Almost exactly to the year of being here, we have found ourselves in circumstances we would have never imagined. The lead pastor has resigned and now Derrick is interim. The church is over $240k in debt and we have 3 collection agencies after us. We have moved BACK into our facility in order to not have a lease payment each month at the school, and the church family is wounded, mad and ready to settle back down into "life as they once knew it."
Many have apologized for what we have encountered, saying, "I know you didn't know what you were signing up for when you came on board here." Many have been so kind and grateful that we are here. Some have been fearful that Derrick is here just to sell their facility out from underneath them and take them portable for the long haul. (Forgetting that he came on as the WORSHIP PASTOR with the portable plan already laid out when he came on staff.)
I have hesitated to write about any of this because I don't know how many of my church family reads my blogs, but my blogs have to do with real, day to day stuff in my life so I decided to go ahead and share my heart.
For my dear church family that do read this, I love you with all my heart! It saddens me greatly to see what has transpired over the last month or so and my and Derrick's hearts have been so heavy for you.
For those who have apologized to us for what we have taken on, apologize no more! We know that God called us here and believe that God had us here for such a time as this. Though the enemy is trying to intervene, we are so excited that he feels threatened enough to deal with us! We know that God has won this battle and you, my church family, are victorious through our Saviour and Lord...no matter what the enemy throws our way!
For those who have encouraged us and blessed our family, a huge "Thank you!" to you and know that we are eternally grateful for every kind word spoken!
For those who are fearful, keep in mind that our God is not a God of fear, but of love, peace and a sound mind! I can assure you that Derrick has been on his face before God daily seeking wisdom for the next steps for New Hope. Forgive me for the length of this segment, but I have to share something that Max Lucado wrote:
Faith is often the child of fear. Fear propelled Peter out of the boat. He'd ridden these waves before. He knew what these storms could do. He'd heard the stories. He'd seen the wreckage. He knew the widows. he knew the storm could kill. And wanted out...
Look into his eyes tonight and see fear - a suffocating, heart-racing fear would be born an act of faith, for faith is often the child of fear.
If Peter had seen Jesus walking on the water during a calm, peaceful day, do you think that he would have walked out to him? Nor do I.
Had the lake been carpet smooth and the journey pleasant, do you think that Peter would have begged Jesus to take him on a stroll across the top of the water? Doubtful.
But give a man a choice between sure death and a crazy chance, and he'll take the chance every time!
Great acts of faith are seldom born out of calm calculation. It wasn't logic that caused Moses to raise his staff on the bank of the Red Sea.
it wasn't medical research that convinced Naaman to dip seven times in the river.
It wasn't common sense that caused Paul to abandon the Law and embrace grace.
And it wasn't a confident committee that prayed in a small room in Jerusalem for Peter's release from prison. It was a fearful, desperate, band of backed-into-a-corner believers. It was a church with no options. A congregation of have-nots pleading for help.
And never were they stronger.
At the beginning of every act of faith, there is often a seed of fear.
On the day that our pastor resigned, God sent me directly to Isaiah 66. it's all good but I'll point out one verse in particular.
66:9" 'In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,' says the Lord. 'If I cause you the pain, I will not stop you from giving birth to your new nation,' says your God."
God still wants to do a great work New Hope and He wants to use us to do it!!!! Let's don't go backwards to our comfort and small-mindedness. God wants to do mighty things through us so lets not get bogged down with the circumstances. Let's don't be like the Israelites and beg to go back to life as we knew it...I don't want to go back to Egypt! I want to reach for the promised land and do whatever it takes to reach the lost and hurting and bring them with us! It's not about the pain we've experienced through this situation or the anger we've felt. It's not about the fear we feel in stepping out. It's about one thing and one thing only...
"Then Jesus came to them and said, "All power in heaven and on earth is given to me. So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything that i have taught you, and I will be with you always, even until the end of this age." Mt. 28:18-20
Let's focus on allowing God to use our lives for His glory. There are so many hurting souls out there that need to experience the love of Christ! Let's embrace them and allow God to change their lives forever!
It was asked of Derrick if he was in this for the long haul...Derrick and I are up for this...are you?