As we grieve and pray for those in Eastern Europe facing unthinkable pain and hardships, it can be easy to get discouraged. In my April Coffee Break update, I offer three practical ways to harness your thoughts and emotions: identify a promise from God and cling to it; focus on what you find encouraging, and consider the challenges you’re facing. And I share five characteristics of GREAT prayers. Watch below!
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I will never forget riding in the backseat of a car on my way to Pebble Beach, California, to speak to a small group of some of the most wealthy and powerful leaders in the country. It was in the late 1990s, and I had been invited to speak to eight of the most powerful CEOs in America. While I rode in the car, I asked the Lord: “What in the world do You want to say through me?”
“And without FAITH it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God.”
Dear Ministry Partner,
I will never forget riding in the backseat of a car on my way to Pebble Beach, California, to speak to a small group of some of the most wealthy and powerful leaders in America. It was in the late 1990s, and I had been invited by an international Christian organization to speak to eight of the most powerful CEOs in the U.S. about investigating the claims of Christ.
Some of them were Christians; others were seekers. After teaching four times at my church that weekend, I had an idea of what I wanted to share with them, but had not given nearly enough thought to what I was going to actually say to them that night.
While my hosts drove, I asked them to tell me more about the men who would be at the gathering. I wanted to know who they were, where they worked, what their specific roles were, and what their expectations would be for our time together. In my mind, I was asking the Lord,
“What in the world do You want to say through me?”
Up to that point in my life, I had not spent much time in places like Pebble Beach or with leaders of some of the largest companies in the country. Honestly, I felt intimidated, nervous, apprehensive, yet oddly excited to share the greatness of my God with these powerful people.
But because they weren’t all Christians, I knew that I couldn’t just open the Bible and teach through a passage. I had been teaching through the book of Nehemiah recently, and when we were about halfway through the drive to Pebble Beach, a thought came to mind:
“Nehemiah was really more of a businessman, not a priest or a prophet. He was an entrepreneurial leader who saw God’s ‘business’ failing and was able, with his skills and God’s favor, to turn it around”
All of a sudden, the message that I had planned to share faded into the background. I quickly opened my Bible and began to jot down the answer to this question:
“What is the profile of a Difference Maker?”
My mind raced through the first few chapters of Nehemiah, and I began to see specific characteristics of the people God uses to make a difference.
I had never looked at the passage in this way, and we only had a few miles left in the drive, so I wrote my notes as fast as I could. I wanted to share God’s Word in a way that the CEOs could connect with, while remaining faithful to the Scripture passage.
Drawing Parallels: Nehemiah and CEOs
As we gathered around a large conference-room table, I shared how Nehemiah’s Dislocated Heart moved him from the lap of luxury to make a difference in the lives of others. I continued with how Nehemiah’s Broken Spirit and dependency on God moved him to pray and dream about how to solve a problem that only God could accomplish through him.
I knew I was in the deep end of the pool, spiritually speaking. The men’s body language communicated, “This spiritual stuff sounds okay, but maybe you don’t realize who we are and how our lives actually work.” Then the next characteristic seemed to pique their interest: Nehemiah had a Radical Faith. After careful planning, Nehemiah laid it all on the line, didn’t play it safe, and stepped into a unique opportunity that no one else was willing to seize.
I could see the wheels turning in the leaders’ minds as I hit on topics in their wheelhouse: obliterating the status quo, daring to innovate, and taking calculated risks.
Looking back on that incredibly special ministry experience at Pebble Beach, I’m convinced that God showed me these characteristics in Nehemiah’s life to do much more than just help these influential men see Him more clearly. I know now that God gave me these thoughts to change me, too.
My Radical Step of Faith
This experience was God’s training ground for me to take a radical step of faith of my own. I had never thought of Nehemiah in this way because I had never spoken to a group like this. After some reflection, I began to see a pattern in my life. Many years earlier, just after college, God had already given me a Dislocated Heart for a hurting world when I played basketball in South America and Asia. I saw the overwhelming needs and the surpassing greatness of God’s power to deliver men and women from their sin and suffering.
I remember praying crazy prayers back then, prayers so big and bold that I wondered if I had a Dislocated Heart or if I was simply delusional. I had a Broken Spirit; I knew I couldn’t accomplish the things I prayed for, but in those moments, God birthed a Radical Faith in me and began to give me a picture of what He might be calling me to do.
Radical Faith in Action
A moment of truth came a few months later when I traveled to Chicago to teach at Moody Bible Institute’s Founder’s event. Our church was thriving (thousands of people were showing up each week), the radio ministry was growing, and God’s grace was abounding. But I found myself unsettled deep in my heart about fulfilling things the Holy Spirit was speaking to me about this broken world.
During the trip, a couple of men from Moody Publishers invited me for lunch. Shortly after they picked me up outside the hotel, I found myself at a restaurant on top of the John Hancock Tower, being asked if I would consider becoming an author. Just the thought of it overwhelmed me. My plate was already so full that the thought of writing a book felt impossible.
As lunch continued, they asked me what I’d like to write about. I didn’t have an answer. Up until then, I’d only prayed privately that someday I might put God’s truth in book form to help Christians practically live like Christians.
“Well, what’s your life message, Chip?” one of the men asked. “We find that for a first book, you need to know the passion in your heart and what you’re really about.” Without much thought, I gave an early outline of what would later become Holy Ambition, the profile of a Difference Maker according to the principles God had shown me in Nehemiah. And I shared how I was on that journey personally.
But I was afraid and just plain intimidated by the idea. Although I loved to study and communicate God’s Word verbally, I hated writing. This was going to require taking a Radical Step of Faith.
That was almost twenty-five years ago. And now, after writing more than twenty books and seeing millions of lives being touched by the ministry of Living on the Edge here and around the world, I stand in awe of God’s willingness to use an ordinary person like me to accomplish extraordinary things for Him.
Unfortunately, most believers tend to think that making a difference for God requires doing something big, public, and famous. I love Francis Schaeffer’s perspective:
“There are no little people and no little places.”
God orchestrates exactly where He has each of us, and He calls each of us to develop a Dislocated Heart for those in need, to seek Him with a Broken Spirit and dependency in prayer, and then to launch out as He leads us to take a Radical Step of Faith.
God has used Holy Ambition, the book that grew out of this lunch meeting with Moody Publishers, to motivate and mobilize thousands of people to be Difference Makers who have brought relief, restoration, and healing through the gospel to countless others.
Theresa’s Radical Step of Faith
One of the outcomes of Holy Ambition that has moved my heart the most is watching my wife, Theresa, live out God’s calling on her life. I’ve been a firsthand witness to a miracle. Seeing God use Theresa and her journey to help countless women experience spiritual transformation by seeing themselves as precious in God’s sight has been one of the greatest joys of my life.
Theresa is not an extrovert. She still struggles at times to believe that people would ever want to hear what she says. She’s quiet, godly, prayerful, and very wise. She never pictured herself as an author, but the demand became so great to put her “Precious in His Sight” teaching in a format women could learn from that she took a Radical Step of Faith of her own.
Download and enjoy the introduction of her new book, Precious in His Sight. And I hope you’ll ponder how God wants to use your life.
It seems there are two kinds of Christians: those who are AFRAID of all that’s happening around us, and those who step out IN FAITH to be part of God’s solution.
Which will you be in the days ahead?
My prayer is not only that God will simply help MORE Christians live like Christians. It’s that He will raise up Difference Makers like you who will DISCIPLE others to follow Christ.
Please join me and our team as we seek to inspire, encourage, and equip Disciple Makers here and around the world.
Thanks for doing your part,
CEO and Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Every month, we’ll share with you the top three prayer requests and praises from our team at Living on the Edge. This update is one of our favorite, as it’s so clear the many ways that God is at work in our ministry. Chip and our entire team encourage you to celebrate and pray alongside us.
We Thank God For…
- The 20 thousand people that joined Chip’s 10-Day Challenge to dive into James 1 in Daily Discipleship: The A.R.T. of Survival.
- Providing the approval to print 1 million copies of The A.R.T. of Survival book in China.
- The release of Theresa Ingram’s new book, Precious in His Sight.
We ask God to…
- Provide wisdom and strength for our global training leader as he trains pastors in The A.R.T. of Survival (James 1) in Uganda, Malawi, Mexico, and India through April and May.
- Show us who He wants us to partner with globally to share discipleship resources as opportunities are opening in several nations.
- Use Precious in His Sight in many women’s lives as they learn to see themselves through Jesus’ eyes.
Living on the Edge helps Christians bring their faith to life by living before God, in community and on mission.