One year ago today my family and I drove up to Walnut Creek to get the keys to a house we had never seen in person but knew that God had opened the door for us to rent. That day was May 16th 2014, and I cannot forget the excitement and anticipation we all felt in pulling up to that house and seeing the place God had provided for us to call home. That was one step, one moment in the adventure of faith God had called us into, and at every step along the way in this journey we have watched Him be faithful. He has never let us down, never failed us, and He never will. Here’s the awesome thing…..we are nothing special, we’re not super-saints, not worthy of His faithfulness, and yet He is still faithful to His people. When God called us to come to the Bay Area to plant a church we didn’t know how He would be faithful or what that would all look like, just that He would be faithful. Our story is not that everything has been perfect and it’s not that everything has been hard and terrible. Our story is that in the good times and in the difficult times God has been with us, sustained us, fulfilled us, empowered us, enabled us, and a hundred other things…..and we love where God has called us, who He has called us to, and what He is doing.
Shortly after moving here we started a Home Bible study in the middle of June and we watched God be faithful to draw people to the Bible study, people who were hungry for more of Jesus. And He grew that little Bible study to where we had to start meeting outside in our backyard and let the kids have the run of the house while we met. It was a sweet time and God used it to make us family as we focused on doing what the early church did as we see from Acts 2:42.
A couple months later God opened the door for us to use a local Methodist church on Sunday evenings through an arrangement made by another Calvary Pastor from the Bay Area. Again, this was completely the Lord’s doing, Him opening the door, Him giving us favor, and Him being faithful to the new church He was planting in Walnut Creek. At first Sunday nights were just a prayer and worship time for us as we didn’t have enough people serving to offer Children’s ministry. It was awesome to watch God bring like-minded people to the church who were “All-In” with what God was doing and slowly God began building a core group of people who served faithfully and wanted to be a part of what God was doing at Calvary Chapel Walnut Creek. Not only did God bring people locally who became part of that core group, but He also brought (and continues bringing) families and individuals from our sending/home church Calvary Chapel Canyon Hills who have answered God’s call upon their own lives and families to move up here to be a part of what God is doing. After several months of meeting at Walnut Avenue Methodist church, on October 5th we launched our first public service, and again God drew people there who were hungry for more of Jesus and just wanted to study through the Word of God. We continued holding Sunday night services at the Methodist church for seven months and God continued to be faithful to this young church He was planting and growing by His Grace and through the power of His Spirit.
In the beginning of April of this year, on Easter Sunday we took a step of faith and rented one of the community centers in Walnut Creek to hold an Easter morning service, and for the first time we really tried to get the word out by making a lot of fliers and encouraging everyone in the fellowship to invite people personally. Some went and handed fliers out at parks, some went door to door, and Easter morning was a blessing. What was our expectation? Was it that 200 people filled the 200 chairs in that community center? We did pray for that, but ultimately it was that people would come and hear the life changing truth of the gospel. Not one person raised their hand that day to receive Jesus when I gave the invitation to respond but people heard, and the work of transforming hearts and lives is Jesus’ and not mine. What I saw was the faithfulness of God to provide and opportunity and draw people who needed to hear about Jesus.
The Sunday after Easter we took another step of faith and moved to a new time and location, believing God was wanting us to move to Sunday mornings. Sunday mornings at Valle Verde Elementary School has been such a blessing and has created so many more fellowship opportunities as now we have the rest of the day to spend time together as a church. We’ve also seen many new faces as Jesus continues to be faithful to build His church.
Here’s what I continue to learn as I walk with Jesus in this life of faith, and what I know you will learn too as you walk with Jesus: He is good, He is faithful, He is at work, He has a plan, and He wants to use us in this world to point other people to Himself. He likes to call us to things that are way bigger than us, that we don’t feel adequate or able to do, so that we are completely dependent on Him, relying full on His Holy Spirit for the equipping and enabling and empowerment, so that He gets all the glory and honor and praise. Walk by faith and you will never fail to witness His faithfulness. We know as we move forward into this next year and throughout the rest of our lives that Jesus will always be faithful, and I pray our life will serve as an encouragement to others to walk by faith too.