Why RockPile? – (adapted from the original RockPile Blog from June 2014)
Well, it’s been a little over a week since our move (both the Netzers and the Wilsons) down to the Marble Falls/Spicewood area. In that time we’ve had:
1 family living in a travel trailer on the front lawn…
1 propane leak gas alarm that went off every 30 seconds in that same travel trailer…
4 kids who go from loving each other to trying to kill each other in 10 seconds flat…
3 Uhaul Pods that got lost somewhere in the continental United States…
1 dead scorpion found in the clothes dryer (that one we almost had to immediately move for)…
1 blown trailer tire…
1 time getting pulled over for having a headlight out (I conveniently had 2 boxes of krispy kremes sitting in my lap, and the police officer conveniently had a sense of humor)…
1 mini van that wouldn’t start…
1 response from a guy on craigslist that was out of the blue and amazingly vulgar (not really related to the move, but it was strange nonetheless)…
4 insane sunburns (4 people… not one person getting burnt 4 times)…
49 still unpacked boxes…
53 items in those boxes that we need but still can’t find…
823 resumes and job applications sent out…
9,623 bug bites…
Ok, ok…I realize that someone, somewhere is “hashtagging” this as “first world problems” and it might seem like whining. But here’s the thing: I’m loving every minute of it (ok, in all reality, the scorpion we could have done without… my wife is still reeling from it).
First, you must realize that the good is definitely outweighing the struggle.
We have places to live.
We have each other.
Our awesome landlords left behind the trampoline.
I defeated a broken down, dead lawnmower and then victoriously rode said lawnmower around the yard in a “mowing victory lap”.
We found a sweet river spot to swim (and fish) in.
The kids have learned the art of playing outside… and bugs… and digging… and tire swings.
We have deer in our yard in the mornings.
We may have found a building for the church and indoor play center!
The people here are AWESOME!
… and this is just to name a few of the good things happening.
The bad, the good, the easy, the struggle…. it’s all part of the same package. Two sides to the same coin. It’s all part of the adventure and story which God is telling though our lives, through the church, and through His will. Ultimately, whatever happens should glorify Him.
In Joshua 3, we read an amazing story involving the transfer of leadership. Up to this point, God’s people had followed Moses. How exactly does one follow Charlton Hest… I mean, Moses? This was the man who led the people out of Egypt, called down the plagues, faced the struggle, parted the Red Sea (I always loved the imagery…Moses standing there, staff in hand… arms up…. waters parting… wind blowing), recieved the tablets, conversed with God, and so on, and so on. Moses was the man, so these are big shoes to fill. In verse 7… God says to Joshua:
And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.
This was it… this was God putting His own stamp of approval on Joshua. There would be no doubt after this moment (whatever was coming) that he was God’s man. So what did God do?
Brought fire from heaven? Stop the earth and make it go backwards? Make Joshua levitate or make him glow like an emo heartthrob vampire in the sunlight? No. He did something He had already done before… He parted waters. Maybe it was because He wanted the people to see that, just like He was with them under Moses, It would be the same under Joshua. Perhaps the lessons learned from the first parting of the waters didn’t take. Maybe it’s because God says “that’s what I wanted to do, I’m God”.
But this time did have a few differences.
In the first story (Exodus 14) the people, under great duress, running from Pharaoh, found themselves trapped at the river banks. Despite their instant grumbling and complaining, God in His awesome, merciful love, saved them by dividing the waters.
Joshua 3 is different in the sense that the people were following directions INTO the water simply because He asked them to. They didn’t really have to go. It was pretty dry on their side of the bank, and there wasn’t an army in hot pursuit. But God had instructed. God was asking them to do something that didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Sometimes we need miracles when there seems to be no way out aside from a move of God, but sometimes we move forward with God… stepping out into something knowing that it will take only a miracle of God for it to succeed, even if it’s only out of obedience.
Joshua 3 was different because God actually asked them to step into the water BEFORE the waters parted. Can you imagine it? The Jordan was at flood stage. The waters were rushing by fast, and they might have still been rising. God says “I’ll lead you across… but this time.. I want you to step in BEFORE it’s dry!”
I can imagine all the things I would have thought.
“Can we wait for the flood to back off?”
“Can we see the water divide before we go out… can we see the miracle before we risk our lives?”
“Can you get us a boat? Even Noah had an ark! Some rock monsters might be cool too.”
“How about we just set up camp over here? Living by the river was good enough for Matt Foley, it’s good enough for me. Anyone got a van?”
God says move.
“But I have a job here, God. My kids are in school. I have health insurance… and a steady paycheck”
“But, God…. We don’t really know the area, the people… they might not get my jokes”
Move. Step In.
“God, I’m unsure of myself, my abilities, my knowledge of church planting, legal issues, how to raise money, and deal with endless amounts of fire ants.”
Move. Step In. It’s not about you or your abilities anyway.
In the Joshua 3 account, the priests did indeed step into the water. The water did part… the people marched across (once again) on dry land.
But then we see something different.
Maybe it’s because, in the Exodus story, the people were pretty quick to forget what God had done. Every time danger reared it’s ugly head (even after He had already parted waters and provided miracle after miracle) they complained, whined, or pondered going back to where they were before.
But this time, He wanted them to remember that He was in control… that there was no need to return to doubt, fear, anxiety. There was no need to return to being in a place where He didn’t want them to be.
When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”
So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
Often times in the Old Testament, people would stack stones to remember an encounter or agreement they had with God or with one another. These stones weren’t magical. They weren’t to be worshiped, but they did serve as a reminder of what God had done. How many times has God shown up, and helped us when we were in need? How many times has He Brought healing, provision, or wrapped His arms around us when we needed it… and yet…. the next month when we were depressed, or the bills were piling up, we began to fear and doubt all over again?
The people piled the rocks.
“God, this is what YOU did! We couldn’t make it across on our own. We couldn’t part the waters. All we could do was be obedient to what you wanted… you did the rest. Let us not forget how awesome you are. Let our children, and our friends, and the doubters see how awesome you are.”
Why do we call it RockPile Church?
Because it’s a reminder that God has saved us. That, right now, we are ankle deep (sometimes it feels like waist deep) in rushing waters… and yet we move forward knowing that, since God instructed it, we can’t fail.
Our Mission is to “glorify God and help people get where He wants them to be”.
Everyone has their river (or even rivers) to cross. For some It could be meeting God for the first time, or for others it might be stepping out into something He is asking of them. We want to help people find a place to stack their rocks and say “Look at what God has done”!
Are we doing this the “correct way”? I guess (church plant speaking) I really don’t know. I’ve had people tell me this church has to be done with a parent church, or a church planting organization, or it has to start in a building, or in our living room, or one of about 1000 different models for church planting, or we have to book T.D. Jakes to speak at our launch. There is much wisdom in many of the questions we have received. We take each to heart. But in the end, RockPile may look vastly different from other church plants… our best hope is to simply do what He guides us to do. For His glory alone.
Will I always make the right decisions? Probably not. There are times I may misconstrue God’s will, or have to stop and retune to what He is directing (we all have to). Maybe God doesn’t want me to buy a dune buggy after all (that’s a joke… don’t start rescinding your donations quite yet). But, despite RockPile’s differences in style, denomination, or mode of operation… I just want it to be His creation.
I’ll be honest, I don’t actually know what success looks like here. Maybe RockPile will be a growing, thriving church in a year. Maybe “Well Played” (The indoor play center) will take off and be a big hit. Maybe God could throw us a curve ball and change it all. Maybe we are here to simply offer support to the other churches in the area (which I hope to do regardless). I just want what He wants. Yes, that’s easer to say than to actually fully take to heart…I have my own will and desires. I already have it in my head how I want this to work out. It may be in line with how it goes, it may not be.
But on the other side of this… let this be a reminder that God is faithful. That if we move when God tells us to, He will undoubtedly move with us. This story. This adventure. The bugs, the broken lawn mowers, the job hunt, the scrounging for money, the sunsets, the porch swings, and the laughing kids who see an armadillo for the first time (albeit, most of them dead on the road)…. they are a pile of rocks to remember when we stepped out with God and said, “Yea, God…I’ll move”.
I wouldn’t… couldn’t write this story any other way.
Ok, well… back to the job hunt… oh, and anyone know how to kill fire ants?