I am a great fan of Dr. Sandra Richter, Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College, and her very special gift of teaching. Some of you may have listened to her teach Bible at Redwood Christian Park family camp or joined one of our recent group studies, “Epic of Eden,” where she teaches an overview of the Old Testament and the building of covenants leading to Christ.
As I read one of her Christmas blogs, I found myself challenged to lean into courage in this new year of 2017.
Read these words she shares:
Shepherds, Joseph, a young woman courageous enough to say “yes” – the Bible reports that every one of these was “very much afraid.” Afraid of that moment when the divine descended for a conversation. Afraid of the calling placed upon their lives. Afraid of an undefined future if they agreed to participate in the plan.
How comfortable my life has become, and where in the midst of this predictability there might be an angel, calling me to say “yes” to a plan that scares me to death. All is calm, all is bright. Dear God, in the midst of this Christmas hear me say “yes” all over again.
One way I seek courage is being part of a small group. I cannot hide in a small group for very long. Eventually there is enough relationship built that my ideas and thoughts are challenged or affirmed by the people around me. I become more vulnerable and expose more of who I am when I regularly meet over the Word with others. I may initially resist, but the rewards far outweigh the fear I may have in being vulnerable in a community with brothers and sisters in the Lord. It’s a new year and Crosswalk has a group for everyone to feel safe in. Check the current list here. Be courageous.
Another way I learn courage is on mission to the Philippines. God’s plans are not my plans, and ultimately I have to surrender to His purposes and timing. This becomes a great exercise in having a posture of courage. Doorway to Hope is celebrating 5 years in Samar, Philippines and Rosemary and I leave on Sunday night, January 29. On this trip we will apply for government registration for our new Cornerstone School of Ministry designed to equip Pastors and Leaders. I wish I could tell you it’s an easy process, but this is where we step out and trust God to make it happen. I know there will be a story of lessons learned and just a little more courage to follow God’s leading.
Our school was scheduled to start this past October, but one week after curriculum was distributed to students, our Administrator’s wife was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. Of course everything came to a stop and we prayed through the treatments and hospitalization that followed. Our very dear friend, Ruby Selgas, lost her battle with cancer and went to be with the Lord in December. It’s easy to lose courage when life doesn’t go the way we expect, and to feel defeated. Pastor Mark Selgas, our administrator, is a beacon of strength and hope and has started classes again with a group of island pastors eager to become better equipped. This man of God reminds me daily of what courage in the Lord looks like.
love and discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Pray with me as we encourage each other to lead lives of courage this year! We are in this together and God is good,