As I sat across from my new friends from London, my heart was exploding in my chest and I felt a sense of confirmation in my “knower.” 

Eustace and Sharon Constance, leaders in London of Street Pastors International, were here in Chico to train and help us step into pioneering the first chapter of Street Pastors in the United States.  As they shared vision and passion about this ministry I could feel the tractor beam of the Holy Spirit drawing me and telling me, “you were born for this.”   I am aware that I was born for many reasons, purposes and moments – but this was undeniably one of the reasons I am here in Chico for such a time as this.

When I came home late that night and tried to explain to my wife what I had experienced I just burst into tears. I’m pretty sure my inability to explain what I felt, what I had experienced and what it would mean for me, left her thinking that I was a little crazy.  What I knew was that God was working and inviting me to join Him in His work.  I didn’t want to miss the things God had designed me for – I knew that whatever they were, it would help me experience the “life to the fullest” that Jesus came to give me (John 10:10). 

When you get a word from the Lord it changes your view of the future.  It detonates a bomb of hope inside your heart and invites you into unknown territory.  You can have the Lord whisper to your heart, you might get a word from a person you don’t know out of the blue, or when a person is praying for you says something that just stays with you and keeps coming to mind.  When you get a word of prophesy in this way – the more you ponder it, the stronger it gets, and you can’t shake it. 

I’ve been seeking the Lord for a word for our church for 2018 and the word “Advancing” keeps coming to mind.  It’s not a word I use and it seemed to literally appear in my mind unannounced.  I have been pondering how it might apply to us as a church and a second clarifying “how” seems to be bubbling up out of my heart.  “In prayer,” is the next part that has me seeking the Lord for His confirmation. 

What would it look like for us to move ahead in building the Kingdom here at Neighborhood Church and in our city?   I think what God is showing me is that we will be “advancing in prayer.”  As a church, I believe that we will be challenged by God to take faith filled risks in reaching people with the gospel in our city, in our neighborhoods – all the way to the nations.  I think there are strategic things that God wants us to step into with other churches that must begin with seeking God for His will and His ways. 

As you prepare to welcome the New Year, will you ask God for a word, a phrase, a verse or other marker that would help to give your heart direction?  Simply ask God to whisper to your heart and then confirm His word to you after you hear it.  The Lord loves to reveal His heart and purpose for us, and if you ask Him and begin listening He will show you.  Don’t be surprised if there are things you know you must do from last year that He reiterates for you to still follow through on.  I have noticed that if I am seeking God for direction, He points me back to my unfinished business before showing me anything else about the road ahead. 

I fully believe that we will be “advancing in prayer” this next year as individuals, as a church and as a unified church in the city.  We can’t wait to see what wonderful things we will step into here at Neighborhood Church.

Happy New Year friends!  

Andrew Burchett- Lead Pastor