Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Am Second

Hello, I hope everybody is having a blessed week! I have recently come across an awesome website that helps to make sharing the gospel with others easier. it is called  I Am Second. The site has videos about people from every walk of life saying that they are second because they have made Jesus Christ first in their lives. They have videos from pro athletes, pastors, actors, authors, musicians, NASCAR drivers, charity founders, pro fishermen, army captains, skateboarders, terminal cancer patients, beauty pageant winners, and even a presidential candidate among others.

I have a challenge for everyone this week. Find a video from this site that speaks to you, and share it with others. Whether this means simply posting it to facebook or actually specifically sending a link to the video to specific people is up to you. I haven't watched all the videos on the site yet, but here are my three favorite so far...

Colt McCoy, former UT longhorn and current Cleveland Browns quarterback

Chris Plenkenpol, Army Captain, Iraq war veteran

Tamara Jolee, Journalist and terminal cancer patient

I pray that everyone accepts this challenge and shares a great testimony with some people that really need to hear it. Thanks so much for reading and considering this, but thank you even more for being my friend. God bless!!

In Christ,
Steve Stockwell

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Faith is more important than immediate results

I want to illustrate a Biblical point through the example of one extraordinary but short life. Here is the principal: a life lived by faith doesn’t always produce positive results in human terms. Outward appearances of success don’t always indicate faith, and outward appearances of failure don’t always reflect a lack of faith. A faithful servant is someone who does exactly what their master tells them, whatever the outcome may be. We all see examples of televangelists and mega church preachers who appear successful but are probably doing more harm than good with their prosperity message and watered down version of the gospel. Also, there are plenty of examples of faithful people who had rough lives or were martyred early in their ministry. Here is the story of one of my heroes, William Borden.

William Borden was born in 1887 into wealth and luxury as the heir to the Borden dairy. When he was young, he committed his life to Christ after hearing famous evangelist D.L. Moody speak. His parents gave the young millionaire a trip around the world as a high school graduation present. It was during this trip that he committed to forsake his inheritance and dedicate his life to full time missions in China after seeing how many people in the world were struggling and how many people needed Jesus. When he got home and told his family about his decision, they were confused and distressed. His father told him to at least sell his share of the company and save the money to live off of when times get tough. Borden refused and wrote two words on the inside cover of his Bible, “NO RESERVE.”

Borden eventually finished college and seminary after setting up a very successful student ministry at both schools. Shortly before leaving, Borden’s father told him that he would always have a job opening at the company if he decided to come home. Borden declined and wrote another two words in his Bible, “NO RETREAT.”

Less than a month after landing in Egypt for mission training, William Borden contracted spinal meningitis and died. As he lay on his deathbed, he wrote a final two words in his Bible, “NO REGRETS.”

News of his death soon spread throughout the world. Most people scoffed at the seemingly worthlessness of his life. “He gave up all his fortune to help people, but didn’t even get the chance to start.” “How sad!” “How pathetic!” “Where was his God when this happened?”

However, many Christians viewed it differently. If he was willing to give up so much and still have no regrets, maybe I can give up the little I have to do the same. Thousands of people committed to enter the mission field as a direct result of the life and death of William Borden. It is impossible to know the number of millions of people that came to know Christ indirectly through Borden. At the time of his death, it seemed like William Borden was a life tragically cut short before he could fulfill his purpose, but his example radically changed the mission field forever.

His six words he wrote in his Bible still serve as guiding principles for those in the mission field.

No reserve- Luke 14:33,  “Any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” We can’t hold anything back, we must give it all to the LORD if we are truly going to serve Him.

No retreat- hold true to what you are called to do. If you know you are doing what God wants you to do, don’t let anything any human does or says change what you are doing. See Philippians 3, especially 12-14.

No regrets- Borden couldn’t have possibly known the effect his life would have, so why did he have no regrets at the time of his death? Because he knew he had done everything possible to serve God. Whether it makes sense to us at the time or not, being in the center of God’s will is always the best place to be.

This principle has been a tough lesson, but has also given me tremendous comfort the last two and a half years. From a worldly perspective, I haven’t really done much since graduating from college in May 2008. But words can’t adequately describe how much I have grown spiritually since then. I’ve also been blessed to go on three foreign mission trips where I’ve had the opportunity to share the gospel with over 40,000 people. Waiting on God’s timing is usually the most difficult thing in life to do. It is much easier for me to follow God telling me to go do something that seems crazy than to follow when He says to be still and wait. I sure hope God doesn’t have me waiting around for much longer! But I know that following Him wherever that leads is the most important thing in life.

Thanks for reading, I hope everybody had a wonderful thanksgiving and has a blessed rest of the week!

In Christ,
Steve Stockwell