May 28, 2019
Capitol Commission PA: May 2019
William Penn's Book: No Cross No Crown
The main emphasis of our work with the legislators, staff and all those connected with the Capitol community is to pursue whole-life discipleship to Jesus. We teach that a disciple is someone who is with Jesus, learning to be like him, so that they can become the type of person who easily and routinely do all the things that Jesus says to do. A helpful way to do this is reading the Bible in conversation with the historic witness of the people of god - "the communion of saints." This type of corporate reading of the Bible illuminates how God was with others, and thus provides insight into how God can be with us in the circumstances of our ordinary life.
Earlier this month, I had the privilege of being part of the Godly Heritage Tour that was offered to the freshman legislators in Harrisburg. The tour highlights the central importance of religious liberty in the history of Pennsylvania and the role our Founding Father, William Penn had in setting this important example for liberty. As a Quaker, Penn experienced religious persecution and was jailed for his written attacks on many doctrines of the Church of England. While jailed in the Tower of London in an unheated cell, he wrote the book No Cross No Crown in 1668 when he was 22 years old. It was reprinted in 1682 with additional thoughts and testimonies so, as Penn says, "you may be won to Christ."
When I first started my work at the Capitol, I found a copy of Penn's book that had been translated into modern English, with a reader-friendly typeset, and also included a biography of Penn's life. Earlier this month, I had the privilege of meeting the businessman who financed this translation and printing of Penn's book, No Cross No Crown. After meeting together and learning of my work with the legislators, he has graciously offered me the remaining 1000 +/- copies of the book to sell as a means to support our ministry work.
Last week, I gave the 10+ freshman legislators who attended the Godly Heritage Tour a copy of Penn's book with a note (see picture below):
Thank you for taking the time to attend the Godly Heritage Tour last week. I trust the insights shared about William Penn were an encouragement to you.
As I consider Penn, I believe we see an individual acting with God to accomplish what was beyond his own natural ability, as he says “and my God will make it the Seed of a Nation.” This type of interactive relationship is still available to us today by learning from Jesus, and stepping into his easy yoke and light burden (Matt 11:28-29).
In No Cross No Crown, Penn says one can experience a life in which God’s love and power is acting in us and through us - this is Christ’s crown. He goes on to say, “Christ’s cross is Christ’s way to Christ crown.”
I hope this book is a help and blessing to you. Please contact me if you would like to further discuss these matters.
Please pray that these efforts will open the door of relationship to these and other legislators. In considering the life of Penn and his book No Cross No Crown, the following quote from Tolstoy comes to mind. "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." This is why I make it our intention in ministry to pursue genuine spiritual formation and whole-life discipleship to Jesus, so that his life spills out us, wherever they we and whatever we are doing, so that people can't avoid it.
For those who make a donation of $25.00 to the ministry, I would be happy to get you a copy of the book, No Cross No Crown.
2019 Commonwealth Prayer Break and MIKRA Scrolls Exhibit
On April 30th, MIKRA CEO Brian Rickett was the main speaker at the 2019 Commonwealth Prayer Breakfast on the topic of: "How Scripture Shapes Society?" Brian did an excellent job and shared an insightful message that impacted the thoughts and ideas of many who gathered that morning. After the event, several legislators expressed an interest in having Brian back to the PA Capitol to meet with them and other legislators personally. Please keep these plans in your prayers as we explore this opportunity for the fall session.
Additionally, we were also grateful for Brian and the entire MIKRA team for making the artifacts exhibit available to those at the PA State Capitol. This was the 7th State Capitol that Brian has visited as part of Capitol Commission's efforts to make these type of artifacts available in this setting. His knowledge, warmth and interaction with those who stopped were a tremendous blessing to the Capitol community. Many thanks to the docents who volunteered their time and knowledge to man each of the various stations setup in the Main Rotunda. One was Pastor John Hill who posted some photos on Facebook (FB) which highlight some of the artifacts on display.
2019 Wilberforce Conference in DC
On May 19th, I attended the Wilberforce Weekend as part of a team from Capitol Commission. As an event sponsor, we were seeking to expose others who attended the conference to our work in the political arena and look for those interested in helping us expand to the remain 27 State Capitols.
This year, Mama Maggie, the Mother Teresa of Egypt received the 2019 William Wilberforce Award, the highest honor given by the Colson Center. Maggie takes care of thousands of children in Cairo’s garbage slums among the poorest of the poor with education, medical and spiritual training. The Spirit of the Lord is in and upon this soft spoken woman as she offers these kids an alternative future and provision so life is not surviving by daily rummaging through the garbage of the 22 million people in Cairo. One of the things every kid learns is about Martyrdom because of the persecution in this part of the world. You may remember the 21 Coptic Christian young men who were kidnapped and beheaded by ISIS a few years ago because they would not deny their Lord Jesus Christ. Many of the 21 were Maggie’s kids. Heartbreaking yet inspiring. Maggie has been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize.