Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 in the Rear-View-Mirror

“…The eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year.” Deut. 11:12

From the vantage point of an almost-extinguished-year, my 2007 was filled with
travel. There were highs and lows this past year. There was pain and pleasure sovereignty mixed together in just the right measure:

In January I traveled to Beirut Lebanon to serve with a longtime friend Sami Dagher who serves the Karantina church in that city. Sami arranged a pastor’s conference on evangelism and invited leaders from 5 Islamic countries to attend. I met pastors from Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq & Egypt. A few even trickled in from Sudan to join us. I shared the sessions with Ravi Zacharias. Ravi took the evening sessions while I took the morning sessions. I was invigorated to see firsthand the deep and abiding trust of these men and women who share Christ in lands hostile to the gospel message.

Immediately after the Beirut conference, I met up with Joel Rosenberg and our film team in Jerusalem to work on the documentary, “Epicenter”, highlighting the impending threat of Iran and Russia to the nation of Israel and examining Bible prophecy in the light of today’s headlines. The weather was beautiful for this time of the year and we were able to film at the Rabbi’s tunnel on the western foundation of the Temple Mount. Joel is a sweet, humble and godly man who has a deep love for the people of the Middle East.

In winter, Pastor Chuck Smith called and asked me to be a part of an outreach he was planning for March—the Big Tent Revival in Costa Mesa. While renovating the church auditorium there, Chuck decided to make it an opportunity for commitment and evangelism. A series of nights with various speakers and bands triggered our memories of the past but also stimulated our desire for God’s work in the future. I enjoyed connecting with many friends from Calvary Costa Mesa and Ocean Hills church.

There were some significant losses in my life this year as well. I was deeply saddened by the passing of my dear mother in the spring of the year after she suffered a mild CVA which weakened her and she was unable to fight the complications brought on by the stroke. I was at her bedside for the last few days of her life and was able to be there when she went to heaven. It was a profoundly moving and holy experience for me. I am so grateful to God that I was able to be in California for the last few years of her life and do little things for her around the house for her. That was a gift I will always be grateful for. Her joy and contentedness were exemplary.

Just a couple of months later in June, a woman who was so dear to my family and me also went to heaven—Mrs. Ruth Graham. Ruth exuded the love of Jesus Christ to all people. Born as the daughter of a missionary doctor in China, she never lost her heart for the poor and downtrodden, even while her husband Dr. Billy Graham’s star was rising as a world renown evangelist. Ruth would always make it a point to travel down from her home in Montreat and attend my speaking sessions at the Cove every year. I had the privilege on several occasions to visit her at home and enjoy her talk about life from her point of view over a good meal. I attended her funeral in June and was especially blessed by her husbands devotion to her. She is greatly missed.

There were other travels of course—speaking at the Cove in October as well as in Florida, but
of my year was spent at home in New Mexico and with the wonderful folks at Calvary of Albuquerque. On this last day of 2007, I sit looking out my kitchen window at the breezing landscape and thank God for letting me serve His flock. They are the joy and rejoicing of our hearts!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Cold but Blessed!

Its cold in this last week of 2007 here in New Mexico, but how blessed we feel this year. Record numbers attended services at Calvary ABQ--so many new faces and old friends! What a wonderful time. Between the weekend and Christmas Eve we conducted 7 services! It was a holy marathon and God visited us with His presence. May your New Year be filled with God's peace.