Because the fundamental core of an apostle is “sentness” there will be times in the life of this person that God calls them onward. It is in the very fabric of apostolic leaders to push forward the “sent” nature of the church, and often times that is modeled by them personally.
Apostles are the first to leave, the first to break new territory, the first to go to new ground, the first to say,
“we have to take that land!”
They are obsessed with the “sentness” of God that Jesus models for us in John and charges us with in Acts.
Well, this very year as I have been leaning into my apostolic gifting more fully than ever, God called me onward to Los Angeles.
I won’t ever forget last February, when I was preaching at Greek Conference, how God spoke to me in the midst of 640 students,
“I want you to go to LA and make this happen with me.”
I didn’t have full understanding of His voice and calling in that moment, but I did know God was speaking to me at this conference with 43 schools, and 640 students represented. None were from LA.
LA has 17 campuses with Greek Systems, and Greek InterVarsity was doing nothing intentionally to reach them! It was at this Greek Conference, that God stirred in me big time the sent nature of Himself and He essentially said to me,
“I want you to go. Let’s go do this thing together!”
He woke me up to the sent nature of himself and I was captivated and scared at the very same time!
The very day after that conference, I had to go into a day-long silent retreat as part of my spiritual formation discipline and I could not sleep nor shake the calling I heard from God. In fact, when I did sleep I dreamt about the calling and God spoke to me the whole way through. It was wild.
By the end of the week I had said no to staying in SD, and yes to going to LA to start Greek IntVarsity amongst 17 campuses.
I said yes to God and his desire to move me onward for the sake of His Kingdom expanding
That meant saying yes to selling our first house, moving two months after our second baby was born, and leaving behind a ministry that was thriving at San Diego State. I with a team of others had worked so hard to build this ministry to the point it was at over the last 7 years. It was just getting to where we could really hum, the culture was great and I loved the people. I did not want to leave this team of staff and student leaders!
This was an inconvenient time to leave for my family and a bummer of a time to leave the SDSU ministry. I wanted to enjoy the fruit that was around the corner!
What I came to find out in the coming months was that we would lose $25,000 of support because of partners staying committed to San Diego or deciding to transition off our team as we transitioned to a new focus. Ouch!
I wasn’t expecting that.
This move and call of God was exciting, thrilling, full of dreams and passion.
But it was also hard, frustrating, scary, sad, and very disorienting for my wife and me and a young family. It was and is hard moving with two small children to a mega city like LA!
We have lived in LA for three months now and one of the characters that has given me tremendous strength to live into this apostolic calling has been Abraham.
I have been living in Genesis 12-16 trying to get into this guy’s world and how he must of felt when God told him, “Go to a land I will show you.”
He left family, land, surety and comfort.
He gained adventure, risk, big dreams…
AND A BIGGER GOD.
Abraham said yes to the sending God. He lived into this apostolic way of life big time!
What my mentor Chris Nichols pointed out to me a few weeks ago when we talked was this profound insight into Abraham:
“Abraham had a lot of successful things in his land, and those weren’t necessarily bad things at all. But when God called him to go to a new land, all Abraham had was God. He was starting over and left much behind. He had to learn to trust in God in a deeper way and find his life that much more in Him and his purposes.”
Chris went on to help me see that as apostolic leaders leave to go start new things, we too have to learn to know God in a deeper way and find trust and strength in Him again and Him alone.
Apostolic leaders are called further out by God, but also further down with Him.
Here in LA I don’t have the land I had in SD. I don’t have the friends yet that I had. I don’t have the ministry, the connections, the disciples, and attention. None of those things were bad at all, but they were things I built part of my reputation and trust in life on.
Now I am restarting with a blank slate and mission field in LA and I have God and God alone.
It is a scary and exhilarating to wake up every day and literally feel “Its me and God” and to have regular conversations with him that go like this:
“Ok God, I don’t know where to go or what to do today…what are we going to do? Where are we going to work (I don’t have an office yet which is so frustrating!!)?”
Ok Starbucks again…
Oh yeah, “God are people going to fund this work?”
Some days are harder than others for sure. Some days I dive deep with God and pray. Others I just get busy and distracted.
I am a true mixed bag.
But what I can say right now from my vantage point today is that I would have it no other way. I feel fully alive, out of my league, but totally in my calling. God has to be bigger than I ever depended on him to be and I love it and hate it at the same time. My faith is being stretched further than I have ever experienced and that puts me squarely on the adventure with God every day!
I am so glad I said yes to God when he called me to go.
I am so glad I have great mentors like Chris and Abraham who ground me in the life of a sent one!
How has God shaped you as you have said yes to leaving one land for another? I would love to hear any thoughts, insights and wisdom you have!