A week and a half ago, I was doing a load of laundry. I put in the clothes and soap, and turned on the washer; it filled up with cold water, and then…did nothing. Except hum, that is. No agitation, no draining, no rinsing, no spinning — just humming. This had happened a few times before, and a repairman had taught me a really high-tech fix: jiggle the control knob, and turn it off and back on. (I told you it was high-tech!!) So I promptly jiggled the knob and turned it off and on — over and over and over and over again. (I can be VERY persistent.) And still nothing but humming.
I finally took the wet, soapy clothes to some friends’ house to finish laundering, all the while wondering how much money it would cost for a new washer, and how much time it would take to hunt down a good deal.
The next evening at my church cell group, I asked for prayer about replacing the washer. My friend Sherry suddenly said, “I think my sister has an extra washer and dryer!” Sherry’s sister had moved to a new house a while ago with washer & dryer in tow, only to find a set left behind by the previous homeowners. So to make a long story short, I now have not only a working washer in my basement, but a newer dryer, too!
My immensely talented friend Susan, a scholar/ singer/ songwriter/ philosopher, would undoubtedly find an insightful spiritual analogy in all this. Alas, my thoughts tend toward the more concrete and mundane, so I’ll just leave you with this (perhaps rather obvious!) scripture:
“…your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Matthew 6:8, NASB
I just heard today that Janiê’s work visa has been denied, so she will only be able to come for six months on a tourist visa. She is very disappointed – I am, too, and I’m sure others in Keynote are as well. Please pray that we will all trust God and experience His peace, and that He will show us if there is a way legally to extend her stay with us to the full year.
The BlackSoil Project tour to Jamaica that I asked you to pray for has been postponed until fall. In the meantime, please pray for the Jamaican hosts as they plan for the tour.
Brazil – Several years ago, a Campus Crusade staff member named Kristin took a summer off from her responsibilities with the Campus Ministry to participate in Keynote’s summer music project. The following fall, she transferred to Crusade’s ministry in Brazil, where she began discipling a professional musician named Janiê. At Kristin’s encouragement, Janiê attended Keynote’s 2002 summer project, using her musical skills as part of an evangelistic band. Now Janiê has come on staff with Campus Crusade in Brazil, and her dream is to start a Keynote-style music ministry there. As soon as her visa comes through, she will come to Keynote for a year of training and ministry experience.
Jamaica – One of our newer partnerships is with the Campus Crusade for Christ ministry in Jamaica. One Keynote team (made up of some of our office personnel) returns tonight from a week of leading worship at a Campus Ministry conference. Another, our hip-hop team Black Soil Project, leaves this Wednesday for outreach concerts from January 19-24. Finally, my director (John Pescio) will teach several worship-leading seminars at a date yet to be determined.
For many to come to Christ during Black Soil Project’s evangelistic concerts in Jamaica.
For my director, John Pescio, as he prepares to teach worship-leading seminars in Jamaica
All Campus Crusade for Christ staff in the areas hit by the killer tidal waves have survived. Thomas Abraham, Campus Crusade’s Vice President for Asia, Latin America and Oceania, wrote, “God has been very merciful to us, and for a purpose. We believe He did it so that we may join together with the worldwide body of Christ to meet the physical and spiritual needs of devastated and desperate families.” Within 24 hours after the disaster, our national staff in these countries started giving assistance to those in need.
The missionaries and churches of the Christian & Missionary Alliance (the denomination of my church in Indianapolis) have also been spared. Church leaders say that some of the areas hit hard by the tsunami have long been unresponsive to the gospel. I’ve often heard that hearts are much more receptive to Christ in the months following a disaster such as this one. God deeply loves these hurting souls and wants to use us as His hands and feet to demonstrate that love. If your church or denomination doesn’t have a relief fund, you may go to http://www.tidalwaverelieffund.org to give to Campus Crusade for Christ’s relief efforts.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
2004 has been a full year! Here’s just a partial list of the projects God has graciously allowed me to work on, either alone or with the rest of the Staff Development team:
Coaching a new Keynote staff woman raising her initial support
Writing four new classes on verbal communication
Training and evaluating new teachers & communication coaches
Coaching summer project students and new staff in public speaking skills
Coordinating a 3-week training session
Planning and running an elaborate team building day for the entire Keynote staff
Continuing the major training reorganization we began last year
I feel incredibly blessed that I can do a job I love to help change lives for eternity! I see life-change in both those we train to become musical evangelists and those who come to Christ through their ministry. I see it in people like Zach, who participated in our summer project this year, and later wrote this to us:
“While reading through my journal, I consistently see God’s love and faithfulness. Those just happen to be my two biggest areas of weakness (coincidence? I don’t think so). He completely broke me and revealed to me all of the doubts that I didn’t even know that I had. God’s love became very real to me like it had never been before. God revealed to me that although I’m not perfect, although I make mistakes, even with my sin nature, with God’s help my heart is capable of love, of compassion, of actually caring if complete strangers go to heaven or hell. That may not sound like a very profound thought, but after 19 years of being more or less alone, cynicism and self-centered self-preservation took its toll on my love and compassion for others.
“This summer wasn’t about learning how to use my musical gifts and interests to share God with others. This summer was about God giving me a new heart and teaching me evangelism’s prerequisite: love. This summer was about being healed from my past and getting up from where I had fallen and, with God at my side, continuing to run the race that God has promised that we can finish. The biggest thing that I learned this summer didn’t really set in until I had gotten home: God will continue his good work in me until completion. God doesn’t let go. Thank you all for being willing to be used by God to change people’s lives, to change my life.”
As I look forward to more ministry opportunities like these in 2005, I’m also trusting God to provide the resources I need to continue serving Him. Beginning in January, the charges for my medical benefits are going up by a significant amount. What’s more, I just learned yesterday that my car needs four tires and a new head gasket. I estimate the total of all these expenses to be over $3,700. Would you consider giving a special year-end gift to help cover my car repairs and/or increased health insurance costs? If God leads you to help, you’ll find instructions for several giving options on the Contributions page on my website.
Thank you for all you already do to help change lives like Zach’s through your partnership with me! May the Lord bless you abundantly as you walk with Him in the coming new year!