Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Way Back Wednesday - Sailing to Seattle - Week Three

*This is a pre-written blog post from April 9, 2013 to look back on why we left Texas to live in Seattle.*
I would like to say, in no way do I mean to offend anyone by posting this. I am simply sharing our testimony to God’s glory, which will in fact reveal our sin, our struggles, our forgiveness, and the Lord’s hand in it all. We do not intend to single or call out any one ministry or persons. We love the Body and are in no place to judge or condemn, but we must make the best decisions for our family by the leading of the Holy Spirit and leadership of my husband. Thank you for your love and prayers.
Planning, we laid our “map” out on the table, considering all options according to what we believed the Lord was calling us to do. We have no kids, no mortgage, why be afraid of something "big"? We began to pray and knock on each door. One place seemed certainly promising, and we began doing a deep investigation on the church's doctrine, history of the staff, and vision. This particular ministry had a branch that extended to a recording label that lined up completely with what Derek felt called to do with his music. Meanwhile, we both knew the importance of not forsaking the assembling of the family of Jesus, so we knew we needed to find a place locally to sow into, serve, and love for the time being.
If you haven’t had the chance to “Church surf” in Houston, and you are looking for more than just great shows, goosebumps, and a rockin band, it can get kind of disheartening.

Derek and I personally talked about things that were important to us in our church home like,

“Do they believe that Jesus is God?”

“Do they talk about, know, and love Jesus?” “What’s the fruit of their labor?”
“What’s the heart/foundation of the ministry?”
“Do they encourage learning, and community?”
“Does the teaching challenge or convict?”
“Do they preach the gospel?”
“Do they pray?”
“Could the ministry run without the lead guy?”
“Do women run the show?”
“Does one man run everything, and have a pocket full of ‘Yes’ men?”

Having lights, camera, and action is great, but do they exalt themselves or the real, biblical, Jesus, God-man, Lord, Savior, and King?

Interestingly enough, a lot of people condemned us for having these “unreasonable standards” saying we were seeking perfection, which kind of blew us away. There are somethings that are copable but some of this is basic necessity in a home church, and should not be compromised.

With an enemy who’s full-time job is to deceive and mislead the children of God, why do you not take questions like these seriously?

It was hard to find people or a church that felt the same. We have come to the conclusion that, there are churches here in Houston that are lead by the Spirit of the Living God because God is omnipresent and loves his people everywhere, but He didn’t allow us to find them because we would have probably stayed. He told us,

"You are not running from anybody [including "church folk"]! God is leading you out of here, and the God of Israel is also your rear guard."

We weren’t drawn to leave the Katy/Houston area because of the ministries there, our past, or the people. This was all because of God's plan. He was up to something, and we certainly did not want to miss out or be disobedient. "He has sent out fish to swallow and take those whom he loves, who are rebelling, to where they were supposed to be in the first place…" Thank you Jonah. It was hard at first, not to be offended by what was going on in the walls of some of the buildings they were called the Lord’s house. What was happening grieved our hearts deeply.

But I am no ones Savior, I can only live and preach the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have to remember that God is as much their Father as He is mine, and He has a plan for them just as much as He has one for me, that glorifies Him!
Then we found Crossings Community Church. The leadership was incredible and accountable. They weren’t afraid of tough scripture or hard questions, and encouraged us to seek God and obey Him. What a refreshing group of folks.
The church that we were pursuing from our “map” was in Portland, OR. It had numerous positive check marks on our “That’s-where-we-are-supposed-to-be” check list. We were going all in on the pursuit. We added them on facebook, twitter, listened to sermons, went to their concerts, called them, and called them, and called them. We left messages, at least two on the church’s message machine, about us planning to move there and looking to get connected with leadership… nothing happened.
Nothing! No replies to emails, no call backs, no replies to tweets. Nothing! What started out as what seemed to be an opened door. Which we knocked on really hard, just wouldn't budge. We continued to pray, and didn’t recieve peace about the thought of moving to Portland. Especially with nothing opening up. We were still knocking on the other doors but we really thought this would be the one.
To be continued…

Just because it is good doesn’t mean it is what you are supposed to do. Just because bad things are happening doesn’t mean it’s not what you are supposed to go through and experience. But when you are two steps from Chuck-Norris-Roundhouse-Kicking a door down because it is what you want to do, something is obviously wrong. Especially when you have been praying for God to open the right doors, and keep the wrong ones closed.

Time to do some recalculating and allow God to be God. His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways.

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