Julia was a pioneer and I am a pioneer. We didn’t know that when we married each other, but as we began to grow spiritually, we both found that we had the same spirit of adventure. A spirit that was eager for adventure even if it was risky. A spirit that could always embrace change, in fact desired change periodically. That is probably why we were a good team. We both had no problem giving up the old to go after the new. It probably helped that we are both optimist, and always see the glass half full instead of half empty. It was always amazing to us how many people resist and are truly frightened of change. We never could understand why friends didn’t leave with us when we left First Methodist for the Vineyard in 1988. Of course after we came back in 90 after a church plant blow-up we had probably lost any credibility. There was no way any of them were going to go with us when we left again in early 92. We couldn’t get any of them to understand that there was so much more out there, and it was worth the risk to go after the more. Even then we saw that there would eventually be a remnant of people called out of First Methodist for something more, but no one else could see it yet. So many husbands and wives have partners who are the opposite of them in spirit. One might be a pioneer while the other doesn’t want to have anything to do wit change in any way. I really feel sorry for them because they will never know the joy of running after the unknown together, not knowing what to expect, or caring. Just running for more of God, no matter what it looks like.
There were very few times that we weren’t on the same page. One of the times that we wanted to go in different directions for a while was in the summer of 94. Revival had just broken out at the Toronto Airport Vineyard in January. They had had continuous meetings since then. We had heard a lot of stories in Atlanta, and we wanted to go check it out. We both really wanted more of God and were willing to go anywhere to get more. Anyway Julia and I flew up. If I remember correctly Lisa went with us and Jennifer flew up the next day. I really wanted all the family to receive all God had for us. Looking back, that might not have been such a wise decision. At that time TACF was a church of about 400. The building could hold maybe 450 if they were all packed in tight. To get a seat, you had to get there about 2 hours early. Of course I was pushing for us to be there 3 hours early, but with three women I knew that wasn’t going to work. We had heard about some of the more radical manifestations, and I thought we were prepared for what we about to walk into. I was wrong. When we got into the building there were not many seats left. The main thing I remember was a big fat man sitting in a chair close to where were sitting. He had his eyes closed like he was sleeping, but about every minute or two he would roar like a lion. That didn’t sit well with the girls, especially since we had to listen to him for over an hour. This was not good. I could see Julia’s body language. She was tightening up and I knew that she was going to have a hard time. I couldn’t tell what Jennifer and Lisa thought, but I figured that it couldn’t be good. I pressed through. I had come all the way up here and I was going to get whatever God had for me. The worship was great and the preaching was OK. They had a guest speaker. The Holy Spirit was so thick you could have read the yellow pages and people would have gotten saved. The first night I waited almost two hours to get prayer. I was tired and it was hard to receive. I knew that the girls were all ready to fly back to Atlanta, but we still had one more night and I wasn’t leaving until I got more. The second night in ministry time I was standing next to Julia. It was a long time before we got prayer, but I kept pressing into God asking for more surrendering everything to him. I told him that I would do anything for more. I would be a fool for Him. I didn’t care. I asked Him to kill me right there if I couldn’t get more. It was then I saw a vision of the Lion of Judah. He was roaring over the injustice in the world. I continued to see that vision and the next thing I knew, I was roaring. I knew that it was probably scaring Julia and the girls but I didn’t care. I couldn’t stop. I was on the floor in agony and ecstasy at the same time. Still roaring, so hoarse I could hardly talk for a few days. When we left Toronto there was the biggest spiritual gulf in our marriage that we ever had in all of our 38 years. We came home and I did research on scriptures about roaring. Julia prayed and researched on her on. To her credit we came together and she joined me in all of our further pursuits. God taught us both, and we both continued to press into change and into more.
Today I wrote the RiverStone Sozo team and officially turned over leadership to two younger couples. I am a pioneer. I like to start things and see them grow. I am not good at maintaining them. Julia and I had planned on doing this early this year. It is proper and right. I , we really wanted to pass the ministry on to a new generation. We need to release people into ministry so that they can grow. To often pioneers who start ministries fall so in love with the ministry they take ownership and can’t release it. I have seen it before, and I didn’t want to have that happen. To grow in the Kingdom we have to give things away. I am excited about what God is going to do in the Sozo ministry. These couples are fine leaders and have the potential to take the ministry far further than we could ever take it. But more than that, I have new things to start and see grow. I am excited about all that God is doing in me right now, and I truly believe that there is much more for me to do and see. This change is just one of the steps He is calling me to take over the next six to nine months. Most of them are still fuzzy, but this first one was very clear. I know that Julia is happy too.