[shoulders] SHOULDER TO SHOULDER #328 ---- 3/22/04

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From: "Bob Tolliver" <lifeunlimited@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2004 13:09:32 +0200
Standing Shoulder To Shoulder Together As 
We Fight the Good Fight of Faith

A personal letter of encouragement to You, written solely to "lift up hands that hang down".

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SHOULDER TO SHOULDER #328 ---- 3/22/04


Dear Friend and Kingdom Partner:

Today I write you from the village of Mikolajki, Poland, in the northern lake region of this great country.  We are into the third of nine days of our mission's annual meeting.  Our mission region consists of about 30 central and eastern European countries with well over 400 missionaries serving in those countries.  For logistics' sake, part of our team meets at one time while the other part meets at another time and place.  There are something over 200 missionaries in our particular meeting.  It is a strenuous several days, filled with activities beginning at 7:00 each morning and concluding sometime after 9:00 pm, with only a few "free time" opportunities.  This is the only time all year that we get together in this size and scope.  It is a time of reporting, worship, renewed fellowship, and strategic training.

Each year we and our colleagues are blessed by volunteers from America who come over to lead us in worship, preaching, and child care for all our MK's.  This year medical doctors came to minister to our physical needs, a pastor came to minister to us from God's Word, a worship team came to lead us into the Father's presence, and a host of others came to provide an extensive time of encouragement to the children of all ages.  So, all told, there are well over 250 people gathered here for kingdom purposes.  It's a wonderful event.

Our experience this year was not all a time of joy, however.  Earlier most of us had learned of the tragic murders of four Southern Baptist missionaries and the critical injury of a fifth in Iraq.  So, on our first day of meetings we held a special time of remembrance for these people, though unknown to us.  Frankly, I was not prepared for the emotional and deeply moving upheaval many of us felt.  You would expect everyone to feel shock and sadness over such an event, and you would expect people of similar callings to experience deep sorrow.  But, I was not expecting the depth of near debilitating grief that some of us went through.  Out of this, the Lord showed me in a fresh way the deep and strong ties that bind missionaries together.  No matter your location, ministry style, or organizational connections, you feel as if you've tragically lost a family member.   It goes much deeper than just being like minded or having a common calling.

Every missionary knows that, when he answers the call to go, he faces unknown dangers, frequent antagonistic beliefs, and the daily awareness that he may never return to his homeland.  But, because he has counted the cost beforehand, he goes anyhow.  This awareness becomes more pronounced each year as religious and political attitudes change or intensify toward America or toward the Gospel.  I don't share this to exalt the missionary, but to help you get a glimpse into the hidden corners of a missionary heart where things are faced that nobody else ever sees.

I must say that these meetings have deep personal meaning to Jo Ann and me.  We find ourselves surrounded by scores of believers who have the same calling from the same God, and are driven in the same ways by the same Spirit.  We find ourselves with common motivations and strategies.  Such things seldom happen in a local church setting.  Instead of being partners, too often we are competitors.  But not so, here.  It may be competitive on other mission fields or with other mission agencies, but God has blessed us with unbelievable unity and love for each other.


It is difficult to sufficiently describe the workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives during recent months, and how it seems to have hit a high point during this trip.  You've probably had those times when all types of experiences and circumstances seem to point toward the same often unknown and unexplainable focal point without planning or explanation.  This has been the case here.  The experience in last weeks' time in the land of Martin Luther, the death of the missionaries in Iraq, our continued search to discern the will of God for our future in Kiev, the attempted assassination of the president in Taiwan, the turmoil in Afghanistan, the political changes in Malaysia and Spain, the heinous murders of Serbs in Kosovo, and the further violence and disruption in Israel and Palestine have left my emotions in a "quiet jumble".  It's like a huge pile of garbage . . . . but somewhere in there you know there are some precious items of extreme value, yet hidden from view.

All of this reminds us of the fragile condition of our world, the steady march toward end times, the hatred so prevalent and increasing in the world, and the sense of great urgency that must grip us for an impossible task.

Last Friday during our first worship session it became clear that this would be more than just an ordinary annual meeting.  You could sense it in the singing as the worship team from Nashville began to lead us into the Father's presence.  As we moved from one song to another, suddenly the words of a song we had sung the previous week in Germany were projected onto the screen.  I knew it was not accidental.  The words were for me and for Jo Ann.  

But, I also knew immediately they were for you as well.  

The words summed up, in four rhyming verses, all that had been flooding my mind for those past weeks.  They spoke what I could not articulate even to myself.  As I thought about the murdered missionaries and their families, the travesties around the world, the suffering of humanity, and the seemingly uncontrollable spin of a world off its axis, I was reminded in a fresh new that the answer is to be found . . .

in Christ alone.

It also occurs to me, my friend, that your heart may be similarly anguished over similar things.  If that is true, then these words are for you as well.  Today our preacher spoke out of his own experience a couple of years ago when he went through a prolonged time of severe depression.  The once constant to which he could cling was God's promise that Christ was sufficient.  A short time later I shared with him one of my own experiences years ago when I suffered six months if spiritual darkness during which time all that I could hear was God simply repeating, "I am sufficient; I am here".  Everything else was dark and dead.

So, with that in mind, I just want to encourage you with the following hymn recently coming out of England.  For it is true beyond doubt that, no matter what your struggle, no matter the weight of your burden, no matter the impossibility of your calling, it all rests in Christ alone.

Read these words with an open heart and allow the Holy Spirit to refresh and encourage you with the awesome reality of Jesus Christ's absolute sufficiency for everything in your life from chaos to calling.  Every sentence, every phrase, nearly ever word pulsates within itself a profound reality of Jesus Christ . . . 

AND . . . His personal commitment to us.


In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song.
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love!  What depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease.
My Comforter, my All in all,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh;
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross, as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied.
For every sin on Him was laid.
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain.
Then bursting forth in glorious Day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me!
For I am His and He is mine,
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me.
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand.
Till He returns, or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.


Dear friend, let me encourage you today by pointing again to Christ alone.  Whatever you need, my friend, . . . He is!

As you face a new week, keep that in mind.  No matter where you are, what you're doing, what's happening around you, or what questions may remain unanswered, the bottom line remains . . . .

In Christ Alone.

In His Bond and For His Kingdom,

Bob Tolliver -- Psalm 2:8
Copyright March, 2004
Life Unlimited Ministries
   www.peopleteams.org/kiev/team/tollivers.htm (Personal ministry)
   www.peopleteams.org/kiev (General team ministry)
   http://community.webshots.com/user/01lum for our pix albums.

If this letter has blessed you, feel free to forward it, with proper credits, to any and all you wish.

Please do NOT hit reply to this letter.  This is an automated unmanned system.  If you want to write Bob, send directly to lifeunlimited@.... Replying to "Shoulder To Shoulder" mailer gets you nowhere.

REMEMBER ---- "We will not Work where we have not prayed."  (Todd Golden)

May I Recommend . . . .

If you have a heart for God and would like to be encouraged in your life and ministry, 
    and you have a burden for your church, your community, and the world, 
    then you may want to receive . . .
www.cnsnews.com for daily world news without a liberal, godless bias.
www.worldprayerteam.org ---- A world-wide network for praying together.
www.watchword.org ---- excellent resources on revival, prayer, missions.
www.waymakers.org ---- resources on prayer, evangelism, etc.
www.operationiraqcare.org ---- To adopt and pray for a special historic city in Iraq.
http://www.nppn.org ---- "National Pastors' Prayer Network" newsletter.  ~  
    email: phil@....  Register your PPG: http://www.nppn.org/ppg/ .
Usprayercenter@... ---- U. S. World Prayer Center.
www.cityreaching.com ---- City Reaching/City Impact Roundtable.
fridayfax-subscribe@... ---- Wolfgang Simpson's "Friday Fax" from New Zealand.
www.LifeAction.org ---- "Life Action Outreach".
www.revivalcsa.co.za ---- "Bulletin On Revival" by Francois Carr in South Africa.
www.yifa.org ---- "Youth Interceding For America".
www.missionamerica.org ---- "Mission America" .
www.lighthousemovement.com ---- "The Lighthouse Movement". Click on "Lighthouses".

Other Great Resources Are:
www.sermonIndex.net for access to thousands of sermons by great preachers.  Exceptional site.
www.biblemaster.com for great Bible resources and downloads.  Exceptional site.
www.e-sword.net (one of the best free download Bible study site I've ever seen!)
http://associate.com/camsoc/ctt/"Christian Communications Toolkit" (using internet wisely) 
http://www.associate.com/camsoc/crop/software.html#freewin. Free software or shareware listings, 
www.associate.com/camsoc/crs/ for church related software from CAMSOC.
    To subscribe to CAMSOC update newsletter, go to grga@....
www.ccmag.com.  "Christian Computing Magazine", 
ccmag-subscribe@....  CCMag discussion newsletter, 
http://www.christiangraphicdesign.com/premierinfo.htm  Thousands of Free Christian graphics.

Online Resources on Ukraine are . . . .

Secular News on Kiev and Ukraine will give you interesting views at . . .

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