In Matthew 14 Jesus comes to the disciples walking on the water.  Most of the disciples are frightened but Peter asks Jesus if he could join him.  So Peter stepped out of the boat.  It wasn’t long before he noticed the wind and the waves and started to sink, but in that one moment in time he became the second water walker in history.

From the beginning my job as pastor has given great opportunity to step out of the boat.

I will always remember the first step we took when we started the church. Our first step was to sell our home. It had done nothing but go down in value for 5 years so we had to do a short sale just to get out of it. Then we moved down here just as house prices had spiked upward. We couldn’t find a place to stay so we put a deposit on a three bedroom condo sight unseen. When we toured it we got done and Jilane asked “So where is the third bedroom.” There wasn’t one. We took it anyway.

When we showed up we had met two couples. That was everyone. Our church could fit in a minivan. Three months later we had a small group of 12. 6 of those people never went to one service at Canyon Springs. One day I turned to Jilane and said “We weren’t called her to start a small group but to start a church. So we put out some mailers and set our first meeting for the Scripps Ranch Library. I knew of 12 people that were going to be there. 103 showed up. We were dancing in the parking lot. We stepped out of the boat. Then other people joined us and stepped out of the boat with us.

12 years ago Jilane felt the call to jump out of the boat. She was on a prayer retreat and felt a tug on her heart to go to Haiti. This was her prayer. “God I feel you calling me to Haiti, but I’m not going to pursue this, you have to pursue me.” Kind of a cocky prayer if you ask me. The first email in her inbox at school that next Monday said, “Who wants to go to Haiti.” She couldn’t pick out a hammer from a tool lineup but stepped out of the boat. Then 29 other people from our church stepped out and joined her. That trip lead to over 50 benevolent missions trips worldwide.

Faith  is all about stepping out of the boat.

Jilane and I recently made another important step out of the boat. We believe that God has us to step out in faith and move to Arizona. There are several reasons why we believe this is the right move for the Hawkins family and for Canyon Springs.

As most of you know, we have a strong passion for family. Three of our four children live in the Phoenix area and we long to be involved in their lives on a daily basis. Canyon Springs has graciously allowed us to visit as often as we would like, especially since the birth of our grand daughter Noa, and we are grateful for that flexibility, but you cannot replace being there. I have said from this stage so many times that the second most important voice in a child’s life is not their coach or their teacher but their grandparent. It’s time for us to stop saying it and start doing it.

We have created a video that details our heart and some of the specifics of this decision.

Jack and Jilane Farewell Video

I’m sure this a surprise to some of you. A lot of you saw this coming. We came up with every excuse to be in Arizona because our hearts are with our children. A few months ago my son and his wife came out to see the baby for the first time and we had to be there. We don’t get everyone together that often and we just had to be in the room. I got the weekend with my kids then came home on a Tuesday. I was in Home Depot that Tuesday night and got one of those phone calls that brings sudden fear. It was my daughter Sterling.

“Dad I think I just totaled my car!”

Have any of you been on the other line when your kid calls with that information. As a parent I was 2 for 4 before that conversation and 3 for 4 after. There are things you want to say to your kid when they get in an accident. You want to say “What have I told you about tailgating?” “I bet you were on your phone.”

Fortunately I didn’t say any of those things. Thought them maybe, didn’t say them. I said, “Are you alright?” Then I said, “You are not an idiot. This is the most common mistake people make driving. I love you and we are not going down that road of regret.” As we talked she calmed down and stopped crying and then she said,

“I could use a dad hug.”

I want to be there with Sterling when she needs a dad hug.

Psalm 128 reflects a goal I have had my entire life. I grew up in an rough home and when I read this it resonated with me in a profound way. Psalm 128 was written as a goal for us to strive after.

May you see your children’s children

“How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, Who walks in His ways. When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, You will be happy and it will be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine Within your house, Your children like olive plants Around your table. Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed Who fears the Lord. The Lord bless you from Zion, And may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Indeed, may you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel!” Psalms 128:1-6 NASB

I want to see my children’s children. I don’t know where we will live or what we will do but I believe it’s time for us to step out.

It’s time to step out of the boat.