It was five years ago today that our family drove into Moose Jaw to stay. What a ride it has been! We moved here because we felt called by God to come as a family and team up with Victory Church of Moose Jaw where I would serve as Lead Pastor. Moving here meant engaging the adventure of forging a new life for ourselves in a new place. New school, new house, new friends, new church, new styles and ways of living – it was all very exciting and very challenging. God proved faithful again and again, He drew us to Himself, brought around us some wonderful people and used us in ways we had never imagined possible. What a privilege and journey of growth this has been! Here are a few things I would like to share with those who have been a part of the journey with us.
1. Learning increases when you step out in faith: Stepping out in faith and moving to a new place caused us to experience changes and face challenges that at times were overwhelming, especially at first. About a year into the journey, we began to sense that we were here in Moose Jaw not only to lead a church but also for God to use the environment He had called us to as a kind of “university for the soul”. God wanted to go to work on our inner world and we needed an environment that would force us to wrestle with things we would not have faced otherwise. Now, five years later, we are so glad we obeyed God’s call and came. One of the great benefits of getting out of your comfort zone, of stepping out in faith, is that you end up in a place that is far more conducive to learning and growth. So my advice? If you feel God leading you out of your comfort zone...Go for it! Step out! See what happens! It will likely be nothing like you think it will be, but with God beside you, it will be great...and you will learn a lot!
2. It’s all about people: Reflecting on five years of life and ministry in a new city and in a new church I could talk about the faith initiatives, the goals we set as a church, the growth, the ministries that have started, the building and renovations, the projects and causes...these have all been a major part of our journey here. But the truth is, the real joy and impact we have known here for the last five years has been all about people. Each time we see one life impacted. Oh man!!! Each time I get an e-mail from one of my friends or congregation members or a fellow pastor in the city saying what a difference a conversation or a sermon or a prayer has made in their lives... Each time I hear about a struggle and how our church community has helped a person through it. I can’t possibly describe the wonder and the joy I have experienced in these years at seeing God at work in individuals lives. BY FAR – the greatest joys (and sorrows) over the last five years have been all about people. And I believe, by far, this is our greatest legacy. If you are reading this e-mail and you have known me in Moose Jaw in some way in the last five years. How I hope that your life has been impacted for Christ through us.
3. Jesus is the center of it all: After five years as a lead pastor I am more convinced than ever that Jesus Christ is the central point on which we must build and on which we must unify ourselves. I am constantly amazed at the diversity in the body of Christ. Different types of people, different struggles and issues, different views on just about everything. But the one thing we unify around is the love of Jesus displayed in the cross; His grace and forgiveness which displays His desire for a relationship with us. The one thing I want my life to be about is Jesus. I want to know and love Him more every day. I want my life to be about pointing people to Him so that they can know, love and serve Him too. I believe God’s church is the most powerful force in the world for making that happen and when we allow God to build our church on the solid foundation of Christ we discover the power to unify a congregation and change lives over and over again for the glory of God.
4. We need God’s supernatural Spirit and power: I am constantly amazed at the level of brokenness in me and the people I meet but I am even more amazed by God’s awesome power and ability to change us. Yes, sin has made a horrible mark on this world and it infects all our hearts and all our relationships. I meet people every week who have lost hope. They have lost hope in themselves, in others, in the church and even in God. I am very familiar with losing hope and needing to fight for hope when everything seems hopeless. But that is the very reason we need God’s supernatural power - we are hopeless without Him. That’s why God specializes in hopeless people and hopeless churches and hopeless situations. That is why we need prayer and we need the power of the Holy Spirit in our midst. He alone can do the miracle of making a church a loving and powerful community even in all its imperfections and brokenness. He alone can take the wretchedness of my heart and supernaturally make something beautiful out of it. He alone can change a life that is hopeless without Him. I am more determined than ever to share hope and fight for hope and to invite everyone I know to fight with me to build God’s church by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit alone, for God’s glory alone!
We are so thankful for each person who has been on this journey with us. It is awesome to see what God has done in the last five years and I believe He is only getting started. Would you join with me in dreaming and praying and partnering together into the future here at VCMJ? I look forward to seeing what the next five years will be like!
Sola Deo Gloria,