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In the Land of Milk and Honey and Giants (Moving On!, Pt. 9)

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God gave me all the confirmations I needed to take the step of faith and move my family to Texas to start a church. My Pastor approved us to go there to spy out  the land, so we flew on out. What did we find? (Click here to start at part 1)

We found the people of Dripping Springs, Texas, to be warm, friendly and extremely courteous. They are moral, believe in God, but may not have a correct understanding as to what he requires. It is a conservative area, and as far as I was able to tell, atheism has not yet raised its ugly head.

As we were warned, it is hot in Texas. Being a SoCal beach guy, I’m used to 70 degree weather in the summer, so this was a concern. Still, it was a dry heat that hovered in the 90s, and not too bad. My wife constantly carried her jacket with her though. Why? Air conditioning in every building. Nice!

The Hill Country is beautiful! It looks like the rolling hills along the central coast of California except for two differences: There are 90% more trees and 99% more deer! On one lawn alone I counted forty-five of them! People actually have deer fences to keep them out of their yards and vehicles are girded with bumper deer guards. There are so many of them that the locals consider them vermin.

Before arriving in Drippin’, as the locals call it, Karen and I each got this verse:

Acts 17:26—From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.

We both knew that where we live would be entirely in God’s hands. Our hope was to find a home on this first “spy” trip as well.

We did.

Because my friend, Kevin—whom God used to start this whole adventure—bought three acres, a pool and a forty mile view, I wanted acres, a pool and a place to raise a horse or two. Every man wants land!

We found a home that had two acres, a stable, lots of trees and a pool, made an offer—and it was accepted—on the very same day our home in Long Beach fell out of Escrow!

No deal.

As we reflected on it, we would have had to put a lot of time and money to get that house in livable condition. This was God’s doing.

We left the Hill Country on Sunday, but not before we went to church. The message was from Acts 17, the chapter that held our promise that God “marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.”

We left assured that He would provide.

Two weeks later, our Long Beach home was in Escrow again; Karen flew to Texas again; and we put an offer on another house. Again. This one had only one-and a-half acres—fully fenced—, but no pool. Still, we could fulfill my kids’ and Karen’s dream to have horses and goats and llamas—oh my!

But it failed the inspection…miserably. It had a bad well, the roof needed lots of work—we decided that we didn’t want to spend all our time on a fixer-upper. This would have been a money pit, Mr. Blandings Dream House. What? Never heard of that old film? A man and his wife decide they can afford to have a house in the country, but they are conned into buying a miserable old shack. They decide to build their own home, but encounter tons of trouble.

No thanks. No deal.

You may be thinking: Why didn’t you just rent and buy a home later? The rental market is almost impossible; there are no rentals….

What’s the hurry? We wanted an opportunity for our little girls to be settled in time for school so that they may be a little better acclimated to their new life. But we needed a home!

In a devotional I was reading, the verse was from Numbers 13:33—“There we saw the giants.”

And there were many. Giants of the mind. Huge, “What if” giants. “Fear of failure” giants. “Relational giants.” You cannot engage this type of stress without a little friction among those you love. “Doubt giants.” “Frustration giants.” All very real, very large and multiplied tenfold, a hundred-fold, a thousand-fold—these giants could be as large, varied and endless—as many as my mind could create them!

The devotional said:

Yes, they saw the giants, but Caleb and Joshua saw God! Those who doubt say, “We be not able to go up.” Those who believe say, “Let us go up at once and possess it, for we are well able.”

Giants stand for great difficulties; and giants are stalking everywhere. They are in our families, in our churches, in our social life, in our own hearts; and we must overcome them or they will eat us up, as these men of old said of the giants of Canaan. The men of faith said, “They are bread for us; we will eat them up.” In other words, “We will be stronger by overcoming them than if there had been no giants to overcome.”

Now the fact is, unless we have the overcoming faith we shall be eaten up, consumed by the giants in our path. Let us have the spirit of faith that these men of faith had, and see God, and He will take care of the difficulties.

I resolved to press on and trust God. If I turned back because of the giants, I would be like the ten spies who caved into their fears.

Our Long Beach home is still in Escrow and we made an offer on a third home. This time: no pool, only a quarter of an acre, and no zoning for horses. I put away my dreams of being a land baron; my girls cried that they couldn’t have their own horses.

And no pool.

But this home was only five years old! We would not have to worry about fixing up a house; God called us to build His church. Will the third time be the charm?

Karen left for Texas again, Wednesday morning, July 31—to accompany the home inspector.

Four weeks later, the movers came and took our stuff to Dripping Springs. We got the house! My family flew out a few days after and I joined them at the end of September.

What happened next? Read the conclusion in part 10 by clicking here.

10 Comments

  1. I know many are praying for your new venture!

  2. Hmmm… Sorry about the 2nd house. What were those three D’s Pastor Zac preached on a few weeks back: Discouragement, Distractions and Detractors. All I can offer is Matthew 6:33: “Seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be given to you as well.”

    Praying that your house here in Long Beach stays in Escrow this time and the sale goes through. This third house sounds nice, even if the acreage isn’t there. Hold onto those dreams – the Lord can make them happen in HIS way! For Jesus!

  3. Praying for you and your girls. Change is tough, but God has brought you this far and He’s not just going to give up now. He will provide, even if it’s not the place of your dreams, it will be the place of His dreams. Maybe down the road the girls will be able to get a horse. Maybe there will be a friend that has extra land and they can keep the horse there? Who knows? Only God. And I thank you for all your posts of your endeavors. They have taught and helped me in my trials and tribulations too! God bless you Steve and Karen and DD and Laurel! Y’all will be missed! Hopefully the kids and I can come visit sometime as we have family & friends in Waco (not too far from Dripping Springs.)

  4. The Lord will place you where he wants you and when. He has your best interests at heart, even if, or especially when, we do not necessarily like His provision at the onset. Blessings are a comin’. Praying for y’all.

  5. Steve, we will miss you soo much! Excited to see what the Lord will do. God has called you to build a church and a fixer-upper would definately be a distraction and detractor! He knows what you need and when you put His will above your own, He honors that. He knows the desires of your hearts and He enjoys doing the unexpected!

  6. Have you thought about homeschooling the girls? There would be no hurry to get there before school starts that way. Thank you for writing about this matter Pastor Steve. It’s been a tremendous encouragement for me regarding the possibility of future adventures.

    • Our kids have been homeschooled their entire lives. This is going to be a big change, Ryan. The school is rated in the top 10 in the nation with class sizes of 14 to 1. It’s an experiment….

  7. I moved here to Austin 3 1/2 yrs. ago from El Segundo with my husband and teenage daughter. I hated leaving my church family there at Hope Chapel.
    Recently I got a message from my dear friends Mark and Tina Haley to inform me of your moving here to start a church. I couldn’t believe it! That’s great! I’d love to come out there and see “ya’ll”. When is this happening? ~Anne

  8. great testimony steve, hope and pray the best for you and family, i’m going to be continuing in prayer and supplications about my future and my service with the Lord, hoping to possibly joining you soon, Lord willing, supporting your vision for Christ, community, and families, john.

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