“He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle."- Psalm 107:7
Moving week is here! It is hard to believe we are ready to have our first service this Sunday at our new church home (2348 Townsgate Rd.). Although it is a relative short distance between our former property and new place of worship (a little over a mile), these nine months have been quite a long journey. Along the way we have seen God open doors, remove obstacles, provide resources, and confirm His will to our hearts. As we prepare for our move-in, I am deeply moved by the numerous ways the Lord has worked on our behalf. It is because of how He has answered prayers, extended grace, and provided favor that I am calling this transition "The Miracle Mile".
Even as I think back on my family's personal journey when it comes to finding a place to live, with each of our three moves we witnessed the wonderful working of the Lord to give us a home: 1) Our first house didn't even meet our search criteria, but we discovered it after looking at a different house on the same street; 2) The Lord giving me an idea to present to the buyer that took our offer from "off the table" to the top of the heap; and 3) Finding the home we now live in thanks to a lunch at Island's Restaurant. There is many more details from each of those miracles, but that will be for another Daily Bread. What I would like to share and solidify in our hearts is the truth that this move is much more than simply a physical one. Because we are God's holy people, He desires to make this a holy place, used for holy purposes. Yes, there will be newcomers each week, Sunday service attendance numbers, new ministries launched, and calendared events. But those physical measurements are only meaningful because they will be connected to decisions for Christ, testimonies, and victories!
Over the last month I received a word from the Holy Spirit that speaks to this move being a "God plan" and not a "man idea". The Lord spoke this word to my heart as a wonderful comfort and confirmation, "I FOUND the property, I FAVORED it, and FURNISHED it, now I will FILL it!" Let me share the story of how this truth has taken form over our journey:
1) The Lord FOUND this property-
A little over a year ago I went to lunch with our Foursquare Assistant District Supervisor, Chon Torres. At that lunch as we were in the process of searching for a new property, Pastor Chon shared about the possibility of a lease property being a viable option for us. Chon was reiterating something that our District Supervisor, Dennis Easter, had spoken to me about a couple of years ago. The moment I arrived back to the office from that lunch, I did a search on a real estate website and instantly our property showed up. I had been searching that particular website for weeks and had never seen our property before, until the day of this meeting. God did indeed find this property for us!
2) The Lord FAVORED this property- The word "favor" has been one of the themes of our journey. There are too many accounts to choose one: From the building owner allowing a church to have the unit to the City of Thousand Oaks giving us approvals in short order to the buyer (Manna) of our property allowing for an elongated escrow and allowing us a long-term lease back option, we have seen God time and time again give us favor with our new property.
3) The Lord FURNISHED this property- If anyone was needing confirmation as to if this move was the Lord's will, they could look no further than the abundant provision that has been released as we have taken these faith steps. Again, like favor, there are too many miracles to highlight just one: Over $208,000 has come in for the "Next Steps" property giving; a college student from our church was compelled to purchase all the children's ministries equipment and supplies for the new classrooms (storing them in her room for the last six weeks); multiple people have donated items for the new property and have given their time and skills to assist us in making this facility a place worthy of being a house of worship.
4) The Lord will FILL this property- Psalm 127:1 says, "Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain...". This word the Holy Spirit gave me a couple of weeks ago has to do with the purpose the Lord wants to accomplish in this new place and in this new season. The property is not to be an IDOL, it is to be an INSTRUMENT, used for the Lord's purpose and glory. What I sensed immediately with this word, is that the Lord is going to fill this place with His Presence and His Life, and because He is with us, the space will soon be filled with people.
As we GO, let's believe for the Lord to GROW us (spiritually, relationally, and physically), and through it all we will give Him the GLORY! As Paul says in I Corinthians 3:7, "So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow."