EP 189 – TRAVAILS AND TROUBLES IN REPLANTING
In this EP the guys talk about their travels and a bit of their troubles on the road and then pivot to discuss an important principle related to the work of Replanting-Jesus is always with you and he will deliver you from every trial and trouble.
Here are a few highlights:
- Troubles and challenges come in surprising ways-you want to change the bulletin and almost get fired.
- Every ministry setting has its own set of challenges
- Struggle and and trial are part of ministry – don’t be surprised
- If God can save you from your sins (and he can and does) he will deliver you from everything else
We find encouragement and hope in Paul’s words:
He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 2 Corinthians 1:10
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JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are. Back at it again. Bob. I hope you’re ready for another episode of the Replant Bootcamp podcast here in Dallas. after quite an adventure to get here,
Bob Bickford: Jimbo, we have, had a few plane trips, a few hotel stays, a couple of shuttle rides. And, you know, some good meals recently, here
JimBo Stewart: Dallas. I mean, maybe other than the meals, I don’t know that anything has gone the way it was
Bob Bickford: supposed
JimBo Stewart: I mean, like down to like the smallest little piece, like nothing has gone the way it was actually supposed to go.
Bob Bickford: Right. So where, I can’t even remember, where did this all start for us? Where did we, so I think I started my road trip back in, um, Springfield, Illinois. I was at the SB Cal, the Southern Baptist Conference of Associational leaders, and then I made my way to New Orleans.
JimBo Stewart: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
Bob Bickford: Yeah.
And then we made our way to Texas.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. So I was from Jacksonville, Florida with the whole
family. Yeah. [00:01:00] Drove to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, my old stomping grounds and went to Meridian little north of there.
spoken to Association, Lauderdale Baptist Association, John Maxey. Shout
out to what he’s got going there. Great stuff going on. If you want to be a replant resident. And get seminary credit Yeah. For a semester and do real work. In Meridian, Mississippi. Hit us up. We’ll point you to John Maxey. from there I got to go back to Hattiesburg to my alma mater.
The college that I went to, William Carey. It was William Carey College when I attended. And, they’ve grown up and it’s now William Carey University. Okay.
and so I got to guest lecture in a handful of classes, there and see some professors. Some professors were my professors when I was. A student there, some of the professors now, Bob, I was like their college pastor when I was in Hattiesburg,
Yeah. Uh, so that was fun, just connecting with, all that. So then as a family, we made it to [00:02:00]Picayune, dropped our kids off in une. Then we get to New Orleans, we do the event, the event goes Amazing. Am I a re planter? I mean, it was a really, really great event. And then we were like, all right, well we’ll grab lunch at the airport and.
Head out to, To get to Dallas.
Bob Bickford: I think there was foreshadowing Jimbo when I arrived in New Orleans because I was supposed to meet you. At one of our favorite joints. New Orleans Food and
JimBo Stewart: Spirits. Yeah. And
and yeah. It started going bad there,
Bob Bickford: there. it?
I’m to blame. I’m I, it’s my fault. It’s all my fault. Yeah. So I showed up at the Hertz Rental
JimBo Stewart: Christmas is ruined ruin.
Bob Bickford: Rent Jimbo.
So I, I’ve rented enough Hertz cars, over the past year that I am now in the President’s circle. Right. So there’s gold. Then there’s Five Star,
JimBo Stewart: which is what I am,
Bob Bickford: And then there’s President’s Circle.
JimBo Stewart: You’ve always been
better than me,
Bob Bickford: right. And I think there’s probably one more above that, but I
JimBo Stewart: know
what it’s, is there
Bob Bickford: really?
I think so.
I don’t know what it is, but anyway, so I’m supposed to be able to bypass the line, so I, it’s late. We get in late, you know, we, we [00:03:00] rush over there and Jimbo, it took me an hour and a half to get my bags and to finally get to a car. And Jimbo, do you know how long it took us to fly to New Orleans?
Barely. Barely an
JimBo Stewart: hour.
Yeah, like an hour.
It was a longer process to get your rental
Than to actually get into the air. fly, which that science still doesn’t
And somehow get there. Look man, this is, this is how it goes sometimes,
This is, this is how life goes.
And I think part of this is maybe the Lord, reminding us of the difficulties of replanting, cuz we are in different seats now.
And we’re not in the full day-to-day grind. that will grind you to a halt of replanting work in all the crazy things that go wrong when you’re replanting a church.
So it’s like the Lord’s like, Hey, just, hey, don’t forget chaos is inevitable.
Bob Bickford: He just gave us a little dose, right? So, All right. So anyway, [00:04:00] we, we show up and because there’s storms in the Midwest, we’re all delayed. Like Barb is flying back to St. Louis, she’s delayed. You and I are delayed. But even before then, Jimbo, I think our flight got canceled cuz we were supposed to go from New Orleans to Atlanta it got canceled.
And then they were gonna route us through Detroit Rock City. And I don’t think you were very happy about the reroute.
JimBo Stewart: No, I’m, see, I’m sitting here thinking, all right, look, if we’re gonna probably miss our flight in Detroit and then sleep in Detroit, I would rather sleep in New Orleans. it’s my favorite city in the world. So if we slept in New Orleans, I could get dad dogs or something like that.
Or more charg, charcoaled oysters, or something like, you know, we would’ve had a good time. I could see some old friends. Yeah. But no, no, we had to fly to get from New Orleans to Dallas. We had to fly from New Orleans to Detroit.
And, and then, so there’s this tight, tight connection.
Bob Bickford: Yeah.
JimBo Stewart: But it takes like 40 minutes of boarding, typically 30 to 40 minutes.
Right. And then, and before the, before the plane [00:05:00] takes off. And so we land and I run faster than I have run
years. I mean, I’m hoofing it and they, they tell you to get to this point and you can take a train and I’m hoofing it and I’m, I’m out the train and then it says it’s gonna be like four minutes till the train gets there.
I was like, I can’t, I can’t wait four minutes spare. We
don’t have four minutes to spare. So we hoof it and I get there in time to get on the plane, but there’s no gate agent. And then when he finally comes out the door that like, I, I’m like, as as large a man as I am.
There’s no, I’m sure I looked like I just ran across an airport.
I’m I’m heaving. I’m almost dry heaving. And the guy comes out and I go, Hey, can, can I get on the plane? And he goes, no, not. I’m so sorry. Not just, no.
Bob Bickford: Well, we told them, we told our agents that we were, uh, on the way and so they knew we were detained.
[00:06:00] And they should have waited on us. Yeah. But they didn’t.
JimBo Stewart: This is life, man. This is how it is. And then from there we finally, so, n there all, you know, we are not gonna tell you the whole story, but listen, it ends. I definitely did not think this story’s gonna end with me sleeping in Detroit. And I was not happy about it. And so then we were like, all right, let’s just get in the shuttle. Let’s just get to the hotel and let’s take a nap. Cuz essentially we had time for a nap
So we called for the shuttle
later after three other phone calls, no shuttle. And so some other lady took pity on us and, and, and like maybe lost her job
Bob Bickford: because
JimBo Stewart: she drove us to the, To the hotel, and I finally got sleep in a hotel room that smelled like cigarettes and the air conditioner sounded like it was dying,
Bob Bickford: man. I had a, I think my room was newly constructed, but my air conditioner was no better.
So maybe they don’t need a seas up in Detroit. Rock City. I’m not sure,
JimBo Stewart: man. When you hear this [00:07:00] story, you may be thinking. Why, why am I still listening to this
Bob Bickford: podcast?
JimBo Stewart: Or hopefully, hopefully that’s not what you’re thinking.
Hopefully that that’s not exactly what comes to your
Bob Bickford: mind,
You’re thinking where is the nugget of truth?
JimBo Stewart: But isn’t this what ministry is like sometimes? Yes. I mean, it’s, have you, Bob, you ever had those days or weeks or months in ministry?
Bob Bickford: Years, Jimbo
JimBo Stewart: years
it’s like, Everything. It just seems like everything goes wrong. Yeah.
Bob Bickford: Yeah. Yeah. You throw your hands up and go, well, of course. Now this just makes complete sense.
JimBo Stewart: I mean, it makes sense now that, that, that would happen. Of course, everything would
Bob Bickford: fall
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
course. I would split my pants in the
Bob Bickford: Right?
JimBo Stewart: now.
look, you, you’ve got, you, you have a Bible passage when we should probably get to the Bible pretty quick. at
Bob Bickford: Let’s do it. Just gotta resurrect there. Save this thing or something
JimBo Stewart: you have a passage to to, to encourage [00:08:00] us.
Bob Bickford: I do second Corinthians. So I give a talk at MI Re planter event that talks about counting the cost and replanting. And here’s the reality, Jimbo. I think a lot of us get into ministry and we think I am here.
I’ve answered the Lord’s call. They have voted on me, and a high percentage of folks have have believed that the Lord is calling me. Yeah. To pastor them. So they’re welcoming me to be their pastor. Yeah. It will all go well. Right. That’s what, that’s
And then we change the bulletin and we almost get fired.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
no, I love the way you always word that when I’ve heard you say it before, you’ll say, you know, every brand new pastor thinks he’s gonna change the world, and then he changes the bulletin and he almost gets
Bob Bickford: fired. I know. And that’s literally true for me. But, so I, you know, I was in the midst of a great struggle, uh, as a re planter and, second Corinthians one, was a passage that really.
Really was so helpful to me, and in particular, I won’t go all through it, but verse 10 in chapter one of second Corinthians talks about the [00:09:00] work of the Lord in difficult times. And I, I think just three simple thoughts about this one. Paul says, let me read the whole verse and then let’s go back and, and we’ll pick up the three sections.
So he says this, he delivered us from such a deadly peril and he will deliver us. On him. We have set our hope that he will deliver us again. So three important things there about Paul, writing about his time and Ephesus where he felt like he’d received the sentence of death, where he felt like he couldn’t take one more thing, that it was just, if anything else happened, he was just gonna, it was gonna be over, right?
Yeah. That’s what he was facing. Yeah. So, Paul says this, he delivered us from such a deadly peril. So he’s, he has perspective on what happened. In his life, how God worked in the past. He delivered him from one of the most significant struggles that he’d ever faced. Yeah. Where he thought it was the end.
So when we sit down and have perspective, we can look back to the point of [00:10:00] our salvation Jimbo, and this is, I think we often overlook this, if God can save me from my sins, there’s nothing that he can’t save me from.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
Bob Bickford: Right. So this reminds me of, there’s a, a pastor I, I served with, uh, and he was from Texas, and, uh, he called everybody bud, right?
I mean just for bud. Your bud, your bud. And so he would say this when I would be, you know, I was a young 30 something kind of, associate with him in the church. This is the church that I sang butterfly kisses in on Sunday. So I was his, associate and I did worship and some other things. And I’d be twisted out about something, Jimbo, I’d be concerned about this or that, and he’d go, bud, lemme tell you something.
If Jesus can take care of your salvation, there ain’t nothing he can’t take care of.
He’d just say that, right? Yeah. You know what? That made me feel angry. It’s just like, Man, come on. I wanna be fired up about this and I want to be upset about it and we gotta address this. And most guys in the thirties are like that.
So, so he would just say that and it would [00:11:00] just remind me, Jimbo, that if I will just think about what Jesus has done for me, he’s delivered me from the most significant sentence that’s ever been pronounced on my life. And that was sin and my deadness in sin.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
And it’s so encouraging to think about the fact that when it seems like everything has gone wrong, Jesus has never surprised. Mm-hmm.
Bob Bickford: Mm-hmm.
JimBo Stewart: Right? He’s never, he’s never like we are sitting back, ringing his head, go, ringing his hands, ringing his head, pulling his hair out, going.
What, what do I do? I don’t know what to do right now. Everything seems to be going, he, he’s never has that moment.
Bob Bickford: Mm-hmm.
JimBo Stewart: and he’s interceding for us and he loves us and he cares for us. And he’s already defeated, like you said, the, the greatest obstacle we will ever have is our sin. And so that, I love that concept Because it, it makes, it makes those things that felt so big. it, you see how small
Bob Bickford: they
Puts ’em in proper perspective.
So he, [00:12:00] he delivered us from, a deadly peril. Right.
Then, then Paul moves from the past and he talks about the and he says this, he will deliver Right. So as he’s writing this Jimbo, he’s, he’s still enduring something. We’re not sure.
What it is he doesn’t specifically say in this passage, he talks about his perspective on the past. Here’s what happened to me in the past. I was in a great struggle in Ephesus and I thought I was gonna die. And it was, uh, uh, the shadow of death. You know, it wasn’t the real thing and, you know, all this kind of stuff.
So he’s really struggling and, and all that. But he said, he delivered to me from that. And then whatever he’s going through now, it might not be as significant, but he says he will deliver us. And so there’s this present idea and hope that carries him. In his present struggle, in his present pain. And so one of the things I would just say to the, the bootcamper out there, the re planter, the pastor, the renewal pastor, your struggle right now, the one you are enduring right God will see you through it. [00:13:00]
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
Bob Bickford: He’ll see you through it. Now, deliverance doesn’t always look like how we want it to look. No. Right. but,
JimBo Stewart: and that’s hard. Yeah. It
is hard. And, and I think we need to acknowledge that’s, that’s hard sometimes. Sometimes it doesn’t go the way you want it to go. And it, and it, and it goes in a really painful way.
Bob Bickford: Right. And it, and it’s just some, it’s part of it, right. If, if God operated how we wanted him to operate, he wouldn’t be God and we would be Right. So it’s like God’s gonna do what God’s gonna do and God usually does something different than what we expect.
Right? Yeah. And when he does. When, when our desires line up with Gods and God bless us, it’s, it’s really something great. But I would just say to the person who’s really struggling right now, just be confident this, that the Lord delivered you in the past. He will deliver you from whatever you’re facing.
Yeah. Right now. And then he moves to the future. And I think this is really important for us to, to have this future perspective. It says this on him. We have set our hope that he will deliver us again. Right? So we got past, present, and then Paul points to [00:14:00] the future. Here’s the deal. if you are not currently in a season of struggle or experiencing hardships, just wait.
it’s gonna come around. But let your past, your past, past your, your historic past. Let your recent past. And the Lord’s work in those things and bringing you through those things and delivering you from those, let those two things inform your certain future that you will face something that will be challenging to you in but the Lord will deliver you.
And Paul says, I, we set our hope on him that he will deliver and our hope is not that. after a couple of years into the replant or the renewal effort, that, that everything will be great and we won’t experience problems. Right. If that’s your hope, that’s a false hope That ain’t gonna happen, right?
Because you’re gonna experience struggle. Yes. If, if you’re hoping for next week that it’s going to be better or next year even, that it’s gonna be better, man, that’s, that’s kind of a false hope. That’s, there’s no guarantee. Yeah. But if you set your hope on Christ, what you’re [00:15:00] gonna understand is that whatever you face, he will deliver you.
And I think that most of us hope in a better week, a better year, a better season, a, better choice for our church with this decision, et cetera. And so instead of placing our hope in Jesus, we place our hope in a lot of things that really disappoint
JimBo Stewart: Well, and here’s the, you know, when you, when you put your hope in your circumstances, you, you have to remember, we live in a world where all of creation has been subjected to futility Sure. As it tells us And so part of that is this side of glory you’ll never find perfect of anything. Right. You’ll never find the perfect circumstance. You’ll never have enough money. You’ll never accomplish that next goal and it be enough. You’ll never reach the summit. You’ll never get, this is where, you know, God has put eternity into our hearts. There’s always this like, yeah, but it could be just a little bit better.
be. and and the thing is we don’t even [00:16:00] realize how much better it could be. That, I mean, the best that this world has to offer pales in comparison
you know, sometimes when. People will ask you, you know, you get a seminary degree, family members will be like, oh, what’s heaven? You know, they’ll have all these theological questions You know, what is heaven gonna be like? Exactly. And I’m always like, I don’t know. I like, I have, I really don’t know what it’s gonna be like. Exactly. I just know it’s gonna be way better than here. haha. it’s, I, I don’t know exactly how everything plays out. Uh, I, except for the fact that it’s way better than here because we’re not, Fighting against the sinfulness of our own hearts and the sinfulness of this world all the time anymore.
And we get the unfiltered, just full presence of God. and so that idea of he will deliver us, yes. Part of that sometimes is like the eternal deliverance. I mean, sometimes that’s the only deliverance [00:17:00]that’s gonna be available with cancer sometimes or things like that. and that’s hard, but. We have to keep a kingdom mindset of, Hey, this is temporary and I have a role here while I’m here and I get to honor the Lord, and I get to find my contentment in him because this is not my home.
And he does have a future hope for me, and he’s gonna get me out of what I’m going through right now. I will never find my peace in my But I can always, regardless of my circumstances, find my peace in him. For me, one of my passages was Philippians four. And, and not just that I can do all things to Christ, but the, the context of the, particularly I loved the phrase, I have found the secret to being content in all And it’s whether things are going well or going bad, or you’re sleeping in Detroit,
Bob Bickford: waiting on shuttle
JimBo Stewart: or waiting on a shuttle. our strength is in Christ. And so boot camper,
you’re going through a [00:18:00] really hard season and it’s so hard that our travel woes sound like nothing. the Lord will deliver you. He has delivered you before and he will deliver
Bob Bickford: And I would add simply this, that, your suffering is the course that the Lord is taking you through in order for you to know that truth.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, absolutely.
Bob Bickford: other way. And so don’t despise suffering. Embrace it for what it is as a work of the Lord to sanctify you.
And to redeem you. And that’s what Paul says about suffering in SEC Corinthians one. Why did this happen? Just cuz that’s all. That’s the big question. Why? And Paul says this happened so that we would not depend upon ourselves. Yep. But on him because he raises
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
It’s one of those things I think I’m so grateful that we talk about on this podcast. So we’ve talked about it other times of it is often in the hardest seasons of ministry that the Lord is doing the greatest work on your
Bob Bickford: Mm-hmm.
JimBo Stewart: I know that to be true for me. I [00:19:00] think I knew it theoretically, but I know it experientially and I can, I can tell you those seasons where it’s like the Lord used that as, that refining fire to, to burn out idolatry in my heart where I was, depending on me, where I, I wanted to be the savior.
I wanted to be the one that fixed it. I wanted to be the one that rescued the church, and it was in that suffering when I realized. I can’t do this. I mean, I, I am not smart enough. I am not strong enough. I do not have enough perseverance. I do not have enough ability. I can’t seem to get things right. I keep making people mad.
I keep making wrong decisions. And I, I mean, it was, it’s like I had, I could’ve just let all that go. I mean, I could’ve certainly, I guess theoretically just laid that at the Lord’s feet at any point and then, you know, let him just lead everything. I wasn’t spiritual enough already, and I, I, I needed to go through, I mean, I’ve had to go through a lot of those seasons, I think Bob, [00:20:00] where, where the Lord’s had to really just chisel some stuff outta me, and I legitimately am so grateful for that.
I look back and I have so much joy knowing how much more I feel like I know who Jesus is. Is and how much more peace I have and, and just overall because of my understanding of my role and his role and that, he’s the guy and I’m just here to serve in whatever way God has for me to serve.
And I don’t have to be the savior. I don’t have to be the smartest guy in the room. I don’t have to be the guy who worked harder than everybody else, right? I don’t have, I don’t, I’m not gonna earn any of my worth and value in any of those things. My identity. Truly is more and more I’m realizing it really is.
I’m, I am an adopted, redeemed, loved son of God That. doesn’t deserve it. I love the, the song that Isaac Woodward led at. Am I Replant Our Conference? You know, that was the, I can’t remember the words exactly, but the, something [00:21:00] about our worth and our unworthiness, like these two things that we declare, like we, one is that we have so much worth because we are gods, but also we are unworthy because we are sinful.
But he has overcome because he is overcome that we can hope. No matter what our
Bob Bickford: I just say if you’re bootcamper out there and it’s been hard and uh, you need a place to connect or to chat me and connect with us, drops the line.
Send us a voicemail. We’d love to be able to appoint you to some encouraging people and resources that can help you get through. And just remember that God is going to deliver you from this. This is not
JimBo Stewart: Amen.