New Year’s Letter 2017
“Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said: ‘Who am I, O Lord God, that you have brought me this far?’” – 1 Chronicles 17:16.
I have chosen this Scripture for my 2017 New Year’s Letter for two reasons. First, it is exactly the way I feel as I grow older. I was gripped by this verse just before Thanksgiving Day when my Bible Reading (Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s) included this passage. You have no idea how unworthy I feel and how amazed I am that God has brought us “this far”. I can never forget that I come from the hills of Kentucky when our state was second from the bottom in educational standards. Hence our saying in those days, “Thank God for Arkansas”. Not only that; for the first ten years of our marriage – though always in ministry – I worked as a salesman, mostly selling vacuum cleaners door to door.
My closest friends on both sides of the Atlantic are cautioning me to “slow down”. I am asking: is this warning from the Lord? I don’t know. I am almost overwhelmed that at my age (81) we get more invitations from all over the world than I can fill. Please pray for my wisdom in this connection. I find it so hard to say No.
Who am I that the Lord has brought us this far?
Our third grandson arrived a few weeks ago – continuing the TR pattern. We have Tobias Robert (Toby), Timothy Robert and now Tyndale Robert (whom we call Ty). They live about forty minutes from us. TR travels with me a lot these days, although Louise will be joining me in London from February to July.
Pastor Colin Dye of London’s Kensington Temple has kindly invited us back to be on his staff for the fourth year in a row. We dearly love Colin and Amanda and all the members of KT. I plan to preach on the Life of Elisha. My final Sunday night preaching series at Westminster Chapel was on Elijah (now a book – These are the Days of Elijah). I will also be teaching at the International Bible Institute of London (IBIOL) as well as teaching selected themes from our School of Theology series on Friday nights beginning April 21st).
Melissa works for a hospital in Nashville, doing what she was trained to do (with her Master’s degree in psychology). Rex continues to be blessed in his real estate business. They live some thirty minutes from us.
This year we have finally brought R T Kendall Ministries Inc. officially from Florida to Tennessee. We thank God for our Board Members there who served Louise, T.R. and me faithfully for some fourteen years – Richard Oates, Randy Wall and Charles Carrin. We welcome new Tennessee Board Members: Roger Perry (accountant), Joshua Hankins (attorney) and Ricky Skaggs (country singer recording artist).
When asked how people can pray for us, my reply is: for our continued good health, stamina and all the anointing we can be trusted with!
Perhaps the most surprising development of 2017 is that TBN UK have invited me to speak on a regular basis – on any subject I choose. It is a 30 minute program which they call “Word and Spirit”. It reaches all over the UK, Africa and Europe four times every week!
The second reason I chose the aforementioned Scripture pertains to the verses following 1 Chronicles 17:16. It was when David graciously came to terms with the disappointment that he could not build the temple. David accepted this and thanked God for how good God had already been to him. So I ask: will I have to accept that not all I have hoped for will come to pass in my lifetime? David accepted his disappointment with dignity; if I must – by not seeing all I have hoped for, will I be so gracious? I certainly hope so. So many unfulfilled wishes – and prophetic words from good people – remain unfulfilled. Time will tell.
God bless you all. Thank you for your prayers. Louise, T R, Annette, Toby, Timothy, Ty, Rex and Melissa join me in sending our sincere love.
R T – Psalm 84:11
PS – John Newton (1725-1807) wrote a hymn nearly every week when he was vicar of Olney that came from the verse he would preach on. One week he decided to preach on 1 Chronicles 17:16. Being gripped by the words “this far” (“hitherto” – KJV), he wrote “Amazing Grace”. Verse three of his most famous hymn includes these words:
“Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; Tis grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home”.