Feb. ’10 – May ’10 Update

Leave a comment

Well, plenty of time has gone by and plenty of things have happened since our last update, so I’m sure I’ve got enough to fill up a new report. I’ll try to cover a lot quickly.

First, an update on the church plant team. I mentioned in the last update that Nate Klimek was planning to move to Colorado from Pennslvania to be part of our church plant. He made the move the last week of January and has since found a job with Denver Health Paramedics. God led him through some trying days with his work situation and has used the process to strengthen his faith greatly. He and Neill Marks now have a house in Brighton that they are splitting the rent on. Neill also has found work with a company called Handy Man Matters, and he’s staying very busy now that spring has set in. We’re extremely grateful to God for bringing these guys out here, and it’s been very encouraging to see God’s faithfulness to lead them & meet their needs. We’re also rejoicing to watch God working to grow them in Christ and to use them as servants in the church.

The last update also noted that Matt and Kate LaCava were praying about moving out here from Heritage Bible Church (our sending church in SC) to be part of our team. God has confirmed this leading in their hearts and in the hearts of the people at Heritage, and the LaCavas arrived in Colorado very early Sat. morning, May 22! We’re loving having them out here and are excited to see what God is going to do in them and through them too. Matt’s finishing up his pastoral internship here throughout most of the summer, and then he and Kate are planning to stay here, so please pray that God will provide for them so that they can. They’ll also have a new part of the family later this summer, so I’m sure they’d appreciate your prayers for the last few months of Kate’s pregnancy and for baby Judah. Several other people at Heritage are continuing to pray and think about making the move to Colorado too, so please join us in praying for God’s direction and provision for these people, particularly for a group that is hoping to visit in early July.

God isn’t just building our team with imports, though. He has also gathered together a great group of believers from out here in Colorado who are part of our core group now. We are thanking and praising God for this work that he’s done because it has been our desire to see such a core group gathered together, and that’s exactly what God has done. While we’re trying to go out and meet and minister to people here, we’re seeing God bring people to us through our website, other internet listings, or printed materials that have been distributed. It’s a reminder that we need to be faithful to work diligently, but we can also trust God to be building this church by his own work and for his own glory. We’ve been so encouraged to see his wisdom at work in bringing just the right people from various ages and life situations to be part of this church, and we believe he’ll continue to do so.

Now that this core group has been gathered, we’re trying to equip each other and encourage one another to be reaching out with the gospel of Christ into our community and other relationships. God has been providing such opportunities and helping our people to be faithful in taking advantage of them. Please pray that Christ will bring spiritual fruit from our existing relationships, that he’ll provide us with more relationships, and that he’ll give us grace to be faithful servants for his sake. It’s been especially exciting to see people coming out of their “winter shells” since the weather has gotten nicer this spring. People love to be outside in Colorado because the scenery is beautiful and the weather is great, so it makes it easy to meet people when out in the parks or working in the yard. God has brought together a neighborhood Bible study in our (the Davises) neighborhood, and we’re hopeful that it will be a good means of sharing his Word in our community. We’re also praying and thinking about other potential ministries to our community right now. There are one or two teams that are planning to come out from SC this summer to help us with outreach and to see a church plant in its early stages. Please pray that God will use us and these teams to effectively minister his Word to our neighbors in the coming days.

Currently, we’re continuing to meet first thing on Sunday mornings for corporate prayer before our worship and teaching service. We are just starting into chapter 5 in our study of Ephesians on Sunday mornings, and we’re loving the great truths God is teaching us through this portion of his Word of all that we have in Christ and how we’re to live because of these truths. We usually have between 30 and 35 people who join with us for our Sunday morning service, and we’re continually seeking to grow in our corporate worship and in our learning and living of God’s Word through this time together. A couple of weeks ago, we had our first church-wide fellowship on a Sunday afternoon, and it was a great time for deepening our fellowship as a church. This is something we’re planning to do either monthly or quarterly. We completed a 3 to 4 month evangelism study in our mid-week shepherd group time a few weeks ago. Now, we’re getting started with a study using the book Why Small Groups? to help us to know why we have shepherd groups and what we hope to accomplish through them. We’re excited about this study and how it will help us very intentionally to disciple one another and care for one another. Sometime later this summer or early in the fall, we’ll probably split up our 1 shepherd group into 2 or more smaller groups. Along with these regular Sunday and mid-week meetings, the men are getting together every other Saturday for a study through a book called Don’t Waste Your Life. God is using this book to challenge us pointedly to wholly commit ourselves to living life in the passionate pursuit of him and his glory, and we’re enjoying the time of encouragement together as men. The ladies also are getting together once a month currently for a time of fellowship and are considering the possibility of starting up a Bible study together. So, that’s a typical week right now in the life of our church corporately.

Like any church, we have needs that we’re praying for on a regular basis that range from new babies with more on the way to persistent physical difficulties in the lives of our people and those close to them. We’d appreciate your general prayer for God to shed his grace on us continually for these needs, that he’d accomplish his purposes in our hearts through them, and that he’d display his great glory by relieving these difficulties completely or by faithfully enabling us to bear them.

I hope that gives you a good idea of what God is doing here in Brighton, CO right now and that it helps you to know how to pray. God has been working for which we are very grateful, and we know that we need him to keep on working if there is going to be lasting fruit for his glory. As God delights to hear the prayers of his people, we are extremely thankful for and desirous of your continued partnership with us in God’s work through your prayers. He’s certainly working in our own hearts as a church to make us more like his Son, and we long to see this work extend into the hearts of more and more people here in Brighton and throughout the Denver metro area and Colorado Front Range. When Christ sent forth his disciples to make disciples of all the nations, he promised to be with them wherever they went and assured them of his authority in all those places. Please pray that Christ would use us today as he used those first disciples to gather, teach, and train more people who gladly embrace him as Savior and King.

Thank you all again from the bottom of our hearts and may God’s continue to cause you to experience his grace and peace through our great Savior and King Jesus Christ!

Why the move to CO?

Leave a comment

From Matt LaCava’s blog earlier today:

Back when Kate and I were dating, and all along the way since then, we’ve discussed how both of us were in some way interested in getting involved in a church plant, particularly in the western part of the U.S. It wasn’t something that either of us were pursuing vigorously, but we both had in our hearts a desire to be open to the Lord’s leading in this regard. Once we got married, we discussed what steps that we took next would best position ourselves to be used by God to lift up Christ in and through us. It seemed clear before long that we should both pursue further education. So, we did that – as of May of 2010, we both have our Master’s degrees. All along the way, though, we were thinking in terms of “strategically” placing ourselves in the position to be able to go and do whatever God would lead us to go and do.

In September of 2008, Kate and I were invited by our new friends Todd and Carissa Davis to join them for dinner. Todd and Carissa were on the verge of moving to plant a church in Brighton, CO with their friends, Ryan and Danielle Fisher, and they had invited the Fishers to dinner as well. It wasn’t long before Kate and I both were getting the sense of a likemindedness and unique fellowship with both the Davises and Fishers that we thought was somewhat rare and exciting. They, of course, were trying to recruit us to join them, but even without their recruiting, Kate and I had a sense of interest in what both couples were planning on doing, and went home thinking seriously about looking into joining them in their church planting efforts. As time went on, we became more acquainted with both couples, grew in our fellowship with one another, and became more and more interested in joining them.

Because of schooling and plans for me to complete a pastoral internship at Heritage Bible Church, our home church, we weren’t able to join them immediately when both couples moved out in the spring of ’09 to officially plant Redeemer Bible Church in Brighton, CO. But, we followed their work and progress pretty closely, and took a “survey” trip out to where they were in July of ’09, along with some other friends from HBC. After that trip, we felt that God was continuing to confirm in our minds that this was quite possibly what He had for us to do. Again, we followed the progress of our friends, and continued to pray that God would direct us and make clear to us what He would have us do.

It seemed clearer and clearer to us that God was directing us to make the move as soon as school was finished. An opportunity to finish the last portion of the HBC internship in CO was approved by the HBC elders, and that seemed a clear indication of God’s leading. We learned that Kate’s insurance from her job would cover us both for 6 months after she quit, so that was hugely encouraging with our baby boy due in August. More than that, though, God was working and directing through instilling in us a desire to join in the Kingdom work in Brighton, a desire to have a close-knit fellowship with the people already out here, a desire to be under the oversight and care of Heritage, and a desire to be involved in a church plant somewhere in the western U.S. We decided to take another trip out here for RBC’s first official public service on Jan. 17, 2010, and while we were here the Lord continued to confirm the work in us that we were seeing. After that particular trip, it became quite evident to us that moving to Brighton, CO to help with Redeemer Bible Church was exactly what God wanted us to do.

There was no flash of lightning, no voice from the heavens, no big emotional high and no visions or dreams. There was simply a desire to do it that God placed in us. I remember when we were preparing to take our first survey trip out here in July ’09, my friendMatthew Hoskinson said to me, “Don’t look for a bolt of lightning or anything like that – just love God and do what you want to do.” This sounds somewhat contrary to what we may ordinarily think about making big life changing plans. “Do what you want to do” is usually bad advice, isn’t it? If my “wanter” is being driven by a desire to love and glorify God and make Him look as big as He is to the world around me, than what I want will be what God wants. So, the “do what you want to do” part is highly dependent on the “love God” part. This is exactly what Kate and I were trying to do in this decision process – love God, and trust Him to make our “wanters” want what He wanted.

So by the end of January 2010 Kate and I began officially planning to make the move in the spring. Honestly, we were planning on it before then, but we felt like God had confirmed what we already knew to be true through our brief trip in January. The rest, of course, is, as we say, history. We have made the move, and we are currently looking for a permanent place to stay while Ryan and Danielle Fisher are graciously allowing us to reside with them until then.

I haven’t answered the question that the title of this post asks, though. Why the move to CO? Why move farther away from friends and family than we’ve ever been before? Why make going back for holidays to see our loved ones at best more inconvenient and at worst downright difficult? Why spend a couple thousand dollars in moving expenses? Why the hassle of packing everything up and risking them being broken on the trek across the nation? Why risk not having steady income for at least a little while? Why live out west where tornadoes are at least more common than they are back east? Why live in a higher cost of living area? The answer to all of those questions, and more, is simple, and it’s an answer that isn’t original with Kate and me. The answer: Jesus is worth it. Jesus is worth seeing family less. Jesus is worth being in the path of a tornado. Jesus is worth having a lower standard of living. Jesus is worth the hassle of packing things up and moving them across the country. Jesus is worth it all. In fact, Jesus said in Luke 14:26,

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”

So, if I don’t think that Jesus and His work in me, His church, and His Kingdom, is worth more than my family, friends, possessions, safety, comfort, convenience, and financial “stability” (when are our finances ever really stable?), Jesus says that I cannot be His disciple. What Jesus is saying is that He must be worth more to me than anything else in the world. I’ve heard people say things like, “I just could never move so far away from family” or “I just couldn’t live in an area where there are tornadoes” or “I just couldn’t give up my job and risk not finding another one” or “I just couldn’t bear to be away from all of my friends in this area” or “I just have so much in life I still need to accomplish before I take a risk like _____” or “I just couldn’t_____”. The truth is, some of those things really are difficult. But I have to be willing to do them if that’s how God is leading, because if I’m not, I can’t be a disciple of Jesus.

I don’t say this all to make Kate and me look like people who have arrived at the true understanding of the meaning of the cost of discipleship and are among “The Few, The Proud, The Those Who Have Done the Right Thing.” The truth is, there has been some serious wrestling with some of these things, these risks involved with making this move. And sadly, many times, our reactions to these things have been more carnal than spiritual. But God is gracious, and has worked in us and enabled us to follow His direction. I’ll be honest – there is still some uneasiness and unsettledness at times. There are still unknowns. There are still risks. But we’re thrilled to have a complete confidence that the Father is working to bring fame to His Son, Jesus, through His Spirit’s work in and through us.

Note: for a good book on discerning God’s will, I highly recommend “Just Do Something” by Kevin DeYoung