My plans are to move to Texas with my family in the next few months to plant a church. I never, ever, ever—Never!—wanted to do this. What changed my mind? A conversation with a friend at Sizzler on June 21, a Friday afternoon…. (Read the beginning of this story by clicking here.)
I sat down to lunch with our former Hope Chapel CPA, a gifted man, not given to flights of fancy or whimsical notions, and listened as he explained why he suddenly moved to the Austin area of Texas.
Here’s what he said:
“Around the end of last year I felt that God was telling me to move Austin. I didn’t know why but I told him that he would have to change my wife’s heart first. When we married, she said that she was born in L. A. and was going to die in L. A. A few months later, she felt that she should quit her job to stay home with the kids now that they were of high school age. So, I gave a couple month’s notice that I was leaving Hope Chapel, but didn’t know what I was going to do yet.
“I was told that I should contact the senior partner of the company that does Hope Chapel’s financial auditing to let him know I was leaving, since we had a fairly close working relationship. I said I would drop him an email. Next thing I know, he called out of the blue and I was put on the line with him. I told him that I was moving to the Austin area…then the phone went silent for a few seconds. “Kevin,” the senior partner replied, “we have been trying to open an office in Austin for the last six months but no one has the right accounting credentials for Texas.” It just so happened that I had those credentials.
“After moving, I needed to find some churches who could use our services and counted on our denomination to help out. I had a meeting with the District Supervisor who was very enthusiastic with the fact that we help churches with accounting and auditing needs, but never heard back from him. That ended up being a dead lead.
“So I prayed: ‘Lord, if you want me to get started up here you will have to provide the leads so I can start up this office in Austin.”
“A few days after I was driving on the highway and pulled over to buy some peaches at a road stand. We talked awhile and I told the peach sellers what I did. They said they could help me because they knew the man who is the Director of Baptist Missions in Texas. I thought, Yeah, right…
“The next day the peach sellers called to tell me that they had set up a meeting with the Director and that he was excited to meet me. We met and he was excited. It turns out that the peach sellers had helped the Director during a difficult time in his life and he trusted them. He said he was booked with meetings for the entire year, but because of his love for the peach sellers, he would meet me. At the end, he promised to introduce me to many pastors of Baptist churches—and even offered me the use of his offices—for free!”
At this point, Kevin the CPA dropped his fork and looked me square in the eye. “Steve, I listened to God’s call and wanted to obey him when he told me to move to Austin, Texas. I complained that I preferred the country, so here I am in Dripping Springs. Abraham left everything he knew to follow the call of God. Sarah was used to being pampered and getting her nails done, but she, too, followed.
“Steve, we have lots of good people up here who believe in God—it’s Jesus country—but we also have a lot of liberal churches. We need someone who is evangelical. We need someone who can tell them the true way to be saved, especially the good people.”
Then came the clincher: “Steve, you have been trained for fifteen years with pay at Hope Chapel; it’s time to move on.”
In the 18th century John Wesley stood in a crowd listening to a street preacher in Aldersgate, London, but wasn’t very interested in the sermon. “Suddenly, my heart was strangely warmed,” he wrote in his journal. After that fateful day, Wesley became one of the greatest preachers the world has ever known.
My heart felt the same way after listening to my friend Kevin. An excitement built within me. I reasoned that I may have twenty more years to build the kingdom of God. Why not try now?
Now was the time to pray and write down the pros and cons of such a move….