FACEBOOK HAS AN APP called “On This Day” which shows you what you posted on this day, one year, three years, however many years ago it was.
June 28th is kinda special to me. How so? Take a look at what happened today:
After being finger-printed, having my driver’s record checked for the past five years, enduring a physical exam upon my person (including going to the restroom with a little cup), taking five written tests, a 20 hour certification course, memorizing every part of the bus including the engine components, exhaust system, air brakes etc., and two months of driver’s training…I passed my school bus driving test! What? A school bus driver? Yes. And in Dripping Springs of all places, the city where I first planted a church after leaving Hope Chapel Hermosa Beach nearly four years ago.
Circumstances have arisen where I have to take a 2nd job in addition to pastoring my current church, launching my eldest daughter to Baylor U., and taking care of my family. (Someone asked me what I’m doing for the summer. I laughed.)
Now, see what has happened on this day over the last four years.
I posted the following on this day in 2013:
As I wrestle with this great decision that I have made for my family and I to go to Texas to plant a church, I have to admit it’s a challenge when I consider what lies ahead. Yet God speaks to me regularly through his Word and various devotionals. He used his servant Charles Spurgeon once again this morning to bring peace to my heart:
“When you waken in the morning look to Him; when you lie down at night look to Him. Do not let your hopes or fears come between you and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and he will never fail you. (From “Morning and Evening,” June 28)
The morning’s verse in my daily Bible reading was: Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; (Psalm 146:6-7)
Later in the afternoon I wrote on this blog, (and posted to Facebook), about my fear and trepidation of moving to a strange land, with strange customs, and moving far away from everything I’ve ever known.
The article was entitled, “I’m Never Leaving California” and the first sentence read: “I’m staying here forever.” (Read the post here.)
You see, exactly one week prior, at a Sizzler restaurant, I sat down to lunch with a friend who explained to me why he moved to Texas. At the end of his explanation he looked me straight in the eye and said, “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.” (Read about it here.)
As they say, the rest is history. Though I knew not what to do, I was moving to Texas to plant a church, Hope Chapel Hill Country.
I uprooted my family, said goodbye to my homeland, my church and my pension and received five guns as gifts. (Read the whole account here.)
Flash forward one year to June 28, 2014. “On this day” Facebook reminded me, I posted this:
FOR THOSE WHO MAY HAVE MISSED THE GOOD NEWS I posted yesterday, here it is again: Hope Chapel Hill Country will no longer be renting space from the dance studio as we have been doing since the first Sunday in January.
Nope. As of July 1st we are taking over the lease. Yep, we now have a home seven days a week. Please partner with me in prayer for forty souls.
Alas, those forty souls never materialized. I thought that having an official church space, with a big sign, Christ-honoring worship and expository preaching were enough to grow a church—and it is—just not Hope chapel Hill Country. We never grew beyond fifteen souls and a year later, in 2015, we had dropped down to just ten people—four were my family—and my financial support was ending in six months.
I thought God was calling me out of ministry. It was the blackest of times during a season in Texas that never saw much light in terms of ministry.
“On This Day” in 2015, I posted,
From my dead Pastor, Charles Spurgeon: “It is always the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus. But Satan’s work is just the opposite; he is constantly trying to make us look at ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, ‘Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you do not have the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold on Jesus.’ All these are thoughts about self, and we will never find comfort or assurance by looking within.
“But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing, but that Christ is everything. Remember, therefore, it is not your hold of Christ that saves you—it is Christ; it is not your joy in Christ that saves you—it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, although that is the instrument—it is Christ’s blood and merits.
“Therefore, do not look so much to your hand with which you are grasping Christ as to Christ; do not look to your hope but to Jesus, the source of your hope; do not look to your faith, but to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of your faith.”
I pity the atheist who does not know God and who would call all these messages from God on June 28th coincidences. These “God-incidences” were the only thing keeping me going day by day.
Day by day
Day by day
Oh, Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by day
I preached at Hope Chapel Hill Country on this day in 2015. After the service, two members, Roy and Chris Cruz, pulled me to the side and Roy said this: “Pastor Steve, the pastor of our old church just resigned today.” I made a phone call to an elder of the Cruz’ old fellowship, Community Church of the Hills, to see if they would consider me as a candidate to pastor their church.
The following Sunday was the was last time I preached at Hope Chapel Hill Country. (Read that account here.)
Today, June 28, 2016, I posted this on Facebook from my morning’s Bible reading: “Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” (Psalm 146:1-2)
And I will post this article to Facebook in the evening so that next year I will be reminded of God’s faithfulness.
Thank you Community Church of the Hills!!!