Gospel Patrons by John Rhinehart

After an opportunity came to me at Palm Beach Atlantic University, I went to an interview with the National Christian Foundation (NCF) of South Florida in regards to their Lifework leadership program. After going to that, I was invited to an event hosted by the NCF the following Tuesday. This was about a month ago, in October. The speaker there was none other than John Rhinehart and he was giving out copies of his book. I got one for myself and then one for my grandmother also. This book represented everything I strive to become. Someone who lives life for God and for God’s purposes.

In the beginning of the book, I highlighted the vision that the author, John Rhinehart, has. I love this and I envision the same thing. People with a contagious and infectious belief in Christ.

Pg. 19, I dream of seeing churches overflow with crowds of people who are hungry to learn the Bible. I envision businessmen strategizing together about how to advance the gospel because their greatest passion is Jesus. I imagine college students gathering to talk about our great salvation and how they can spend their lives extending it to others.

Amen. Nothing more to say but I must of course mention that is my favorite parable from the Bible and is the core of a lot of what I believe and how I live.

Pg. 28, “Is this book only for the rich?” some have asked. No. God wants to see our faithful stewardship in little or much. Remember Jesus’ parable of the talents? The person who originally received five talents and the one who had two talents received equal praise for their good stewardship. They each heard their master say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” The Bible tells us that God cares less about how much we have and more about what we do with it.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

This is who I desire to be. I want to become this person

Pg. 33, Gospel patron, noun. 1. Someone who is invested and involved in another person’s ministry to help proclaim the gospel.

I want the same. Wow this is awe-inspiring. I want to be someone who lives for God in all ways always at all times. There is much that we can each do in this life but only a few things that God has for us. The dream is that we all end our lives on earth and God is able to look at us and say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

Pg. 75, Later that night after the crowd faded away, Whitefield wrote to a friend:

I went home from never more surprised at any incident in my life. The prospect of doing good to the rich that attend her Ladyship’s house is very encouraging. Who knows what God may do? He could never use a more insignificant instrument. I want humility, I want thankfulness, I want a heart continually flaming with the love of God. Oh pray that God would always keep me humble and fully convinced that I am nothing without Him, and that all the good which is done upon the earth is God’s doing.

Are you willing to make this proclamation? I can’t say I’m entirely at this level yet but I’m striving for it. I want to bring as many people to heaven as I can. I’m the worst sinner I know and if God will accept me, I’m confident He will welcome anyone with open arms.

Pg. 84, Whitefield ended his sermon with a passionate invitation for his hearers to believe in Jesus:

Believe me, I am willing to go to prison or death for you; but I am not willing to go to heaven without you. The love of Jesus Christ constrains me to lift up my voice like a trumpet.

I noted in the margins: story of the prodigal son, I didn’t know that fathers didn’t run at that time. This story always humbled me but this time, in a whole other way.

Photo by Alex wong on Unsplash

Pg. 99, But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him, felt compassion, and ran to him. Fathers didn’t run back then. It was seen as humiliating. But this father cared more about his son, so he ran to him and then hugged him and kissed him.

Love this. This is what it’s all about. It’s bigger than us.

Pg. 112, Week after week for sixteen years, Newton had taught his people the doctrines of the Bible, but now the time had come to move on. He penned a reply to Thornton.

Newton to Thornton
I thankfully accept your most obliging offer. I trust it is not your appointment only, but the Lord’s. What unknown events and consequences depend upon the step I am about to take! But though unknown to me, they are known and present to Him. His servant I am and next to Him and in subordination to Him, I am under the strongest ties, both of affection and obligation, to you that one creature can be to another. I fHe calls me to London, He can fit me for so different a scene and support me in it.
Your most obedient and obliged servant,
John Newton
September 20, 1779

God’s pace — how often we overlook that. How often I overlook that. It’s all about God, we are just blessed to be on His earth and blessed to be His creation.

Pg. 121, Thornton to Wilberforce
My dear Sir,
… Those that believe must not make haste, but be content to go God’s pace and watch the leadings of His providence as the pillar and the cloud formerly…
Your much devoted kinsman,
John Thornton
December 24, 1785

Focus. Do you have it? Is the Word of God tugging at your heart? I hope so. The more I read, the more time I spend with God, the more I desire. I want everything that God has for me and I want to bless others with all that He continues to bless me with.

Pg. 127, I remember asking Marylynn Rouse (one of the world’s leading experts on John Newton), “What made Newton, Thornton, and Wilberforce such incredible men? It just seems like they don’t make men like that anymore.”

“Focus,” she responded simply. “They took the word of God really seriously and were whole-hearted in their commitment.”
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Without warning, tears filled my eyes. These stories had become so real to me, and I longed to be like the main characters. But how? How do we become the kind of people God uses to change the world.

This was powerful for the author when he heard John Piper share this on his college campus and it was powerful for me to read also. God can and WILL use each and every one of us.

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets as Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived the greatest street sweeper.’” — Martin Luther King Jr.
Pg. 130, People who make a difference in the world are not people who have mastered a lot of things. They are people who have been mastered by a very few things that are very, very great. If you want your life to count, you don’t have to have a high IQ and you don’t have to have a high EQ. You don’t have to be smart; you don’t have to have good looks; you don’t have to be from a good family or from a good school You just have to know a few basic, simple, glorious, majestic, obvious, unchanging, eternal things, and be gripped by them and be willing to lay down your life for them. Which is why anybody in this crowd can make a difference, because it isn’t you; it’s what you’re gripped with.
— John Piper

I wrote in the margins, “me too.” Now, weeks later as I write this, I do not recall exactly why but I do know that I desire to be remembered in much the same way. This life is not my own and I am not here to live for myself, I am here to live for God. It’s all for God.

Pg. 134, At Thornton’s death, his friend Thomas Scott summed up his life in a eulogy entitled, The Love of Christ, the Source of Genuine Philanthropy, in which he said of Thornton, “In dispensing his bounty, it is well known, that he always aimed to promote the knowledge and practice of the religion of the Bible amongst mankind, and to bring the careless, the ignorant, the profane, the profligate, to attend to the concerns of their souls, to repent, and turn to God.”

Yes. Yes. Yes. Who are you? Why? Who did God create you to be? He’ll reveal it. Seek Him.

Pg. 134, More proofs could be brought forth but the jury is already unanimous. Jesus, His love, His life, His word, His death, these are the things that compelled the Gospel Patrons of history to live and give as generously and sacrificially as they did. They saw Jesus for who He really is and were gripped with Him.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

This is so so so so important. Eternal life in heaven is a dagger for the devil and something that we cannot take lightly. We will not know the day nor the time that Jesus comes again, we must be ready. We must be fully prepared. We must, “Put on the armor of God,” (Ephesians 6:10–18).

Pg. 136, The world, the flesh, and the devil war against a life aimed at eternity. Therefore, we cannot be on autopilot and expect to become the kind of people God uses to change the world. Instead, we need to refuel our fire the same way the patrons of history did, be keeping their eyes on Jesus.

Is it your mission? Best believe it is. God wants His children to come home to Him in heaven. It is OUR job. God uses different people to speak to different people. The truth is that pastors cannot speak to everyone on earth, how could they? People need to be able to relate and empathize and speak the language of the people that they are sharing the gospel with. This is one reason that I believe Jesus’ 12 disciples had such a wide range of backgrounds.

Pg. 160, Our mission is to carry the name of Jesus to people. This is not simply the job of pastors and missionaries. It’s your job. It’s why you’re still here.

I love this and now, at 22, this is what I have fully encompassed. It is an incredible honor to give the wealth that God has blessed me with back to Him.

Pg. 177, Janice Worth shares that when she was 25 years old, she wishes she knew this about giving: “When I was 25 I wish I knew that generosity is truly a journal and money is the tool God was using to set my heart free. As I more fully surrender to God I am free to see giving as “get to not a have to.” The generous life is the quickest pathway to a life of freedom and joy.

I found this to be totally great. I totally agree with all 3 pieces of the character framework and when partnering with individuals or organizations, strive to use the same general process though typically in a different fashion but with much the same intentions. Competence, conviction, and character are definitely essential things.

Pg. 181, Simon Pillar shares that he identifies the individuals and organizations he partners with through the following framework:

“A framework we have found is useful is the 3 C’s of Competence, Conviction, and Character.

Competence: Does the individual have the gifting and capabilities to bear fruit in the ministry they are pursuing?
Conviction: Do their theological and ministry convictions align with Scripture?
Character: Are they of good character, able to ride the joys and trials inherent in gospel ministry with prayerful and godly equanimity, depending on God’s grace in all things?

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Overall, I loved this book. The stories were excellent and I loved becoming more and more inspired by the people within it and the way that God uses His people for His glory. I always enjoy books like this that teach God’s truth and share what we were created to become. I am striving to become more of not only a child of God but also a gospel patron every day.

I gave this book a 4/5

To read this book, get it here

Read this article on Medium.com

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published