Have you seen the Capital One Financial ads, asking the customer, “What’s in your wallet?” It’s meant to convince potential customers that we need to have a Capital One credit card in our personal wallet.I think a question we can ask each other is, “Who’s in your cloud of witnesses?” (Hebrews 11), or who are the faith heroes we look to as role models to follow for life and ministry?Helen Roseveare is one of my heroes. Her wisdom has soaked over my life as I’ve read her books and listened to talks she gave during her life. I’ve kept her words in the pocket of my heart, so to speak, and the dividends have enriched my relationship with Christ and ministry.Helen was a British missionary, doctor, and author. She worked in the Congo from 1953 to 1973, including part of the period of political instability in the early 1960’s. She practiced medicine and trained others in medical work. She remained single until she met her eternal Bridegroom face to face in 2016 at the age of ninety-one.Here are three (of many!) ways Helen has discipled me to follow Christ more faithfully:Humor can be a godly tool in our ministry tool belt. Helen was funny! She was able to poke fun at herself and life itself in a way that softened the hearts of her audience. I appreciate that she used humor not to shame others, self-exalt, or self-deprecate but rather to reveal her humanity in a way that lifted the gaze of her audience to Christ and the cross…
Editor’s Note: This is the second in a two part series on the story of Abraham. To read the other post, click here.
Amid the unspeakably gorgeous mountain setting at the Billy Graham Training Center in North Carolina, a simple photograph made an indelible impression on me. The photo captured a wooden desk lined with Bibles and other study helps, several open at once; the desk belonged to Ruth Graham. For nearly a year, this picture has not left my mind and it’s made me curious to learn more about Billy Graham’s beloved wife. In her book It’s My Turn, Ruth remembers striving to get her way during their early years of marriage. In his gracious but firm tone, Billy once responded, “God will lead me and you will do the following.” She closed her chapter by stating, “I’ve been following ever since.”
These remarks by Billy and Ruth beautifully depict the image of Christ and his church. As we place our faith in Christ and believe in his goodness, we will follow as he leads. In doing so, a beautiful story unfolds.
In the first nine verses of Genesis Chapter 12, God does all of the speaking. He asked Abram for a dramatic response and gave an overview of the dramatic promises to follow. There are no recorded words from Abram. Only action. “So Abram went, as the Lord had told him” recounts verse 4. God is leading and Abram is following. It is simple and difficult at the same time.
Through Abram’s first steps toward the Promised Land, there are truths to apply to the journey you and I are on today.
Last week, four of us gathered as elders’ wives to pray for our growing church-plant and our husbands. My friend, Susan, had news. She had officially registered to adopt! I felt my stomach flip. An unfamiliar mixture of joy and bitterness clouded my congratulations. I tried to shake it off, but I realized I felt (perhaps) how a woman who has been unsuccessfully trying to conceive feels when her friend announces a pregnancy. I wanted to be happy— I am happy— but a gnawing jealousy arose.
My family and I are planting a church in a “security-sensitive” country. This past year, two of our team families were deported and our own visa was put on hold (and still is). The anti-foreigner (especially “anti-foreign religion”) government has been sniffing out suspicious activity and deporting at will. It is not a stretch to say we could be asked to leave tomorrow.
At the beginning of 2018, before all the unhappy deportations started, my husband and I decided we were going to pursue adoption. A new law made it possible for foreigners to adopt, as long as the child was disabled in some way. We waited for the allotted two weeks to get our visa approved so we could start the adoption process. Two weeks turned into months, a year, and now 14 months. We continue to wait for the government to give us official permission to stay here.
On New Year’s Day, my children were splashing in the ocean while my toes were curled in the sand. It was a gift of a beach trip after weeks of gray skies and rain clouds at home. My daughter enjoyed staying an extra few days at the beach with my Mama, her Gramma, after the rest of our family headed home. Upon picking her up, the joy on both of their faces told me they had thoroughly enjoyed their time together. They recounted how they talked and played music and laughed all the way home.
I remarked to my daughter that road trips with Mama were one of my favorite childhood memories. Mama is all about a road trip. I remember the sunroof open, The Judds playing on repeat, and stopping for TCBY— back when frozen yogurt was a novelty. The destination could have been the beach, a visit to my brother in Virginia, a shopping day in Atlanta, or a whirlwind weekend in New York City. It saddens me to even consider all that I would have forsaken had I responded to her fun-loving invitations with questions or stalling. In those tender years, she was my faithful guide and my willingness to follow her has led me to find some of my favorite people, places, and possibilities.
The Road Trip of a Lifetime
In chapter 12 of Genesis, Abram received an invitation by the Lord God to “go from your country.” The God of all creation spoke into the life of this seventy-five-year-old man and invited him on a road trip.
I don’t know about you, but I feel so much pressure to make a name for myself, be all that I can be, and to maximize my potential. I feel like we’re all in a race to promote and protect ourselves, to achieve self-actualization the fastest. I’m so tired of focusing on me, me, me.
That’s why today I’m asking myself, would you invest your life to promote someone else?
Instead of maximizing your own potential, you’d maximize theirs.
Instead of working hard to advance your own agenda, you’d promote their message, desires, and life’s calling.
Instead of building your own audience, pursuing your own happiness, earning your own reward, and leaving your own legacy, you’d be all about theirs, theirs, theirs, theirs.
How would that feel?
SARAH WHITE|GUEST “Yea, more with His own Hand He seemed Intent to aggravate my woe Crossed all the fair designs I schemed Cast out my feelings, laid me low…” –John Newton, “I Asked the Lord” I clearly remember my first anxiety attack. I was sitting at work, a few days removed from the fateful meeting… Read More
SUE HARRIS|GUEST Years ago, I was in Kenya serving with an HIV/AIDS care ministry. The sick would come to the church and people in the church would feed them. Sometimes in this village, people who had contracted AIDS were cast aside since everyone knew that they were dying. Sadly, feeding the sick was considered a… Read More
PATSY KUIPERS|GUEST I don’t have many distinct memories of my grandfather since I was in first grade when he passed away. I do, however cherish the recollections I have. Details provided by my mom as she’s spoken lovingly of her father over the years complete my mental portrait of this kind and gentle man. Apples… Read More