Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Glad I Obeyed...

Yesterday marks the six year anniversary of the day God said, "Go." As a campus pastor in Moorpark, CA, I knew that someday I was to go somewhere where I didn't know anyone and plant a church. That was God's call on my life since reading The Purpose Driven Church when I started seminary several years earlier. My mentor frequently asked me, "If money were no object and you could do anything for God, what would you do?" My answer was always the same. "Go somewhere where I don't know anyone and start a church."

I had settled into my role as a campus pastor but had started to feel like I was delaying my call for no good reason. I was listening to Bill Hybels speak on May 19, 2003 in Camarillo and he mentioned that he was 51. That's the last thing I remember from his talk. God asked me if I was still going to be a campus pastor when I was 51. "No way, God. I'm not going to put it off for 20 years." He replied, "How about when you are 41?" I couldn't imagine waiting another 10. I heard very clearly, "Then go."

I got back to the office that afternoon, informed my mentor that it was time to go, and pulled out an atlas and laid it on my desk. "God, where in this country do you want me." By that evening, when I took my wife out to dinner to share what I was feeling, I already felt like the Treasure Valley in Idaho could be the place to which God was calling us.

What if I had said no? I can't even imagine what I would have missed being a part of. As always, I am glad I obeyed. It is always in our best interest, both in this earthly life and for eternity's sake, to do what God says.

"God, give me the strength to keep saying yes, no matter how challenging the call."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It Used to Be Enough...

Prayer has always been foundational at The Pursuit. When we started meeting in our house, I thought it would be cool to pray every week for every person that was coming. When I would meet someone that I invited or with whom I began a relationship, I would add their name to the excel spreadsheet. As we grew, I just never felt like it was okay to stop that practice. Now that excel spreadsheet has 866 households. The elders all share the load, but everyone still gets prayed for every week.

I've often wondered how much less God would have done here if we hadn't bothered to pray the way we do? But I don't think that the way we have prayed in the past is going to be enough for what we are asking God to do in the future. We need to pray more. We need to express our dependence on God more.

I am excited to preach on prayer for two weeks starting May 31. I don't want people to ever think that God did what He did at The Pursuit because of our talents and abilities. I want it to be an obvious work of the Holy Spirit. We're starting something new in a few weeks. God First Fridays. I can't wait.