(There are two parts to my letter this month—In Part 1, I make a report and ask for your help, then in Part 2, I offer some spiritual insight that helped me and might be helpful to you. I hope you take time to read the letter all the way through to the end!)
Part 1: My Report and Request
It’s April! The month we celebrate Easter—the celebration of new life—the most incredible miracle of Christ—his glorious resurrection! It’s because of His resurrection that we can boast of our assurance of eternal life when life on this earth comes to an end.
Before then, while we’re still living life on this earth, the power of His resurrection is what allows us to experience the life transformation from old life to new—just like He put life into dry bones and formed streams in the desert. You can experience the same life-giving power that resurrected Him—and be a steward of His grace and mercy and undying love to others.
It’s what we do at New Life. And we can only keep on keeping on with your continued financial support. We have seen His hand of grace and mercy in a big way early this year, and I thank you for that. We don’t take your support for granted, nor do we take it lightly.
But I must bring our need to your attention. We have cut and cut expenses—we’re very careful about each and every expense. But the reason we have been able to meet our obligations to the radio stations and catch up each month is because you’ve been faithful to step up and support the work we do at New Life. The life-changing, hope-giving, miracle-working ministry we call New Life.
Three months have gone by in this new year. As I write this letter, it’s early March and I don’t know yet that we’ll meet our goal of paying not just a full month’s air time bill, but a little more. But I believe the report will be good.
I think we’ll make it because I believe God’s hand is on this ministry. We see it when we talk to people on radio and they find compassionate, godly counsel. We see it when you see our Network Counselors and your marriages and relationships are restored. We see it at our weekend workshops when you experience the transformation that comes from the renewing of your mind. We see it when you report back to us after reading, Boundaries, How We Love, Healing is a Choice, Forgiving the Unforgivable, and other books, that your life is different because of what God revealed to you in reading those books.
We ask for your support to help us stay on the air, but it’s so much more than that . . . we need your support to continue to offer hope and healing to people in a world of hurt.
So please, if you can make a gift today that says, “I’m with you New Life!” “I believe in what you do on radio!” “I’ve experienced the results of your counseling.” “I know God works through your workshops to affect life-change,” it will make a difference.
When you make your financial gift in support of New Life this month, I’d like to say thank you by sending you a copy of Dr. David Stoop’s book, Forgiving our Parents, Forgiving Ourselves. Dave wrote the book on forgiveness—(literally—he wrote Forgiving the Unforgivable) dealt with forgiving his father later in life. If you make a gift of $50 or more, I’ll send you a copy of a CD called Forgiveness that we recorded when Dave spoke to an audience and shared his own story of how he came to finally forgive his father—it’s a must-listen! Something anyone who has struggled, even a little, with forgiveness will want to hear.
Part 2: God in the Good News; God in the Bad News
Now, let me ask you a question: When in the Bible did God give someone an easy job?
Me too. That’s because the answer is . . . He didn’t!
Think about it. Joseph, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Esther, Nehemiah, Daniel, Jesus, Peter, Paul . . . they didn’t just skate through life and just get by. No “flying under the radar” for them.
If you look at their lives, you see some amazing accomplishments. But if you step back and look at the bigger picture, there’s a truth that we often miss. And it’s important…God cares about what we’re becoming more than what we accomplish.
Think about that? Are you hung up on how much you get done in a day? How to squeeze an extra hour or two in to your day or an extra day into your week? But you notice that the treadmill just keeps coming faster—kind of like the old I Love Lucy show where Lucy’s trying to keep up with the chocolates on the conveyor belt.
And have you noticed that life isn’t all good news, and it’s not all bad news; although we have seasons where that’s what it seems like! Sometimes the good news ends up leading to bad news and vice versa. Or so we think.
It makes me think of the Old Testament story of Joseph. In a nutshell here’s just a portion of Joseph’s life:
- Joseph is his father’s favorite son. (Good news!)
- Joseph’s brothers are jealous (Bad news!)
- Joseph gets a cool coat. (Good news!)
- His brothers throw him in a pit and sell him into slavery (Bad news!)
- Joseph goes to work for Potiphar. (Good news!)
- Potiphar’s wife tries to seduce Joseph. (Bad news!)
- Joseph resists Potiphar’s wife. (Good news!)
- Potiphar’s wife falsely accuses Joseph of rape. (Bad news!)
And on and on it goes with Joseph.
You can see the pattern, though can’t you? At each step of the way in Joesph’s life, God takes the bad news situation and says, “I can work with that,” and He brings about something good in spite of and in the midst of the bad.
It points out this truth—The greatest of all illusions is the illusion of control. Next to comfort it’s our greatest addiction—control. We think we’re driving the bus, but we’re not. God is.
Too often our thinking goes like this—when life doesn’t turn out like we want, we think that God’s not with us. But in fact, He’s there the whole time. We think because He allows bad things to happen that He doesn’t care, that He doesn’t love us, and He’s abandoned us. When in fact, nothing could be further from the truth, which is . . .
. . . God is most powerfully present when we think He is absent. The Lord was with Joseph in trials and conflict. And Joseph was an example we should learn from and think of often, because Joseph was stripped of his coat, but not his identity.
In the midst of false accusations, conflict, and having some pretty rotten things happen to him, Joseph never abandoned his God-given values. He trusted in God. He believed in God. He knew God would keep him and sustain him and care for him. He just kept doing the next right thing.
Sometimes the next right thing, like resisting Potiphar’s wife, resulted in some pretty bad news—like going to prison. But Joseph stayed true to what he knew was right in God’s eyes. He shows us that we are called to be faithful to God when it appears He is not faithful to us.
An important thing to figure out in life is where your faith is. I’m not talking about whether or not you have faith in God. I’m going a little bit deeper. Here’s the question: Is your faith in God’s identity or is it in God’s activity? Do you keep faith in who God says He is. Even though it appears He’s absent? Or is your faith dependent on how much the good news outweighs the bad news?
God communicates over and over again that He is with you. Look back in your life and see if that isn’t true. I know it is in mine, even during the most painful times. Through mistakes and poor decisions (mine and others’) He’s been my redeemer and giver of new life.
God is with you! Will you choose to be with Him?
And, will you choose to be with us at New Life in this time of need? If you feel God has prepared you and is nudging you to step forward to make a gift to New Life at this time, we’ll say thank you by sending you Forgiving Our Parents, Forgiving Ourselves by Dr. David Stoop, and if you can give $50 or more, we’ll send you Dave’s personal story of forgiveness on a CD entitled Forgiveness.
Most importantly, know that your gift makes a difference in the lives of hurting people looking for hope, healing and restoration.
Yours in Christ,