[This is part 2 of the article “The Joys, Fears, and Faith of Church Planting” which Cheryl wrote a couple of months ago.
You can read part 1 here and part 3 here.]
The prospect of church planting has brought me face to face with what’s really inside of me. In what am I actually putting my faith and trust? Where is my hope? In the Lord or something else? I had been asking God over and over again to give us a sign and show us we are on the right track. Then the Lord brought to mind the passage in Matthew 12:38-39 that says,
“Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him saying, ‘Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.’ But he answered them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.’”
The scribes and Pharisees were seeking proof that Jesus was who he said he was by miraculous signs and wonders and Jesus called them an “evil and adulterous generation” because of it. There’s nothing wrong with asking for guidance and direction and a good, old-fashioned neon sign, but I desired those things more than I desired the One who is able to give them — so that I could find comfort and hope in them and not Jesus; so that I would know we are on the right track and everything would be okay. But Jesus’ call is the same today as it was to those scribes and Pharisees in the Bible. It’s a call to faith. Faith in Christ alone.
As God gently but firmly strips away the things I have been putting my faith and hope in apart from him, he’s been replacing those things with more and more faith. More of Himself. I’ve been getting closer to God and experiencing him in ways I never have before and don’t believe I could any other way. He has taught me to keep my eyes on Jesus like never before so when the vultures of doubt start circling I can hear him speaking truth and faith to me.
“Fear not for I am with you, even to the end of the age.”
“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink. . .is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?”
And, one of my favorites,
“The Lord is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
If there was ever a girl who needed to be quieted with the love of God, it’s this girl!
Getting ready to plant a church has taught me the meaning of putting on the full armor of God. The enemy loves to exploit my fears, doubts and weaknesses. (And he especially likes to do it in the middle of the night.) Where do you think those vultures come from? He sees the armor rattling and is just waiting for me to put it down so he can pounce. For me, putting on the full armor of God has meant going to bed at night with my Bible right beside me and key verses that God has brought to my attention written on index cards so I am ready in the middle of the night, if needs be, to take up the shield of faith and start wielding the sword of the Spirit.
to be continued in part 3, “Front Row Seats” …
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