Last night I sat through the new parent orientation at Bradenton Christian School with my three children and couldn’t help but smile. My wife wasn’t there, she was up in her classroom getting prepared to meet her new students. Let me rewind about 13 months ago…
We had just said yes to planting Good Life Church in the Bradenton/Sarasota area and were down for vacation from Mississippi. Bradenton was a city that we were only vaguely familiar with and all we knew, as we drove around and took it all in, was that we were going to live, serve and plant our lives here. I had an appointment with a local church planting pastor one morning and Beth planned on driving over to the local Christian school for a scheduled tour. We were not sure about the school system in the area yet and Beth wanted to be proactive by checking out one of the private schools she had seen online. She brought along a few copies of her résumé “just in case”. As I met with Mark Mateer from Bayside and was encouraged by his Kingdom mindset, Beth arrived across town at Bradenton Christian School for the tour. One slight detail here, the lady who was scheduled to give the tour was ill that day and the only person available to give the tour was none other than the headmaster himself. As the kids walked around the school they already felt at home and Beth was very impressed by not only the campus, but the heart of the leadership. The conversation shifted to our reason for planning on moving and Beth shared all about Good Life Church, our growing heart for the community, and our desire to share the gospel and life with the people of the area. After the tour was over Beth handed Mr. van der Kooy her resume’ and headed back to the other side of town to pick me up.
When I got in the van Beth and the kids started overflowing with excitement over their experience at BCS. Within only a few minutes Beth received an email on her phone from Mr. van der Kooy. It was an encouraging email about his first impression of our family and his commitment to pray for our church plant. At the time there were no openings at the school but he promised to keep her résumé close by if anything changed. With only another day left in the area, I encouraged Beth to take her resume’ to a few other schools but she declined. She felt really good about BCS and was confident God was leading us there. The next day we left Bradenton, finished out our vacation at Indian Rocks Beach, and returned back to Mississippi.
I began training for church planting and Beth began her final year teaching at Madison-Ridgeland Academy. At that point our future in Bradenton was for sure, but the details were totally unsure. All we knew was that God had called us to step out, so we were. As I write this to you, my mind and heart are filled with story after story of how, over the last 13 months, God has consistently and miraculously provided for us, prepared the way for us, and has simply demonstrated His love and care for our family and for the work He has called us to.
Last night was just another of those stories. As I sat in the room with many other first year parents and I listened to the mission and vision of BCS, I was smiling from ear to ear. Why? Because long before we ever said yes to planting Good Life Church, God already knew the place, He knew the people, and He knew the details. He knew, at just the right time, BCS would have an opening in Middle School Math (Beth’s specialty) and she would become part of the team. My favorite moment last night was introducing my 8th grade daughter to her new Algebra teacher, Mrs. Smith aka. Mom.
Everybody told me that planting would have it’s overwhelming moments. Well, they were right. Last night was overwhelming, in a good way.
So here is my challenge to you. If you sense God calling you to step out in faith, HE IS! A life of faith must be marked with moment after moment of not understanding it all, but trusting in God and acting in His power. It may not all make sense now and the immediate results might not be what you expect, but step out with only this as your ultimate goal, obedience. Obedience is where joy is found. (John 15:10-11)
Here are some passages God used in our lives as we prepped to step out.
Heb. 11:1- Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Heb. 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Is. 41:9-10 I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you;do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Is. 55:12 ¶ You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Love you guys! Please continue praying at 1:28pm for my family and for Good Life Church. The kids start back to school on Wed. and me and the leadership team are finalizing the details in our partnership/lease agreement with Tara Elementary School. SO PUMPED!
Many of you have asked about our new local contact info. Here it is
Jason cell (941)704-1234
Good Life Church
PO BOX 21275
Bradenton, FL 34204