Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A New Vision

When Curtis left his position as the student minister at FBC Irving in 2008, we didn't think he would serve on a church staff again. That thought was kind of sad to us, as we had had great experiences in church work. But Curtis was being given the opportunity to do something he'd wanted to do since he was a teenager. So in March of 2008 we moved to Houston so that he could come under the umbrella of Living Proof Ministries as an additional traveling speaker. His days would consist of studying and preparing lessons and he would take just about every opportunity to travel and speak.

What actually happened turned out to be a little bit different. Curtis had plenty of opportunities to teach, but the vast majority of them didn't require travel. Score! That worked for me! Most of his opportunities came from within our local church. Two years later we began to assess this season of our lives and we saw that God seemed to be blocking the itinerant ministry we'd moved here for and blessing the ministry we were doing in our church.

Curtis' main role in Houston has been teaching a Wednesday night Bible study at HFBC called The Link, which he has now done for three years. It started out with a small group of Jesus-loving senior adults and has grown to a much larger group of men and women of all ages. One Wednesday night last year I looked out at our diverse group and thought, "Wow, this looks like a church."

Curtis also taught the Metro Bible study at our church (geared toward young singles) for the last two summers and he has taught our Sunday school class for the last year. Needless to say, I have listened to my husband teach a lot during the last three years. I've watched his gifts grow by leaps and bounds. Each time I hear him I see a demonstration of the Spirit's power.

About a year ago I began to sense strongly that while Curtis' teaching gifts were being fanned into flame, his leadership gifts were not even being touched. It's like a muscle that was going to atrophy if it did not have a chance to work. God started giving me vision for Curtis leading, teaching, and shepherding a group. A body of believers. A church.

The Lord was speaking this to Curtis at the same time. Only God knows how long we were both having these thoughts before we shared them with each other. By the time it happened, it was nice that we were both on the same page.

Let me say that we have been very happy with our situation. We are physically comfortable, we're surrounded by wonderful friends and family, Curtis loves working at LPM, and we adore the church where we attend and serve. We could stay like this for the rest of our lives and be happy.

But God is saying go.

For our entire marriage, the consistent message we heard from God was wait. I can't tell you how many friends, family, and even a few strangers have said, "I believe God gave me a word for you. Wait on Him." Even when we began to sense that God was calling Curtis to shepherd a church, we still sensed that we were to wait. The direction we believed God was giving us was to wait until the New Year.

By that time it was still early 2010, so we sat on these thoughts for quite a while. We met with Pastor Gregg, who affirmed Curtis' gifts and calling and began praying for us. We felt that in the coming months, we would either be called to an existing church or that God would lead us to start a new one.

And here's where I have to tell you to wait until I can write Part Two of the story. Thanks for reading along.

106 comments:

Sister Lynn said...

Gaaah!!!! I am praying you will have an exceptionally uneventful day tomorrow so we can hear "the rest of the story!"

Praying for you! Thanks for your attentive listening for God's guidance and will!

Blessings - Sister Lynn

Angie said...

I got chills reading this! How awesome and scary and exciting and...! Is there a greater way to worship our God than to wait on him and be obedient to his call? I can't wait to hear what God has told you both. I'm hoping it involves Colorado somehow. ;)

Healthy Branscoms said...

Can't wait to hear part II. I just found your blog off of twitter and became a follower. :) Erin

www.healthybranscoms.com

Fran said...

I'm dying!!!!!!! This is so exciting Amanda! Already thanking God for this new thing.

((hugs)) and blessings from TN!

Katherine said...

Nooo!!! Amanda! I've been PRAYING for the Joneses for weeks if not months as you have mentioned a little here or there and began reading this post with joyful anticipation!! Can't WAIT to hear the rest of the story. Will pray especially for the Lord to give you time to write the second half!
Sweetest Blessings from PA.

Elizabeth said...

Very exciting. I look forward to hearing what God has going on with your lives. Lots of hugs and blessings.

The Powell Family said...

Super excited to join in praying towards this new vision. So exciting to feel the Father's hand moving your family in the current of His will.

Kelly said...

I don't know what the rest of the story is........but I know I'm excited for y'all! Whatever God leads you to do!

Tracey said...

Wowzers! And very cool. Can't wait to read more :)

ThirtysomethingMom said...

This reminds me of Travis Cottrell's posts about being called to Church Music Ministry in Jackson, TN.

Can't wait for part two!!!

Carrie Beth said...

You have been alluding to big stuff happening for so long and I have been anxious to know exactly what! Can't wait to hear the rest of the story.

Bonky's Mom said...

Soooo wrong to bait us like that!!!! 

Gene and Annie said...

How exciting!! I can't wait to hear the rest! ( I will patiently wait!!) :)

carolyn said...

Your mon must have you and Curtis heavily on her heart when she came to speak to us in Clovis and brought us a Word from James 5 about WAITInG! We will pray with you and for you as you set out in obedience to His calling..and be anxious to know where God lands ya!! Thank u 4 sharing your life and calling w us!

Mari Bryant- Marks said...

Oh dear, that was such a teaser!

C:M:W said...

Ahhh. I love this story and what God is doing. Love the Jones', love what God is doing with them and where he is taking them. Excited to be a small part of God's big story for the Jones for HIS glory. Love you friend!

Holly said...

Chills....and I knew it!!!! Praying as you now go. Praying delightedly.

Patricia said...

You have left me in suspense and I can't wait for part two. BTW - Stephen and I had the privilege to help plant a church back in 1997 and it was such an amazing blessing. On that note, I would like to say that the Northwest is one of the most unreached areas of the USA! Vancouver especially:)

I am praying for your family as you listen to God. This is very exciting!

Lindsay said...

Awesome! I love that you & Curtis were both getting the same inclination to "go," and that you're being obedient and following God's perfect plan. Blessings on this new journey! I can't wait to read part 2!

happymcfamily said...

makes me smile :-)

Brei said...

Welp, I love your blog and am so excited to see what God has in store for your precious family. Also, praying for a smooth transition...I know I certainly am not a huge fan of a change all the time! :-)

Tammie Head said...

I'm so excited! We haven't had a chance to talk, but I'm praying and believing for you guys. Love what the Lord is doing! So proud of you both.

Big hugs and love.

Shelli Littleton said...

That is awesome, Amanda! I was thinking about one of your earlier blogs on Radical ... we are finally reading it at church. So I have to tease you a tiny bit ... are you going radical?!! Hee, hee. You know I'm playing. Wow ... the book. I just interviewed a guy moving to Seattle to plant a church there ... he's from David Platt's church ... I didn't really know much about the book or author at the time I wrote it. Funny how things work. But ... I will be praying for your sweet family. Exciting to know God's calling and see how He moves.

Dori in Texas said...

I am already getting excited for you. Changes in our lives have always led to adventure!

Paige said...

How awesome! What a mighty God we serve!

Laura said...

Ok, ok, you waited... so I can wait. So excited to hear about the new chapter.

Robin said...

I love how your hearts have shared the same rhythm through this...and how you're willing to step out of comfort into the unknown.

I'm PRAYIN' for y'all with expectation...and lookin' forward to Part Two so I can know where you're headed!!

:)

xo

Kelli said...

So exciting :)

Been praying since I heard... Can't wait to hear the rest of the story!

Love how you two love the body of Christ! Thank you for being a great example!

Marla Taviano said...

Would LOVE to hear Curtis preach the next time we're in TX. Continuing to pray for you both. LOVE what God is doing in and through you. Love you!

Cindy said...

How exciting! Can't wait for part two.

Ashley said...

You left us hanging! Aaahh!!! I cannot wait to hear the rest of the story and what all God has in store for you and your sweet family.

I'll be praying.

Erin said...

I've been praying for my dear family in Texas. Love you, and I'm so excited!

Maria said...

You little stinker...I can't wait!!! LOL...

Amy Storms said...

So exciting! Gave me chills...looking forward to part 2!

lmashe81 said...

I have been reading your blog for a while and this is the first time i have ever commented. Following God's will is exciting and scary at the same time. My husband and I will be leaving the church we have pastored for three years and going back into youth ministry. We have been youth pastors before, but we felt God calling us into lead pastoring. So on Monday we will be loading up all of our stuff and heading to Oklahoma. We will be leaving all of our friends and families behind. We are so excited. Can;t wait to see what God has for both of our families.

Praying for you you guys also! Can't wait for part 2

Ashley said...

I cannot wait to hear part 2! And I am so confident that He is going to refine and bring out some gifts in you that you may not even have known were there. Can't wait to see...

bethany said...

You've left me hanging! Praying for you and Curtis as you venture out into a new work of God in your lives. Can't wait to hear part 2!

Bianca said...

I will be praying for you and your family. Thank you for being such an amazing example of faithfully and quietly persevering. You inspire me. Much Love. B.

Go-Between said...

So excited for you! What faithful servants to wait!
I am with Patricia, NW is the place - but further North! :*)

Tara G. said...

What else can be said that hasn't already? Just smiliing on my side of the ocean over God's goodness.

Wendy said...

How wonderful! May God bless you both greatly as you embark on this new endeavor.
I, too, am in a waiting stage with the Lord right now. It is worth the wait until you hear those longed for words of "go."

Shellie Paparazzo said...

Hey! That's not fair!!! Tell us more! Tell us more!

WendyB said...

Do you HAVE the answer yet? How exciting. Sometimes obedience is easy; sometimes it's hard. Many of us are with you - right now my army chaplain husband and I are in one of the hard seasons in a foreign country and thousands of miles from our fams. I'm clutching my thousand-dollar airline ticket to go see my baby graduate from Clemson next month, wishing the whole time I could be with her every day.
So glad you're in a season that no matter where you are, your children will be with you.
We're waiting on the edges of our seats to see where God and the Army will be sending us next. To me, it's almost a relief to have no say in the matter - I can give myself totally up to prayer and following.
Love to you.

Marc and Charity said...

YAY! (Clapping hands!) So excited for y'all.

Deidre said...

Ahhhhh ... Amanda, that is not nice! :)

I can't wait to hear what God has told you (and Curtis). Exciting stuff ...

Amy Fisher said...

After learning to wait this year with my son's brain injury, and wait with anticipation...I can only imagine your excitement. Praying for all of you!

Joyce said...

Always so exciting to hear a story start to 'finish' and look at the many ways God worked....to look back and say Wow. We've just seen something work out in an amazing way in my daughter's life and I actually sat down and wrote out the ways God so clearly worked in each step along the way. Its in my journal and encourages me every time I read it. Can't wait to hear the next part of your story!

Andrew and Zachary's Mommy said...

Lord, I hope he's calling you all to NC!

Rhonda said...

How exciting! Looking forward to reading more, as it builds the faith of the body as well:) Our God is faithful! And never, ever boring;)

Missy said...

Wow!! I am on the edge of my seat waiting to hear Part 2! So excited about what the Lord is going to do through your family! Lifting you up in prayer right now!

Jennifer said...

How exciting!!! I can't wait to hear the rest of the story (and selfishly hoping it is somewhere here in Houston!)

Laura said...

Im so excited for y'all! I got chills reading this story this morning. I can't wait to hear the rest! God Bless and I'll be praying for you all too!

Beth said...

praying SO much. I know that's a big leap of faith, but I also KNOW that God will honor it and be with you guys.
Can't wait to see how He moves in you!

Ashley said...

Sweet friend,
If there is one thing I am certain of, it is that Curtis Jones has an amazing gift of teaching. I honestly don't know if I have ever heard anyone else like him.

I know that the Lord has great, great things in store for you and Curtis. I will certainly be praying for you in next few days and the new chapter you are starting in your lives!

Love you!

Bobbie said...

Can't wait to hear the rest of the story!!! Praying for all of you...this is an exciting time!

Many blessings,
Bobbie

Sunni said...

So excited for you!

Michele said...

Wow! Praise God! That is so cool! Praying for God to continue to guide your every thought, word, and deed as He leads you. Praying for your Mama's sake that God doesn't call you too far away, or that he provides some way for your folks to connect with you and those grand-babies.

What a cliffhanger, can't wait to hear the rest of the story!
God Bless y'all!

Church Lady said...

I have felt that you all were being called somewhere else for a while (One of my spiritual gifts is descernment). I am excited to see where the Lord is calling. Church, Church Plant, As Our Own...???

Jeannie (HAPPY HEART) said...

We celebrate with you today! I know that seasons of wait can be hard. God is building us during those seasons and our faith in Him gets us through them.

So excited the Curtis is going to be able to exercise those God given muscles. I know you are so happy. May God be glorified in this new adventure!

Susan B. said...

Chill bumps! I'm sitting on the edge of my seat to read Part 2!

Emily said...

Hurry up and finish this post, Amanda!!! :) Can't wait to hear how this ends!

Kris said...

I'm sitting on the edge of my seat! How exciting for you!

The Johnsons said...

Still praying Sweet Amanda! Can't wait to read part two. And we need to do dinner!

jamie b said...

oooo!! so hard to wait on this story to unfold. :) excited about the things the Lord has in store.

Kelli said...

Exciting times! Praying for you guys!

Kiki said...

Just wanted to say love you friend! I'm ready for a wild ride!

Nicole said...

Wow, Amanda! That is so amazing. This post was just what I needed to hear. I am currently in the 'wait' phase of whatever God is doing during this season of my life. And sometimes when you're in the waiting phase it feels as though it is never going to end. I am so happy to hear a testimony that gives me hope there will soon be a 'go' season for me!

Blessings to you! Can't wait for the remaining details!! I will be praying for God's guidance for you during this time, that He makes Himself undoubtedly known to you!

destinmimi said...

Oh my word.. I know that Beth wants you and Curtis to be exactly where God wants you to be...but I hope it's not far away from Houston...it's hard to have grandbabies move away when they have been right there....been there ..done that!

Siesta OC said...

Oh Amanda - u lil stinker! You are SO your mother's daughter (with some Francine Rivers suspense in there)
I can't wait to hear. I am thrilled for you both and I just love how you write out how you walk out this thing with the Lord. Prayers answered, HIS voice heard. I absolutely love it!

Alicia said...

Cat's out of the Bag! Let's celebrate!

California Dreamin said...

You've got me WAITING for Part 2. I'm so happy for what God is doing in your young lives. Happy for you and Curtis and the little ones. I love seeing God work in others. :)
--Grandmamitz

ChelseaSalomone said...

Can't wait to hear the rest!! What a nail biter.

Missy said...

I'm anxiously awaiting the next installment of your journey! My heart loves church work - I'm so excited for you.

His Jules said...

Oh Wow, I have goose bumps just waiting to see how this all comes to fruition. Praying God's will for your family. How sweet to walk in Jesus precious plans for us.

Can't wait for part two!!

Elizabeth said...

Not gonna lie...had two simultaneous thoughts -->
Love your faithfulness as a married couple AND oh so nervous for your mom and sister.

Tabaitha Kaye said...

Can't wait to read the next part of the story! Praying for ya'll and the ministry of your family.

Rebecca said...

Wow, what an amazing story. I can't wait to hear the rest and see how God is leading you and your family.

Rebecca said...

Not sure if this showed up the first time so...Wow! What an amazing story of God's direction. I can't wait to read the rest and see how God is directing you and your family. Thanks for posting!

Lisa said...

I've been praying for your family for months and months without knowing why. Just felt strongly pulled to pray for you one day a while back, so I have been ever since. It's incredible how God knits us all together, even when we don't have the benefit of close geography. I will keep praying without knowing all the whys!!! Much love to you and yours, Amanda.

Janelle and Ella said...

Yea!!! Glad you are getting to talk about it some more. So excited for you guys. We're praying!! Love you!

Alison said...

So EXCITING! *reaching for popcorn to hear Part Two...*

JustJess said...

Thanks so much for sharing. God is amazing! Can't wait to hear part II.

Heather said...

WHAT?!?!?! I want to know the rest!!!!!!! Tell us! Tell us!!!

Sarah said...

WOW!!! Can't wait to hear the rest!!! Please don't keep us hanging for very long! :)

jenmom said...

What a blessing Amanda it is to me personally to have you sharing this story at this very particular time! My husband and I have been married and involved in church work either part-time or full-time for 19 years. My husband is currently serving as an Associate Pastor - he leads worship/preaches/teaches. We feel God leading us to do something "new" or "different" as well, but feel conflicted as to what exactly that thing is...pastoring? evangelism? Music?
Thanks for sharing your journey!

Lindsee said...

I can't imagine what a relief it is to talk about. Y'all amaze me. I am inspired and encouraged by y'all's faith! Have been praying and won't stop anytime soon.

jkjkjkb said...

It's amazing how God gives us just enough to go on while He continues to work out the rest. VERY excited to hear the rest of your story tomorrow :) I'm on a similar journey & I do take comfort in knowing God is in control of it & not me! Blessings! Kim

Nancy Mon said...

I feel like I get to have a little part in this journey. When Jason was working on Mid Link and he was thinking about who to teach The Link on WEdnesday evenings, I am the one that suggested Curtis and thought he should book a lunch with him to see if he was available. And as they say, the rest is history.... :) Looking forward to part 2.

Joani said...

Very exciting! I'll be praying along with you guys!

Patty said...

So excited for you all! I can't wait to read part two! Still praying! :-)

Amy Beth @ Ministry So Fabulous! said...

PLEASE BE TENNESSEE. PLEASE.

CAROL LIVIN FOR GOD said...

I cannot wait to hear part 2 of this exciting journey.
Will be praying for you all.
Carol

Allison said...

So excited for you guys!!! Can't wait to read the next chapter of the story. :)

dorminyanecdotes said...

Woa...that's a cliffhanger if I ever read one! Thanks for sharing your journey.

Lauren said...

Between hints on your blog and a rumor I heard, this is interesting news. Blessings on y'all as you follow the Lord's leading!

Teri~Facedown said...

Ha! Now I'm on the edge just waiting to hear the rest! :) Sounds like an exciting time in life Amanda! I'm happy for you!

Erica said...

That is SO exciting. I can't wait to read the rest of the story!

Faith said...

This is so exciting!! I could tell by your tweets lately that God has been doing a new and big thing and I can't wait to see how He continues to bring it to fruition!

spiritmom said...

Oh, come on!!! Finish please!!

Sallie Belle said...

I have chills reading your story. God so often tells us to wait and we muddle through our plan because we can't be still. I follow your blog and I know that you will be faithful wherever God calls you to lead. Ready for "the rest of the story".

Kelly @ Love Well said...

GAH! I can't breathe! I can't breathe!!

So very excited for you, Amanda and Curtis, as you follow God's path for your lives. I can't wait to hear the rest of the vision.

fuzzytop said...

Praying for you and Curtis, and so excited to hear Part II....

Hugs,
Adrienne

katiegfromtennessee said...

Amanda, these are the works that God has prepared beforehand that you and Curtis would walk in them...waiting on His timing. I will pray for you both. Blessings always.

Dionna said...

I can't wait to hear the rest of your story! My husband and I are in a season of "wait" right now. So hard but I know God is doing what He feels is necessary to prepare us for His plans. I just wish I wasn't so impatient. :)

Shelli Littleton said...

Hey! Your momma's verse for these next two weeks reminded me of you: “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!” Isaiah 30:18 NIV

She may have had you in mind with that scripture!! But God works so sweetly. Keep waiting! And I can't wait to see the outcome. Thanks for sharing your lives with all of us. You are sharing faith and hope ...

Lora said...

Just caught up on all your exciting new journey! As I read all the posts, I thought about Travis being called to minister at a church as well and how you and Curtis are too. These posts confirm for me that God is doing something Big in our church too! Praise His Name! He is at work.

Blessings on you as you follow Him.