Room, this is the Teen Room" etc., just let'm see it!
5. How can they bar anybody that comes there & wants to see it at any time of day! Are they a witness or not? Are they there to witness or not? Are they there to win hearts or not? What office hours does God keep? What time does He tell you to pray when He's only open for business one hour a day? If they're not there to make that School a witness to everybody‚ anybody, all the time, every time, I don't know what they're there for!
6. That Visiting Hour has bothered me ever since I heard about it! They switched it around hither, thither & yon, but as far as I'm concerned, the only time to witness is all the time! I know it's hard on them, but they've just got to get used to it!
7. I mean, they used to go out all day long passing out literature & witnessing to people, what's the matter with them now? Have we got something new to supplant witnessing? Have we got something better now than witnessing? What are they there for if they're not open to anybody all the time to talk to them in love about the Lord & show them the love of those children! They don't have to interrupt the classes, they don't have to have the children all come & hug every visitor. That may be all right for special visitors at special times, & they can judge that.
8. If the Greeter sees somebody driving along the road who curiously stops to read their sign‚ he should dash out & say, "What can we do for you? Would you like to come in?" So they pull in, & the minute they pull their car in like they're going to accept the invitation, beep beep‚ out comes the P.R. man or girl‚ & they are the Tour Guide from then on!
9. They're on duty any hour! That's what they're on duty for. It doesn't take anybody else's time, it doesn't take anybody else away from the work, that is their work! This is our most important work we have to do, & if we've only got one hour a day to do it‚ God help us!
10. If the Greeter can speak any Japanese at all & can just say, "Hello, come on in" or "What would you like to do?", let's hope they can understand enough to know what the people want. And if they can't figure out what they're saying, they can just say, "Just a moment, please!"—& run in to get the Tour Guide who speaks the language. They know they're running in for something—in other words, wait! So they get the actual Tour Guide, the P.R. person, & they come out & talk to them there & try to persuade them to come in. When they finally decide to come in, the Tour Guide says, "Park here & I'll take you through", & they take'm around to tour the School!
11. I'm sorry, I'm against visiting hours, unless they're all hours! I don't care if visitors even come at night if somebody's still awake! I know a fellow who made his church famous that way, my Mother's old boyfriend John, Rev. John Wells was his name. He started his church in a land of so many churches you could hardly drive by one block without passing a church, the San Fernando Valley, the dormitory of Hollywood & Los Angeles, where all kinds of movie stars & rich people lived. These were people who had everything‚ had seen everything, were satiated up to here with religion, churches, everything!
12. He started a little church, just a tiny little thing. It looked just like almost any church, except it looked like a little old-fashioned country church, & he called it "The Little Brown Church in the Valley". Well, there are all kinds of churches, all kinds of names, so what was different about his church?
13. —The doors were never shut! 24 hours a day there were candles lit inside, quiet, plain wooden cushioned pews‚ an altar down at the front where they could kneel in front of this beautiful picture of Jesus, open 24 hours a day! And everybody knew that he slept right there behind the altar, that any time they wanted to come in, he would wake up & would help them!
14. It was in the paper, it became famous! People just streamed there! And on Sundays‚ at regular service times, they were packed out! They used to be standing outside, big crowds around trying to hear what was going on, & he had loudspeakers outside, all because he was willing to be open 24 hours a day & on call like a doctor! He said a pastor ought to be like a doctor, on call any time somebody needs him!
15. He could tell tales & stories about the people that came in there in the middle of the night ready to commit suicide or murder somebody, drug addicts & all kinds of folks, & he was ready to pray for them right then & there! A man, by himself, no wife‚ no helper! He just made himself available to people in need 24 hours a day & they knew that church was always open, they could go in there & pray any time & even seek his help & counsel any time of the day or night!
16. My God, they've got 150 people in that School!—75 adult helpers! If 150 of our people can't do the same as this one poor little preacher, there's something wrong! He wasn't anything phenomenal, he wasn't beautiful, he wasn't extra smart, he was just available! The best ability is availability! Now are they going to do that or not? What are they there for? Are they there to try to reach the Japanese at any hour of the day or night?
17. I hate to think we've gone to all that work & all that expense & they have all that personnel there, & they are too busy to witness to the Japanese! Why are they there? My Mother used to say about prayer: "If you're too busy to pray, you're too busy!" If you are too busy to witness, you're too busy!
18. I don't want to hear any more about Visiting Hours! They can have a program time, "Special Program For All" at such-&-such a time‚ but we're not going to say "Visiting Hours"—11 to 12 or 4 to 5 or even 6 to 6! I said before that they should have somebody on duty from dawn to dusk! Well, I'm not going to shorten that, I'm going to enlarge it! I think they ought to have somebody on duty from get-up time to go-to-bed time‚ day & night! The Japanese are so polite that unless they were in a desperate situation they wouldn't come & wake'm up in the middle of the night like they did John at his Little Brown Church in the Valley!
19. Big movie stars who wouldn't darken the door of an ordinary church became members & the place was packed with celebrities‚ movie stars, all kinds of famous people! Even famous criminal gang leaders, Mafia & whatnot, came & got saved there, because here was a man who meant business! He was there to give his life for people & to help people! (Weeps)
20. What are they there for if they're not willing to sacrifice & work & give their lives for those people? If they're not willing‚ they might as well go home! Of course it's hard work! Of course it's a sacrifice! Of course it's a strain! But that's what we're here for! We are missionaries here to save people, & we have to give our lives to save them! Now are we going to do it or not?
21. This Pastor named John had been Mother's boyfriend when she was young, & I'm sure that her life & her testimony had had some influence on him. He was just an ordinary Christian Church pastor‚ Disciples of Christ, belonged to a big denomination & had been through all that education, all those years of college & seminary & all the rest of that stuff that buries dead faith. It didn't do his profession, his vocation, his job as much good as the life that he lived in a way that people knew he loved them & was willing to give up his life, his time, his sleep, his health, to sacrifice & help them in the middle of the night!
22. He didn't have a sign out saying "Visiting Hours 12 to 1" or 11 to 12 or 4 to 5. He had a sign out: "Open for Help 24 Hours a Day! Come in, day or night‚ for counselling!" And if they didn't believe it, they could just look over & see him sleeping on a mattress on the floor behind the altar!
23. —And he became famous! He was written up in books, magazines & newspapers all over, & people just flocked to his church, because here was a man who meant what he said‚ he meant what he was preaching! And the place was packed out on Sundays & every time he had a service, they couldn't get them all in!
24. That was Red Harper's church, by the way. You may never have heard of him, but he's the guy who wrote a lot of those cowboy songs that are famous like, "I'm Following Jesus One Step At a Time" & all of those. I sat beside him at one of that church's socials. They had a social once a month & everybody came, they cooked hotdogs outdoors on the fire & everybody had fun!—Kids, babies, everybody!—And the church yard was not even hardly big enough to contain them all! Hundreds of people just flocked there!
25. All because one man was willing to be available night & day, every hour of the day & night, & leave his church doors open wide all the time‚ & available for counselling & prayer any time they needed him!
26. I don't mind if they advertise a "Special Program" at some hour of the day, but I want people to be able to come in those doors with a guide & be taken on a tour of the School & peek in each class, not disturb it, just peek in & see what's actually happening!—Not some special show put on for them, but see what is actually going on all the time, what those kids look like all the time. They don't have to show them in bed, but it's a possibility! They can show'm what's going on in the kitchen all the time!—The faithful cooks cooking meals in their big pots & all that.
27. And then if they want to chat they can sit down & have a cup of tea or coffee, & while they are overwhelmed by the love & the marvellous witness & the marvellous sample that they've just seen, when their hearts are open & they're practically in tears already, what better time than when they're soft to lead them to the Lord!
28. They are there to witness! They're not just there to brag about a School or a crazy little Pyramid up on the hill, those are just come-ons! The Lord said the day was coming when they would come to us! I'll tell you, at TSC we thought the day had arrived, they just flocked in! We were written up in papers all over the country! We were on television! One guy didn't know where to find us‚ he just knew we were in Texas‚ so he put signs on his bumpers: "Where are the Children of God?"—& he finally found us! People just sought us out, we didn't even actually have to go anywhere‚ although we did every weekend.
29. Are they willing to be 24-hour-a–day witnesses or not, where people can find us? Otherwise they shouldn't go to all that trouble advertising & sticking highway signs all over the roads at the risk of their lives or imprisonment or fines without permission! They're going to take a vanload of little signs & a sledge hammer & bang bang bang & away they go! It's dangerous business! But if anybody sees them they'll figure of course they've got authority, somebody must have asked permission from somebody! "Of course we have authority, we have orders from Somebody to do it!" Praise the Lord? If they ask them, "Who told you that you could do this?" they can say, "God!"
30. It's just like gate-crashing, party-crashing, anything, you've got to act like you know where you're going, what you're doing‚ like you have the authority to do it, & you have the authority! By the time they try to trace it around & ask everybody, "Who done it, who gave you authority to do this?" & go up through all the channels, it will take them as long to find out that we didn't have it from any of theirs as it would for us to get permission! In the meantime, the signs are doing the good they need to do! And they have people there who are willing to do it, willing to risk their safety, life & limb to do it!
31. Have they got people there who are willing to risk their strength & their time to receive those visitors when they get there & witness to them & win them to the Lord?—Or are we only open for business one hour a day? Well, if that's so, I don't want to have another thing to do with that outfit, nothing, if they're only going to be open for witnessing one hour a day! I want that sign they have out in front of the School to be true, "Open—Come in!", any hour of the day or night‚ come in now!—Not 11 to 12, but now!—And somebody out there watching for them every minute to go out & grab them & drag them in, & somebody to guide them & finally really witness to them after they've seen the proof!
32. Our kids are the proof that it works! We've got something they haven't got, that they need, & they'll want after they see it‚ & it's the ideal time to talk to them about why, Who & how! There will never be a better time than that first time. The Lord always gets His say in first, then the damn Devil tries to stick his foot in! So if you don't make some progress that first time, you probably never will!
33. Most people receive the Lord the first time they really have that tremendous appeal of the Spirit! If they reject that time, it's easier to reject every time afterwards & they keep putting it off. How about you? That's the time you got the first real impression & felt the first real pull. I'd venture to say most of our people received the Lord that first time they were approached, the first time they were appealed to. Jesus' disciples did. But every time they reject, it's easier to do it again.
34. There's no better time to give them Jesus than after they take a tour of that School! If they're not ready for it then, I doubt if they'll ever be ready for it! So what is the School for? What are they there for? Are they there just to show off their better society, their model of Heaven, their School of the Future, blah blah?
35. We are here to show off Love, & Love is God, & God is Jesus, & Jesus is Salvation, & they are souls who need Him, & that is what we're there for! And either we are going to be a witness or let's quit! And we are going to be a witness every hour of the day or night or let's quit!—If we're not willing to give up a little strength, a little time, a little freetime! My God‚ those people need to be willing to give all their time, night & day, working hard to try to make that School what it ought to be & the witness it could be!
36. I want that Pyramid to shine like a light so people can see it from afar to be a constant reminder that we are there, & what we are, & who we are, so they'll never forget us! We may not be there forever, God knows how long we'll last at that rate, but they'll never forget us!—And even if they go up there & tear down the Pyramid & the School & kill'm all, they'll never forget us & the witness we were!
37. That's what they're there for & that's how far they should be willing to go! If that Pyramid can only be a witness for a year, I consider it's worth it all! Even if that School can only be a witness for a year, till next year, till my next birthday, it will be worth it all!
38. So as far as I can see, it's nuts to those Visiting Hours! They can advertise a special one-hour Program at a certain special time that's most convenient for them, & that's fine. Almost anybody can take one hour of the day just to see a special program of the kids etc., & if they don't have time, show'm a video! But there's nothing like the real flesh-&-blood witness with the power of the Spirit right there in all those little lives! Then they know they're not something just canned, but something fresh!
39. You've heard the story about the miner who had been up on the Klondike for about a year in the Gold Rush. About all he could get up there was canned food, canned this & canned that, because it was so far up into the frozen North. So he finally struck it rich, made a real find & he sold his gold & pocketed his money & came down to the big city of Seattle by ship. He said the first thing he was going to do was go in a restaurant & order himself a nice great big fresh steak‚ fresh meat, fresh food!
40. So he went into a restaurant, sat down, took the menu‚ & here were all these nice foods advertised there—you've heard the story, I suppose. He said‚ "That's what I want, Kansas steak, this big steak here!" The waiter said, "I'm very sorry, Sir, but you see that big fat man over there? He just ordered our last steak." "Well, all right, let's see, then I'll take this big chicken dinner here!" "I'm sorry but they didn't bring our chickens this morning, something happened to the delivery." "Well, how about this ham dinner here, fresh ham, I'll take that!" The waiter said, "Well, I'm so sorry‚ I'm just really embarrassed about this, but the ham just didn't come out right & I wouldn't recommend it!" He said, "Well, what have you got‚ anyhow?" He said, "Well, maybe I could open up a little canned meat for you?" He said, "Canned meat? I've had canned meat for months up there & I am not going to eat another can of meat! I'm getting out of here & going where I can get something fresh, the real thing!"
41. And they're going to come into that School & they're not going to get canned meat like they do in churches, they're going to get the fresh thing, so fresh it's alive, right on the spot, even if we have to kill ourselves to give it! Amen? Are those people there for that or not? Are they willing to put up that sign & live up to it & mean it & do it & have Greeters out there all day long from get-up to bedtime?
42. My Lord‚ what can they expect? They don't even have to go out & find them & get them! The Lord is sending them to us, the least we can do is get out there & stop them as they pass by!—With a handful of brochures! Give them several, "Invite your friends, bring your family! If you can't come in now, come in later!" Are they going to do it or not?
43. That School is going to be a testimony & a constant witness, with that Pyramid sticking out there lit up like a Christmas tree half the night as long as people are up & awake & can see it‚ & the people down below at the School lit up like a Christmas tree all day long & half the night ready to nail'm for the Lord! Now either they're going to do that, or I want to quit wasting our time & money on that project, & our personnel, the most precious possession we have!
44. Why in the World are we taking all those people & leaders & investing them in that place 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, if they're not going to be willing to harvest what God sends them without even having to go out to get it! They're just catching the apples that fall off the tree! Are they going to be willing to do it or not?
45. No visiting hours! They don't have to advertise that, they just have to live up to that sign: "Come In Now!" Let me tell you, any salesman knows that there's only one time to make a sale, & that's when the people are in the mood. You've got to either nail them then or forget it! You usually have one chance to sell them while they're in the mood, while they're curious, while they want to see it! They need to trot out their products! If they're not willing to trot them out, at least the people can come in & watch them trot. They don't have to interrupt their schooling‚ put on a program or anything! They've got a perpetual program all the time!
46. What is our program, anyhow? What is it? (Family: Our life.) Yes, our life is our program, showing what? (Family: Love.) Love, that's our program! And no matter what we're doing, having class or anything, we are showing Love! If we show anything we're showing Love! And Love is God‚ & God is Jesus! PTL! Are we going to do it? Are you willing to do it?
47. They need to organise those Greeters & Tour Guides‚ P.R. people, actually Soul-Winners, the people who are really going to talk to them about the Lord & try to win their hearts. PTL! Are they going to do it or not? Are they willing to do it or not? Are they willing to be witnesses there or not?—24 hours a day!—Door open all the time! That's another sign they need: "Open, Come In!"—Right on the front door in big letters, just in case the Greeter doesn't get there fast enough to tell'm!
48. We used to have a Greeter's class at TSC to teach those people what to say & how to do it & how to welcome people etc.! Maybe we ought to call those P.R. people Winners! —Greeters & Winners!—And God help us‚ I hope no losers! And if we're willing to sacrifice like that, we won't be losers, we'll be winners, & that place will become famous for its Love & its happiness & its sweetness & its testimony, its helpfulness, willing to help & counsel people any hour of the day or night!—Like Pastor John at the Little Brown Church in the Valley!
49. I'm sorry if this will make things harder for them, but Jesus said, "I have come that you may have life‚ & have it more abundantly!"—John 10:10.—And the way to do it is to get out there & give them life! PTL! Lord bless & keep them & give them strength for this battle! It's a wonderful battle, a Love-battle! Our job is making love, winning souls! What better job could you have than that?
50. All right, PTL! Are you sold? Are you willing to be a witness any hour of the day or night? Forget about visiting hours! Every hour is visiting hour!—Amen?