You know that story about Peter walking on the water? Yeah, we all read it from the comfort of our quiet places. How did Peter feel? We applaud his bravery, from afar, because we know that he survived. What would you do if God called you to take a step out of your comfortable boat and walk on uncertainty? After all, if we are going to be followers of Christ that means you follow him. Jesus was not in the boat. Dang! That means if I want to follow him I either row the boat along side him (which I don’t think he would enjoy or allow) or I must get out of the boat and follow him. If Jesus is not in the boat why would I want to be there? Uh, because it’s safe! Because it’s dry! Because it’s my best chance of surviving!
Last year my wife and I had our “out of the boat” moment. (Let’s not compare “out of the boat” stories. Comparison kills passion to follow Christ because we marginalize our story and journey. So what if your story is not as glamorous or adventurous as someone else’s. IT’S YOUR STORY! )
Live it Passionately. Brilliantly. Dangerously.
Our “Out of the boat” moment looked like leaving family and friends (who are like family) and move to the frozen tundra of the Northeast. You know, that place where intellectuals thrive. The birth place of liberalism. The home of the Patriots. The center of global economy. The place where people hate God and believe that if you are a Christian you are the problem, not the solution. It’s the place where the gospel can not thrive because it’s for the foolish, weak, ignorant, believe-anything type of people.
At least that’s the reputation that I had been sold.
I never dreamed, thought of or considered moving to the Northeast….specifically Connecticut. Connecticut is small. It is slightly bigger than the Central Texas region. It’s cold! Taxes are high! What are state taxes? I haven’t paid those in years. States still have those?
I’m from the south. Born & Raised.
I love the south. I love Texas. I can’t say that I have always loved Texas, but God did such a deep work in my heart from 2002-2013 that I fell in love with Texas. I can honestly say that I love Texas with all my heart.
But now I live in Connecticut. We have been sent, on assignment, to love the Northeast without strings attached. We have been sent here by God to partner with God and his followers for God’s will to be accomplished.
So far as we are walking around, I hope outside the boat, we have seen close to 50 salvations since January 1st. Please pray with me for all of these to get connected to a discipling relationship. Jesus’ teachings are clear. We are called to get just decisions from people who want to follow Christ, but actually make disciples. We have seen dozens healed by supernatural means. We have seen people get new jobs with better pay, better situations, etc. I can’t describe how much this encourages me. I personally want to see the economy of Connecticut revived. I want businesses and corporations to move to this state because the hand of God is on Connecticut. (Yes, I am aware of the connection between an environment that is pro-business and one that is not. I am not making a political statement or wanting to get into a politically debate.) We have seen families restored in a way that could only be described as miraculous. Our church family is lingering after each Sunday meeting to connect, laugh, love and encourage one another. The presence of God seems to increase each week. People are getting baptized…and I HOPE MANY MORE!
So, some of you may be thinking, “Is Lance all about numbers?” Let me answer that….NO! But I will say behind every number is a name. Behind every name is a story. I want to know the story of people’s lives being changed by the goodness of God. So yes, I look at numbers because numbers = people. Numbers do not = success.
So in 4 months we have begun to see some brilliant and amazing things. The question in my heart is, “Is this the beginning of something brilliant? Are we on the brink of a great movement of God’s Spirit? Is Gateway in the beginning stages of revival?”
I don’t know. I’m not a student of revival.
What I do know, is any week where people are being touched by the generosity and faithfulness of God it’s a week where someone was revived and awakened.
We saw some amazing things in Texas. I am forever grateful for that season in my life. I was profoundly shaped by many men and women of God who carried involvement in my life. But what I am seeing here feels different. It tastes different. It doesn’t look like the boat of comfortable living that I was used to. The scenery is different. Think on Jeremiah 29:11-14, “…I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you, says the Lord.”
What a great promise! But it’s a promise that was given to a nation living outside the boat. This verse is not to keep us comfortable, inside our boats but remind us that outside the boat God's promises are legit. The fulfillment of why you are alive is out there….outside the boat. Join us as we walk on water. Maybe we will run into each other. If so, say hello and let’s share some God stories!