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Counting the Call’s Cost (“Moving On,” Pt.5)

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My family’s moving to Texas to plant a church soon. It started with a conversation at Sizzler with a friend. Though I never, EVER, wanted to start a church, God was urging me on. But first, I had to count the cost. (Start the series by clicking here.)

“Steve, you have been trained for fifteen years with pay at Hope Chapel; it’s time to move on.”

This statement by my friend Kevin rang in my ears. He was right. God had given me so much during my tenure at Hope Chapel…it has indeed been a 15-year-long seminar training!

But how would my family react to such a radical change of life?

I asked my wife about it. Amazingly, God had “strangely warmed her heart” to the idea of moving. She was excited about the possibilities of going to Texas; and besides, there was the opportunity for Karen to have a lifelong dream fulfilled: owning a horse!

How about my 11 and 14-year-olds? Unbelievably, they, too, were ready to make a change, though this meant leaving all their friends. I never thought they would want to go, but God had warmed their hearts, too.

And me? I had a lot to give up…and more than a few doubts. I prayed and thought about this decision all weekend after my fateful Friday feast at Sizzler with my friend. Moving to Texas meant no more One Trip Salad Bars. Possibly, no more salad bars at all. Do they even eat salads in Texas?

Just like Abram I was called by God to “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you…So Abram went, as the Lord had told him…”

Just like Peter and Andrew, I was called to leave everything behind.  “Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”

Just like Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth: Jesus said, “Follow me,” and Matthew got up and followed him.

Unlike all those men, it was not so immediate with me; I had to weigh the pros and cons. I sat down on Monday morning to write a list in my ManCave.

The facts were clear:

  • My Pastor, Zac (also my boss), had been gently suggesting that I should start a church. I would always firmly resist. It seemed that the time may have finally arrived to launch.
  • We had lived in our first home for two years. We could now sell without paying Capital Gains taxes.
  • Home prices were rising, and our home’s value had increased.
  • The Los Angeles environment was a lousy one for raising girls.
  • The standard of living here is too high.
  • California is a liberal (so frustrating), atheistic culture. Texas is a conservative, Jesus culture.

My concerns included:

  • Leaving a job I love with good pay and benefits. (Though I would be supported for at least one year.)
  • Losing my pension that was due in five years.
  • Could I even start a church?
  • I hate heat. It’s hot in Texas.
  • What if I failed? How would I support my family?

I ended up writing twenty-one reasons for going and just six for staying. Two of those reasons for remaining had the word “comfortable” in them.

Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

This was a decision of faith, and without faith it is impossible to please God.

I knew what I had to do.

Click here for Part 6
where I received six very clear
confirmations that this was the right decision.

17 Comments

  1. Texas — it’s not like CA, but we have our atheists and liberals, too — just not as many.

    Yes, it’s hot. Thank the Lord for AC!

    A good place to raise girls — yep!

    Pension? Not unimportant, but treasure in heaven is more important. Giving up “little” things is wise, to gain that which is greater.

    Yes, you can get a salad (to go with your BBQ). 🙂

    Most importantly, the “good” people of Texas need to hear about sin and salvation, just like everyone else. We’re glad you’re coming!

  2. “California is a liberal (so frustrating), atheistic culture. Texas is a conservative, Jesus culture.”

    Austin is very liberal…. Sort of like the San Francisco of Texas…

  3. But King Perry is right up your alley. He is totally opposed to democracy and totally for Theocracy.

  4. yep they have lots of salads here in TX 🙂 (and salad bars). If anything, I think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised with the food available. As far as shopping goes, here in Houston, we have a Sprouts (just like Henry’s/Boney’s) Market, a Trader Joe’s (several), an Aldi, and a lot of other good places. (you’ll probably frequent HEB and Whole Foods). I miss my In ‘n Out burger, but you can always drive over to Dallas if you really need one.. hopefully they expand out to Houston and Austin soon. I’ve found cost of living much lower in TX vs. SoCal. Lots of good stuff here in TX. Most importantly, the harvest field..

  5. Hi Steve!
    I am so excited for you and your family and what God has called you to do! (No chance you might have misheard God and you aren’t supposed to move to, say, upstate NY to start a church is there? Just kidding!) Reading your account of how God warmed your heart to the idea of moving to TX reminded me of my drive to Schroon Lake, two years ago, when God changed my heart about moving back to NY. God confirmed that warming of my heart in so many ways over the next few weeks and that confirmation has been my “go to” place whenever I have doubts about my decision. Just as God told Israel to build alters with stones to commemorate great victories that God accomplished for them, so these confirmations of His moving in my heart have been a reminder to me of God’s faithfulness to carry out to completion what He has started. So even though there are MANY days when I SO miss CA and my friends and family there I have full confidence in knowing that I am right where God has placed me. Cling to those confirmations when the “warming” of your heart for TX wanes. 🙂

  6. Glad you made your list! It’s always important to count the cost when the stakes are high!

  7. God bless you, will be praying for you in Canada.

  8. Thanks brother Steve,

    Your decision making process in this blog will be useful to so many later when they too realize God’s hand upon their life for a service change too.

    I have learned much and am grateful.

    Be ever blessed… and Happy Trails!

  9. Hey Steve… it is a dry heat, so no problem 🙂

    BTW… Tim Dane in Colorado Springs says HI!

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