The Challenge of Silence

Over the past few days, I took part in the 2nd of a 3 retreat series I began in the fall, called “Longing for His Presence.”  This series of retreats was designed to help ministers draw closer to God by building spiritual disciplines in their lives.  Learning how to use silence and solitude for this formation process is a key part of the retreat series.

For this second retreat 60-70% of our time was spent in silence and solitude.  I look forward to these times and have made this a practice in my life for about the last 6 -7 years.   I look forward to these times, because I am able to clear out the distractions, noise and demands of life for a few days and hear clearly what God wants to say to me.  As you might expect, these times bring about great challenges as well, because the Lord is always interested in shaping me and molding me.

This retreat was no different, and I now find myself beginning an intensive period of drawing close to the Lord that stretches me to the limits, but God is out to show Himself powerful and faithful.   I anticipate that in the weeks to come I will have greater clarity about the things that lie before me.  As I mentioned before the Lord is taking us through some roster changes.  I learned just yesterday that another one of our “team” will be moving in the coming months.

It is important that I remain focused on the one who gives the call and not the call itself.  Right now my greatest desire of the Lord is to find His perfect balance.  I find that as I am having to focus more time on trying to build businesses that I am unable to devote the time I normally have to things like writing.   Both are key aspects of my life, I need the Master’s help in planning out the stewardship of who I am.

Roster Changes

I have been working with church planters for the past 6 years or so.  During that time I learned that a church planter usually goes through a roster change at some point after the launch of their ministry.   The core group that you launch with inevitably will go through some changes in the months that follow.

We have been going through a time of roster change over the past 4-6 weeks.   Some are not finding what they were looking for in our ministry; others were meant to join us for a short season.   In either case, these times are God’s proving ground of resolve and commitment.   God uses these transition points to prove out your willingness to stick.

I find our Lord amazing.  He began speaking to us about this time a few weeks ago.  Over a matter of days a handful of people made statements like:  “God is asking you to stay the course even if you only have one person” and “God has put you here for His purposes, don’t determine your call by the results currently in front of you.”

As we began the year, the Lord was speaking clearly about foundations and we are now seeing the deeper meaning of that word.  The Lord is using this time of transition to focus our attention on the firm foundations of His word, His presence and His ways.

I liken this time in our ministry to a line change in a hockey game.   During line changes, the action stops momentarily, so that the needed personnel can take the ice.

Foundation Work

At the beginning of the year, as Mike and I prayed, the Lord impressed upon us that this would be a year of building the foundational pieces of our ministry.   As we enter into the second month of the year, I find this to be very true.   The Lord has had us evaluating our role in benevolence and our roles as ministers.   Carol and I moved to the Island opening a new place of ministry to us.   We are more clearly seeing who the Lord is molding through us and those that God is using to walk beside us.  The Lord used our housing turmoil to continue to flush pockets of flesh out of my soul.

As we look forward to the spring, I have been invited to attend the graduation activities of our Bible college in Uganda.  This group of 37 are the first graduates of the first Bible college in their region of Uganda.

Simplicity Solutions is also slowly taking shape, but sales are coming slow.  The Lord is once again showing me that He alone is the Lord of the harvest.

Back to the blog

It has been a few weeks since I updated the blog.   Moving has been a huge experience as we are finally reuniting with all of our household furnishings and office furnishings.   For the past two years we have been living one place, storing furniture at another, and storing more items somewhere else.

We now have two sitting areas developed and the bedrooms and kitchen pretty much unpacked.  We hope to have a house warming party at the first of March.

Tomorrow I will articulate the spiritual journey for the past few months and give you some insight on what God is doing with Simplicity these days.