Friday, August 22, 2008

Holding on to Confidence

Are there then two standards of service, one high and Christ-like for them (martyrs), and one much lower, made to meet the case of little, lean, and cowardly souls? (William Booth)

Booth's question was rhetorical, yet he didn't hesitate to answer it himself. Of course there aren't two standards of service. We are all called to serve, and we all may encounter difficulty in our ministry to Christ. Furthermore, when the difficulty arrives we are all called to refuse to give up.

One of the keys to perseverance is confidence. To keep moving forward in the face of difficulty, one must have confidence in the value of the choice. I know I'm doing the right thing. I'm confident that the reward in the end will be greater than the difficulty of the journey. Perhaps one of the reasons so many give up their faith when difficulty comes is that their confidence is not firm.

Consider the events in your own life. When have you changed directions on something because you weren't convinced that you were on the right track? When have you stuck with something despite frustration because you knew you were right?

Paul reminded us that we are in a battle, not against flesh and blood, but against evil, spiritual forces (Ephesians 6:10). Struggles, by definition, are difficult. If it's not hard, it's not a struggle! And though it is a battle in with spiritual beings in spiritual realms, there is still emotional, mental, and physical cost. Be confident of this: There is a fight going on here, and there will be times that you feel like the forces against you are too strong. Be confident in the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand, stand firm, and be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

People who die for their Lord are not responding to a different standard of service. They are just more confident that we are. They know that what they are doing is right and they are convinced that the glory to follow is greater than any difficulty here! We must grow in our confidence! That's Life at Work!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Conferences and Vacations

We flew in from Phoenix at midnight last night. One bag decided to run away to San Jose, so by the time we got home, unpacked, and in bed it was 4 a.m. When I lived with Paul and Philip Guant in my Vicksburg, MS days, if I got in after midnight, Paul would comment that I got home early. So, despite the early arrival, I feel good this morning we had a great trip.

We spent all last week at the AMFM Conference in Phoenix. AMFM is an association of people involved in marriage and family ministry. At the conference each year, couples and individuals present workshops that introduce their programs/ideas and demonstrate how they would work in a church. People like us who are building comprehensive marriage ministries in a church get to see how these ministries would fit in our church. This year, Jeremy and Kristi Finefrock from South Yukon, went with us. Another benefit of the conference is getting hear and meet some folks involved in marriage ministry who are incredibly inspiring. John Trent is a regular there. Gary Rosberg from Americas Family Coaches is incredibly uplifting. Norm Wright, marriage ministry and grief care guru, is always there.

We stayed after the conference for a few days. Brad and Brittney travelled with us. We hit the water park at the Arizona Grand Resort where we were staying. Visited with the Mesa Church of Christ on Sunday. On Tuesday we went to the Grand Canyon. Unbelievable! Wednesday, we goofed around, and then caught our 8 p.m. flight home.