Don’t Waste Your Life

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This is a thought provoking and convicting audio clip from John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life” that is set to visuals and music that enhance its message.

Why the move to CO?

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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