Little known fact about me: I used to be a pitcher. I was a scary pitcher too – I was taller than everyone else and I pitched side-arm, which could be pretty intimidating. One of my favorite pitches was the curve ball. Many times, I’d throw a couple fast balls in there to get them used to those, then when they least expected it, I’d throw a curve ball or a change-up. The whole point is to completely throw them off when they’re ready to knock it out of the park. I can tell you that from the pitcher’s viewpoint, when a curve ball works, it’s an amazing feeling. From the batter’s position, though, you feel like such a fool – the pitcher got the best of you.
If Awaken Church is in the batter’s box ready to knock it out of the park, we just got pitched a curve ball. We’ve worked so hard to find a place to meet in, and felt as though God provided the perfect place for us to begin (even though it was small, it was a starting point). As we looked into the city zoning laws and fire code and met with a guy from City Hall that is in charge of zoning, we found out that our building is not zoned for assembly. For any store that will have more than 15 people, it’s required by law that, among other things, we must have separate men’s and women’s restrooms. Our building wasn’t built that way and it would take digging an entirely new plumbing system to do that! There are a couple other things not up to code, but they’re fixable. The bathroom isn’t (we even asked if we could temporarily rent a restroom – also against code).
Lots of things went through our minds about where to go next. We even thought about postponing our first service on Saturday, September 19. We’re not going to do that, though. We know we’re supposed to be here and we just see this as a new direction from the Lord. I fully believe Jesus’ promise in Matthew 16:18 – …on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. God isn’t shocked by this, and although we were caught off-guard and a little bummed about all of the work we’ve put into the building, we’re not giving up.
Our first service may not look anything like what we had thought, but I do know a few things about it: we’ll be there, there will be worship, and the Word will be taught.
We have a couple things in mind for buildings and one in particular that would absolutely blow our minds if it worked out. We ask for your prayers as we seek which direction the Lord would have us take.
Proverbs 16:9 – A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.