Christview Ministries Newsletter
December 2004 Volume 1, Issue 1
As Christview Ministries begins, we celebrate our Savior’s birth, and wish you a blessed 2005 serving Him! John and Judy Turner
How great it is to be able to greet you at this time of the year with our first Christview Ministries Newsletter! We are so excited to have reached this point at last. We want to tell you about what’s happening, but even more we want to share with you what we are learning about God. We hope that you will find things in each newsletter that encourage and inform you, things you may be able to use in your own ministries for Jesus. We encourage you to subscribe or become a member. And we want to hear from you about how we can help you and about how God is working in your life. Let us know.
Let’s get started with two special invitations to you:
Open House (Sunday, January 9, 1:00--4:00 PM)
See Christview Ministries Center, pray for the ministry, and enjoy connecting with other Christians. Bring your questions about how Christview Ministries might help you and your congregation. Please come and bless Christview Ministries with your presence and your prayers. This is designed for the convenience of those near enough to come after morning worship in their own congregations, and is a time for informal conversation and spontaneous Christian fellowship. Feel free to spend the entire time or to come-and-go at any time during the event. Directions to Ministries Center.
Dedication Service (Saturday, April 9, 2:00 PM)
We hope that friends from near and far will all come for a special service of dedication. Mark your calendars now! If you will need lodging, we may have space available here or can recommend other nearby lodging to meet your needs. Directions to Ministries Center.
God Sightings: Learning to Walk on Water
As we prepared to leave Indianapolis to move to Arkansas and begin Christview Ministries, we did not know exactly where this ministry would be located or how it would be funded. One of our Christian friends said, “You’re learning to walk on water.” Certainly, these past few months, we’ve walked in a deeper level of faith than ever before, and we have made some discoveries we’d like to share with you, in hopes that our discoveries will help you in your walk of faith.
God-dreams may take a long time to realize. When we were getting ready to move, we found a plan we had written over twenty years ago for a ministry to help form leaders for the body of Christ. We weren’t ready then. Gradually through the years, God has clarified our vision and equipped us to pursue it. We are still growing and will continue to grow in the years ahead, but this past year was the year for us to step out onto the water!
God sometimes waits for us to follow his leading before he shows what he will do. In faith Judy submitted her resignation from a denominational ministry position; only then did things start happening. Within a very short time, an unsolicited offer for an extremely friendly capital loan and matching funds for operating costs dropped out of the sky—with God’s fingerprints all over it. There is no way we could have proceeded without such miraculous provision (through a boldly faithful servant), but we had to take the first step.
God defies conventional wisdom in the way he works. After John resigned from his pastorate, we were advised that the market would not sustain the price we needed from our Indianapolis house in order to have income on which to live while we got our ministry up and running. We took the risk of fixing up the house and then got the price we needed just nine days after we put the house on the market.
Sometimes God closes doors that need to be closed and then opens doors that looked hopelessly closed. As we sought to purchase property, we kept hitting roadblocks. We would think that we had solved the situation, and then the solution would come undone. We aren’t exactly the handy fixer-upper sorts of people, and we had been looking at some properties that would have kept us busy at things we don’t do well. Those properties would have distracted from our ministries.
Then we saw a large house that had been completed only six months before we bought it, and it already had a large room where we could put our library/worship/meeting space. The first time we saw the house, we knew that it was stunningly beautiful, but it was also out of our price range. Then the owner transferred the listing to our hard-working Christian realtors and listed it at a lower price. It was still a little beyond us, but we included it among properties we showed to a wonderful Christian couple who drove all the way from Tucson to meet us and help us look at properties, and they encouraged us to pursue it. The negotiated price dropped into our range just in time to make the deal happen. And the house is much nicer than anything we would have dreamed could be our Center!
We are extremely glad for those earlier roadblocks. And for the realtors and new friends who helped us see the opening door. When we get up in the morning and watch the sunrise through those big windows, or look out in the afternoon and see an eagle swoop past, we still find it hard to believe that God would have chosen to start our ministry in such a place, but it is hard to escape the conclusion that this is exactly what he has done.
God provides many encouragements to those who are seeking to do his will. A mentor had told us that, when God calls us to new ministries, it ought to be possible to leave well from former ministries. John has been especially encouraged from seeing 22 representatives of his former Warren Hills Christian Church congregation attending a church revitalization conference in November. Hearing their excitement and positive energy was great medicine for John’s soul. A work crew is coming in January from the New Palestine Christian Church congregation Judy served as interim minister; they plan to begin the process of turning our two-car garage into two bedrooms for our Center guests.
Several congregations and other Christian ministries with related missions have been very supportive at key points. First Christian Church of Sherwood, AR, that Judy served from 1984 through 1992, has been especially generous. Also, by a miracle as stunning as the one that got us here, God sent clergy couple Victor and Lili Michel to take over ownership of a Christian lodging facility about two miles from our property, and we anticipate good things from the connection. People we have known in the past and people we have just met are teaming up with us to accomplish the tasks at hand. God is sending all kinds of people to us who are looking for help in developing their personal ministries. For one example, a well-known artist heard what we were doing and immediately saw it as an answer to her unspoken prayer for a mentor to help her develop a solid understanding of Jesus. So much is still unknown, but God continually connects us with Christians who provide something we need just when we need it.
Christians don’t “arrive” in this life; they just keep growing. Even with all the help we have received, we will be walking on water for a long time. We know that many of you will be praying for us, tangibly supporting us with your gifts, fishing us out when we get our eyes off Jesus and onto the storm, and getting out of the boat yourselves and walking alongside us. There is a reason that this is called Christview Ministries: when he is our focus, the impossible becomes reality. We are experiencing the blessing promised to God’s people in Ephesians 3:20-21: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
With overwhelming gratitude,
John and Judy
Viewfinder by Judy Turner
Communicating with God Throughout the Day
Practicing Awareness of God’s Presence
At the beginning of each day pray, “God, help me be aware of your presence today. Help me be alert to how you are at work in me, in those around me, and in the world.”
Turn your attention to God in moments throughout the day to say, “Thank you”, “Help me,” “Help him/her/them”, “Forgive me,” etc. You’ll increasingly find yourself in an ongoing conversation with God throughout the day.
Savor a few moments of “just being” with God at some point during the day.
Becoming Involved with God’s Work
At the beginning of the day, add to the prayer for awareness of God’s presence the desire to have a part in what God is doing around you: “God, give me the opportunity to make your love real for someone today.” Then make yourself available to be used however and wherever God wants to use you.
Throughout the day, be ready for “divine appointments” God may set up for you. “Divine appointments” are opportunities to engage with others and make God’s love visible and tangible for them. You may have the opportunity to provide practical help for a friend or stranger; you may have the opportunity to listen to someone in distress and offer prayer; you may have the opportunity to talk with someone about coming closer to Christ. There is no end to the opportunities that God opens to those who are seeking to be part of God’s work. Daily life becomes a spiritual adventure!
Reviewing the Day
At the end of the day, take 5-10 minutes to review the day with God. Replay the day in your mind, trying to see it from God’s perspective. If you like to visualize, imagine Jesus with you as you go back through the day. Ask, “When was I most aware of you?” “When was I most clearly working with you?” “When was I unaware of you?” “When did I go my own way, apart from you?” “What opportunities did I miss?”
Ask for forgiveness and God’s help to be more fully with him tomorrow. Express praise for God’s goodness and faithfulness. Express thanks for the gifts and blessings of the day. Entrust all to God’s loving care.
The practice of Reviewing the Day helps in growing awareness of how God is present and at work in your life and in your world. As you continue with the practice, you will grow in gratitude and miss fewer opportunities.
Beholdings by John Turner
Our Biblical Calling
“And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation….”
Priests are people whose mission is to represent God to the world and to represent the world before God; they are to offer sacrifices bringing the world and God together; they are go-betweens. From Genesis 1 through Deuteronomy 34, we can understand everything in relation to Israel’s calling to be set apart to serve as God’s royal children and go-betweens. The whole people of God are called to this priestly role. As they carry out their role, they are to show their likeness to the Sovereign of the universe, they are to be children and heirs in the royal family.
Armed with this exciting discovery, I have gone on to trace the theme in the rest of the Bible. The theme extends through the remainder of the Old Testament (the Prophets and the Writings) and the entirety of the New Testament (the Gospels, the Acts, the Letters, and the Revelation).
In the New Testament, Jesus is baptized (Mark 1:9-11) as Royal Son (fulfilling Psalm 2:7) and Suffering Servant (fulfilling Isaiah 42:1), thereby fulfilling Israel’s calling to be a royal priesthood. As Royal Son, he demonstrates the kingdom’s victorious power over sin, illness, and Satan. As Suffering Servant, he offers the ultimate sacrifice to redeem humanity from bondage to sin.
After Jesus’ death, resurrection, and exaltation, he sends the Holy Spirit upon his followers so that they might be formed in his perfectly holy image (2 Corinthians 3:18, our Christview ministries theme text) and might be empowered to “do the works that I do; and greater works than these…” (John 14:12).
The apostles are unified in seeing this calling to Royal Priesthood as integral to our mission:
Paul says: “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ (Royalty), provided we suffer with him (Suffering Servanthood, Sacrificial Priesthood) in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Romans 8:16-17).
Peter says: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
John quotes the heavenly chorus as they praise the Lion/Lamb (Royal Son/Suffering Servant): “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth” (Revelation 5:9b-10).
As our faith in Jesus opens us to the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we are to be formed in the likeness of Christ, showing our membership in the royal family of God. We are then to take on the role of representing God to the world and the world before God, as, in words and deeds, we proclaim the good news of God’s self-giving and redeeming love.
People can get off the track in either of two ways:
- Some people believe that spiritual power will give them health and prosperity. If you want something, just “name it and claim it.”
- Other people believe that following Jesus involves giving up all personal pleasures and material comforts in order to make this world a more just and equitable place.
But Christian faith will have none of either of these extremes. There is a combination of power and weakness in the Christian life that comes together to tell the whole story.
On one hand, we rule over evil and show forth the kingdom in mighty signs and wonders, reclaiming people who were once in bondage to Satan. We enjoy the goodness of the Creator, and we celebrate the greatness of his sovereign power.
On the other hand, we are in the world as vulnerable servants, subject to all the frailties of humanity, and ministering in humble solidarity with those who suffer.
The point is that the sacrifice is not grim and is not without victory and celebration. Christians live lives of risk and adventure, of sorrow and joy, and of pointing toward a perfect future. If the cross and the resurrection, the self-giving servanthood and the royal inheritance, have not yet come together, it is not yet a Christian calling.
We Christians are vulnerable servant-priests, and we are victorious royalty. It is not one or the other, but both-and. We are being conformed to the Lamb-Lion. Our lives, straddling this apparent divide between weakness and power, between defeat and victory, are the message. Our words only help others understand what we are doing and why our lives of faith are good news. Christian life, the calling to be a royal priesthood, is the path by which this world sees new possibilities and is redeemed for a perfect new creation. Amen and alleluia!
Christview Ministries “On the Road”
One of the ways Christview Ministries fulfills our mission of “forming spiritual leaders for the body of Christ” is by offering events at churches and other locations. John and Judy Turner are available to lead spiritual renewal events with fresh approaches to scripture study and prayer.
One of these weekends focuses on helping Christians explore and experience “Rest and Renewal with God.” The First Christian Church of Sherwood, Arkansas, hosted this event. Pastor Will Feland said, “The weekend really was a spiritual journey. We are closer as a church and more connected with God as a result. I have also seen that several people who participated in the weekend are now more intentional about spiritual growth.”
John and Judy also provided leadership for workshops at a Church Revitalization Seminar in Ohio, and Judy was one of the speakers for a Women’s Retreat in Indiana. In the months ahead, John and Judy will facilitate leadership training events in Northwest Arkansas, in Monroe, Louisiana, and in Winfield, Kansas.
Our Website Is Up
Check the Website regularly for updates on Christview Ministries and announcements of coming events. In time, there will be Bible studies, prayer helps, spiritual growth resources, sermons, and articles on Christian leadership offered on the Website. There will also be pictures of the Center and its activities. Many thanks to Stephen Smith, who generously offered his time and skill in designing the Website and in teaching us how to add content to it. Stephen also gave Judy her first lesson in Quickbooks software. Stephen serves on the Christview Ministries Board of Directors.
About Our Name and Logo
A great deal of thought and prayer went into selecting a name for this ministry whose purpose is to form spiritual leaders for the body of Christ. A key Bible verse informing the vision for Christview and toward selection of that name for the ministry is 2 Corinthians 3:18:
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
Rachel Mink, who helped in the search for a name, offered her artistic talent in designing the logo. The lines give the impression of an eye, with the cross in the center. “Our primary focus must be Christ, and we must view everything from the perspective of our faith in him,” says Rachel. Rachel also designed the printed version of this newsletter and rescued us from utter confusion in learning MS Publisher software. Rachel serves on the Christview Ministries Board of Directors.
Starting a new ministry is an exciting process, but it is also a complex process.
We had a steep learning curve about becoming a non-profit corporation. Many thanks to Donna Thomas of Christian Vision Ministries, Dick Haynes of Paraclete Retreat Center, Bill Grant of Kids Across America, Vivian Potee of First Christian Church, Rogers, AR, and Will Feland of First Christian Church, Sherwood, AR, for their help and advice. We have incorporated in Arkansas and received our federal identification number. Thanks to Sally Ann Dexter of Covenant Biblical Gardens for serving as our Arkansas agent until we could get a permanent Arkansas address. We have written our bylaws and elected our first six directors of our Board of Directors. The directors will begin making decisions in January. We will also be forming our Board of Advisors in the near future.
We were ready to submit our 501(c)3 application when we discovered that the IRS had substantially changed the form. There was nothing to do but work through it again. Actually, the changes helpfully clarified our understanding of how to avoid conflict-of-interest problems. We have taken steps to avoid those before they could emerge. We will submit the new application as soon as our advisors okay it (Update: We mailed the application December 23, 2004).
When we receive our 501(c)3 approval, our tax-exempt status will be retroactive to August 5, 2004. All contributors who have given money to Christview Ministries in 2004 will receive giving statements early in 2005 and may list their gifts as tax-deductible on their tax forms. We will do whatever is necessary to keep faith with our supporters by attaining the tax-exempt status.
Getting in the Picture
Coming to the Center
Who Can Come
- Christians of all denominational and non-denominational backgrounds seeking to become more effective in serving Christ.
- Individuals seeking understanding of Christian faith.
What Guests Can Do
- Sit in the great room, in the loft, or on the deck and look out over the hills as you pray.
- Make use of the extensive library (for Bible study, spiritual formation, skills development).
- Participate in times of prayer and worship that are part of daily life at the Center.
- Enjoy conversation about spiritual matters during a meal.
What Students Can Do (Everything Guests Can Do, Plus)
- Receive John and Judy’s help in designing an individualized program of Bible Study, Spiritual Formation, and Practical Skills Training that fits your available time and lets you take the next step in following Christ.
- Benefit from regular mentoring appointments with Judy and John during your term of study.
Guests and students will be asked to donate money and time as they are able, so that Christview Ministries can grow and be offered to more people.
Comments from recent guests
- “The beauty and peace of this place help me slow down and focus on God.”
- “Wow, what a view!”
- “Look at all those books!”
- “I was praying for an opportunity for individual mentoring. I did not think that it was available.”
- “I’ve been trying to discover what God wants me to do with my life. I think I can find help here.”
How You Can Be Part of Christview Ministries
- Pray for the development of spiritual leaders and for this ministry
- Subscribe to our news updates (several newsletters a year and monthly e-mail updates)
- Help support the ministry financially
- Consider becoming a member of Christview Ministries (e-mail John or Judy to find out more)
- Talk with John and Judy Turner about how Christview Ministries can enhance your Christian life and service
Skilled Volunteers Sought for Work Project,
January 17-21, 2005
Mike Sams and Steve Glass of New Palestine Christian Church, IN, are organizing a work crew to begin converting our two-car garage into two bedrooms to serve Center guests. They will welcome other skilled volunteers for this project. Call us at the Center to volunteer : 479-253-5865 or toll free 888-889-7213.