My friend Tarl just moved back to town. He’s one of my heroes really, and a really fascinating guy. Tarl is a half Native American church planter who ministers in London. Take that for cultural interest. London is a gorgeous city, but it’s a dark place for ministry. I’ve watched Tarl face some fierce battles and his courage has been contagious. He will be living in the US for a year, touring the country to check in with his partner churches. In the meantime, his family will be living in the North Georgia area.
Tarl called me when he landed in the States. I asked him, “what is the hardest part about being back?” His response wasn’t what I expected.
“It’s too easy here. I’m afraid I would be tempted to stay.”
This really hit me. I don’t think Tarl was trying to discount the everyday struggles that the average Christian in the South faces. I think he was pointing out something in my own life that I had never seen: I have pursued “easy” so often, that it was accidentally becoming my idol. Thanks Tarl. I needed to hear that.
A few weeks ago I was on a plane returning from Portland, Oregon. I had just filmed a vision video describing what we hoped to do in the next year. [Watch our vision video HERE to get a better idea of what we hope to do in the city.] There was a moment on the plane when I just had to get real with God. In prayer, I began to press into God and ask Him exactly why He was sending us to Portland, and what our strategy would be.
There are two scriptures that God begin to impress on my heart.
1. Ephesians 6:12 - For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
God especially drew my attention to the word “rulers.” Some translations of scripture say “principalities.” This is defined as, “a state ruled by a prince, usually a relatively small state or a state that falls within a larger state such as an empire.” I didn’t hear the audible voice of God, but I very clearly heard Him pointing out the following…
- There is a wicked demonic ruler who runs things in Portland
- He goes largely unchallenged and unchecked
- He is crafty, clever, and dangerous
- He is going to try and run you out of town
I was like, “Ok God….that’s….encouraging? Just then the Lord laid a second scripture on my heart.
2. Deuteronomy 3:22 - You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you.
God’s Word, and the truth of his protection began to overwhelm my heart with joy, peace, and a clear sense of victory. I sensed the Lord affirming me with these truths…
- Aaron, I love you. I’ve always been fighting for you. I’m not going to stop now.
- Here’s your strategy: step into the crosshairs.
- Don’t be reckless. Don’t provoke the darkness. But NEVER be afraid.
- Your goal is to show up, and to need me.
- I am attracted to your weakness. When you pray, I hear you.
- When others pray for you, my power is unleashed.
- I am light. I am inside you. Light always pierces the darkness.
This was such a clarifying moment for me. It was never supposed to be easy. Sometimes the pursuit of “easy” is the enemy. I’m so grateful for a God who invites me into His adventure. I’m so grateful for a wife who has greater courage than me. I’m so grateful for brothers and sisters that walk with us, through their prayers, every step of the way.
Let’s do this.
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