I officially resigned from the police department in the fall of 1984 and started my new student ministry assignment shortly after that. In May, 1985, my church held a special three-day spring convention, and several visiting pastors prayed and prophesied over Terese and me. (This is often referred to as the “laying on of hands.” 1 Timothy 4:14: Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.)
One of the pastors who prayed over us took Terese and me aside and said, “Hold onto this Word, pray it through, and prepare for it. God has called you to pastor your own church one day.”
That particular message was not what I expected to hear, and to be quite honest, it scared the life out of me! With just a few months into full-time ministry, pastoring my own church wasn’t even on my radar. At the time, I was involved in pastoral trial by fire, learning the dynamics of church work. I was simply trying to survive.
I wrote the message the pastor gave me down on paper (word for word) and tucked it away somewhere; over the next few years, I didn’t give it much thought. But then, in the fall of 1991, out of nowhere, the Spirit of the Lord began to remind me of the word that was prophesied six years earlier. At first it was just a subtle prompting, but then the call to plant a new church grew with intensity. At the exact time I was sensing the Spirit’s impression, Terese was getting the same message. So we started praying for divine guidance and God’s perfect timing.
One specific prayer both Terese and I prayed was for God to give us a confirming verse of scripture from the Bible. We prayed this kind of prayer before we made any major decision (and still do to this day). As I was praying that exact prayer one morning, I sensed the Lord’s uncommon blessing and anointing on a passage of scripture. The verse just came alive, and I knew beyond a shadow of doubt, God was confirming His call for us to begin CCC.
The passage God used is Proverbs 3:5-6.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him
and He will direct your path.
(or make your path straight.)
If you have ever heard me reference Proverbs 3:5-6 in the past, then you know I have identified it as a life verse. By that I mean this passage has a back story, it speaks to my own heart in a very personal and unique way… and maybe, just maybe, God put Proverbs 3:5-6 in the Bible just for me. Of course I’m kidding, we can all benefit from this truth; nevertheless, it was the precise inspiration God used to help Terese and me take a significant step of faith.
That step out into the unknown was not an easy or comfortable one. We were leaving an established and solid church with job security and a guaranteed paycheck. Tony and Chris were thirteen and eleven; they both played every sport you could possibly think of, and they always shopped for designer clothing and foot wear. Like their mother and grandmother, they had very expensive taste.
I had recently purchased a sporty vehicle the boys absolutely loved. It was a red, 1990 Chrysler Le Baron convertible. Prior to that car, we drove a little Chevy mini-station wagon. It was all dented up, and the boys would hide in the backseat and sink down to the floor so no one would see them riding in it. But after I bought the convertible, we would put the top down, and they would sit up as high as they could, waving like celebrities to all the neighbors as we drove by.
When we started the church at Burr Elementary School, I sold the convertible for backup cash. I put the $9000 into the bank just in case the new church plant couldn’t provide for us financially. We launched the church with just a handful of people, maybe 25 people, which included my family of four, my mother, mom and pops, and a few school mice. Somehow we always had just enough money to pay our bills along with the school building rent. We never had to touch the $9000 backup cash. God always provided for us—sometimes in a miraculous way!
Looking back, I really don’t know if I would have the faith today to repeat that same kind of move. On paper, it makes absolutely no sense… no sense until you add Proverbs 3:5-6 into the mix. Proverbs 3:5-6 teaches us that trusting God will always tip the scale in your favor.
Trust is one of the most powerful spiritual tools in your arsenal. Trust compels you to acknowledge God knows everything that concerns us. He is better equipped to handle every situation we face. Trusting God to lead and guide us through every life situation will enable us to enjoy the best possible outcome.
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in Him.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
The Lord is good,
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in Him.
But I trust in Your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in Your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for He has been good to me.