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April 24, 2012:

A week has passed since Steve Monahan and I returned from our trip to Forest, Virginia, where I presented my class, “The Principles of the Doctrine of Christ.” It’s funny, but even though I am fairly nervous as I prepare for an event like this, the real anxiety hits me once it is over. That is when I start second-guessing myself to death, and until that wave of self-doubt subsides, my evaluation of my performance is perfectly dismal.

Part of my trouble is my unreasonable expectations. I suppose there is a secret part of me that wants my audience to cry out like they did for Paul and Barnabas, "The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men!" (Acts 14:11). As foolish as that is, there is something in me that longs for such validation. But another part of me expects a reaction like Paul received from the Corinthians:

2 Corinthians 10:10:
For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.

I am sure my speech is far more contemptible than Paul's ever was! Still, I have a scriptural answer for every kind of response I get. If someone enjoys my teachings I can say, “ Ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God” (1 Thess. 2:13). If someone rejects my teachings I can say, “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine… and they shall turn away their ears from the truth” (2 Tim. 4:3-4). Yes, I know a lot of scriptures. I am also keenly aware of how they can be turned to your advantage! Such vanity and vexation of spirit!

In the end, I believe in the soundness of my teachings – that is why I continue to teach – but I don’t believe I have that one message the world has been waiting to hear. As a teacher, I am neither really great nor really awful. But there is a particular (some might say peculiar!) part of the Christian church who is nourished by the kind of teachings I present. That is more than enough for me.

Knowing who should and who should not attend my teachings is beyond the scope of my understanding. And so I believe there is only one right way for me to judge the success of this or any other mission: Was the call given by God? If so, did I answer that call to the best of my ability? For what it is worth, my answer to both questions is yes.

About a week before our trip began, my host wrote to me that the turnout for this seminar would not be nearly as large as she hoped it would be. For one reason or another many of the people she invited were occupied that weekend. She gave me the option to postpone the class until a later date, but I felt the door was open to go now. As it turned out, the room was full on the opening night but the attendance fell off over the remainder of the weekend. Some people who had fully intended to attend the presentation had to attend to unexpected matters. But everyone who sat in the seminar for even one hour now knows if they heard enough or if they want to hear again of this matter. I am satisfied with that.

As for me, I very much enjoyed my time in Virginia. I got to revisit one of my favorite historical sites, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and to be there on the anniversary of his birthday. I got to enjoy a springtime drive through the Blue Ridge Parkway with my friend Steve. I got to meet Steve's older brother and his wife. And I got to be with some very dear friends that I hadn’t seen in over nine years, Scott and Suzanne Abercrombie, and Bob and Brenda Lohr. These two couples have been faithful supporters of Workers Together With Him since its inception. If they were half as pleased as I was, the mission was a complete success.

Here are a few pictures from this mission.

In the service of His Majesty, the King of kings,
Tim

 

 


 

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