Isaiah 61:3 KJV “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”
That verse basically described Dawn and I over the last year or so. A year ago, I was on staff at one of the largest and fastest growing churches in Hampton Roads.
But God had other plans for our lives.
All of a sudden, we were wondering what God was doing with our lives. For the first time in almost 25 years, we found ourselves searching and seeking God's plan for us. We had a stirring in our spirits that perhaps God wanted us to leave the nest and – dare I say it – plant a church.
That couldn’t be right – at first glance we are too old to do something like that. Why would God want to use us to plant anything? In my quiet time, He took me to familiar passages of scripture – Abraham, Moses, and Noah. All of whom were well up in years before God used them in mighty, powerful ways.
I began to seek the counsel of men I knew and respected. Every conversation turned to, “You and Dawn should consider planting a church. Everywhere I went people were telling me the same thing – “You guys should plant a church."
But was God really telling us? Was He showing us His plan for our future?
I was talking to a friend of mine one day and I told him I wasn’t sure what God was saying to Dawn and me. He looked at me and smiled – He said, “Seems fairly simple to me – God is using people around you and is almost screaming – “GO PLANT A CHURCH!”
Wow, that hit home big time! God really was saying go and plant a church. Over the next month or so, the vision started to become clear – a church in Portsmouth Virginia that would enable people to Thrive!
I met with four of my most trusted friends one evening and I shared the vision that I believed God had given Dawn and I. They agreed and went all in to help us begin to make the vision a reality. That evening in Jay Anderson’s back yard Thrive Church was conceived and today we are on a mission from God – a mission to bring beauty from ashes, a mission to bring the oil of joy for mourning, and a mission to bring the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
As I write this blog entry we are almost ready to launch Thrive Church in Portsmouth and to be honest, I am both excited and scared to death. However, the one thing I know is that our God is faithful and He has a plan and we get to be a part of what He is doing!