Becoming Useful to God

Through his work and the Moody Center, James Spencer recognized the character of D.L. Moody as a man who followed Christ.

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Dwight Moody is a 19th-century evangelist who led countless souls to the Lord. He also discipled other evangelists who went on to do the same. The effect of his Kingdom efforts is truly difficult to estimate. Many books have been written illuminating the Christlike character of D.L. Moody, and in that sense, one of Kingdom Winds’s newest releases is one among many. But Useful to God by James Spencer is not like other books about D.L. Moody. It stands above as more than just a retelling of one man’s life and impact on the Kingdom; Useful to God serves as a guide to how we can develop Christlike, kingdom-impacting character ourselves.

For many years, James Spencer worked within the halls of theological academia. Amid the tumult of the last few years, God moved Spencer to Northfield, Massachusetts to help run the D.L. Moody Center, which “echoes D. L. Moody’s call [for Spirit-led study of Scripture and ministry] by challenging God’s people to be and make disciples and convening them digitally and in Northfield, MA, to pray, worship, study the scriptures, and follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit.”

In his book, Spencer reveals that prior to his work at the Moody Center, Spencer recognized Moody as a productive historical evangelist. Through his work and the Moody Center, Spencer recognized the character of D.L. Moody as a man who followed Christ. He realized that “D. L. Moody demonstrates what God can do through us as we commit to living faithfully on a day-to-day basis. He reminds [Spencer] that [he’s] too often self-sufficient, too enamored with credentials, and too discontent with simple acts of obedience.”

The world we live in today is unsettling, changing rapidly. But the God we serve is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). And He desires the same of His people today as He always has: simple obedience. God asks us to be faithful to Him as He is faithful to us, and Moody stands as an example of how we may be so.

Useful to God walks the reader through eight characteristics that allowed Moody to be used by God. We learn how each characteristic is exemplified in Moody’s life, and then we see how each characteristic is demonstrated in Scripture and are provided an opportunity to reflect on how this characteristic is present in our own lives.

As writers often reveal, the process of writing Useful was, well, useful to Spencer. He says that writing Useful “quickly became to feel less like a project [he] was doing and more like a project God was leading [him] through.  As [he] considered each of D. L. Moody’s characteristics included in Useful, [he] began to realize that [he] need to be surrendered, prayerful, humble, free from the love of money, passionate for the lost, and so writing Useful provided an opportunity for [him] to grow closer to God.”

Any time we seek to learn and emulate the character of Christ as represented in Scripture, the result is increased intimacy with the Lord. Useful serves as a tool in this process. Jesus called His disciples to follow Him. Paul encourages the Corinthians to follow him as he follows Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:1). And it is the hope of James Spencer and Kingdom Winds that reading Useful to God will help you follow D.L. Moody as he followed Jesus. Learn from the life of a man who truly followed Jesus, and be enriched by a contemporary man who endeavors to do the same and hopes you’ll join him along the way. May we all find ourselves useful to the Lord.


Written by Codi Ribitzki


Eight Lessons from the Life of D. L. Moody





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