Welcome back. You belong here.
I’m here in my garage blogging, sitting on a stool, listening to “Politik” by Coldplay (I’m on a Coldplay kick FYI, great band!) This feels more like a random post than a specific one so hang on.
I’ve been blogging through the transition from traditional church to a simpler model of faith and mission we call Neighbors Abbey.
The other day, our children asked me “Papi, why don’t you just get another job at a church playing music?” It was great to explain to them that our focus has changed, that although God uses all kinds of churches, we believe it’s time for us to focus on something simpler, smaller, more manageable inside and out, where we can serve our neighbors together, love one another deeply and have a deep sense of spiritual formation.
How are we doing? We’re being challenged left and right in our areas of weakness and stress, but we hear the voice of our Good God gently guiding us.
“Can you speak louder please! And while you’re at it, can you actually do something!”
Ooops, that was my inner voice speaking…
The reality is we live in the tension of the two, at times we feel lost, not in our vision or decision to leave traditional church and move towards a simpler lifestyle, but in the lack of tangible results – financially, jobs, someone buying our house, etc.
It’s been a battle.
But we hear the voice of God guiding us, in fact, we’ve never felt more sure that we are to move back to SoCal inspite of the economic challenges. We feel confident that our time here in Colorado has come to an end, and although we remain surrendered to God, we hear his voice guiding us back.
Into what? A sweet paying job? A raise, a bigger house? Not even close. For those, it would be better to stay here in CO where are there are more financial opportunities. But as my spiritual director recently told me “We follow God into the place of greatest surrender (Spanish – entrega), not the greatest possibilities”. Bummer. But God keeps saying to me “Don’t look for riches on earth, look to me, invest in my Kingdom and I will supply your every need.”
That’s tough to hear, but it’s what we’re doing, trusting God for our future, moving in obedience, coming together as a family, as a couple just about every hour, to pray, confess our weaknesses to each other, our earthly and fleshly desires to be safe, seek comfort, seek the past and to not chicken shit out.
But we persevere, because God is in this thing.
On the other side, I have visions of God moving in huge ways through us, I can see it. But beyond the work, the production, the doing, I have visions (ok, nightmares), of what kind of person God is making me out to be.
God wants me to be like Jesus.
God wants me to be less controlling, more simple, less angry, more gentle in spirit, less dependent on a salary, income, safety and security. On the plus side, he wants me to be more courageous, more fearless. That’s the David I want to be, not the one who chickens out of challenges, or gives into anxiety and fear, but the one God has named “FEARLESS”, that’s my new name btw, Fearless Trig. I like it.
I love music, I love people, I am a feeler and an achiever, I have a passion for Jesus and love people far from the Kingdom and want to help them find faith once again or for the very first time.
My wife and I are committed to this, her and I are one in our mission, even though we’re currently being challenged left and right – sickness, house not selling, financially, patience, waiting, fear, you name it. But every morning we get up and the first thing we do is spend an hour each day praying, encouraging each other, comforting one another, seeking God together, crying out to Him as one.
And our children are watching, the good and the bad, but we’d want it no other way. For the first time in my 42 years and in our 16 years of marriage and 12 years of having our children, I am actually leading them to Jesus myself, not letting Kidz Church do it for me. It’s not that I haven’t been praying for them, tucking them in at night and reading them books, I’ve done that since they were born, but this is deeper, different, it’s more direct. I love it even though it’s hard.
Our children get to see me struggle but they also get to see me seek God, find my strength in God, they see us serving our neighbors, in fact they themselves are doing it, talking to their friends about faith in God, about Jesus, about our Neighbors Abbey.
The other day, Isabela our 9 year old was on our front yard with her little friend from across the street, they were playing with water balloons. I don’t know how it all started, but they were suddenly talking about church and being a follower of God.
Isabela said to her friend, “going to church doesn’t make you a Christian, like my tape says, does being in a garage make you into a car?” Her friend said “no”. “It’s about having God in your life, it’s not about going to church.”
We all pitched in, and explained a bit of what it means to be loved by God, but the work had been done. Isabela did a perfect job, in a way her friend could understand, of what it means to be follow God.
The other day a neighbor wrote me this email, our relationship has been our neighborhood, not church, not women’s ministry, but instead it’s been the Kingdom of God in daily things.
Do you know if the Garage Sales are going on today and this weekend? I haven’t seen any signs.
I am sorry to see your house up for sale but hope you are able to move forward in the direction you would like. You have done a great job of pulling the neighborhood together.
It’s Isabela’s story and emails like this that keep us going on this missionary journey. When we feel worried or tired of waiting for the house to sell, for jobs, etc. God leads us with his gentle voice, through the scriptures, in worship songs, sensations, dreams, intuitions, words from our children, our friends, calls, emails, a $20 gift card in the mail, etc.
John 10 has led us through this time of waiting, it says that God leads his own:
When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
If you are wondering whether you’re doing the right thing in your passion to serve the King, be it through a hot dog stand, your job as a teacher or doctor, as a mother or father, may our story encourage you to not give up and to listen for the Good Voice.
His voice is all we need.
Don’t listen to the liar, the thief, your enemies, listen to God’s voice, to that strong but gentle sound leading us towards His will, to his purposes for our lives.
If we fail to listen, we will suffer and endure the consequences, but in his grace, he will bring us back to that place once again and give us another chance.
Let’s listen this time!