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Famous Y Guys

The YMCA has been influenced by many people who displayed strong leadership and godly character.  Meet the following Y guys who’ve made a difference in our Christian heritage:

 George Williams (1821-1905)

George Williams
George Williams was the founder of the first YMCA.  In 1836, he moved to London to work as an apprentice to a Draper.  On June 6, 1844, Williams, together with 10 Christian young men, established the YMCA. “Our objective is the improvement of the spiritual condition of the young men engaged in houses of business, by the formation of Bible classes, family and social prayer meetings, mutual improvement societies, or any other spiritual agency.”

Williams not only shared about Jesus Christ, but also fought for improved conditions for labor. Williams was a keen and brilliant businessmen, who understood the art of delegation and ongoing accountability.  From his growing and prosperous clothing-good business, he regularly gave away two-thirds of his income, in order to help others.  Williams once said “What is my duty in business?  To be rightous.  To do right things between man and man.  To buy honestly.  Not to deceive or falsely represent or colour.”  He once prayed “Oh Lord, You have given me money.  Give me a heart to do your will with it.  May I use it for you and seek to get wisdom from you to use it aright.”

J.E. Hodder said that “it was impossible to resent his cheerful, unaffected sincerity; his manly directness; his courageous simplicity.” 
In Williams’ room hung a framed card illumined with the words “God First.”  George Williams had learned from Dr. Charles Finney that everything worth doing needed to begin with and end with prayer. 

Williams was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1894. William’s very last words spoken while at the 1905 World YMCA Jubilee “…if you wish to have a happy, useful, and profitable life, give your hearts to God while you are young.”  He was then carried to his room and died. He is buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral. 

Williams Motto:  “It is not how little but how much we can do for others….”

 

John Mott (1865-1955)

Mott
Mott was a long-serving leader of the YMCA and the World Student Christian Federation.  As President of the student YMCA, he increased membership threefold and raised money for a University YMCA building.  He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946 for his work in establishing and strengthening international Protestant Christian student organizations that worked to promote peace. 

The greatest hindrances to the evangelization of the world are those within the Church.— John Mott

The history of missions is a history of prayer. Everything vital to the success of the world’s evangelization hinges on prayer. John Mott

The men that will change the colleges and seminaries here represented are the men that will spend the most time alone with God… It takes time for the fires to burn. It takes time for God to draw near and for us to know that He is there.John Mott

 


D.L. Moody (1837-1899)

MoodyDwight Lyman Moody was born in Northfield, Massachusetts.  His formal education ended in the fifth grade, and he rapidly grew tired of life on the farm.  At 17, he left for Boston, seeking employment.  Moody worked in a shoe store stockroom and there learned about the love of Christ.  Moody moved to Chicago with dreams of making his fortune in the shoe business.  As success in selling shoes came, so did an interest in providing a Sunday School class for Chicago’s children and the local Young Men’s Christian Association. 

During the revival of 1857-1858, Moody became more involved with the YMCA, performing janitorial jobs for the organization and serving wherever they needed him.  Although they could not pay him, the YMCA recommended he stay “employed” as city missionary.  Moody’s Mission Sunday school flourished.  Moody desired to reach the “lost” youth of the city, the children with little to no education, less than ideal family situations and poor economic circumstances.  Eventually, Moody began his own church, the Illinois Street church. (now The Moody Church)

 Moody evangelized throughout America, often preaching in major cities and at various universities.  Moody was a man of great discernment.  He had an innate ability to find capable, godly people to put into positions of leadership and bring his ideas to fruition.  Throughout his life, Moody always found time to be with his family, making every effort to show his love and care for them.

 Faith makes all things possible…love makes all things easy.— D.L. Moody

 I have had more trouble with myself than with any other man.— D. L. Moody

 Character is what a man is in the dark.— D. L. Moody

 A man ought to live so that everybody knows he is a Christian….and most of all,his family ought to know.
D. L. Moody

The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him.  By God’s help, I aim to be that man.  D. L. Moody (D. L. Moody response from words spoken by Henry Varley, a British revivalist)  


Andrew Murray (1828-1917)

Andrew MurryMurray was raised in what was considered then the most remote corner of the world, Graaff-Reinet, South Africa. It was here, after his formal education in Scotland and three years of theological study in college in Holland, that Andrew Murray returned as a missionary and minister.

 As a preacher, he consistently drew large crowds and led many to trust Christ as their Savior. But Murray’s life was not without testing. As a young man, an enduring sickness left him weak and exhausted.  Later, at the prime of his ministry, a severe illness resulted in his absence from the pulpit for two years.  But God used each trial to remove all that hindered his devotion to Christ.

Murray’s daughter wrote of her father, “It was after the ‘time of silence’ (in sickness) when God came so near to father and he saw more clearly the meaning of a life of full surrender and simple faith. He began to show in all relationships that constant tenderness and unruffled loving kindness and unselfish thought for others which increasingly characterized his life from that point. At the same time he lost nothing of his strength and determination.”

Murray’s home was always filled with activity. He and his wife, Emma, had nine children, and there was an endless stream of visitors and friends.  He also served as the first president of the Young Men’s Christian Fellowship. (YMCA)  Not only was he the author of over 240 books, he was also a man of great prayer.

May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love, and joy of God’s presence and may not a moment without the entire surrender of my self as a vessel for Him to fill full of His Spirit and love. Andrew Murray

 Do you want to enter what people call “the higher life? then go a step lower down. Andrew Murray

Humility is perfect quietness of heart.  It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me.  It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised.  It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble. Andrew Murray


OSWALD CHAMBERS (1874-1917)

Chambers

Oswald Chambers was one of the greatest Christian thinkers of our time.  He was born in Aberdeen Scotland, where he became a Christian during his teen years under the ministry of Charles Spurgeon.  From 1906-1910, he conducted itinerant Bible-teaching ministries in the United States, United Kingdom, and Japan.  In 1911, Chambers founded and was principal of the Bible Training College in Greater London.

In 1915, a year after the outbreak of World War I, Chambers suspended the operation of the school and was accepted as a YMCA Chaplain.  Chambers was commissioned by the YMCA to go to Zeitoun, Cairo, Egypt, where he ministered to Australian and New Zealand troops.  Chambers raised the spiritual tone of a center intended by both the military and the YMCA to be simply an institution of social service providing wholesome alternatives to the brothels of Cairo.  When he told a group of fellow YMCA workers that he had decided to abandon concerts and movies for Bible classes, they predicted the exodus of soldiers from his facilities. 

Many of Chambers’ devotional lectures make up a large portion of his book My Utmost For His Highest, now considered a classic.

We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to beour first line of defense.  WE pray when there’s nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all.Oswald Chambers

Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.Oswald Chambers

The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.Oswald Chambers



Source: (Information for the Famous Y Guys was compiled with the help of Wikipedia and Tom Welch, Central Florida YMCA)

 

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