Several months ago I announced on this blog that my family and I were making a transition from Austin, TX to Lancaster, PA. As we have been in Lancaster, we can see the hand of God at work and continue to have confirmations that we are in the right place at the right time.
Many have asked what caused us to make this move and so I wanted to tell more of the story behind how God led us to this new region.
2012 was a year of transition for my family and me. We had been in Austin for about five years. I was on staff part-time at a church as an associate pastor, was doing some itinerant ministry, as well as some real estate sales. My wife was pregnant with our second child and would be quitting her job at the end of the year. Being dependent on her income, we knew that something had to change but did not know exactly what it looked like.
Throughout the year we began to feel a tug towards Lancaster, PA where my wife’s family lives. In our seven years of marriage away from family we had never had this urge. We kept pushing it aside, thinking it was our own natural desire to be close to family, and not the Lord’s leading.
In August I received a call from a pastor in another Texas city. He had a full-time position open at his church and wanted to know if I was interested. The pastor was preparing to step down as the senior leader, and whoever he hired would be groomed to take his place. This seemed too good to be true and the timing was amazing. I began the process of exploring the position and as things progressed, it seemed more and more like this was the direction things were going.
At the same time, I began to see the numbers 717 everywhere. At first I thought it was a coincidence, and did not want to read into it. But I kept seeing 717 in the most random places and ways; as if I could not get away from it. (I have a list of over 10 unique ways that I saw the numbers 717 in a short period of time).
The only thing I knew to associate with that number was that it is the area code of Lancaster County. I did not understand why God would be speaking to me about Lancaster if He was opening up a door to minister at the church in Texas. But it became clear that He was trying to get my attention.
In October I was offered the position for the church in Texas. Everything in the natural said that I should take it: full salary, full benefits, and a track to become a senior pastor. My wife would be able to stay home with the kids as we desired. But something was missing: we did not have the peace of God. We wondered if we were being irresponsible to pass up this opportunity, but we knew it was not what God had. I declined the position.
With our baby due in January we had to make a decision soon about our next steps. As we prayed and sought counsel, we knew that the Lord was sending us to Lancaster. The 717 sightings were like signposts pointing us, and the peace of God was in it. Though there was no job lined up and there were many unknown details, we made the decision to move.
We put our house on the market and it sold the first week. Everything lined up for our move, and on 12/12/12 we arrived in Pennsylvania. It literally seemed as if the “waters were parted” for us to make this transition.
These last few months it has been amazing to see the Lord open doors for ministry in this new region. He has been quickly establishing relationships and showing great favor. It is becoming clear that God has amazing things in store for Lancaster County and I am excited and honored to be a part of it.
In my next post I will share some specifics about what is happening with my ministry and a new ministry position that I am stepping into.