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No Turning Back

By Dr. Patrick Kavanaugh

Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:62

Sometimes it’s good to ask yourself a tough question: “What would it take to make you give up?” That is, how much adversity would it take to make you give up on the dreams and calling God has put in your heart?  Of course, it doesn’t take much to keep going when circumstances are wonderful. But in those difficult circumstances, we are hit with disappointment, and our faith and resolve are truly tested.

I remember in 2007 when my dear friends, Roslyn and John Langlois, told me that they would soon be leaving our ministry and moving back to Australia. I was simply devastated. They had been with the Christian Performing Artists’ Fellowship for ten solid years and had participated in every single MasterWorks Festival from the very beginning! How could we continue without them? Indeed, many people discouraged me (similar to Job’s friends in the Bible) by predicting the imminent downfall of MasterWorks.

It was a hard time, yet we kept going. That was years ago, and I still miss seeing the Langlois in our office every day. But the Lord has clearly demonstrated that His work is far larger than our immediate situations. In the years that followed the Langlois’ departure, MasterWorks continued to grow and flourish. God was showing us that our ministry was not about any individuals – it was all about Him!

In hindsight, it is clear that God uses such trials to test and strengthen our faith in Him and His call. Just a few months ago in November, my friends Jim and Mary Jeane Kraft left our office staff. After years of working together, they are sorely missed. To make it ever harder, Amanda Zambrano
who is like a daughter to the Kavanaughstook an excellent job at nearby Grace Village. (In my prayer time through all of this, I’m afraid that I made it very clear to God that I do not like change!)

Yet not a day has gone by without the comfort and assurance of the Lord’s blessing on the ministry (and staff) of MasterWorks. So many people have come forward to help! We are now hiring an amazingly talented couple, Jonathan and Claire Keener, to work full-time in our office next year. (They are currently in the intern program.) The rest of our co-workers—Arturo Osorio, Janelle Berry, Crystal Horner, Josh Knox, Amy Easley, and Tiffany Rott—continue to do a great job and keep the ministry faithfully advancing.

Furthermore, this summer’s MasterWorks Festival promises to be the best yet! It is filled with fantastic concerts, world-class guest artists, and over a hundred of the finest faculty members on the planet. Student applications are pouring in! And, the Chinese government has again agreed to allow us to present another MasterWorks Festival in China in August, this time in the historical city of Xi’an. God continues to open more amazing doors for our ministry.

Praise God! He is bigger than any of my problems and complaints. His work goes forward relentlessly, if we’ll continue to trust Him and believe His Word as we faithfully obey Him.

Some of you know I have a great love for old spirituals, which were first sung by a people who kept their faith strong even under the worst of situations.  The chorus to one of my favorites goes like this:
I have decided to follow Jesus.
I have decided to follow Jesus.
I have decided to follow Jesus.
No turning back, no turning back.

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Well said. Praying for greater things to come!in Christ alone,Rich
Posted by Rich Swingle on March 13, 2013 @ 8:28 pm

I've been praying for you guys in the office. Love and miss you all. Even now at my new job, I have to stop myself from answering the phone with "Thank you for calling CPAF and MasterWorks..." :-)
Posted by Erin Richard on March 12, 2013 @ 1:11 pm

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