Isaiah 55:11 & Evangelism

Isaiah 55 picture

I’ve been given an opportunity to write blog posts for Christ in the Wild Ministries, these will primarily be focused on evanglism, so please check out the ministry.

One of the consistent criticisms in evangelism regards our “success” rate. The unbelieving cynic or worse, the professing Christian, often looks to pragmatism to measure success. If it works, then it must be effective. At Christ in the Wild Ministries, Isaiah 55:11 drives us to labor for the Lord no matter the outcome, knowing that God determines success.

God’s measure of success can be summed up by one phrase: faithfulness to his Word. When proclaimed accurately, the gospel message is always “effective.”

The 55th Chapter of Isaiah is a general call for sinners to come to Christ for salvation. The faithful evangelist is 100% successful no matter the outcome. While we should seek the Lord and work diligently for souls to be saved, the outcome is in the hands of Almighty God, not the evangelist.

What could be more encouraging to our gospel labors than perfect success every time we proclaim the gospel?

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. – Isaiah 55:10-11

It is important to include verse 10 with verse 11 because we see the picture God draws about how evangelism works. Similar to the parables of Christ, we see the natural world being used to draw spiritual implications. Water falling from the sky, seeds sprouting from the earth, and bread produced for food, show us the simplicity of the evangelist proclaiming the word of God, proceeding from God’s mouth to the ears of the hearer. We act as ambassadors for Christ, pleading for the souls of the lost to be reconciled to God.

Calvin commenting on verse 11 says: This doctrine must be frequently repeated and inculcated, that we may know that God will do what he hath spoken. For this reason, when we hear the promises of God, we ought to consider what is his design in them; so that, when he promises the free pardon of our sins, we may be fully assured that we are reconciled through Christ. But, as the word of God is efficacious for the salvation of believers, so it is abundantly efficacious for condemning the wicked; as Christ also teacheth, “The word which I have spoken, that shall judge him at the last day.”

A powerful statement, to say the least, and we can have the assurance we are not laboring in vain, nor will our time be wasted, though barely a soul comes to Christ through our ministry. We can look back to Noah, Jeremiah, even Isaiah himself and understand that God was accomplishing his plan through “unsuccessful” ministries.

Go forth in the power of the Spirit, knowing that effective ministry is in the hands of a Sovereign God, no matter the outcome.


It’s Almost Time to Go


In less than two weeks we leave Iowa for a distant land. Okay, that might be a little dramatic, but it is a long ways from Iowa, and it is a different culture and climate. Not one we are unfamiliar with because Jen and I have both lived in New Mexico before, but our girls have never lived there. We’ve spent a lot of time in the Land of Enchantment with vacations and such, but this will be real.

It is a beautiful and remote place that will take some adjustment. For now, it’s exciting, and it’s scary. We are leaving twenty-eight years behind us, and the girls are departing all they’ve ever known. They are anxious, I’m sure, and not surprising.

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and ,in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” – Genesis 12:1-3

I won’t attempt to carry this narrative too far, because I’m no Abram. I can, however, relate. Abram is not a young guy anymore. Where I see the blessing here is that we’ve been confident throughout this process that God was calling us to New Mexico, and it was more than just circumstantial evidence. Did it seem providential?

God uses providence to accomplish His will, and while I don’t take it to mean I always understand God’s providence, I can look back and say, “wow, you know, that sure seems providential.”  We trust the Lord has plans for us as we travel to this far place and look forward to new adventures along the path we are walking.

So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. – Genesis 12:4-5

So, we are setting out, we are following the instructions given to us, as best as we can discern them, and we trust the Lord has a land awaiting us. We never know what is ahead, but we can trust it to our God to richly give in the way He sees it is best.

If you think about us, please pray for us. Pray, we continue the path the Lord has shown us, pray we continue to trust Him, and that we remain faithful to call that we have been called.

We leave a lifetime of friends behind, a precious time of blessing and trials. We never trust in those, simply rejoice that we’ve had an opportunity to walk through them and that we’ve walked through them with those we love.   We will miss so many, it’s impossible to name them all, but we look forward to those that will impact our lives in the future, and thankful for those that have impacted us in the past.




Measure Twice, Cut Once


If you’ve ever built anything or been involved in contract work, you have heard this statement. It makes perfect sense, how many have measured once and cut twice? How many feet of perfectly good lumber have been wasted because of the violation of this rule?

There are standards and disciplines represented here; plumb lines keep houses square. Measurements save time and money. Accuracy in building means you have a well-constructed structure which can stand the test of time. This is not rocket science. We believe these things if we use common sense, but do we apply these other areas of life? I specifically mean, spiritual life?

What is the measurement by which our lives are measured? The tendency is to measure ourselves by others, or worse yet, by what our mind tells us about ourselves.

Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. 2 Corinthians 10:12

This could be good or bad. If it allows a comparison to a godly brother or sister, it humbles us, but it could inflate our ego. We need a consistent standard to not only judge those and things around us but most importantly, to judge ourselves. We don’t always think rightly.

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17

This is the appropriate way to judge, by the truth. The word is truth, Christ is truth, let’s compare ourselves to him, his word, and our lives will be transformed by the power of his grace and his mercy. This requires no secret formula, no special revelation, only reading, meditating, and understanding the Bible.


Hope To See You Soon JD…


Say hello to my friend, we will call him JD as not to embarrass him. Ok, I hope he doesn’t mind if I call him Josh.

Josh and I had worked in the same industry for over 15 years and worked for the End Result Company since April 1, 2006, when I was hired.

A couple of weeks later, after barely knowing one another, we hit the road for the Boston Marathon. Something about 40 hours in a cargo van either causes you to hate one another or love one another. I guess the latter applies.

Josh has been my coworker, friend and then in 2009 business partner. We’ve traversed many miles in a van, car, and airplane, worked the most prestigious triathlons and road races this country has to offer, and through it, all remained good friends.

Today, was a special day as we worked to provide race results for over 40,000 runners at our 12th year at the Bolder Boulder 10K. We’ve worked hard here, lost a lot of sleep here, have definitely laughed here, probably cried here, and through it, all have been faithful to our job to provide an experience for the runner and the race.

Well, I guess things change sometimes, and it was just time to do something a little different. In the world we live, our work world, Josh has celebrity status. Yeah, I know he will hate me saying that but it’s true. Josh is the smartest guy I personally know, and probably the smartest guy anyone knows. He was writing software 15 years ago that changed the way results were delivered to participants.

The industry will miss you, JD, but more importantly, I will miss you. My only advice is to get some time in the desert, kick rocks, find some arrowheads, and don’t answer the phone when I call. Ok, you never did answer the phone when I call anyhow, so nothing new there…

Above all, love your family, spend a lot of time with them and appreciate the blessings of the last 15 years and what the Lord has in store for the next.

I love you, my friend.

Proverbs 18:24
A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.


There’s Just Something About a Fire!

I love a fire, I mean, I love it as much as I can love something that doesn’t love me back.

I’m drawn to a fire, sort of like a moth to a flame. Ok, enough of the cheese already…

I’ve been in Boulder for three days and they have these firepits outside, and nice Adirondack chairs. It’s a pretty sweet setup.

Tonight is the first chance I’ve had to come down here and sit. I’m here and nobody else is here. What’s the matter with these people?

So, I sit here, I think, I ponder about things. The future, my family, my job. The classes I’m taking and the books I want to read. What will happen when we move to New Mexico this summer? Did I tell you about that by the way?

Here I am just thinking and it’s really good. I think about how good the Lord has been, and how simple things we often take for granted.

The purpose here is not to always provide “deep” theological insights. No, just express my thoughts in a meaningful way, hopefully with a little humor at times, and turn our attention to the great and glorious God that created it all through the power of His word.

Let’s not miss the extraordinary in the mundane. Enjoy God’s gifts and praise His name for He is worthy to be praised.

Psalms 57:11
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!