Enduring Through Challenges.
In our family Bible reading time, we have again come to my favorite story in the scripture, the story of Joseph. I consider it to be among the greatest of all stories. It is a story of betrayal, of suffering, of endurance, and, ultimately, of great triumph. What’s remarkable about the story of Joseph is that his great exaltation to the second most powerful man in the world was only possible through the path of his great sufferings. It’s hard for any of us to imagine the difficulty that Joseph endured for 13 years as a slave and a prisoner–and not just endured, but kept a good and godly attitude in the process. As a slave he worked hard, as a prisoner he was faithful. He had no guarantee of deliverance, only an obscure dream from when we has 17 years old. His trust in the Lord remained strong through trial and temptation, and eventually his day came.
Joseph’s story has been an encouragement and help for me through my comparatively small challenges. Each trip in the motorhome has resulted in some kind of mechanical issue. Even now I write this newsletter from a coffee shop in Connecticut while we wait to hear from the mechanic. It’s been a frustration that we did not expect on such a frequent basis. However, it was sweet to hear a comment from my daughter that I had done a good job at keeping a good attitude over our latest break down. Meditating on the endurance of Joseph and faithfulness of God has been a great help. I encourage you also to meditate on the trials of the saints of days gone by and of Jesus Himself. It helps to put things in perspective. (more below pics)
I preached for the first time in a while at a church this month. I was a bit nervous about preaching again after what has felt like so long, but the Lord was with me. I hammered on the moral issues of our day that our country is dealing with right now. I don’t think that preachers should be overly consumed with politics, but when politics overlap into the moral realm it is treading on a preacher’s territory, and he’d better speak up. We must remember that part of our calling is to ‘strive against sin.’ We preachers must call it out plain and simply, in a spirit of love, so that there is no confusion as to what God expects and as to where Christians ought to stand. It is a crying shame that so many Churches are a mixed bag when it comes to moral political issues. It’s a sure sign of a preacher who is too vague or, worse, a preacher that loves of the praise of men more than the praise of God. If you’d like to watch that sermon, visit my YouTube channel: youtube.com/halchaffee.
I also had the opportunity to do some beach evangelism this month. Like I have said before, it is one of the easiest places to do evangelism that I have experienced. Not only do we almost always have people stop and listen when we preach, but just holding a sign throughout the night will result in endless conversations.
One notable moment was when a gentleman in cut-off shorts and an ‘Iron Maiden’ t-shirt came and stood in the crowd while I was preaching. He looked very agitated and I suspected by his demeanor and dress that he would be hostile to our message. Boy was I wrong! It turned out that God was working on his heart. We talked a length afterward and he told me how his wife was recently saved and how God was dealing with him about some things in his life. He told me that seeing me preaching was a sign from God. We prayed together there on the boardwalk and he was so over-joyed that he requested a picture with me (see first picture).
Man’s Plans but the Lord’s Steps
The Bible says that ‘a man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps’ (Proverbs 16:9). We have made plans lately, but it hasn’t always worked out the way we’d like. It certainly wasn’t our plan to break down and be stuck for a week at a rest stop in Connecticut. But I was able to minister to a truck driver and one of the workers there. We also connected with some acquaintances who welcomed us into their home. Now these acquaintances have become dear friends. We made plans, but the Lord directed our steps.
Now we are broke down AGAIN… (I finished the second part of this newsletter after we left CT). Fortunately we were able to make it to my sister’s property, but our plans to get to Florida have been delayed. I don’t know if there is a higher plan here, but I’m keeping my eyes open. Please pray with us as we strive to keep a good attitude through it all and not miss the ministry opportunities that may arise.
Visit halchaffee.com/partnergive to give online.