FROM the PRESIDENT
Several years ago, I came across an old account of something that still carries a profound lesson for us as we continue training servant-leaders for life and ministry.
It took place early one morning in 1952. Fog was hanging thick in the air, while a young swimmer by the name of Florence Chadwick waded into the cold water off Catalina Island. Florence intended to become the first woman to swim from Catalina Island to the California coast. Long distance swimming wasn’t new to her; she had already become the first woman to swim the English Channel—in both directions.
The water that morning was numbing cold as she began swimming. Her coach, along with a few others on her team boat, motored next to her encouraging and directing her. Her major difficulty was an inability to see through the fog that hung so thick around her, limiting her visibility to no more than two feet.
Several times she had to be redirected when she began swimming off course, disoriented by her limited visual perspective. Additionally—and certainly distracting—were sharks that needed to be kept away by occasional rifle fire.
After swimming for 15 hours, Florence gave up and asked to be taken out of the water. Later, as she was interviewed by press agents from around the world, she said, “It wasn’t the cold water, the fear of sharks, or that I was too exhausted to continue. The problem was that I couldn’t see my goal—it was clouded by the fog around me.” She had given up just 30 minutes from reaching the California coast.
Today, Christians are looking to escape the difficult waters of our corrupting culture. Pastors are stepping down from ministry and churches are closing—at the rate of 7-10 per day. Frankly, the church at large is losing sight of the goal. Thick disorienting fog has shrouded a clear biblical perspective on running the race, keeping the faith, and advancing the gospel.
Let’s refresh our biblical perspective and remember that we’ve been assigned to the embassy of a foreign country. We’ve never belonged here – we belong to Heaven. And as ambassadors of our Heavenly King, we will never embrace—nor be embraced—by our culture.
So let’s recommit to imitating the early church who became known for their “work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in the Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Thessalonians 1:3) Let’s adopt their perspective as they lived and worked in a culture filled with immoral people, pagan temples and earth-bound lifestyles.
Let’s remember that Jesus never called us to escape our culture, but to engage it. And we’ll never effectively engage our world with angry hearts or disappointed perspectives; like the early Thessalonians, let’s face our future with joyful hearts and lives marked by the bold and glorious gospel of Christ.
Yes, the water might be cold, and sharks might be circling, but our commission must not become clouded or disoriented. Let’s keep swimming for the sake of the gospel . . . we might be closer to the coast of Heaven than we know.
For such a time as this,
Stephen Maroon Signature
Stephen Davey
President

ABOUT STEPHEN DAVEY

Stephen Davey, the son of missionary parents, was raised to love Christ and the gospel. In his last year of high school, Stephen committed his life to serve Christ vocationally wherever God chose to assign him in ministry.

 

Following graduation from Dallas Seminary in 1986, Stephen and his wife Marsha moved with their infant twin sons to Cary, North Carolina, to plant The Shepherd’s Church. Committed to the exposition of scripture, The Shepherd’s Church was soon self-supporting. In September of 2021, Stephen reached 35 years as the pastor/teacher of this wonderful ministry and church family (shepherds.org).

 

In addition to his pastorate, Stephen serves as the president of Shepherds Theological Seminary. Shepherds has earned full membership status with ATS and enjoys a growing student body, taught by an outstanding faculty. Shepherds currently meets on the beautiful campus of The Shepherd’s Church where Stephen enjoys interacting with the students, as well as teaching regularly in the pastoral theology department.

 

Stephen also serves as the principal Bible teacher for the Wisdom International radio and resource ministry heard globally in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Swahili, Mandarin and Arabic. Wisdom’s website offers all of his sermon transcripts and audio teaching, free of charge (wisdomonline.org).

 

More than 40 books, study guides, commentaries, and booklets have been authored by Stephen, published by Ambassador/Emerald House, Kress Biblical Resources, Charity House, and LOGOS. Stephen is scheduled to release a commentary on James in the New Testament Exposition Commentary series, published by Regular Baptist Press.