Although the following passage from the Bible was meant in the sense of the beauty of the heavens declaring God,
just perhaps we could give it a modern meaning.  For, indeed, the waves of the heavens, the air waves, the electrical
waves, the telephone waves, can declare God.  

        The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Day after day they pour forth
speech; night after night they display knowledge.  There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.  Their
voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world (Psalm 19:1-5).  

        Yes, God created all things to be used for his glory.  Until only a few years ago, man could not imagine how the
heavens and the sound waves within them could be used.  But now we know.  These sound waves can be captured by the
telephone, the radio, the television to "declare the glory of God."  What an opportunity!  For there is no where in all the
world that these air waves cannot go, and no language on earth that these air waves cannot understand.  What an
opportunity!  

        Yes, you can use the telephone.  The telephone can be your tool in serving Christ, and right there from your own
easy chair.  You could stay busy with this one work full time.  And, it is not a version of tele-marketing.  Let's see how.  

        Do you know anyone who is shut in or sick?  Telephone them daily to let them know you are thinking of them.  If you
know anyone who is blind, you could set aside some time every day to call them, just to talk or read to them.  If you do not
know anyone who is blind, your local library may.  Especially for someone who has been shut in for a long time and there is
no end in sight, you could set aside a certain time each day to see if they are okay.  This way, if they fall or something
happens that they cannot get to the phone, you would know there was something wrong and call someone to go check on
them in person.  

        Every Monday morning you could call your church to find out who was absent at worship services that Sunday, then
give them a call.  Tell them you missed them, and ask if there is anything you can do for them.  Often someone was sick
and wonders why no one ever came to see them even though they did not tell anyone.  

        Eventually you will find which ones are absent weeks at a time.  There is something spiritually wrong with them if there
is no physical problem.  They have become discouraged or sidetracked some how.  

        Perhaps they become Christians and no one followed up with them to teach them ways they could put their
Christianity to work.  New Christians want to work, and if they don't know what to do, they could fall away.  Or perhaps there
is a serious family problem and it is just too much trouble with too many arguments to bother going to worship any more.  Or
a friend has been talking to them and has half convinced them it is not necessary to believe all the things in the Bible, and
they don't have to "go to church" but can worship alone with nature.  Or they have so many personal problems it is an
added responsibility they just cannot handle, or they feel so dragged down they do not want to face other people.  Or they
are beset with a personal tragedy and break down in church too easily, so stay away to avoid embarrassment to everyone.  
Or they may have found something more interesting and exciting to do on Sundays.  

        They all need help.  Often, however, they are too defensive to level with people in the church about what is going on
in their life.  However, the soft voice of a Christian lady can be about as disarming as that of a child's; only you have the
wisdom to go with it.  

      Ask these people who have not been to worship for awhile if there is anything you can do to help.  Some at first will not
trust your offer, or even believe you.  Or they may think at this point that no one can help them.  Be kind and patient with
them.  If you think you know what their problem is (it is doubtful they will tell you right at first), tell them what you went
through similar to that one time and how discouraging it was to you.  If they say this is not their problem, at least they will
see you are sincerely interested in them, and understanding rather than judgmental.  Perhaps they will then tell you what
the real problem is.  

        If you feel you can help with regular phone calls to them to just talk things over, do this.  Or you may invite them to
come visit you in your home.  Tell them you are interested in them because you love them.  If you feel an elder or minister
would be able to help in a special way and this person is open to the idea, ask them if they would like you to call them.  Do
get their permission, however, so they do not think you are gossiping about them.  That would cut off all possible
communication in the future.  Above all, tell them you will pray for them every day.  And perhaps you can even say a short
prayer for them right there on the phone.  

        Does your congregation have a bus to pick up children?  Often these children come sporadically because their
parents do not go; and sometimes they forget it is Sunday, or just let it slide without getting up and getting dressed.  You
could offer to help by calling them and asking if they were planning to go tomorrow.  This is an indirect reminder, and will
help just in case the family is going on a trip so the driver will not stop by there.  

        Perhaps you can be at the parking lot on Sunday mornings when the bus arrives and greet them as they get off.  
And/or you could watch for them in the building.  Maybe one or some of them would like to sit with you during worship.  You
could ask them if they had a good time and what they learned.  They are likely to tell you, and be delighted you are so
interested in them.  

        As you get to know the children better, when you call on Saturdays about the bus or car coming by and the parents
answer the phone, you can say, "Did Johnny or Sally tell you about the scripture contest they had last Sunday?"  Some
children do not tell their parents about their experiences, and parents would appreciate knowing more about their child's
activities.  

        If this child is a problem, do not pass any of this on to the parents.  Tell the parent what the child did that was good
and right.  The parents will feel better about the child and perhaps their relationship will improve.  Who knows but that you
may be the only one in the world telling them something nice about their "problem child."  This could be the beginning of a
new life for the child and family.  

        Then you might tell the parents, "I'm looking forward to meeting you, and perhaps even seeing you there some day."  
They may reply, "Well, that isn't my religion," or "Sunday is my only day to work around the house," or "Sunday is the only
chance I have to go boating," or "My parents used to force me to go when I was growing up and I just turned against it ~ but
I want my kids to go."  You don't need to reply to this except to add, "Well, you know you're welcome any time."  

        You may or may not want to invite the parents every time you call, depending on your relationship; however, it
wouldn't hurt to invite them casually about once a month.  "I'm still looking forward to meeting the parents of this fine boy (or
girl) someday," or "Why don't you surprise me some Sunday?" or "We're going to have a special sermon on such-and-such
tomorrow; I thought you'd be interested," or "We are going to have a potluck dinner right after worship," are some ways to
bring it up occasionally.  

        You might eventually tell the parents on the phone that "there are some videos  that take you on a survey of the
whole Bible, starting with Genesis, that you can see at home.  They'd be fun and educational for the whole family.  They are
non-denominational and really interesting.  Would you like to see them?  Would this month be a good time or later after
summer is over?"  Of course there are other ways, but this is one suggestion.    

        You or a minister could follow up with this.  For ordering such films, contact your nearest Christian University/College
bookstore catalog.  

        Your telephone conversation with these parents will cover months, or possibly years.  

        Have you been a Bible teacher in the past, but just can't get out as easily now?  Or have you wanted to be a home
Bible teacher and just don't have transportation to get to people's homes or they to yours?  You may know individuals from
down the street, across town, people who attend church and people who don't.  

        They may wish they knew more about a certain topic, and that topic lead to curiosity about others.  Or they may wish
they could just go all the way through the Bible and figure out what books are about what, and in what order the historical
events occur, etc.  Or they may want to know how certain people in the Bible handed wisely or unwisely certain problems in
their lives.  There are many possibilities and such people may wish there was some way they could get with another
Christian to explore these things.  The telephone may be the answer to you both.  

        How would you find out who wanted to study the Bible on the phone with you?  You may hear a discussion in a
Sunday Bible class and a person may not be completely satisfied that everything was covered on a particular question.  Or
a person might comment in class, "I sure wish I could figure out which came in what order in the Bible."  Another source of
people who might very well be interested in studying the Bible with you by phone are people who have just become
Christians and want to know more as fast as possible.  Some may not have transportation, or if they work out of the home,
may want to just stay inside in the evenings and rest.  

        You may have a neighbor who you could just call and ask outright after a little small talk, "You know, I really get
curious about things in the Bible and wish I had someone to look things up with.  Do you ever feel that way?"  (If yes, go
on.)  "It would be great if we could get together, but I just can't get out.  What if we just called each other once or twice a
week and looked things up while on the phone?  Can't have coffee together that way, but we could both kick our shoes off
and settle into a big chair and no one would be the wiser.  What do you think?  I've been real curious about places in the
Bible that give medical advice, like keeping people with germs away from others.  What do you think of that for starters, or
do you have one you've been curious about a long time?"  

        If you have the resources, you could also use the telephone to glorify God by collecting some sermons, inspirational
talks, and/or singing.  Then publish the titles in the newspaper periodically, or list on grocery store bulletin boards, or
photocopy and leave in doctors' offices and bus stations, or even mail to people.  Or rather than collect tapes, you might
want to use tape readings of the Bible.  Or you may wish to contact "Bible Call", PO Box 8272, Nashville, TN  37207, as they
have been at this for over thirty years now and have helped others get started.  

        Another way you could use your telephone to serve others would be to work through a Bible class teacher who would
like students to read some from the Bible every day.  They could call you and read to you.  

        When deaths occur, someone needs to get on the phone and call relatives and friends.  There is no time for the
mail.  People need to know when and where the funeral is, whether there is a funeral dinner, whether they are needed to
help with the food, whether they are needed to sing in the service, and so on.  And of course, after the funeral is all over
and the family has gone back home and friends have disbursed, the close ones left behind such as parents, children, and
mate need someone to talk to for a long time afterwards ~ perhaps a year ~ as they go through the many phases of "letting
go".  

        Other special events may come up suddenly and your congregation may need you to help spread the word to people
as fast as possible.  

        Or if you have a small congregation and your minister is in and out with no secretary, you may provide a kind of
answering service.  

        If you feel capable of it (as a friend, not a professional), you may wish to become a kind of "hot line" for people to call
anonymously (you remain anonymous also) and talk over their problems.  Or they may call just because they are lonely
and need someone to talk to, even if it means talking about a recent television program, the latest news, a good joke, etc.  
Of course you can always tell them you'll say a prayer for them.  You might even want to read a Bible verse to them
pertaining to the conversation if they're talking over a problem.  Remember, even if you don't know who you're talking to
and may never hear from them again, Isaiah 55:10,11 remains true:  

        As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it
bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth:  It
will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  

        You may be able to use the telephone to do some "marketing research" for the church.  Choose at random 100
names and call them with the same questions, then tally them for a representative average of the community.  Questions
could include:  Do you attend church?  Where?  How often?  What should churches be doing that they aren't?  Under what
circumstance do you think people make a commitment to go to church every Sunday?  What community need is the church
not meeting?  The results of your survey could be used to determine what types of advertising the church should do to
attract people from the community.   But keep it short.  

        A variation of the telephone is the citizen band (CB) radio and the ham radio.  If you have a license, you can talk
about anything you want to as long as it is moral.  So you may wish to do some of the above this way, as long as it does not
tie up the air waves too long.  Just remember, others can hear your conversation; there is no privacy.  Of course, this lack
of privacy could be more of a good thing than a bad thing.  

        Although people cannot talk back to you with this, you may have the talent and availability to start a 5- or 15-minute
radio program.  "The Christian Life," "How to Learn the Bible," or "Children's Bible Story Hour" are possibilities.  A children's
Bible quiz panel could be aired using local children.  It could be just hymn singing.  Contact some local stations and, if they
are small and looking for programming, they may wish to use you.  Or you may wish to arrange for it to be paid for and
aired at a time of your choosing.  You may wish to work with someone else to develop a call-in radio program for people to
ask simple Bible questions.  

        If you are one of those people who have a computer electronic mail and belong to a public bulletin board, you could
offer a Bible correspondence course through your computer.  Also you could develop a program of your own and send it to
one of the companies with catalogs advertising public domain software, and sell your program for $10.  

        There are so many things you could do to the glory of God through the telephone.  You can probably think of things
not mentioned here.  Perhaps the capabilities of the telephone are just being uncovered long with universal blessings.  So,
right now, as soon as you put the book down at the end of this chapter, pick up your telephone, dial a number, and reach
out and touch someone.
APPLIED CHRISTIANITY

Tele-Serving
17
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