Patience and Persistence (July 2019)
My friend Mike Latsko at Frontiers recommended “Canoeing the Mountains,” drawing on the Lewis and Clark expedition for understanding ministry in uncharted territory. Cathy and I latched onto a phrase from the book that became the theme that carried us through last year’s chaotic transition: “adventure or die.”
This year we have a new theme: “Patience and Persistence.” Jesus said: “As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” (Lk. 8:15). Our focus is to be patient, knowing some things take time before seeing fruit, confident if we are persistent in the Word, putting it to practice, and faithful to the vision God gave us, we will see results in His time.
We were reminded of this in several ways this month. We had the joy of preaching at our sending church of 30 years on the first Sunday of Emmanuel’s new lead pastor Brian Chan. They continue the TUMI site Cathy started and are reading my book Jesus Cropped from the Picture, still finding it relevant. And they host a class of Fight the Good Fight of Faith. Praise God, our investment there goes on without us.
We were brought into an exciting national network of ministries seeking to reach key US cities called “The Group,” a gold mine of opportunities for the Great Commission. And we were welcomed into participation with the leaders at The National African American Missions Conference. We believe the Black Church is going to be key in the Lord’s work to finish the task in world mission.
And not only the Black Church, but the Hispanic Church as well. A Spanish-speaking church in Houston reached cross-culturally into a nearby immigrant community from Kenya. Out of that relationship, they travelled to Africa to show Kenyans how to start chicken farms to feed people. While there, they also went to a North African country to pass out tracts. The officials thought they were natives by the color of their skin, and refused to believe they were Americans. As they were interrogated by the police, they discovered the officers were underground Christians who wanted to use their tracts in their church. This is our dream: American churches, reaching the diaspora here in the US, and extending to the homeland country. We just need to stay patient and persistent.