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Are we there yet? – by Jennifer Harris

Vertical Life Church, Chapter 2: The New Building.

The day has finally arrived that we move into our new building! A lot of money, time, resources, talents, muscle, prayer, and faith has gone into this move from one building to another! We’re just moving down the road, and the turnaround time from buying the building to being able to move into it was relatively short compared to the Israelites roaming the desert on the way to the Promised Land! Talk about a lot of walking!

A common theme I see in the bible is that God uses a period of time for us to wait – that doesn’t seem to be very much fun – as He prepares us for something great. Moses spent forty days on Mount Sinai, getting the Ten Commandments from God, along with many other rules and promises from God. Moses was alone for that time, talking with God. Then they wandered in the wilderness for forty years. Another important “forty” in a waiting period was Jesus in the desert for forty days before he started his preaching and miracles. He was hungry, thirsty, tired, and tempted. There are many other examples in the bible of great thing with the number forty, and great things that come after periods of waiting on Him to show us what’s next.

Well guess what? It’s been forty-two months from the time VLC started until now, as we move into the new building!! That’s pretty close to forty! (I guess we’re a little slow and needed an extra two months! Just kidding.) That time of coming in at 6 AM to setup, tearing things down each week, not being able to meet at the school during the week, and many other things that we’ve been doing for forty-two months are now coming to a close. It was not a time wasted, but a time God used to prepare us for something greater, and something to bring Him even more glory.

What are you waiting for personally? I know that in my times and seasons of waiting, anxiously saying, “I’m ready God, let’s go,” that I’m focused on what I’m waiting for instead of what God has for me in the time I’m currently in. In our waiting, we should continuously seek to know Him more. We should pray with the kind of prayers that Moses prayed in Exodus 32, knowing that our prayers matter and can change things. We should be listening to God, not just telling Him our plans, so that when He does say it’s time to move forward, that we will hear it and be ready.

“Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest. Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.” – Ecclesiastes 11:4-5. Doesn’t it seem like we should have gotten a building a year or two ago? Doesn’t it seem like we should have had a shorter waiting period? Well clearly we “cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things,” so we know that His timing was perfect and His plans are sometimes beyond our comprehension. When it was time for God to give us this building and He said, “Ok, let’s go,” if we had people waiting for what they thought was the “perfect building,” or thinking we could not possibly pay for the one we got, then we would have missed this leap of faith. A leap of faith isn’t done in faith if we see all of the results and are certain things will go the way we expect them to.

To those of you who are waiting for something (and aren’t most of us always waiting for something?), continue to ask God how He can use you in this time to prepare you for what’s next. To those of you who are clearly hearing God tell you to trust Him and move forward in something, and you are standing at the edge of a cliff saying, “But I can’t see the bottom,” go forward in faith knowing that if He told you to do something, He will help you succeed, and if you happened to hear wrong and fail, He’s there to pick you back up again. Whether you are waiting or taking a leap of faith, seek to know Him more in both times. I look forward to continue waiting with those who wait, and rejoicing with those who rejoice, hearing your stories of what God does in both times of your life as our friendships continue on in the new building!

Jennifer Harris serves on the Hospitality Team and with the College and Young Singles bible study (FLI). She is a Photographer and Starbucks barista. Jennifer enjoys reading, singing, writing, and exploring new places.

Gratefulness and Earworms – by Rochet Rye

There should be a book of “what not to say” to someone who is going through really tough and dark times. Yes, I had one of those experiences when someone asked me after the death of my father, “What lessons did you learn?” Ouch! It had been a tough journey for my dad, and in some ways a tougher situation for me and my sister as his primary caregivers. We found ourselves praising God that our daddy came back, like the prodigal son, into a right relationship with our heavenly Father. We then also found ourselves thanking God that our daddy would no longer experience the pain and suffering that had totally engulfed him during his final days in his earthly body.

So what lessons DID I learn? That same person had also told me that during those months of “hyper crisis” mode I should put my focus on God, His character, and who He is. I began to study the names of God. My Banner, my Strong Tower, my Refuge. He began to reveal His goodness to me. Oh, how I needed that! He became my Rock. I might be shaken, but I can lean on Him Who is never shaken. Through learning about His Name, I came to know that He is GOOD and experienced His love for me at a whole new level.

And that’s the earworm that I awoke to this morning playing in my head. (Many thanks to Chris Huff for leading us Sunday in this song recorded by Chris Tomlin, “Good, Good Father.”)

You’re a good, good Father.
It’s Who You are.
It’s Who You are.
It’s Who You are.

And I’m loved by You.
It’s Who I am.
It’s Who I am.
It’s Who I am.

No, I don’t go around asking people what lessons they’ve learned right after going through a horrific life event, but I do like to tell them that I’m praying for God to show Himself to them in a new way. For I do believe God can and does use those really tough times, and even “inappropriate” words, to make us dig deep within our hearts, if we’ll only go there with Him. It’s there where we come to know and experience who He is, who we are and whose we are. It’s there where He heals, restores, makes new and alive. And it’s from that kind of heart that gratefulness overflows.

This past Sunday, so many stood before the church and shared from the overflow of their hearts all the gratefulness due to our Good Father. God-stories in the individual lives of our partners as well as God-stories in the corporate body of our church, it was all so beautiful. May we be encouraged during this holiday season to continue in His Word and prayer and be grateful. Below are some of the scriptures that our pastor, Brad, gave us that speaks of this gratitude.

Colossians 3:12-17
I Chronicles 16:8
Jeremiah 33:11
Psalm 9:1
Daniel 2:23
Psalm 69:30
I Corinthians 1:4
Psalm 95:2
I Thessalonians 5:18
Psalm 100:4-5
Philippians 4:16
Psalm 116:17
Revelation 11:17
Colossians 2:7
Revelation 7:12

Did anyone else notice how God wove these scriptures, perfectly timed, into the testimonies of His people yesterday? Yes, He is a good, good Father!

Rochet Rye is a wife, mother, sister and caregiver who enjoys playing house mom to all the college kids who share her home. She prefers hiking boots and Chacos over high heels any day, and is always eager to travel. She loves her BOLT group and encouraging women of all ages to be in God’s Word and prayer.