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Teaching God's Word Since 1994
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Colossians 2:8




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This segment originally apeared as a
Step Into The Springs in Shaqah #102

On April 18th of this year Living Springs marked its 25th anniversary. As we talked about how to celebrate that achievement, I found myself unable to really think about it. Obviously, one of the ways you mark such an occasion is to take time and reflect on all that has been done. In doing that we see a great mixture of accomplishment, disappointment, hard work, and, of course, change. I remember those early days of ministry struggling with the question of whether or not I should start a church. As I headed into doing it, there was the work of figuring out how to establish a nonprofit ministry without the backing of a denomination. I had known from pretty early on it would not be God's will for me to join a denomination, and I understood why. However, setting up and running your own organization comes with its challenges and extra work.

We did that work for one reason alone, to be free to serve The Lord in all the ways He asked us to without the pressure of others being able to affect what was taught and how we would conduct ourselves according to the righteousness God wants of us all. To say we have fought against the odds is an understatement! Right from the start, Living Springs was judged as too strict and old fashioned to survive in our modern world. To that, my constant response has been, we are not what we are because it is the style we have chosen to be but because we follow what we hear God telling us was/is right. I had to keep reminding people that if we thought being like all the bigger churches was correct, Living Springs would not exist! To me, the ministry has never been a competition. I preach and teach what I hear God telling me to say and let people do with it as they choose. We have known all along that the last days would be as it was in the days of Noah, and Noah only got on that ark with seven other people in the end!

The story goes by rather fast when we simply read it in the Bible, and due to that it might be hard to grasp just how little 25 years is in comparison to Noah's 120 years of preparing for the flood. It's hard to think of all those years not just of hard work hammering away on the giant ark but all the conversations he must have had over and over about how useless it was for him to do it, how ridiculous he was being to think a flood like that was coming. How many nights did Noah go to bed and wonder, did I really understand what God told me or am I just losing my mind? All the mornings he woke up feeling the ache in his muscles from the days of crawling, climbing, lifting, generally doing the physical labor and thinking, can I get up and keep doing this? Do I really have the strength to carry on? Just writing this and thinking about it literally brings so many tears to my eyes I have to stop and take time to recover.

Maybe that reaction all by itself is the answer to how one celebrates, or at least acknowledges the passing of what this world calls a milestone, because ministry is hard! The work is not just long, it's never ending. In a world so contrary to the things of God, the ridicule of what you do and how you do it is a constant presence, but therein lies the victory. For all the people who said Living Springs would never make it, for all question marks about how a church could turn to become a pure teaching ministry without the weekly backing of some church(es), for all the work that there just isn't enough hours in the day to get done, we never gave up! At the risk of sounding prideful, we can say as of this issue Living Springs has published 102 issues of Shaqah, and it literally goes into many countries around the world. I was told by a minister in Pakistan just the other day that he translates Shaqah to use in his sermons. A minister in Kenya told us our books have become the most beloved materials among the people they minister to! We get letters from so many in prison thanking us for being willing to send materials to them when they so often feel forgotten, and yes, from across the United States we hear encouragement from so many we have never met face to face, but who are thankful Living Springs does what it does.

To many what Living Springs does doesn't seem like much, but to those who are hungry, the materials God allows us to produce mean the world. This is what makes you shutdown the doubt and sleep at night, that cause the muscles to find strength in the morning to get up and continue in the work. YOU the readers of our materials are God's confirmation to us that marching on with God's will guiding us no matter how "out of step" with people in our day it might seem, was the right way to run this ministry for the last 25 years and beyond. We could be like Noah and only have the family that runs this ministry willing to care, but Living Springs has such a large family in all of you who share in the blessings God has rained down on this ministry, that after 25 years, seeing just our "family" making it to be with our Lord for eternity would be a tremendous reward!

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