At the university Ian became a leader in the Inter-Varsity Fellowship group. If ever there was any evangelistic activity going on, this youthful zealot was "buzzing around the place, every holiday, every spare moment"! He started a slum club down in the East End of London "out of a sheer desire to win souls, to go out and get them. I was a windmill of activity until, at the age of nineteen, every moment of my day was packed tight with doing things. Thus by the age of nineteen, I had been reduced to a state of complete exhaustion spiritually, until I felt that there was no point going on."It is important to stress that gospel wakefulness is not necessarily simultaneous with conversion -- although it can be -- but is more often than not a new and enduring astonishment over the gospel previously believed.
Then, one night in November, that year, just at midnight, I got down on my knees before God, and I just wept in sheer despair. I said, "Oh, God, I know that I am saved. I love Jesus Christ. I am perfectly convinced that I am converted. With all my heart I have wanted to serve Thee. I have tried to my uttermost and I am a hopeless failure." That night things happened.
I can honestly say that I had never once heard from the lips of men the message that came to me then but God, that night simply focused upon me the Bible message of Christ Who Is Our Life. The Lord seemed to make plain to me that night, through my tears of bitterness: 'You see, for seven years, with utmost sincerity, you have been trying to live for Me, on My behalf, the life that I have been waiting for seven years to live through you.'" That night, all in the space of an hour, Ian Thomas discovered the secret of the adventurous life. He said: "I got up the next morning to an entirely different Christian life, but I want to emphasize this: I had not received one iota more than I had already had for seven years!"
Friday, March 25, 2011
The Gospel Wakefulness of Major Ian Thomas
The pastor who retired before I came to Middletown Springs is an ordinary, amazing guy. Welsh by birth, Pastor Roland began his work doing coffee shop ministry with young adults and beach evangelism to surfers in Australia. As a student in England, his mentor was Major Ian Thomas. I was not familiar with Thomas before Roland hipped me to him, but I've come to enjoy the writings I've found, and I particularly like his story of what I would call gospel wakefulness. Here is a taste from an online bio:
Posted by Jared at 7:24 AM