Day 4 It’s All About Me!

“Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.”

Proverbs 119:36-37

When I was 15, my family moved to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  I remember being really excited, and thinking that this move could be really awesome!  But as a self-seeking, self-centered teen, I also remember thinking that I could leverage this move for my own good—specifically, if I pretended that my parents were ruining my life by making me move away from everything I knew. (I know, it’s horrible, don’t judge me.)

Unfortunately, I decided to act upon the second thought. I was selfish and thought that I could get something out of the move if I made my parents think that I wasn’t on board, but was doing them a favor by going along with it…begrudgingly, of course.  Looking back on it, I’m not only embarrassed about the way I acted, but I wonder how much better my experience (and my relationship with my parents) would have been if I had thought about others before myself.  A move is stressful enough on a family, without having a bratty teenager trying to leverage a situation to her own benefit.

While we are preparing to move the location of Believers, it can be easy to think of ourselves and how this move will benefit or inconvenience us.  But it’s not about us!  This move is about all the new people that we will be able to reach with the lifesaving message of Jesus Christ.  But God has gifted us in being able to be a part of that!  So, every time you think of NJAB, think selflessly, and praise Jesus that He has you at Believers for this exciting and life transforming time.

Day 3 Packing

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

-Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT)

I hate packing for a trip. I am always concerned about over packing AND under packing. What’s the dress code for where I am going? Will it be hotter or colder there than it is here? Can I trust the Weather Channel to give me the right information? I hate to over pack because that means I will be schlepping around extra baggage everywhere I go. And it is also a little embarrassing when you have more luggage going on a trip than your wife. Many times I’ve gone on trips and never wore half the things in my bag(s).

The only thing worse than over packing is under packing. You arrive at your destination and find it is 20 degrees colder than home and all you have is short sleeve shirts and no jacket; therefore, I tend to over pack out of worry, and I am okay with that. After all, it is me that is going to have to carry the extra weight.
The packing is still my worst part of any trip.

As we start “packing” for the move God has for us to bigger and better space, I am already dreading it. There will be things we want to take with us and things we probably need to leave behind. The problem with that is I am also a little bit of a hoarder; I will have a tendency to try and take everything and that cannot happen. But I am reminded of the words of Jesus in what we call the Great Commission.

We don’t need to worry about any packing. Our move does not change our mission as a church to make Jesus #1, one person at a time, and the only thing we really need to take with us to the new location is Jesus. He has already promised to go with us; we do not need anything else!

Day 2 Pack Your Bags

I am not sure about you, but whenever I go on a trip, I plan and then pack way more than I need. If I am going on a two day trip, I pack enough clothes for 4 days. If I am gone for a week or more, well, I pack my entire wardrobe. Some people are different; they travel light, but I don’t want to be caught off guard. Not only do I pack enough clothes, I bring snacks, my laptop, books and more than enough money with me to be prepared for, not just the journey itself, but for my destination as well.

Some people don’t pack; they don’t plan and then they find themselves “not ready” for the journey or prepared for what’s ahead. In the book of Luke, there is a story of a man who wasn’t ready for his journey. The story is commonly referred to as the Prodigal Son. It’s about a father who had two sons, of which; the younger son tells his father that he wants his inheritance now.

In Luke 15:13 it says, “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living.” It doesn’t stop there. Not only did this younger son waste his money, he also ran out. He then became so desperate that he found himself longing to eat pig slop! That’s how low he got.

This story had a happy ending. The son came to his senses and went back to his father who forgave him and accepted him back into the family. The takeaway for most in this story is about the grace and mercy our heavenly father has for those who return to him.

There is another side of this story people don’t commonly discuss. The younger son wasn’t ready for his journey. He may have had money from his inheritance, but he didn’t properly plan for his trip. He was immature spiritually and he was immature in managing his finances. Because of his lack of planning and preparation for his journey, he failed.

Next Step: Where are you on this NJAB journey? Are you financially and spiritually planning for what’s ahead? Yes, we need to lean in on the grace that comes from our relationship with Christ, but we also have a responsibility as one of his followers to prepare our finances and spiritual walk so that we can fully experience what He has in store for us.

Let’s not miss out on this and “fall short” on our journey of experiencing God’s best!

Day 1 Roadtrip

The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”          

 -Genesis 12:1-3

It seems in the Bible that God is always calling His people to go from here to there. In this passage, God is asking Abraham to go from where he was from, and from all that was familiar to him and asking him to go…somewhere else.

When you read the story of Abraham, starting in Genesis 12, there is no mistaking that this journey that God called him to go on was about far more than a geographical change.

There were two components to Abraham’s trip. Clearly, one of the things that God had in mind on this journey was that Abraham’s faith would be stretched and become stronger. Here was small faith…there was strong faith.

Of course a faith journey is a difficult one. Faith doesn’t grow unless you are in situations where you need it. For Abraham that meant waiting on God for 25 years to fulfill a promise to give him a son, as well as a host of other challenges.

The other component to this trip was the destination. It was to bless the “all the families on earth.” That’s quite a plan.

It’s not hard to see the correlation between Not Just a Building (NJAB) and Abraham’s journey. On this geographical change for our church, we will collectively and individually face challenges that will stretch our faith. We will face financial challenges, timing challenges and we will face other obstacles that will stretch us and make our faith stronger.

But then there is the promise of where we are going. Through us, God wants to bless all the families in our community. We take with us a message that can change people’s eternities.

Yes, we’re moving, heading out on a trip. But on this trip, our faith will grow, and others will be blessed. It’s time for us to move out!

Reflection: How is your faith being stretched by NJAB? Are you faithfully following His lead? Who might be blessed by your faith journey? Pray for boldness to bless them.