Nov 22, 2009

You Gotta Doubt Your Doubts

Joshua 1:5 "No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you."

Joshua is one of my favorite books in the Bible. This is where God brought me when He spoke to me about Marseille. He knew that, along with His call on my life, the attack of the enemy would come. He knew that I would be faced with fear & doubt, that obstacles would arise. He was right & I am grateful for His word. The journey that this next chapter of life brings me has really just begun & already the devil is there to attempt to derail me. He is already at work trying to discourage me & entangle me with fear & doubt...

"You can't do this." "There is no way you can raise support in this economy." "You need how much money?! Are you crazy?!" "You're going to fail." "What will people think of you when you have to quit because you were wrong?"

These are just a few of the things the devil has thrown at me in the past few days. It's okay though. I know how he works. He hasn't really changed his strategy much over the years. We see the debut of his game plan in the garden when he lies to Eve about the fruit. He plants a seed of doubt in her & tells her God is a liar. Throughout history, this has been his modus operandi. He is so confident in his approach that he even tried it against Jesus in the wilderness. What did Jesus do though? He pulled out the word of God & went right back at the devil! Our victory lies within the word of God. The life we are called to is a life of faith & we can't have faith apart from God's word. Romans 10:17 says "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ". Hebrews 4:12 says "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart". *** At this point, I'm just preaching to myself, so you can stop reading if you like *** Isaiah 54:17 says "No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their vindication is from Me, declares the LORD". Romans 8:37 says "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us".

Wow, I feel good! When God's word is coursing through your veins, the devil's lies don't hold much weight. One of my all-time favorite messages on this is by Pastor Rick Shelton, a Pastor in our movement. You can listen to it here. Stay strong!

In Christ,
~Clint James

“On earth as it is in heaven” ~Jesus Christ
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Nov 17, 2009


I'm not sure if you've seen the movie Facing The Giants or not, but I wanted to share this with you (click the post title above to see video).  The acting isn't going to win any academy awards, but I'm sure you can be encouraged & challenged by the message. I can't count how often in life I have placed self-inflicted limitations on myself that shouldn't be there.  God showed over & over in His word that we were capable of anything with Him at our side.  We've all got giants to face in our lives.  We can be like King Saul & hide from Goliath or we can be like young David & boldly charge the giants standing in the way of our destiny.  Paul tells us that the very same power that raised Christ from the dead is alive within us.  What do we have to fear?  What is there that can limit us or keep us from our destiny?  If we know & trust Jesus, nothing!
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Merci pour Marseille

So, this whole "moving to Marseille, France" deal is kinda overwhelming.  When God started speaking to me about leaving San Diego & moving to Marseille, I knew it was a big deal, but only because it meant I'd be leaving home & those I love most here in the states to move half way around the world & start a church.  The full implications of this move have really only began to hit me.  Holy Moses!  This is HUGE!  I tend to be a "roll with the punches" kinda guy.  God told me over 11 years ago that I was gonna leave Austin & move to California to plant a church.  I just said okay & rolled with it.  I got to San Diego with next to nothing in my pocket, no job & nowhere to live.  God was faithful & within a week I had a job & an apartment.  You may have heard the saying "where God guides, He provides".  I believe this to be very true.  I've experienced it first hand... many times.  So, my immediate, natural response is to approach this in the same nonchalant manner.  *Ehhhng* Wrong answer!  I mean, I definitely know that God will still meet my needs & walk with me through this, but a little more is going to be required of me this time around.  A lot of decisions need to be made and, depending on what's decided, a lot of work will be needed to see that I get to France...  I need a plan!  Here are just a few things I need to accomplish before leaving for France (oh yeah, by now I guess you've figured out that I have determined I'm moving to Marseille):

1) Learn French, or at least get a good foundation.  I am using Rosetta Stone now & plan to take a community college French 101 class in the spring. I will attend language school in France until fluent. 
2) Travel to Buffalo, NY in February to take Ministry Partnership Development (MPD) Training.
3) Start raising my support from San Diego. 
4) Travel to Marseille in the Spring to meet up w/Matt to "scout out the land" & look at  housing. 
5) Get my financial accounts & records in order. 
6) Apply for a long-term Visa (which has to be done in person in LA... stupid).
7) Possibly travel to Kansas City, Texas & Arkansas to raise support.

There is a lot to be done, but it's worth it.  I've started doing research on Marseille & found that it is a city that desperately needs Jesus.  Though it is considered the "gateway to the French Riviera", it is not all paradise.  It is estimated that 40% of the population is at or below the poverty level & unemployment is higher than most of France.  Behind Catholicism, Islam is the largest & fastest growing religion in the city.  This is largely because Marseille is the primary port of immigration into France from North Africa.  Protestant Christianity accounts for only about 20,000 people of Marseille's  more than 1.6 million residents.  There is intense racial tension.  Just this past weekend there were riots in Marseille between the Algerian & Egyptian residents after a soccer match the Algerians lost to Egypt in Cairo.  Secular humanism dominates the universities of France.  You get the point.  Marseille needs Jesus.  Click here to see Matt Rasch's heart & plan for Marseille.  I'm so excited about what God is going to do.  I have had a heart for Europe & North Africa for years.  Now I will live in Europe at the doorway in to North Africa.  Even if I don't get to go to North Africa for a while, I don't have to.  They will come to me...  I forsee much evangelism to the Africans from the ports of Marseille.  That is all for now.  I'll keep you posted with more details as I figure them out.  Thank you all for your prayers & support! 

In Christ,
~Clint James
“On earth as it is in heaven”  ~Jesus Christ
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Nov 8, 2009

An Inciting Incident...

That was just for you Gwen.  I hope you enjoyed.

So, I'm not even sure I should be writing this blog right now.  It might be a little premature.  Something is changing in my life, but I haven't fully wrapped my head around it yet.  It looks like it could be big, terrifying & amazing all at once.  I think I have ideas about what God is doing, but what do I know?  Not much, but I'll share what's been going on & maybe writing it out will help me sort through things a bit.

For the past several months I have felt like a significant change is coming in my life, but had no idea what it might be.  I just had this tugging in my chest telling me to get ready for something new.  Would it be a new job?  A new address?  A new relationship?  A new ministry?  I had no idea.  I knew I wanted whatever it was God had for me.  I knew I wanted change & I new God was telling me He was bringing it.  That's it.

Well, things have started to seemingly become more clear.  Not clear, just clearer.  Many of you know that I moved to San Diego almost 11 years ago from Austin, TX with my Pastors & friends to start my church, Shoreline Christian Church.  Well, about a month or two after we arrived in San Diego, a Prophet in our ministry, Jim Laffoon, came to town and ministered to those of us that were here to start the church.  He prophesied over me & one of the things he said to me was that I was not to get too comfortable in San Diego.  He said that I was going to use this experience of church planting again some day.  He made it clear that it would be several years from that time, but that I would in fact leave San Diego to plant more churches. That was over 10 years ago.

I have recently had this very strong feeling that my time in San Diego might be drawing to a close.  It scares the mess out of me. San Diego is my home.  You are my family.  Even as I try to write this I overcome with emotion at the slightest possibility that I may be leaving you.  It's not that I'm afraid to go where God is calling me, but that I'm afraid to leave you.  I have always known in the back of my head that I wouldn't be in San Diego forever, but I tried not to think about it.  I can't ignore what is happening inside me right now though.  If you keep up with my Facebook or Twitter pages, you may have seen a little bit of a theme lately.  I've realized that it's time for a plot change in the story of my life.  I recently finished the book "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" by Donald Miller, the author of "Blue Like Jazz".  In it, Don talks about wanting his life to tell a better story.  This spoke to me right where I was.  If a screenplay were being written about my life, I'd want it to include better stories.  For there to be better stories, I have to live better stories.

A couple of weeks ago I came across a friend's group on Facebook about his upcoming church plant in Marseille France.  I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest as I scanned his page.  It caught me off guard a little, to be honest.  I took a step back & told myself that it was likely just me wanting change so bad that I was getting worked up over the first new thing I saw.  That may still be the case.  I'm praying & hoping to figure that out.  This did, however, plant a seed in me that would take root quickly.  I began praying about this much more often.  I bought Rosetta Stone French 1 & 2.  I started researching Marseille & looking for jobs & apartments.  I got in contact with Matt, the missionary that is moving his family to Marseille to start this church.  All the while, I'm not really thinking anything real is going to come of this (and it may not yet).

Then things got much more real.  I'm not one to think that everything is a "sign" from God.  I do, however, believe that God still speaks to His people through signs, wonders, dreams, visions, prophets & whatever else He has around at the time.  In fact, I am in San Diego today because God gave me the exact same dream every night for two weeks about moving to San Diego to plant a church.  This was before I even knew our Pastor was planning on coming to San Diego.  When my Pastor told us that he was coming to San Diego, I immediately knew I was coming with him because God had already clearly spoke this to me.  So, last Thursday I was at my Doctor's office waiting to be seen.  I picked up a magazine from the rack & started flipping through it.  What did I find?  An article about Marseille France...  I just started to laugh.

Earlier that same day, as I was sitting at my desk, I began to talk with God about what was happening in my heart.  I told Him that I wanted to go wherever He was calling me, but I was scared.  I told Him that I was too scared to quit my job.  I wanted to have that kind of faith, but didn't.  I told Him that if He was calling me to step out in faith & move, He was going to have to take my job from me.  I got news the very next day, this past Friday, that I was going to be laid off come Christmas time (Gwen, that was my inciting incident).  I told God He would have to take my job from me if He wanted me to move & He did just that the very next day...  I actually laughed when my boss was giving me the "bad news" because it wasn't bad news to me at all.  It is exciting news because it means that something big is coming in my life.  God is doing something.  This is just crazy!

I talked to Matt (Missionary in France) for about 2 hours on Saturday and I talked to my Pastors today at church.  I have all them standing with me in prayer & seeking what God is doing in me in this season.  I would GREATLY appreciate your prayers too.

I don't know what is going to happen next, but I have always known that I would plant more churches & always hoped it would be in Europe.  It always felt like light years away, but now seems it is right in front of me.  Everything has happened so fast.  It feels like we can be in a season of waiting forever, but when God moves, it comes like a flash flood.  I'm just trying to keep my head above water long enough to figure out what's coming next.

In Christ,
~Clint James

“On earth as it is in heaven”  ~Jesus Christ
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