“Hey Chip, how’s life going since you retired?
Are you getting to do a little traveling?”
That’s the question a lady from our church asked me recently as I was coming out of the grocery store. It’s funny how certain words create pictures in people’s minds. Although I never used the word “retired“ from the church, it’s what some people heard, and I think it conjured up lounging on cruise ships and taking long walks on the beach.
In reality, it’s been a very exciting 2019 for Theresa, myself, and Living on the Edge. I had three major goals for the first quarter of this year that required a different kind of traveling:
1. EVALUATION AND ASSESSMENT
I wanted to take time in this first three months to evaluate my life calling, assess where we are as a ministry, and really see firsthand what is happening around the country.
I’ve been on the road meeting with pastors, leaders, ministry partners, and our staff and board. I am seeking to hear God’s voice and get clarity and direction to invest my remaining years and Living on the Edge’s energy and resources for maximum impact in God‘s kingdom.
In my trips so far this year to Colorado Springs, Orlando, Naples, Atlanta, Louisville, Ashland, Columbus, Little Rock, back to Atlanta, Dallas, Kearney, Nebraska and across the San Francisco Bay area—it is obvious that we are living in a new day, filled with new and complex challenges.
The credibility of Christianity has been deeply marred by ongoing revelations of sexual abuse and leadership failures within the Catholic, Southern Baptist and high-profile mega churches. I witnessed this firsthand in my interactions with college students, faculty, concerned parents and pastors. As I’ve traveled and spoken across the country, there is a vivid sense and statistical proof that we are losing the next generation and that our current models of ministry must change to be effective.
But I also witnessed something else. A core of godly young men and women who see the problems, love the Lord, believe His Word and really want to make a difference. They’re swimming upstream in a pluralistic culture and often don’t have the tools to refute the avalanche of politically correct slogans that attack their faith daily.
The Lord is using this time powerfully in my heart and is beginning to birth some very new thoughts about how we can be a part of making a significant difference…more to come on that later!
2. STRENGTHENING MARRIAGES AND FAMILIES
I am deeply concerned about the eroding view of marriage in America. 40% of Americans do not believe in marriage. 65% of Americans live together and may or may not ever get married. When marriage is no longer sacred, the family institution begins to crumble. We’re seeing it today like never before. Over 50% of all children in America are born out of wedlock, and 33% of divorced women will live below the poverty level.
In response, the Living on the Edge broadcasts have been highly focused on family issues and we launched the new book Marriages That Work in February and March. It’s an exposition of Ephesians 5:21-33 that explains God’s design for marriage and the role of men and women in marriage. I’ve spoken at multiple churches and done scores of interviews on radio, podcasts and major ministries to call God’s people back to marriage as a holy covenant. The response has been very encouraging, especially among younger people—many express they have never heard God’s instruction on marriage.
3. NEW BIBLICAL TEACHING
My third objective was to focus on developing new material that God has been putting on my heart. I have pondered for a number of years how to help people grasp their identity in Christ. The last series I taught at the church was called “The Real You: How God Longs For You To See Yourself.” There was a tremendous response and I asked my publisher to let this be next year’s book release—that meant finishing the manuscript by March 1st. By God’s grace, some really long and intense hours, and some awesome help from my friends, it is in the publisher’s hands and will come out next April.
I still have significantly more research to do in the coming months, but I already have some very strong promptings and inklings from the Holy Spirit about how God has prepared me and Living on the Edge to help fill some of these gaps that are so challenging and candidly very complex.
I do not know that there’s ever been a time in American history where the need for Christians to really live like Christians is as great as it is today.
I also have come to one very personal conclusion. I’ve never been more convinced of God‘s direction and timing to invest 100% of my time and energy in what God has called us to do at Living on the Edge in America, China, and the Middle East.
We all have a choice in the midst of adversity. We can simply moan and talk about the problems, or be a part of making a difference.
I’m so grateful that God has raised up a tremendous team of gifted, committed men and women at Living on the Edge and a board filled with wisdom and faith. I’m equally grateful for people like you who pray regularly for us and give generously of your financial resources.
It really is a team effort, and I would ask that you especially pray with us and me as I will be flying out on Easter Sunday evening to do training in China. Praise God for the miraculous approval to print and share 200,000 more copies of The Real God book!
Is anything too difficult for God? – Jeremiah 32:17
CEO and Teaching Pastor
Living on the Edge