John Stumbo Video Blog No. 21
April 12, 2015
God has raised up the global Alliance family to be on the front edge of what He is doing in this world. This month, John is including a downloadable version of the Amicus Curiae Brief for your convenience.
Hey, team, I’m in Colorado Springs today. I have a lot I want to say to you in this video blog, and to launch it, I’m taking us to the Great Commission Day video that some of you have already seen. I love this piece, and it not only sets up well your Great Commission Day that I hope that you will do in your local church, but it also sets up what I want to say in this blog. Watch this.
(Great Commission Day Video)
Wow! There are so many directions I could go with that. I love that piece. Church leader, would you please share that with your congregation so that they’ll have a chance to understand that story and participate in Great Commission Day? If you’re coming to Council, bring your church check with you and join the march offering in that manner. But everyone, please, would you seriously, prayerfully, consider joining us for the Great Commission Day sometime in these next months?
Another response to watching that video for me is I love the courage and self-sacrifice that has been shown by the Alliance family for our entire history that has provided this solid foundation for churches all over the globe—U.S. and international. And that solid foundation in places like the Middle East has now made it possible for them to respond to the harvest time that is come. I’m excited that harvest is coming to so many places in the Middle East right now. I’m hearing some great stories—some of those will be shared at Council. That courage and self-sacrifice, that willingness to do whatever it takes to take the gospel forward continues as we send new teams to the next to-be-reached places on this planet as The Alliance continues to go forward.
I know that a serious investment has to be made for the work of the gospel to take hold; for the cultivation of that soil, for the seed to be planted in what right now is soil that doesn’t even want to receive a seed; but for that hard soil to be broken up, an investment is required not only in lots of money but of lots of time. And so we have a new generation of Breadens, so to speak, today, that are giving decades and even a lifetime to take the gospel to these hard-to-reach places.
This willingness to do the hard thing is part of the global story of the Alliance family—international and here in the States. The global family of The Alliance is committed to staying in the hard places, doing the hard thing—fighting the hard battles that need to be fought for the gospel to go forward.
On the local church level, church leader, I realize, I’m aware that you’re fighting for marriages; every time you hear another story of some marriage that is struggling among your flock, it just grieves you. You’re fighting for single moms to be protected, for dads to step up to the plate and be the spiritual man that God has called him to be. You’re fighting to give hope to addicts, that the bondage that holds them would be broken in the name of Jesus. You’re fighting for the safety of children; you’re fighting for the precious name of Jesus to be upheld in your community as a beautiful thing, not as a weapon of conflict.
So as an Alliance family, we are in this for the long haul together; we are willing to do the hard thing. I celebrate that spirit among us.
Just recently, the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of The Alliance made a decision to join an Amicus brief. Let me explain. We rarely get involved in political issues, but an issue is reaching the Supreme Court this month that we felt as a team that we had to take this opportunity to address and that we really had no alternative—that this was a moment in U.S. history that we had to speak into rather than remain silent upon.
So the Supreme Court is going to be arguing regarding this whole issue of same sex-marriage. Does the Constitution require same-sex couples to be allowed to marry, or do states have the freedom to limit wedlock to the traditional understanding of marriage being between one man and one woman? Obviously, we believe in a biblical definition of marriage and while we lovingly want to deal with anybody in our community who disagrees with us, we want to be of loving hearts for all of the people in our path, we do need to take some stands and, interestingly enough, in doing so, we are aligning ourselves on this particular matter with some people with whom we would disagree theologically.
So, I know I’m going to get some flack for this as president—I just can’t wait to get the letters. But I promise you, Alliance family, we are not compromising our theological views or watering down a bit our understanding of the deity of Jesus Christ. While Catholics and Mormons and Lutherans and a dozen other organizations would disagree on a thousand theological points, there is a broad level of agreement on the understanding of what it means to be married, to be family. And so, we are joining together with other groups with whom we would disagree in many other ways to have a more united front before the Supreme Court, led by the National Association of Evangelicals.
So may we love everybody in our path with the gracious love of Jesus regardless of whether they agree with us or not, but continue to move forward doing the right things.
Some of you remember that I had a love of running in my pre-illness years. [In] 2008 I had signed up to do a race I had always heard about but never had the will or courage to do called the Hood to Coast—from the side of Mount Hood all the way down 197 miles later to the sands of seaside. Twelve runners sign up together, get two vans, and do multiple legs over this 20 to 30 hour race, depending on how fast your team is. I was signed up to run, but then the illness hit me and so by the time the run came, I was in a wheelchair and couldn’t even attend the race.
But the team went forward and named themselves the Stumbo Prayer Warriors. They would pray as they ran. They’d pray for me, and one year, they put together magnets that they would give to other teams for their van that said, “You are being prayed for by the Stumbo Prayer Warriors.” Three years running, they did the Hood to Coast in that name. One year one of the runners misread the side of the van and said, “Who’s Saint Umbo?” Probably had a Catholic background and figured he didn’t know one of the saints, so he asked who Saint Umbo was. They laughed and explained, “No, that’s our pastor’s name, Stumbo.” But when the news got back to me in my wheelchaired condition, it was an interesting spiritual moment.
I googled the word “umbo” and to my stunned surprise discovered it was a real word. It could be used for mushroom C-cells, eardrums; but most significantly, it could be used as the front knob on a shield used in hand-to-hand combat. That protruding section right in the center of the shield is called an umbo. The shield with the umbo wasn’t just defensive in a protection-kind-of-way, deflecting the spears and oncoming attack; it was an offensive tool to press back the enemy.
That became a picture for me, believing that in my diseased condition there was some spiritual dimension to this, that I was on the front edge of something spiritually that I didn’t understand in hand-to-hand combat, having no idea that a few years later, I’d be elected to be on the front edge of leading this family called The Christian and Missionary Alliance.
Alliance family, God has raised us up to be on the front edge of what He is doing in this world. Yes, it takes perseverance. Yes, it takes sacrifice—a willingness to do the hard thing over a long period of time. But this is who we are. Together, with me, would you trust God to strengthen us to be on the front edge of what God is accomplishing in your town and all across this globe? God strengthen us as we do.