Greetings from the Farm! I trust this finds you well.
In the Word:
In Daniel chapter 11, a dream is interpreted for Daniel. The forecast for God’s people is for storms, many and mighty. Yet in the midst of these wintry weather conditions we find nestled into the text some reminders of God’s control. Speaking of the kingdoms and personalities that will rise and fall we find the following: “It will not go to his descendents…” (vs.4). “…he and his power will not last.” (vs.6) “…but only for a time.” (24) “…to no avail because an end will still come at the appointed time.” (27) “Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.” (35) “At the time of the end…he will come to his end, and no one will help him.” (40, 45)
Amidst all the political intrigue, the brutality of war, and the suffering of the innocent is that constant backdrop of God’s sovereign timing. There is an appointed time. World events are under His control.
In Isaiah 45:6-7 we find a declaration of God which embraces, like bookends, the “stuff” of this world. “I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD who does all these things.” From light to darkness, from well-being to calamity, all are in His hands. This morning as I meditated on this passage and prayed for you and your ministry, I prayed with boldness because of whom we serve.
Off the bookshelf:
Over Christmas my sister-in-law put me onto a book about communication. Although it is a book on preaching, I believe it has a broader application. “Communicating for a Change” by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones seeks to establish a roadmap for the solid preparation and memorable delivery of a message. The book opens with an allegory which leads into a presentation of the principles. Perhaps the most distinguishable aspect of this book is its focus on preparing talks around a single point. The authors write, “In a one point message it is essential for the communicator to know the answer to two questions: What is the one thing I want my audience to know? What do I want them to do about it?”
Whether you are preparing and delivering messages regularly or giving talks to a variety of groups, I think you might benefit from a review of communication techniques offered in this brief but articulate book.
In the office:
As you receive this message I am attending the annual IFMA LeaderLink training seminar. This is my second time to participate and I am especially enjoying the free evenings which are spent drinking coffee and talking shop with the other SENDers who are attending. Last Thursday (prior to LeaderLink) we held a “think tank” at the I.O., considering with a group of people (from both inside and outside of SEND) what it would look like for SEND to be more deliberate and integrated in developing our leaders. We worked through a conceptual section defining the leadership role, an informational section examining how leaders in SEND are formed, and then a creative section where we considered alternative approaches (and especially delivery systems). My aim is to develop a clear plan ready to present and implement by the November Directors’ Council meeting.
On the home front:
This is the last week of basketball before we move into the track season. It has been a winning season for Kenton (11-4). Next week he will join his older brother who has been training for track throughout the winter. Looking forward to those long track meets (really!). Bryan is in the middle of the college search, writing his ACT and SAT this month. We are learning a lot about the process, and enjoying talking with Bryan about his interests and future plans.
“I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD who does all these things.” Take courage and move ahead boldly, for we serve the only God of the universe.
In His grip,
Starting, Serving, Supporting