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KEEP IT SIMPLE!       DO 2774 31/1/92
--Let's Get the Simplest & the Cheapest to the Mostest!

       1. Do you know what I believe the Lord is helping me to do, & what the Lord has always really helped me to do?--To make things simple! I got so sick of education when I was in college that I stood up in class & said, "It seems to me that the whole policy of education is to make things as complicated as possible!"--And the professor gave me a bad grade after that! I just always felt sorry for the poor students, how the professors were always getting way out of their reach.
       2. I think the Lord has given me such success with the Family because through me He has made things simple for them, & helped them to see things clearly that were pretty obscure in church. (Maria: I know that in my case, if I hadn't been in the Family all these years, I would have been so complicated, & tried to make everything so complicated! But now, because of your sample, I'm really simple! The church system for the most part makes things so complicated! Even when they try to make it simple, it just doesn't seem to quite hit the mark. But you've made everything so simple that anybody can understand it!) It's just the Lord, Honey. Give the Lord the credit.

       The Greatest Men Preached a Simple Message!

       3. This has been true all through history. Unlike most of the Church System, the few great men who stood out above the crowds usually preached a pretty simple message. That's why they were so effective & people were so drawn to them. Billy Graham is one good example of this. He is direct, clear-cut & simple in his message. He makes it clear exactly what he's talking about & exactly what the Lord is talking about in the Bible.
       4. Even Pat Robertson, although he is a little more erudite--which is a word probably few of us understand, meaning very learned or scholarly--is not so complicated & highly educational. He really tries to make God's Message very simple & speaks fairly simply to the people in spite of all the education he's had as a lawyer.
       5. The greatest men of God throughout history preached a simple message & made it clear, including the Lord! He made it very simple, especially in the Gospels. I can't quite say the same for the Apostle Paul all the time, but much of the time he made it quite simple. Of course, he had to reason with the Jews & get into pretty deep doctrine & prove things for their sakes, but when he preached to the Gentiles, he was the soul of simplicity!

       Education Prides Itself on Complication!

       6. The further I got along in my education in school, the more I realised that education really prides itself on complication, not on simplicity. In fact, there's no point in your even getting a formal education if you can understand things pretty simply without it! The whole point to education seems to be to make things as complicated as possible so that you can be complicated & appear very complicated to others! It's a pride trip!
       7. Much of the simple-minded public worships complication & big words & deep concepts, just because they can't understand them! They think that the educated must be great & wise, because they can't understand them. I've found through all my experiences that the people who worship education the most are the ones who didn't have any, or very little.--And the people who had the most, if honest, were sick of it! I didn't have the most of it, but I sure got sick of what little I had!
       8. Too much education puts you out of reach of the common man! You get out of touch with humanity! The simpler & the clearer you can make your message, the better! I always think of that verse--& I think it was even Paul who said it--"But I fear, lest by any means, as the Serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ!"--2Cor.11:3.
       9. And they said of Peter & John, "Though they were ignorant & unlearned men, people took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."--Acts 4:13. In other words, they were powerful! Their message was powerful because it was so clear & simple.--Whereas the highly educated Pharisees & Sadducees were the very essence of un-understandable complication & deep, dark, doctrinal divinity. And although the Torah--the Five Books of Moses, the Law--is virtually the essence of simplicity, its Jewish commentary, the Talmud, is the essence of complication, taking a whole page to comment on one verse & just succeeding in making it obscure & confusing.
       10. Lord help us & deliver us from too much education! Thank God He delivered me! I think because of my own life experience with preachers & congregations, I was able to see what clicked with the people & what didn't. I saw that people in the average congregation were very childlike & simple-minded, & too often the preachers were not just deep, they just weren't clear!
       11. I remember that when I was still in college, psychologists estimated that the average American intelligence was at about the level of a child of 12 years of age! If it was that low then, imagine what it is now! It's probably sunk to about six or eight, about half that! (Maria: In spite of all their supposed technological advances & more complicated education, they go further & further back all the time.) Yes! The very very few have become very very technical, whereas the very very many have become more & more simple & even ignorant! You can hardly even fix your own car any more, much less your own radio or television set. In fact, even programming a video recorder is so complicated, they have to supply big thick instruction manuals with them!

       Our Presentation of the Gospel Is Simple & Quick!

       12. So God help us to keep it simple & clear! I think this is what has appealed to the Russians so much, because our literature is so simple & so clear. What can they have that's clearer than a picture?--And then the simple explanation on the back! You just couldn't have anything clearer than that!--And they love it & they're falling all over themselves to get it! Thank the Lord that we're falling all over ourselves to give it to them as fast as we can!
       13. Our presentation of the Gospel is simple, it's fast, it's quick!--And its ministry grows faster! By the time some of the big churches & denominations & huge missionary societies were finally getting the point that there was an opening in Eastern Europe & that it would be a good time to give them Bibles, we were already in there giving them the simple Gospel Message in pictures!
       14. I don't even want to give them whole Bibles, it makes it too complicated!--Especially the Old Testament & all that Jewish stuff. Thank God for the New Testament, & especially the simple Gospels.--And best of all, the Words of Jesus! Jesus made it the simplest of all. And to illustrate it, He constantly drew pictures too--parables, picture stories for the simple-minded--& they loved it, they understood it & they believed it. And that's what we try to do! Thank the Lord!

       You've Gotta Be a Baby!

       15. Don't get too high & mighty or complicated for them.--Keep it simple & childlike! I almost had to laugh when I saw in some of those videos from Eastern Europe that they were having the audience stand up & sit down & sing all those little childlike motion songs like: "I'm inright, outright, upright, downright happy all the time!" And, "I'm gonna jump down, turn around, touch the ground, praise the Lord!" Let's keep it that way!--Simple & childlike! As Jesus said, "Except ye become as a little child, ye shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of Heaven."--Mat.18:3.
       16. --Like our famous song, "You've Gotta Be a Baby!" That little chorus really appealed to the hippies! (Maria: Yes, & we had it in a tract too, "The Baby Tract!") Yes! The hippies were sick & fed up with education. Hippyism was a rebellion against the systematic!--The System addicts of education & religion, & even economics. Hallelujah! Thank You Jesus for simplicity!--The essence of childhood! Praise the Lord! (Maria: Amen! This is such a good little talk! Thank You Jesus!--And needed!)
       17. Keep it simple! If the children can understand it, everybody can! If you can help children to understand it, you're a genius! (Maria: A simple genius!) Yes, the wise geniuses have found out that it's better to be like a little child & be able to speak to little children & help them to understand you.
       18. I really admire childcare workers & people who can understand & help & train children--they're the smartest people we've got! Anybody can talk to the educated & the adults, it's not hard for them to understand you; but to have the little kids understand you, you've really got to be smart!--And that means simple! You've got to know what they can understand & how to present it in a way they won't forget it. Whether it takes pictures or actions or songs or simple rhymes or whatever it takes to put it across, use it!


       19. That's why the flannelgraphs were such a huge success! They could bring the Gospel in pictures to children even on the street. They were the closest thing to moving pictures, because you moved them around, giving variety & motion & movement to your pictures. They made it so simple that a little child could understand. The little children would even want to go up & play with them & move them around themselves.
       20. Funny, you don't hear too much about flannelgraphs any more. (Maria: I think they've been replaced a lot by videos & TV, but I think Christians probably still use them in Sunday school, & we still use them with our children.) It's the simplest kind of an illustration you could possibly use, at the cheapest possible expense. Almost anybody can make flannelgraphs--it just takes work!
       21. Movies & videos are so easily available that it doesn't seem like they need to use flannelgraphs any more, but I really think they've kind of lost something there, because it's something you can give to everybody & leave with everybody, & which anybody can afford! The simplest missionaries on the simplest fields can have flannelgraphs even without electricity, & pick'm up & carry them with them & take them wherever they go without a lot of equipment. All they need is just one little flannel board & a few characters that they can pack up in the smallest, most lightweight possible case. (Maria: Yes, it's true.)
       22. I don't think we should give up on flannelgraphs! (Maria: No, I don't think we have. I think they're still using them for our children.) I think the little kids can understand the slow-moving flannelgraphs much more easily than the fast-moving movies.
       23. Of course our Kiddie Viddies are really terrific! They're fast-moving, but they're simple. (Maria: They don't take the place of the Bible stories that you get in flannelgraphs.) No, they don't. Of course, you get Bible stories & pictures in movies & videos too, but those are sometimes a little too complicated for toddlers to understand. (Maria: And very few of them really are accurate.) Yes.
       24. But the flannelgraphs move so slowly & they're so simple, they can be understood by the dumbest!--And they can even be shown by the dumbest. (Maria: Yes! Even by other children! The older children can show them to the younger ones.) At their own speed. Some kids are quick to comprehend, but others are very slow to understand. The flannelgraph moves at such slow speed that all of them can understand.
       25. The kids even want to come up & do it themselves & show you how to do it! (Maria: Yes, they can get quite involved in it that way.) It invites audience participation.--Whereas the movies & videos have sort of taken that away, & there's not much audience participation.--Although I understand some kids get up & dance & sing to our Kiddie Viddies!
       26. I'm still sold on the good old-fashioned, simple, cheap, lightweight visuals of the flannelgraph! They used to have flannelgraph boards that were hinged & you folded them up with all of your figures & scenes inside of them. They weren't any heavier than a briefcase, & everything was there. And the kids just loved sorting out the characters etc. They could participate. They felt like they were right there & the figures were theirs & they could make them move. You know?
       27. (Maria: Yes! I used to be a Sunday School teacher & I used flannelgraphs too.) I'd forgotten that, Honey! That's sweet! (Maria: I used to help the children learn Scripture verses with flannelgraphs too. Instead of flannelgraph figures of people, you'd have flannelgraph words which you would put up, one word at a time, & then you would learn the entire verse. Then you could scramble up the words & ask the children to come up & put them in order on the board.--Or give out the words of the verse to various children & have each one come up with their word in the correct order. The child with the first word first, the child with the second word second etc.) Little kids are just fascinated by flannelgraphs! (Maria: Oh, yes!)
       28. I remember Mother Eve used to use flannelgraphs in the trailer parks where we were staying, & the kids would just be absolutely hypnotised by them! You can pull them out any time, anywhere, on any occasion, any scene, with no big heavy equipment, no electricity, no nothing but a little flannelgraph board & a few characters. I think maybe some have neglected the Flannelgraph Ministry & have been led away from the simplicity of the feltograms, as we used to call them. Maybe "feltogram" was a trade name, I don't know. But anyhow, it seems the flannelgraph has been supplanted by the video.
       29. We used to create flannelgraphs for the Family--whole big books of them! (Maria: Yes, & the Family still uses them.) I used to just love flannelgraphs! (Maria: Yes, it's like paper dolls, & the children really like that.) Did you know that they didn't even have flannelgraphs when I was a kid? (Maria: Really? Did they have paper dolls?) Oh, yes, of course. (Maria: So paper dolls were probably the forerunner of flannelgraphs & what gave them the idea for flannelgraphs.)

       Sunday School Calendars!

       30. In Sunday School they did have these great big picture calendars. They called them "Sunday School Calendars." They weren't really calendars at all, but they were great big pictures, & each Sunday there was a new picture. They hung them up on the wall or put'm on a stand or whatever, & the Sunday school teacher turned the pages of the so-called "calendar." I guess they called them calendars because calendars usually contain pictures. They'd turn to the appropriate picture for the lesson of that Sunday, & I just used to sit there fascinated with the picture, just looking & looking. I practically memorised them all!
       31. (Maria: How big were the pictures?) They were about three feet high vertically & a couple of feet wide, & in beautiful colour, gorgeous colour! Of course, the scenery didn't change & the characters didn't move, but they were beautiful illustrations, copies of some of the great masterpieces of art in beautiful colour. Every Sunday school class of children had them. It was only when the kids got to be older--I think probably 10 or 12 or more--that they didn't seem to think they needed them any more, but I think the older kids would have appreciated them just as much.
       32. (Maria: I think my Sunday school class had them too, only they were like separate posters that went with each class. They may still do that in Sunday school, have a large poster to go with each class. Oh, & then they'd give you a little card. Now I remember!) Yes, then they gave you a little card of the same picture with the lesson on the back to take home with you.
       33. With the big calendar pictures, we used to get up there & take sneak previews of what was coming by looking at the pictures underneath! They hung on a string, sort of like calendars, & you could turn the pages like calendars. You ordered them from some big publishing house, & they sent them rolled up in tubes. Then they had the little cards to go along with the pictures, & each child got the little card with the picture on the front of it. (Maria: That was really a good idea, wasn't it?) Yes! The card was no bigger than a file card, with a simple story on the back.
       34. Of course, in the Family we have our Posters up all over the walls & the children can study them as often as they want! But for the poor little church kids who only get a chance to see the beautiful big pictures once a week, they figured they needed to give them something to take with them to remind them of the picture & the lesson.

       Our Posters!

       35. I think that Poster Book size which they distribute in Eastern Europe & Russia is ideal, since we're giving them away for free! It's not too big & it's not too small, & they can distribute them to more thousands, in fact millions! Thank the Lord! Hallelujah! The Lord has led us to be simple. (Maria: They say it only costs $2,000 to print a million of those small black-&-white Posters!--Whereas it costs $10,000 to do the coloured ones.)
       36. Of course the coloured ones are much more vivid & much more treasured, & they can even put them on their walls as pretty pictures. But where it's not possible & they can't afford it, I think the black-&-whites are very usable & effective! (Maria: If our Catacombers are going to reach all of Russia, they're going to have to do them in black-&-white.) Yes, & another advantage of the black-&-white is that any little printer can print'm!--But colour printers are highly technical & rather scarce & very expensive.
       37. The fact that we've been able to get out so many colour Posters is miraculous!--But in order to go further, I think we're going to have to print more black-&-whites. Where they can't find a printer that does colour or they can't afford it, by all means they should use black-&-white. (Maria: The Catacombers in Eastern Europe are our main force, they're getting out the most lit by far! They got out a fourth of our Family's total lit last month.) Praise the Lord!

       The Easiest & Fastest to the Mostest!

       38. So in a way we have found the ultimate, the maximum use of pictures & lessons in our Posters! But I still wouldn't minimise the usefulness & the effectiveness of flannelgraphs with our own children, & others in some cases.
       39. I remember in trailer parks, all Eve had to do was set up her flannelgraph board & right away she'd get a crowd of kids! You can set up your flannelgraph board in a park, anywhere! You don't need electricity. You don't even need sound. People will come up close enough because they'll want to see the pictures & hear you. And then, if you're able to give away Posters of the same scene, so to speak, you can give them something to take home with them!--It's lasting!
       40. This is why I've always favoured lit above anything else, because you give them something right in their hand to take home with them & keep, which they can refer to forever after!--Or put on their wall & be a blessing to many others.
       41. It all boils down again to the simplicity of the Gospel! The simpler it is, the more effective it is! To put it bluntly: The easiest & the fastest to the mostest!--And that's what we have been specialising in in our missionary work. It's cheap, fast, mobile, multiplied & effective!--And pictured! We're talking about the lit, flannelgraphs, even videos where possible, but primarily literature.--Cheap, fast, many & mobile! How much further can we condense the Message to make it simple & vivid? It's cheap, fast, mobile & effective. It gets results!--And we've got the fruit to prove it! Amen? (Maria: Amen!)
       42. So God help us not to get away from the simplicity of the Gospel! The simpler the better!--And the cheaper & the many-er & the more mobile the better! I think that's one reason for our effectiveness, we can move fast! (Maria: Yes!) That's one handicap in a way, because we're hard for the people to find.--But it's a great advantage with our enemies!--We're harder to find & stop!
       43. We're also more indigenous--which is a big word that most people don't understand, but it literally means "self-operating." In Eastern Europe right now, where the Family's gifts are paying for the Posters so we can give them out freely to the millions of Gospel-starved people, printing our lit can be done by almost anybody. They can take it to almost any little simple printer & he can print it at the lowest possible price in the very largest numbers & with the fastest method for quick distribution to get them out to the most! The bestest & the mostest! It's cheap, fast, most & best!--Most effective with the most widespread results! While the churches & big missionary societies were waiting to be able to afford to get Bibles printed in these different languages & distributed by the gigantic truckloads, we were already there & had our Posters out by the millions in the native languages!
       44. That little saying keeps coming to me, something about "The Bestest with the Mostest!"--The bestest for the mostest for the leastest! The simpler you say it, the better & the longer they're going to remember it. So boiled down to the very barest bones of all, our message would be: Let's get the simplest & the cheapest to the mostest! Let's not get too complicated! Amen? PTL! GBY! ILY!--AMEN!

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