Monday, March 5, 2012

No Guts No Glory

It was roughly six years ago. I was driving down the road when the Lord said we’d plant a church. I was picking up my cell phone to call Ryan to talk to him about it when he was calling me. I answered the phone and he said “what do you think about planting a church.” Confirmation in the moment for us. We began praying about that and the Lord said the timing wasn’t right. We tabled it for the time being, but never forgot about it. Time went on, we began having kids and about a year ago the Lord began to stir in us that the time was nearing to plant, and all I could think was “really Lord.” I mean, we had four kids and were pregnant with our fifth. The timing couldn’t seem any worse for us. We have read enough planting books and heard enough sermons to know that planting can be rather stressful on the marriage, couple that with having five kids under 5 and it seemed on the surface a recipe for disaster. Yet, over the course of prayer and seeking wise counsel, it became clear that God wasn’t saying later, He was saying now. I would love to tell you that when God said go plant, we jumped on it and said ok, no problem God, we’re going. The truth is, we fought it for a few months until we got to the point where it just felt wrong to continue to say no.
God has often reminded me of Judges 6, when God has Gideon dwindle his army down to face the Midianites and when it seemed impossible Israel won and God got all the glory. What I have learned over the course of the past few months is where is God’s glory when we can do something that everyone already thinks we can do? Like Gideon, God is beckoning us to defy the odds. Why? I think it’s a way that we get to see God’s omnipotence on a grander scale than imagined. Why? Because this is about God getting all the glory! At this stage in our lives, Ryan and I feel completely inadequate, totally ill prepared for this but we rest knowing that faith is about trusting God no matter how impossible things seem. Our impossible situation gives us a chance to experience God’s glory in ways not yet known. And we rest in that.
So, what does that look like? It means Praxis Community Church. When Ryan and I first agreed to plant, we had looked at Arizona to plant a church. We feel called to Arizona, but God said not now. He ended up calling us to the South East Arlington area. Right in our back yard and Ryan’s hometown. So here we are. Details are still sketchy. But God opened the doors to us through a church on the east side called Mayfield Road Baptist Church. They have become our sponsor church, giving Ryan an intern position and allowing him to focus solely on the plant. What is beautiful about being at MRBC is that this is where God has taken Ryan and I for so many off our “beginnings.” This was Ryan’s first intern position in ministry when he was in college, this is where we got engaged, where we got married and now it’s where we will plant our first church out of.
We begin weekly bible studies out of MRBC beginning on March 18th during which time we develop the launch team that will do what its name says, help launch the church. Right now the launch date looks like it will be January 2013, but we are open to whatever the Lord has for Praxis. As we continue on, please pray for Praxis, for Ryan and I, for our leadership team, our launch team and the people of South East Arlington that needs a church home. Our heart is that people learn to have an intimate relationship with Jesus based on who He is, what He has done and how that changes everything.