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04.06.2011 / jontettleton

The Last 100m

I was thinking today that if we were to compare our “training season” to a 400m race, then we are rounding the last curve, and we are digging in with everything we have.

As you may know, we are planning to move from Moscow, ID to Spokane, WA in late June to begin our “official” work towards gathering a core group and creating movement towards a church body. Therefore, our final months here are extremely focused and intense. We are continuing to meet with Resonate’s pastors weekly and a few of us are meeting several times during the week to hash out the details of things like: Vision, Mission, Values, What if’s, Location, Bi-vocational feasibility, Name, Leadership Structure, Model, and so on and on and on.

I can personally say that is has been life giving and challenging all in the same breath. We are getting so close to so many things becoming tangible. We are currently in the process of wrapping up our prospectus, a pamphlet outlining the essentials of our church and how to get involved in supporting our church. This next week, we will tackle budget talks and other new territory in that same vein. It’s funny to think that these kinds of things actually excite me now. I couldn’t have imagined it a few months ago. That isn’t to say that these days bring only sunny skies and easy decisions. There have been several days of gray, with spinning wheels, frustration, and gritted teeth. In the end, it is a joy. It’s a passion that is developing and not without mistakes and re-tries.

Thank you for praying for us. Thank you for supporting us and our dream to see Spokane revived!

So if you know anyone with connections in Spokane let us know, because we would love to meet them. Also, if you are part of church who cares about mission and church planting, contact us! We would absolutely love to share our vision and passion with whomever will listen. Several of us will be traveling to Texas (not to exclude non-Texans, of course!) in May and June, so if you live there we can come see you personally.

Things you can specifically pray for:

  • Prospectus progress (aka P-talks) brought to completion.
  • Housing arrangements in Spokane.
  • Raising support and sharing vision with clarity and passion.
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03.30.2011 / meredithcooley

Actually Finding Him

“He made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living, so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark, but actually find Him.” Acts 17:26-28

To be honest, I’ve been groping lately. It’s been one of those seasons where you feel like your pressing after the Lord and there just seems to be silence in return. For me, these seasons always come during a major life decision. Convenient, right? It feels like the Lord just isn’t speaking loud enough (ya know, audibly speaking or writing it in the clouds!).

Well here goes the major life decision…is our timing right for going to the Northwest?

I had a hard time even writing that. I hate that we’ve even considered changing our timeline, but when Blake and I were honest with ourselves, we were both feeling doubts. We immediately started praying over the doubts and asked the team to join with us in praying. My prayer was, Lord whatever you want, despite the cost, I’ll follow. Just make your will clear! This is where the silence kicked in.

After weeks of frustrating silence, I started to focus on what the Lord has already told me, not what I haven’t yet heard. He’s told me I’m saved, I’m His no matter where I live or what I do, I’m called to submission, and that His eternal plan is better than mine. Amazingly, I started to have peace. Peace even without a decision. My yoke is light because I am saved, not because I have it all figured out!

Last Sunday Blake returned from a day of solitude with a decision. We’re staying in Texas for another year. Already being at peace, submission was a joy not a fight. Yes, we’re mourning everything we thought this next year would be, and a little embarrassed to have changing plans, but at the end of the day we’ve sought the Lord and had plenty of time and space we’ve needed to actually find Him.

Prayer Requests:

-That the Lord would be preparing a way for the team in Spokane

-Strength for the group to deal with upcoming changes

03.24.2011 / Colby Ivey

Spokane – Near Nature. Near Perfect.

That is how the city’s slogan reads on all the visitor brochures.  However, the pervading attitude toward the city of Spokane does not seem to match up quite so well.   A good number of the people we talked to from Spokane, or who have lived in/around Spokane, encouraged us to find a better city to move to, often referring to the city as Spokanistan or Spokompton.

And to be honest, Spokane does not have an overwhelming amount of curb appeal compared to some of the other cities we were considering.  Cities like Bellingham, Missoula, and Portland seem to be far superior and enjoyable.  We had really marked Spokane off the short list, until just a few weeks ago when the Lord began to change some hearts regarding Spokane.  I say the Lord began to change hearts because in our rational mind, this was not the city for us.

So for spring break, we left for a week long trip to Spokane to get to know the city we felt like God had for our team.  We began to pray that God would give us His eyes for the city and show us how He feels about Spokane.  The first few days those prayers did not work.  Mackenzie spent most of Sunday crying that we were going to spend the foreseeable future in Spokane.  But (thank God) the week did not end that way.  We were able to meet with a few pastors from different churches in the city, and hearing their heart for the work there began to change some of our perspective.  The more we got to know the city, the neighborhoods, and the people our dreams for the city began to develop.  We began to see how Spokane is, perhaps, the perfect place for us.

Opportunity abounds here.  It is the 3rd largest city in the Northwest, 6 significant colleges, relatively little Gospel work compared to its population, reasonable cost of living, large economic diversity, and fun things like 4 distinct seasons and an abundance of recreational opportunities.  Above all of that, we have the confidence that this is God’s leading and not our best human efforts.  I am so thankful for that sense of calling, because I know that when it gets hard God will continue to perfect what he is beginning here.  I’m excited to see what that will look like!

We have much more to say about Spokane and details about what we think this will look like.  And we would love to tell anyone about it who will listen.  Throughout the next 3 or 4 months before we move to Spokane, our team will be coming back to Texas to meet with churches and individuals about joining in what is happening in Spokane.  If you are a part of a missionally minded church or organization that would be willing to listen to us, speak wisdom into what we are doing, partner with us, or pray for us, we would love to hear from you and set up a time to meet together!  Leave a comment, email us, or call any of us.

Thank you for all your prayers and encouragement.  We love you all.

Prayer requests:

1. Thank God that He has given us momentum and vision for a city!

2. That details would continue to fall into place, as we still have lots of decisions to make.

3. Jobs and housing and such.  (We have also started praying for a free meeting space/building in downtown Spokane, so join us in that bold prayer!)

03.16.2011 / laura

The Answer We Have All Been Waiting For

The time has finally come!

Last July we moved to Moscow, Idaho eager then to know where the Lord would lead us.  We have spent the past 9.5 months asking that the Lord would speak clearly.  We have considered more than 10 cities in the NorthWest.  Looking at them through the lenses:

Where will the team fit best, What is the Lord currently doing in each place, What could the Lord use us for in each place, Where is there need, Where can reconciliation and restoration be facilitated (the list of lenses we looked at each place through goes on…)

After much prayer, anticipation, meeting with pastors and current church plants in each location and times of just sitting to hear the voice of God, we are walking in faith that we have heard the Lord speak.

He has told us to move to…

So off we will go, in 2.5 months to live in Spokane, WA!

Please pray:

  • Provision of insight into the needs of the city both spiritual and physical
  • An excitement and confidence for each team member in where the Lord is leading
  • Ability to break the city down and zero in on the right neighborhood for us to move into and share Christ’s love (with that, provision of housing and other practical needs for the team there)

(Thanks to D.O. for the beautiful letter collage.)

03.09.2011 / D.O.

Knowing and Loving the City

There is something incredibly appealing to me about people who love their cities; and more broadly, the idea of loving a city at all. Not in a haughty sense — the way people from Houston get when speaking with people from Dallas — but in a genuine, “I know and love my city” sense.

Every time my friends in New York City tweet about their rooftop parties or life in Brooklyn, or when I hear Ryan Adams reference his old apartment on Avenue A or pausing on 5th Ave to look at east and west Central Park — not to mention listening to the greatness that is Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” — it adds a layer to the romanticism I’ve placed on The City for years.

I love nearly all expressions of love for one’s city: Eminem’s representing Detroit in a Chrysler commercial during the Super Bowl; when Sleeping at Last changes the Silver Bells line “it’s Christmas time in the city” to “it’s Christmas time in Chicago” on their Christmas EP; when my friend Brian calls me from Dallas while I’m visiting his hometown Portland to offer countless options of things to do/see/eat in town. I love all of it.

Knowing and loving a city is a beautiful thing, and if my limited experience is any indication, it isn’t something that just happens upon arrival.

For example, nobody shows up to Dallas knowing that people are referring to 635 when they say “LBJ”, and they certainly don’t know to avoid that highway like the plague if it is even remotely close to rush hour. And while I’m sure a handful of people arrive in Dallas and immediately love it, my story looked nothing like that — nor did the stories of a lot of my Dallas friends.

I lived in Dallas for nearly three years before I could even say I liked it. But when that happened (by a ton of grace), it wasn’t long before I would proudly — and much to the dismay of most my friends — claim that I loved that city. And in the process of falling out of hate and into love with Dallas, I grew to know it. I knew the best coffee shops, who had the best burger, the best pizza, and how to best maneuver the not-bike-friendly city on a bike. This knowledge of the city helped my forward progress on the hate-love continuum.

Now, as we gear up to make one last visit to each of our potential planting cities next week (Missoula, MT; Spokane, WA; Bellingham, WA), and in a few months to move to the city to which the Lord leads us, I can’t help but long for the day when I feel as strongly about it as Ryan Adams and Jay-Z do about NYC, as Brian feels about Portland, and as I grew to feel about Dallas.

I realize it may take time. It will be a process, but I pray the Lord expedites the process as much as is possible.

Pray:

  • For discernment in hearing the Lord’s voice as we travel to these cities next week
  • For safety as we travel (lots of driving in a short period of time)
  • That the Lord would pour out his heart for our team, and that we’d walk in it.