Today I felt a strong nudge to write a blog. I thought of a few topics I could write about but nothing really inspired me. But the feeling just wouldn’t leave me. Then I glanced down at the calendar on my computer and noticed the date: February 20th. I instantly knew why I felt the nudge I felt.
February 20, 2011 is the date our church began holding weekly church services. We called it our “Grand Opening” and what was comical about that day is southeastern Michigan got bombed with 10 inches of snow that came down in a fury about two hours before our service started. So besides Kellie, Faith, Evelyn, and me, there weren’t that many others in attendance! So we called the following Sunday “Grand Opening 2.0” and things have been going great ever since. Jesus is building HIS church!
So on the 2nd anniversary of our weekly launch I felt led to take a trip down memory lane. Here’s the key verse that frames what I am about to write…. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:7). In order for The Eastside Vineyard Church to have today’s anniversary date, Psalm 20:7 had to become very real to me and to Kellie. Let me explain…
Almost three years ago, Kellie and I heard the unmistakable call of God to plant a church. But in order to say YES to that, I had to leave behind my job at Kensington Church. I worked on their pastoral staff for over 8 years and in the process I started to trust in some “chariots” and “horses” as a result of being an employee of Kensington:
- a paycheck that I received twice per month without fail
- a health insurance plan that saved me from personal bankruptcy during my 25 day hospitalization back in 2009
- a company issued laptop
- an office with a door and not just a cubicle
- a good job title — “Director of Spiritual Formation” – at a church that was regularly in the Top 100 churches in America (according to weekend attendance) per Outreach magazine.
While none of the above are necessarily bad things, I realized they had become “chariots” and “horses” to me — things I put my trust in, instead of trusting in God. And in order to say YES to God’s call to plant a church I had to leave all of those things behind.
So Kellie and I said YES…and as a result a bunch of “chariots” and “horses” were replaced solely with trust in the name of the LORD our God. We had nothing else.
And God has proven Himself to be faithful.
As I write this The Eastside Vineyard Church is thriving in Shelby Township. We have an absolutely amazing core team of tireless volunteers. People are pursuing Jesus. Authentic community is happening. The poor are being served. We are making a dent in the fight against human trafficking. We are believing God for big things when we pray. Small groups, individuals, and families are showing God’s love in practical ways across southeastern Michigan. We are even sending folks from our church on our first-ever mission trip to Brazil this summer.
So that is my story. What’s yours? What “chariots” and “horses” are you trusting in more than you are trusting in God? Take some time to reflect and think about that. But don’t just think and reflect…do something about it.
*** Join us this Sunday at The Eastside Vineyard Church. My sermon is titled “House” Cleaning and will focus on the story of Jesus clearing the temple in Matthew 21:12-17. We are going to dig deep into the Jewish aspects of this text, details that are easy to miss as American Christians. So bring your thinking caps! Plus, as always, there will be worship, communion, and an opportunity to receive 1-on-prayer. February 24. 10:30am. More info at tevchurch.org***