Intersection of Life and Faith

10 Christians Who Shaped History

  • Rhonda Stoppe Speaker and Author
  • 2017 28 Nov
10 Christians Who Shaped History

I love studying the lives of others who’ve gone on before us. The faithful followers of Christ and their resolve to serve Him in their generation inspires me to follow their example.

It’s easy to look at their lives and think they were somehow special, but truth is, the only thing that made their lives count was their resolve to allow God to do through them what He had ordained before the foundations of this world.

Think of it. Your life is just as important to God as the heroes of the faith mentioned in Hebrews 11. God doesn’t want you to be perfect. He’s not waiting to use you until you measure up to His expectations. He simply wants from you unconditional surrender so He can do through you all He has planned. For a little inspiration, let’s look at 10 Christians Who Shaped History:

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  • 1. Martin Luther

    1. Martin Luther

    Martin Luther was a monk who wanted to please God, so he would confess his every action. The more Luther practiced religion the more miserable he was in his sin. Luther knew his inadequate efforts weren’t enough to appease God but didn’t know what to do until he read, “…The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17).

    God revealed how forgiveness came through faith––not works. With this realization came a zeal to make it known to the church. Soon he was excommunicated. He declared, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant … I can do no other. Here I stand. God help me.” And God did help him, for through Luther’s resolve began the Great Reformation.*

     

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  • 1. Martin Luther

    2. Johann Sebastian Bach

    Johann Sebastian Bach was born two centuries after Luther stood against the heresies of German religion. Bach grew up in a family known for their musical talent. At age 10, he was orphaned. His brother, Christoph, carried on the family’s legacy by continuing Johann’s musical training . Bach easily mastered each piece and hungered for more. The notes and harmonies drove his spirit toward the presence of God. Atop each page he composed Bach wrote: Jesu Juva. “Jesus, help me.”

    When Bach studied the Bible, it drove him to pen God’s Word to music. And when the piece was complete, Bach did not sign his own name, but rather inscribed the letters SDG. Soli Deo Gloria. “To God alone be glory.” God answered this simple prayer and has been glorified through the ages by Bach’s music. Even today, in nations where the Bible is taboo, Bach’s music is bringing the gospel and people are converting to Christ.*

     

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  • 1. Martin Luther

    3. Adoniram Judson

    Adoniram Judson was raised by a Puritan preacher. When he went to college he met a young man named Eames who turned his heart away from believing in God. After college, Judson found little success. One night he came upon an inn where he rented a room, which happened to be next door to someone who was crying out in agony. In the morning, Judson learned the man had died. The man was Eames, the very man who had turned his heart from God!

    God brought Judson to his senses and to repentance. He went home, attended seminary and became the first foreign missionary to India where God used him to translate the Bible into the Burmese language, and more than 3,000 came to Christ. Once God captured the heart of this prodigal, there was no stopping his zeal to make Christ known. If you’re praying for a prodigal, don’t give up. Let this story inspire you to trust God to do whatever it takes to bring your prodigal to repentance. 

     

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  • 1. Martin Luther

    4. Martin Luther King Jr.

    Martin Luther King Jr. single-handedly changed his culture with a message of love and hope. King understood and taught that love at its highest level transcends all other forms of communication. His cause was just and he resolved to never let up until victory was won against segregation and discrimination in America. He said, ‘We must never become bitter, nor should we succumb to the temptation of using violence in the struggle, for if this happens, unborn generations will be recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and our chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.”

    As the Civil Rights movement grew, amidst horrific persecution and pain, King’s power to love and teach love through God’s supernatural strength prevailed. When King spoke of the movement’s roots grounded in Christian love the audience resounded, “Amen…Hallelujah”. When King was called an extremist he resisted the label, but later realized Jesus was also an extremist who blessed those who cursed him. 

    His resolve to teach compassion, mercy and love for the very white people who were persecuting them would cost him his life. On April 4, 1968, King was killed by a sniper’s bullet. Though his generation lost one of whom the world was not worthy (see Hebrews 11:38), King’s message would not die, and his resolve would bring freedom and liberation for countless generations. The hard work of loving others who hated him payed off in ways this world will likely never comprehend.

     

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  • 1. Martin Luther

    5. Oswald Chambers

    Oswald Chambers’ parents came to Christ under the preaching of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Clarence Chambers became one of the first students in Spurgeon’s Pastors' College. Twenty years later, when Hannah Chambers was pregnant with Oswald, she sat under the teaching of the D.L. Moody. Such were the godly roots of Oswald Chambers. As a young man and talented artist, God took him through a difficult season until he surrendered to serve Christ. But once he laid down his own desires, his resolve to do God’s Will never wavered.  In his short lifetime he preached thousands of sermons and led countless people to Christ. Upon his unexpected death, the world was shocked and grieved the loss of this humble man.

    Chambers is best known for his book, My Upmost for His Highest. But this timeless treasure wasn’t published until after his death. In the years Chambers preached, his wife wrote down every word of his sermons. For the rest of her life, she published Oswald’s work in his name so generations could hear his powerful message. It seems God’s timing was perfect to give fame to his messenger long after his death. Today, more people know Chambers’ writings than when he was alive. His message continues to change lives and glorify Christ.

     

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  • 1. Martin Luther

    6. William Booth

    While William Booth ministered for 13 years as a pastor in England, he longed to discover how God could use him. One night while walking home he observed the poor, homeless, and lost souls on the streets. He remembered, “I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat…What you did for one of the least of these brothers you did for Me” (Matthew 25:35). 

    Instantly he knew what his work would be. “I found my destiny,” he told his wife, Catherine. Soon, they set up evangelistic meetings for the poor who had been shut out by the churches. They fed and clothed them as they shared the gospel of Christ.

    Booth established the Salvation Army, which spread the gospel to the displaced and defeated throughout England, America and the world. At his funeral, 40,000 people filled the auditorium. At the last minute, Queen Mary decided to attend. Since there was no seat reserved for her, she sat among the common folks, next to a one-time prostitute whom Booth had told “When you get to heaven, you’ll have a place of honor.” After the service, she tearfully whispered to the Queen, “He cared for the likes of us.” Oh that the Salvation Army would continue to help the needy as they boldly proclaim the gospel of salvation.

     

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  • 1. Martin Luther

    7. Jochebed

    There is not a lot said in Scripture about Jochebed, the mother of Moses. She’s best known for her courage to hide her son when Pharaoh commanded all baby boys be thrown into the Nile River. 

    When Moses was only three months old, she followed God’s plan to send him down the river in a basket. Having no idea how God would protect Moses, she obeyed and trusted Him with the outcome.

    When the basket settled near Pharaoh’s daughter, Moses’ sister was there to suggest her mother as a nursemaid. Moses grew up to be the deliverer of Israel. All that he did to honor God in his lifetime was a result of the courage his mother had to preserve his life and trust God with his future (To learn more about Moses’ mother’s story and other courageous moms, read my book Moms Raising Sons to Be Men). 

     

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  • 1. Martin Luther

    8. Clara Barton

    Clara Barton became a teacher at the age of 15. For 20 years she taught and even established the first public school in New Jersey; however, when the rosters swelled to 600 students it was decided a frail woman had no business being a headmaster. Disillusionment drove her to another direction.

    When Civil War erupted in 1861, she rushed to help the injured. Her love of God, country, and some of her very students who lay injured and dying drove her beyond fear––but how? 1 John 4:18 compelled her efforts, “There is no fear in love…Perfect love casts out fear..”

    After the war she worked to unite soldiers with their families. Eventually, Clara founded the American Red Cross and ran its operation until she was 80. The Red Cross continues her fearless work today.*

     

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  • 1. Martin Luther

    9. Mary, Mother of Jesus

    As a teenage girl, Mary met the angel of the Lord. Imagine how exciting and terrifying this might have been for her. When the angel announced she’d be the mother of the Messiah, she submitted––although she knew her pregnancy would not be understood by others.

    Mary’s courage to obey God’s plan for her life came with great blessing and sorrow as she one day stood watching her Son die for the sins of mankind. Her example of humility and strength shines to all generations whenever Jesus’ story is told.

     

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  • 1. Martin Luther

    10. You

    You… Wait, what? Yes, I said, you! Do you realize that God ordained in history the number of your days? In Christ, He saved you for a purpose. How exciting is that? Think about it. The Creator of everything worked in the lives of those before you and now it’s your turn to surrender to His mighty hand––for His Kingdom and His glory.

    Sadly, too many people miss their calling. They work to do good things, but stuck in the captivity of activity they let unproductive years go by. God saved you for Himself. Will you ask Him to give You His zeal for whatever His purpose is for your life? You won’t regret it!

     

    *Work Cited: Words to Die For by Lawrence Kimbrough

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    Rhonda Stoppe is the NO REGRETS WOMAN. With more than 20 years experience of helping women break free from regrets that hold them back. I could have listened to Rhonda talk all night, is what women say about Rhonda’s enthusiastic, humorous, transparent teaching, and zeal as an evangelist to women. 

    She’s committed to fulfill the Titus 2:4 commission by mentoring, teaching and writing books that are inspiring, grounded in Scripture and easy to read––like you're visiting with a friend over coffee. 

    Rhonda appears on radio programs, speaks at women’s events, Pastor’s Wives Conferences, MOPs and homeschool conventions. God is using her evangelism conferences to bring women to Christ.

    Rhonda ministers along side Steve, her pastor-husband, at First Baptist Church of Patterson, California.  Together they write books and speak at their No Regrets Marriage Conferences, but their favorite ministry is their family. They have four grown children and eight grandchildren. 

    For more visit: http://www.NoRegretsWoman.com