There is so much in the news to wonder about, worry about or cheer about. Where is flight 370? Are the Russians now a real threat to the U.S.? Will my team endure the March Madness and end up in college basketball's final four?
I've started getting much of my news from the internet, one reason being that by the time a newspaper has arrived, the "news" is 12 hours old. Add to that the editorial bias in some papers (such as here in Iowa, the Des Moines Register, that seems to only print editorials it agrees with), and it is easy to see why newspapers are losing money and some are going out of business. As Mark Twain said, "If you don't read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you are misinformed."
Despite the uncertainty of "what does the future hold?" We know Who holds the future. The promises of Scripture were not likely intended to be read alongside our daily newspaper, but one cannot escape that the world seems to be shaping up toward what the Bible presents as a "last-days" scenario. What is a person to do, with all the economic uncertainties, concerns over the direction of our country, health issues, environment issues, family issues, ad infinitum? The answer is pretty simple--"Consider your calling."
When Paul wrote to a young church in Corinth, Greece, amidst the chaos of their area and their time, he reminded the new Christians to "consider" (i.e., "look carefully at") our "calling." What is our "calling?" First, we are called to salvation. By hearing the good news that Christ died for our sins, and by trusting in Him as our Savior, the Bible promises that our eternity is secured. We are forgiven of our sins, and imputed with the righteousness of Jesus. Second, we are called to service. Whether it is giving a cup of cold water in Jesus' name, praying for others, trying to live as an example of God's grace, or going to the ends of the earth with the gospel, we are "saved to serve." Have you considered you calling lately? How does the Lord want to use you to bless others and advance His kingdom?
Rolling Stone Ministries update
We returned from our second mission to West Africa in late February tired but feeling blessed. A trip that started out as such a challenge (cancelled flight, luggage, which included nearly all our teaching materials, sent ahead to Atlanta when we had to re-route through New York) ended up as an amazing trip. Laurie taught peacemaking to around 125 Christian lawyers, while I taught a select group of Christian leaders evangelism and apologetics (the defense of the faith). We are planning a return, possibly as soon as this fall, and we will provide details to our Rolling Stone Ministries friends as soon as we know the details.
We had not even been back home from West Africa for a week when I was off to speak at an apologetics conference in Vancouver, Canada. The conference there has grown from a few hundred attendees to two thousand, resulting in them having to hold the event at two locations to accommodate the crowds. This is further evidence of the growing need to bring the facts as to why Christianity is true to believers and unbelievers alike. In our increasingly secular age, there is a hunger for truth. It is a privilege to tell people that there is compelling evidence that Jesus is the Truth. I was humbled to speak at the conference sandwiched in between two of the best evangelical scholars alive today, Dr. Gary Habermas, perhaps the world's foremost authority on the resurrection of Jesus, and Craig Evans, an expert on the reliability of the Bible.
While I was in Canada speaking, Laurie was co-mediating in Spokane, Washington, having been hand-picked to assist in an important confidential situation. Laurie is close to receiving her certification from Peacemakers ministry to go along with her current certification as a mediator in the State of Iowa. Mediating and teaching mediation and conflict resolution are her gifts, as I observed again in West Africa, where I was blessed to see the response to her teaching. She is working with the Christian lawyers on a return trip to provide training at the next level, with the ultimate goal of the lawyers being to set up their own mediation center.
Finally, we are currently planning a mission trip to the Philippine Islands for July, and, again, as soon as we firm up the details we will let you know so that you can pray for us and encourage us. My role as the International Director of Ratio Christi ("Reason of Christ"), a campus-focused ministry to prepare Christian students for the intellectual challenges of the university, has opened up amazing opportunities around the world. Just this week I have corresponded with Christian leaders from Romania, Jamaica, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, all of them wanting Ratio Christi to bring training to them and establish an informed Christian presence on their university campuses. Please pray for wisdom in determining which opportunities we are to pursue first, in order to maximize our time and effectiveness. We know from Scripture that not every "good thing" is a "God thing," and even the apostle Paul was intending to go certain places (see Acts 16:6-7), but he and Silas were "forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia," and "the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them" (to go to Bithynia). While we are excited about all the potential opportunities, we want the Lord to direct our paths.
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. The fact that Laurie and I have a team of supporters helps us rise above the challenges and trials so that we can do the work the Lord has called us to do.