John Stumbo Video Blog No. 13
August 12, 2014
What kind of waiting renews strength? Those who wait upon the Lord with an eager anticipation that He is going to show up, that He is active, that He’s at work in this world—that kind of waiting renews strength.
Hey, team, good to be back with you again today. Year one is a wrap. Had to be the fastest year of my life, an amazing year getting to meet so many of you. That was a true pleasure and privilege. This Alliance family is such an incredible family. I’m a blessed man to be out and about so many places and so many conversations.
Preached 160 times or so since being elected president—that’s got to slow down a little bit. But I was just so excited with the new opportunity to be in so many places, I just had a hard time saying no. This has been a great privilege.
Some of you have asked about how my health is holding together; thank you for that. The great news is I’m stronger today than the day that I was elected. God has kept His promise to me that I would have everything that I need for every day. Little disappointed that I continue to still need an IV treatment that I receive on a monthly basis, but it does give me an opportunity to slow down for one day with an IV in my arm and regroup in the presence of some gracious nurses. So that’s not all bad, although I continue to pray for a full release from a need for any medical support.
Many of you have asked about highlights of the last year. Well, that list is pretty long:
- Getting to meet many of you
- Being privileged to be part of commissioning four dozen of our next wave of workers that are going out, the largest group that we have been able to send in recent years
- Having those moments where you see the Spirit of God at work in a service or in a conversation; that’s been rich
- Those prayer events that were hosted where significant opportunities of seeking God together as the Alliance family
- The team that has come together at the National Office has been very encouraging to see—those that God has brought together and the oneness that’s now coming together between us
And just the overall sense that God is alive and active in the Alliance family. Whether that’s locally or internationally, there is some true evidences that the Spirit of God is stirring and working among us, and so I just delight in that.
Some of you have noted that I have hardly said a word in year one about finances or the state of the Great Commission Fund, and I’ve left the impression with a few, at least, that we must be flush with cash because the president hasn’t been talking about money. Well, that is not exactly the case. By the grace of God, the generosity of His people, we did end the year one in the black, and I’m very grateful for that. But I don’t mean to imply in any way that finances aren’t important. Actually, I have been a lifetime donor to the GCF and believe more than ever in what The Alliance is accomplishing through your gifts. But my reasons for not bringing up finances in year one were twofold.
One, I felt I needed to create some credibility with you, as the new president, that the National Office and I, as the president, care far more about what we are involved in than just taking offerings. We’re passionate about things, as we talked about this past year, that are very significant to accomplishing work of the Kingdom, and so we’re about a lot more than just funds.
The second thing that I was thinking about was that we needed to steward well the resources that you have already given to us before I start asking for more. And so you heard me say at Council, perhaps, that if I was elected as president that I would need to do a review of the National Office staff that are supported by the Great Commission Fund. I conducted that review throughout this year.
We had a 10 percent reduction in force. It was a very difficult decision, as these were very dedicated people—part of The Alliance. But to be able to look you in the eye and say we are taking great care of the funds that you have sent to us, I needed to have this staff review and resulting reduction in force.
One of the results of that was the combining of two offices. We can’t afford redundancy, and so I felt like there was some redundancy among us. So we’ve created a newly formed Global Link Office. Let me read to you a statement from John Corby, our new director for that office, some of the thought and excitement behind this new office.
The Global Link Office is excited to be part of what God is doing in the world through the Alliance family. This takes place in communities where our 2,000-plus stateside churches are reaching out to people without Christ, discipling new believers, and meeting local needs in various ways. And it’s also happening where 700-plus international workers are on the ground in cities or villages, in jungles or deserts, in multiple cross-cultural contexts, sharing Jesus and establishing the Church while meeting community needs.
We’re convinced that what makes us—as a Christ-centered, Acts 1:8 family—most effective is being involved in both these places simultaneously—here and there. That is why we in Global Link work to connect our international workers with Alliance U.S. church leaders and laypeople and vice versa, so as to increase access to the truth and light of Christ’s love. Being linked around the globe helps us keep focused, challenged, and spurred on to complete the Great Commission.
So simply stated, Global Link is our effort to bring together the local church, the international worker, and for us to be one team.
This is where we’ll take a new look at missionary tours. We’ll take a new look at some of our mission mobilization kind of efforts. But I’m excited about the team that God is raising up here.
So year one was rich, and thanks to your prayers, I’m ready for year two, and I want to leave you today with a devotional thought from Isaiah.
A common verse is Isaiah 40:31, “Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” That word “wait” in the Old Testament is intriguing to me that it comes from the idea of “to twist,” as in twisting a rope together or even the spinning of a spider’s web. Evidently, it became used as a word for “waiting” because of the idea, at least some would argue, based on the idea of “to crane the neck,” to twist, to turn the neck. That that kind of a movement, or heart response that leads to a movement, implies a kind of “waiting of expectancy.”
You see, we use the word “waiting” in lots of different ways. When a bored teenager is standing in line and is waiting for this thing that is going to take forever to be done—that waiting of impatience I don’t think we would say renews strength. We use the word like in a waiting room in the hospital, where somebody is waiting for the outcome of a surgery for a loved one, but they’re waiting with hands wringing and sweat or stress just pouring out of their face. That kind of waiting I don’t think renews any strength.
Some of us have “waited,” pacing back and forth for a spouse to be done getting dressed while we’ve been dressed for 10 minutes, and we’re eager to get on to this event. And we’re waiting in this pacing-and-pacing kind of mode. But that kind of waiting doesn’t renew strength.
What kind of waiting renews strength? “Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.” Well, I believe it’s this kind of waiting with expectancy, waiting with anticipation—the craning the neck, the looking, where is it coming from?
Few examples: a week ago I had the privilege of getting some Sabbath time, some renewal time, by fishing on the waters of northern Minnesota. The kind of fishing I do is the casting kind of fishing. With my brother and nephew on the boat and guiding me along the way, we made our way through the shores of a northern Minnesota lake. And every cast was a cast of waiting—waiting with expectancy because at any moment, at any moment, as that lure hit the surface of the water by those lily pads, there could be a party on the end of the line, and we would have fish on. Waiting, cast after cast, with expectancy for what just might take place.
You have seen it at airports at the end of the security section, where the passengers are coming out into the public zone. There’ll be people waiting with a welcome home sign or a rose, waiting with anticipation, expectancy, for that loved one to return—waiting with anticipation. That kind of waiting renews strength. Those who wait upon the Lord with an eager anticipation that He is going to show up, that He is active, that He’s at work in this world, that kind of waiting renews strength.
Some of us are waiting for God to do something in answer to our personal prayers for a child, a health situation, a church issue, a relational issue. Some of us are waiting for a greater work of God among us, an outbreak of His Spirit, in a reviving kind of way. Some of us are waiting for a harvest season to come; we’ve been sowing, sowing, sowing seed, and we can get discouraged. We can wonder, Is there ever going to be resolve.Is there ever going to be fruit? Is there ever going to be something that I see with my eyes?
And this verse calls us to wait with this eager anticipation, craning our neck, looking for where God will move. Maybe not in the location where we expected Him to come from, but this kind of waiting is a kind of waiting that believes that our God is always at work on behalf of His children. Just because you can’t see His hand, just because you can’t decipher His plan, does not mean that He is not at work. No, our God is at work, and this kind of waiting anticipates, expects, looks. Doesn’t tell Him where He must show up but anticipates that He will.
You know how the verse ends: Then we soar on wings like eagles; run and not grow weary; we will walk and not faint—because we are being empowered by Someone beyond ourselves. That eagle doesn’t soar because of a continuing flapping and strenuous flapping of the wings. No, there is some effort involved as he catches the updrafts, as he experiences a power greater than himself coming under his wings and carrying him. The only way you can run perpetually without growing weary is having a strength beyond yourself to walk and not faint.
Alliance family, join me in these days as we continue to look for ways that God is at work and join Him in what He is doing. Wait with eager anticipation.
God bless you.