A Few More Questions, A Few More Answers
April 5, 2006
Q: You said you had a few more things on your mind. What are they?
A: I’m excited about the fact that Keep Believing Ministries (KBM) has just this week officially come into existence. We have a board in place, we are incorporated, and soon we will begin seeking approval as a 501c3 tax-exempt organization from the IRS. The incorporation papers were filed on Monday.
Q: Should the rest of us be excited about this?
A: I can’t speak for anyone else, but this is a dream that I’ve had for at least eight years.
Q: What exactly will Keep Believing Ministries do?
A: We will support and encourage God’s work around the world through a variety of targeted projects and outreaches.
Q: Very nice. What does that mean?
A: Let me give one example. In the last six or seven years, we donated over 300,000 copies of An Anchor for the Soul to prisoners across America in partnership with Prison Fellowship and Good News Jail and Prison Ministries. We also gave away thousands of copies to soldiers serving in the US and overseas and to 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Although that ministry ended when we moved to Mississippi, I have continued to receive requests from military ministries and prison ministries, the most recent coming yesterday. Then in February we sent a check for $22,550 for the Chinese translation of An Anchor for the Soul. The first printing is now complete. Many people gave and many more would like to give to see more books printed and distributed in China. We want to make an easy way for people to give to the Anchor for China project. KBM will make that possible.
Q: I assume KBM could be involved in some of the other things you mentioned yesterday.
A: That’s correct. We plan to start small and see how God leads us.
Q: Where have you been going to church since you’ve been in Mississippi?
A: We’ve visited a number of different churches. After almost 30 years in church leadership, I’ve enjoyed sitting in the pew, listening and learning and soaking it all in. Every pastor should have the same opportunity at some point. It’s good for the soul not to always be in leadership.
Q: How so?
A: You are reminded of the health and vitality of the whole body of Christ. Plus you get to watch others do what you have done for so many years. My admiration for pastors has grown over the last few months as I have thought about all that goes into leading a church.
Q: Have you done any preaching on Sundays?
A: I spoke at the First Baptist Church of Tupelo for three Sundays and enjoyed it immensely. And I’m happy to preach anywhere I’m needed as the Lord opens the doors.
Q: Are you doing any writing?
A: I am working on two book projects–the life of Elijah and Asymmetric Spiritual Warfare.
Q: What books have you been reading?
A: The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman; Integrity by Henry Cloud; 1776 by David McCullough; Iain Murray’s two-volume biography of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson et. al, and Your Ministry’s Next Chapter by Gary Fenton. Plus the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown and the Da Vinci Deception by Erwin Lutzer. Friedman’s book is astounding and mind-expanding.
Q: What advice have you received from others?
A: We have been encouraged by many people to enjoy these days and not to worry overmuch about where we will be tomorrow. Michael Loftis of ABWE told us not to pray “Lord, what do you want us to do?” or “Where do you want us to go?” but rather to pray “Lord, show us who you want us to serve with. Lead us to the right people and lead the right people to us.” He said if you get the who question answered, the what and where and how will take care of itself. That insight has been tremendously liberating to us. Find the right people and the other details will fall into place.
Q: What has happened in your own walk with God over the last six month?
A: It’s always hard to answer a question like that with certainty. I think Marlene and I would both say that we feel rested and refreshed and renewed in our spirits. The Lord has dealt with us in kindness and we have seen Psalm 23 come true in many ways.
Q: Anything else?
A: That’s about it. We enjoyed our years in Oak Park immensely, and we’re enjoying our time in Mississippi. When I came to Oak Park, I had no idea that I would stay sixteen years. Come to think of it, I really didn’t have a big plan in mind for my ministry. I’m smiling right now because that’s no exaggeration. We just got started in Oak Park and the Lord blessed and one thing led to another and we ended up staying longer than I thought we would. To me the life of faith means following the Lord day by day and step by step, without knowing what the future holds. So I guess you could say that we’re back where we were seventeen years ago, and we’re discovering all over again that it’s not a bad place to be.