Cynicism or Joy?

MNlogoDear Friends of The Malachi Network,

Before I get into the amazing things happening in our network, I want to share something from Henri Nouwen that I read in my devotions this morning:

“For me it is amazing to experience daily the radical difference between cynicism and joy. Cynics seek darkness wherever they go. They point always to approaching dangers, impure motives, and hidden schemes. They call trust naïve, care romantic, and forgiveness sentimental. They sneer at enthusiasm, ridicule spiritual fervor, and despise charismatic behavior. They consider themselves realists who see reality for what it truly is and who are not deceived by ‘escapist’ emotions. But in belittling God’s joy, their darkness only calls forth more darkness.

People who have come to know the joy of God do not deny the darkness, but they choose not to live in it. They claim that the light that shines in the darkness can be trusted more than the darkness itself and that a little bit of light can dispel a lot of darkness. They point each other to flashes of light here and there, and remind each other that they reveal the hidden but real presence of God. They discover that there are people who heal each other’s wounds, forgive each other’s offenses, share their possessions, foster the spirit of community, celebrate the gifts they have received, and live in constant anticipation of the full manifestations of God’s glory.”

I love that quote! I hope this update points to flashes of light here and there, reminds you of God’s presence and makes you feel God’s joy.

Let me update you on what is happening in the Malachi Network. First, here is some news from the home base. We just finished a 12-week summer outreach called Avalon Beach Church. Our mission was as simple as ABC: Advance the Gospel, Believe for Changed Lives and Create Simple Churches. God was so faithful! We averaged about 40 people a week. We prayed with people to receive Christ and even baptized one in the ocean following the last service. And we believed with many for growth in grace and healing in their lives. We are now following up with some potential simple church leaders. And we got to do all of this with the ocean as a backdrop! God is amazing. . .

We have seen continued growth in our network. In the last several months, we have added 5 new young leaders. I am so thankful for these deeply grounded and passionate young men and women. Please pray for them. We recently sent our 2nd missionary to China, and we will be sending two young families to the Middle East within the month. God has given us the privilege of covering both practically and spiritually close to 50 of the most wonderful young adults you can imagine.

We believe strongly in the calling that God has given to us and feel great joy that providing this covering enables many young leaders fulfill their destiny in God.  We need to add to the number of people that support our ministry.  And Tania and I need your prayer support as well. We are leading our simple church, managing this growing network, and trusting for God’s provision. Like most missionaries, the summer was difficult financially.  Please consider becoming a part of our prayer and support team.  Your gift really does make it possible for a little bit of light to dispel a whole lot of darkness!

photo 2In His Amazing Grace,

Richard M. Stevenson, Director – Malachi Network

You can send a check with a note marked “Stevensons” to:  Malachi Network – PO Box 368 – Avalon, NJ 08202.  Or you can donate online at  On the donate page choose Rich and Tania from the drop down box.

Will you share this with your friends?


About Rich Stevenson

Rich is the Executive Director of The Malachi Network (, a ministry focused on making the name of the LORD great among the nations. This network serves young leaders in missions and church planting. Prior to his present ministry, Rich pastored in Southern New Jersey, planted a church in Wilmore, KY, established a network of churches, served as an adjunct professor at Asbury College and was a senior leader at The International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO as well as The International House of Prayer in Atlanta, GA. Rich is the author of two books: Secrets of the Spiritual Life—10 Lessons from the One Thing Passages (Baker Books, 2003) A Voice from Home—The Words You Long to Hear from Your Father (WaterBrook Press, 2005) He graduated from Asbury College in 1984 with a BA degree in Philosophy of Religion and Asbury Theological Seminary in 1987 with a Master of Divinity degree. In 2010, Rich received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Union Biblical Seminary in Yangon, Myanmar. Rich has been married to Tania since 1982 and they have been blessed by amazing children: Zachary and his wife Meghan, Jacob and his wife Lena, Jessica and Corrie Emma.
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