Growing in Faith (Part 2)
by Tara Petrali
Last week I shared about the ways that God was challenging my husband, our church, and I to pursue more. We felt led to sell our comfortable, spacious home and move into the city we had planted in, move our plant to a new location, and give one month’s salary back to the church.
Shortly after the first of July, when we gave our salary check back to the church, we accepted a cash offer on our house. We had one month to get out, and we were only going to be home for 11 of those days. Somehow, we got everything packed in time, but we still had no clue where we were going next.
We had previously decided to rent for the next year, but weren't having any luck at finding the right house at the right price. Finally, two days before we closed on our house, we found a rental home right in Plymouth. Because we did all the work in the basement, we had earned enough equity to help us afford to rent in the community where we planted. God blessed us and provided more than we had imagined.
After explaining to the church members that we felt like God was moving us away from the theater, and a couple months of praying and seeking his direction, God led us to a school a couple miles away.
We had zero fall out from the transition, we have grown stronger in the two months of being there than we would have in a year at the theater, and we were able to do ministry better in the new space. Once again, God provided.
God brought us through a summer of testing. He wanted to know what our limit was. What would we give up for him? It was so exciting to be on a journey of doing more for God so that God could prepare to do more for us.
Although we often feel worried, stressed, anxious, etc., knowing that God has spoken and given us peace helps us to have faith and trust him through it all. This journey has become thrilling and inspiring.
I find myself asking God, “What's next? What else can I give up? What else can we walk through together?” Even when it's not easy, the peace that surpasses all understanding is so alluring.
As I sit here writing this, God has brought us to another faith journey. He is asking us to essentially walk away from the very thing He led us to start three years ago. But not really.
God has provided an opportunity for us as a three year old church plant to strategically partner with an Assemblies of God church three miles away. We would essentially marry the churches, we would take over leadership of New Life Community and dissolve the church we have worked so hard to build over the last three years.
After a lot of prayer and fasting, God has given us so much peace and confirmation that this is His will. It's not about the church we started. It was never our church anyway. It's God’s church.
If creating this strategic partnership with New Life will help build and strengthen and grow God’s church, then count us in! We don't care what the statistics say or what statistics we will become, we care about having faith to follow God when he asks us to do what we think is absolutely crazy!
Listening to the wrong voices when God is the one leading you can be detrimental. "Church mergers don't work." "You can't give up on your church plant." "What if instead of doing that you (fill in the blank)?"
While getting wise counsel and advice is great, you have to be discerning to know what's from God and what's not.
Don't sell yourself short of what God wants to do because of fear. (Read Psalm 86:11-13).
So, while this next adventure is just about to start, I'm already looking forward to the what will come after this.
I want to challenge you with this one last thing:
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Get out of the boat.
God asks us to get out of the boat and come to Him. But often we are too comfortable. We weigh the risks and we try to use human logic and it just doesn't make sense. But we have to have FAITH and step out of the boat.
Jesus immediately reached out.
When you take the leap of faith Jesus will be there to catch you. He won't let you fall.
What is your boat? What is your comfort zone? What are you holding on to that God is asking you to let go of?
I pray that you will be encouraged to have faith to do more, give more, risk more and dream more!
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!