In 1 Corinthians 16:8-9 Paul informs the Corinthians of his decision to remain for a time at Ephesus, “But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” When Paul arrived in Ephesus, he found approximately twelve disciples. After he baptized them in the name of Jesus, he taught boldly in the synagogue for three months. He then remained for two full years as God accomplished mighty things through him: healings, exorcisms, rampant confessions and repentance, and numerous professions of faith. Extraordinary miracles were occurring. The Name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified and the Word of God grew mightily and prevailed. Such is a “…wide door for effective work…” It’s exciting, isn’t it?
As I reflect back over the last twenty-five years of ministry in IBL, my spirit rises in worship and awe of God as I ponder the “…wide door for effective work…” which He has opened up to us…
Within a month of IBL’s founding in late 1988, Doris & I were ministering in South America. It was a whirlwind ministry in several countries, and such has been the case ever since. Since then, IBL Staff have ministered to individual missionaries and mission teams on every continent of the world. God has sovereignly paved the way to open opportunities for ministry we would never have been able to accomplish on our own. Bless the Lord! A “…wide door for effective work…”
Hundreds of leadership teams from churches and parachurch ministries all across the U.S. have consulted with IBL, seeking to strengthen their effectiveness for Christ. Many of these requests have led to collaborations spanning two or more years, during which biblical principles of leadership have been faithfully applied, resulting in God’s touch of blessing. These collaborations have flourished into precious relationships that continue to this day. Bless the Lord! A “…wide door for effective work…”
Multiple hundreds of ministry leaders have entered the Bible-based counseling ministry of IBL, seeking healing and hope as they deal with deeply troubling personal spiritual struggles. We have rejoiced over and over again as we witness the power of God’s Word as it is faithfully applied to a life. We have thrilled to see victory over addictive, besetting sins; freedom from deeply destructive thought patterns; recommitments in broken marriages; and healing in destructive interpersonal relationships. Sin has been confessed. Repentance has followed. Hope has been renewed. Bless the Lord! A “…wide door for effective work…”
Well over a hundred pastoral leadership seminars have been held across the U.S. and around the world, from Vietnam to Kenya and Argentina to Canada. In these training sessions, God’s Word has provided renewed hope to literally thousands of pastors and ministry leaders who have, in turn, been strengthened and enabled to more effectively invest in thousands more souls with whom they minister. Bless the Lord! A “…wide door for effective work…”
It’s almost breathtaking to ponder what God has been pleased to accomplish through IBL over the past quarter century. What will God do in the next twenty-five years should He tarry in coming? That thought does take our breath way! To be sure, He will continue to open “…wide door(s) for effective work…” if we remain faithful to Him and to His Word. May that be the testimony of the leadership, the Staff and the Board of Directors of IBL. To God be the glory!
Straight Ahead! (1 Corinthians 15:58)