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Get Up and Go

The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. (Genesis 12:1 NIV)

God led Abram (eventually renamed Abraham) from the land of his upbringing and his family to a country far away, which He promised would become home for Abraham and his descendants. It feels like that to Shirley and me as we have retired from ministry at Gathering Point Church in Dayton, Indiana, and moved to Concord, North Carolina.

First and foremost, we sense that God is in this move.

The primary motivation for leaving the Hoosier State for the Tarheel State was simple: the eleven hour drive to visit our son, daughter-in-law and five grandchildren went from 11 hours to 15 minutes! We have spent more time with our grandkids in the past six weeks than in the rest of the two-and-a-half years since they were adopted from Ukraine! But more time with the grandkids is not the only motivation for moving.

We have had peace through all of the decision to retire and move that God is leading us where He wants us. He has something for us in North Carolina, and we don't yet know what it is. We have hints that we could be involved in ministry with the Global Methodist Church as it is established and grows here. Perhaps we could be part of a church plant. Like Abram and Sarai, we go and we follow because we trust the Lord, not because we have it all figured out.

There's another dynamic here that is at play. The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. Moving toward our son, Peter, has meant moving far away from our daughter, Rachel. She and her husband, Eric, live three blocks from our former parsonage in Dayton. Now we cannot just call up and spend time together at Hu Hot's over an exquisite Mongolian grill meal. As much as we rejoice with our North Carolina family that we are much closer to them, we lament that we are much farther from Rachel and Eric and the grand-dogs.

When God calls us to follow, it often means both the excitement of the new thing that awaits and the sadness of what is left behind. It has been so in our 50 years of ministry every time we have left one congregation to serve the next one. Each move meant leaving one set of friends to make new friends in the next church. And it is so in this move to North Carolina. We already miss Rachel and Eric. We already miss Gathering Point Church. As I write this, the family will soon stir upstairs to get ready for church. But it will be a church full of strangers to us, except for our family members.

In this transition and uncertainty and mixture of celebration and grief, we know one thing. The God who called us to North Carolina has plans for us, whether or not we have any idea what they are. We follow Him because we trust Him. We watch and pray for the work and ministry God has for us here, because we have a strong sense He is not done with us, yet. We relish the time we get to spend with our family here. And we live in hope for what God has in store in the next season of our lives.

Like Abraham and Sarah, we walk by faith. There is literally no other way to follow Jesus. As you follow Him, is there something you are leaving in order to gain what He has for you in your unclear future?


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