The Next Great Adventure


He didn’t hesitate with a lack of faith in God’s promise, but he grew strong in faith and gave glory to God. He was fully convinced that God was able to do what he promised. Therefore, it was credited to him as righteousness. // Romans 4:20-22

After many months of prayer, discernment, and conversations with close friends and mentors, Christina and I have decided that our family will be moving to Mesa, AZ this summer as we follow Jesus into our next great adventure.

What this means for us:  We will be moving to Mesa to live with and near family as I become a full-time student working to complete my masters degree through Fuller Seminary and Christina will be preparing to work full-time as an elementary teacher. As a full-time student I will be able to complete my masters degree program within 18-24 months which will significantly expedite timeline for finishing seminary. We will be leaving July 17 to spend a week at Forest Home for family camp. After our week at camp, Christina and the girls will continue on to Mesa and I will fly back up to continue to work with MVPC until August 15.

How we arrived at this decision: For a number of years Christina and I have talked and dreamed about a time when we could live closer to family. We have also long talked about how we can better position ourselves to be able make a more concerted effort finishing my masters degree in a more timely and financially viable fashion. These conversations began to gain more traction during this past year as we began experiencing a lot of chaos and change. A lot of this chaos has been really exciting, such as new staffing at MVPC and new ministry opportunities. Christina had been working with a lot of clients and was even asked to interview for a full-time teaching job at the school she has been working at the past four years. Along with these, there is the natural exciting chaos that comes with our two amazingly strong, gifted, and full-of-life daughters. In the midst of the exciting chaos, there has been a lot of difficulty. The high cost of living of the Bay Area continued to takes its toll and Christina and I have experienced our most difficult year of marriage yet, feeling the effects of what we call, “six years of deferred maintenance”.

In February we knew, one way or another, life next year was going to look drastically different. I have long believed that chaos is a tale-tell sign that God is preparing to create something new (see Genesis 1:1-3) so we started to explore on ever opportunity, possibility, and plan we could think of for what could be next. In the midst of this there have been trusted friends and mentors who we have sat, prayed, cried, and rejoiced with as we have examined our hearts and motives in this decision-making process. Through this all, we have continually been affirmed that this move to Arizona is God’s best for us right now.

There are two things we want to emphasize in this decision: the degree of peace and certainty we share in this decision and the extent to which we are convinced this is what God has set for us. This has been one of the most difficult decisions we have made as a couple because it means we are choosing to move away from our comfortable and quantifiable life. (Evan: Full-time ministry with “bigger & better” new ministry opportunities ahead of me. Christina: three years of building a client base & reputation as a Birth Doula as well as a full-time teaching position. For our Familyfriends, family, communities, and traditions we love here in California).

So we make this move, “fully convinced that God was able to do what he promised” like Abraham when he followed God’s invitation to believe in a promise. We are trusting God with my career, we are trusting God with Christina’s career, we are trusting God with our daughters’ future, and we are trusting God with our marriage. He has promised to be our provider, sustainer, refuge, joy and our abundance. We see these next few years as an opportunity to have front row seats as God shows himself to be all these things and so much more.

We are not espousing or believing in a “prosperity gospel” that would promise us trouble-free wealth, health, and happiness as an exchange for making this move. We know there are going to be difficulties & times of doubt. We know there isn’t a guarantee that we will have “a bigger & better life” the moment we cross the Arizona state line or when I receive my masters.  However, we do believe we are accepting a great invitation that will position us to experience God’s glory in ways we could never ask or imagine and that is worth everything to us! 

 

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Pursuing the God I had once found


The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after Him; and all the time we are pursuing Him we are already in His hand: “Thy right hand upholdeth me.” | A.W. Tozer

What if our theology, our understanding of who God is, allowed for a belief that our own recognition of being distant from God or that we have a distinct need for him, wasn’t an indication of our failure to be in relationship with God but rather an indication of God’s pursuit of us?

For years, and I confess that recently, I have harbored a fair amount of guilt and stress in when i feel is an inability to clearly distinguish the voice or specific presence of God in my own life. I have felt that the pursuit of God is a long lonely journey one can only do on their own. Yes, community is essential in the encouragement of the pursuit, but the walk, like Frodo can only be done my yourself upon your own strength.

A.W. Tozer is teaching me that the desire to seek God is in fact our great hope that we will surely find him! Hebrews 12 tells us that Jesus is both the Initiator and Perfecter of our faith. So the simple fact we have the inclination to seek God, is proof that the God we seek has already chosen to be found by us. Once God initiates our desire to seek him, we are then carried along a path of being perfected. I’m learning this works on the macro and micro levels of our lives. On the macro level, I sought after Jesus when I was 15. When I found him I began a life long journey of being perfected in Christ, which will culminate in my entrance of his Kingdom when this life ends or he returns. On the micro level, there are many circumstances and instances where I feel I desperately need to know where Jesus is and what God has for my next step from day to day or year to year. I have long been discouraged by the feeling I have that I have not been able to see or hear him at times. Yet, as A.W. Tozer has helped me see, the hope I hold to now as I seek to find the God I have already found is that it is God himself who has initiated my seeking and will make himself known as he holds me in my search. What grace there is in the father who calls us to seek him and holds us close as we seek him!

Instant Gratification, Later.


Man – this was a great reminder as I am starting my new goals and crafting vision for a new year!

Uncomfortable Middle

Best. Invention. Ever. How do you make the happiest place on earth even happier? Give me a “Get-out-of-line-jail-free” pass also known as the Fast Pass! I haven’t been to Disneyland a whole lot but I’m still amazed that there’s a machine that punches you a ticket to come back and go straight to the front of the line! Seriously, where was this in 5th grade when they sold pepperoni sticks and popcorn during lunch recess? I can’t tell you how many kickball games I missed for that one lousy pepperoni stick.

As I’ve been thinking about Lent I continually run into the same questions. “Why do I have to go through 40 days of _________ before Easter? Can’t I just show up on Easter and celebrate like everyone else?” Great point – if life, faith, and transformation were created by Disney with Fast Pass machines at every fork in life’s…

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Prayer Matters


Prayer Matters

In my office I have significant pictures, notes, or cards hanging on my wall. This is a 3×5 card my wife wrote for me while we were dating. These prayers, images, and words have soaked, seeped, and washed me for the past 6 years. Prayer matters. Letting people know what you’re praying and hearing shapes lives.