Dear <<First Name>>,
We told you recently about our opportunity to hear Pastor Roman at this fall’s Global Initiative Reception. We also heard that night from Jeff Taylor, CEO of Open Doors International, a Christian ministry to strengthen the persecuted church, which has their US headquarters in Santa Ana, California. Jeff shared how TLI is helping him view his walk with the Lord with new eyes:
My wife and I recently had dinner with a friend of ours who had walked with us when our son was struggling with drug addiction. She recently finished serving in the Middle East over 30 years, during which she had seen some terrible things.
I asked her how she has dealt with all of that. She said, “I really argued with God.” She couldn’t understand why certain things happened. She spent reading Acts 17: “From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries” (Acts
This passage gave her some comfort for her situation. God is still sovereign. But why such terrible things? “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us” (Acts 17:27). She was encouraged that God always has a higher purpose than what we can see.
God takes some of the most terrible things and uses them for good. And it is those very things God is using to accomplish his purposes in me that I often try to avoid.
When our son was going through drug addiction, I wanted to get through those really dark times quickly. Yet it was through this time that my wife and I met Paul Jensen and became introduced to the work of The Leadership Institute, and how TLI got involved in assisting Open Doors in organizational transformation development.
That’s where it really counts. Coming out of our intimate relationship with God.
Living in community, and with Him. This was, and is, such a simple thing and I am surprised at how it spreads to others and how God uses it to strengthen His church in some of the most difficult areas.
In 2008, I was appointed the CEO of Open Doors International at a conference in Thailand. Paul Jensen was there and led us in some spiritual formation practices. In giving my acceptance speech, I was tempted to be a visionary, to be more inspirational than God has gifted me, rallying the troops, since I was their new leader.
I prayed and asked God what to say. He asked what I thought was the best thing I could do for my team—a perfect question to which I knew the right answer. The best thing that I could do for our team was to help lead them into a greater intimacy with the Lord Jesus.
True discipleship. That was the best thing I could do. For, as the Apostle Paul said, “the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power” (1 Cor 4:20). I continue to learn that my relationship with God provides me with that power to help strengthen others. God, using me where I’m at, takes me—and you—to do something extraordinary.
Thanks, Jeff, for your words of wisdom. May each of us rely on Jesus more and more so that we can have that supernatural power from on high that God so readily wants to give us, even when that higher purpose doesn’t make sense.
Peace to you and yours,
David P. Costillo, MA
Director of Advancement