I know, you’re shocked – an actual letter! Several years ago, we were encouraged to switch to digital communications to save money. Well, we did for the most part. We might have saved a few stamps but, ultimately we lost a key part of connecting with our supporters. Hopefully, this communication is the first of breaking that habit.
The past year has been one of the most challenging years to date. If you have been following Jane’s blog, you have an idea of some of the struggles we have been experiencing. I (Steve) am not going to lie. I have never suffered with despair and waves of darkness like I have in 2018. I also must admit, we haven’t before seen the magnitude of ministry growth in the midst of such a trying year. I think the two might be related.
We are blessed beyond measure for the prayers, friendship and even financial support many of you have provided us through the years. Without this foundation, we would “feel” lost at sea. We are eternally thankful for you! Your occasional notes and gifts remind us of why we do what we do AND to keep pressing on. We couldn’t meet our goals without your Body Life help!
Recently I was in a discussion with a world-class worldview specialist. He reminded me that the power of the internet is retarding the minds of the people. Even though ministries like ours are out-sourcing to an over-indulged pluralistic society, we are seeing results. We are also seeing more hatred, betrayal & animosity toward God and His workers - many of them being from "self-proclaimed Christians." Just a couple of days ago, I received a note from a “faithful” reader of 3+ years, stating, “You are a bi-partisan idiot, get me off your list.” That was after simply asking our readers to pray for Judge Kavanaugh. That would be OK if it was an occasional entry, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the daily warring we experience with the enemy. Honestly, I cannot tell you the number of times I have broken down and wept at my desk this past year.
The good news is, the opening of our new Identity Matters Worldview Institute has been a life-time vision and dream come true. Even though our new venue is costly, time consuming & challenging to maintain, we are seeing supernatural results. We now have a single port to gather our workers throughout the world for training & discipleship in the Exchanged Life & Biblical worldview. Many of you have become students and we thank you for being a part of this effective teaching outreach.
We are continuing to learn the key source for daily living - prayer! With that, we are asking you to pray with us regarding the following needs.
Afflictions of despair: One of our greatest temptations is submitting to moments of despair. Even though we know the Truth, the enemy taps into our flesh to tempt us with being alone in our journey of proclaiming the Truth to a hurting world.
Family life: We have seen significant growth & transformation in our family life. God is truly answering prayers. We ask for continued prayer over each of us in God’s perfect bond of unity.
Physical protection: Growing older is a challenge for most. Since we function as self-pay medical patients, the challenge of staying on top of the financial costs, while trying to maintain a debt-free life – is a significant ongoing burden.
Jane’s writings: Those of you who read her blog entries know that her message is real, raw & straight from the heart. This may sound like a buzz-title, but honestly, this lady wars over her writings. Her level of integrity is challenged each time she writes, wanting to present the Truth as God gives it to her. Her blog posts are read all over the world, by men and women alike. Her recent encouragement from Beth Moore is a reminder of her impact: "I am honored to have served Jane through the studies." Please pray for the warring process and that many would be transformed as she delivers the messages the Lord gives her!
Transformed lives: There is no greater burden that we carry than the burden of the church. Almost everything we do in ministry is to provide a pathway & solution(s) in Christ to free a desperate world. The church is sick! When Paul said, “Beyond such external sufferings, I carry the burden of the church” – little did we realize that this would become our most grievous struggle in life. The only parallel we can compare it to is my years of struggling with heart failure, an accurate picture of a constant state of feeling broken-hearted.
The assumptions of people: This is one of our daily struggles. People, in general seem to think that we are “tough-as-nails” when it comes to facing the tasks of ministry & life itself. We hear comments like, “God will take care of you, He always does.” Even though that’s a true statement, our experience is that these same people tend to step back from investing in us – be it friendship, volunteering or financially caring for the ministry.
The betrayal of community: It is emotionally overwhelming, most days, to live and function in a community that actively works to deter our message. The list is long, but not important, as to the methods of madness we front. We ask that God empowers us with His strength to keep-on-keeping-on.
Financial burden: We don’t need to belabor this point with you because some of you are already a faithful financial supporter, but, our budget need has increased significantly (Budget 2018-2019 upon request). The reality is, we are no longer a “mom & pop” non-profit. Our ministry expansion over the past several years is stretching us to the limit. We still maintain the position of paying our ministry expenses first, while living off the remaining resources. This modality is simply not working anymore. We need more supporters in Christ. We’ve found that this is more challenging as you get older. We’ve basically had the same salary for 15 years & have never had full support during that time.
Outreach Services: Please pray for the individuals who receive the following outreach services of IOM: the Identity Matters Global Podcast, Jack the Journey (children’s podcast), the Post-Truth Church Podcast, the Generational Ethics Radio Show, Identity Matters Weekly Emails (80,000+), IOM Writers Team, our Social Network services, our International Fellowship of Exchanged Life Network members, IM Personal Discipleship program, Federal Chaplain’s Association, XL-Church Fellowships, International Worldview Centers & last but not least, our new Identity Matters Worldview Institute. Thankfully, each of these outreach service are now integrated into each other.
Well, there you have it – raw, real & straight from the heart, as Jane would say. Honestly, the most important people in our lives are the ones reading this letter. That’s the facts! We need to become more responsible at communicating personally with you and this is our first step in doing exactly that.
As Augustine once said, "How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I once feared to lose...! You drove them from me, You who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me & took their place, You who are sweeter than all pleasure... You who outshine all the light, yet are hidden deeper than any secret in our hearts, You who surpass all honor, though moon the eyes of men who see all honor in themselves... O Lord my God, my Light, my Wealth, & my Salvation.
Thanks for being there for our family & beloved ministry!
Rich in Christ: Send feedback to this blog post: firstname.lastname@example.org