And pray you’re invigorated in faith as we anticipate a brand new, start-from-scratch year in 2021.
Many find themselves starting over – in business, in employment, in finances, in living quarters, in family circumstances. All of these changes are challenges through which the Lord wants to show Himself strong in your life. In fact, the Scriptures tell us clearly, “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, searching for those on whose behalf He can show Himself strong” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
May I expand a bit more from the context of this wonderful Scripture? Asa, the king of Judah, “did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God” – a hard to come by compliment in the “historical books of Old Testament kings over God’s people.” But what Asa did in 2 Chronicles 14:2 is what we see the Lord searching for in 2 Chronicles 16:9. Asa made mistakes, he got off track, he leaned more on foreign kings than on his God at times… but overall he sought God’s strength, and the Lord saw Asa’s seeking and provided it.
I cannot count the times I have prayed that verse over many thousands of people, in church, at conferences with the altar flooded by invitation, in arenas, in large outdoor events. I have always loved the thought that what God is seeking to give is given to those who are seeking to find it – namely His strength. Wherever God is looking to give and we are looking to find the exact same thing, something very powerful is about to occur.
How have the events of 2020 changed your focus, elevated your priorities, deepened your resolve? Where is God’s strength most needed in your life just now – and what are you doing to signal your awareness of need to our Father’s searching eyes? Be assured that God is still seeking people through whom He can reveal His strength… and by His grace we invite you to join us in seeking to be those people in fresh ways in the coming year.
We enjoyed a wonderful family time during the days around Christmas and were exceedingly blessed to gather in our home, unhurried over several meals, lots of fun, and meaningful conversation.
Our daughter, Abby, and her husband, Nick (with Montie, 10), are supporting our eldest son, Luke, and his wife, Kristen (with Carter, 11; Reid, 10; Graham, 7; and Felicity, 3), in their new Woodfield-area church plant called “Good News In the Neighborhood (https://goodnewsintheneighborhood.org/) “ – a fresh vision of biblical ministry focused on lost people finding Jesus. Please keep them in your prayers.
Our second son, Landon, and his wife, Bri (with Ezra, 5; Violet, 3; and Julian, 2) remain serving at an exciting church in the Phoenix area, where Landon serves as a teaching Pastor and oversees all student ministry.
The Lord’s work of healing our family’s hearts and deploying us in avenues of Kingdom service as He chooses continues to progress, and we are truly grateful.
The Home Church Network (HcN), a vision for local church chapters meeting in homes all over the world, continues to be blessed.
On Sunday, January 9, I will preach about the vision God gave me through 40 days of fasting and prayer throughout February – March 2020. During those days the idea of a pandemic and Covid-19 were unheard of, and we were only beginning to hear about a “Corona Virus.” I had plans to preach at a wonderful church in California, and we were seeking whether the Lord would have us join in with them in a longer-term way. Kathy and I had struggled to find a church home for many reasons, but also struggled to be alone at home watching church online. Then suddenly, everyone around us was in that situation. As 2020 comes to a close, church-goers are predominantly still worshiping from home.
By fall 2020, in wrapping up the needless legal struggles with our former ministry, we became stretched too thin and needed to pause in order to get that truly behind us and seek the Lord for a renewal of the earlier HcN vision. Just this month we resumed with a new Christmas series, and a wonderful, growing number of households in 7 countries on 3 continents are joining us for weekend worship services crafted with folks like you in mind – a number that, Lord willing, could soon exceed any brick-and-mortar church we have ever pastored.
How much will return to pre-Covid ‘normal’ church, and what will remain as the new normal? How will the vaccine affect interpersonal ministry or live worship attendance? Those answers are pending, but we do know that most of the early churches in the book of Acts met from house to house (Acts 5:42, Colossians 4:15). Through the Home Church Network we’re providing weekly preaching, worship, leadership training, and beginning to develop pastoral care, children’s, men’s and women’s ministries – all in an effort to optimize the ways HcN can provide impactful ministry while remaining vertical and organizationally minimal.
To accomplish all of this, we have 3 paid staff members, a part-time video crew, and a lot more ideas than we have time or funding for. Kathy and I continue to support ourselves, but are rapidly reaching the end of our ability to fund the ministry ourselves as well. Ultimately, our pension, our intellectual property, and our ministry equipment were returned to us, with our former church’s defamation insurance paying barely enough to cover our legal costs. The church has shown no interest in returning the millions they drained from Walk in the Word’s coffers, offering only an overvalued piece of property they couldn’t sell and we still do not possess.
All that to say, James MacDonald Ministries (JMM) is committed to pressing forward in anticipation of God’s favor through your faith and generosity, believing for the vision He has given us – yet, maybe as never before I say from my heart, “We cannot do it without you.” We are in a position of real financial need, not for ourselves but for the needs of relaunching our teaching ministry of God’s Word for those who love us and frequently invoke our continuance.
If you are finding spiritual nourishment through our new efforts, whether you are a past partner or a new friend, we ask that you prayerfully consider investing with us, as we embrace these days of renewed dependence and faith in God to bless what He is directing us to commence afresh.
So… this is hardly our retirement! Rather, it is reassignment to more impactful biblical preaching and church planting, in various forms, until Christ returns.
I realize many others are reaching out for year-end support, and the funds that used to flow into our various ministries seem massive now. But we are thankful for these days of ‘less’ and pray that in God’s kindness it will lead to ‘more’ – more glory, more kingdom impact and more life-giving ministry, to more people in more places. Will you prayerfully consider helping us?
Between our warehouse rental, audio/video engineers, HcN production/administrative support, JMM website/social media/email systems – all enabling us to communicate and offer free teaching content – our monthly financial need for 2021 is a substantial step of faith. We are praying and believing God has much to accomplish through us during these dark days of lawlessness in our world, and too often, in Christ’s church.
For more than 35 years, we have not failed to multiply for God’s glory the financial investments given to our ministry. As 2020 draws to a close, we are asking the Lord to continue using our biblical teaching and training to reach the lost, feed the saints, and strengthen local churches around the world.
We pray that God would move in your heart to respond with a gift that says tangibly what so many have said to us verbally this year: “Leave the past behind and get back to doing what God called you to do and always blessed – delivering the bold preaching of His Word, to as many people in as many places as possible.”
With your generosity in support of our relaunch and your prayers to stand behind our careful stewardship of what God supplies, this we will do – and by God’s grace, continue to do until He returns.
Join us in answering:
Thank you in advance for your prayerful consideration and response of faith and generosity as the Lord leads.
Warmly, your partner in service to Christ,
Dr. James MacDonald