A couple of months ago I was having lunch with a local pastor who, during our conversation, asked me how old I was. I told him I was 38. Then I thought about what I’d said, because it didn’t sound right. So I wondered out loud if I was not 38, but actually 48. Then I thought to myself, “Surely I’m not that old. That would mean I’m almost 50.”
I’m sure that pastor was amused as he watched me try to remember my age. Finally he asked me, “What year were you born?” I told him, “1958.” He quickly did the math and then broke the news: “You’re 48.” For some reason that really hit me over the next few weeks…I’m 48 years old. That is almost 50. Where did the time go? I experienced a little relief a few days later when my wife, Becky, explained to me that I was actually 47! (But since then, I’ve turned 48…and you can tell I’m not very good at keeping track of my age.)
When I think about the 48 years God has already given me and how I’ve wasted so much of that time in unfruitful endeavors, my overwhelming desire is that my remaining years on earth will be more spiritually productive. That is, of course, God’s will for all of us: “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples” (John 15:8). Abiding in Jesus is the key to fruitfulness, because without Him, we can do nothing (see John 15:4-5).
One thing I have learned along the journey is this: God is definitely in the redemption business. He is very gracious, and He can even take our mistakes and ultimately use them for good, if nothing other than to help us not make the same mistakes again. So all the waste of my last 48 years has not been all wasted. And if I can save some others from making the same mistakes I’ve made, then that is even more redemptive. I’m so blessed that God has given me so many opportunities to minister to Christian leaders around the world, helping them to enjoy more fruitfulness as they learn the easy way what I learned the hard way.
Speaking of helping Christian leaders around the world, I was thrilled last month to receive photos of 1,000 copies of the just-printed Telegu version and 2,000 copies of the just-printed Swahili version of The Disciple-Making Minister. Although the photos below are probably not so exciting to you, they are quite thrilling to me, because I don’t see thousands of books…I see thousands of pastors being helped. On their behalf, thank you for making these equipping projects possible.
In the Footsteps of Paul
I leave on September 4 for Macedonia, a young nation that split from Yugoslavia in 1991, but one that is actually very old…over two millennia in fact. At one time, Macedonia was the most powerful place on earth, the birthplace of Alexander the Great, and the nation from which he conquered the known world. You probably remember the story in the book of Acts of Paul’s Macedonian call. As he was seeking God’s will regarding where he should next preach the gospel, he received direction in the form of a vision in which, “a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us'” (Acts 16:9). As a result, Christianity was introduced to Europe.
Although I’ve not experienced such a supernatural vision calling me to Macedonia, I have received some interesting confirmation. Our pastors’ conference for Bulgarian-speaking pastors in Macedonia has been planned for well over a year. But about two weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a missionary couple who wrote to express their enthusiasm for the teaching they had found a week earlier at our Shepherd Serve website. They asked if they could have permission to translate The Disciple-Making Minister into Macedonian, as they serve in Macedonia, equipping gypsy pastors to plant churches. I took it as a sign from God! When they learned that I would be in Macedonia in just a few weeks, they asked if they could bring some gypsy pastors to our conference. It is always lovely to watch the Lord orchestrate His plan and to know you are right in the middle of His will!
I Was Thirsty
The Safe Water Fund at work in Myanmar
If you haven’t visited our new website of the I Was Hungry division of Heaven’s Family, you can right now by going to I Was Hungry. The most recent project completed was the provision of piping to deliver water to all of the people of Cang Ai village in Burma, whose central well was destroyed in a recent earthquake. This project, accomplished by Christians in the name of Jesus, is a great testimony of God’s love to the unbelievers in Cangai village, and it will benefit both believers and unbelievers. Thank you for making it possible. Like you, we want to hear Jesus one day say, “I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink” (Matt. 25:35).
A Wedding Song, and the Near-Redemption of Country Music
A few years ago, I wrote a wedding song titled Your Love, which was recently produced and recorded at my request by singer-songwriter Julie Hufstetler with her husband, Guy. They did a fine job, and you can listen to or download that song online. If you are soon to be married, the instrumental-only version of Your Love is also available for wedding duets.
Just for fun, we also added another original song to our list of downloadable tunes at our website titled A Pretty Waitress with a Story. Some years ago I joined a service that critiqued songs submitted by wannabe songwriters like myself. Those that were considered good enough were forwarded to agents in Nashville. Most of the demand was for Country music, so I tried my hand at writing six tunes. Only one, however, was ever forwarded, titled, I’m Tradin’ You In Winona. Nashville couldn’t figure out if the song was about a girl or a car, so it was quietly buried in the graveyard of unsung songs. Now released to the general public for the first time, A Pretty Waitress with a Story is a Country song with a happy ending, and God receives some glory if you listen closely!
You are a Blessing!
Thanks so much for your partnership with Heaven’s Family. As you lay up treasure in heaven, you make this ministry possible. May God pour out His blessing on you even more as you bless the nations in His name!
David & Becky