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The Elvenking’s Blessing

Why We Go “There And Back Again”

Jim Kerwin's battered copy of the Hobbit

My tattered copy of The Hobbit

It’s surprising the multitude of sources of inspiration the Holy Spirit can use. An unusual quote has guided a lot of my praying for ministry, especially over the last eight years of missions trips.

After the climactic battle in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, the victorious survivors (including, thank goodness, our hero Bilbo Baggins) journey together to their respective homes. Coming to a place where the Elven host turns off for the palace in Mirkwood, the Elvenking's farewell to Gandalf, like a benediction, has always captured my imagination. Here are his words as they are underlined in my delapidated, fifty-year-old hardback copy of the classic:

“May you ever appear where you are most needed and least expected! The oftener you appear in my halls, the better shall I be pleased!”

Thus I often find my heart expressing itself before the Throne in almost those exact words: “Lord, please [click to continue…]

Unmailed Postcard #3 – The Guatemala-Peru Connection

The Guatemala-Peru Connection

Spanish-Speaking Spouse?

Map of Central and South America

Guatemala to Peru: What's the link between the two?

What were those strange noises coming from Denise in the kitchen? At first, I couldn’t make it out. Was she muttering to herself? Speaking in a tongue? Having a breakdown? Well, yes, yes… and yes, sort of, if you count “breaking down” sentence structure as a “break down.”

It turns out that she was beginning to practice Spanish, using a conversational Spanish book that’s been in our library for a long time. I was thrilled because it shows her level of commitment to our upcoming Perú trip (10/26-11/9), and Spanish practice bodes well for her return visit to Guatemala in 2017, Lord willing.

Our upcoming Perú trip will be exciting, no doubt, but perhaps not as exciting to me as another recent Peruvian training trip. Why? Because that recent 2 Timothy 2:2 training trip was the work of Guatemalan leaders!

Guatemalan “Go Ye” Gusto

Pastor Victor Manuel Santos Pacheco

Pastor Victor teaching in Palacagüina, Nicaragua

I’ll tell you a bit about my April ministry in Guatemala in the next “postcard.” But here’s the thing about these guatemaltecos (Guatemalans) – they not only hear, but they do! Guatemala has the potential to be a full-fledged Latin American “Antioch,” sending missionaries and trainers across Latin American borders and even overseas. Consider some of their recent activity: [click to continue…]

Unmailed Postcard #2 – Nicaragua Weekend

No Rest for the… um… Traveling Teacher


A Nicaraguan postcard. Of what? No clue!

There must be a Nicaragua for tourists, but I have yet to see it. (That postcard cathedral image you see — I have no idea what or where it is in Nicaragua!)

That's not a complaint, mind you. It's just that these teaching trips I take usually require going “full speed ahead,” even on anticipated days off. Schedules and venues change on the fly. The ability to follow the Spirit's leading, and “go with the flow” adaptability, are the key survival tools. The Lord works out all the details. The report in this “postcard” is a good example.

2nd Postcard from Nicaragua

April 9-10, 2016


UML President Rojas-Talaveras

A weekend off. You're kidding, right?

Bobby Hoyle had set up an early Saturday morning breakfast with Dr. José Moisés Rojas Talavera, president of UML / Universidad Martín Lutero (Martin Luther University), a Pentecostal undergrad school in Managua. Later that morning, I introduced the subject of hermeneutics to 79 UML students in a packed classroom on campus. (Oh, by the way — you only have 90 minutes to give your five-hour presentation. Adapt!)


A portion of my class at UML

Over lunch (from the school kitchen) several of the young leaders picked my brain for two hours. What other subjects could I come back to teach? Since I have a master's degree in Biblical Studies, what grad-school courses could I lead?

[click to continue…]

Unmailed Postcard #1 – Nicaragua

“The Hurrieder I Go…”

00-Postcard-Collage-300x200Denise and I were praying and brainstorming yesterday about our upcoming teaching ministry in Perú (Oct. 26-Nov. 9) when it hit me – there are some “postcard reports” that I have meant to send out about the ministry trips to Nicaragua, Guatemala, Iowa, and California earlier this year. Alas, my life is proof of the old saying, “The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get”!
You've been faithful to pray, so please allow me to send some brief “postcard” newsletters about these recent ministry trips.

Postcard from Nicaragua

April 3-8, 2016
Some of the pastor and leaders at the Quilalí sessions

Some of the pastor and leaders at the Quilalí sessions

Bobby Hoyle, head of LendAHand Mission Teams, and I headed off to Nicaragua early Sunday morning, 4/3. After a day of travel on Monday 4/4 and connecting with our Guatemalan teammates, we spent Tuesday and Wednesday teaching over 50 pastors and leaders in Palacagüina. My job was to introduce the subject of hermeneutics (the art and science of studying and preaching the Scriptures in context).

Thursday and Friday we taught 83 pastors and leaders in Quilalí (same subject, but second module in the series), where there's always such a hungry and appreciative response. Then we traveled the long road back to Managua, the capital of Nicaragua.

A Highlight of the Week

Pastor Nelson and two of the pastors he supervises

Pastor Nelson and two of the pastors he supervises

The first night in Palacagüina, I fellowshipped with Pastor Nelson (of Quilalí) for two hours – almost entirely in Spanish! Much of our discussion centered around the need of pastors in his area to obtain basic Bible-study tools – concordances, Bible dictionaries, and one-volume commentaries, (in Spanish, of course). The good news – we can get these three volumes for pastors for about $60 per set (a savings of 60%). The challenges:

[click to continue…]

Celebrating the New Year God Has Given

Celebrating the New Year God Has Given


New-Years-Clock-2016-200x265Not surprisingly, everyone seems focused on the fact that a New Year is upon us. We present here some of our favorite New-Year-related poems and articles from the Finest of the Wheat website. God has given you a New Year—use it to His glory!

  • The Kernels of Wheat podcast Are You Fulfilling Bible Prophecy? will challenge you on how you spend your New Year.
  • Famous divine Robert Murray McCheyne offers a proposal for Reading through the Word of God in a Year.
  • Isaiah Reid shares a Heart-Talk for the New Year.
  • If you ever desired to have a poetess pronounce a blessing over you, read the benediction of New Year’s Wishes from Frances Ridley Havergal.
  • The turn of the New Year offers a special opportunity for re-dedication, as Frances Ridley Havergal exemplifies in Another Year Is Dawning!
  • With each passing year, the sense grows on me that I have fewer years of earthly ministry left in the King's service. Thus, hymns in the vein of Charles Wesley's And Are We Yet Alive? remind me to “number my days, that I may apply my heart to wisdom” (Psalm 90:12 KJV).

Speaking of the Wesleys, [click to continue…]

Grains from Gutteridge #27

Grains from Gutteridge for December:
Holiness: The Preparation for His Coming


Listen to 'Holiness: The Preparation for His Coming'

The Preparation
for His Coming

We've just released a powerful, unusual, and thought-provoking Advent message by Pastor Percy Gutteridge. Is it really an Advent message? Well, yes — sort of. It was delivered as the last in a series of several Advent messages. But it's about the Second Advent, that is, the Second Coming of Jesus, not the first.

More importantly, it's about what God longs to do for and in us in order to prepare us both for the Coming of Jesus and for dwelling in God's presence forever. What's the key? Holiness: The Preparation for His Comingepisode #27 of our Grains from Gutteridge podcast.

A Gutteridge Galore Thanksgiving

Grateful for a Godly Influence

Picture of Half Dome in Yosemite Valley, California

The “outdoor cathedral” where I first heard Pastor Gutteridge teach – Yosemite Valley

Here in the United States, November is the month during which we celebrate Thanksgiving. In looking over my 63 years, I find that I am very thankful for the teaching, influence, guidance, and friendship of my “grandfather in the Lord,” Pastor Percy Gutteridge. My first clear memory of Pastor is the summer of 1969. He was the Bible teacher for our church's week-long high-school-youth-group campout in Yosemite Valley, California. I was only a year old in the Lord then, had been baptized in the Holy Spirit less than five months, and all things scriptural were new and wonderful. But this man's teaching – it was deep, yet simple; profound, but practical; and (as I learned subsequently in many years of personal Bible study) not often the sort of thing one was likely to find in books or commentaries.

As he did with some other young “Jesus Movement” pastors of that day, [click to continue…]

We Give Thanks – 2015

We Give Thanks with Hymns of Gratefulness

We give thanks to God for a fruitful year!

We give thanks to God for a fruitful year!

If you're too busy to be thankful to God for all of His blessings, then you're too busy!  We of Finest of the Wheat Teaching Fellowship are grateful to God for a fruitful year that saw us ministering in Guatemala, Romania, Czech Republic, and central Virginia.  We were blessed to be “about our Father's business” — Kingdom Business!

We're also grateful for our newly redesigned Finest of the Wheat website. There are still a lot of “rough edges” to fix; after all, around 500 pages were transitioned from a static-code site to a WordPress CMS (Content Management System). Remember what your “new” residence looked like the evening the moving men drove off in their truck? Boxes everywhere, key items temporarily “lost,” windows needing curtains — it takes a few weeks to get it all sorted out. We'll have the website “all sorted out” by [click to continue…]

Help Through Unexpected Channels


26Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
27And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Romans 8:26-27 kjv


his passage points out some important items for the daily needs of life’s journey.  All travelers in the King’s Country are furnished with a most excellent tourist’s guide.  Attention to the truths in the above-mentioned verses would save from much needless mistake, regret, blunder, and falling, it may be.  God would have us all real students.  He expects us to read and think for ourselves.  He arranges place and time for us to sit in His library and feast on its treasures, and learn for ourselves the wonders of His kingdom that now is, and that which is to come.  He wants us to look into His textbooks, to walk with Him amid the beauties and glories of the natural world.  The seas are His [Psalm 95:5], the stars in heaven are His.  The secrets of air and ether 2 are His.  The generative forces of nature are all His.  We are His children.  He made this world for us.  The world of mind and spirit are His.  They are a step nearer Himself than the material universe.  It is more to find, see, and understand God in the hidden spheres of spiritual life, than in the world of material things. [click to continue…]

“How They Grow”: Part 9

This entry is part 9 of 16 in the series How They Grow

Resting in Past Achievements

A common cause of delay and hindrance is the constitutional trait of wanting to stop and tent in good places we are brought into.  There must be a coming time for crown wearing, and coronation days, but it is after the work is done, and the call has been made “Come up higher.” 1  Now is our field of battle.  The watchword is “Go work today in My vineyard” (Matthew 21:28ff).  “Over there” we may have our harvest home, and sit down in quiet by the side of the river of life and sing the song of Moses and the Lamb. 2 [click to continue…]

Spiritual Gifts and Ignorance Concerning Them

This entry is part 15 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers

“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols,
even as ye were led.”

1 Corinthians 12:1,2

There is a difference between a “natural” gift and a “spiritual” gift.

Natural Gifts

  1. A “natural” gift is born with the individual, and thus is “natural” to him, or part of his nature.  It is included in his ordainment and the constitution of his individual spirit, and causes him to differ from all other indivi­dualities.  It is a gift from God in the same way that sight or speech or hearing is; but as such it is a gift of ordainment in his creation, and not an added endowment coming later in life.  Natural gifts are cotempora­neous with the creation of each individual spirit.  All natural gifts are essential to each personality, and are therefore involuntary, so far as man is concerned, and never subject to his choice as is the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
  2. The term “natural” as applied and as used in the New Testament may also mean all that comes by creation, including the perishable, and all material life; or, it can mean man’s material life, as distinct from his “immortal” life.  It is that “natural man” of which Paul speaks, which does not know the things of the Spirit. 1
  3. A “natural gift” may become a spiritual gift, or appear as such, when the natural gift is freely given up to God and becomes filled with the Holy Ghost.  Natural eloquence seems thus changed under the ministration of the Spirit.  David’s poetical and musical talents, under the higher inspiration of the Holy Ghost, became a spiritual blessing for all ages and times.  Paul’s logical mind, and his sharp psychological and philosophical discriminations under the Spirit’s power, made him a blessing to the end of the world.
  4. A “spiritual gift” is that which pertains to things spiritual rather than that which is natural.  It is something added or manifested later than any natural gift.  It is a gracious enablement of the individual to do that which by way of his natural gifts he was unable to accomplish.  It is a gift, not in a general sense, but as a real secondary bestowment coming “from above.”  Before this enablement of the man, he could accomplish many natural things, he could understand moral things, he could become strong in the realm of reason; but he was unable either to understand or accomplish anything in the spiritual realm.  That is the “spiritual” properly so called, or as Paul unfolds and uses the word in this epistle, where he associates the spiritual in man with the Spirit of God.

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This entry is part 10 of 12 in the series Faith Is Substance


rue faith always results in certainty.  How wonderful to be certain in an uncertain world!  Faith always homes in on the target; there are no near misses; there is no such thing as experimentation, because faith knows, like its Author, “the end from the beginning.”  The men of faith walk with confidence, they keep their equilibrium, they press towards the mark, they are like the cherubim who have feet that are “straight feet… they went every one straight forward, whither the Spirit was to go, they went, and they turned not when they went” (Ezekiel 1:12). [click to continue…]

“How They Grow”: Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 16 in the series How They Grow

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.

Luke 12:27



anctification is a very common word in both the Old and the New Testaments.  It is also a subject treated more or less in all complete systems of theology.  In nearly all catechisms the question is asked, “What is sanctification?” and some answer is given.  It is a libel on the intelligence of the evangelical Christendom of the age to deny knowledge of the doctrine and faith in it.  The fact is, all Christians believe in it, only they have their way about receiving it.  Indeed, after all, the question is not about the truth of the doctrine, but about the obtainment of the grace.  Nobody wants other than a holy heaven; for this reason all men want some way of being made holy, though naturally few at first prefer God’s way. [click to continue…]

Soul-Help Papers: Prefatory Notes

This entry is part 1 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers

There are many problems that come up every day in the ordinary affairs of life, but the great problems are the soul problems.  These deal directly with character and destiny.  In this book some of these, in a natural, familiar way, are taken up and discussed for the benefit of the common reader.  Longer and more philosophic papers might with this class of readers lose their interest.  Briefer articles might not sufficiently carry the information.  A book of a different character might teach you how to make more money.  The writer of these pages would rather help you to build more stately soul-mansions.  Every soul has its Tarshish ships and its St. Bernard passes. 1  The sidelights of those who have been over the road may help the reader in finding his way.  With the hope that such will be the case with every reader of these pages, this little book is committed to the great book-reading world, wherever it may go.  It is the hope of the writer that sometime in the Sweet By and By, both writer and reader shall meet and find joy and blessing in former acquaintance, though it be only by way of a book.  Till then, goodbye.

Des Moines, Iowa 1904 [click to continue…]