Remember! Images to Help Christians Stay on Track

See the 4 images Paul uses as anchor points for the Christian in the passage below.

2 Timothy 2:1-9 (ESV)

1  You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2  and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.3  Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4  No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.5  An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.6  It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.7  Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.8  Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9  for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!  

Soldier – Conqueror, Overcomer, Victorious (See: John 16:33; 1 John 4:4, 5:4-5; Rom 8:37-39; 1 Cor 15:57-58; 2 Cor 2:14 also: 2 Sam 22:32-43; Ps 18:34)

  1. Loyal to those over him.
  2. Carries out orders avoiding distraction or competing voices. “I follow Jesus, and only Jesus”.
  3. My greatest distracting voice is my self.
  4. Soldiers are in a life and death struggle.  To be an overcomer I must first be overcome.

Athlete – Training, Competing, Discipline (See: Lk 6:40; 1 Cor 9:24-25; 1 Tim 4:6-16; Titus 2: 4,12; 2 Tim 3:16; Heb 5:14; Heb 12:11)

  1. Knows & Abides by rules — What is God pleasing? That is what I want.
  2. Train = control, focus, intense focus on a goal/finish line
  3. “Temperate” in all things

Farmer – Vineyard worker, harvest, fruit, Steward/manager (See: Psalm 126, 128, Is 5:4, 55:10-13; Mt 9:37-38; Mt 13:1-9, 18-23; Mt 12:24-33, 35-43; Mk 4:26-29; John 4:35-39; I Cor 3:5-9; 2 Cor 9:10; James 5:7)

  1. Faithful, Enduring, with hope for harvest
  2. Knows limits — I have a vital contribution but God brings the growth
  3. Works very hard on the right thing at the right time w/ the right motive.

Jesus – Risen King, Son of David/Living Word of God

  1. THE conqueror
  2. THE athlete
  3. THE farmer
  4. He is not bound; not limited; and is always working and resting.

What does BEING a soldier, athlete, and farmer who remembers Jesus look like right now in my life?

I am one of  his troops sent on a mission.  

I am sent as an athlete to wave the flag and represent my heavenly country of citizenships in the race of life.  

I am laboring in his fields and honored to be seeing his harvest coming in.

STOP — think about these verses and let those image speak to you.  Follow the advice in verse 7.”Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”

It is One Year Since We Honored Robertson in Chapel at Columbia Intl University

Robertson McQuilkin accepts Lifetime of Service Award

October 15, 2015 — Several of us wrote chapters in a book to honor Robertson’s life and ministry.  You may order it here.

book cover transformed glory to glory

Here was what I shared in that chapel.


I first came as a student to the Seminary in 1977. Robertson was President and one of my teachers on the Holy Spirit, Ethics and Principles of Ministry.

My second tenure at CIU started 20 years later when I joined the faculty of the seminary.  My courses are in the same subjects I was taught by Robertson.

In TRANSFORMED FROM GLORY TO GLORY my chapter is written as a letter to my son, Mark. Robertson modeled consistently spotting affirming, and encouraging many men and women of my generation to step out and step up.

So, in this chapter I urge the next generation to stake down the corners of their ministry with Biblical perspectives I inherited from Robertson.

These Principles are:

  1. The Vision of a Spirit-blown wild church
  2. Prayer as an intimate conversation
  3. Heart transformation as the center of God’s work.
  4. Guarding your motives by living every day to honor the master
  5. Living with Humble Expectation; confident God is raising up leadership contribution from others.

ROBERTSON is my sponsor.

  1. He opened the door for me in 1978 to start a new department for CIU that over the next five years became the Financial Aid and Development departments; while also completing my education.
  2. He asked me in 1980 to help with the Ben Lippen Summer Conferences in Asheville which led to being appointed to move to Asheville in 1983  with the Billy Graham Training Center.
  3. When the transition of moving BL to Columbia and returning the Cove property to BGEA occurred, he prompted George Murray to interview me for a position at Bible Christian Union. I did not go to BCU but that conversation with George moved me to pursue becoming a Great Commission oriented church leader.
  4. It was Robertson who prompted the IMB in 2007 to allow me to write material being used to mentor their missionaries based on Robertson’s work called the Five Smooth Stones…
  5. Robertson is my door opener… the man who believed in me when I did not see potential in myself.  A faithful prayer partner and friend.

Our Guides — Constellation of Encouragers, Advisors and Supporters a Key to a Well Lived Life

Roy Teaching Apr 2014

Every life-giving leader needs people around them as sources of encouragement, advice, and support.  The broad term covering all the types of relationship and assistance God provides is GUIDES. This is a good term because our life is a journey.

A Travel AGENT sales you a ticket and helps book lodging from their desk using a phone and computer.

A Travel GUIDE has navigated similar journeys and takes the journey with you.  Guides provide various ways of shifting or enhancing your perspective.

  • The GUIDE uses their experience to provide direction in the journey you are making when you do not know the best way or really any way to move toward the destination.
  • A GUIDE helps you see the journey including the attractions and the obstacles through their eyes of confidence and endurance when you are overwhelmed or fearful.
  • The GUIDE shares their love for the foods, and other unique elements of the journey and you find your values shift and your level of appreciation moves from the MYSTERIOUS UNKNOWN to DIFFERENT, to APPRECIATING THE DIVERSITY.

Examples of assistance provided by GUIDES:

  1. Understanding of biblical truth — the ministry of teaching
  2. Revealing blind spots so the leader has more accurate perception and self-awareness — the ministry of discernment
  3. Challenge – calling out for courageous faith — the ministry of clarifying
  4. Confrontation – probing with questions to expose sinful motives and to call for repentance – the ministry of correction.
  5. Being a sounding board for processing options at a crossroads moment of decision – the ministry of listening
  6. Pointing out and affirming giftedness, skills, talents, and abilities that can be developed with focused coaching and practice – The ministry of development
  7. Lifting up the tired spirit with caring compassionate truth – the ministry of encouragement

And many more….






3 of Life’s Very Important Questions

  1.  Who am I?
  2. Why am I here?
  3. Who can walk with me through life?

Start you answers here:

  1. The core identity of every person is to know God as their parent.  When we latch on to the truth of “me in Christ” it is like coming home and knowing this is where you belong.
  2. We function best when we are enjoying being in God’s family and see the breadth of His kingdom.  Our story makes sense when it is connected to God’s great story.
  3. Christ is in me are four of the safest words, the most comforting words, we could ever wrap our hearts around.

Learning From My Mom in ICU

RoyGLRetrSep2010dIt is Labor Day weekend.  I have joined my Dad and other family members in and around ICU since Friday.  My Mom had a brain bleed Thurs afternoon. She has been in a deep sleep broken by short periods of wakefulness with her eyes open, no speech, little recognition and limited responses.
Because of personal circumstances in my own life over the last 4 months I have been doing a Bible Study on God’s Comfort. This study has led into many passages but Isaiah 40-66 and 2 Corinthians have been central stopping points.  The question driving my reflection: “How does God comfort His children?”
Sunday I sat with my Mom and read my Scripture reading out loud with her.  Somehow I understand things differently when I also hear myself read them out loud, slowly and with feeling.
When I read Isaiah 46:3-4 I paused and almost laughed out loud —
“Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel,
who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb. . .
The place of comfort for us is resting in the arms of the God who made us, bears us along, carries and saves us.
I don’t remember my time in the womb of this woman to whom I am reading.  I don’t remember being ushered into this world from her body. BUT I have been blessed to worship the God who knows all those events in my life.  They happened on his watch; under his leading and strength.
Isaiah continues, “even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
I will carry and will save.”
Now I stroke my Mom’s snow white hair and my own hair is getting more and more like hers.  I paused in my reading and with a smile (yes, a smile in ICU) I whispered in her ear, Mom our Lord God is still carrying you.
Comfort is knowing He has never left us.  He has delighted to save us rebels, not unlike our distant cousin, Jacob. He MADE, BEARS, CARRIES AND SAVES us all of our days!  What a great place to be.  It invades all of the places of this world — ICU included— with his glorious hands and love.  Comfort fills the spaces in our hearts as we give ourselves to adoring our God.

Robertson McQuilkin and Bob Dylan

Robertson McQuilkin

This post is in honor of my friend of 39 years who recently had his prayer answered and made it to his home in heaven.  I miss him deeply.

It was 1980.  I was working two doors down from President McQuilkin directing Financial Aid and helping to begin what would become the Development Department.  I was also a part time seminary student.  So at the busiest season of the terms I would go home for dinner and then return for an evening of study and catching up on files and work in the office.

It was close to midnight and I was working away on financial aid files and listening to the newest music by Bob Dylan.  Slow Train Coming (1979) and Saved (1980) were strong gospel albums that had Dylan booed off the stage at some of his concerts.  I loved them!

Slow Train Coming Bob DylanSaved Bob Dylan  ( I still listen to them weekly as I exercise)

What I did not know at the time was that Robertson had come by the office also.  Years later he told me that as he started down the dark hall and heard Dylan booming in the building he was all prepared to speak a word of correction to the custodial help.  Instead it was one of his new hires; a young man he was sure loved Jesus.  But how could he be listening to that rock and roll racket?

When I saw him stick his head in the doorway I immediately turned the volume down and explained that Bob Dylan was giving a clear testimony in his music.  I asked him if he would like to borrow the albums and check it out.  He said he would. So the next day I loaned them to him.

About a week later he returned the albums and I will never forget his words.  “Well, you can’t read those lyrics and not believe Bob knows the Gospel thoroughly.  It is just a shame that when God saved him he didn’t heal his voice.”  And then he gave me his classic grin.

Bob Dylan photo

Robertson modeled for me a man willing to suspend a judgmental spirit and listen and learn even when what he encountered what was not part of his preferences or culture.

Lord, Help me to do the same.

What are your thoughts?

Do you have a humorous memory with Robertson?  Comment below!

In Honor of Robertson McQuilkin — The Absent Are Safe With Us!

Absent are safe with us

A church member in Boone, NC made this for me after I told Robertson’s story in a sermon about our words

In Robertson’s writings and often in his speaking he would address how Christians speak about others.  His thoughts seem even more relevant is a world where many feel entitled to say anything about anyone through social media.

I have consulted with multiple congregations in the past 10 years split into painful division because of e-mails being forwarded beyond the original intended author.  I have a significant section of material on the Biblical teaching on conflict resolution in my book Life Giving Leadership if you want more assistance in handling the friction that will surely come living in this broken world.

Here I will just paraphrase the experience he shared from his early days as a missionary in Japan.

We were the new missionaries and the more experienced couple had come to dinner to welcome us.  It turned into a painful evening of them “helping us” by pointing out failures and weaknesses of all of the other missionaries.  They left that evening with a date for another dinner being set and I was not looking forward to another evening of roasting the coworkers we were just meeting.

Muriel assured me she would make sure the next evening’s conversation went differently.  Our home had a large wall with no pictures on it.  She made a small cross stitch and hung it on the wall.  They arrived and noticed the new addition to our decor. The wife walked over, read it, and then called her husband over to read it.  (Robertson paused like a good stand up comedian and then said), It was one the quietest dinners we had ever had.

Are the absent safe with you?  

Personally I believe Facebook is for sharing photos of my grandbabies and maybe a few vacation photos but I seek to remember in this blog, and all of my online world, that Jesus is present and reading my posts.  Social media is just a typed conversation — and the Bible has a great deal to say about how God’s children are to use words.

Bottom Line — if you have a problem with someone — go to them — face to face if possible (not your facebook) — or in as private conversation as possible.

Any subject causing your emotional heat to go UP or your trust in a person or organization to go DOWN — take your concern TO them not to the world online.