Hope to see you there!
Hope to see you there!
Thanksgiving is a few days away and whether you are traveling or enjoying some downtime, now might be a good time to catch up on Stories of Sacred Endurance.
Here’s the last four episodes this season.
Episode 5 – Todd Billings: Enduring in Hope
Dr. J. Todd Billings is the Gordon H. Girod Research Professor of Reformed Theology at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, MI. He was diagnosed with incurable blood cancer in 2012. Todd shares with us how his hope in Jesus Christ has helped him endure the everyday questions and struggles that come with his diagnosis.
You can find Todd on Twitter at @jtoddbillings.
Episode 6 – Costi Hinn: Enduring in Truth
Costi W. Hinn is a pastor and author whose passion is to preach the gospel and serve the church. His works have been featured on outlets like CNN, Christianity Today, and ChurchLeaders.com. He comes from a family of well-known prosperity gospel teachers, but had a radical encounter with God’s Word. Costi shares with us the challenges and victories that he now embraces since following Jesus Christ.
You can find Costi on Twitter at @costiwhinn.
Episode 7 – Linda and Tom Strode: Enduring in the Everyday
Tom and Linda Strode met at First Baptist Church in Little Rock and were married in 1978. Tom is a correspondent for Baptist Press and works at the Epics and Religious Liberty Commission. For the last 21 years he has also been a pastor of Covenant Community Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Linda co-authored the 2014 book “A Christ Centered Wedding” with her daughter Catherine Parks. On this episode they share how to push on in following Jesus in everyday, mundane life.
You can find Tom and Linda on Twitter at @TomStrode and @LGStrode.
Episode 8 – June Cheng: Enduring in Persecution
June Cheng is the China correspondent for WORLD Magazine. She covers persecution in the Church, as well as culture and politics in China. June tells us about the persecution that Chinese Christians are facing today and how they continue to follow God even in the face of intense adversity.
You can find June on Twitter at @JuneCheng_World.
Don’t forget to take advantage of our special offer for podcast listeners: Order your copy of Sacred Endurance for 30% off with free shipping using code SACRED30 at ivpress.com.
Season two update coming soon!
(I’ve invited friends to share their own stories of endurance or the stories of others. My prayer is that you would be inspired and encouraged as you read each guest post. Learn more about my new book: Sacred Endurance.)
By Christine Hoover
Every afternoon at 3:30, my dad drives to the nursing home that sits just outside his neighborhood. He swings his car around to the back, unloads fresh laundry, folds the day’s newspaper under his arm, and punches in the code to the employees’ entrance. He’s not an employee, but he’s been there so often that they finally offered him the code. That was helpful because his mom’s room is closest to the back door.
His mom—my grandmother—has been in the nursing home for several years now, ever since she fell and broke her neck and her body continued on as if nothing much had happened. Her heart and lungs remain healthy, but her mind began to cloud soon after her fall. Time has become difficult for her to measure, familiar names are outside her grasp, and sometimes she forgets that her beloved husband of sixty-seven years has died.
Every afternoon at 3:30, my dad begins the routine. When he gets to my grandmother’s room, he puts away her fresh laundry, asks about what she’s eaten, helps her choose her dinner from the menu, chats with her roommate, and reports on the weather outside, the great-grandchildren, or the latest family news. There is little for my grandmother to say, but he is there, nonetheless, to sit with her and listen. They then, together, work the crossword puzzle from the newspaper. As a child, I used to watch my grandmother make quick work of the daily crossword puzzle, and despite the decay of her ninety-year-old mind, she’s still somehow able to whip through the puzzle each day.
My dad says he sometimes wonders if he’s doing right by his mom. Perhaps there is a better nursing home, or perhaps he should push for a better roommate for her. But I say that every afternoon at 3:30, every time he punches in the code on the back door, my dad is a picture of sacred endurance. Sacred, because there is nothing holier or more honoring to God than obeying him and serving one in his name who cannot serve you back. Endurance, because it’s a string of days that have gathered into a string of years in which he’s having the same conversations, doing the same laundry, even answering some of the same clues on the crossword puzzles. Sacred endurance requires both heart and hands.
I’m starting to notice that, when it comes to sacred endurance, the ones who are doing it well are the ones who don’t think they’re doing it well at all. They don’t believe they’ve arrived or are above the grunt work; they’re just in it and remaining in it, willing to see their God-given task through, knowing they’ll see it through only by the help of God. For it’s this middle part, far from both the start and the finish, that most defines sacred endurance. No one is cheering. No one writes a thank-you note. No one knows the discouragement or the questions that plague you in the middle part. No one notices where you’ve gone to at 3:30 in the afternoon.
Except for One, of course. The motivation and fuel for sacred endurance is a firm conviction that God cheers what no one else cheers, that he sees what no one else sees, and that one day when the rewards are handed out, 3:30 in the afternoon will become an eternal treasure gifted by the hands of God himself.
I want to be like my dad. I want to serve at my own expense. I want to honor the Lord with my whole life, through days that string into years that string across mortality into eternity. I’m convinced that the only way that will happen is if I remember and believe with everything in me that this middle part won’t last forever. There is a finish line, and his name is Jesus Christ. One day my grandmother will see him, and my dad will see him, and I will see him. And then none of us will remember the way our bodies were broken, the struggle to endure in faith, or the code to the back door.
None of us will remember the middle part, because we will be Home, and all of endurance will turn into reward.
Christine Hoover is a pastor’s wife, mom of three boys, host of the “By Faith” podcast, and author of several books, including Searching for Spring: How God Makes All Things Beautiful in Time, Messy Beautiful Friendship, and From Good to Grace. Her new book, With All Your Heart, releases in March 2091. Christine’s work has appeared on Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, and For the Church. Originally from Texas, she and her family now live in Charlottesville, Virginia, where they planted a church in 2008. Find her at her home online at GraceCoversMe.com.
Thank you to all who were able to come out to the Sacred Endurance book launch event. It was a night I’ll never forget. One surprising gift was the people who drove hours upon hours to attend from Minnesota to Birmingham to Chicago; we were blessed to visit with people from all over the country. I realize that most people would not be able to take the trek to good ole’ Tennessee, so I wanted to provide a few highlights including quotes from speakers and pictures.
We started the night with music from the wonderfully soulful singer/songwriter, Sandra McCracken. Her voice is delightful, but her ability to connect the Word to her music and help us worship the Lord ministered to each of us. Make sure to check out her new Christmas CD: http://www.sandramccracken.com/
Here are some quotes from Jedidiah’s talk:
“For most Christians, including me most of my life, we believe in the power of prayer, but at the same time, we just can’t find the time to pray. We don’t have meaningful, daily prayer lives. And that’s a serious problem, especially as it relates to enduring. God didn’t design us to advance and endure without his help. And we show our understanding of that reality, or lack thereof, on whether we ask for that help in prayer.”
“When you see God for who he is (that he’s your father), you also find that you embody a childlike boldness. Children have a unique boldness with their parents. Children will walk into your bedroom in the middle of the night, without any hesitation, or concern about your big meeting the next day. There’s no apology.”
I’m so grateful for the reminder to boldly go to God’s throne of grace where we receive mercy and help in our time of need and to ask boldly and specifically. God can do more than we could ask or imagine.
Next was a word from Isaac Ezell. He is the Associate Director of Development for HOPE International. He read from Sacred Endurance focusing on chapter 10, “Don’t Go It Alone.” He shared how we need prayer and community to endure. HOPE embodies this call of community through partnering with local churches and helping establish savings groups. Proceeds for the book sales for the evening went to benefit the good work of HOPE International. You can learn more about them and savings groups by visiting their website: https://www.hopeinternational.org/.
I then joined Dr. Russell Moore, Barnabas Piper, and Dorena Williamson for a panel discussion on enduring in the faith in real life situations including through difficult times, divorce, raising children, and much more. These quotes only scratch the surface of our discussion. It was rich and I’m so grateful for each of these panelists.
Dr. Moore reminded us that God prepares us for hard seasons of life: “When it comes to enduring in the faith, a lot of that has to do with what God has been doing in your life leading you that time of trial.” – Russell Moore
“If you’ll look back at your life and you notice the times that Jesus was closest to you, it was always in those moments not of your triumphs but the times when you are weakest.” –Russell Moore, paraphrasing Ray Ortlund.
Barnabas was open about one of the hardest times of his life. He shared that, “Phrases like ‘how long oh Lord’ were all of a sudden things that I could say instead of things that I could read.” –Barnabas Piper
“Suffering simplified my faith. I come from a fairly theological background. And so to get to the place where faith is as Psalm 37 says ‘trust the Lord and do good’ and you just do that, every day.“ –Barnabas Piper
“These things that could be clichés or pretty pictures on a wall take on profound meaning on a very simplified but deeper day-to-day basis.” – Barnabas Piper
Dorena shared the great news about her husband securing African American historical representation in a small town square. She also shared about the pain of racism and the importance of enduring those things in a community. She shared, “[It’s important and special] being in a faith community who affirm your dignity, the imago dei in you. Who will lament and believe you.” – Dorena Williamson
I reminded us that we can often project what man does onto God. Dr. Moore had a helpful word when asked about people who are disillusioned with the church or specifically evangelicalism, “We have to be able to differentiate between Jesus and the church. Especially when you go back and look at the picture of Christianity that is given in the New Testament it is not airbrushed and idealized at all.” – Russell Moore
Dorena, who is the mother of adult children, shared, “One of the first things that parenting has done for me is remind me that I am dependent on my heavenly Father. Remind yourself that you are dependent on your heavenly father. You are his child.” –Dorena Williamson
“You have a father who is faithful. Ask him to show you how to be a faithful parent.” –Dorena Williamson
“Keep planting seeds. We think if we follow these five things we are guaranteed to have certain results. But that’s not the way it goes. Keep planting seeds.” –Dorena Williamson
At the end of the night I got an opportunity to honor my dear and wonderful husband. I dedicated the night to Thern, my husband, and as I held back tears of gratitude and joy, I read the dedication of the book to him. He’s a gift to us.
The dedication: To Thern, my husband, my friend, my fellow sojourner running the race set before us, hoping in Jesus and fixing our eyes on him—together. He is with us till the end and then forevermore.
I love my husband and kids. They are a gift and I’m grateful that I get to walk out my faith along side each of them. Our dear friend and pastor, Jedidiah, ended the night praying for my family and for all in attendance.
I hope you are encouraged by these glimpses of what God did that evening. I’m praying specific prayers for each of you as you read these highlights. God knows where you are and what you need. I pray you sense his care for you today.
Special thank you to: InterVarsity Press and Christina Gilliland for helping make this evening happen. Your support and encouragement has helped me endure though this process (pun intended). Thank you to Krista Sagraves for doing decorations, Lauren Ivanoff and Alexis De Weese for set up and break down and serving throughout, Jordan Hill for running sound along with your sidekick, Nick Ivanoff, Eric Brown Photograph for these wonderful photos, and finally the amazing Well Coffeehouse. Your team is delightful and generous! Thank you!
Often you’ll hear writers equate the book writing process to giving birth. As one who has given birth a few times, I’ll say it’s quite close. Today is Sacred Endurance‘s birthday!
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be highlighting various aspects of the book and sharing some surprises that I hope will bless you this season. You can learn all about the book via this sneak peak post: http://www.trillianewbell.com/2019/10/17/sneak-peek-things-sacred-endurance/
I’ve been so honored to have early readers who are ministry leaders, authors, counselors, professors, and ordinary (like all of us!) Christians share words of commendation. Here’s what others have said:
“Sacred Endurance is a rich biblical exploration of our call to persevere. Practical, gospel-centered, and serious, Trillia’s book helps readers to run faithfully without denying or downplaying the reality of suffering and evil we face in this life.” –Alan Noble, Assistant professor of English at Oklahoma Baptist University, author of Disruptive Witness
This is our sacred endurance: running the race of the Christian life set before us by the grace of God, through the strength of God, until the day we face our God. That is my hope and prayer for you and for me. May Sacred Endurance help us in some small way to get there.
While I was traveling around Rwanda, the Stories of Sacred Endurance podcast launched into the world. Here’s a brief update on each episode that has aired so far. You can listen here: http://www.trillianewbell.com/stories-sacred-endurance-podcast/.
Pastor Jon Kelly was born in Chicago and raised in Philadelphia. Growing up, he spent most of his teens in and out of juvenile detention centers as he tried not to get killed in the streets. As a 19-year-old he found himself in prison for his role in a shooting that left a young man dead. Jon tells us how his troubled teenage years of gang affiliation brought him to meet and follow Christ in a prison cell at the age of 19, changing his life forever.
You can find Jon on Twitter at @PastorJonKelly.
Episode 2 – Michael Card: Enduring in Community
Michael Card is an American, Christian singer-songwriter, musician, author, and radio host from Franklin, Tennessee. He is best known for his contributions in contemporary Christian music, which combines folk-style melodies and instrumentation with an in-depth study of the Bible. Michael joins us to share his experience being in the Christian Music industry most of his life and the role community has played in his sacred endurance.
You can find Michael on Twitter at @Michael_Card.
Joni Eareckson Tada is an evangelical Christian author, radio host, and founder of Joni and Friends, an organization “accelerating Christian ministry in the disability community.” Joni joins us to share with us on how becoming a quadriplegic through a diving accident and enduring suffering in community brought her into a meaningful relationship with Christ.
You can find Joni on Twitter at @JoniandFriends.
Episode 4 – Jamie and Louis Love: Enduring in Marriage
Louis Love serves as the pastor of New Life Fellowship Church in Waukegan, IL, which he planted in 1997, and Jamie Love leads the Women’s Ministries at New Life as well. Louie and Jamie join us and draw on their 40 years of marriage as they speak to the rewards, struggles, and hope that come from a marriage and life centered on Christ.
- Don’t forget to take advantage of our special offer for podcast listeners: Order your copy of Sacred Endurance for 30% off with free shipping using code SACRED30 at ivpress.com.