The Real Challenge


Our lives have many seasons. I find myself finishing one and beginning another. These days, I’m looking both to the past and the future as I anticipate transition from my current role in The Alliance.

When I look back, I marvel that God has led the C&MA to reach millions of people around the world with the gospel. The clear vision our founder, A. B. Simpson, received from the Holy Spirit continues to be fulfilled 125 years later. I have been privileged to serve in a variety of ministries, and now I anticipate the next chapter and adventure in His unfolding plan for Betty and me.

Whenever I contemplate my life journey, I am always drawn to one compelling truth: It is all about Jesus! Whatever role I’ve served in ministry, I have always been drawn to Christ’s message and His mission. They remain the nonnegotiable foundation on which everything else is built. I must confess that there have been many times and situations in which I got caught up in secondary issues that did not matter for eternity. They were good issues but not the best. There were times that accomplishing ministry goals took precedence over being captivated with Jesus and His primary callings for my life.

Jesus lived His life with a single focus: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). On another occasion He said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

I have a nagging concern for my fellow Alliance believers. It is a real challenge for most of us. The challenge is to maintain sharp focus on the resolute message and mission of Jesus. I recently attended a conference where one of the speakers stated, “We are all discipled by something or someone.” Church researchers have stated that our culture often influences (disciples) believers more than the believers influence our culture. It makes good sense to present the timeless truth of Scripture in a relevant manner, but has cultural relevance gone too far? Is it possible to drift from the centrality of Christ? I hope we remember that the message of Christ is “the power of God that brings salvation” (Rom. 1:16). The messenger is the voice of the message. The method is the platform for the message.

Both in Romans and 1 Corinthians the apostle Paul cautioned against the threat of lightweight liberty issues becoming so prominent in discussion and practice that weighty and eternal matters take second place. As stated earlier, I have been caught up in such discussions to my shame and loss of valuable time. Paul’s primary emphasis can be summed up in two verses, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3–4).

The death of Christ on the cross, His burial and Resurrection and His offer of reconciliation to God for everyone who comes to Him is our foundation. We won’t drift if we remain faithful to that message!

My next ministry role probably won’t be all that different from any calling I’ve received from our Lord in the past—as a layperson or clergyman. Ministry positions and titles come and go. But one thing is clear. He has appointed me, as a disciple, to be a Spirit-filled witness to His saving, keeping power. I intend to improve my guard against drift in message, mission and priorities through the prompting of the Spirit and the help of fellow believers.

As you celebrate our Lord’s Resurrection in all His power and glory on Easter Sunday, my hope is that the message and mission of Jesus will be crystal clear to you and it will be your primary focus in life. This is the real challenge—but doable through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Alliance Core Values

  • Lost people matter to God. He wants them found. Luke 19:10
  • Prayer is the primary work of God’s people. Phil. 4:6–7
  • Everything we have belongs to God. We are His stewards. 1 Chron. 29:14
  • Knowing and obeying God’s Word is fundamental to all true success. Josh. 1:8
  • Completing the Great Commission will require the mobilization of every fully devoted disciple. Matt. 28:19
  • Without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we can accomplish nothing.
    1 Cor. 2:4–5
  • Achieving God’s purposes means taking faith-filled risks. This always involves change.
    Heb. 11:6

Past Alliance Life Issues


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