Most of the time… I hate crisis! Usually a crisis is crushing and physically if not emotionally exhausting! The Scriptures are clear that, while I may desire to run from a crisis like a six-year-old runs from broccoli, as a servant of Christ crises in my life and ministry often cannot be avoided! The good news is that, when responding rightly to crises, they can actually be spiritually, emotionally and even physically good for me.
Twenty-five years... WOW! It doesn’t seem possible. During this first quarter century the Lord has taken us through a whirlwind of blessed opportunities to build in the lives of ministry leaders all around the world. It is fitting at this juncture for me to consider how my remaining time in IBL can best be invested.
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.
In preparing our recent issue of our newsletter, Side-by-Side, I had the opportunity to review literally hundreds of photos of IBL’s twenty-five years of ministry to thousands of leaders across the U.S. and around the world (one of my favorites is shown at the left). Since my own personal involvement with IBL dates from 1994— when Russ came to the church I attended in upstate New York to facilitate us in a long-range planning process—many of these photos brought back wonderful personal memories of God’s work in my churches and in the lives of my friends.
For the past decade IBL has had a growing involvement in the southwest United States. We are grateful for the many opportunities God has given us to impact pastors, leadership teams, and churches in that region of the country.
In the past two years we have been called into numerous ministry situations in which there was a notable lack of unity among the leadership team, throughout the church as a whole, or both. In seeking to help these leaders faithfully respond to these situations, we found ourselves going back to first principles: Why is unity important to God? What is He seeking to accomplish through our demonstration of unity? What are the practical prerequisites for unity to flourish? What factors hinder the development of unity?
Dear Russ, Doris & Dawn, It is always in season to give thanks. I want to share with you what God has done.
The culmination of my captivity has arrived. God has brought me back. He has emptied the vile and made my mouth to praise Him. He has redeemed me from the grip of the terrible and made me able to stand before Him. Blessed be the Lord!