By God’s grace my church planting journey has been anything but ordinary to the glory of God. This Sunday May 22, 2011 we will celebrate our one year anniversary. It is hard to believe that it has already been a year. I feel like I have been living on the edge of a lightning bolt! Planting a church isn’t for the faith of heart. It is deeply rooted in one’s divine calling. There is a huge difference between a burden and a call. A burden comes and goes but a call is something that comes and rests in your soul.
Coming to the decision to plant City on a Hill Church wasn’t easy. It wasn’t some fly by night knee jerk reaction. It took months of deep prayer and fasting seeking God’s perfect pleasing will. It meant living out Romans 12:1-2 and offering my life as a living sacrifice to God which is our spiritual act of worship. Romans says that after we have done these things we are transformed by the renewing of our minds then we can test and know God’s perfect pleasing will. This is not an easy process it takes us to places deep within and challenges us to invite God carve out those things in our hearts that are contrary to His Word and Will.
I have heard it said that , “Nothing causes us to move like the push of pain or the pull of hope.” In my case it was a combination. The push of pain knowing that it was my time to go was intense. You can’t spend seven years in a place pastoring God’s flock and not feel a strong affection for the people. The pain of knowing I was leaving was incredible. The pain caused by the uncertainty my wife and I were about to face was almost unbearable as well. The Bible teaches that if we do not take care of our families we are worst than unbelievers. I felt a deep pain stepping up and out in faith not knowing how I was going to make a living, pay my mortgage, put food on my table, and provide for my family. But I have heard it said and have now experienced for myself, “When the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of moving we will move.” I reached that point and the pain of not living the life and call God has called me too far exceeded the pain of staying in place.
Pain wasn’t the only motivator. The Pull of Hope was even stronger than the push of pain. They were working in concert within my soul. The hope to build, become, and be a city within a city reaching our city with the life changing message of Jesus Christ one life at a time was pulling at my heart strings. The hope of teaching people both believers and seekers that it is all about Jesus it has always been about Jesus and it will always be about Jesus thrilled my soul. The hope of reaching the hopeless and lost in this city was like fire shut up in my bones. The hope to reach out and bring wanderers who had been beaten up and abused in the name of religion and fleeced by religious leaders welled up inside of me and to this day motivates me daily. The hope of being the church not doing church but by Loving God, Loving People, and Preaching Jesus pulled me into church planting. The hope of re-establishing that the Church of Jesus Christ is the Hope of the world by proclaiming that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life drives me daily. The Pull of Hope for a Church that cares about it’s own, it’s city, it’s region, and it’s world not just with lip service but in word and deed to the glory of God pulled me straight into this adventure.
These two key motivators worked in concert to cause me to get up and go fulfill my God given calling. I can tell you if you are facing a crossroads in life these two motivators will be there. The Push of Pain will gnaw at us and the Pull of Hope will inspire us to get up and go. I believe God can use both of these powerful motivators to accomplish His perfect pleasing will in our lives and on this planet. Throughout this journey over this past 14 months I have felt both the push of pain and the pull of hope working in concert and individually. These two motivators mixed with healthy doses of prayer and fasting and seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit have motivated me and helped me not become stagnant or too comfortable.
This past year has been nothing short of amazing to the glory of Jesus! The Push of Pain motivated me to step up and out in faith. The pain was too great to stay where I was. The pain of potentially missing my divine calling far outweighed the pain of playing it safe and arriving safely at the end of my life. The Pull of Hope in going on a great adventure with God as the only tour guide, planting a church, searching for the lost, seeing wanderers come back home, sending missionaries, fighting giants, rescuing beauties, and exploring untamed territories to the glory of God has caused me to give my life away willingly. I can tell you this past year I have seen all of these things come to pass but the Pull of Hope still calls me to greater things to God’s glory. Here is the amazing factor, The Pull of Hope that I had when I planted the Church has been far eclipsed by God’s powerful hand of provision and protection over City on a Hill Church. By God’s grace we have done more in this first year than I could ever ask, think, dream, or imagine. It wasn’t that my dream wasn’t God-sized because believe me it was. My dream was God sized but God is greater and so much bigger than I even know or understand.
Last year I had Jesus and a dream and I said that was all I needed. Today as I type this I still have Jesus and I still have that same dream and I am convinced that is all I still need. I encourage you to listen carefully to the push of pain and the pull of hope and get up and go live the life God has called you to live. Your adventure awaits!