Eighteen years ago, while dating Earl, one of the desires he expressed to me was that he wanted to start a new church plant. Eighteen years ago, he was a lot younger. Seventeen years ago, we got married and we immediately took a church in Morrow, GA. We have spent the last 17 years together, ministering in churches as God has called us to do. Earl has been in the ministry for 30 years.
During our discernment period of Earl’s retirement from PCUSA, over and over again Earl would read from 2 Samuel the account where David realizes that he is living in a house more grand than that which the Lord abode; a tent. David decides he is going to build a house for the Lord. But God gave David this message through Nathan from 2 Samuel 7:1-10 “Now it came about when the king lived in his house, and the Lord had given him rest on every side from all his enemies, 2 that the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells within tent curtains.” 3 Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your mind, for the Lord is with you.”
This message kept Earl wondering whether he should build a new house for the Lord; a new church plant. But in the final sentence of these scriptures, Earl read this, 2 Samuel 7:11 11 even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. The Lord also declares to you that the Lord will make a house for you.
Earl came to realize that God would build Himself a new home for His people and that Earl would be an instrument in that plan. Earl was not the builder; Earl was the builder’s tool. Earl was one of many tools the builder used in order to build the Charleston Presbyterian Church.
Charleston Presbyterian Church, an ECO congregation, celebrated its 1-year anniversary on December 7, 2015. What a wonderful year God has afforded us after taking a small step in faith and living our belief in Jesus Christ. God answered Earl’s prayer from decades earlier; to build a new church plant.
Satan gave us a very difficult and trying year during 2015. Personally, our family was attacked on every side. We have endured the death of Kristine, our 49 year old sister-in-law on Easter Sunday and the death of Earl’s mother Esther, on Thanksgiving Day.
One of our children failed at an attempted suicide. I had major surgery that year, a full-knee replacement. We traveled every Saturday from Atlanta to Charleston and every Sunday back to Atlanta, over 600 miles every weekend. We began a new house build in Charleston that had gone many months beyond contract and appears to be a house built on sand, instead of solid rock. We terminated that house build. 2015 is a year where I have referred to Earl as the biblical person, Job.
I took great care to remember one of my favorite Bible verses through it all, Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Through all of 2015, with our faith and belief in Jesus Christ and all He has done for us, we were given a new beginning; a new hope and we closed on a new house in February 2016. God gave us the blessing to rejoice and be glad in the great reward of heaven here on earth. He gave us new purpose in ministry; a new fellowship of believers who are united in the traditional, conservative teachings of first century writers; He gave us and built according to His will, with our obedience, the Charleston Presbyterian Church, HIS HOUSE.
Take that one small step in faith and count on God to bring you through the fire, the trials, and the relentless attacks of Satan. You will experience a giant leap in belief in God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit as you experience His blessings; His healing; His answer to prayers; His ever loving presence in your life, all because of your one small step out in faith that leads to a giant leap in how much you believe in the One and Only True God.