We’re Back in Charlotte!

charlotte

Hello friends!

I can’t believe it. We’re back in the Queen City! Michelle and I lived here for 10 years before our temporary transition to Louisville (for the Pastors College) and we consider North Carolina to be our home. We love it here and are so grateful for the privilege of planting a Sovereign Grace church in Wilmington. We look forward with anticipation to begin reaching Wilmingtonians with the Gospel and calling the city our home!

The Next Few Weeks

Over the next year or so, Aaron (my planting partner and future fellow pastor) and I will be participating in a church planter residency at CrossWay Community Church in the northern part of the city (Aaron will arrive here at the end of month). It has already proven to be a busy season – even while Michelle and I were still unpacking our moving boxes, I began working on the Sovereign Grace ordination requirements, which includes taking several written exams, an oral exam, and lots of reading and paper writing. Though we are certain of God’s call on our life to shepherd His flock and to plant a church, Aaron and I must take the necessary steps to get there. If you are inclined to pray for us, we would gladly receive the extra grace to complete this particular task.  We take a second written exam at the end of July.  Thank you for lifting us up in this way!

The Next Year or So

Below I have included two items in this post. The first is a projected timeline of the final two phases of this church plant. It is very basic, but it presents a pretty good idea of what the next year and a half will look like for us.

The second item is the following video Aaron and I put together. It fills out more details not shown on the timeline and should serve to update our friends and family on our next steps. It would bring me great joy if you would take a few minutes to watch it!

(You can also watch the video here.)

Our Remaining Financial Need

With the busyness of our missionary lifestyle comes the inevitable and humbling necessity of raising the funds we need to finish the task God is calling us to. He has generously provided for us to complete the Pastors College (Phase 1), and a significant portion of our monthly budget for Phase 2 (see above)! Nineteenth century pastor George Mueller said, “Be assured, if you walk with Him and look to Him, and expect help from Him, He will never fail you.” My friends, He has not!

Our remaining monthly need, which will allow me to do the “leg-work” of planning for the new church, is small. We’re asking God to provide:

20 individuals / families to give at least $25 per month for 15 months. 

This amount allow us to meet our monthly budget from the start of the church planter residency in Charlotte (July 2017) through the launch of the church in Wilmington (September 2018). After this time, we will receive donations as an incorporated church, which will cover my salary and all church expenses.

Would you prayerfully consider becoming a financial partner with us?  If God is so stirring your heart, I would love to speak with you in person. My email address is earlfamily@pressingonword.org. You can also visit our giving page here.

Thank you so much for considering contributing to the spread of the Gospel in Wilmington! We’ll be posting lots more updates here in the coming year, as well as on our planting website, twoguysplanting.org. We have much to glorify God for!

Grace and peace,
Joshua Earl
Church Planter

A Special Announcement

 

We’re excited to finally put out some big news that we’ve been praying over, discussing, researching, and thinking through. Since we arrived in Louisville for the Pastors College a year ago, the Lord has opened our eyes to his purposes in a more definite way than when we first began the pursuit of carrying on His mission in the world through church planting. Following is simply a brief update, but we will be posting more here soon.

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The Path Laid Before Us

forest-trees-path-moss

The last 12 months have been a hugely for formative time for Michelle and me. At this present time, it’s difficult to describe exactly how God has brought this about, but we are doing what we believe God has called us to do: prepare to plant a gospel-preaching, people-loving, intentionally multi-ethnic city church. Our dear friends, Aaron and Andrea Beane, will join us; and Aaron and I will serve as the founding pastors, if the Lord so wills. A lot could change between now and then, but our eyes are firmly fixed on the pathway laid before us.

I’m writing this blog post to paint a simple picture of what we believe the road ahead looks like for us. I write it with the hopes of encouraging someone to step outside their comfort zone and get them excited about what God is doing in cities all across the United States and world.

The Calling of Every Christian

First off, let me say that if you are a Christ follower, He calls you to follow Him wherever He goes (Luke 9:23). This may mean following Him into an office building everyday for the rest of your life. It may mean selling your possessions and following Him to a third-world country. It may mean staying up at night and showing a small child His love. Whatever your unique calling looks like, you can be sure that God is calling you to go somewhere in the world and make disciples of those people He places in your sphere of influence. Those people placed before you by God’s sovereign hand are people whom He wants to tell about His saving grace.

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The Biggest Lie in the Universe

Pileofreceipts

Sales receipts.

Every January, Michelle and I comb through the previous year’s receipts and tally up what we spent in order to file our taxes. This is an arduous task, forcing us to look over every last one with the hopes of finding 50¢ there or $1 there that we can deduct from our taxable income.

Currently, those receipts are in a large pile, staring at us, laughing at us. It’s a job we’re slowly working through, Michelle having done most of the “combing” thus far. The other day I learned, though, that those receipts will not only reveal in the end how much of a tax refund we’ll get, they also revealed the ugly pride and selfishness in my heart. Let me tell you the story.

Michelle and the kids were getting ready to go somewhere one morning. I was helping the kids get their coats on and Michelle was gathering some things to take with her. As I awaited their exit, Michelle asked me a harmless question: “What are you doing today?” Immediately, I could feel a subtle but noticeable irritation welling up within. I had work to do, and I could tell it was about to be interrupted.

“I’m doing office work.”

“What kind of office work?”

“Office work!”

Seeing my irritation, she graciously responded, “I wasn’t trying to question what you were doing, I just wanted to see if you could work on some of those receipts.” Ashamed – and still irritated – I said a teeth-clenched prayer requesting safety over my family, and I climbed the stairs to my office. I’m just glad that right then Jesus was interceding for them at the right hand of God.

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