No Turning Back

Today is a landmark day for Greg and me.  It ends our time on staff at Celebration Church as well as our time as distributors in AdvoCare.  Both have had significant impact on who we are as leaders, pastors, and entrepreneurs.  Both provided us with community and relationships that will last a lifetime.  Both have given us fulfillment and purpose.  To close the door on those two chapters in the same day feels somewhat like we have closed one of those huge floor-to-ceiling bank vaults; neither of us have the code to re-open it.  No turning back.

All day, I have been singing the old hymn:

I have decided to follow Jesus

Verse 1:

I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus.
I have decided to follow Jesus;
no turning back, no turning back.

Verse 2:
Though none go with me, still I will follow,
though none go with me, still I will follow.
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
no turning back, no turning back.

Verse 3:
The world behind me, the cross before me,
the world behind me, the cross before me.
The world behind me, the cross before me;
no turning back, no turning back.

The words are significant and powerful. I feel like we are jumping off a cliff into an unknown abyss.  No turning back!  Whether anyone goes with us, still we will follow.  No turning back!  Soon, Texas will be behind us.  Only the cross, our calling, and Australia will be before us.  No turning back!

Sometimes “following Jesus” scares us because of what we think we will have to leave behind or give up.  What we don’t realize is great peace comes in knowing you are right in the center of God’s will for your life.  For every thing I can think of that we are giving up (and trust me, I’ve thought of them all; there are a lot), I can think of 5 possible replacements God might have in store. As a matter of fact, Ephesians chapter 3 promises that God has more planned for us than we can even think up or imagine.  That’s exciting considering I have a great imagination!

The Bible tells us to “deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him.”  This is contrary to everything the world encourages us to do.  Hollywood, TV, and self-help books will tell us to “follow our hearts” or to do what makes us happy.  We are encouraged to deny ourselves nothing.

Did you know God created each of us for a purpose?  Whatever your “gift and passion” are, they were given to you by God Himself.  He desires nothing more than for you to step into that passion and change the world for Him.  Taking up our cross and denying ourselves just means deciding that even if His path seems less convenient or harder, we are willing.  It means that even if we initially feel ill-equipped and worried about the details, we will follow Him anyway.

You can bet moving across the world feels quite inconvenient.  It feels hard and lonely.  I feel like I have no business “starting a church” when I don’t even exhibit the “fruit of the spirit” in my own four walls when it comes to patience with my kids.  Even though the Bible tells me not to worry, you can bet I’ve been up half the night more than once worrying about finances, schools, my kids, losing my friends, and more.

The thought of not walking in my calling far outweighs the weight of all this.  The thought of looking back at my life and knowing I let fear or worry stop me from taking a leap of faith with God is unbearable.

To know that the God of the universe, the ONE who created me, has given Greg and me vision, desire, and training for Lift Church outweighs the sadness I feel about closing that vault.  I remind myself that if God is for me who can be against me ?  This propels me to jump off the cliff.  Knowing there are hurting people living in Newcastle whose lives and eternities will be changed because of our obedience makes me want to run forward as fast as I can.  No turning back, no turning back!

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9 thoughts on “No Turning Back

  1. Stacy –
    I have been reading your posts on a hit and miss basis. But every time I read one, it is exactly what I need. This one especially!

    I have been dealing with changes that parallel on a MUCH smaller scale but changes none the less that come as a result of stepping out and following His call.

    This one hit home so much it brought tears. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, fears, and especially your heart.

    Love
    Amanda Willeford

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    1. Amanda, so good to hear from you! Thank you for your comment. Sometimes I write just to build myself up and remind myself of what I know to be true but don’t necessarily feel at the moment. I’m glad this post encouraged you. So thankful for social networking so we can always stay in touch. You have played a part in helping me become the person I am today! Love you tons! S

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  2. Hi Stacy,

    You are an inspiration to me. I will be praying for you and your family. I would like to keep in touch.

    I want to come visit you in Australia at your church. I assume you can be reached on facebook.

    Warm regards
    Tim and Terri Masters

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    1. I was JUST thinking of calling you last week, Tim to ask you some questions about defending my faith with someone. I want to pick your brain some time! We aren’t leaving for a few months so maybe we can get together again soon! Love you and Terri. You can subscribe to the blog to stay in touch with what’s happening with us but I will also be on Facebook!! Much love! S

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  3. Onion soup mix
    Beef broth
    Chicken tortilla soup cans
    Chicken
    Eggs
    Cheese

    Maybe that’s why I’ve been thinking about y’all. Ps. Greg’s words Sunday morning have echo’d in my spirit this week, “No throw-away Sundays!”. I’m believing & witnessing God’s plan & a purpose for your lives. Although, I speak for everyone when I say, we miss seeing you every Sunday it is undeniable how God’s timing is perfect & He moves(ed) greatly in the planning of Celebration campuses. Your obedience is inspiring. Love you guys so very much & honored to walk with you in Christ Jesus!! Mxo

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  4. Stacey, just read all your posts, you are so inspiring with your thoughts on the church. It is for those same reasons exactly-a passion fopr the local church that Ron and I at ages 38 -slightly older than you are doing it) turned our lives around and with a group of friends started our local church Generations tatura- We didnt have to travel over the seas but we had to travel against our whole families advice and endure their disbelief and ridicule. But look whats happened 22 years later-a vibrant strong community changing local church , all rons family including nephews, neices, brothers and sisters following Jesus and mine one by one embracing him. So it thrills my heart so much to know that You and Greg are passionate sold out followers of the lord jesus Christ who love and undersand local church. We are praying for you both and your family and know that he is able to do immeasurably more than you are able to imagine -and will , and we will be your greatest cheerleaders as you fulfill the great call God has placed on your lives-Newcastle is waiting for you , your Australian family loves and is cheering you on , you are just what newcastle needs-we are going to, love seeing you at national conference 2013 love Susan and Ron

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