Thank you for everything you did to make 2022 such a fruitful, dynamic year of ministry for Living on the Edge. As we begin a new year, God is directing me to Paul’s words “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say it, rejoice” (Philippians 4:8). Imbedded in these words is the need to be thankful in every situation. Will you join me in asking God to cultivate a grateful, rejoicing heart in 2023?
Your gift this month will be used to disciple believers in the US and around the globe.
Is a joy-filled life possible—even in the tough times? As I read Paul’s letter to the Philippians, I see a man who knows how to choose joy. His situation is dire – he’s locked in prison for no crime other than preaching the Gospel, and to make it worse, his enemies are using his situation as an opportunity to get at him. If I imagine myself in Paul’s situation, I expect that I would be downcast and complaining, yet Paul’s letter bubbles over with joy. What’s his secret?
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”
Philippians 4:4 ESV
Dear Ministry Partner,
I just returned from training pastors in Egypt and Kenya. I am beyond humbled by the incredible doors that God is opening for us to serve pastors all over the world. I never dreamed that the core teaching of Living on the Edge would be needed and embraced with such enthusiasm by these godly leaders who are answering God’s call to make disciples. Your partnership allows us to do this important work. Thank you!
As we step into a new year, with fresh memories of the uncertainty, division, and economic challenges of last year, I want to encourage you to choose joy. I’m convinced that even in the tough times, it’s possible to choose joy.
The apostle Paul models this for us in his letter to the Philippians. Nearing sixty years of age, Paul had experienced significant persecution and setbacks on his journey. He experienced physical torture (stoned nearly to death) and repeated imprisonment. In spite of these rugged hardships, he still chose joy.
An Upward Focus
Rather than feeling discouraged by his dreadful circumstances, Paul managed to see life through an upward focus. He wrote these words from prison:
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:3-6 NASB 1995)
Paul fixed his heart and mind on joy, remembering what God had done in his friends’ lives. Instead of casting blame and complaining about his situation, he communicated a positive, confident outlook. His words are laced with hope and expectation of a fruitful future for the believers in Philippi.
Following Paul’s example, I believe we can choose joy by being grateful, prayerful, and confident about the future.
- Gratefulness: Deciding to dwell on the good that God has placed in our lives will squelch the thoughts that lead to negativity. Let me encourage you to spend a half hour today or tomorrow jotting down everything you’re thankful for. You’ll be amazed at how this will lift your spirits!
- Prayerfulness: We must willfully choose to give thanks to God—for the people He has placed in our lives and for what He has accomplished in them and through them. Take some time to thank God for the precious people He has placed in your life (even if you don’t feel like it). You’ll be surprised by how it changes your perspective.
- Confidence: When we saturate our minds with the good work that God is faithful to complete in us, we find certainty and our faith is strengthened, removing discouragement and fear. Try memorizing Philippians 1:6 and meditating on it every day for a week.
An Outward Focus
In addition to looking upward, Paul also demonstrated an outward focus:
“For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:7-8 NASB 1995)
Paul focused his attention on both God and his friends. When pressure, chains, and hardship squeezed Paul, what surfaced was who he really was: a man who loved God with all his heart and cared deeply for people.
As we invest in loving others, joy will result—not because our circumstances will change, but because Christ’s presence will operate freely in our lives.
My prayer for you is that 2023 will be a season when, with God’s help (and the example of Paul) you will choose joy!
Thank you for giving to Living on the Edge. Your partnership is critical as we seek to train more pastors, disciple God’s people, and reach the next generation by equipping parents and grandparents. Your prayers and gifts are the fuel God is using to transform lives each and every day.
Rejoicing in Him,
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…
- Speaking powerfully through Chip as he trained pastors at a conference in Cairo, Egypt, last month.
- Blessing Chip and our global team during their time in Nairobi, Kenya, as they trained church pastors and met with marketplace leaders of influence to cast vision for the ministry.
- Providing the financial resources needed to fuel the expansion of the ministry to reach the next generation, train global pastors, and create discipleship resources to help Christians live like Christians.
We ask God to…
- Empower Chip as he travels to Manila later this month to teach at the Intentional Discipleship Conference in preparation for launching The A.R.T. of Survival trainings to 55,000 churches and 110,000 pastors in the Philippines.
- Speak powerfully through Chip as he meets with marketplace leaders in Singapore to cast the vision to discover and live out God’s calling in their lives for Kingdom impact.
- Strengthen thousands of pastors who will be trained in The A.R.T. of Survival in Zambia, Ethiopia, India, and Mexico this month.