Taking the Leap

     The first time I remember taking a serious leap of faith towards God, I was 21. I was in Mexico building houses, I had almost finished college with a degree in English and I was planning to go into teaching. Summers off baby! Sign me up! That year, I’d experienced some academic setbacks and found myself increasingly disenfranchised with public education. I knew I wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people, but it seemed like every teacher I met was either frustrated by the constraints of the system or had become alarmingly jaded and was just cynically punching a clock towards retirement.
     Sitting on a beach in Baja, I prayed and asked the Lord to give me a sign or point me in the direction He wanted me to go. I was hoping for a big neon sign, flashing arrow, the whole shebang. Instead, I got a call from my hometown church asking me if I’d consider being an intern that summer.  I didn’t really want to, but I had just prayed that prayer, and I felt He was asking me to trust His plan more than mine. So I took the leap of faith, said yes to the internship and went back to Washington. It ended up being one of the best summers of my entire life. I felt more connected to God and joy in His presence than I ever had.

     The internship turned out to be a 4-month interview to become their new Children’s Pastor. When they asked me to pray about it, I was scared. I didn’t want to be a Pastor, I wanted to be a High School teacher, leading Young Life once a week and taking my summers off to fish. My time, my plan, my way. Turns out God wanted all of me, not just part of me. So, I took the leap and said yes. Instantly, life made more sense than it ever had. I felt more alive and more passionate about His church than ever before. God knew who He made me to be and all I had to do was submit to His calling and I found in Him the purpose my life had been lacking all along. I finally knew who I was and who He was calling me to be.

    Later on, God opened up a door for me to attend Seminary and get my Master’s. The only problem was I’d have to leave Washington and move to San Francisco. I loved Washington, I loved my church, I loved my job, but I knew God was calling me to finish school so I could focus more on ministry. He was asking me to leave everything I knew and had grown up with, my family, my friends, my tiny hometown of Toledo and the only community I’d ever known for a place where I knew no one. Even worse than that, the place was crawling with 49’er fans…yuck. I knew God had a plan for me, so I said yes and took the leap. Within a few months God had called me to be the English Ministry pastor at a local Korean Baptist Church. I was blessed to be accepted into an entirely new community and they taught me more about how to be a Pastor and Shepherd than all my hours in school. While serving there, I was also blessed to meet a local inner-city missionary girl who for some reason ended up deciding to spend her life with me! I’m so glad God prompted me to take that leap!

    I loved my church in the Bay Area. Jess and I had just had our firstborn, Connor, and we lived in a nice little house on a dangerous street with crazy neighbors. It was great. I was preaching every week, wrapping up Seminary and we were enjoying that Cali life. That year, as I asked God to give me vision for our church, He did something strange. He gave me two visions, one for my family and one for my church …separately. I was a newer husband with a brand new baby and I felt God calling me to do the least responsible thing I could think of, leave California and move back to the Northwest. No job, no place to live, just leave and follow Him to somewhere in the PNW. I was angry. I was upset. I didn’t want to leave. I liked my life. I told God I would not leave until He told me where I was going and that I had a guaranteed job to provide for my young family. I’d trusted Him before, but this was too far! So I tried it my way. I started firing off resumes, doing interviews, trying to establish a new job before we left. I heard nothing. No hits, no close decisions, nothing. Through a lot of prayer, faithful friends and lots of cool moments of God leading Jess and I together, we realized that God wasn’t going to show us the way until we took the leap and trusted Him. We had to cut our safety net and put our whole trust in Him this time. So we took the biggest leap of our lives together. We told the church we were leaving, gave notice to our landlord and began packing. Suddenly a guy named Warren Eng from Cornerstone in Bellevue reached out and said they liked my resume and wanted to talk. Taking that leap has been the greatest privilege and blessing of my life. We found our family here at Cornerstone. We planted our roots. We watched our lives intertwine and saw God do more amazing things in our lives and the lives around us than we ever have before. Every day has been a gift.

    Now, once again, God is telling us to go. He’s asking us to trust Him. He’s raising the bar again, asking us to follow Him with no safety net, no plan, not even a direction. Just trust and obey. It’s not scary this time, because we’ve been here before, but it doesn’t mean it’s not hard. It’s hard to leave the church family we love dearly. It’s hard to leave relationships we’ve built over the past 9 years. It’s hard to say goodbye. I know that it’s for the best because every time we take the leap towards God, He’s got something amazing in store. I hope our journey encourages you to begin asking God more and more where He might be calling you to take a leap, to put your faith totally in Him and follow no matter what. I have never regretted taking the leap towards God and I know you won’t either.

    A dear sister in Christ shared a verse with me recently that really speaks to where we are at as a family and I pray that it gives you the same sense of purpose and peace that it has given me.

Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
Psalm 143:8

1 Comment

Amy - December 20th, 2021 at 10:55pm

I’m soooo encouraged by your family’s step of faith!! We miss out on God’s awesome adventure when we dismiss His nudge. I’m looking forward to how He will lead and how He will continue to grow your family deeper to and in Him! I know there will be another “Warren Eng” who will call to say, “we like your resume, can we talk?” God’s timing is always good like that! We will miss you, Jess and the kids!! It’s not goodbye… it’s “see you later”!! Until we meet again! Love you all!!! ❤️🥰😭