"I know that You can do all things;
No PURPOSE of Yours can be thwarted."
- Job 42:2 (NIV) -
Dear Ministry Partner,
I woke up extra early this morning while it was dark, quiet and peaceful. After I made a pot of coffee and fed the dog, I walked out to my backyard and stared at the stars.
To be quite honest, I felt confused and more than a little bit overwhelmed. Somehow the news of the last several weeks has all piled up inside my soul ... and I’m troubled.
I can’t shake the images of the Neo-Nazi flags in Charlottesville, the devastating flooding in Texas, the impact of Hurricane Irma, the North Korean missiles threatening nuclear war, and the deep divisions growing socially and politically in America.
What's going on? Lord, what are you up to? How are we to respond?
How do you want me to respond? What do you want me to do?
Those were the questions swirling in my mind and troubling my soul. When I feel this way, I go into my backyard and look up at the stars and REMEMBER that the One who made all of the stars and holds them in place is in ABSOLUTE CONTROL.
He is not surprised by world events or the challenging things you and I face in our own lives. He has a PURPOSE for the world, and a PURPOSE for you and me, and it CANNOT be thwarted. (Job 42:2)
We may not grasp all that His PURPOSES entail, but we are called by God to “understand the times” and be active agents of redemption, compassion and righteousness. (1 Chronicles 12:32)
As I stared up at the stars, I began to think about what happens to me and to others when we fail to “understand the times.”
- We withdraw in fear.
- We blame God or some other group.
- We attack anyone who is different and who we perceive as a threat.
- We live in denial and are content as long as the troubles don’t touch our lives directly.
Unfortunately, all 4 of those responses are a recipe for disaster. These times are not new, and God has always raised up a people in the midst of extreme chaos who “understood the times” and knew what God would have them do.
The men of Issachar (1 Chronicles 12:32) “understood the times” and changed the course of Israel’s history. Jesus’ disciples “understood the times” and turned the Roman Empire upside down. Martin Luther, Corrie Ten Boom, Martin Luther King, Jr. and scores of others have stepped into critical times in history to fulfill God’s PURPOSE.
What they all had in common was WISDOM.
They couldn’t and didn’t do everything; but they understood WHAT they were to do, WHY they were to do it, and HOW God wanted to use them.
Were they fearful? Of course! Were they perfect? Of course not! They were just like us in a world that seemed out of control, corrupt and desperately evil. Yet, against impossible odds, and at great personal cost, they “understood the times,” did their part, exercised wisdom...and the rest is history.
In this month’s Coffee Break, I tackle what I see as some of the most difficult things happening in our world today to help you “understand the times” (to some degree) and KNOW what we CAN and MUST do, with God’s help.
I want you to understand more clearly:
- Racism in America today.
- Why our Children are leaving the Faith.
- Why followers of Christ are increasingly viewed as narrow, prejudiced and intolerant.
Most of all, I want to give you HOPE and some very practical ways that you can make a difference in the lives of your children, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers and your Church.
These difficult days can be the very best days for the Church if we will move beyond simply WHAT we believe to UNDERSTANDING WHY we believe it.
When our roots grow deep and our faith grows stronger, we will have the kind of convictions that the men of Issachar, Martin Luther, Corrie Ten Boom, and Martin Luther King, Jr. displayed that changed the world.
Thank you for your fervent prayers and amazing generosity that allows us to get resources into the hands of millions of people here and around the world to help Christians live like Christians.
Pressing Ahead Together,
President & Teaching Pastor