Passionate About Inspiring Others
During the summer of 2016, Jeremy began sensing God stirring his heart to go full time into the ministry. For the most part of his life, Jeremy had been asked countless times if he would pursue church work just like his father, a pastor in Texas. His response has always been a definite ‘No’ as Jeremy believes that volunteering in church and talking about his Christian faith in the cockpit while at work, was what God wanted him to do.
Three men and Matthew 6
That response would slowly began to change when a series of providential circumstances involving three men took place one after the other. These men would play instrumental roles in making Jeremy rethink about going into full time ministry more seriously. First, there came a missionary named Kevin Phillips who attended Mosaic and challenged him about having a long-term vision for the church. Mosaic at the time was operating without full time leadership and a vision for the future is not in place. Spurred by the challenge, Jeremy gathered his small team of volunteers to dream big and lay out strategies for Mosaic’s future. From that little visioneering meeting, Cody Niles, the music minister at the time decided to raise personal support towards working full time at Mosaic. That move would later inspire Jeremy to consider doing the same.
With some definite goals for the organization in place and a fellow team member fully invested in Mosaic, Jeremy’s optimism for Mosaic’s future began to soar and along with that, he excitedly began preparing to lead his team. He started by listening to leadership podcasts by Andy Stanley. Little did he know that God will use one of those podcasts to speak to him more clearly about an entirely new career direction that He is about to lead him to. A listener asked Andy about knowing when it’s time to quit leading after giving everything you’ve got but things are still in bad shape. Andy gave a few suggestions then also asked a question that would resonate with Jeremy in a deep and meaningful way.
The other side of that question is “Things are going fine, I’m just not sure I am the person to continue doing what I’m doing. There’s no pressure to leave, things are fine, but perhaps it’s time to have a career change.
Jeremy was suddenly confronted with a realization: he absolutely loves his job as a pilot but he is NOT passionate about it anymore. Mosaic and its many potentials was foremost in his mind while he’s at work. Not that Jeremy was less mindful of flying safely but he found himself thinking more about church ministry than his routine flights across the world. Thoughts about a career shift to full time ministry began to swirl frequently on Jeremy’s mind and he began to wonder if God was telling him to do something about it. Jeremy soon began praying about it and sought God more intentionally during his personal quiet times. Much to his surprise (and assurance), his daily Bible readings and different devotional materials would reveal a common theme and bottomline that points to Matthew 6:35 …”Do not worry about your life…what you will eat, what you will drink or what you will wear..
“At this point, I had a stronger sense that God was leading me to quit my job and pursue ministry full time. But He knew I was scared of the cost of making this decision. Here I was at the top of my career working for a prestigious global airlines, earning good money, and my family enjoys a pretty comfortable life. I had so much to give up to work as a pastor for a startup church that can’t afford to pay me a salary. I have to raise my own support to be able to do this. I need to make sure I was hearing God correctly if this is really what He is asking me to do.”
The only way to find out was to talk to Ella about it.
A desperate prayer for a Bible verse
“Does God know I’m pregnant?
Was the first question Ella could ask Jeremy after sharing with her the dilemma he was facing. Ella was at the beginning of her second pregnancy and life was about to get busier and eventually more costly. It wasn’t much of a big surprise to her actually when Jeremy brought up the possibility of going into the ministry full time. She had always envisioned Jeremy working at church someday but not sooner than she had imagined, definitely not when their family was growing, and not when living in an expensive city is getting more costly.
To add to the pressure of making the right decision at such a crucial time, Jeremy was looking at the possibility of resigning within the next six months if he wanted to be successful in raising personal support . To say that Ella was overwhelmed with the cost of making the decision was an understatement. She was terrified. Absolutely terrified at what they had to sacrifice and leave behind to obey God’s call at this time in their lives. Was there any other way to obey God that wouldn’t cost them a lot? Can this decision wait for at least a year? Most importantly, is it really God calling them to do it…how sure are they about hearing from Him?
Jeremy and Ella decided to pray about the most challenging and life-changing decision they will ever make as a family. During this season of seeking God, they came face to face with the staggering cost of what they have to leave behind but also the sober fear of missing out on the biggest opportunity to experience God’s activity in their lives if they choose to say no Him.
One night, Ella went to bed tired as she was due to her growing pregnancy but more exhausted from thinking (and worrying) about the impending decision. Before closing her eyes she sighed a simple but desperate prayer asking God for some sense of clarity and confirmation concerning their situation.
”God, I wish there’s a verse somewhere in the Bible that talks about our situation. If there is, would you show that to me and I’ll take it as your answer. I need you to speak to me directly through your Word. I don’t want an inspirational quote or a sermon…or anything else. I just need a Bible verse!”
And God said…
The next morning Ella didn’t expect God will answer such a prayer in an astonishing, unmistakable way. She slowly woke up to a strong impression in her mind of a very unfamiliar Scripture verse that Ella hadn’t read or heard of before, however, she began quoting the verse verbally word-for-word, much to her surprise!
“…there is no one who has left house, brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands—and along with that, persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.”
Bewildered and unsure whether this was God supposedly answering her little prayer in a literal way, Ella reached for her Bible to start looking for the actual reference of the verse she was quoting. But not knowing where to start, she just decided to look it up on the internet. She then grabbed her smartphone but instead of searching on Google, Ella quickly opened her Bible app to read that day’s devotional. She could not believe her eyes the moment she read Mark 10:29— the very same verse she quoted word-for-word upon waking up that morning was also the Scripture reading for that day.
She continued reading: To prospective missionaries, Jesus says, “I promise to work for you, and be for you, so much that you will not be able to speak of having sacrificed anything.” (October 28 – Solid Joys devotional by John Piper)
“God, this is you!!!” Ella exclaimed, amazed beyond her wildest imagination at how God responded to her prayer. She read the passage several times over and as she did, a deep sense of peace, awe and assurance flooded her soul. She knew that moment that God had answered them loud and clear. Within the next six months, Jeremy turned in his resignation and flew his last flight as a Boeing 777 Captain at Emirates. Ella gave birth to their second child, a girl, and named her Eliana which in Hebrew means ‘my God has answered’.
They packed their bags and flew as a family to the US to raise their own support.
They have not looked back since.