58:21 · November 21, 2023
In this episode, we delve into the transformative power of ministry from weakness, particularly in evangelism. Our guest, a secure missionary from our organization, shares insights on his own ongoing need for the gospel as much as those God has called him to reach. “Luke” challenges a formulaic understanding of evangelism by proposing transparency about weakness, intimacy with Jesus, and relational consistency as key elements in revealing the beauty of God’s story of love to others. His experiences reveal a universal truth: God’s power shines brightest in our weaknesses.
In this episode, we delve into the transformative power of ministry from weakness, particularly in evangelism. Our guest, a secure missionary from our organization, shares insights on his own ongoing need for the gospel as much as those God has called him to reach. “Luke” challenges a formulaic understanding of evangelism by proposing transparency about weakness, intimacy with Jesus, and relational consistency as key elements in revealing the beauty of God’s story of love to others. His experiences reveal a universal truth: God’s power shines brightest in our weaknesses.
Thank you for listening! If you found this conversation encouraging or helpful, please share this episode with your friends and loved ones. Or please leave us a review—it really helps!
Our guest for this episode has chosen to keep his identity anonymous for his safety and the safety of those he serves. At Serge, we have many workers serving in closed-access countries around the world, and we prioritize security, which is essential for the success of their work. This episode was hosted by Jim Lovelady. Production by Anna Madsen, Aaron Gray, Joonhee Park, Ashlie Kodsy, and Sunny Chi. Music by Tommy Leahy.
𝑮𝒓𝒂𝒄𝒆 𝒂𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑭𝒓𝒂𝒚 𝑷𝒐𝒅𝒄𝒂𝒔𝒕 is produced by SERGE, an international missions agency that sends and cares for missionaries and develops gospel-centered programs and resources for ongoing spiritual renewal. Learn more and get involved at serge.org.
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Questions or comments? Feel free to reach out to Serge’s Renewal Team anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to the Grace at the Fray—a podcast that explores the many dimensions of God’s grace that we find at the frayed edges of life. Come explore how God’s grace works to renew your life and send you on mission in His Kingdom.
Hello beloved, welcome to Grace at the Fray. I have perhaps an unusual question, especially for all you go-getters out there, you busy, highly capable, gifted, and talented folks. Here’s the question. Are you weak enough to be used by God? Is this question challenging or discouraging to you? Perhaps you’re expecting the question to be, are you qualified enough to be used by God? Or are you holy enough to be used by God? Because when you think about your walk with Jesus, especially the things that you do, it’s all about becoming more qualified or more holy so that God can use you more. Well, maybe you are pretty qualified and self-sufficient, gifted, articulate, knowledgeable. And when people look at you, they do see an “amazing Christian”. And if this question challenges you, it may be because you have been functioning in your own strength. You’re doing a really good job of it, but it’s your own strength. So the question is, are you weak enough to be used by God?
And others hear this question and their gut response is, man, I’m too weak to be used by God. You may feel too broken, too sinful, not qualified, not holy. As my friend Beth puts it, you’re a hot mess, the hot mess express. Maybe you feel unqualified and you see more failure in your life than you see success. If this question is discouraging to you, it might be because you’ve been functioning in your own strength. You’re discouraged because your strength is not sufficient for the tasks at hand. So here’s the question, are you weak enough to be used by God? Well, today’s episode is all about Ministry from Weakness, especially when it comes to evangelism. My guest is a missionary with our company who enjoys exploring what it looks like to need the freedom and victory of the gospel just as bad as the people that he’s taking it to. And we’re keeping his identity secret because in the context that he works in, but you’ll see that it doesn’t really matter what context you’re in, God’s power is always made perfect in weakness.
0:02:49.8 Jim Lovelady: Well, hey, welcome to the podcast.
0:02:51.5 Luke: Hi Jim.
0:02:52.8 Jim Lovelady: You know, for various reasons, your identity has to remain hidden. So I was thinking, what could I call you? I was thinking, what would be a good name to call you? So what do you want me to call you?
0:03:09.3 Luke: I did not think of a secret name.
0:03:16.0 Jim Lovelady: I was thinking something like Seamus or Sebastian or Cleo. I don’t know.
0:03:23.2 Luke: I should have thought of something. I should have thought of something.
0:03:26.1 Jim Lovelady: What do you think?
0:03:28.0 Speaker 3: I like Cleo.
0:03:28.6 Jim Lovelady: Cleo. Cleo it is. Welcome Cleo.
0:03:31.0 Luke: Or Luke.
0:03:31.9 Jim Lovelady: Or Luke, yeah. It’ll be Luke.
0:03:33.5 Luke: I think Luke’s a good one.
0:03:34.6 Jim Lovelady: Luke. It is. It’s Luke.
0:03:35.9 Luke: Yeah.
0:03:36.9 Speaker 3: It’s gotta be Luke.
0:03:37.3 Luke: It’s gotta be Luke. It’s gotta be Luke.
0:03:39.4 Jim Lovelady: I love it. So yeah, welcome to the podcast. It’s kind of funny that you’re not, I can’t… You’re a good friend. So it’s funny not to be able to say who you are because of the field that you’re in. But in whatever general terms, tell us who you are what you’ve been up to, and what the Lord has been doing. Particularly, well, we’ll start with that, and then I’ll ask some of my other questions.
0:04:08.5 Luke: Sure. Sure. Well, I’m really grateful to be here. Thanks for having this conversation. I live in Southern Spain, and we originally moved there, my wife, kids and I, we moved there in 2012 for the first time. And yeah, we live in a city that has a lot of folks who are kind of the typical European post-Christian, secular, I’ll do it on my own type of folks. I’ll find meaning in myself. And then also because of where we’re at in the world, we’re close to the Middle East and North Africa. So we have a lot of immigrants coming from predominantly Muslim countries, what are called classically closed countries or the 10/40 Window. And so it’s a really unique place to live, kind of at that crossroads between secular post-Christianity and the 10/40 Window or closed countries.
0:05:05.9 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. It’s fascinating to think about the stereotype of Europe when you say, “Hey, I’m going to go work in Europe.” People go, “Really? Europe is… Isn’t Europe Christian?”
0:05:18.9 Luke: Yeah, been Christian for over a thousand years, right?
0:05:21.0 Jim Lovelady: Right. Well, so yeah. What do you say to them when someone says that?
0:05:24.0 Luke: No, I felt the same way. I remember when we reached out to the agency saying we were interested in serving overseas, but we didn’t have one specific country or people group that we felt called to go to. We’re open. Where are the needs? And I remember when the mobilizer talked to me and suggested some countries in Africa and then suggested some countries in Europe. And my first thought was missionaries don’t go to Europe, you go on vacation to Europe. So it took a lot of education for me to learn what’s the reality of faith in Europe, the spiritual climate, and to go actually see it for myself in person for a week and talk to people who lived there, moved my heart. I think I probably started the trip leaving the States, like this would be a neat experience. I’m glad I get to see Europe for the first time, but this probably isn’t the kind of place where you go to do cross-cultural ministry.
0:06:19.0 Luke: And a week later, that totally being flipped on its head, saying we really, really need more laborers in the harvest over here. So it was just, because of hearing the folks who live there, the cross-cultural workers who work there, but also talking to local people, the ones who could speak English, and say like, what are your religious beliefs? What are your friends ‘ religious beliefs? And not meeting anybody who thought Christianity was credible or that Jesus was the answer to the things they were looking for. It was so spiritually dry.
0:06:49.3 Jim Lovelady: So how long were you there the first time?
0:06:51.1 Luke: That first mission trip was just a week.
0:06:53.5 Jim Lovelady: Okay, but when you guys moved?
0:06:55.0 Luke: Yeah, once we moved, we moved in 2012 and we lived there for five years.
0:06:58.6 Jim Lovelady: Oh, okay.
0:06:58.9 Luke: Yeah, we were there for five years.
0:07:00.0 Jim Lovelady: So you were there for five years and what brought you back home?
0:07:03.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah, we came back to the States feeling like we had reached a good spot in our ministry. Like there was… We had a teammate who I felt like she could do the work better than I could. So I wanted to get out of her way and let her really lead and do things her way. And I felt like hanging around would always be that I was there. I thought it would bless the ministry to get out of the way. I wasn’t really sure what we would do next if we stayed. My wife and I both were probably a little burnt out maybe or just had overdone it as spiritually dry. And so we didn’t have a lot of vision of if we stayed, what would we really do in the next chapter? And then we had a couple of family things where it’s like, it’d be good to be in the States for a while for these couple of family reasons, maybe get healthier in certain ways or let our kids learn in English for a while in English schools or reconnect with parents and family members.
0:07:54.4 Luke: And so it was kind of a little bit of a lack of vision to stay and a few open doors to work here. And then I took a job here in the home office that I felt like was a great way to use our experience on the field, but to keep on to bless workers and to advance the gospel while living in the States. So it was kind of, I don’t know what else to do, and a really neat offer came up to serve here in the home office. So I was excited to do that. And so actually, yeah, I lived here in Philly for a few years and worked here in this office while God kind of relit the fire in my heart and my wife’s heart during those couple of years.
0:08:39.1 Jim Lovelady: It is fascinating to think about the way that the Lord… because you’re back. You went back.
0:08:45.0 Luke: Yeah.
0:08:46.0 Jim Lovelady: And it’s fascinating when there’s a lack of vision and the Lord seems to be closing a chapter in your life, and then you go, oh, well, these doors are open. So let’s go do that. So what was it that sent you back?
0:09:03.2 Luke: Yeah. Yeah. Being here, I think got contagious, like to be in the home office and to see all the missionary candidates come through and to hear their stories and to hear their excitement about going overseas was envisioning to me, to talk about our life overseas, re-envisioned us. And as we got more and more into, I think that East Coast life, the busyness that’s inevitable. It’s just the water that you swim in here in Philly.
0:09:30.5 Jim Lovelady: It’s a thing. It’s a thing.
0:09:32.0 Luke: My wife and I both really started to miss the family life we had overseas where we ate more meals together. I was home more often. I didn’t travel alone so much for work obligations. And we were shoulder to shoulder in a lot of ministry, my wife and I in Spain. And this job was more my job, and she had kids and home and other responsibilities. And we missed working so much together and being partners in ministry. So it started to kind of flicker, and we would talk about it, but can we move again? Can we really go back if you’ve left the field? And it took, I would say it was probably over a year from the conversation where we’re like, we’d really like to go back. Can we do this? By the time it was, we’re on our way back.
0:10:19.0 Jim Lovelady: Oh, interesting.
0:10:19.9 Luke: So we kind of said, this is our desire. Let’s be quiet about it for several months and just pray and just keep it to us, and see if the Lord might affirm it and make it grow, or if it’s just a season of discontent or something that we need to press through. And it didn’t go away.
0:10:36.8 Jim Lovelady: It’s interesting that you, how much the love for where you were was the thing that started to like draw you back. And it’s fascinating to me because the Lord, the stereotypical call to do this kind of work is like, the Lord called me. And in this sense, it’s like the Lord called you by going, “Hey, remember how good life was?”
0:11:02.6 Luke: Sure. Yeah. Yeah. The thing that I really remember, even though the conversation had started months before when COVID happened, and our kids were home from school all day, and I was working from home, and we were all together, I remember my neighbors and friends were having the worst time of their life, so stressful and chaotic and overwhelming. And it was that in a sense for everybody, I think. But for us, there was also a lot of joy because it’s like, we’re having three meals a day together. I’m doing bedtime every night with my kids and taking walks together and things that reminded us of life overseas, where the family is spending a lot more quality time together as a family. So the lockdown actually, I think, was the final thing, like we want to get back to this life where our family’s together more often.
0:11:55.3 Luke: But yeah, it’s the love for Spain, really. Yeah. The love for the city where we lived and where we’re back to living now. I remember talking also during our first five years, I would go to my team leader and say, “Sometimes I feel like I love it too much here.” Like I feel kind of guilty that I, like, shouldn’t it be harder? And it has its hard parts. But he said, if the Lord’s given you a gift to enjoy it and to love it, I think you should take that gift and enjoy it and not feel guilty about it. But this kind of sense of like, should this be, should I not love the food so much? Should I not love the cultural things that I’ve really resonated with? Should it feel more foreign or uncomfortable? A little bit of guilt to enjoy God’s earth and God’s creations and gifts. I think we have to get past that. I had to get past that of like, just thank you, God, for the gift instead of feeling some embarrassment of enjoying the gift.
0:12:51.0 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. And there’s something almost bred in us to be like, well, it’s got to be more hard than easy. Well, it’s always, like you said, it’s always going to have its hard. There’s always going to be a hard. In our propensity to become morbidly introspective and find the pessimistic, woe is me, this is hard, is a temptation. It’s a temptation when it’s not done in faith. Like when suffering comes, and hardship comes, it should be done in faith. When the joy and wonderful moments come, they should be enjoyed in faith.
0:13:34.0 Luke: Yeah. Enjoy them. Yeah. Just say, thanks, God, for this gift. So I’ve had to learn how to just accept gifts from the Father and say thanks.
0:13:46.0 Jim Lovelady: I appreciate that because I am one who, when I fall off the horse, it’s toward melancholy. And so when the glass is half empty, Eeyore, all that, that kind of stuff. So whenever something good happens, I’m kind of like…
0:14:06.0 Luke: What’s next?
0:14:07.0 Jim Lovelady: Oh, I don’t know how to, I don’t know what to do with this. Other than, “Well, I’m sure. Thanks for noticing me, God. I guess I’ll enjoy this for a few moments before the rain comes,” whatever kind of morbid thing. So it’s really good to hear, like, hey, you can enjoy this. You’re allowed to enjoy God’s good gifts.
0:14:31.1 Luke: And I think you’ll be a more effective witness for God if you actually have some joy and some happiness and demonstrate some enjoyment of how good the Lord is. If we’re supposed to give this message that God is so good, it’d be nice if people could see us enjoying His goodness, even in pleasures like food or culture or people that you really like. Yeah.
0:14:58.9 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. So you guys headed back, and you’re in the home office today and just kind of giving an update. We had a prayer meeting with you where you guys got to share what y’all have been up to. And you said something really, really fascinating about what it means to be the only Christian that your friends know.
0:15:29.0 Luke: Right.
0:15:29.4 Jim Lovelady: And so when you said that, when you talked about how I’m the only Christian that a lot of my friends know, I was like, oh my goodness, that’s fascinating. Especially the stereotype of, like we talked about earlier, does Europe need missionaries? But also the context in which you find yourself with the sweet spot of the unreached people groups of the “10/40 Window” are finding themselves at your doorstep in the middle of a post-Christian, very secular context. You have two kinds of people that you’re ministering to, and it’s two different kinds of people who are not following Jesus, and here you are the only Jesus follower they know. So talk to me about what that’s been like.
0:16:22.0 Luke: Yeah. Yeah. It’s very energizing to me. It’s very life-giving. It’s sad when you let the weightiness of that reality spiritually that the city is so spiritually dark that there aren’t other Christians walking down the sidewalk is heavy, but it’s also exciting and feels like a privilege those moments when maybe I’ll have a good conversation with the waiter and hear a little bit of his story and tell him I’m a Christian and leave that encounter thinking, yeah, God, if I wasn’t here, this guy wouldn’t have met a Christian today. It’s heavy, but it really feels like a privilege. The history of religion in Spain is a really tough history because it’s a long history of Christians, Roman Catholics killing Muslim people or oppressing Muslim people in the name of God, Muslim and Jewish people, really. And then Muslim people, whenever they had power, oppressing or killing or taxing Christians and Jews in the name of God. And there’s just this oppression and violence based on who has power, but they both think they’re doing it to please God. In the end, the Catholic kings win, Ferdinand and Isabella take control and unify Spain. And years down the road, Spain gets a dictator named Franco, Francisco Franco, right?
0:17:41.0 Luke: And he forces essentially everyone to be Catholic. If you want to get married or have a baby, it’s going to go through the Catholic church, the name, or the wedding. And when he lost power, the people just rebounded completely to the other side, that the regulations were off and now we’re free. And so organized religion is totally rejected, and each year, the people who would call themselves a Christian or a Catholic and who would go to church just goes down and down and down every year, right? And so what that means is the church just really isn’t credible in Spain, the Roman Catholic church, the tradition of that is not credible. And so when somebody meets you, and you say, “No, I really believe Jesus is true, I really believe the Bible is true.” It’s like you’re kind of a novelty, like, “Oh, you believe that stuff.”
0:18:33.1 Luke: And so folks have now had since the ’80s to totally go to the other extreme of post-Christianity. I think they found that mostly to be an empty well, to try to find significance in me and purpose in me. And so it’s going to different types of spirituality. And so it’s almost like an antique that you’re a Christian, and you believe in Jesus, and you read the Bible like my grandparents did or like my great-grandparents did. I’ve tried everything. And so there’s like kind of a familiarity with Christianity, and it’s still got cultural positions and reminders. But for someone to be a practicing Christian is really rare. But there’s some religious language still in the Catholic Spanish, the traditional Spanish person’s mind, which is really interesting to me.
0:19:27.2 Luke: And then Muslim folks have a lot of respect for Jesus. They view him as a prophet. And so to say I read the Bible and I love Jesus and follow Jesus. There’s some credibility there. There’s some interest. I’d like to know more about this respected prophet and this respected holy book. But you’re just kind of a unique person if you actually take it seriously and go every day, go every week to church, what I found… The reality for me is that two things: Rarely am I the only Christian or Jesus follower, somebody knows thankfully, because we have a team there. And whenever we make a friend, when somebody makes a friend starts doing maybe running or mountain biking with somebody or has a new contact quickly.
0:20:20.3 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. There’s a community.
0:20:21.0 Luke: They’re connected to other Christians. So that’s maybe a little bit of hyperbole whenever I would say, the only Christian somebody knows, and there are definitely faithful, believing, practicing Catholic folks who are following Jesus too. But it’s just a rare and spiritually dry place. But I think the other side of how beautiful and exciting it is to me to be the only Christian somebody knows, there’s also this way that it humbles me. And I leave a lot of conversations with my non-believing friends, feeling like, “Oh Lord, I wish I would’ve done that better.”
0:20:58.4 Jim Lovelady: Oh, yeah.
0:21:02.5 Luke: I shouldn’t have said that, or I shouldn’t have done this. And if I am the only or one of the few Christian representatives in this person’s life, I really messed it up with my sinning or my talking, or whatever I did. Or a little…
0:21:17.5 Jim Lovelady: Just a mixture of both.
0:21:18.6 Luke: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Especially the longer I’m in a relationship with somebody. There are other parents at school, they’re my neighbors, and maybe you can hit it off really well at the beginning, but as you spend years together rubbing shoulders, your weaknesses show up. And I found, even as I repent and apologize to people, that’s really interesting to them that you would come to me and apologize and humble yourself like that. I think a lot of times the first reaction is, “Oh, you don’t need to apologize for that. Oh, you’re a good guy, don’t worry about it.” I remember saying to a friend in the last year, “Hey, man, I’m sorry that I talked like this and did this thing. Here’s really what was going on. I had this fear of not being right, and I wanted you to really think I had all the answers, and I talked away too much and said things that I just really didn’t know. And I just, I talked too much, and it turns out I wasn’t accurate with the stuff that I said. But here’s why, ’cause I was trying to impress you.” And I think that really threw him for a loop. They were like, “Oh, no, man, it’s okay. You’re not that. You’re a good guy.”
0:22:25.8 Jim Lovelady: You’re not as bad as you’re saying.
0:22:26.1 Luke: Yeah. Don’t get so down on yourself.
0:22:28.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah. What do you do with that?
0:22:31.0 Luke: I think I, in that case, just let him tamp it down and continue to be in a relationship with him. And look to find ways to continue to be transparent and honest, to say, I’m not a guy who has it all together. And if that’s kind of the image that you have of me, the more time we spend together, the more that’ll go away. You won’t see me as the guy who has it all together, the more time we spend together.
0:22:55.9 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. If you knew me, if you really knew me, if you spent more time with me. So what are some ingredients to this? You’re living in a culture that has as of late had this certain kind of hostility toward Christianity that is kind of a I nothing you, Christianity. And now you’re starting to see things kind of come back, which is very fascinating to me ’cause I think Europe is easily 10 years ahead of the United States. And there is this hostility, and it’s its own kind of American flavor. It’s not a Western flavor. You talked about the culpability of the church historically. Well, I think that 10 years from now we’re gonna look back… 10, 20 years from now, we’re gonna look back at the culpability of… I mean we’re already doing it.
0:23:49.5 Luke: It seems so.
0:23:50.0 Jim Lovelady: Culpability of the American church.
0:23:52.0 Luke: Yeah, you’re right.
0:23:52.9 Jim Lovelady: And how there needs to be a lot of repenting.
0:23:55.8 Luke: Right. It did not measure up to the things it said it was all about.
0:24:00.0 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. And we’re being called out on it. And so there’s that kind of hostility where people are like, “Hey, I don’t believe in your God because your people are jerks.” And you’re coming along with this, well, I’m gonna continue to show you a dependence on Jesus. That, in the case where they’re going, “Hey, don’t be so hard on yourself.” They don’t get that, but you’re just gonna keep plugging along because it doesn’t change. Whether or not it’s understood, doesn’t change the fact that you have felt the conviction, or at that moment you felt the conviction, and Jesus called you to repent to that person, so you did, and they didn’t. That was weird. And Jesus looks at you and goes, that was awesome. You’re like, well, I guess. It felt awkward.
0:24:54.0 Luke: Yeah. Yeah. I think the ingredients in that, time I think is a key ingredient. Time is a key ingredient that Spain is a place that sees a lot of cross-cultural workers come through and spend a few years and then folks move on. They thought it would move quicker or for whatever reason. But there’s just a lot of transition. And I think the longer you stay and demonstrate that this is life, this is where I am, I’m not going anywhere, at least not anytime soon if I can help it, that people will open up their lives more and more to you. And just caring, caring about daily life puts you in a situation where when things really do get hard, you can be there to be the one that people ask for help or advice in their hard moments.
0:25:48.0 Luke: Think about like just having a routine in the neighborhood, having a bread store that you go to, having a restaurant that you frequent in building trust, and they get to know you and your family opens doors I think. Something that’s really coming to mind is in the first apartment where we lived for about four years, we went to the same bread guy all the time. Our bread man all the time. And life was good for like their first two or three years there. He and his wife ran this bread shop, but things got really bad. He had a lot of loss and suffering and really felt abandoned. And he was at his lowest low and confided in me, cried and hugged me, and asked for help, advice, and prayer. But if you don’t buy bread every couple of days for two and a half years you don’t get to be there for that moment.
0:26:40.0 Jim Lovelady: Wow.
0:26:40.2 Luke: You’re not trusted. And so it’s not a special gift other than consistency. Just stay, and keep on showing up. Like I talk about with my son with sports, sometimes the best ability is availability. Just if you show up every day, if you work hard and stay healthy that can make a big difference athletically if you have goals. And friendship is a lot like that too. If you’ll just be there in the mundane when they have a spiritual need, you can be there to step into that too.
0:27:10.5 Jim Lovelady: So what do you do in the meantime for two and a half years? And this speaks… It’s a telling question. It’s a very East Coast American question. Just to give you a clue on where I’m going, what do you do for two and a half years of mundane showing up, and how… I’m kind of answering my own question of how this points out an idolatry of productivity.
0:27:40.0 Luke: Sure. Me too, me too.
0:27:40.9 Jim Lovelady: So, anyway speaking to that, I wanna hear what you think of that.
0:27:44.0 Luke: Yeah. I think you, if I could be giving advice to myself, what do you do while you wait is to really seek the Lord, really pursue intimacy with the Lord, enjoy him and be authentic about that to the people around you. You don’t hide the fact that you’re a Christian until someone has a crisis, but you be upfront that this is the most important thing. This is the center of my life, is my relationship with Jesus in a respectful way, in a normal way. But it’s obvious and there’s a difference there. But I think the biggest danger, I see it in myself, and I can see it in other people too, in the church, is when we think we need to do all this Christian activity, ministry, God’s work, because we know how to do it, because we’ve seen it done before, because we’re getting paid to do it, but it’s not real in our hearts. I think that’s the most dangerous thing, is when you do God’s work, and it’s not authentic in your heart. You lead that Bible study when you’re absolutely spiritually dry, and you don’t admit to everyone else in the Bible study that you need prayer ’cause you’re spiritually dry.
0:28:53.9 Jim Lovelady: Because that’s the antidote.
0:28:55.0 Luke: Right. Right. Right. It doesn’t mean stop doing any Christian outreach until you’re on a mountaintop, but it means being honest about your need for the gospel all the way around.
0:29:03.0 Jim Lovelady: That’s good.
0:29:05.2 Luke: I think that’s the real danger is just those little steps of, I’m not doing well spiritually. The Lord seems far and I’m hiding it. I’m ashamed of it. I just keep going. And because I know how to do this stuff. I make decisions just ’cause I know how to make decisions, instead of really seeking the Lord. So while you wait, I think you seek the Lord and you try to really overflow with that joy. It struck me this summer, 1 Thessalonians 3, Paul’s prayer for that church is that you would overflow with love individually, and then in the church amongst each other, and then to everyone else, he says. I think it’s 1 Thessalonians 3:12 but the image is that individual overflows with love to the church, and then the church overflows with love to the non-believing world around them. I think that’s a great image for mission as well and cross-cultural mission that it has to be real. The same gospel you’re trying to take to the unreached people needs to be going to your unreached heart, and the same gospel that you want to change them needs to be changing you.
0:30:08.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. I don’t remember who it was that said it, that our heart is filled with unreached people groups. And sanctification is a lifetime spending letting the Lord come into these different places that we didn’t necessarily see, but the people around us are feeling. And then through conflict or whatever, through crisis, through suffering, these things get exposed. And Jesus goes, “Hey, do you want me to liberate you from that?” And when we say yes, he comes in and he begins the work of liberation.
0:30:48.0 Luke: Right. He works in there and then he’s like, tell someone about it. He pushes us out. And as we go out, I think you mentioned suffering and these different hardships that bring that out. Crossing culture does that a lot too. You’re in a new language, you’re in a new place where you don’t understand how things work. And for me, a lot of that flexibility and shock absorption, that would let me kind of hide sins and manage sins that gets stripped away in a new country and culture under extra stress. And so I’m sort of more cranky, more anxious, more selfish, maybe because of the extra elements involved with crossing a culture. And so you see, “Man, I feel like I’m more sinful now as a cross-cultural worker than I was just living in America. Wasn’t I supposed to get better?” And it’s really, all that stuff was in my heart the whole time. But it’s just getting exposed.
0:31:39.6 Jim Lovelady: That’s right.
0:31:40.1 Luke: And that humbling realization, but it’s also super encouraging that I need the gospel, just like all these people. I didn’t just come as the great container of gospelness that needs to spread it out on everybody, but I need it today. Yeah, that I need it today. A friend of mine said that to me and I’ve carried that with me for years. He said, “I don’t want to always be looking back at my childhood. Did I believe back then? Was my faith real back then? I wanna wake up today and like, ‘do I love Jesus today? Am I experiencing his love today?'”
0:32:13.2 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Today is the day of salvation. Is as much for you and me as it is for a revival invitation. Big tent revival invitation. Today’s the day of salvation for you and I. Live in that salvation work. Dan Macha, Interviewed him for the podcast a while back, and he took the… It was one of these other… We’ve got all these little catchphrases that we throw around… The one I’m just one beggar showing another beggar where to find bread.
0:32:44.0 Luke: Yeah. Martin Luther, maybe that. Yeah.
0:32:45.0 Jim Lovelady: I don’t remember.
0:32:46.1 Luke: It’s really good.
0:32:46.3 Jim Lovelady: Who it was that said it, but he said, I’m just one beggar showing another beggar where I’m going to find bread today.
0:32:57.4 Luke: Wow. Wow. That’s good.
0:33:00.0 Jim Lovelady: And I was like Hmm. Right.
0:33:01.7 Luke: Yeah yeah That’s good.
0:33:03.6 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. That we’re in the business of feasting on Jesus with Jesus, and bringing other people to that feast. So what’s that been like? Where have you most come to those crisis moments that lead to joy? Through repentance to joy for in a sense all the world to see.
0:33:30.0 Luke: So some of those points of suffering?
0:33:33.0 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Or just dependence on Jesus. Like on the daily dependence on Jesus, the daily grind of, okay, Jesus, I wanna do this, with your wife, kids. Is typically what it is first and foremost.
0:33:48.8 Luke: Yeah. I often hear, whether it’s folks at church with pastoral concerns or a friend or neighbor, Christian or not, asking for maybe some help, some counsel, how do I manage this situation? I have marriage problems, I have work problems. And I often feel like I do not know what to say to this person while they’re telling me. And there is sometimes a story in my head where it’s like, don’t you think by now you should have an answer to these things? Like, haven’t you been a…
0:34:19.2 Jim Lovelady: That voice Floating around. Ugh.
0:34:22.3 Luke: Yeah. Haven’t you been a Christian long enough that you should have some good answers for these people? But it’s almost always that each story is complicated. And what I really need to be doing is listening and caring and praying and seeking, like alongside this person. I don’t know. You don’t know. That’s why you asked me. Let’s see if God will tell us ’cause we know he knows. I feel it in myself especially around parenting at home of how do you take these people that God has entrusted to you, your kids, and how in the world can you get them ready for this world? That they’re gonna have to face, they face everyday, but they’re gonna have to kind of face without your help and support once they leave the home. So thinking often, like, what can I do to get my kids ready for this world? I think it can be tempting to think, I need to protect them and keep the bad away from them and maintain their innocence.
0:35:21.8 Luke: But I’m thankful for older guys who’ve given me a lot of wisdom and saying, what you really have to do is prepare them to engage in the world, and you can’t keep it away from them forever. And they really need the tools to engage with the world that’s waiting for them. And the world is so much different, I feel like, than as I grew up where now everything is so close, so near, in your phone and on the internet. Every idea possible, every thought of God or religion or the good life and real joy and real everything is just right there 24 hours a day.
0:35:58.8 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. A window to the universe. Just right here.
0:36:01.7 Luke: Yeah. So the question is really, what can I give my kids in the short amount of time that I have them at home to get them ready for something so overwhelming like that? And that’s it’s… Again, it makes you say, “God, I don’t know. I don’t know what to do. I need you to do this.” And I think right now my operating theory is the best thing I can give them, is showing them that I need Jesus and he really is what I need him to be. He really does satisfy me. Even though your dad, kids, is making mistakes, letting you down, letting himself down, letting other people down, at the end of the day Jesus really is the answer for everything for him. And so if I feel like if I can honestly experience that, not fake it, but if I can honestly experience a…
0:36:51.0 Jim Lovelady: You’re not manufacture this.
0:36:52.0 Luke: No, no. So the primary thing is, my biggest job is for me to enjoy the Lord, to get satisfied in Jesus and for his work to be everything for me. But if that’s real and that could overflow a little bit overflow in my home a little bit, I think that’s the best thing I could give my kids. That would be the tool that they could go into the rest of the world. I can’t teach them everything about how to manage the internet the right way or to manage worldview or any other issue, politics, government, human relationships. I can’t be an expert on anything, but I feel like I can be an expert in, I need Jesus and can I give you a window in how good he is to me and how he satisfies me.
0:37:37.1 Jim Lovelady: But I think being a dad might be like the most humbling of all the callings in life where you frequently see your shortcomings like on a daily or hourly or minute by minute basis. Like, I fell short again and I fell short again, and I fell short again. And so the Lord really has to be sufficient even there as I make mistakes as a father. He does help me do better and teach me and empower me, but he’s gotta be enough also for my failure. He’s gotta be the forgiveness for all the places where I’ve messed up as well. So I think it’s easy for me to think of God as like the one who can make me a better dad, and that’s very exciting. But the other part of that is he’s also the God who forgives my failures as a dad. Because I need that just as… The goal isn’t to get better. The goal is to love people.
0:38:33.0 Jim Lovelady: Right.
0:38:33.4 Luke: The goal is to love people.
0:38:34.0 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. And we are so tempted, we are so tempted in ourselves to go to wake up and go, alright, I need to get some holy going on today.
0:38:44.0 Luke: Right. Right.
0:38:45.1 Jim Lovelady: Oh man, Jesus said, be holy as I am. As your heavenly Father is holy. Oh, oh. I better get some, I better get on that.
0:38:51.0 Luke: Yeah, yeah. Right, right, right.
0:38:54.0 Jim Lovelady: And and you’re like, well, that’s not the primary thing. That is the fruit of the primary thing.
0:39:00.0 Luke: Yeah. And you can’t even make that happen. You know, you can’t…
0:39:03.8 Jim Lovelady: Right.
0:39:04.2 Luke: You can’t make yourself holy. We’re so dependent on the Lord for all these things, and how do we access even that change is believe, faith and repentance. Just coming back and say, “Lord, I want to turn on my self-made righteousness today.” Like, thanks for letting me see that I’m trying to turn that on, first of all, and could you overwhelm that? Could you really overflow? I’m tempted to try to fake it.
0:39:31.5 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.
0:39:33.4 Luke: Yeah. I was recently, this is a moment where I feel like recently the Lord like stopped me and let me know he was stopping me.
0:39:41.0 Jim Lovelady: Oh, yeah.
0:39:43.2 Luke: I was getting ready to speak last Sunday, speak at a church and give an update. And I knew I had a hard stop because I had other things on the schedule and I needed to be done at a certain time.
0:39:54.0 Jim Lovelady: Okay.
0:39:54.5 Luke: Usually churches are kind of like, we try to stop at noon or whatever, but there’s some flexibility. I knew this time there wasn’t gonna be flexibility.
0:40:01.3 Jim Lovelady: Hey, you have three minutes, so make it one minute.
0:40:06.9 Luke: So I knew I needed… My wife and I were gonna get up and give, an update and I was gonna preach a short sermon, a mission’s Jesus’s with you sermon, which I was very excited to give. But it’s also the first Sunday right before school started. And so they brought all the students up and prayed for them. They brought all the teachers up and prayed for them. And I remember thinking, oh man, this is cutting into my time. And the song, they do an extra verse, and the passing the piece lasts just a little bit longer. And I remember thinking like over and over again.
0:40:37.5 Jim Lovelady: I love this.
0:40:38.2 Luke: Disappointed in the pastor when he called the next group up to get prayed for, because I was like, could he not do this another week? Does he not know this is really cutting into my time.
0:40:47.6 Jim Lovelady: Oh, love this. Yes.
0:40:49.3 Luke: And during the next song, I just put my head down, because the Holy Spirit was like, do you really think that they need to hear from you more than they need to spend time in prayer together as a body? It was like the Lord had just interrupted.
0:41:05.7 Jim Lovelady: I love it. Yeah.
0:41:06.9 Luke: The Lord had just interrupted me and said, actually seeking me, praying together as a church body is much more beautiful thing than you talking even if the talk is good and helpful, but being interrupted, like that was so helpful. And what did I do? I like end up, have to cut up about half my sermon out. And it was, I think, so much stronger that any of the fluff got cut out. I was more focused, more energetic, and the sermon ended up even being a stronger sermon in the end.
0:41:34.0 Jim Lovelady: It’s so funny.
0:41:34.5 Luke: But just that emotion when that song came on and the Holy Spirit’s like, “Hey, just so you know, they need me more than you.”
0:41:43.0 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Relax. I got this.
0:41:44.8 Luke: Yeah. This is not your show. This is not your show.
0:41:47.2 Jim Lovelady: Oh, that is, and you know, that that humility that comes from humiliation, you know? And like no one knew.
0:41:56.0 Luke: Right.
0:41:56.7 Jim Lovelady: No one, if you’re not like giving off a vibe of like, oh man, he’s really wrestling with God. We can tell, we can totally tell. No, it’s all kind of this inward thing.
0:42:06.9 Luke: Right.
0:42:07.8 Jim Lovelady: But the fruit of it is all of this wonderful stuff and your joy ’cause you come away going, “Oh, Jesus, I’m really sorry that I’ve been trying to make this my show.”
0:42:20.5 Luke: Yeah. Yeah.
0:42:21.5 Jim Lovelady: And Jesus goes, yeah, you’re welcome for me stopping you and inviting you back into the real show, participation with me. And you’re like, that’s what I want. And your heart resonates at a deep level. And then everybody goes, wow, Jesus is amazing. Not so and so up there preaching their sermon is amazing. Which may feel good in the moment, but afterwards it’s kinda like, well, that faded and that’s lame. But when it’s in tandem with Jesus, you’re going, oh my gosh, I was made for this.
0:43:03.4 Luke: Yeah.
0:43:05.2 Jim Lovelady: I love that story.
0:43:06.2 Luke: To point to that goodness, it’s one thing to say, for example, prayer is the real thing. Prayer is essential. Prayer has to be the center. But it was almost like the Lord was just giving me an opportunity. Do you really believe that? And in a lot of ways, you don’t really believe that And in a lot of ways, you believe if you would talk more, that would transform more lives than prayer would. So what the world really needs is more of you not more prayer, even though you say the world needs more prayer. And so it was very humbling, but made me so grateful because it felt like, you love me enough, God, to stop me.
0:43:42.0 Jim Lovelady: Exactly.
0:43:43.1 Luke: Like you could’ve let me just run down this kind of self-pity, self-centered, which I live in that realm quite a bit, but in this moment, you stopped me and let me see some of that ugliness in my heart, and take it to you and admit it. And it was just such a gift to be able to give that over to him and be honest and not feel like he was slapping me on the wrist about it either. But it was like, I love you and care about you, so I’m not gonna let you wallow in this feeling.
0:44:11.5 Jim Lovelady: Yeah, yeah. I love you too much to let you be enslaved to this kind of thing.
0:44:14.8 Luke: Yeah. Yeah. I’m gonna show you a little bit of what’s going on in there, because I love you. And that really was a barrier to receiving his love and to having that joy. This idea that I need to talk more and people need to get out of my way and they’re slowing me down. That’s a barrier to receiving his love and just living like a child, the stress-free life that we want to have with the Lord, the anxiety free-life that we want to have with God. And so if your kingdom gets shrunk a little bit, God’s Kingdom can grow a little bit in your heart and say, actually he is more satisfying than me doing a good job. Me being a compelling speaker doesn’t satisfy like you’re saying. But a guy who notices you and stops you and changes you, thanks for paying attention, God.
0:45:02.1 Jim Lovelady: That’s amazing.
0:45:02.9 Luke: Thanks for thanks for loving me and moving towards me like that.
0:45:05.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.
0:45:06.3 Luke: Yeah.
0:45:07.2 Jim Lovelady: Oh, that’s so good. Yeah. No discipline is pleasant at the time, but moments after, you get to reap a harvest of a shorter, tighter, more joyful sermon.
0:45:17.0 Luke: Yeah.
0:45:19.2 Jim Lovelady: In all the fruit of that repentance.
0:45:20.1 Luke: Right. Right.
0:45:22.0 Jim Lovelady: I love that. We’re basically, you’re kind of unpacking for me the ingredients for evangelism. And it doesn’t really matter the context. You just so happen to be in a place that is both post-Christian, very secular and very traditional religious cultures other than Christianity.
0:45:45.5 Luke: Yeah.
0:45:46.2 Jim Lovelady: And it’s kind of the ingredients are this continuous dependence on Jesus, where when I am being renewed in my soul, the people around me are, and you talk about your family, the people immediately around me, who see all my brokenness, they are… The joy of the Lord spills over onto them. And then like the, like the Thessalonians passage, these concentric circles of joy just kind of continue to move outward where people go… You know, oh man, you could say, “Oh, don’t be so hard on yourself right before you’re about to preach a sermon.” And you’re like, “No, you’re missing it.”
0:46:27.9 Luke: Right.
0:46:28.0 Jim Lovelady: This is actually Jesus moving into my heart, so that today, in this moment is the day of salvation for me as well as the people that are, that are hearing me.
0:46:40.0 Luke: Yeah, yeah.
0:46:41.7 Jim Lovelady: All the way out to the people who you befriend, who don’t know Jesus, don’t know… Really hyperbolically speaking, you’re the only friend, but it’s real.
0:46:52.5 Luke: Right. Right. And there are plenty of people that my wife and I or or just me really, are the only Christians I know. I mean, that’s a real, that’s definitely a real thing. But you do want to connect them as quick as you can to the community, introduce them to other Christians at the church. Yeah. I think another aspect of life in post-Christian Europe, probably America’s headed there, if not there soon, is this idea that I want Christianity to be true. Like, it’s beautiful. And I really wish that was true.
0:47:29.5 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.
0:47:30.0 Jim Lovelady: Because I think we’ve had, especially in America, several generations of kind of assuming Christianity, there is a God, the Bible is an authoritative book, and it was kind of just a generational and a countrywide, by and large, accepted by the majority, that Christianity had a, a place of respect if nothing else, and people were kind of familiar with the concepts. And so the questions were about, did Jesus really rise from the dead or is the Bible really reliable? But not really, is there a god or you know.
0:48:04.1 Jim Lovelady: Right. Yep.
0:48:05.3 Luke: And now it seems it’s almost like it’s a different question of, instead of, is it true intellectually, it feels like the question that I live around is more, could it please be true or, because it’s…
0:48:17.8 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Wouldn’t it be nice.
0:48:19.1 Luke: Wouldn’t it be because it’s beautiful? Because I’ve tried the other stuff and it’s all left me empty still. So the compulsion is not so much of, I already know this stuff is true, but do the facts line up. It’s, could this please be true for me? Could this actually give me hope? Because I need something. So it’s almost like the beauty of Christianity, the attraction of Christianity is the hope versus maybe the the academic rigor and the facts and apologetics around it.
0:48:53.2 Jim Lovelady: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. The best apologetic is not, “Hey, let me give you a scientific proof.” That’s minute that’s an apologetic for a secular world. And the secular world is like whatever. The apologetic for a post-secular world is, “Hey, this seems like a fairytale to you, doesn’t it?” And they’re like, absolutely. But don’t you wish it was true. And they’re like, “Yeah. I really wish.” And you go, “Well, I’m gonna live my life in such a way that as if it’s true.”
0:49:27.8 Luke: Right. Right. I’m gonna stake my life on this.
0:49:29.8 Jim Lovelady: There it is.
0:49:30.7 Luke: I’m gonna stake my life on this. Yeah. I had a friend who one time said, “Do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Christianity is true?” And I said, “No, I have doubts all the time.”
0:49:43.5 Jim Lovelady: That’s right.
0:49:45.3 Luke: I wonder about things. How did, why did this or that, or why does God allow this or that? Things in scripture that seem to confuse me, I said, beyond a shadow of a doubt. No, I have my shadows. I live with these shadows of doubts frequently, but I’ve staked my life on it.
0:49:58.9 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Because Jesus is beautiful.
0:50:01.0 Luke: Yeah. This story is beautiful.
0:50:04.3 Luke: Right. It’s an old, it’s not new information usually. It’s just a fresh encounter with what’s always been true about Jesus in the gospel. A lot of times I don’t need to learn anything new, it’s just I really need to go back to believing his promises. I was reading Isaiah 55, the kind of this messianic promise and indictment of why do you buy milk that doesn’t, and wine that won’t satisfy…
0:50:32.7 Jim Lovelady: Why spend money on it. Yeah.
0:50:32.8 Luke: Yeah. Why are you spending money on things that don’t satisfy you? And it’s really come to come to the Messiah for this water where you’ll never be thirsty. And it’s later on in Isaiah 55, it was like, come to him and he will abundantly pardon you. Let the wicked forsake his way, but there’s forgiveness in the Lord. And I read that and thought, there’s no new information in here. This is the old story of, you’re chasing after things that don’t really satisfy you. They let you down. Jesus will satisfy you and give you life and joy, and he will forgive anything you’ve done wrong. There’s pardon in the Lord. And I just, I thought, even me who’s been a Christian for a long time, I just need to come back to that. And a lot of my friends, unbelieving friends and neighbors in Spain, just to say that, we just almost need to let that message out of, there is a God who loves you, and he would like to satisfy every longing of your heart. He knows everything about you, and he hasn’t rejected you. He still wants to be near to you.
0:51:36.8 Luke: I think that message is so compelling, even though it’s so basic, we can almost get used to it, but can you imagine how life-giving that is if we would really think, the God who made me loves me and wants to be around me. I have all these desires and he wants to meet all those desires and everything I’ve ever done wrong, all my shame and injustice and everything I’ve ever done, he’ll wipe away.
0:51:58.9 Jim Lovelady: Abundantly.
0:52:00.1 Jim Lovelady: Yes. It never happened. It’s forgotten. And there’s no new secret or trick in that message. It’s just the good old gospel story. But I just, I find myself, I need to keep on coming back to that. And when I watch you suffer, when I watch you struggle, when I watch you try to find the answers in other places, I just wanna say, can I just tell you this offer? This is an amazing thing that God would love to give to you. He’s not willing for anyone to perish. I mean, what a fight worth joining. Like, can I just tell you this? It’s so beautiful. Like, yes, could that please be true? Could that please be true?
0:52:40.0 Jim Lovelady: Oh, yeah. That’s so good. We could keep talking forever.
0:52:44.7 Luke: That’s how Jesus is, isn’t it?
0:52:46.3 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Because…
0:52:47.3 Luke: You can’t exhaust.
0:52:48.5 Jim Lovelady: But when you land on, I want… The deepest desire of my heart is that this story be true, and then come to find out it’s true. There’s what more joy. I mean, there’s just an abundance of joy. So, and I can tell, you know, just, you’re just a joyful dude. And you know, it’s funny because we both talked about Eeyore or whatever and the tendency toward melancholy, but there is like, when your hope is in the Lord, in spite of whatever that is, I don’t know how he does it, but the Lord just seems to like move through all of that and go, yeah, but you want this to be true. And it’s, yeah. You know?
0:53:40.6 Luke: Yeah. Yeah.
0:53:41.4 Jim Lovelady: That was so good.
0:53:42.0 Jim Lovelady: Thank you. It’s been fun. It’s just like giving me life to talk about this stuff, to say it out loud just is almost like, makes it multiply in my heart. So thank you, Jim.
0:53:50.7 Jim Lovelady: I love that.
0:53:51.0 Luke: Yeah.
0:53:51.4 Jim Lovelady: Well, thanks brother.
0:53:52.8 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Thank you.
0:54:00.0 Jim Lovelady: What are the ingredients for evangelism? From my conversation with Luke, it seems that there are at least four. The first one is the foundation of all of this is a personal sense of my own need for Jesus and his love for me. You are not called to rescue people or to fix them. You’re called to point them to the one who rescued you and who liberates you every day. Number two, curiosity about people and their stories. Well, it seems to me that the effective evangelists who don’t burn out are those who genuinely enjoy building friendships with non-believers and enjoy their context as well. Curiosity will lead us to ask questions, listen well, empathize and change our assumptions. And people can really tell if we love them, or if we’re just treating them as a project. And it’s hard to beat genuine love for a people and the place that they’re in.
Number three, time. You have to put in the hours you have to live a real life that people can see warts and all. And then Lord willing, you will be around when they are needy and broken. And they will trust you to offer the hope and love of Christ that you have found and embodied over time. Time is an essential ingredient. So be patient and be present. Number four, repentance. Along with the other ingredients, we ought to see our sins and mistakes as opportunities to show our need for Jesus. We can ask for forgiveness, talk about our idols, admit our faults, and become more relatable. We need the gospel just as bad as the people that we’re taking it to. So what other ingredients do you see? Let me know. Shoot me an email at the address email@example.com.
And I want you to notice one really important thing. These ingredients for evangelism are not only for folks who have been called to the context of overseas missions. They are crucial ingredients for every Christian, no matter where they’re called. So in a sense, aren’t we all missionaries? But if you or someone you know, is looking for an opportunity to put these evangelism tools into practice in cross-cultural overseas ministry contexts, we have opportunities for you to serve for eight weeks this summer. Go to serge.org/internship to investigate the many locations that we have all over the world. And the deadline for these applications is January 19th. So don’t wait. And hey, the Christmas season is right around the corner. But first, first is advent. This advent season, we invite you to join us on a five-part devotional series designed to help us reflect on our ongoing need for God’s grace to be poured into our lives.
We wanna offer you a free ebook devotional written by Howard Brown, Lindsay Kimball and Robert Kim. And I’ll have a link for that in the show notes. But you’ll also be able to get to it by going to our website serge.org. It’s perfect for personal and/or family devotions as you prepare for Christmas. And please remember to like and subscribe on YouTube and leave a rating of this podcast on your listening platform. It really helps to get the word out about Grace at the Fray. So as you go, I really do hope that you will lean into this Ministry from Weakness theme. God’s grace is sufficient for you. Whether enticed by success or overwhelmed by failure, God’s power is made perfect through your weakness. So as you go weak enough to be used by God, go with his blessing. May the Lord bless you and keep you and make his face to smile down on you. May the Lord be gracious to you and turn his bright eyes to you and give you his peace. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God, life everlasting. Amen.
This may be a missionary or ministry leader, whether an individual or a couple, whose identity is anonymous in order to protect their safety and the safety of those they serve. At Serge, we have many workers serving in closed-access countries around the world and we prioritize security, which is essential for the success of their mission.
Jim Lovelady is a Texas-born pastor, musician, and liturgist, doing ministry in Philadelphia with his wife, Lori, and 3 kids, Lucia, Ephram, and Talitha. He is passionate about the ministry of liberating religious people from the anxieties of religion and liberating secular people from the anxieties of secularism through the story of the gospel.
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