The news was very exciting to our church who clapped and cheered, but then all went silent when Levi threw out a challenge to the church. Levi had shared with the church that there would be a need for people to uproot their lives in Kalispell, and move to Billings to start this church.
When Levi said this I began to wonder who felt the call at that moment, and who was terrified and discouraged about responding to the call. That thought has bugged me so much for the past two days that I decided to write to these people by way of blog, and would trust that God would have them come across this letter if He willed. But first, I wanted to point out the reason why I am so passionate about encouraging people who are beginning to sense God calling them to Billings, but at the same time feel like they may not be called and are totally confused.
It was a little over a year ago when I was living in Long Beach, California that I began to sense that my wife and I would be moving out to a different state. Throughout a series of circumstances, God had clearly revealed to us that we were to move to Kalispell, MT. (You could read these stories here: Pt.1, here: Pt.2, and here: Pt.3).
Although we sensed God calling us to Kalispell, over the course of a few weeks we presented Him with so many reasons why we could not move to Kalispell. And I wonder if right now, those God is calling to move to Billings have the same things on their mind.
1. "We Do Not Know Anyone": I only knew one guy that added me on Facebook after I had posted something on Fresh Life's page that he liked. I had never met him in person before moving to Kalispell, in fact, he was the very first person Monica and I met in Montana. But the fact that we had never personally met anyone in Kalispell or at Fresh Life (including the Pastors who had no idea who we were), really discouraged us both about moving here.
How Jesus Refuted that Concern: When I prayed and presented this concern to Jesus, He simply responded to me by saying, "You don't know them, but you know Me." In a nutshell, Jesus was saying that just as much as He was in the church I was involved in at the time, He was very much involved in the church in Kalispell, which meant that He was there. Jesus was saying that if we went to Kalispell, He would meet us there. Although we knew no one, we knew Him, and He had a lot of friends here, friends He introduced us to. He built solid relationships with the friends we ended up gaining here, and now, we know people because of Him. Are you worried about the fact that you know no one in Billings? Remember, you know Jesus, He knows people in Billings, and He'll meet you there.
2. "My Family Needs My Help": Both my mom and dad were unemployed when I sensed that God was calling Monica and I to move to Montana. They were collecting unemployment but I was so worried that their money would run out, they would struggle and eventually lose their house. I felt like I had to stay behind to help my parents with finances in order to keep a roof over their head. I felt like I had to take care of my aging mom and dad.
How Jesus Refuted that Concern: When I presented this concern to Jesus, He led me to the story in the Scriptures where He was calling a man to follow Him. The man responded with the excuse of wanting to bury his father before following Jesus. Now, anyone who had studied this Scripture knows that this man's father was not dead. Many people believe that either a) He wanted to take care of his dad until the day that he passed away, or b) he wanted his dad's inheritance in order to be financially stable enough to afford to follow Jesus without concerns. In a nutshell, this guy was only making excuses to put off following what Jesus was calling him to do, he did not want to go. Jesus was showing me that I was only presenting excuses and should follow His call. He also put a peace in my heart, helping me understand that He will take care of my parents in my absence. Do you have things tying you down? A house to sell? A lease bounding you? An aging parent to take care of? If you sense the call, Go! No excuses.
3. "I Don't Have Any Money": To be honest, this was the major one that was holding me back. At this point, Monica and I had been engaged for 1 year and a half. We had made many plans to get married after becoming engaged but they always fell through because of our lack of Money. I told Jesus that we were broke and I could not afford to support the both of us, nor afford our wedding, nor afford our move. There was just no money at all.
How Jesus Refuted that Concern: After serious burdens in our hearts and many signs pointing both Monica and I to Montana, we decided to, by faith, tell Jesus that we will move to Montana. When we again stated that we were poor, we told Jesus that we would trust that He would provide our funds. That very same weekend, we were given $7,000 by someone who had no idea what was brewing in our hearts or the plans we had. We were praising God and were so stinkin' excited. We tithed 10% of it, then divided the rest of it, planning how we would use it for the wedding, honeymoon, and the move. After tithing though, we ended up using all the money for the wedding and had none for our honeymoon or move, but we then continued to see God provide more and more as we would take steps of faith. We eventually had money for our wedding, our honeymoon, our drive up to Montana and our first month's rent. By the time we got to Montana, we had only Target gift cards from our wedding and a jar full of change, trusting that after seeing all that God had done, He would provide. And He has! We have never made a late payment on anything since moving here, we have never lacked food. So is the fact that you do not have money holding you back? Take the step of faith and see that He will provide, He totally will!
Anyway, I hope that if you sense the call to move to Billings, this would encourage you to jump right in and respond to the call. And I hope that this blog post would have you think about the various things concerning you and would also encourage you to present them to Jesus. I promise that if you are truly called to go, He will refute your concerns in love.
I will commit to praying for the Billings team, as I am so stinkin' excited about it. Keep your eyes on Jesus, ignore the waves and keep walking on water. If Called, ANSWER! Take the step of faith! You will never go wrong with His plan for your life!