Sometimes fire destroys. Sometimes it brings new life. Many times it does both. On July 23, 2018, the Carr fire was started in Northern California. It took over one month to get it contained. At the end of the sprawling $1.5+ BILLION in damages, over 1,000 homes were lost and several people lost their lives. But, something beautiful came from the ashes.
The true word of community responded. Organizations that specialize in disaster response showed up with supplies and manpower. At one point, during the fire, there were over 4000 people responding in some way to the devastation. However, after the fire, I'd argue there were more people from all the over the country and world praying, giving and helping in any way they could.
Bad things happen, but our response determines the final results. When the city of Grand Forks, ND flooded in 1997, it was terrible. Many people moved away, people shut down their businesses and many homes were bulldozed and demolished. Over $1 billion in aid came their way and now Grand Forks' downtown area, and even the spaces destroyed (such as Lincoln Park), paved the way for a better city and a better downtown community. Everyone could have picked up and left, but people came together and new life was breathed into a city.
We have seen the same thing in Shasta County, CA. People are rising up to help their neighbors and hope is on the rise. We can clearly see new life rising from the ashes. And, that is exactly what God promises He will do. He will work everything together for good.
When we walk through a 'fire' in our lives, we can choose defeat and despair or we can see it as an opportunity for new life. It's not always easy, but sometimes a fire brings to the surface things we don't like to see. In fact, they look black and charred and dead. They don't look like Jesus. But, if we choose to endure through the process of healing, new life is waiting on the other side.
So, let fire destroy the things that don't look like Jesus. Rise up in the midst of what looks like terrible defeat and join forces with your community... for new life is just around the corner.
We left it all behind this week. Everything we had known and loved for the past 9 years now lives only in our hearts and our memories. So much life was lived in those 9 years and we have become the people we are today because of that life and the people we lived it with.
I love to people watch. Sitting alone in the middle of a park or a crowded mall, it doesn't really matter. There are people everywhere. Even now, I'm sitting in the RV, solo, writing and looking out the front window. The UPS guy (or Box Man, as my kids lovingly refer to him) is delivering an over-sized box to the house on the corner. I get to simply sit and stare and watch and think. I love to have silence to hear myself think...and that often turns into conversations with God about life.
Today, I'm thinking not about my life, but the lives of the people I see. What is their story? Did they wake up this morning rejuvenated and ready to take on the world? Or, did they wake up with the weight of their world looming over them? What is the mail lady walking by thinking about right now? Is her life story playing out the way she thought it would?
These are the things I talk to God about.
Josh and I have been awakened to seeing people wherever we are. We don't want to just see people walk by and cast a judgment about them based on their clothing or posture... But, we want to truly see them: See them in their moment going through whatever they are going through. We also believe that God wants to meet people right where they are.
I look at the way Jesus walked through his life. He was often surrounded by massive crowds of curious people just trying to get a look at the man who can heal the sick and make dead people come back to life. Have you ever thought about how Jesus handled those people?
He found the ONE.
That is how we believe everyone can live their lives. You can go through your normal day-to-day routine, with your eyes looking for the one person God is placing in your path. There have been times when both Josh and I have went on trips that were specifically designed for us to share the love of God. But, it is soooo not realistic to live your life waiting for those moments.
Jesus came to this earth so that His people could experience Him in their everyday, normal life. That is how Jesus did it, so why would we think it would look different for us? We confidently believe that it is time for followers of Jesus to demonstrate what we believe IN THE WORLD! It is time for the "Church" to get Out of the Box!
I love you!
Have you ever noticed how Jesus ate food with people all the time? He ate with sinners and he ate with his disciples. He miraculously fed the more than five thousand, and invited himself over to eat with Zaccheus-- the worst of the worst in Jesus' day. He even ate with religious leaders, and then showed them how they were wrong.
Some have commented on how Jesus did so much ministry involving food, even once cooking breakfast for His disciples. However, I think the actual act of eating with people IS ministry. Sharing a meal or coffee with someone changes us. It's part of the common human experience. Although every culture is different, mealtime has certain parallels in all of them.
If you're willing, you began to see life through someone else's eyes. You realize they didn't have your life or maybe your privileges. You understand them a bit more. You respect them just as a human being created in God's image. Your thoughts steer away from yourself, and in our culture of selfies and personal monuments, that's a good thing.
Secondly, you can practice hospitality. When Mary and I were working on and praying about a focus for our ministry, hospitality was one of the main themes. Jesus said He came to serve, and hospitality can be one of the ways we mirror Jesus. You can even be hospitable in someone else's home, offering to serve where you can.
Some of the most grateful people in the world can be those who have lost everything or even simply feel alone. I'll never forget when someone I worked with gave me a dining room table. It was beautiful and not cheap. When he was about to move away, he made a comment that he thought he would have at least gotten to share a meal at our house. I felt terrible and knew I had missed an opportunity to share God's love. Sometimes we can be intimidated by people we work with, especially in a hierarchical structure, but don't forget to reach out to all people, regardless of "rank".
Lastly, by sharing a meal, you can celebrate. Isn't it amazing that near the very end of the Bible (Revelation 19:9), we see all of heaven joining together for a feast! After all our time on earth is done, we get to attend the greatest meal and party the universe has ever seen. I think that's pretty awesome! Celebration of all God has done must include food! OK, we can celebrate in other ways too, but who doesn't want to eat when celebrating?
So, take a look at your schedule. Even if you're super busy, maybe there's a lunch you can spend with someone during the work day. I think part of the reason God made us have to eat, was so we would have to sit down, take a break from life and hopefully spend some time with someone.
See someone in a new light, be hospitable and celebrate with someone. Someday, we'll all be in heaven at the biggest feast the universe has ever seen. I look forward to that day, and let's all pray that those we go through life with will join us.
A few weeks ago, we spent quite a few hours harvesting honey. Bees are magnificent creatures. They are of course known for making honey, but their bodies can make so many things they need in the hive. The more you learn about them, the more the thought of evolution seems ridiculous. In fact, there’s a lot about this popular insect we still don’t even know.
To most people, whether they know it or not, harvest is the most exciting part of beekeeping. It’s at harvest that one species of bees, out of the 20,000 that exist, creates a sweet sticky substance that has been harvested for thousands of years. This year, we harvested over 150 lbs of honey. That honey did not just magically appear in 5 gallon buckets as sweet, golden elixir. Had we not physically gone out to harvest it, the honey would still be in the hive. Only the bees would enjoy its benefits. You may know where I am going with this. God promises that the harvest is ready, that it’s full and that there’s plenty to go around to all who labor.
Matthew 9:37-38 (NASB) says, “Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
There’s an interesting word--Beseech! It’s a word we don’t really use anymore, nor do we follow. It means to “Ask (someone) urgently and fervently to do something; implore; entreat.” Do we do this? Does anyone do this? As I’m typing this, I’m thinking about when was the last time I prayed URGENTLY and fervently that the Lord would send out workers into His harvest?
The other intriguing idea in this scripture is that the harvest isn't the problem. Everywhere we go, there are people hungry for the good news of Jesus. There are people in Walmart, your grocery store and anywhere else you go that would love to experience God's life-giving power. However, the shortage of workers is continually an issue. There are always more workers needed. God loves to partner with us to bring in the harvest. By urgent prayer and workers/laborers who put God's kingdom before all things, the ripe harvest will be brought in.
In the United States, I believe there has never been such a great potential for harvest. People are lonely, hurting and broken. God's love can fill the largest void in people's hearts, but more workers are always needed.
As fall approaches, the sun sets a little earlier every day. The honey is harvested and cooler weather is the norm. Will you pray with us that God brings in more workers into His harvest. Let us see the greatest harvest the U.S. has ever seen.
Have you ever had a dream to do something AMAZING and then realized that the time wasn't quite right? It's not that you don't have the passion for it or the plan to make it happen. There is often extenuating circumstances that just prevent you from being able to pursue that dream. Maybe you are in a job and you want to stick it out for a while to honor your commitment; or the resources just aren't in place to get you to your goal. Perhaps, you are like me (Mary) and have young children that require ALL of your attention and energy (as I'm writing this, there is a toddler on my lap and a 10-year-old poking and playing with her...ahhh...)
What I've realized is that just because the timing is off, the dream and the desire to see that dream fulfilled, do not go away. What comes next is the waiting game! ugh... Seriously, it has been one of the longest, and most difficult seasons of my life. I've felt that I was waiting for the time when I would be able to pursue the dreams deep inside my heart.
January of this year was really my tipping point. I began to have this deep "longing" for something new in my life. At that point, I didn't even know what it was. I just knew that I was no longer content with the ordinary I was living. I had this hunger and desire for something more. Anything more. That was nearly 8 months ago!
So, what do you do when your feelings and desires don't line up with your current life? Well, I'll tell you what I did: I prayed and I cried, usually at the same time. I recall being alone in the car (must have been a lucky day for this mama!) and sitting at the stop sign just 1 block from our house. I began to talk to God about how I just wasn't content anymore, and then I began to sob. I just sat there and cried like a little child.
That was one of the most therapeutic car-crying sessions I have ever had. God just held my spirit and let me be sad. And, then He came through for me. Did He immediately change my circumstances and make me "happy"? Nope. He reassured my soul. He showed me that today is vitally important. He showed me that He will put me right where I NEED to be. He showed me that there are people right in front of me (at the grocery store, the Dollar Tree, or right in my own home) that need to know how much God loves them.
His plans surpass any temporary living arrangements. His plans are always BETTER than anything we could think of or imagine. He will always work with us to show people how much He loves them.
So, as you are waiting for the next adventure to unfold in your life, don't forget about today. See the person right in front of you and bring JOY and HOPE and LOVE to them. There is nothing more fulfilling than sharing Love with the people God intentionally puts in your everyday, ordinary life.
And, remember: as you wait, there is ALWAYS time to pray and to cry.
Faith is a funny thing. If you really practice it, it grows. God has been teaching us about faith and it's correlation with provision. Our Father definitely takes care of His kids. When we hear His voice and actually do what He says, provision follows.
You may be asking what do you mean by provision? God promises us that He will supply all our needs again and again. As a side note, I think this promise has way more potential when you're not thinking "money" or material things. However, for this post, I am talking about the basic necessities: food, clothing, shelter, etc. Am I saying God is going to bless us so much that we're millionaires? Well, He definitely can, but that's not usually the case.
We have started to see God's provision in unlikely ways. In my last post, I (Josh) told the story of us praying for an RV and it being delivered to our driveway. Here are a few shorter stories of what God has been doing in our lives this summer:
A family inquired about our van months ago. For those of you who don't know, we drive a 10-passenger Ford Transit that we love. We've seen God move vehicles around for His purposes before and He's doing it again. This family was looking for a larger van because they are going to do foster care and possibly adoption. Our last van went to a family that had adopted four kids and it's awesome to see God provide in these cases.
I didn't want to be without a vehicle, but Mary and I prayed and talked about it, and we decided to sell the van the week after Labor Day. We know that we are not leaving until September 30th, but we just feel at peace about the decision to sell it early, and the family really needs the vehicle. The same week we made the decision and told the family, we found out that the RV that we will be using for the next 6 months will be in our driveway the day after Labor Day-- along with the awesome family that is letting us use it!!
Here's another couple short ones: 1. We tell our lead pastor we're resigning and our last Sunday will be September 30th--- Someone gives us $500 not even knowing we're leaving! 2. Someone pays for our groceries at the grocery store, and gives us an extra $25! 3. Another person I haven't seen in at least 10 years just happens to be in the Sunday service in which we tell the church we are being sent out-- and he hands me $70. 4. Mary works at The Ember, the church's coffee shop we started, and she gets a $20 tip. Another family gave us $150 when they heard about what we're doing. God is so good!.....
(Mary here!) We are so beyond excited to see how God is going to come through for our family. When I tell people that we are going to be moving into an RV and traveling around sharing the love of Jesus, they often inquire about money. Makes sense; we can't live for very long in this country without thinking about money. But, I really, really believe that God is wanting to show up and show off in this area of our lives. He has so clearly asked us to step out into the great unknown and trust Him. However, He has not so clearly told us what to do. Right now we know where we are supposed to be in Oct and then in Feb---there are 4 MONTHS in between that we do not yet know where we will be or what exactly we will be doing. But, that's the exciting part!
We have been longing to be close to our Father God and be lead by Holy Spirit. Now, God is saying it's time to really dive into this thing. It's almost like a mother bird knowing when her chicks are ready to fly and pushing them out of the nest. They don't know anything about what will happen, but their mother knows that there is a way for them to fly. So, she pushes them out.
Here we are; being sent out to do what God has put in front of us to do. He will ALWAYS provide and He has been showing us this over and over and over again this summer. We want to fly wherever Jesus leads us.
Back in mid-April, we knew we were in "transition," as some people working in ministry say. We also knew our future would be a sort of mobile or travelling ministry. Finally, only a week or two after this all started, God spoke to Mary and said, "Don't focus on the vehicle, just focus on the ministry (meaning what God's calling us to do)."
I wasn't too good at doing this because I researched RVs and bus conversions for the better part of three months to no avail. In about mid-May we were trying to learn how big families lived in RVs full-time. So, we started watching YouTube of course! It wasn't long until we found Trent and Siobhán. They had been travelling with their five boys for over two years full-time in an RV. They also made great videos and we started learning a lot from their weekly vlogs.
Shortly after attending "YouTube University," learning all the ways of full-time RVing, Trent and Siobhán announced they would be going to YWAM training in Hawaii for six months. They also said they'd be renting their RV out to a "family that is going to need their RV for six months." Mary got pretty excited about this and said, "You should email them!!" I was not excited because we had no idea when we would leave -- in fact, I thought it may very well be next year.
Regardless, Mary is pretty persuasive, so I reluctantly emailed them on their booking email (yes they are fine musicians/worshipers and you should go and listen to their music!) We didn't hear anything for a couple months and had long forgot about it. UNTIL... I was walking down the stairs at The Ember on August 8th, only about a week after we were hearing "GO", and there was an email from Trent. I did a double take and read it.
He apologized for not getting back to me earlier, but it seems I sent my email to an older address and the email fell through the cracks. They just happened to find it the week after we decided that the time to leave was coming soon. In fact, had they emailed us back in May we would've just said we had no idea when we're leaving... but we're interested--Which would not make for a very good rental contract. We also found out that they are flying out of Seattle September 25th, which lines up well with our leave date of September 30th.
That conversation over the last ten days has lead us to this--tentatively. Trent, Siobhán and their five boys will be coming to Grand Forks shortly after Labor Day! We're going to get to know them better all while they show us the ins and outs of driving and living in a 40 foot RV. We're so excited and we can't wait for them to come and stay with us!
While sharing this story with a few people as it was unfolding, one of our friends said, "DO YOU REALIZE that you guys have been praying for an RV all this time and now you have this family delivering an RV to your driveway?!" Then it hit me. God is so good! He goes way above and beyond what we can ask or think. He told us not to worry about the vehicle because He knew that was already taken care of. Not only would the RV be coming to us, it would be set up for a large family, it would help a family out while they're training to be missionaries and we'll have plenty of time to load it up with our stuff before we leave. God is good. God is good. God is good!!
If you want to check out the RV, I'll post the tour at the bottom. Lastly, we have been getting so blessed since we said yes to going. So much so, that we've started making a list of blessings out of the ordinary. We are believing that this is a new normal, but God is showing us that our job is to step out in faith and then He gives us provision. More on that next time!! Blessings to you all and thanks for following us on our adventure!
We are in the middle of a crazy story. I think life in general can be pretty crazy, but what we've experienced in the last few months, even weeks, is straight up abnormal! We've read books about God doing amazing things in people's lives, but He's really blowing my mind right now. So, you're probably asking... What are you talking about?!
Well, I (Josh) will tell you this much and follow it up with a blog post on Friday or Saturday... I think we found an RV!!!! You're probably like, "Well, that isn't crazy...!" But it totally is! I'm not even kidding. God is doing an amazing thing. One of the things God spoke to Mary in early April/May was not to worry about how we'd "get there". Needless to say, we still looked at RVs and bus conversions and everything in between for the past three months until BANG! God made good on His promise in a most unlikely way. The rest of the story tomorrow!!
We are launching! Woohoo! September 30th we are embarking on a journey of discovery and purpose. Honestly, we don't know what the future holds...and that is SUPER EXCITING!!
In April of this year, God began to lead us into something new. We began to hear God speaking in a new and powerful way. We received two prophetic words that changed the course of 2018. God spoke to Josh very clearly, while sitting in a meeting of all places. That night, after God spoke, we were looking at RVs for the first time in our lives. We KNEW God was awakening our hearts to the plans He has for our family.
The church is a FAMILY... especially to those who don't have one. This family structure is a great way for discipleship to begin. We believe making disciples starts with our kids. Another cool thing about families: families stick together! Families help each other all the time. Families have hurts and struggles, but can overcome those with Love.
So, why "Out of the Box?" Out of the box refers to nonconformist or creative thinking. Since God is the Creator, we believe all creativity comes from Him. We want to walk in that creativity in doing what He has called us to do. So, God has told us to GO! Go and make disciples. Go and heal the broken. Go and set the captives free. Go and serve people. Go and love people. So we are going!
Join us as we go!
Hi! We're the Hoeckles.
We're a family of six living full-time in an RV. We are inviting you to join us as we live life to its fullest and empower others to do the same. Welcome to the family!