Extracts from My Life by Rev. E. Anderson

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Rev. E. Anderson

SERENDIPITY

Words are the diet of a preacher. He comes to hear of them and then seeks to find out what they mean, digests them in his mind and then uses them to fullest effect when he speaks. I well remember coming across the word ‘serendipity’ for the first time. Whilst reading one of Charles Swindolls works I read about it and of how it came to be birthed into the English language. Since that time it has served as a blessing and inspiration in our lives over the past few years as we have taken it on board.

 Apparently there was a man who many, many years ago suffered from awful depression and nothing and no one seemed to be able to break its hold upon his mind and spirit. In a remarkable way something happened to him whilst reading a quaint folk-lore story and suddenly he was freed. He wrote to a man by the name of Sir Cecil Walpole and told him about it and so the word was coined and came into use. 

The story goes how three men who were situated in Sri Lanka, formerly named Ceylon and prior to that, Serendip, decided to go out on a journey to make a great discovery. Although having never been to this country one is informed that it is extremely beautiful wherever you go. As these men moved on day by day they were profoundly moved by what they saw for the first time and were enraptured. Into what appeared to be an ordinary day they were blessed and overwhelmed by the daily vision. They did not make the ultimate discovery but that didn’t matter because they thoroughly enjoyed the trip. It had been worth it! The man who read the account suddenly had a personal revelation with regard to himself. He saw he had adopted the wrong mental attitude to life and that it needed radical amendment. What had been dictating his ideas and conduct was that of expecting that bad and worse and so it happened. This had to be changed and he sensed he was free from this attitude and outlook and so the element of good surprise and expectancy was birthed. Serendipity became his way of life from that day and so the word came into the dictionary out of this man’s experience. 

In reading the story I felt I was impacted by God in a definite manner. He said into my spirit, ‘I am your Serendipity Father. As you live in relationship with Me, from this day on and for the rest of your life expect my serendipity blessings. I will surprise you daily with what I unveil and bring to pass’. 

From that moment, my wife and I have believed it to such an extent we pray ‘serendipity prayers’ and the Lord in His love, grace and power answers in surprising ways. 

I was walking one Monday morning along the sea-front in Cape Town, a beautiful city, quietly praying as I strode out. In talking to the Lord I asked what He had in store on that seeming ordinary morning. Suddenly I stopped in my tracks and was led to look up and above was a board with a word that was most apt. Other similar boards were along the route but I was constrained to stop and view the notice just there and then. It had one word on it: ‘Serendipity’. I sensed the Lord had something special in hand. 

Having been in the city and walking back I felt that I must go and visit the Christian Atlantic Assembly situated close by. I had never been there nor met its minister. Calling in I discovered both Anthony and his wife Desiree there. I was wonderfully welcomed and spent time in fellowship, especially with him, and he shared what the Lord had done and was doing. Prior to leaving he wanted me to pray and as I did so God gave a beautiful prophecy of future blessing into his life. The door had been ajar and when I passed through it, Desiree, a choice woman of God said to me, ‘I felt the breath and the blast of that!’ Since that time God has blessed and honoured them both in a remarkable manner and the witness there. 

One of the people that I saw come to Christ in our ministry, whilst on a holiday visited a Christian book shop and bought a precious book for us. It was called ‘The Serendipity Bible’ and he could not resist buying it for my wife and I knowing what had occurred to us. It is full of choice, spiritual material. 

We decided to give our home a name. At no time had we ever done this before but felt we must give our dwelling an apt name, and so our friend who was a sign writer, painted the name ‘Serendipity’ on a board and it adorns our wall for all to see. Our house is situated near the local bus stop so nobody can miss it. It has been a thrilling experience tasting in good measure over the past years the ‘serendipity blessings’ of a loving, heavenly Father.

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Contemporary Considerations presented by Rev. E. Anderson

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Rev. E. Anderson

Cooperating with a Smile

by Jon Walker

“Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had – though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave ….” (Philippians 2:5-7 NLT)

Cooperation is doing with a smile what you have to do anyway. You’ll never find that sentence in the Bible, but I think its spirit is implied throughout God’s Word. We are called to be obedient to God’s commands, and part of that obedience is having a sensitive servant’s attitude.

I learned this lesson years ago when I was working for someone, who at the time, I didn’t respect. I would do whatever he asked me to do – eventually – but I tended to drag my feet, complain, or point out how wrong he was.

God used that relationship to teach me godly obedience. Through his Word, God taught me to obey my earthly authorities. He showed me that Christ-like character required me to work with the same servant’s attitude, regardless of how I felt about my work environment or my employer.

God not only changed my attitude, he led me to seek forgiveness from my boss for my disrespectful attitude. It was a major turning point in my life, as I came to understand what it meant to be a man under authority, regardless of who was in authority.

God can work through a boss who is a model of godliness, and he can work through a boss who is a tyrant. No matter who we work for, ultimately, God is our authority, so in any situation we should work as unto the Lord.

And you know what? As I responded to God’s authority through my earthly employer, I developed considerable respect for my boss, and he became one of my greatest mentors and supporters. Though not a believer, he taught me, “Cooperation is doing with a smile what you have to do anyway.”

What does this mean?

     · Live the Gospel – How you conduct yourself at work is part of your Christian witness. Today, go beyond the minimum requirements and see how those around you respond. To quote Francis of Assisi: “Share the gospel; if necessary, use words.”

     · Change your attitude – Be respectful, helpful, and gracious to those in authority over you – no matter how difficult it may be.

     · Go the extra mile with a smile – Christ said, “If someone compels you to carry his pack one mile, carry it two.” People are more likely to listen to what you say when your actions show respect and concern for them, when you do more than the minimum required.

Hey, God, a little help! – Ask God to turn those tough situations at work into opportunities to share the Gospel – but check your own attitude first.