This will be one of the shortest posts yet! I’m so excited to share with you that Amazon is running a Kindle Deal! Sacred Endurance is on sale for $3.99! If you haven’t heard about my newest book, you can read more here: http://www.trillianewbell.com/sacred-endurance/
Hope you’ll grab it and be encouraged: Sacred Endurance $3.99.
I’ve had the joy of leading a book club through my newest book Sacred Endurance. Today, we did a short discussion on Chapters 5 and 6. Chapter 5 is likely one of the most important chapters in the book. In it, I consider the ways we struggle to endure because of our minds. It’s easy to act a certain way because our actions are seen by others. We can pretend to be okay. We can pretend to love. We can pretend to be pure. But our thoughts reveal what’s truly in our hearts. What we think reveals what we truly believe about God. That’s why I dedicated a chapter to our enduring and the mind.
In our book discussion, I challenged everyone to list some of their recurring thoughts, whether it’s about a circumstance, a person, or themselves. After listing these thoughts, I instructed them to write out what is true about the situation or person. I find that this practice helps me take captive my thoughts and submit my worries to the Lord. I typically do this audibly rather than in written form but seeing it on paper is quite helpful and illuminating.
This practice also reveals a great deal of the lies I am believing at the time. I urged them to remember that satan, though we don’t speak of him much, is the father of lies. We are at war in our mind against him (Ephesians 6:12). Jesus is greater. He wins in the end. But there’s still a fight and so we can either succumb to his lies or we can battle with the power we have because of the Spirit. Jesus has provided the way of escape (1 Cor 10:13). We don’t have to say yes to sin and we can fight to believe the truth.
Today, I hope you’ll get in the fight for your mind. How much grief would be relieved in us and others if we took Paul’s exhortation in Philippians 4 to heart, how much peace we’d have.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (8-9).
(Learn more about Sacred Endurance: http://www.trillianewbell.com/sacred-endurance/)
I hope you had a wonderfully encouraging holiday break! I’m excited to share with you that IVP will be hosting a book club and you are all invited. We’ll be doing a lot over the next 8 weeks.
The IVP Sacred Endurance book club begins January 14!
This is not just a book club. We will be reading the book, hearing from special guests, meditating on a text of Scripture per week and much more.
-Support for your New Years Resolutions related to enduring in the faith
– Guided discussion of Sacred Endurance
-A chance to hear from special guests
-A chance to win great prizes
Grab Sacred Endurance for 30% off at IVPress.com
and join us (Promo code: SACRED30)
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/
Jedidiah Coppenger, lead pastor of Redemption City Church in Franklin, shared a word on the power of prayer and enduring in the faith.
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.”
“God delights in answering specific prayers because when we get specific, he becomes visible. Specificity leads to visibility, which leads to childlike wonder and boldness.”
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!