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.