Dear friends in the faith,
What a great month it’s been! I have enjoyed an especially fruitful season on our medical campuses, and it has been my privilege to listen with sympathy, rejoice in God’s blessing, offer wisdom when needed, encourage for jobs well-done, and challenge where growth still needs to occur. God created me for moments like these! Let me tell you more about one of them.
“Jim” is a second-year medical student at one of our campuses, and I’ve been out to a number of their midweek gatherings. The students spend an hour in large-group bible study at their meetings, and Jim typically leads a portion of the study. I can honestly say that there are very few people – of any age- that I know who are better relationally than Jim. He is an encourager, shares openly about God’s work in his life, and instantly makes any group he is part of a welcoming place to be.
As I’ve participated in these bible studies and watched Jim lead, I noticed that he frequently makes self-deprecating comments and defers to another leader in the group. Over time, I began to get the feeling that people liked Jim, but they didn’t fully respect him. At the end of one particular meeting, I encouraged him first, then asked if I could bring something to his attention.
After he said “yes”, I simply pointed out that he often put himself down and asked another leader for support, then asked him if he noticed that, too. Although he had thought about it a bit before, a smile came across his face as he started thinking and talking about it with me right there. God was at work!
We continued talking, and I explained to him that he had tremendous potential to impact others for Christ, but that his actions were making it hard for others to follow him with confidence. I had to leave, but asked him to think about why he had adopted self-disparaging patterns.
When we got together a few weeks later to follow-up, Jim had obviously reflected a lot on our conversation. In a nutshell, he said, “I put myself down because it’s safer that way.” In His goodness, the Lord had shown Jim something very significant – it’s easier to ‘play it safe’ and not put yourself on the line than it is to ‘take a chance’ and lead boldly. The trade-off, however, is that we lose our influence with others, and Jim has begun to grasp that.
What a privilege to participate in moments like these. Proverbs 20:5 says, “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” I felt honored that God had used me to “draw out” the “deep waters” in Jim’s heart that night. Given Jim’s obvious relational gifting, it will be exciting to see how God will use this step of faith. I dream and pray that, years from now, other Christian men will be impacted for Christ through Jim because of it.
We are mindful, of course, that you make moments of personal transformation like this possible through your gifts and prayers. May God reward you for your critical role in the harvest He is reaping through us!
With Christian love,
Bryan & Sharon
We invite you to join us in prayer & praise over the following items:
Praise the Lord for a wonderful season of campus meetings and discipleship times. This past month has been our best ever with MCO!
Praise also for an encouraging time as we search for a new ministry position. We are confident that the Lord will guide us faithfully, and ask that you pray with us for His clear leading.
Praise God for His comfort & healing, since Sharon suffered a miscarriage last month. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away — blessed be the name of the Lord.
Finally, pray that we make preparations to “finish well” during our remaining time with MCO. We want to honor Christ and place the ministry on solid ground as we make our transition.