John Stumbo Video Blog No. 3

October 12, 2013


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In this, his third monthly video blog, C&MA President John Stumbo invites pastors and workers to “Leave your sails up, my friends. Persevere with me in this great work to which we have been called.”


Hey team, good to see you today. I’m in the parking lot of the National Office here at Colorado Springs. Since I talked to you last, I have been traveling a lot. I have had the privilege of speaking in five Alliance churches, preaching or meeting with key leaders. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with almost every district superintendent, association leader, and college president of the C&MA in small settings or one on one. I spoke at a District Conference and an ordination service. It was great to be back in one of those settings; two young guys from Toccoa Falls, a couple grads from there, and a Puerto Rican pastor; and then at Nyack chapel—I got to speak there. Great things are happening on Nyack campus.

So I have been able to be out—and then with the National Association of Evangelicals, their leadership team of the denominational presidents, about 16 gathered in Chicago for a day. So I have been getting some great input, some broad perspective, and building some relationships that are very significant to me.

So I have loved it; but now back in the Springs, and I’ve read all of the feedback that I got from the video blogs. Two ideas that we got—one is that, “Would you start a twitter account?” And so yes, I have. I will, I haven’t tweeted yet, but I will soon. @John_Stumbo_CMA. So if you are into that world, join me. That’s going to be out there.

Second thing, you asked for was to have the text of the messages I have given for people who have poor Internet connection or hearing impairment. So the texts are being provided for each of these blogs now as well; so we heard from you on that.

Three concerns, criticisms, critics that I have read, that I want to respond to. Thank you for them. One is, “John you kind of ramble, you riff a little bit.” Well, true. One reason for that is that I’m not doing the teleprompt scripted kind of thing. I want this to be a true conversation; authentic is what I’m going for.

The second concern, 12 minutes? Really, that’s pretty long, John. Yes it is. It’s intentional. I’m trying to make it long enough so that, one, the video team doesn’t have to do a ton of editing; two, that I’m kind of forcing you to stop doing what you’re doing long enough to sit down and actually enter into a conversation. If it was just a few minutes, I wouldn’t have time to say much or would have to be so carefully scripted that it would just loose some of the authentic value.

And the third thing that I heard was, “Hey you just keep talking to lead pastors. What about the rest of us—women in ministry, chaplains, associates, lay people, international workers—what about the rest of us?”

I apologize on this one that I have not communicated effectively on this matter. Yes, my chosen audience for the first year of my presidency—my primary audience—are the lead pastors. Anybody is welcome to listen in. In fact, I am encouraging all Alliance people to listen into the conversation, but I feel like, as I start, I wanted to talk to lead pastors primarily. I apologize if in any way that is offensive, or I don’t want to exclude anyone in this great family of The Christian and Missionary Alliance. You have been in a classroom setting where you have been speaking to just one person, but you are hoping that everyone else is listening. That’s what I hope is happening with this video series. So this is how I’m starting the first year, 12 minutes, 12 months, lead pastors; then we will reevaluate and figure it out from there.

So today, what I want to talk to us about is 2 Corinthians, Chapter 4. Would you grab your Bible with me, and let’s look what Paul has to say to us in 2 Corinthians 4. I have been having this study that we’re going to go through way too fast, but I have been having this study with every district superintendent, association leader and the president’s cabinet of the C&MA, plus a few other leaders that I have been in meetings with over this last month. This has been the chapter that I have been anchoring a lot of my thoughts in as I begin this presidency, and I wanted to share some of these thoughts with you—some of the highlights of this.

I find it fascinating that Paul tells us some things that he is determined not to do in his ministry. He says, in verse 1, 2 Corinthians 4, “We do not lose heart.” In verse 2, he says, “We have renounced secret and shameful ways. We do not use deception; we do not distort the Word of God.”

He implies in the next verses that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood. We have the god of this age who’s blinding the minds of unbelievers, so they cannot see the light of the gospel. Verse 5, “We do not preach ourselves,” but ourselves, we are servants and “but we preach Jesus Christ.” So he’s telling us some things that we don’t do.

We are determined in our ministry that deception and a faint heartedness and a self-glorification, some of these kinds of things are what we—this is just not who we are as ministers of the gospel. This must not be; these things must not be characteristics of our ministries—deception, distorting the Word, preaching ourselves, putting ourselves forward. No! Our message is about Christ.

But in this, the theme that runs through this is this call to not lose heart. He admits in verse 8, “We’re hard pressed on every side.” He admits, “We’re perplexed.” I love that picture of Paul, scratching his head, saying to Timothy, Titus, “Guys, this is a tough one. I don’t know what to do with this one.” I love that picture of Paul. We’re hard pressed. We’re perplexed. We’re persecuted, but he calls us to who we are.

We are under God’s mercy that we have this ministry in the first place. We are not crushed; we are not abandoned. We have with us the light of the glory of Christ that is shining through these jars of clay that we are. This body of ours that is wasting away, yet inwardly there is this renewal that is taking place day by day—this light of Christ shining through us, an eternal glory that is in us and that someday we’ll fully experience.

So I love that Paul is admitting that in his ministry that there are true challenges. But he is determined to be the kind of leader that, in the midst of challenges, “I’m not going to lose heart. That’s not who I am. That’s not my calling. I am one who perseveres.”

Let me speak very transparently for a few minutes. I have voices, nagging thoughts that want to speak into my head from time to time that are voices of condemnation, voices of discouragement; that self-talk that is just, “ah Stumbo, you don’t have what it takes. You’re not good enough. You’re not smart enough, you’re not spiritual enough.” They just want to erode all of my energy and passion. They just want to take me to lonely and dark places. At those times, I begin to lose heart, because it becomes about me and what I have to offer or don’t have to offer. And I become susceptible to the spiritual forces of evil that would want to take me down into discouragement or depression or whatever.

I have to practice the simple discipline of rebuking those voices and claiming the truth that I have a calling to live out. I have a Lord to follow. I have a service to perform. I have a people to lead. I have an enemy to rebuke, a gospel to proclaim, a task to accomplish, a world to love. And so do you my friend; so do you! Your calling, although different than mine, is no less significant; and the battle you face is no less profound!

Tell that voice that tries to rip you into shreds and leave you in a pile of self-pity or fear, tell that voice to be gone that in the name of Jesus who called me, I rebuke you and claim the truth of who you are in Christ, what he has done in your life, who he calls you to be. What he has called you to do. That you are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which he prepared in advance for you to do. That you are His child, His servant, His gifted one, His anointed one, His appointed one.

There is a parallel passage that I want to leave you with today. It’s Hebrews 10. Paul has said to us in 2 Corinthians 4, “We do not lose heart – we do not lose heart.” Whoever authored Hebrews says, “We do not shrink back;” end of Hebrews 10, “We are not those who shrink back and are destroyed. We are those who believe and are saved. This is our identity as followers of Christ.”

There is some possibility that that word “shrink” back in the Greek was used in a nautical sense. When the winds were high and the seas were rough, one option was to take down your sails, to shrink back, and to just to let the winds and waves take you where they would. But there is also the possibility that, when you are on those waters, of leaving your sails up, to not be those who shrink back and take the sails down but to leave the sails up, believing that that crazy wind is the wind of the Spirit and that He will guide you and direct you. Leave your sails up, my friends. Do not lose heart; persevere with me in this great work of the Kingdom that we have been provided. Persevere with me in this great work to which we have been called. God bless you. I pray for you as you do.


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