Stuart Robinson has stepped down as senior minister at Crossway, our home church. After 25 years he has some other giants to slay.
As a young pioneer missionary Stuart helped spark a church planting movement in Asia that is still going strong. He returned to Australia and built one of the nation's most significant churches. Now Crossway has become a movement and is planting churches. The church supports over 50 missionaries worldwide. Michelle and I are among them.
Stuart has faced death a number of times, persecution, disease, war, and militant Islam. He's faced devastating family crises. The greatest challenge of all? Trying to lead a reluctant church to believe that our God is a God of miracles.
I'm guessing we all have something to learn from Stuart Robinson's journey of forty years in ministry. He sums up the stages in his walk with God using just three words.
Stage 1: If. If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father's house, then the LORD will be my God. Gen 28:20-21
Stage 2: Because. I love the LORD, because (not if) he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. Ps 116:1-2
Stage 3: Though. Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. Hab 3:17-19
Each stage has its place. We must move through each one until we come to a place of deep trust and obedience and can say with Job, "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in Him." Job 13:15
Take the time to listen to this message. It may not make the journey any easier, but it will help you understand God's agenda and what true success looks like.