Transitions

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 tells us that we stand on the Gospel, and by that Gospel we are being saved. Here we are, now residents of Shorewood Illinois! Emily and I are in shock at how within a few months, God spoke, laid out a path for us to walk on, has already brought us through trials, and has very firmly displayed His good pleasure and success as we have followed in a leap of faith. There is not word picture, illustration, or man-made way to communicate what it is like to be in the center of God’s will. It is not perfection, because we are not perfect. It is not stress free (definitely), nor is it sinlessness (because we are sinful creatures saved through Jesus Christ, not because of ourselves), nor is it a pattern or method of living one follows. If the Christian is praying, crying out to God to speak and guide him, saturating his day with the Bible (either morning or evening, and whenever in between), he is listening for God and can expect hear God.
In July, shortly after my last entry, we began the most daring leap of faith ever in either of our lives, at the time when we have the most to lose. This isn’t the first time we’ve responded to God’s call in a leap of faith. We moved from Chicago to Dallas 11 years ago, not having jobs there, not knowing anyone there, and saw God open up the doors for everything–far more than we prayed for. We learned that where God guides, He provides.
Now it’s not just the two of us, but our precious four little ones, ages 1-7, and we are answering God’s clear, loud call to plant a new church in Shorewood, IL, and to do that now. So October 1, we said goodbye to our church family in Darlington, WI, and moved to Shorewood.
God has provided financial supporters, pastors coming up to me and saying, like one pastor said, “Excuse me, are you going to plant a church in Joliet, IL?” Joliet and Shorewood hug each other on Joliet’s west side. I discovered he is a pastor here and they have been praying for a new church, and have people who have begun to work towards that in faith that God will answer their prayers. He and I will be having breakfast this week to strategize and pray together. That is one example of the new network God is adding on top of the existing network. Our former home church where Emily and I met and were married has already been very generous and is interested in a praying with us through this. Our relatives’ churches, and the church we are coming from in Darlington (FBC, praise God for you!) are praying with us–which means far more than any other kind of support.
God has brought us here to see missional community, centered around the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We’ve received so much encouragement, and so many friends and family have supported us with confidence that God will do great things in this new adventure. There also might be one or two watching who are thinking, “Nate and Emily can’t plant a church. He’s not qualified.” You can’t have Jesus without the Pharisees, Paul without the Judaizers, or a Pastor without whispering doubters. I would answer, “Yep. You’re right. Good thing Jesus said He would build His church, and I’m the most recent in a long line of unqualified people God has been using since way back in Abraham’s day, when He decided to start a nation with two geriatrics–a medical impossibility.” Again, thanks so much much to the dozens and dozens who have gone out of your way to assure us God is with us. We deeply appreciate your encouragement! Thanks most of all to God who is gracious and kind to use worthless tools like me, and that I am created “to do good works,” which He decided long ago He would have me do.
From here we pray desperately together with family and friends, and ask that you pray with us to seek God’s face. We need God to continue what He started, bringing together the right core people who share the vision for Gospel centrality and missional community, prayer warriors, and financial support. God has already brought together 50% of our financial support, and opened the doors for me to work PT. If you’re reading this, please pray for the lost here in Shorewood, that we would find them and introduce them to Jesus. It isn’t about me, my wife, or you, dear reader. It is all about knowing Jesus Christ and letting Him and what He has done for us change us daily. It is about sharing that also with the world.
Jesus said in Matthew 5, “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine among men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven.” 1 Cor 15 says this Gospel is on which we stand.
Pray for this new church–“The Stand,” holding up the light of Jesus in Shorewood, and standing on the Gospel alone. I’ll update again soon,
in Jesus,
Nate

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One thought on “Transitions

  1. Mark Ranum October 13, 2011 / 12:07 pm

    Go God! Annie and I will be praying daily for you, your family, and “The Stand”.

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