“They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts…” (Acts 2:46b, TNIV)
As I walked to the platform to participate on a panel at Princeton recently, a woman walked up to me and asked, politely, if I worked for CBE. When I said “yes” she lowered her clipboard, looked directly into my eyes with tears in hers and said, “Can I give you a hug?” She went on to tell me that CBE’s ministry had given her great encouragement and she wanted to thank me. This is a rather common experience for those of us who work with CBE. Yet, every time it happens, I am reminded of the faithfulness of God who works quietly, mysteriously, and powerfully among Christians to provide help to those who are alone.
To know that you are not alone in your struggle, that others also see the same truth in Scripture, is one of the greatest gifts of Christian community! Thankfully we live in a time when the web provides such help. One CBE member told us that when she found our website, she placed her hands on the computer screen and wept. A CBE board member told me that the evening she found CBE’s website, she read until 2 a.m. Of course, I’ll never forget my experience working in Thailand with the Lausanne Conference for World Evangelization, as several missionaries who worked in isolated areas spoke of their experience reading CBE’s website. They spoke of how helpful our resources were to them as they worked without many books or Christian community.
One of the greatest joys of working here is watching God use CBE to extend Christian community to isolated people around the world. While many find rescue and help through our website, articles, and publications, it is when we have an opportunity to meet others face to face that we most profoundly receive the deep nourishment of CBE community. While the web is powerful, and books and articles are encouraging, there is little that can replace face to face encounters in strengthening the body of Christ. This is one reason CBE holds conferences in different locations around the world each year. We want to give as many people, in many different areas, an opportunity to experience egalitarian community.
At CBE’s conference last year, you could literally feel the power of Christian community, as groups gathered for prayer, discussion, meals, and lectures. One woman told us as she was dragging her suitcase to her car on the last day, “This conference has changed my life!”
Friends, we’re about to hold another conference in Toronto, July 18-20. Many people are searching for affordable travel options; many are making last minute decisions about whether they can attend, all while the CBE staff pray and prepare a place for God’s people to study, worship, and fellowship with one another. We pray you will join us in Toronto. But, if you can’t, will you please join us in prayer? We need your prayers more than ever.
Please pray for God’s Spirit to bring those who need the lectures and fellowship most. Ask God to work mightily in the worship, workshops, and discussions. Pray the enemy will not frustrate attendees, our staff, or disrupt the conference in any way. Pray for last minute registrations, and for generous donations for scholarship funds. People continue to write to us asking for financial help to attend. We screen these carefully, but the need is great. If you can make a contribution towards our conference, here is a link to help. If you would like us to pray for you, please do send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We pray each day as a staff, and would delight in remembering your needs as well. Thank you for your fellowship, and thanks for your prayers as we head to Toronto.