Most Encouraging Email

by Cliff Ravenscraft on May 4, 2005

in Blog

I must admit that yesterday, I seemed to walk about three inches taller! Yesterday was just an ubelievalbly cool day. And it couldn't have started off any better than it did!
When I got to work I had an email with the most encouraging words that I've ever heard from anyone other than my wife since I've been involved in ministry.
Let me first back up for just a moment and share with you something that Robert Johnson, my prayer partner, wrote in an email to me just this past Thrusday, on April 28th. Robert wrote… “Your devotional post was great. Your skills at writing Clifford have greatly improved over the years. You should think about writing more seriously… Maybe a book!”
Here's the deal! I've been toying the thought of writing a book for quite some time, for at least two or three years now. I've not shared this thought with too many people though. When Rob wrote what he did, it was encouraging and I responded by saying that I probably will write a book one day.
However, I thought to myself… If I wrote a book, what would I write about? The answer to this question would be COMPLETELY OBVIOUS to anyone who even remotely knows me. It would have to be a book about Cell Groups! Then I immediately thought of Joel Comiskey! I've always considered Joel to be an “authority” on cell groups and the cell church movement due to his experience and based upon what he has written in his many articles and in his many books. Then I thought to myself… sure, I'm passionate about cells, but the cell world has Joel Comiskey, and others like him, out there writing books about cell groups and I'm just a novice when it comes to writing.
Now remember this email from Robert and all these thoughts occurred this past Thursday. This is the way that I see it. For the past two or three years, I've been considering whether or not I should write a book about cell groups and the cell church. Then I get this word of encouragement from my prayer partner. I begin to entertain more seriously the idea of actually “doing it” until I talk myself out of doing it any time soon due to the fact that I'm just a novice compared to a “Joel Comiskey.” Then God spoke to my heart in a way that could not have been more clear yesterday morning…
That brings me back to my statement before…. “When I got to work I had an email with the most encouraging words that I've ever heard from anyone other than my wife since I've been involved in ministry.” Who was this email from? None other than Joel Comiskey!
Now Joel and I have known each other for quite some time now as we are members of an email discussion group for cell church pastors. This past week, he and I have been talking about my blog, how I do it, what software do I use, etc. He's considering adding a blog to his ministry website. Now over the past few years, Joel has heard me share my testimony about my experience in cell groups through tons of emails in our cell pastor email discussion list. However, the night before last, I shared with him some parts of my testimony that he had not heard from me before.
Now those of you who know me, you are thinking… “Come on Cliff, you write a ‘book' every time you send me an email!” Well I shared with him about God's calling on my life in regard to the Cell Group and Cell Church ministry and about a “prohetic word” that was given to me years ago that I'm still not sure that I quite believe fully. I wont go into all the details of the story at this time, but I shared with Joel in that email that I was told that “God wanted me to know that I would be used one day in ministry to minister to TENS OF THOUSANDS of people.” I wrote a great deal more in my email to Joel about my personal story and I ended by sharing with him that since 1996, I've ministered to over 1,000 individuals through cell groups. The meat of my email ended with this thought…. ” I'm still not so sure about “prophetic” messages from people who say “God told me to come and tell you….” But if he was right… I suppose God has some big plans for the next ten years of my life.”
Okay… So I come to the email that I received yesterday morning! It is Joel's response to what I just told you about… Here's how he started his email…

Hey, Cliff, powerful, powerful, powerful!! Jesus has blessed you and used you and is using you!! And you know how to write, brother. I think books and articles are in that calling as well. And, oh yea, blogging. Hey, thanks for the BLOGGING TIPS!! Amazing, this is exactly what I needed to hear….

Now his email went on from there. However, it is what he said here that just spoke Volumes of Encouragement to my heart! So in response, this morning, I sent Joel this reply…

Joel,
You have no idea what an impact your words had on me yesterday when I read… “And you know how to write, brother. I think books and articles are in that calling as well.” Just last week, I got a comment from my prayer partner, Robert Johnson, who lives down in Florida. He wrote something similar to me. He said… “Your devotional post was great. Your skills at writing Clifford have greatly improved over the years. You should think about writing more seriously… Maybe a book!
Here's the deal! I've been toying the thought of writing a book for quite some time, perhaps about two or three years now. I've not shared this thought with too many people. When Rob wrote what he did, it was encouraging and I responded by saying that I probably will write a book one day. However, I thought to myself… If I wrote a book, what would I write about? The answer to this question would be COMPLETELY OBVIOUS to anyone who even remotely knows me. It would have to be a book about Cell Groups! Then I immediately thought of you, Joel! I've considered you to be an “authority” on cell groups and the cell church movement due to your experience and based upon what you have written in articles and in your books. Then I thought to myself… sure, I'm passionate about cells, but the cell world has Joel out there writing books and I'm just a novice when it comes to writing… Now remember this email from Robert and all these thoughts occurred a week before you just sent me this message yesterday.
Then, I check my email yesterday and I get a compliment from none other than Joel Comiskey saying that I'm a great writer and that he recognizes that the authoring of books and articles may be in my calling… Let me tell you something Joel, those were probably the single most encouraging words that I've heard, other than from my wife, since I officially started in ministry back in 1996.
Thank you brother! Thank You! Thank You! Of course I spent the rest of the day yesterday grinning from ear to ear with my head blown up as big as an oversized watermelon! But let me tell you, your words couldn't have come at a better time!

Wow! What has changed for me over the last 24 hours is that I no longer think that I might write a book one day. Instead, the question that I'm toying with is when should I start? And bofore, I asked myself… “What would I write about?”, as if I didn't know. However, I now think I may even have a first draft for the title of my book! What do you think about “My Idea of The Perfect Cell Church?”
Okay, I'm going to try to get my feet back on the ground… I have a lot of work to do today! Even the apostle Paul had to put his pen down and build a few tents from time to time.
(By The Way, I'd love your feedback… If you have a few moments, please leave a comment)

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