Doors open and doors close – this is the way of the Lord.

I have amended my previous post with the following paragraph.

For a while I have been in the nomination process as one of the area assistant bishops here in Peru.  I am no longer in the process.  The nominating college wants people with better Spanish skills and longer familiarity with Latin culture.  I was honored to be considered and nominated by the group in  Arequipa. I am deeply committed to the raising up of Peruvian clergy, bishops and leaders.  There will need to be more time before all the bishops can be Peruvian.  I have committed, and will dedicate, my time, to that leadership development.  We shall see what God will do!

How do we know what God wants us to do?
All too often we do not.  We take a step at a time and we do so in faith.  God leads and asks us to be faithful in following without the way ahead being all that clear.  I believe St Paul understood that when he said that  “now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. “(1Cor. 13:12, ESV).  The critical thing for me is to try to be open to what God seems to be saying, to be available.  This becomes part of the adventure.  God then takes us to unexpected and often unlikely places.  Since I had a bunch of paperwork to get completed as well as get references put together I was able to take a look at these last forty years since I entered the discernment process for ordination.  I was humbled by the nice things said about me by those who wrote references.  In all of this I want to “Finish well.”

The expression “Finish well” comes from an organization that I have come to know and respect – The Finishers Project – who are one of our resources for our workshop at New Wineskins this April 8-11.  Their ministry is to place before people who are in or approaching retirement the challenge of foreign mission.  They provide resources to member mission organizations by helping inquirers match their skills, availability and commitment.  The number of “Baby Boomers” in the US who are at or close to retirement is huge.  They still have a sense of adventure, want to change the world and make a difference.  They now have a lifetime of experience and can – if they will – bring this to the mission field.

I am convinced that in the Church we can either be senders and supporters, OR we are to be sent ourselves.  There is no alternative in Scripture other than being disobedient.  I do not believe that the Great Commission is a suggestion!  So we are called to be obedient and involved in mission.  The question is how and where.  Mission is local and beyond.  Each person’s calling will be personal.  The local church has a responsibility to help people discover and then live out their missionary calling.  It is so exciting – at least to Polly and me.

Who would have thought that we would serve in the UK, USA, Belize, Kenya and Peru.  Who would have thought we would serve parishes in London, Amherst. MA, Nashville. TN, Menasha. WI?  Who would have known the myriad of incredible people whose lives we have been part of?  I keep thinking of St. Paul’s words – For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Phil. 1:21 ESV.  So we live for the moment, one step at a time.  Sometimes we push on doors.  Sometimes one opens and another closes.  My question – usually reminded by Oswald Chambers – is am I available?  Lord use me today.

So this time no pictures.  Just reflection and thankfulness.  Bless you all.



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6 responses to “Doors open and doors close – this is the way of the Lord.

  1. Karen Staege

    Yes, I am available. Hope to get to New Wineskins if God is willing. Love you, Polly and Ian, and continue to hold you both in my prayers.

  2. Mark Hansen

    Thank you for your timely reflections. My own journey in ministry has taken a number of unusual turns but your closing put the focus where it firmly belongs: “Am I available? Lord, use me today.”. Again, thanks, and continued blesings in your priestly ministry.

  3. Thanks, Ian. That was a wonderful statement of humility and understanding that God will use you (all of us) where He wills. Good to hear from you! My computer crashed in late November and I missed receiving posts from you. Look forward to seeing you at New Wineskins! Wishing you many blessings, Diane Stanton

  4. andrew osmun

    This particular ride on the roller coaster has come to its end. You have ‘finished well’ this process. I never am happy being invited and then uninvited – but this is in God’s hands and we can only expect greater things as you serve in the center of God’s will. May the Lord’s Shalom be with you both. Andrew

  5. Tom Lambrecht

    Thank you for your faithfulness, Ian. It is disappointing when we think God is leading a certain way, and then the door closes. We acknowledge that disappointment, but we also go forward in faith that God has a better plan. It will be exciting to see how he uses you in the future. I join you in that prayer to “be available.”

    God’s blessings on you and Polly!

  6. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really
    appreciate your efforts and I am waiting for your next write
    ups thanks once again.

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