We spied out the land—our scouting trip to St. Louis
Michele and I flew to St. Louis last week. It was a very fruitful trip. We went there with the goal of discerning where we should live and launch the church. We prayed a bunch, confirmed the general location, met a handful of awesome people, drove for days all over the city and county, ate really good food, and got a good feel for the city. One of our favorite conversations was with a lady named Deborah. She is a “prayer warrior” who has been praying for God to bring people to the city. For those of you who want to Google it, we sensed to start in the center of the city or near mid county (places like central west end, university city, clayton and such). We don’t know where exactly, but are doing some more research and prayer to narrow it down now that we have seen the city and sense from the Lord. We are also working on a plan and a timeline—I’ll keep you up to date.
It was, in some ways, an exhausting trip. I think I felt just about every emotion—joy, sorrow, excitement, fear. At times what we saw, felt, and experienced was overwhelming but we chose to walk by faith and not by sight.
Like Joshua and Caleb (the two spies) I declared, “If He delights in us, He will give us the land!”
Remember when God sent 12 spies in the land He had promised the people of Israel (the story is recorded in Numbers 13-14)? God wanted them to spy out the land and come back with a good report for the people. Two spies came back full of faith ready to take the land. They told the people we are “more than capable” and “if God delights in us he will give us the land”. But the other ten spies brought a bad report. They told the people the land is a good land but there are giants. They confirmed exactly what God said about the land but did not believe God did keep his promises. God had already told the people it was a good land to live in but that it contained obstacles that he would face with them. He promised to go before them and remove those enemies.
In St. Louis, we saw the “giants” in the land. It’s a beautiful city full of wonderful people. It has so much charm and history. It’s a fun place to live—especially for families with kids. And yet, like most cities, there is a lot of pain. Some of the “giants” we faced were our own fears of moving and starting a church. Some of the “giants” were the racial division and spiritual climate of the city.
I was tempted to be overwhelmed but instead centered myself on the truth. I reminded myself that God knows all of the obstacles; He loves St. Louis and has a destiny for this city; He is already working in the city through His people. I remembered that if God is with us, we can do whatever He called us to do. Like Joshua and Caleb (the two spies) I declared, “If He delights in us, He will give us the land!”
I encourage you, brothers and sisters in Christ, when God calls you to do something, do not walk by sight or by feelings. Walk by faith. Stick with what He said. Don’t back down or change. Our feelings go up and down; our reasoning changes. But God’s word does not change. He is consistent; He knows the beginning from the end because He is eternal. And when those emotions arise, we stand in faith by declaring God’s promises and reminding ourselves out loud what God said. We fill our mouth with praise, thanking God for His word.
Michele and I are excited and focused, ready to dive into this new adventure. We have never moved to a city and never started a church. I feel like Peter walking on water. We are completely dependent on God’s power and grace. And since we are already walking on the water, why fear, why turn back now!? Jesus is with us; giving us EVERYTHING we need to accomplish the assignment He gave us.
Thanks for your prayers; we will keep you informed as we get more details. For now, please pray for wisdom, direction, and, most importantly, laborers–people called to go or partner with us.