[This is part 3 of the article “The Joys, Fears, and Faith of Church Planting” which Cheryl wrote a couple of months ago.
With all the uncertainty, all the fear, all the doubts, why would we do this? Or at least, isn’t there someone more qualified? The answer to that last question is “yes” for sure! But the answer to the first question takes a little more time to answer.
As I mentioned before, God has extended an invitation to us to join him in the work he is doing in Yakima. Who are we to reject an invitation from the King? The only appropriate response to the summons of the King is to show up where and when you are told with humility and gratitude. Failure to do so is risking far more than the risk incurred through obedience.
We have been offered front row seats to see God’s glory through lives and whole communities being transformed. Perhaps our lives will also be among those who are transformed! We have been offered the chance to see miracles happen, over and over again. How do I know? Because we will have to experience miracles in order for this whole thing to work out! If God doesn’t do some miracles, there’s no way we will get there and be sustained there.
Finally, we are going because we’re not willing to give up those front row seats. If we don’t go, God will still bring transformation to individual lives and to communities in Yakima. He will still do one miracle after another. He will still get all the glory and it will be amazing! But he will do it through someone else. It will be someone else who is just as scared, just as weak and has just as many excuses not to go as I do but will be slightly more obedient. And while I don’t “feel” ready for what we’re doing and I have no idea what is about to happen, I’m definitely not ready to give my seat to someone else. I hope that qualifies as holy selfishness!
I take great comfort in knowing that ultimately, it’s God’s reputation on the line. Faithfulness, trust and obedience on my part, through God’s grace, have a part to play, but it is God who builds his church. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus says, “’And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’” (emphasis added). He makes it grow. He is responsible for it. We get to participate in joyful anticipation of what he is going to do. I think it’s going to be quite a ride. And like all the best roller coasters, there will be amazing highs, stomach churning lows, twists and turns galore. But through all the highs and lows, I am trusting God to get us through. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
“For whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (Philippians 3:7-9, ESV).
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