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Shaken By Larry Gadbaugh

A Whole Lot Has Been Shaken!

Portland, Oregon has been shaken. This is where I was born and raised, and I’ve never seen this kind of upheaval here before.

As if the Pandemic wasn’t enough to rattle our cage, in recent weeks we’ve become the poster community for sustained racial protest and trial by wildfire resulting in the worst air quality on the globe. Here in the formerly clear air of the beautiful Pacific Northwest, we’re having a hard time catching our breath. Will the Columbia River next turn to blood?

How do I lead our mission in such upheaval? As the Psalmist, cries,

When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Ps 11:3, NIV)

God often orchestrates disorientation to reorient us to what is unshakeable.

The Right Questions

As I seek his wisdom, I’m asking a lot of questions.

To begin with, I’ve abandoned waiting for when things return to normal. I’m beginning to prepare for the “New Abnormal.” While we work to regain whatever stability and security we’re able to restore, we need to focus on navigating the changing landscape ahead of us.

I need to check my own footing. What is shaking the faith, hope and love that empowers my leadership? What’s cracking or leaking in my conviction, compassion, courage or motivation? If these are exposed as unstable, are they grounded on a solid foundation?

I’m searching my own soul. Am I abiding in Christ by the power of his Spirit? Does his rock-solid word saturate my heart so I can persevere in wise, sacrificial servant-leadership in my home and my public stewardship? Do I soak my affections in the love of God so that I overflow with hope for all those I influence? Am I standing on God’s promise that seeking first his kingdom will produce outcomes that will impact lives for eternity?

Stay Faithful

This season of disorientation drives me to the key question: What does faithfulness to the mission God has entrusted to our stewardship look like in this unique season?

Perhaps 2020 is threatening much of what we have taken for granted in order to redirect us to God’s unshakeable eternal perspective.

How much of our effectiveness is dependent on our prosperous economy, our national prominence, our medical, technological, and scientific advances, and our exceptional constitutional system? As stewards of our mission benefiting from these God-given blessings, how will we respond if we were no longer able to depend on these supports in the same way we have in the past?

God Prepares Us

Throughout history, God’s stewards have overcome such threats and losses by locking into what cannot be shaken. This could be God calling us to prepare us for the time when

““Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”… the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.” (Hebrews 12:26-27).

As we adapt, pivot, improvise in the face of this shifting environment we want the outcomes of our stewardship to endure. Now, more than ever, we need to discern how to seek first God’s eternal kingdom and his righteousness. As we subject everything we do to his eternal perspective, our faith will be unshakeable.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29)


Larry Gadbaugh has served as the CEO of First Image in Portland, Oregon, since 2001. Diane and he have been married for 42 years and have five adult children and three grandchildren.


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