Friday, November 7, 2014

The cost of saying yes to Jesus - Part 7/8

Tomorrow we are going to finish telling a story that's been developing in our lives.  If you missed part 1, click here.  For part 2, click here.  For part 3, click here.  For part 4, click here.  For part 5, click here.  For part 6, click here.

It's our story.
It's the story that has slowly emerged in our lives over the last 11 months.
We hope you are encouraged by it.

If you don't want to wait another day for its conclusion….you can listen to this podcast (33 minutes) of us telling our story to our church congregation.

The weight of vision was growing within us and the weight of responsibility grew along with it.  At some point, you need to start to ask the people around you, “Do you think I am called to this?  Is what I am dreaming the Lord’s vision?”   We started to ask the people around us what they thought.  We asked mentors, friends, family, and our bosses.  They all said the same thing:  We think Jesus is calling you to this. 

That’s when the fear set in.

Never in my life have I dealt with anxiety.  I’ve always had sympathy for people that do….but for the first time I was experiencing it.  About 50 percent of my day (and much of the night) was filled with restless anxiety – it felt like coffee jitters of the heart.

I thought: The vision is bigger than our capacity.  The vision requires other visionaries and passionate leaders than us.  And, if my salary ends, how will I support my family? 

Money worries -- Those were the toughest.  I read scripture – birds, daffodils, etc. etc. etc. Nothing put me at ease.  I learned pretty quick that I don’t really trust God fully.  I prayed, “God, please teach me to trust you.”  He would soon answer me.

We were driving in the car on a long road trip in July.  Heidi and I sat in the front seat quietly watching the road in front of us as our kids watched a movie in the back seat through their headphones.  I found myself driving distracted.  I couldn’t trust God.  I didn’t know how he was going to take care of our family if we said yes to following him to California.  I knew exactly how much it cost for a family of 5 to live in Fresno and pay your bills.   Friends and missionaries had opened their excel documents and showed us exactly how much things cost a family of our size.  For life and ministry, $5000 monthly would cover it all with a tad left over for savings if the car broke down.  I thought about that number 5000.  I said to myself, “It’s impossible.  The people we know are all in ministry.  God can’t possibly give us that much on a monthly basis.”  I turned to Heidi to break the silence between us and said, “Heidi, do you think God can really give us 5000 dollars?”  The word 5000 had just rolled off my tongue and Elizabeth pulled off her headphones and from the back seat yelled up saying, “Daddy, can you read that story of Jesus feeding the 5000?”.  I was stunned.  She has never asked for that story before and she couldn’t hear my question to Heidi through her headphones.  My heart raced…..I knew God was about to speak to me.  Heidi pulled out the kids book and began to read that story from Matthew 14.  It was like every time that word 5000 was spoken in that story God was saying to me, “Joseph, if I can feed those 5000 hungry people with 5 loaves and 2 fish….do you think I can feed your family of 5?”    

The only answer is, “yes”.  So that day, as we drove, in my heart I said to the Lord.  Yes.”   

Since then, I’ve been learning to trust Him.  I am much less anxious and I see this as growth in my own life.  I am learning to trust him. 

It became clear that if we were going to say yes to this Call from God, it was going to cost us:  financially (a fixed salary), emotionally (leaving our home & friends), and spiritually (leaving our Church). 

I’m not really sure when we decided that we were going to follow through.  I think we just realized that we loved God too much to say no. 

Someone asked us in August how we were doing.  We turned to John 12:27 which reads, “Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? ‘Father, get me out of this’? No, this is why I came in the first place. I’ll say, ‘Father, put your glory on display.’”

The cost of saying yes to Jesus puts God on display in our lives. 

We had to say yes.
We were choosing to say, yes.

Part 8 (tomorrow) – “What’s your Fresno?”

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