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“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
We are being stretched and pushed a lot, but we are learning and growing a lot. God seems to be continually drawing us deeper into this journey of what it means to truly trust Him- to walk by faith and not by sight.
According to this verse from Hebrews 11, faith is not just a ‘religious’ thing. We all have faith in something or someone. Faith is living one’s life with a sense of assurance (it will be) and conviction (it must be)…even though we cannot see or directly experience what we’re hoping for. We all build and align our entire selves around things we cannot make sense of or experience directly with any of our senses. When we do this, that’s called faith. Everyone, everywhere, then, has faith. The question is in what or in whom will we place our faith? (Relationships, power, money, pleasure, etc.) And will that thing prove to be worthy of our assurance and hope and trust and come through for us? Or will it leave us lacking, frustrated, or worse…totally lost and destroyed?
For those of us seeking to follow Jesus, life is a journey of “fighting the good fight of faith” – or, pushing through in grace by His Spirit to keep the object of our faith God as He has shown Himself to us in Scripture. We can’t see Him or what exactly He’s doing around us. We weren’t there to witness the crucifixion and resurrection. We have no empirical way of objectively knowing that all God has promised for our futures will prove true. Yet even though we cannot see fully, we step out in trust that God is who He says He is and that He will do what He said He would do.
The strength of our faith in Jesus lies not in how strong our belief and trust is, but rather in the surety of God to be faithful to us. It’s the object of our faith- not the amount- that ultimately matters.
Cayla and I have been experiencing the gift of conviction. Our Father is peeling back layers in our souls to reveal our faith is very weak and how so often we allow our own insecurities, fears, worries, and the circumstances around us to cause us to doubt God and clutch for other things in which to put our trust.
Yet we are also experiencing the gift of His presence. The Spirit is teaching us more about who we are (and who we are not) and it’s in this place that He is revealing so much about Himself- things we thought we knew, things we had totally wrong, and things we’re unlearning and relearning about His heart and His work.
It’s been weighty, but wonderful. We have had some dark moments these last few months, but there is light that He really is enough, His ways are better, and He always is worthy of our trust. We constantly find ourselves crying, “We believe, help our unbelief!”
How you can pray for us
Our pace has slowly increased during the month of July as our time of sabbatical has come to a close and I have officially begun the initial stages of our residency with Sojourn Community Church. We have deeply enjoyed the unhurried way of life and extended time with family the past 2 months, but it’s also refreshing now to get back at it in this next chapter of our lives and calling.
Pray for the health of our souls & marriage
- God has opened our eyes to see that, while we are here to prepare for Denver and to work on our church plant, we are primarily here for God to prepare and work on us. I would totally have said that before we moved, but I’m not sure I really meant it. In my pride, I didn’t really think we needed it as deeply as we do. God is showing us the vision of The Oaks and all we hope to see happen in others needs to happen in us. I (probably more than anyone else) need His love to keep redeeming me, renewing me, reconciling me, and restoring me. Pray that we would continue to learn ourselves so we can better speak the good news of the gospel into every part of who we are and what we are to do. Pray for Cayla and I to keep learning what it means to keep our hearts open to one another as we both process and grow and learn through our time here. We don’t want to focus on loving and serving everyone else and be tempted to neglect our relationship with one another and our discipleship of Beau.
Pray for our development & disciple-making
- Our residency with Sojourn will focus on a holistic paradigm for development for Cayla and me. We are jumping head first into the life of the church as we visit Community Groups, join serving teams, get involved in loving the city with various partnerships, and diving deep into relationships with the great people of this Faith Family. We have focused readings (roughly a couple books every month) to sharpen our understanding. We will have many one-on-one meetings with various Sojourn Elders and members for soul care, mentorship, and to help us think through various aspects of leading and becoming a church on mission in Denver. Another specific aspect of our residency includes “field work” where we are being taught practical skills of what it means to live life on mission in a specific context and seeking to put it into practice in particular neighborhoods in Louisville. The next 3 months we will be focusing on a neighborhood in East Louisville (followed by 2 other neighborhoods over our remaining time here) where we will seek to apply things like following the Spirit’s leading/prayer walking, neighborhood mapping, learning the culture, building relationships, and speaking the better story of Jesus into the story of this area of the city and the individual people God sends our way. Pray that as we spend time here that we would not only be better equipped as we learn how to love our future neighborhoods of Denver well, but that we would also see redemption, renewal, reconciliation, and restoration happen here in East Louisville! Pray for us as we seek to bring leaders and other followers of Jesus from Sojourn and other area churches along with us, that we would find ‘people of peace’ where we can begin to see intentional discipleship taking place that could potentially multiply long after the Sherfeys move!
- A big prayer request right now is that we would learn to truly love others. We talk often about wanting to learn the simplicity of becoming better neighbors who live open to what God is doing around us and in the lives of others. Pray we would leverage our ‘unhurried’ pace, not for ourselves and our comfort, but for the good of others and the flourishing of our neighborhood and workplaces. Keep praying for me (Derick) as I build friendships with folks downtown through my part-time barista job and for Cayla as she begins a part-time job next week where she will be a nanny for a family we have been connected with. We thank God for providing strategic jobs for our needed income, but also as pathways for relationships!
Pray for partnerships & provision
From the very start of this journey Cayla and I have prayed that God would use our story to strengthen the Church and help be a catalyst for mission and sending. We have been so encouraged to see how this prayer is already been actualized and we’re hopeful to see how this deepens in the months and years ahead as we partner together with individuals and churches for gospel advancement in Denver and among all nations.
- Pray for our Missionary Team | There are several adults who are in various stages of our ‘pipeline’ who are praying about relocating out West to be missionaries to Denver and first members of The Oaks Community Church. Please pray for these individuals and families, that the Spirit would make each step clear as these people begin to take steps in obedience to discern whether or not God would have them join Him in what He is doing in Denver with our team. Pray I would have the grace and wisdom to shepherd them well and learn what it means to equip these members as the team grows. Pray God would continue to raise up the right people as He sees fit!
- Pray for Local Church Partnerships | We are in conversations with several local churches casting vision of what God has called us to. We have a few churches already committed to locking arms with us through prayer, finances, and relationships! Please continue to pray God would show Himself strong in developing the base of local churches that will be essential for the holistic mission He has given us with The Oaks.
- Pray for Financial Partnerships | Beginning in August, Cayla and I will jump into the journey of raising financial support. Honestly, this is something that we have deeply dreaded doing and we have many fears and insecurities about this. Pray that as we gear up for this that we would not make it about us and our feelings toward “having to raise money,” but that we would continue to learn what it means to lean into and rely on Jesus’ Church. We truly want people to give out of a love for Jesus and obedience to Jesus’ mission and ownership of our vision of making much of Jesus in Denver and among all nations. Pray for humility, boldness, and wisdom as we take this next step of trusting God to provide through His people. Pray for God to prepare and make clear the natural relationships of people we are to make Kingdom investments in this way.
- Mark your calendars | On Saturday night, November 11th we will have a Vision Dinner hosted at Tri-Cities Baptist Church in East Tennessee. We will share much more details in the coming months, but if this is something you’d be interested in, please carve out this time on your calendars.
We love you. Thank you for loving us by praying for us! Please share this update and invite people to subscribe at theoakschurch.net as Prayer Partners so we can reach our goal of 250 by Spring 2018.
Jesus is worth it,