One of the special joys of summer camp is meeting and getting to know new folks. This past summer was no exception. What a pleasure it was for us to have Eric Von Gustedt with us for the first time. We were awed by Eric’s perception and wisdom, born out of his eighty years of living, which included growing up in Germany, serving as an officer in the army and being held captive for five years as a Russian prisoner.
One of the questions Eric pondered before coming to camp was "What is the body of Christ?" The following was written by Eric after returning to his home in West Virginia later in the summer.
BODY OF CHRIST IN ACTION
There is a place in Boone, North Carolina called "Back Yard Burgers" or BYB. Believe me, it is an outstanding place. Take my word for it, I checked it out. For a few reasons is this place outstanding:
1. It is a spotless clean place where a great variety of food is prepared and offered.
2. The orders are received and the merchandise handed out exactly, politely and friendly; good small talk alias talk show. 3. You see there everywhere friendly, smiling faces and a real good cooperation, readiness to help each other.
4. Take it all together: It is a place where young enthusiastic Christians not only perfectly fulfill the "law," what this world demands, but also creates a showplace where becomes visible
the "Body of Christ" in action. What exemplary and heartwarming presentation.
5. And last, not least, remarkable is: The name of this place "Back Yard Burgers" points in particular at one person, working over there. The German word "Burger" means so much as "member" or "citizen" and a "Back Yard Burger" means a person whose abilities and activities are more hidden living in "the Back." In case you don’t know at whom I point: It is Steven Prewitt, one of my special. friends.
Eric Van Gustedt Morgantown, West Virginia
SOUL VERSUS SPIRIT
God is causing me to feel a restlessness to move on in His call. I’m not seeing through yet and I have a couple of responsibilities He needs to lift. I know there’s a "place" He wants me. When He is ready He will speak. It is uncomfortable now to be so in limbo. I hope I’m not using my responsibilities as excuses. It is a bit difficult to "go" without a plan or a definite door. Maybe you can spare a minute to ease my spirit. I know He is the answer but the body ministry sheds light at times that we alone cannot feel. I know. I’m not alonel Still, I need guidance. Every day is like a day of sitting on a fence for me. I feel isolated and out of touch without a "life". I need your pin-pointing His principles. When I say you, I mean the Intercessor. Do you still
get these feelings or are you now sure of yourself all the time? I am stripped (feel) and depressed. I know He is the answer. It is these lousy feelings that don’t jive!
Thank you for your letter. You wrote wondering about God’s call for you. I believe that God takes us in whatever situation we are in–the family we are in, those in our household, our friends, our job–in other words, our world, and wants us to see it as a perfect situation–right where He wants us. What He really is after is our daring to believe that we are really Christ in our particular form in whatever circumstances.
I think I remember you telling me on the phone that your husband is not a Christian. If that is so, that alone would create much tension, spoken or unspoken. You both would be coming from opposite poles. Jesus said "he that is not with me is against me."
You said you feel isolated and out of touch, without a "life." Feelings like those sound quite normal to me. Folks spend much time and lots of money trying to change their feelings. It goes on all the time–they try anything that will ease their pain. For years I tried too. It took me a long time to catch onto the truth I heard from Norman regarding feelings. They are neither good nor bad. They are in our soul and can change like the wind. We are meant to have them. But the purpose of them is to push us to faith about the truth of who we are. You can say and believe that despite how or what you feel, the spirit truth is you are Christ in "M" form. This comes about by making a choice to say it and believe it. You do not need to live out your feelings as if they are the truth. They are the catalyst to move you to faith about yourself.
Yes, I still have lots of feelings and so does everybody else I know. (That is what makes us a living, pulsing human.) Over and over I have to speak the truth of who I am against them. Satan is always here to tempt me to believe that I really am that scared person. He wants me to focus on being afraid. If I agree that, yes I really am afraid, I am seeing myself as "just me"-Patan alone person-and not as Christ/Pat-then he has a hold on me from the outside (Paul calls it "sin in my members") and then he lives out fear by me. That would then just prove to me that I really am that fearful person. My or your only hope is believing the truth about ourselves–I am really Christ/Pat. (I am feeling fear)–and I can walk it out as Christ.
So dear, what else can I say. Just keep believing the truth about yourself.
THE BEST AND THE WORST
I’ve been at all seven annual British conferences and this past Easter was probably the best and worst one for me. It was the worst because I had to face public confrontation over my unbelief and stubbornness and unwillingness to choose Christ as my operator. By not choosing Christ to operate me, I was choosing Satan to be in control of my vessel. It was the best conference for me because I saw my unbelief and its effects more clearly than ever before. Seeing the unbelief more clearly and having experienced the turmoil of "self-for-self" being in control makes me desire more earnestly to hold on to Christ/Mary as who I want to live from in the future.
Mary Walsh Romford, England
I have so much to tell you after seeing you in Blowing Rock this summer. I also must thank you because when you continually asked me who I was, I was spurred on to speak back to my feelings and affirm that yes, Christ does live my life.
I have seen that thoughts and feelings don’t stop me from being who I am, but actually help me live from who I am. I have heard this truth for over three years, but have still thought that I really wasn’t OK unless I felt good.
Over Labor Day weekend I admitted that I resented being told what to do while working at Back Yard Burgers. My work performance had fallen and I was defensive. Here I was working with nine people who know who they are and I was ungrateful. I was told that this was a job I could lose. Fear of this consequence led me to improve my work. Yet, I was so nervous that I was losing my ability to think clearly. The fear was that I wasn’t going to make it. I wasn’t trusting that Christ by me was making it. I chose to believe Christ by me could do a good job. I still felt fear and panic, yet I was confident that Christ by me was doing a good job.
Life lately hasn’t been so dramatic, but the same faith is required. I enjoyed meeting you this summer and hopefully I will see you soon. I hope everything is going well for you.
Jim Cherry Blowing Rock, NC
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 9 No 5
- Romans Six to Eight, Paul’s Key to the Liberated Life
- To Think About
- Editor’s Note
- The Committee
- Moments With Meryl
- Excerpt from The Intercession of Rees Howells
- Book Review: Continuous Revival
- Questsions & Answers
- Perfect Containers
- God Always Gets His Way
- Powerless Over Alcohol & Life: Step 11
- The Mailbox
- You’re Only As Sick As Your Secrets
- From Death To Life
- Words To Live By