Australia, Church planting, Faith, God Speaks, Lift Church, Uncategorized

Our American-Aussie Team

If you know me, you know I’m an extrovert; I like having people around for everything!  When Greg and I committed  to plant a church in Australia, one of our first prayers was that God would send people with us so that we wouldn’t have to journey alone.  I envisioned these people would be from Australia, not America.

Well, lo and behold, THREE families and one single young adult are moving to Australia to help plant Lift Church.  I can’t believe it!  Why is it that when I pray for something and it happens, I am often surprised that God really heard me?  I think about Peter when he saw Jesus walking on water toward his boat in the middle of the night.  Peter specifically asked God to allow him to walk on water too.  Jesus answered his prayer and even in the midst of the miracle, Peter began to doubt.  As he started sinking, Jesus asked him, “Why did you doubt me?”

From the beginning, when these families told us God had been speaking to them about Australia, we would smile and encourage them (answer to our prayers).  However, Greg and I would secretly feel like it couldn’t possibly be.  I mean, how would they get visas?  One family has a toddler and a baby on the way.  Two of the families have FOUR kids each.  How would they get jobs?  The questions were endless.  Walking on water seemed more likely to happen than this!  I truly thought their excitement would wear off and they wouldn’t actually follow through.  Call me doubting Thomas.

A major breakthrough built my faith while we were in Australia in November.  One family who was visiting with us sent the husband into a recruiting agency while we were walking down the street.  After 45 minutes, he came out grinning ear to ear.  Industry is booming (check out this blog) in Newcastle.  There’s no doubt that he and the other guys can get jobs.  The recruiter will help them get visas and the company who hires them might even pay for the move!  The guys have since had a Skype interview to talk about their qualifications and hiring potential.

After all of this walking on water, my excitement is sometimes like a roller coaster.  I take a step of faith and get excited about how much quicker things will move with a team by our side.  Then, a storm comes and I start to sink.  Hurdles show up out of nowhere like when one of our couples had a close family member receive a cancer diagnosis.  This seemed like it would halt their plans to come.  All of this made me feel like the grandiose visions were just fantasy.  I mean really.  Are we all having an early mid-life crisis? No sooner than I put my eyes on Jesus taking a step out into that water, I doubt again, thinking when the rubber hits the road, they may not actually come.

Our little team has been meeting as a group and every time, someone brings news about how God is confirming the decision to go.  We started the year praying and fasting for 21 days.  After the fast, we gathered for a night of prayer and worship and God moved powerfully continuing to shore up our faith.  These families are making daily choices to move themselves in the direction of Australia.  One family of SIX whose lease on a 3500 square foot home ended in December downsized to a two bedroom apartment (with FOUR KIDS) saving money and beginning the purging process this move will require.

Needless to say, I believe they are all coming!

As we are in the very midst of a miracle in our own lives, Greg and I are humbled that these wonderful people are picking up their lives and moving to the other side of the world to help us fulfill the vision God has given us for Lift Church.  It comes with great responsibility and we take it very seriously.  We will go even if they do not.  But we are thankful God heard our prayers!  We are doing our best to keep our eyes on Jesus as we step out of the boat.

You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas. Psalm 65:5

Church planting, God Speaks, Inspiration, religious

It Seemed Good to Me!

From February to April, Greg and I prayed and talked privately about all that God was stirring in us concerning this awesome call to plant a church.  You have to know that at this point in the journey, although we knew we had heard from God, we were wrestling with the news.  Depending on the day of the week, we were scared, doubtful, hesitant, thrilled, or ready.  Some of our doubts centered around the fact that we feel so small to be called to something so BIG!  We were like Moses in Exodus 3 as he lamented, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”  We were asking, “Who are WE that we would be called to THIS important task of planting a church?”

We don’t have Bible college degrees.  We weren’t raised in Christian homes.  We can’t lead worship or play any instruments (every church planter we know seems to be musically inclined)!  And besides, Hillsong has Australia covered, right?  Every disqualifying factor we could come up with plagued us.

Once again, when we bring our concerns and petitions to the Lord, He is so faithful to respond.  On April 6, at the ARC church planters conference in Baton Rouge, Greg was encouraged about his specific perspective, personality, and purpose in Australia.  Ironically, our very own Pastor Joe was preaching when the revelation came!

In Luke chapter 1, Luke uses the phrase, “It seemed good to me” as he talks about giving his specific account of Jesus and the gospel.  Luke was a physician, not a Bible school graduate)!  He brought a different angle and perspective than Matthew, Mark, and John to what they witnessed.  Have you ever wondered why there are four gospels?  Why did God want four accounts of the same time and events surrounding Jesus’ life?  EVERY testimony is important and unique.  EVERY story of Jesus touching a life matters and should be told, including yours and mine.

Greg has an amazing life transforming testimony of what God has done in his life.  He moved to America as a 19 year old Atheist who had never seen a Bible.  He felt he had no need for God, that he was quite capable of managing himself; he believed anyone who put his trust in a God he couldn’t see must be weak in himself.  At age 26, Greg stepped out in faith and was radically changed forever as he accepted Christ as his Savior.  He has never been the same and the quick work God has done to raise him up and use him to influence and change lives is amazing to witness.  His passion for the local church and his willingness to obey God in every area of his life is awesome!

Greg and I, just like you, have a story that needs to be told.  There are 22 million people in Australia.  Millions of them do not have a personal relationship or revelation of Christ.  It seems good to us to bring our account of the gospel to Australia.  We believe it will be used to impact thousands of lives as we plant a church.

God’s response to Moses as he questioned his call was, “I will certainly be with you.”  God is certainly with us.  Nothing is too big for God!