The CCEL Times 8.3 (March 1, 2013)
In This Issue:
From the Director
This year marks the CCEL's twentieth anniversary. It seems a long time ago now that these events took place and I found an online copy of The Imitation of Christ. Since then, I have been pursuing the mission of the CCEL: to make classic Christian books available and to promote their use. God has provided for and supported this project through many changes, to its current state today in which it serves millions of users per year. In 2012 users viewed 43 million pages, downloaded 1.3 million books in PDF format, performed 2.7 million searches, and listened to 300,000 hours (34 years) of book narrations. 17,000 people are members of online discussion groups.
This semester I'm working on strategic planning for the CCEL's next five years. I have some exciting ideas about the future, but before laying out plans I'd like to hear from you. What do you find useful about the CCEL? How could it be more useful to you? What changes would make it better at making classic Christian literature available and promoting its use? Please help us out in this ministry by sending your feedback and suggestions.
As always, I pray that God will continue to use this site to build up the church.
"What's Right with the Prosperity Gospel?"
This article examines the thought-provoking question of prosperity: Is prosperity a gift of God or a sign of moral corruption? Smith begins the article with a quote from Walter Brueggemann stating, "God's economy ... assumes the abundance of creation and so refuses the miserly hoarding and competition yielded by the myth of scarcity."
Smith references Biblical passages and several sources in this investigation of what some call the 'Prosperity Gospel.' The article, perhaps, raises more questions than it answers, but it certainly provides the reader with numerous, poignant aspects concerning the moral issues related to prosperity. One such point made by Smith occurs at the end of the article where he writes, "The God who became poor so that we might become rich invites us into a way of life marked by the rhythms of fasting and feasting—as a way of making us hungry for the abundant life."
What We're Reading
Golden Grain contains the brief thoughts from gifted preacher and teacher, John Wright Follette. These little "nuggets" of truth are short phrases or paragraphs that Follette kept ready-at-hand to dispense to anyone in need of aid. Full of practical wisdom, these different nuggets are ideal for meditation, for each one holds in store a new spiritual insight. Indeed, only after much meditation and several reads do many of these encouraging and edifying thoughts show their greatest spiritual insight. Follette arranges some meditations loosely around topics, others not. Either way, Golden Grain makes a wonderful supplement to one's devotions.
-The Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Henry Edward Manning's Third Volume of Sermons
“Sermon IX: The Gift of Abundant Life” John 10:10
Manning begins his sermon on 'abundant life' by writing, "But here He speaks with a still greater fulness of meaning. He does not only say, “I am come that they might have life;” but still more, “and that they might have it more abundantly;” promising some great endowment, some greater gift of God than man had ever before received. This is the great grace of the Gospel, the abundant gift of life."
After Manning takes a detailed look about the implications of an abundant life, he concludes the sermon with this thought: "Let us, then, endeavour so to embrace the gift of life which is in us, that nothing may separate us from Him; that no choice, no intent, no affection, no permitted motion of our will, may cast a shadow between us and His presence." Despite all of the trials and tribulations, it's good for all of us to heed Manning's advice and realize how blessed we are.Read this sermon at CCEL