Following the dim light



I haven’t blogged or written too much on my journey in the last year or about my family and I leaving our church, Lifepath, and taking a position at another local church. Now seems as good a time as any because I am trying to gain clarity in what God is doing in our life.

Roughly 6 years ago God told our family to move away from Oregon and drive 3000 miles to RI to help my parents re-plant a church. It seemed like a great plan and we had no clue what amazing things God would do because of that act of faith. Over the years, well actually since I was little, I have been told that I was prophetic. I have seen god use this gift and discernment time and time again and it has been pretty amazing. The interesting thing is in our family life god seems to work differently. A good mental picture is almost like we are walking through a dark cavern and Jesus is walking right in front of us. We can’t see where he is leading us to and as a matter of fact can’t see much of anything. What we can see is the faint light from his torch that just barely lights our path. God loves to do great things through my family by making us follow this faint light and leap out in faith. Sometimes it is very scary. Sometimes it isn’t. Every time it is faith because we have no clue what God is up to.

Because of that leap of faith to move to RI I ended up being stretched, challenged, equipped and strengthened. Our family grew stronger and our resolve grew deeper. I met amazing friends and formed deep bonds that God used to affect hundreds of leaders at conferences in multiple states. I can go on and on about all the amazingly cool things God did, but I also want to say He brought us out of the pit of being burnt out and on auto-pilot. Last year we were becoming very restless in where we were and prayed, asking God about direction. While I was in Jackson, MI I called my wife back home and more or less told her that it was time to leave our church. She responded that she was feeling the exact same thing. On big decisions we ALWAYS ask God to confirm and give both of us peace. We were at peace about leaving, but not at peace about where to go. So we took that leap of faith and began the process. Eventually God made it clear through some very odd doors and situations that I was to take a position as one of the pastors in a church 5 minutes from my other church family. I was hired as worship pastor and God said pretty clearly. “follow me..”

We did, not being able to see past him in the tunnel, and He asked us to place our hands on his shoulders and he would guide us. We jumped in head first, but also with wisdom from learning much over years in ministry to put family first and not be afraid to say “NO”. Our first month was in Sept and like any position in ministry for the kingdom some things worked great and some didn’t. Slowly God began to throw little flares into the cavern and give me a brief second of insight into what He wanted us to do and what He was planning. Of course there is ALWAYS an emphasis on unity of the church in how I operate, but God wanted to do some great things at EFCNewport internally as well. I am not going to divulge anything online because some of God’s plan is private, but let me just say. He who has started a good work WILL be faithful to complete it. I am seeing spiritual eyes opened all around me and people pulled towards the spirit through word and song and it is pretty exciting. This past Sunday we switched a few things around in the service and put everything 100% in God’s hands and how He wanted to move. I am still praying about the ramifications of our faithfulness as a team to what the Holy Spirit was doing, but I can say without a doubt that something in the Spirit broke this past week. I have been seeing nuances of it in people around me, but this past sunday God wanted to make it perfectly clear that He wants his spirit to fall on our area in a way we have not seen here before.

Also during this time God asked my best friend Adam Fagan-Kela and I to do a class on igniting the spirit and living out a “Dangerous Faith”. I am convinced this is not just a class but a piece to God’s puzzle in stoking the fires and speaking to hearts to no longer let the spirit of apathy and mediocrity in our community exist. It starts soon so pray for us.

Long story short: This is partly a testament to the fact that God is continually moving in the lives of my me, my wife and our kids. However it is also a testimony of the fact that God sometimes calls us to step out into the dark out of faith. While we may expect the path to be lit when we do, often times it remains dark and we have to put our hands on Christ’s shoulders and let Him guide us where he wants us to go. We have to walk in faith with the knowledge that God has every intention to take care of us even when we don’t have the clarity we would like.

Be intentional and Press on in the dim light.






2 responses to “Following the dim light”

  1. Rich Kirkpatrick Avatar

    Joel… can’t wait to hear what the journey brings this season. Thanks for you honesty and refreshingly constant passion for God!

  2. Adam Fagan-Kela Avatar
    Adam Fagan-Kela

    Love the analogy of seeing nothing but the outline of the torch light around Gods back as we follow Him. It is such a perfect example of walking in faith. We walk in faith not sight, because of our confidence in the One who leads.

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