The Lord's Messengers
Tract #1 of the Pamphleteers Of Jesus series
v1a, version of Nov. 15, 2006. Copyright 2006 by Roddy Kenneth Street, Jr.
Inspiration From The Lives Of George Bowen and David Wilkerson
The Tracker And The Jesus Tracts. . .
Have you ever noticed that there seem to be no good names available to help us identify that category of evangelists who have specialized in the use of printed tracts? Oh, you probably know a couple of them... at least 2 or 3... like Bill Bright, Ray Comfort, and Kirk Cameron. These three are probably among the more famous and popular examples of contemporary Christians who have utilized tracts on a regular basis.
But what do you call all of their street-witnessing disciples— all the many Christians in the U.S. and in the rest of the world who are “street evangelists,” certainly, but who have concentrated most of their time and energy into a habit of writing and/or distributing tracts...?
The term “street evangelist” doesn’t seem specific enough, since there are surely some street evangelists who do a lot of open-air preaching and evangelizing without ever passing out tracts. There are also plenty of people who pass out booklets without trying to do any open-air preaching. How do you distinguish the ones who regularly or always use tracts?
I’ve been writing evangelism tracts for 17 years now (in 2006), but I still don’t know of any good labels even for persons such as myself, who concentrate on writing materials for this field of endeavor. What can we say: Tracts-workers? Tracts-passers? Tracts-ministers? Tracts-messengers? You have to slap two English words together with a hyphen, I think, before anyone will even know what you’re talking about.
There ought to be a short and simple name that we can introduce for referencing our segment of the Christian church. I suspect that part of the problem in finding a new label and introducing it to the public is the fact that our English word for "tracts" sounds much like "tracks." Why can't we take that confusing similarity and just turn it to our advantage? We can use that similarity as a memory aid.
Let's Be "Trackers" And "Pamphleteers". . .
So I want to here invent and utilize two new labels that I think will work very well for this purpose: Let’s start calling ourselves trackers and pamphleteers. I’ll tell you a bit later, in booklet #3, why I’ve picked these two names, which I like a lot, and why I want to nominate them for popular usage.
All I’ll say for right now is that each one of these two names seems to me very practical and functional, and yet at the same time, each is intended to pay honor to a famous street evangelist from an earlier time in history. I’ll tell you more about that as we proceed through this little series of tracts.
This new tract series is called Pamphleteers Of Jesus because I’m writing it mostly to inspire “trackers,” in the hopes that it will help them to get “all fired up” with new energy and new enthusiasm for the continued use of evangelism tracts. I hope to do this, initially, by introducing you to some other people who are among the great pamphleteers and trackers of Christian history.
I’m hoping that maybe these little booklets will even help us entice some other Christians to stop looking disdainful, so that they will finally start to join us in our passion for “tracking.” You never know... it could happen. Stranger things than this have occurred in the world’s history.
Eight Remarkable Christian Trackers. . .
In the first four tracts of this series, I primarily want to introduce you to 8 remarkable Christians who spent most of their lives as trackers during their years on Earth.
You should be familiar with the idea that “Many who are last will be first, and the first will be last” — it’s a statement of Jesus that has become rather well-known. Well, it’s going to be that way here too. Booklets #1, #2 & #3 will focus on 2 trackers who are not very well known in our modern world, even though they did great works for Jesus.
Later, in booklet #4, I’m going to introduce you to at least 6 other trackers who got very successful in their careers as Christian pamphleteers. Two of these guys are Bill Bright and Ray Comfort, one fellow from the U.S. and one from New Zealand. Both of them got to be quite famous, at a young age, for their street evangelism work and their use of Christian evangelism tracts. But in that booklet (#3, which I’m calling The King’s Pamphleteers), you’ll hear about— not just those two trackers— but a total of 6 famous evangelists who all became what we might call a “mega-success” by working as Christian trackers.
You might say those 6 are the “big shots,” since they are some of the most influential and wildly successful Christian pamphleteers ever to arise in the history of our old Earth. Those 6 guys can feel, and should feel, justifiably pleased that they have accomplished such a great and powerful work for the Lord as His most prominent pamphleteers.
The Lord God Almighty, through His Holy Spirit, enabled those 6 to accomplish a very great and extremely visible work for Christ. They worked for Christ as His humble servants for many years, and then in their own lifetimes, they were able to easily see with their own eyes the vast amount of fruitfulness God achieved through their efforts. Those 6 knew early on that God was greatly blessing their chosen career, and thus they continued to work for Him, throughout their lifetimes on Earth, as well-known trackers and pamphleteers. The masses of people around them also knew that those 6 were having lots of success as trackers.
So, I must tell you frankly that those 6 are not nearly so interesting or so inspiring as the two humble gentlemen with whom we will begin.
These first 2 men, one an American and one an Australian, spent most of their lives working as trackers, and they did it faithfully year after year, with a great sense of commitment, even though they never saw any conspicuous form of success. In their entire lifetimes, they had not much visible evidence, if any, that their long and hard efforts on behalf of the Lord were accomplishing anything.
The Last Shall Be First. . .
These first 2 men were diligent trackers, and the impact of their street ministries was a lot more far-reaching than they ever guessed... but they never got a lot of public accolades for their tracts-ministry work. At least, not in their own lifetimes. In fact, they never got much public recognition at all.
We’re putting the most humble ones first this time, the ones who didn’t get big accolades or public recognition. The 2 men to whom I am referring are: George Bowen and Frank Jenner. Never heard of them?
Well, you should have. They were never forgotten by God and were never forsaken, during all those years of dutiful street ministry in India and in Australia. Jesus knew their names very well, and when they got to Heaven they were richly rewarded by our Lord... because they were 2 of His finest from among all His servants on the Earth.
Booklet #1 is thus dealing mostly with the life of George Owen. Booklet #2 & #3 will be dealing mostly with the life of Frank Jenner.
As trackers and pamphleteers, these little guys are very inspiring, so I’ve decided to make them the subjects of booklets #1, #2 & #3. I’m very sorry, but I’m afraid we won’t be able to get around to the “big shot” pamphleteers until booklet #4.
Maybe you understand now why I said before that, in this little series of booklets, “the first will be last, and the last will be first.” I have a feeling that Jesus may rank Christians in rather this same way when we get to Heaven: The ones who were extremely successful on Earth may end up sitting on the back row there, partly because they already had plenty of rewards for their labor while they were still on Earth.
I have a strong feeling that the ones Jesus will ask to move up to the front will be the little guys who were His diligent and faithful servants on Earth, even though they weren’t getting a lot of visual reinforcement for all their long efforts. The little guys who kept going by faith, not by sight. Guys like George Bowen and Frank Jenner.
Tracker George Bowen And Tracker Frank Jenner. . .
Trackers like Bowen and Jenner, I suspect, will get a lot of accolades and massive appreciation in Heaven, as special rewards designed for all the servants who never got much of that on Earth. Because people like these 2 men, and a lot more like them, lived their lives well on Earth, and they were much more productive than they realized. They planted a lot more seeds for Jesus than they ever imagined. They had been far more fruitful for God than they could ever have dreamed.
These first 2 men were both trackers and pamphleteers, and each one spent the last 40 years of his life devoted to a street ministry for which he worked diligently, day after day, year after year, without visible signs of success. The American carried on his street ministry in the streets of India, for 40 long years. In a later time period, the Australian layman did the same sort of work, also for 40 years, in the streets of Australia— especially in the city of Sydney, and particularly on one of that city’s streets that is called George Street.
These first two, who appear in booklets #1, #2 & #3, are just little-known trackers from the 19th and 20th centuries, both of whom had a vast impact on people and on the future world without ever quite being aware of it.
Tracker #1. . .
One had a street ministry for 40 years in Bombay, India, where he gave away countless tracts. But he couldn’t see that he was having much success; in fact, he felt like a complete failure.
That man is a US-born Christian tracker named George Bowen, and he lived from 1816 to 1888. He’s already gone on to his heavenly reward. During his lifetime on Earth, he worked hard for Jesus without ever getting much encouragement for his efforts, so he felt that he was a complete failure in his desire to be a missionary to the city of Bombay. We’ll learn more about George Bowen in this first booklet, and I’ll eventually show you why I like to call him “The Lord’s Messenger.”
Tracker #2. . .
The second man, whose life we will examine more fully in the 2nd and 3rd booklets of this series, is an England-born Christian tracker named Frank Jenner, whose birth occurred in 1903, not long after George Bowen died. Frank Jenner had a diligent street ministry and a wonderful Christian witness in Australia from 1937 to 1977.
Like George Bowen of Bombay, he too labored in obscurity for 40 years, as he gave away countless tracts and witnessed to people in Australia. He kept at it faithfully for 40 years, and for most of that time, Frank Jenner never knew that he was accomplishing much. He had a well-established habit of approaching 10 people each day with the good news of Christ, and he did this by challenging each one to choose Eternal Life with God rather than the Second Death of Hell. But he really had no idea that his tracts work and his street ministry were having impact on a lot of people in a big way.
These two men are Christians from an earlier time in history, two men who were hard workers and who were hugely successful in their persistent use of tracts, even though they scarcely realized it as the years went by. In a way, they both died as martyrs for Christ, because they both had hard lives and both had sacrificed everything for Jesus. Each was busy working daily as a diligent evangelist for Christ, yet each died without ever really knowing how fruitful his life had been.
One thing’s for sure. They were both great “soldiers” for our Lord. They kept at it diligently, day after day, never quitting. They never gave up. And both of them lived to win great victories for the Lord of which they were not even aware.
You might say these 2 trackers both died as martyrs for Christ, or you might say that they are just 2 among many humble servants of our Lord who lived their lives as unsung heros of Christ. For most of their lives, if not all, they didn’t quite understand just how influential their little street ministries had become, nor did they ever really glimpse the degree of success they were having. They just didn’t know what a powerful impact they were having on other people.
As I happened to discover, there are some rather astounding parallels between the lives of these two men. I consider them to be two of the early, prototype trackers, and in fact I like to call Frank Jenner “The Tracker Of Jesus.”
Okay, so now you know that the name “tracker” is one I picked partly because we can use it in honor of Frank Jenner. But you still don’t know exactly why that name’s a great choice until later, when we eventually get you involved in later booklets of this series. We can’t take time to explain all that yet. In this booklet (#1), we have to concentrate on getting inspiration from the lives of George Bowen and David Wilkerson.
Give Tracts To Christians Also, To Inspire And To Enlist Trackers. . .
Trackers are always giving tracts to other people, hoping that these will persuasively inspire them to become followers of Christ. But wouldn’t it be great if we had some booklets that could do even more than that? What if some of the booklets could also inspire lazy Christians to become trackers, and maybe even inspire busy trackers to never give up?
I’m hoping these may help in regard, so that trackers do not lose heart. We surrender only to the Holy Spirit of Christ, so we must never give up hope! Though weary, we do not fall, nor should we allow thoughts of futility to settle in our minds. The fight is long and unending, but we do not accept defeat.
Trackers Never Say Die. . .
As Christian trackers, we “never say die”... because we know that Jesus has given us the Way to Eternal Life with God. We know that we have the power of life and death in our tongues, but it is also in our hands as we offer printed tracts to many people that we meet. So trackers never say die! We never stop trying to save the masses of people that are still out there, still needing salvation!
Tracts-passing evangelists, and even tracts-producing Christian writers, however, may sometimes get a little discouraged by all the troubles of our current world. As a sincere and well-intentioned follower of Jesus, you may then be tempted to ask yourself:
Do tracts really work with people? Can tracts really get the Message across? Are tracts effective for evangelism? Are they worth the effort? Or do we labor in vain?
The Troubles Of Trackers. . .
The great masses of humanity that we try to reach are often discourteous, unpleasant, or uncooperative, no matter how hard we may try to reach them, and no matter how polite and loving we may try to be in our approach. This can be distressing, and there is probably nothing that is much worse than finding out that many Christians around you are strangely unhelpful or ungenerous, refusing to give you much assistance as you seek to carry out the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus.
Except maybe when people of false religions decide to attack you and want to do physical violence to God’s Temple, namely your own body. That’s something that is much worse... a much bigger trouble to have to contemplate!
But maybe such attacks are not really surprising, because our human bodies, as genuine followers of Christ, are occupied by the Holy Spirit of our Lord. The light of our Lord Jesus is shining through us when we act on His behalf. And if they treated Him shamefully, with much violence, then it is not so surprising when they do it also to His followers.
It's A Lot Harder For Trackers In India, Nepal, And Africa. . .
Christians who are tract-passers do not always have an easy life, as our co-workers in India and Nepal and Africa are surely aware.
It’s not so easy in the U.S. either, to be honest about the matter. In fact, even your own relatives, many of your “old friends,” and most of your own church members may choose to offer you little or no assistance in your evangelism efforts.
Sometimes we may get a little “down” in our spirits because of all the harassment we get from the dark forces of this world, from unbelievers, or even from “lukewarm” Christians... who just can’t imagine why we would want to be “on fire for Jesus.” Nor can they conceive any reason why they should take time (or spend any of their own money) to help us in our passionate efforts to save the world!
And It's Not Always Easy In The U.S. Either. . .
In Dec. 2005, not long before Christmas, I myself was feeling rather discouraged by all the obstacles I had been having to face in my own little tracts ministry. I had been facing such obstacles, and probably Satanic impediments as well, ever since I wrote my first 3 tracts— something I had accomplished in 1989, during my 2nd year as a Baptist seminary student.
For a long while, I found myself feeling more like a big failure than like a really fruitful evangelist. I wanted to help Jesus with His harvest, but I seemed to be moving forward at a snail’s pace.
I wondered, Is it my own fault? Has the Devil been allowed to impede my tracts ministry because of some sin for which I should have repented more completely? Am I still prideful, and is that why God is dealing with me in this fashion?
It was at this point, in Dec. 2005, that our Lord Jesus provided some new inspiration for me. It came to me in the form of a newsletter from Rev. David Wilkerson, one that was entitled I Have Labored In Vain. It’s a really remarkable message that he sent out as his newsletter for Dec. 19, 2005. It’s a truly great sermon, a message that I heartily recommend. It should, ideally, be read by all of God’s paperboys, everywhere on Earth.
Inspiration From David Wilkerson. . .
From Pastor David Wilkerson, I learned for the first time of the life of George Bowen, a little-known American missionary to India. The pastor’s epistle grabbed my attention right from the start, as he said:
This is a message for everyone who’s living under a burden of discouragement. As you look at your life, you’re despondent over failed expectations. You feel you haven’t accomplished much in life, and as time slips by you see that many promises have gone unfulfilled. For years you’ve prayed and prayed, but the things you believe God spoke to you haven’t come to pass. Other people around you seem to have it all together, enjoying the fulfillment of many promises, but you carry a sense of failure.
As you look back over your life, you remember all the hard times. You’ve known rejection and feelings of total inadequacy. You’ve loved the Lord so much, giving body and soul to please him, doing all you’ve known to do. Yet a moment finally came when you became convinced, “I have labored in vain. I’ve spent my strength for nothing. It has all been futile.” Now a nagging sense creeps up within, whispering, “You’ve missed the mark. You haven’t been effective at all. Your life is evidence that you’ve made no difference in this world.”
My Lord, it was just like Pastor Wilkerson had targeted this message for me specifically! But I suspect that many tract-passing evangelists in our world get to feeling this way at times. So I want to use this little tract to provide all of us “pamphleteers” with a bit of encouragement.
From this Dec. 19 newsletter of what’s called The World Challenge Pulpit Series, I learned that George Bowen is one of the missionaries that Rev. David Wilkerson most greatly admires. Bowen was an American missionary to Bombay, India, who also felt like a failure.
I tried to locate more information about George Bowen, but I found almost nothing about him on the internet, and there are no books about him in our two public libraries here in Williamsburg, Virginia. I couldn’t find anything affordable at Amazon.com either. Apparently, he’s not very famous today!
So I’d like instead to just quote the 3 paragraphs that relate to him from Pastor Wilkerson’s much longer sermon titled I Have Labored In Vain, since it is about all the info I have about him. And here below are those 3 paragraphs, although I’ve made one slight change— I’ve italicized 3 key sentences that I want to have stand out conspicuously for your notice:
One of the great missionaries to have impacted my life is George Bowen. His life was a powerful example, and his book, Love Revealed, is one of the greatest books on Christ I’ve ever read. A single man, Bowen turned away from wealth and fame to become a missionary in Bombay, India, in the mid-1800s. When he saw the missionaries there living well above the poor they ministered to, Bowen gave up his mission support and chose to live among the very poorest. He dressed as the Indians did, and embraced poverty, living in a humble dwelling and subsisting sometimes only on bread and water. He preached on the streets in sweltering weather, distributing gospel literature and weeping over the lost.
This amazingly devoted man had gone to India with high hopes for the ministry of the gospel. And he’d given everything toward that end, his heart, mind, body and spirit. Yet, in his forty-plus years of ministry in India, Bowen had not one convert. It was only after his death that mission societies discovered he was one of the most beloved missionaries in the nation. Even heathen idol-worshipers looked to Bowen as the example of what a Christian is.
Today, George Bowen’s humble life and powerful words still enflame my soul and the souls of others worldwide. Yet like so many before him, Bowen endured a terrible sense of failure. He wrote, “I am the most useless being in the church. God bruises and crushes me with disappointments. He builds me up, then permits me to fall back to nothing. I would like to sit with Job, and I sympathize with Elijah. My labor has all been in vain.”
Well, when I read this brief little account of George Bowen’s life, I of course had a sympathetic response, because I myself had felt that way... even after seeing the small but audacious beginnings of our tracts ministry in India. I had been thinking, What’s a mere 70,000 booklets when there are over 1 billion people in India, and when only maybe 2% of them are Christian? At first, it did not seem to me that our tracts ministry in India was progressing fast enough. I was really mad that so few people in India or in America were willing to offer any financial support for this fledgling tracts ministry.
Yet I suddenly realized that it was the “blood and sweat” of the living and dead martyrs, like George Bowen of Bombay, that had paved the way for the evangelism harvest that we are today starting to see in India. This modern blessing comes because of Bowen’s sacrifices, and by the grace of God. It is because of that nineteenth-century missionary to Bombay, who feared that his lifetime of endeavors for God had been futile, that things are much easier for us today.
Inspiration From George Bowen. . .
It has been well said that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” But I suddenly realized that, as George Bowen spent 40 years passing out all those evangelism tracts in Bombay, he was also scattering a huge number of seeds for the Kingdom of God.
The famous evangelist Billy Graham is reported to have said, “Nothing surpasses a tract for sowing the seed of the Good News.” In point of fact, we can say that some of the world’s great missionaries and evangelists actually got saved through the reading of a tract.
This was the case, for example, with the great English missionary James Hudson Taylor. He was converted at age 17, in 1849, by the reading of an evangelism tract. He then diligently passed out a lot of tracts in England, until finally, at age 21, he arrived in China. Hudson Taylor reached Shanghai in 1854, when he was not yet 22 years old. Having finally accomplished his dream of going to China, he fearlessly began passing out a great many more tracts for the Chinese people. But this time the tracts were, of course, written in Chinese.
The Englishman James Hudson Taylor would become the most widely-used Christian missionary in all the history of China.
So George Bowen was quite smart to keep passing out those evangelism tracts for 40 years in Bombay, India. He did so untiringly, with an impressive diligence and complete devotion to Christ. He was a dutiful servant of our Lord, even when he was not seeing the results he wanted... even when he was getting not many signs of success in his real-life experiences.
This little-known American Christian arrived in Bombay in 1848, just one year before Hudson Taylor got converted through an evangelism tract, and a full 6 years before Taylor ever arrived in China. While in Bombay for the next 40 years, and up until his death there, he too passed out a lot of evangelism tracts. But he did not have the same kind of visible success that Hudson Taylor would later be having in China.
George Bowen In Bombay For 40 Years Walked By Faith— Not By Sight. . .
Day after day, year after year, George Bowen kept passing out those Christian tracts to the people on the streets of Bombay. He did this even in the hot afternoon sun, in the extreme heat of the day. He did not see a single person come to Christ through his words or his booklets, even though he never stopped trying. After 40 years of seed-planting and evangelism work on the streets of Bombay, he could not see that his long labors had produced even one single convert for Jesus Christ. So he undoubtedly felt like a failure when he died... because a missionary always goes abroad with the dream of winning many souls to Christ.
But George Bowen accomplished far more than he ever dreamed. You should remember that Jesus told us that we can accomplish great things if we have even the tiniest bit of faith... even a faith so little that it is very tiny, like a mustard seed. You may then remember also that Jesus likewise told us, “The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed that a man plants in the ground. It starts out as the tiniest of all your seeds, but when it grows, it becomes the largest of all garden plants... a tree large enough that birds of the air can come and sit upon its branches.”
Well, I believe that is just what happened with all those many tracts that George Bowen planted. One day George Bowen got old and tired, and he had to lie down to sleep for a while— going to his grave at that time, and to his Eternal Reward in Heaven. But even after George Bowen died, those seeds that he had planted during his lifetime on Earth, through his words and his tracts, just kept growing. They kept going on and on, growing and growing... and greatly increasing the size of the Great Tree that is the Kingdom of God.
George Bowen Planted Seeds In India For 40 Years. . .
I see now that it is because of the ground-breaking work of George Bowen that a little guy named Ken Street, more than a century later, is able to sit here inside the U.S., in conditions of relative comfort, writing a multiple-tract series for the nation of India... and happily getting it translated to several Indian languages by native pastors of that country. Because of Bowen’s preliminary work and the fervor of Rev. Dr. W. S. Vedha of Pollachi, Tamil Nadu, we are now having our evangelism booklets go out to people in India by the tens of thousands.
I am excited to report that we are just now reaching a total number of 100,000 copies printed for India as I write this message, with 5 different tracts translated into 4 different languages of India — Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, and most recently, Hindi.
100,000 of our booklets for a population of more than 1,000,000,000 people in India. Not really a lot, but at least it’s a start. Our Lord Christ will just have to multiply these, as He did once before when His disciples could only provide for the people five loaves of bread and a few fish. This is all that we are able to offer, but He can multiply our gift. Jesus can use our little gift of tracts to spiritually “feed” a lot more natives of India than just the few we have the resources to reach.
God was doing a lot more through George Bowen than he had ever realized... and maybe, I suddenly thought, that’s true for me too! So I started to feel a lot better as I continued to read the rest of David Wilkerson’s wonderful sermon. The good pastor’s message was tremendously encouraging and inspirational for me. (It will be for you too! Please go to the David Wilkerson internet site later, where you can read an online copy of his entire sermon entitled I Have Labored In Vain. But not till you’ve first finished my own little message, which is here before you at this moment.)
George Bowen Was A Messenger From God. . .
Jesus told us that all the prophets God has sent to Earth have been abused and victimized by the human population of our planet. All such prophets had extremely hard lives, being forced to endure much earthly distress. That was certainly the case for George Bowen, even though he spent 40 years on the streets of Bombay as the Lord’s Messenger to India. When we call him “the Lord’s Messenger,” it’s a bit easier for us to understand why he, functioning as a prophet of God for the nation of India, was forced to undergo such distress in his living conditions... and such an inhospitable reception by the Hindus of India.
Now there are violent Hindu extremists who, even today, are physically attacking many of the Christian trackers that work in India. They too-often do this to street evangelists in our modern time, even though it is the Christian natives of India who are passing out the tracts. Even though God’s messengers in India are passing out only free tract booklets, intended merely for the spiritual benefit of their fellow citizens in the nation of India, there are militant Hindus who are sometimes becoming quite antagonistic and belligerent toward them.
In the nearby nation of Sri Lanka, Christian trackers may sometimes get this same belligerent response from the mostly Buddhist population. In African nations likewise, the good-hearted Christian trackers are all-too-often attacked with violence by militant Muslims and Muslim terrorists. Please pray for the safety and protection of all our street workers, in all parts of the world.
The Troubles Of A Messenger In New York City. . .
By the way, David Wilkerson himself has likewise suffered quite a bit of distress during his lifetime on Earth. He too has known a lot of difficulty in his role as a modern-day prophet of God, because he has tried to be the Lord’s Messenger for the United States. His writings are powerful, and rather like one of the Old Testament prophets, he has called upon American Christians to repent of their sins, that they might follow God whole-heartedly. He has often warned Christians of God’s coming judgments, of great distress that will soon be coming upon the U.S. and the whole Earth.
Rev. David Wilkerson’s writings are like those of a modern-day Jeremiah. I recommend them for your study. He’s endured a lot of troubles in his own lifetime, and he knows how that can happen to Christian believers. Another great sermon message he has written, which you should also read, is called God Has Not Passed You By. His writings and those of Rev. Richard Wurmbrand (formerly a resident of Romania) have helped me considerably in my efforts to gain a better understanding of all the human sufferings that Christians must undergo while on this planet. Read them both, please, for your own edification.
More Info About The Tracker Called "George Bowen Of Bombay". . .
I did find out a few more details about George Bowen via my internet searching. He was born April 30, 1816 in Middleburn, Vermont, USA, and he died on Feb. 5, 1888 in Bombay at the age of 72. He spent his life as a Bombay missionary, working there from 1837 to 1888. He worked first as a Presbyterian missionary. After that, he worked a while for the Methodists, but he ended up supporting himself through his own labor.
I also learned that George Bowen became the secretary of the Bombay Tract Society! This means he was surely busy giving out quite a large number of tracts during most of his life in India!
George Bowen was a fellow pamphleteer! He was one of us, brethren! He doesn’t seem to be mentioned in any of those fat volumes that claim to be a History of Christianity. You’d probably have to look in several different History of Christian Missions volumes before you could even find his name in an index.
But George Bowen still accomplished a great work for Christ during his 40 years in Bombay. His life of commitment and devotion to Jesus Christ, amply expressed in his own writings, became an inspiration to many later Christians in the U.S. and in other parts of the world... including a world-famous minister/author/evangelist named David Wilkerson.
I learned from my research that he also earned his income while in India by working as an editor of the Bombay Guardian. This validates the other reports that George Bowen spent most of his time there as what church people call a “tentmaker.” That term is used to convey the idea that he earned an income from his own labor without getting financial support from any church. In other words, he was an expatriate Christian and was not getting paid to evangelize during most of those 40 years he spent in Bombay. He did it out of pure dedication and love for Jesus, without seeing any obvious signs of success.
George Bowen Was A Paperboy Of Jesus. . .
Since George Bowen was simultaneously employed by an Indian newspaper, I think it is highly appropriate to call him a “paperboy” of Jesus. He is a highly qualified and talented representative in a category of evangelists that I sometimes like to call “God’s paperboys.” These are Christian workers who toss “newspapers” containing the Good News of Jesus toward the homes of a great many people, while also passing them out to pedestrians that they meet on the street.
George Bowen was also an author of Christian literature. His Christian articles were gathered into three volumes of his writings, one of which is titled Love Revealed. It’s still available today in the U.S., in a paperback form, but only through a small-scale supplier. So of course I’m planning to order a copy for myself as soon as I can.
A "Tentmaker" Missionary Dies In Bombay. . .
George Bowen spent much of his lifetime in India as what we call a “tentmaker” missionary. He didn’t get support from any church. Edwin and Lillian Harvey have written on their webpage (where one can purchase a paperback reprint of Bowen's long-unavailable book Love Revealed ), that "Instead of making tents as Paul did, Bowen made books. He was editor of the Bombay Guardian for years, and his editorials, appearing there, were later collected to form three of his books, Love Revealed, The Amens of Christ, and Meditations.”
The monumental inscription for his grave site says: Sacred to the memory of Rev. GEORGE BOWEN. Born in Vermont, America, 30th April 1816. Died in Bombay, 5th February 1888, aged 72 years. "A man of eminent piety, rare self denial and untiring zeal for Christ during a continuous residence in this city of 40 years." That’s the epitaph that was put onto his grave marker in the Sewree Christan Cemetery of Mumbai [Bombay], India.
Was George Bowen’s tract-passing life in Bombay all lived in vain? Certainly not. He has inspired not only David Wilkerson but many others who learned of his work.
More Praise For George Bowen, The Lord's Messenger For India. . .
For example, Daniel Steel, writing in the city of Reading during the year 1886, had this to say about George Bowen: “In reviewing the many influences which have become factors in molding my own Christian character, I wish in this public manner to record my sense of indebtedness to this good man whose pen, guided by the Holy Spirit, has, for nearly a quarter of a century, under the sultry skies of India, been a skillful sculptor, conforming me to the image of the Son of God.” That’s part of his preface for Bowen’s book The Amens Of Christ.
All in all, it was a very edifying and inspirational sermon, one of Pastor Wilkerson’s best. But it was his description of the George Bowen experience in India that has really stuck with me. On first reading this account of Bowen’s life in India, I immediately thought of the obvious parallel to the now-popular story of Frank Jenner. This little story, often repeated by Rev. Francis Dixon of England and some other persons in Australia, was more fully made public later on, when told again by Dave Smethurst in his own awesome version, by an account that he has called I Got Off At George Street. Dave’s message, I think, is surely the most exciting and inspirational version of the tale ever rendered, greatly enhanced by the dynamic speaking of an evangelist who is “on fire for Jesus.”
What a marvelous parallel is here, I thought, realizing, It is so much like the case of Frank Jenner. The two lives were similar in several important ways.
"You Mean You've Found Another Fanatic Like George Bowen?". . .
Yes, and in Australia, of all places. But that is a story reserved for the next 2 booklets. Booklets #2 & #3 are titled The Trackers Of Jesus and Trackers Of The Lost Pedestrians. These two are mostly about Frank Jenner, a devoted "tracker of Jesus." This remarkable lay evangelist worked mostly on the well-traveled path of George Street in Sydney, Australia. He put a lot of other people on the right track, introducing them to Jesus and setting them on the track to Heaven.
The next 2 booklets will also tell you a bit about 3 other Christians who have "tracked" the impact of Frank Jenner's lifetime. The first is Rev. Francis Dixon, whose brilliant detective work reveals to the public just what the Holy Spirit was able to accomplish through Frank Jenner's lifetime and his tracts. The third person is Dr. Raymond Wilson, who did quite a lot of research and wrote a great book called Jenner of George Street.
And the second person? That is David Smethurst, another hero of Christ on my own "most admired" list. Dave Smethurst is a brilliant and awesome evangelist who really took the Jenner story to heart, actively publicizing it in many countries. Inspired by the story himself, and being himself "on fire" for Jesus, David Smethurst has publicized the account throughout the world. In doing so, he has been inspiring and uplifting innumerable persons in churches all over the Earth. I'm sure there are vast numbers of people in this world who have been motivated by the dynamic messages of Dave Smethurst. And not coincidentally, he seems to be a bit of a "tracker" himself. He too is following after Jesus, tracking the Lord God in the same path that was earlier traveled by Bowen and Jenner... passing out his evangelism materials everywhere that he can.
Just A Poor, Wayfarin' Stranger. . .
In booklet #2 & #3 we will see a lot more about Frank Jenner and the progress of "a poor wayfarin' stranger" who once passed tracts on George Street. That poor wayfaring pilgrim— just like George Bowen— made a lot more "progress" than he ever realized! His story will be unveiled in the next booklet, and with it the wonders of God's Holy Spirit. God's Providence will then amaze you! In this current message, however, we have tried to help you learn more about his predecessor— George Bowen, the Lord’s Messenger in Bombay.
* * * * *
How To Be On Fire For Jesus. . .
Now, you may be wondering how on Earth anyone could ever get to be like George Bowen— so enthusiastic about the idea of evangelizing for Jesus Christ. Imagine— someone so obsessed with Jesus that they are actually passing out evangelism tracts on a daily basis! How does anyone ever become one of these Jesus nuts anyway?
Well, I’m glad you asked, because it’s really not so difficult to explain. It happens quite frequently, you see. What happens is that someone prays for the Holy Spirit of God to come inside and take control: You just ask that He will come into your heart and make you His humble servant... you ask that He will lead you and make Jesus become the absolute Lord of your life.
When the person really means that prayer, it’s not long before he (or she) finds himself evangelizing for Christ and running around everywhere “on fire for Jesus.”
That's what happened, for example, to Dave Smethurst, an Australian evangelist that I greatly admire. He has loads of energy and enthusiasm as he seeks to reach the entire world. He's "on fire for Jesus" and burning brightly for his Lord!
You should do as Charles Wesley once said: "Fuel yourself each day with the Word of God, and people will come from miles away just to watch you burn!"
Would you like to see your own life “on fire for Jesus Christ”?
If you’ve never asked Him to become the Lord of your life, here’s how you can do it: Just pray to God in faith, believing that Jesus always was, and is, and always will be God The Son. Believe that Jesus exists for all time and for all eternity as the Holy One of God. Believe that He was there in the Beginning as part of the Divine Trinity which is Almighty God.
Believe that Jesus lives eternally, and know that all things in this Universe were created by Him, through Him, and for Him. Believe that He came from Heaven and that He was born into our world with a human form, in order that He could grow to adulthood and one day rescue our world from the due punishment of sin.
Pray to God, in faith believing, and ask Him to become the absolute Lord of your life. Just ask, and you will receive.
Express what's in your heart. You can say, for example:
"God Above, have mercy upon me and hear my prayer. For too many years I've been following the World, the Flesh, and the Devil instead of Your Son Jesus Christ. I've been living in the darkness of sin and Hell, but now I'm finally starting to see the Light. Almighty God, I want You to become the absolute and awesome Lord of my heart. I don't want to live in arrogance and rebellion for even one more day. I want instead to live in humble reverence before You... as a servant who shows You proper respect and one who gives You all due honor. I want to be Your humble servant and a genuine follower of Your Holy Son, Jesus Christ. Forgive me for all my sinful habits and my unbelief, I pray. Help me not to live like a pagan any more. Make me a genuine believer and a follower of Jesus, I pray. Transform me with Your Holy Spirit. Make me a "soldier" of Christ. I pray all this believing, in Jesus' Holy Name. Amen."
Before you know it, you’ll find yourself running around to tell everybody all about Jesus and why He came to Earth, and you’ll be talking just like one of those Jesus boosters.
On the other hand, if you are already claiming the name of “Christian,” but you certainly don’t consider yourself to be “one of those Jesus nuts,” then don’t worry about it too much. It’s not too late for you. There’s still time for you to become one.
If you’ve never done much for Jesus before, even though you’ve claimed to be a Christian, it’s not yet too late for you to make Jesus truly the Lord of your life. You can just pray to God in faith, telling Him that you know you have often failed him in the past... and say frankly that you know you have in past years been a lazy and unproductive servant, not worthy of Him.
Ask Him to become truly the Lord of your life. Ask Him to help you repent of your laziness and to transform you into a fruitful evangelist. Tell Him that you want to be a better representative of His Holy Name, and that you would like to become a real “soldier” of Jesus Christ.
Ask God to be make you into a servant who is fearless and effective, as George Bowen and David Wilkerson have proven themselves to be.
Just say something like this: "God Above, hear my prayer. Almighty God, I want You to become the absolute and awesome Lord of my heart. I want to live in genuine reverence before You. I want to be Your humble servant and a genuine follower of Your Holy Son, Jesus Christ. Forgive me for all my sinful habits and my unbelief, I pray. Help me not to live like a pagan, an unbeliever, or what Jesus calls "a lazy and worthless servant." Help me to be productive and fruitful for You, the way You want me to be. Help me to plant a lot of seeds for You, and then please shine Your Light upon those seeds, so that they also grow up to be fruitful trees. With the Light of Christ upon them, and with nourishment from His Living Water, let these many seeds grow into tall and strong trees for Your Garden... like mighty oak trees planted by a river of Living Water. Let's bring many more people, many lost souls, into Your Kingdom. I ask this in Jesus' Holy Name. Amen."
If you say words such as the above, you must truly believe them in your heart, and you must confess this desire with your mouth as a proclamation of faith. When you do that, your life as a nominal "Christian" will be forever changed.
You need to put the Sun of Righteousness in your heart! Let Him be truly your Lord; let Him illuminate any darkness and unbelief that is still hiding there in your breast. He will vanquish the Prince of Darkness and make you victorious, if you just give Him a chance.
Any human being can gain inner peace and Eternal Life with God by placing Jesus Christ, Who in the Trinity of God created our Universe, upon a throne at the center of the heart! He deserves that position and that kind of respect. He was first God The Son, but when born in human flesh He became the only sinless and righteous person who ever lived. Yet He sacrificed Himself on a cross for your sake, taking all guilt and sins upon Himself— for you and for me, and for all people everywhere on Earth— that whoever wishes for salvation might be rescued from the due punishment of sins.
If you will do this, you will gain a new contentment and peace as you accept God's organizational plan for the Universe. . . because you'll be letting God be the Ruler of All Things in this world. . . and in your own life. He will forever after be the "Sun of Righteousness" Who shines in your heart!
All it really takes is a simple but sincere little prayer— one that you should make up in your own words. The prayer for faith, for deliverance, and for God's leadership... should come from your own heart!
Some important elements that you might include are:
1) your desire to turn away from all the wrongness or evil of your past life, and your remorse over all the sins of your previous life,
2) your desire for God's forgiveness and mercy through the act of sacrifice of His Only Begotten Son (Jesus Christ),
3) your desire to know God's leadership in your life,
4) your desire to learn more of God's truth through Bible study,
5) your desire to find fellowship with genuine believers.
When you’re saved, you’ll know Jesus is King of the Universe and the Lord of your life.
You’ll know the three faces of God Almighty: God The Father, God The Son, and God The Spirit. His Holy Light will start to be visible in your own face and actions!
Jesus said of the people of God that "The kingdom of heaven is like a net that God has cast into the sea, and it gathers of every kind: When it is full, it will be pulled up on the shore, where they will sit down to sort the catch, and they will collect the good fish in baskets, but the bad things will be thrown away. This is the way it will be at the end of the world: The angels shall come forth, and they will separate the unrighteous persons from among those justified by God. . ."
Excerpt from the book of Matthew, who was a constant companion of Jesus
and his devoted disciple [13:47-50].
Jesus spoke of the people of God as being like a seed that is growing secretly, saying, "As for the kingdom of God, it is as if a person should cast seed into the ground; and then he sleeps, and he rises up night and day to see that the seed is springing forth and always growing up, although he knows not exactly how. The Earth is bringing forth fruit from itself; first the blade, then the ears of corn, and after that the fullness of the ears of corn. And when all the fruit of the Earth has come forth, immediately God will use the sickle to reap the fields, because the harvest-time has come."
Excerpt from the book of Mark [4:26-29].
It's also important for all of us to remember this:
1) WE SPEAK TO GOD by our prayers.
2) GOD SPEAKS TO US by the words of Holy Scripture.
So we must try to read His words and His Book just as often as we possibly can!!
God wants to bless you for all your long efforts to understand this very confusing and difficult Universe in which we live— so let Him reward your search with the grace of His forgiveness and enlightenment!
THIS GUIDE WAS WRITTEN FOR YOU BY. . .
Ken Street, a baptized follower of the Way.
Copyright 2006 by Roddy Kenneth Street, Jr.
This is one of more than 80 Street Tracts available from Christian-Tracts.net,
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God is continuously harvesting the Earth... as His long-range plan for the Earth's transformation goes ever forward...!