Road Trip Review

The road trip with our sons last week will be etched in my memory for the rest of my life. It was such a rare, privileged time to revisit important sites – my schools, churches where I served, the old Youth for Christ office where I worked, the church where I preached my first series of meetings, the two homes in Tulsa where I lived with my family. To be with my sons – praying with them, sharing with them, encouraging and exhorting them – this is the good stuff of life.

Jonathan and Joel were surprised to discover the intense schedule I kept as a young evangelist. I recounted that during my time with Tulsa YFC (1968 – 1969) I think I can safely say I was out at least 300 evenings. Either I was preaching, leading a Bible study, helping in a Christian event, or engaged in some way in evangelism and discipleship. I then entered John Brown University in the fall of 1969 as one very tired freshman! But I would gladly do it all again – anything to bring kids to Jesus.

I’m determined not to whine as I grow older. But allow me just one protest against aging – with less energy I am regrettably starting to “pace myself.” In earlier years it was full throttle, all the time. I may not have the strength I had at 21 – but my vision is far greater now than it was even then. While my response time is slower, in some ways I think my mind is keener than ever. My point of reference for life is still the future, not the past. For that, I’m very grateful.

For those of you who are younger, let me go against conventional wisdom and urge you to think twice before you start “pacing yourself.” Yes, eat right, exercise, get proper sleep. But while you have the strength and energy of youth – pour it OUT – for Jesus and for His honor in your generation! For any teenagers reading, grab onto this challenge from youth evangelist Gregg Johnson: “You are only a teenager for seven years. If you survive, you may well be an adult ten times longer. Give God the tithe of your teenage years and He will give you an open heaven for the rest of your life.”

“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).

“Give of your best to the Master;

Give of the strength of your youth;

Clad in salvation’s full armor,

Join in the battle for truth.”

– Howard B. Grose

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Friends and the Friend

I’m overwhelmed, and overjoyed, by the many remembrances of my birthday. At last count I’ve received emails, FB posts, and texts from almost 400 friends. Thank you to each of you who took the time to contact me. I enter my 65th year a very wealthy man because of friends like you.

Scripture reminds us that there is one friend above all others; “a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). True friends stand by you in tough times. But this Friend saved my very soul from eternal ruin. All of God’s pure wrath against evil landed on my Friend. Now, with His righteousness fully intact, God can be both “just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26, NIV). “Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed” (Psalm 85:10). You won’t find a story like THAT anywhere else!

Walk with your Friend today.

“Jesus, what a Friend for sinners!
Jesus, lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior makes me whole.”

“Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Hallelujah! What a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.”
– J. Wilbur Chapman  

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An Eerie Silence

Even in theologically conservative circles we are battling a new, creeping universalism. Some who are otherwise Bible-believing Christians seem to question the reality of coming judgment. It is not that they have formally removed their belief in hell and judgment. There is simply an eerie silence, even among evangelicals, as many endeavor to sort out in their hearts what they hold to be true.

Universalism, the belief that all people will eventually be saved, is never a friend to warmhearted evangelism. It is an ancient heresy. It began in the Garden of Eden when the serpent told Adam and Eve, “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). Different shade of this teaching have periodically appeared, noticeably in post-Reformation times, as a reaction to a strict doctrine of election, and in the nineteenth century, where it was sometimes referred to as ‘the larger hope.’

It should be stated at the outset, however, that the character of God is not on trial. Our belief in the Bible is on trial but God’s justice is not. The God of all the earth will do right. Any decision He makes regarding humanity will be executed according to His standards of equally perfect righteousness and love.

Jesus Christ is truth incarnate. Truth cannot utter an untruth. He clearly declared that “no one comes to the Father, except through Me” (John 14:6).
– From A FORCE IN THE EARTH by David Shibley

For further study, please read ”Is Jesus Really the Only Way?” at www.charismamag.com and also “Doctrine of Demons” at www.ministrytodaymag.com

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The Young Generation

God calls people of every age into His service but He always has His eye on the young generation.

God has always used young people. Perhaps it is because they don’t know what the parameters are; if there’s a big assignment to complete, they finish it first and ask questions later. Throughout the Bible and church history when God had a big job to do He often called on a young person. And young people have always been at the forefront of the world missions march of the church. In the first era of missionary advance, God sent William Carey, not yet 30, to defy the status quo and challenge the church to reach beyond its borders. In the second era it was agin young men and women, including Hudson Taylor, David Livingstone, and Mary Slessor, who made the difference. As the third era of missions dawned, young people such as Cameron Townsend and Donald McGavran again changed the course of missions.

When he was well over 70 missionary-statesman made this observation: “We must be constantly weaving into our organization the new generation. My work the world over and across the many years has shown me that young people can be trusted with great loads and great responsibilities. Youth have never disappointed me when I have put heavy burdens on them.”

I frankly have confident faith that we will see a second, worldwide Jesus Movement among young people. It will not carry the same names, create the same style of music, or take the same forms as the awakening of the 1960s and 1970s. But it will, once again, be led by young people (some of whom are grandchildren of those won to Christ in the first Jesus Movement). God will not overlook today’s generation of youth.
– From A FORCE IN THE EARTH by David Shibley

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The True Adversary

I’m disturbed by the shrill, even hateful tone of some posts I read from fellow Christians.

Believe me, I understand the angst that goes with living in a culture that willfully defies God and His ways. But I’m embarrassed by the seeming inability of some to stand against sin without vilifying sin’s victims. People are not the enemy, they are victims of the enemy. Our true adversary is the devil (1 Peter 5:8). Our call is to carry truth wrapped in civility.

I frankly believe that the vitriol that too many Christians spill everywhere belies a lack of prayer in their lives. As we pray for those who hate us and our Christ, these people are humanized in our thinking and our hearts. We begin to view even our assailants as those for whom Jesus died. Even though they attack us, as we pray for those who oppose us we understand that they themselves have been deceived and ravaged by evil forces and ideologies that dominate their lives.

So if you’re looking for bitter denunciations of the wicked, you’ve come to the wrong post. But if you’re looking for good news, you’ve come to the right place. Our message here is, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15).  And that is GOOD NEWS!

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Road Trip

Next Saturday I turn 65. I asked our sons for a special birthday present this year – a road trip with both of them to see many of the significant places of our family history in Oklahoma and Arkansas. For the next few days I’ll be the tour guide, telling stories and passing down vital aspects of the Shibley family story. At meals I’ll download all the things I want to be sure I’ve said to these two men of God.

Naomi and I are so proud (in every right way) of both Jonathan and Joel – as husbands, as fathers, as productive workers, as followers of Jesus. We’re deeply grateful to the Lord for our two beautiful “daughters-in-grace” and, of course, our five off-the-charts grandchildren! During these treasured days our sons and I will pray together, I’ll listen to their visions for the future, and I’ll unpack my hopes for the yet unfinished symphonies in my life.

Thank You, Father, for setting the solitary in families (Psalm 68:6). Thank You for the privilege of passing on Your faithfulness to the next generation. I watch with wonder as Your trans-generational mercies become something like compounded interest, joyfully amazed that I’ve reaped so much more than I’ve sown. Lord Jesus, You have changed everything. Thank You for Your sacrifice and that You’re interceding for us at this present moment. Thank You for privileging us to be gospel-carriers, an assignment even angels would love to have. Thank You, Holy Spirit, that You go before us into an unsure future with the sure promise of Your presence and power.

“One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4).

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March 4, 2015

March 4, 2015

On this date in 1921 my father, the late Warren Shibley, was born in Drumright, Oklahoma. Of course, I’m thinking of him today. How grateful I am for the example of his life – a Christlike blending of great compassion and an unflinching commitment to truth.

Today we need men like this more than ever who will emit compassion, courage and conviction. We need not fear in confronting evil; rather, we must fear not doing so. Our times are in His hands. “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 Jn. 4:4).

“And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear for God has willed His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure;
One little word shall fell him.”
(Martin Luther)

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Hope and Life Are Yours!

By David Shibley

What are you facing this week?

Just today I’ve felt the heartache of friends’ marriages hanging by a thread, a partner’s business that must get a miracle – fast, and a beautiful young girl who loves Jesus and loves missions who has been diagnosed with cancer.

What about you?  Are you facing personal, family, or financial trials this week that threaten to engulf you?  There is HOPE! 

Remember what else is going on this week.

This Friday Christians worldwide will honor Christ’s atoning death that tore open for us the way into God’s presence, His grace, and His family.  As F. W. Krummacher wrote in The Suffering Savior, Christ “covers our guilt with His obedience, and our deficiencies with His fullness.” Then this Sunday we as believers will celebrate Christ’s mighty triumph over death. “Because I live,” Jesus said, “you will live also” (Jn. 14:19).

No matter how tough your circumstance your heart can pound with hope.  I don’t mean flimsy, man-based optimism; I mean Bible-based, blood-bought hope. Many years ago Konrad Adenauer, who was then Chancellor of West Germany, came to Billy Graham with a serious question.  “Do you really believe that Jesus rose from the dead?” the chancellor asked.  “I believe it with all my heart,” the evangelist replied.  “Good,” replied Mr. Adenauer. “Then there is hope for the world.”

Even with all the challenges in the world – from Cyprus to Syria and from the White House to your house – there is great hope for the world – and great hope for you – because Jesus died and rose again.  The living Christ, who this very moment is interceding for you, is the cornerstone of your hope.  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pe. 1:3-4, emphasis mine).

You have been born again to a living hope!  I want to be very clear.  Christ is our hope.  His resurrection, His return, His rule; this is our hope.  No Jesus – no hope.  With Jesus – great hope.  All our hope is wrapped up in Him.  He is “the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope” (1 Tim. 1:1).

The Bible scholar, Kenneth Wuest, observed that this hope is “an energizing principle of divine life in the believer.”  It is an attitude of expectancy – both of the future glories of heaven and present blessings because we are God’s children through faith in His Son.

Through Christ we have . . .

  • Hope of a home in heaven.  “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3).
  • Hope that He will come again.  “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
  • Hope that the scales of justice will finally and forever be balanced.  God “has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.  He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).
  • Hope that we will be reunited with loved ones already with the Lord.  “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout . . . . And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus we shall .always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16-17).
  • Hope for the unrivaled reign of Jesus Christ over all the earth.  “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:13).

It’s all because of Jesus.  “Christ is in you, the assurance of all the glorious things to come” (Colossians 1:27, J. B. Phillips Translation).

It is this Good News of hope through a crucified, risen Redeemer that He has commissioned us to take to all the world.  And we’re doing just that, thanks to partners like you.

In this Holy Week, I’m asking you to honor our great Redeemer with a love gift of gratitude for so great a salvation.  By giving to advance the Gospel you assault the devil and a world system that idolizes possessions.  You break free from cynicism and the tyranny of the spirit of Mammon.  You put Jesus and others before yourself.  You do what God says to do and what He did Himself.  “God so loved the world that He gave . . . .” (John 3:16).

As you prayerfully determine where you will sow your offering, please consider a gift to the ministry of Global Advance.  Thank you – and God bless you and your loved ones throughout this week of remembrance and celebration.

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Shouldn’t We Reach America First?

By David Shibley

Some actually pose this question to me aloud.  Many others I know are thinking it – “David, we’re not even evangelizing our own country.  We’re losing ground right here.  How can we possibly talk about evangelizing the world?”

It’s a good question – with a good answer.  Jesus Himself gives the answer: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Ac. 1:8).  These are concurrent assignments – one does not exclude the other.  In fact, we cannot be fully effective in evangelism here without a commitment to what God is doing globally.  At the same time, we cannot broad-jump to an unreached people group and carry no concern for our neighbors’ salvation.  We are to proclaim Christ where we live, beyond our own city, and because we are a covenant people, we’re also assigned to bless all the families of the earth (see Genesis 12:1-3; Gal. 3:13-14).

Jesus wants His disciples to thing and believe big.  He said, “Be My witnesses in Jerusalem” – to your entire city!  Then He stretched the disciples’ vision even broader, commissioning them to reach the ends of the earth.  It’s as if the Lord were saying, “The very smallest terms in which I want you to think is taking whole cities.”

William Carey, the father of modern missions, caught this extravagant evangelistic spirit when he challenged the church, “Attempt great things for God; expect great things from God.”  Protectionism juxtaposed against globalization may be argued politically.  However, a protectionist mentality in spiritual matters is always unhealthy and counterproductive.  There are no merits to “spiritual protectionism;” it is always lethal.  The most patriotic thing I can do for my country is to love the world.  And the healthiest thing I can do for the American church is to point us beyond ourselves.

A great spiritual exercise would be to spend a day in prayer, fasting, and meditating on the phrase and not for us only.  If I were president of a Bible college or seminary, I would make it the school motto.  The gospel is not for us only.  The benefits the gospel brings are not for us only.  Jesus is not for us only! “He Himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins – and not only for our sins but the sins of all the world” (1 Jn. 2:2, NLT).  As someone well said, “Jesus left us a Great Commission, not a limited contract with America.”

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Tribute to T. L. Osborn

By David Shibley

February 18, 2013

T. L. Osborn, one of the greatest missionary evangelists in the history of the church, is now home in heaven.  Osborn slipped into the presence of Jesus February 14, 2013 at age 89.  He was one of three people who most shaped my missiology.  His nation-impacting evangelistic meetings in over 100 nations brought millions under the sound of the Gospel and into an encounter with the living Christ.

Our family has been intertwined with the ministry of T. L. and Daisy Osborn since their ministry’s inception.  My mother was the first secretary of the newly-formed Osborn ministry in 1949. In March of 1950 neither my mother nor I was expected to survive my birth.  As my mother was in labor, my father, a Tulsa pastor who served on the Osborns’ board, waited anxiously at the hospital with T. L. Osborn.  Osborn was strongly impressed to pray for my life and my mother’s.  Turning to my father, Brother Osborn said, “Warren, we’ve got to rebuke the spirit of death right now.”

They agreed in prayer, stood in faith, and God intervened.  What appeared to be certain death for both mother and child (who weighed less than four pounds) was turned into victory for the Lord.  It is now 63 years later – and both my mother and I are serving the Lord.  On a human level, we may owe our lives to the sensitivity and faith of missionary-evangelist T. L. Osborn.

At first the records and files of the young ministry were kept in our family home’s spare bedroom.  But when I came home from the hospital, that room became my nursery and Osborn acquired office space on North Utica Street in Tulsa.  So I jokingly say I’m the guy who launched T. L. Osborn into a faith ministry!

My parents, along with T. L., Daisy, and T. L.’s brother comprised the first board of directors for the Osborns’ fledgling ministry.  Sometimes my parents took me as a child to the board meetings.  While I played in the corner, my subconscious mind absorbed the hum of their optimistic discussions about world evangelism.  I remember Osborn coming back from his now historic crusades with a passion for souls in his eyes.  We wept as we watched the pagan rituals captured on raw footage that would later be embedded in his classic mission films.

Throughout his ministry Brother Osborn kept the main thing the main thing.  “One way: Jesus! One job: souls!” was woven deep into the ministry’s DNA.  T. L. and Daisy were an exemplary team and early advocates for what we today call justice issues that affect women worldwide, especially in the Majority World nations.

As a heartbroken teenager, T. L. and Daisy came to our home to comfort our family shortly after my father’s death.  He took me aside, assuming a fatherly role, and spoke words of strength and life that helped sustain me.  Brother Osborn preached my dad’s funeral and his message of hope resonates in me to this day.

T. L. Osborn was a world class evangelist and missionary statesman of the first order.  He was often afforded an ambassador’s welcome by the heads of state of many nations.  Even non-Christian presidents and prime ministers knew intrinsically they were in the presence of greatness when they were with T. L. Osborn.  His compassionate demeanor, authority, anointing, and the dignity of his calling identified him as the Gospel’s global ambassador for Christ.  It has been my privilege to minister in 60 nations.  Almost anywhere I go I see that the large spiritual footprint of T. L. Osborn has preceded me.  This humble servant who was welcomed in king’s palaces was also joyfully received by the neediest people.

A few years ago it was my privilege to share a meal with him in his home.  “Brother Osborn,” I asked, “what is the best ministry decision you ever made?”  With his trademark smile and twinkle in his eye he replied in his animated style, “Oh, David!  That’s a good question.  I don’t think I’ve ever been asked that question!  Let me think about that for a moment.”  He paused and replied, “The most important ministry decision I ever made was to invest my life for neglected people.  I’m an old man now.  I’m so glad that when I stand before Jesus I’ll be able to tell Him, ‘I invested my life for the neglected people of the world.’”

Now T. L. Osborn rejoins his wife Daisy at the feet of Jesus.  Their joy is complete.  Their reward – incalculable.  “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament.  And those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).

David Shibley is founder and world representative for Global Advance, a ministry that equips thousands of church and business leaders annually in many nations to help fulfill the Great Commission.

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