Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Did George Muller Really Live By Faith?

Over the years many have held George Muller up as an example of someone who lived by faith.  It was often said (by himself and many others as well) that he maintained the work of the Orphanages and the Scripture Knowledge Institute "by prayer alone, never asking anyone for help".

For example, in the introduction to the "Autobiography of George Muller" we read that Muller:
Wholly destitute of funds, is supporting and educating seven hundred orphans, providing everything needful for their education, is in himself an extensive Bible and Tract and Missionary Society, the work is daily increasing in magnitude, and the means for carrying it on are abundantly supplied, while he is connected with no particular denomination, is aided by no voluntary association, and he has asked the assistance of not a single individual. He has asked no one but God, and all his wants have been regularly supplied
Now, right from the start I'll say that I definitely think he was an amazing man of faith.  And I think it was incredible what God did through Muller's life and fantastic how he was able to depend on God to help so many thousands of lives.

But - from a missionaries perspective - I think there's more to the story than we sometimes see.  I've often seen people today who feel called to missions either  (a) feel guilty because they need to raise funds to work overseas...and therefore don't feel as spiritual as Muller, or (b) shy away from raising funds at all, trying to imitate Muller's faith (without always seeing his results!)

The interesting thing is that if you read Muller's autobiography, you quickly notice that while, technically, he told no one but God the needs that he had, there were many ways he used to make that need indirectly known, and to raise support.

For example,
1. "The Box" - Muller was also a pastor and lived by faith for his support (in contrast to the many pastors who charged "rent" for their pews in the church).  He felt renting out pews was contrary to Scripture and instead put up a box in the church for people to put in their freewill offerings.  This was a radical step for the times.  But it was also a continual reminder to the people that their pastor was depending on God (and indirectly on them) for support.  Every week they saw the box and were reminded of this fact.  He states this in chapter 4 of his autobiography:
I read Philippians 4 and told the saints that if they still had a desire to do something towards my support, by voluntary gifts, I had no objection to receive them, though ever so small, either in money or provisions...For these reasons especially, there was a box put up in the chapel, over which was written that whoever had a desire to do something towards my support might put his offering into the box.

2. His "Narratives" - Muller started writing his autobiography and published it within two years of starting his orphanage ministry.  (The first part was printed in August 1837 and covered what was to become the first 8 chapters of his present autobiography.  He continued to publish many additions to it every few years).  Not only did the sales of his narrative bring in a little support, but his book let everyone know that he was living by faith and would have served as indirect encouragement that they could (if they so felt led) support his ministry like the many dozens of people he had written about.

3. Corporate Prayer Meetings - Muller began meeting daily with his staff (those that worked with him in the orphanages, etc) to pray for the needs that they faced in their work (see chapter 12).  So he changed from saying "I told no one but God" to "we told no one but God" about the needs.  While I agree that this still required much faith, the reality is (as told in his autobiography) that it was often the workers themselves, who knew of and saw the financial needs, that gave out of their own money to help the work.

The reason I bring this up is so that missionaries who do raise support do not feel discouraged or unspiritual for using various means to make their needs known.  Obviously, our Heavenly Father knows what we need, He is the one that we go to first, and it is through persistent believing prayer that God can move the hearts of men and women to support the work.  But we also don't despise means for communicating the message - Muller used his narratives, and many today use newsletters; Muller had a box in the back of the church (and orphanages) and some today have "boxes" on websites, allowing donors to give.

The reason Muller wrote the narratives was to encourage faith and stir the church to attempt great things for God through faith - not to discourage those stepping out in faith!  So yes, Muller lived by faith and it's my prayer that more and more will likewise live radical, prayerful, faith-filled lives as they attempt to see God's kingdom impact the nations!


Kindle Availability:
George Muller's "Answers to Prayer" is available in these Kindle eBooks:
  • The George Muller Collection - just $2.00!
     (Features Muller's Autobiography, Answers to Prayer, and Counsel To Christians)

  • The Top 7 PRAYER Classics - just $4.99!
    (Features Muller's "Answers to Prayer" as well as other classics by: D. L. Moody, Andrew Murray, R.A. Torrey, Rosalind Goforth, E.M. Bounds & Madame Jeanne Guyon)


Monday, November 7, 2011

GIFT IDEAS FOR MISSIONARIES!                                    

Below are a few practical and useful gifts for the missionaries you love and support!

1.   Financial Support

It may sound boring, but the reality is that missionaries are able to stay overseas because of the support of caring people like you.  So a great gift to give at Christmas (or any other time) is to begin support or send extra support. 

Here are a couple ways you could do that:
     a.  If you haven't sent support before, let them know
          that as a Christmas gift you're going to start this
          year!  Either a one-time gift, or something small
          each month goes a loooong way!

     b.  If you already support, consider increasing your support
          by $5, 10 or 20 dollars a month



2. Mail them something - It's always a wonderful thing to
receive mail from "home," so why not bless them with a
parcel filled with thoughtful little things?  Some ideas:

  • Magazines (they're small and easy to mail)
  • A book or CD
  • Hot chocolate packets
  • Food mixes (salad dressing, gravy, icing, etc).
  • Something small for the kids

* It's usually best to email or call them first to see what they
   need.  Some countries have restrictions on what can be
   sent in.

* Usually it's best NOT to send electronics (unless they ask
   for it) often they will have to pay up to 60% import duty
   on it!

* Be careful what you send if they live in a Restricted Access
NationThey could get in big trouble if you include something
   overtly Christian!  Ask before sending anything of that nature.

 3. Amazon Gift Certificate - If the missionary you support lives overseas, it may be difficult or costly to mail them something.  Why not try sending them a gift certificate instead?  Nowadays most missionaries have access to the internet and can easily buy/download gifts online.  So go ahead, get them a $25 or $50 gift certificate and rest assured that they'll be able to get themselves something useful...and without waiting months for the mail to arrive!
Amazon gift certificate - with an Amazon certificate they can download digital CD's and books instantly! 

4. Audio Book certificate or subscription -
At they can download their favorite Christian audio book or sermon series.  Especially for those that don't have access to a Christian bookstore, this makes a great gift idea!  There's no mailing, no waiting - they can instantly download and enjoy their favorite author!
Some of their available titles:
A few other titles include:
  1 FREE Audiobook RISK-FREE from Audible

God's Smuggler 
Brother Andrew:
God's Smuggler
 Jesus Among Other Gods
Ravi Zacharias:
Jesus Among Other God's
 Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secrets of Joyful Giving
Randy Alcorn:
The Treasure Principle

5. Kindle or other E-Book Reader.   Missionaries travel a LOT and its always hard to lug boxes of books around.  If you know they'll be home sometime soon, why don't you surprise them with an E-Book reader?  It'll cut down their moving expenses and will allow them to download great books instantly - even when they're overseas!

"Where I live there are no Christian Bookstores.  But now with E-Books I can download and read
a new book instantly!  No waiting or shipping!"

        - missionary from Eastern Europe -


6. Magazine Subscription - You can bless them with a year long subscription to a magazine they'll love!  Browse some of the most popular at Amazon's Christian Magazines page.  A few magazines will even mail overseas.

Some of the most relevant are:


If you have questions or issues about magazine subscriptions, check out their Magazine Help Page.


7. Music and MP3's - It's really easy these days to send can buy them a digital album for their special occasion!  Check out Amazon's Christian Music section for some great ideas...

Or you could send them an ITUNES gift card so they can download


8. Mail a Book - If you know they love reading, why not order them a book from - they mail to almost anywhere in the world for free! For a full list of where they ship to, click here.


9. Language Learning Software - If you know what language they are learning, a very practical gift would be to give them some language learning software!  Two of the most popular ones out there are:


10. Used Tea Bags - just kidding!! Though back in the day (early 80's) people used to send us used tea bags when we lived in joke!  

But if you really are into tea bags (or coffee) why not send them a Starbucks gift card instead?


Saturday, August 27, 2011


Sometimes it can be difficult to keep track of your supporters and donations given, as well as where you're at in meeting your monthly budget.  Thankfully a good program (like "Donor Tracker" below) can really help in this area.

Not only is keeping accurate records good stewardship, it also helps you as you communicate with others - for example, when people ask what percentage of support you’re at (not good to be stuck with a blank look on your face at that point!). Good records will aid you in sending thank-you’s and help you pray more specifically.
The program we recommend to do this (for simplicity and functionality) is "Donor Tracker" - it's a free, Excel based program, which is simple to learn and easy to use. You don't need to install any other applications or have a week-long training session to use it!

Download it here:
Donor Tracker 2 (2MB zip file, for Vista, Windows 7, Mac, etc)
Donor Tracker 1 (7MB for Windows XP)

For more detailed info on how to get started with it, click here.


All you need to do to start is input (a) your estimated Budget, (b) the names (and relevant info) of your donors.
Then each month write in who has given and the amount they gave (or copy/paste if your organization gives you a list).
That's it! Donor Tracker will then show you MONTHLY stats (see pic below)...
  (a) Total donations received, month-to-date
  (b) Percentage of monthly support received, month-to-date
  (c) Percentage of yearly support
  (d) Amount left to raise that month.

On the TOTALS page, you can see your YEARLY totals at once glance:

You will also be able to view:
(a) Complete yearly totals for each donor (both Church and Individual)
(b) Your "Top Ten" donors (see below)...
(c) CHARTS - showing donor giving comparisons, and individual donor patterns (see below)...

There is also a handy "PRAYER CALENDAR" that automatically puts your donor's names in a monthly calendar format which you can print out and use to pray for them each month!
Finally, there is a "Resource Page" that gives handy links and info to other relevant resources!

Download it and give it a try!

(Yearly support by donor)

(Donation comparison chart)