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Chapel Speaker Discusses Principles to Live By

By Amanda Morad | April 25, 2013

Dr. Doug Stringer

Dr. J. Doug Stringer, founder and president of Turning Point Ministries International and Somebody Cares International, lives by two simple principles: Availability and simple obedience. Stringer addressed these two keys to effective Christian living at Regent University's weekly chapel service on Wednesday, April 24.

"One of the qualifications of a leader, in order to finish well, is humility before God," he said. Stringer's story is a testimony to what can happen when a person makes him or herself available to God. He began his lifelong ministry to the homeless more than 30 years ago when he opened up his Houston, Texas, apartment to a couple of homeless people in 1981. Since then, he's been working in the inner-city of Houston, watching lives transform.

"Everything we do must come out of the presence of God," Stringer said. "Obedience is the highest form of worship."

He told stories of watching homeless men come to Christ and eventually go on to lead businesses, non-profit organizations and international ministries, all because of Stringer's initial obedience to God to reach them when they were at their lowest.

"In Christ, we are to bring the incarnational presence of Jesus into every world arena we go into," he said. "Prayer is like rain—what good is it without seed to water? We have to be out sowing seed in others so God can bring the increase."

Relating it to the principles of availability and obedience, Stringer also addressed the relationship between social justice and evangelism.

"Evangelism without social work is inefficient, but social work without evangelism is impotent," he explained, referencing Proverbs 14:25, which mandates that a "true witness" deliver souls. "We can't water down the Gospel presentation."

Christian life must be a mix of prayer, presence and justice, Stringer said, and one must be open to what God can do with those things.

"Oftentimes, we go after associations with people for what we think they can offer us instead of just being available for the connections God is bringing to us," he noted, emphasizing the importance of first serving others. "While men reach for towers to build their name, Jesus reached for a towel to wash men's feet."

Recognizing that Western society is nearing a post-Christian era, Stringer stressed that now is not the time to back down. "It's time for us to disciple the culture," he said. "We've shown them good preaching, but we haven't given them a tangible expression of Jesus Christ.

"They need to see Him through us. We have to step out of the prayer closet and into the streets and become practitioners of the gospel."

A friend of dignitaries and world leaders across the globe, Stringer has experienced all kinds of responses and reactions to the gospel, and he had good news for young Christians. "We don't have to come in the back door," he encouraged students. "People want your authenticity."

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