“Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.” Mark 10:29-30 NLT

When I loaded up my 1987 Ford Ranger and moved to Memphis, Tennessee 23 years ago I didn’t know what to expect. I left my family, my friends, and my church to move to a city I’d never seen before to be a youth pastor.

My wife and I raised our children here, started New Direction Christian Church, and the rest has been history!

God has blessed me with an amazing family with sons that are handsome, intelligent, well-mannered and gifted. My wife is amazingly beautiful, intelligent, and compassionate. My staff is amazing, hard working, creative, and loyal; some of the most gifted people assembled. There would be no New Direction Christian Church without them. I have more friends than I do enemies and God has expanded my territory.

Many times when we are asked to leave something to follow God we spend too much time counting what we are leaving and miss out on what we are gaining.

When Peter asked Jesus what are we going to get from what we left to follow him; Jesus reminded him of what they would receive.

  1. Property and houses. I was raised in a single wide trailer and lived in a one bedroom efficiency when I first got married in Louisville. When I moved to Memphis I bought my first home on 4231 Mickey Drive in Whitehaven. I’ve moved three times! God gave me homes! I didn’t go looking for homes. I went looking for God! As a result of my faithfulness God blessed me with each home and each time I was grateful to have a roof over my head. Whether it’s a one bedroom apartment or a four bedroom house praise God for where you are!
  2. He will bless you with new family and friends. God blessed me with a strong family! My wife and kids are my reason for getting up every morning and God also blessed me with an amazing staff at church and church Leaders who hold up my arms. I love my family and my church family at New Direction! When you move to a new place you need a church family to help you grow to your next level!
  3. Persecution! For every new level there’s a new devil. Often times people aren’t ready for the persecution that comes with the promotion. It’s part of it. The paradox is that the devil don’t mind you looking good as long as he can make you feel bad. But that’s why God reminds us to count it all joy! My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4

Dear God-

Thank you for blessing me with more than I left. I love my family. I love my staff. I appreciate my home. I’m thankful for how you expanded my influence and my territory. More than anything I thank you for eternal life so that when this life is over I can come home to stay in your house and see all my family that’s made it over!

In Jesus’ Name,