Growing in Faith (Part 1)
by Tara Petrali
We have all heard the stories and testimonies of people who had incredible faith and followed God’s leading to see incredible things.
Just open your Bible to Hebrews 11, "the hall of faith." In this chapter, you will read about heroic men and women whose stories stand out to encourage and challenge our faith. The stories of Abraham, Isaac, Sarah, Noah, Moses and others are written and recorded to encourage us to have faith and trust God.
But what happens when God challenges you personally? What happens when you are comfortable in life and ministry and suddenly God throws you a curve ball and asks you to do something you think is totally crazy?!
My husband and I (and our church) have been on an incredible journey with the Lord over these last six months. It all started from a conversation my husband had with a mentor about church, life, and desiring more. After that conversation, God began challenging us.
If we wanted more, it was going to require more- more faith, more action, more obedience, more trust, more sacrifice, more passion and so much more!
We started Relevant Church in September of 2013. God had spoken very clearly to us about the decision to start it in Plymouth, MN, and we were honored to be doing His will. We moved to Plymouth in July, started having meetings right away and officially launched in September with 30 people. God has grown His church to around 100 faithful, strong members who love the lord and the local church.
In July 2014, we purchased a house 25 minutes from Plymouth (because we can't afford to live in Plymouth). We bought it with an unfinished basement and finally finished the basement off, giving us more than enough space for our growing family.
It was March of 2016 when we came to a place of wanting more from God. We wanted to do ministry in a different way than we were able to do in our current situation. God spoke clearly to both of us that if we wanted more, we needed to give more.
And so our journey began...
First it was our home. We felt like God told us to sell our home and get back into Plymouth. Now, this was tough for me. I loved our home! I spent many hours in the basement framing walls, running electric wires, sheet rocking, painting, adding a beautiful (bargain price) gas fireplace with a thermostat remote. It was the perfect amount of space for our three wild boys in a great community with the best neighbors!
But God told us to sell it. So, we met with our realtor and put it on the market trusting God for the next step.
At the same time, God told us we needed to change locations of the church. Remember, we are a church plant. So we are portable. We were meeting at a movie theater. They had just recently upgraded to luxury leather recliners, we had a really wonderful working relationship with the owner and the managers, and it had always worked well for us.
But God said it was time to go. So, we began the hunt for a new location.
As well as moving both our own family home and our church home, God told us we needed to lead the church in giving sacrificially. We felt like God told us to give our entire month salary back to the church in July (at the same time he's asking us to move to a community that we can't afford). We agreed that we would do it.
In this time of transition and following God on this journey that just looked crazy to our friends and family who are unbelievers, God gave me a verse that I have held close to my heart.
"Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you" (Psalms 86:11-13).
TEACH ME YOUR WAYS
Lord, show me your ways. Show me the things you want me to see and do. I know that you have my best interest at heart. You desire nothing but the best for me. So show me what to do. In all of these situations, Lord give me peace and wisdom to follow you.
THAT I MAY RELY ON YOUR FAITHFULNESS
Lord, help me to truly rely on you. Life can become so easy, so comfortable. I ask that you would help me to have to rely on you and grow to trust you. You are my faithful father. You love me. You will provide. You won't leave me and my family homeless. You are faithful to provide for us.
GIVE ME AN UNDIVIDED HEART
Lord, help me to go through this season in peace knowing that you are speaking. Help me to be completely surrendered to you. I pray that my heart would be to follow you and not divided amongst comfort and possessions and security of a home. Help me to keep my heart set on you and you alone.
THAT I MAY FEAR YOUR NAME
Lord, so often we talk about the fear of the Lord and what that means. But in this moment, I have have a much different fear. I fear not what would happen if we obey you and sell our house, move the church and give you back your money. What I fear is what will happen if we don't. Will we grow discontent. Will you take it all away from us? What will we miss out on if we don't obey you now.
In these moments of prayer and fasting, God really gave Justin and me clarity and peace that surpasses all understanding. When we told our neighbors we were selling our house, they asked where we were going. We said, "We don't know, but God has a plan and we are excited to see what it is!" We had no clue what we were going to do after we sold our house. We still couldn't afford to live in Plymouth, but God had a plan.
Tara Petrali is mom to three fun and active young boys. Her and her husband have been married for almost 10 years and in ministry for even longer. They planted Relevant Church in Plymouth, MN in 2013. In her spare time you might find Tara taking a refreshing nap, reading, or shopping. But let's be honest, with three young boys, a church plant and a busy schedule, "spare time" is very limited!