How important is OBEDIENCE

I guess the short answer is obedience is VITALLY important. The past couple of months this word: OBEDIENCE has occupied a lot of my thoughts and prayers. 

I want to make this personal and write about some of the ups and downs that we are walking through and this word OBEDIENCE, has created many of those ups and downs.

When you’re thinking about: following the call of God on your life. “Obediently following God” will probably be the most common phrase used to describe how your calling is worked out. I can remember standing in a conference on May 2017 during worship hearing this voice inside my head saying: “Will you obey me in everything I ask you to do? Are you willing to do everything I ask you to do?” I automatically knew that was God speaking to me. It felt so real and it was a voice I have grown to know well. It provoked the same emotions I experienced often growing up and hearing my dad’s voice calling me with a tone – that I better listen to what comes next because this is serious. Then all the discussion, desires and conversations Taryn and I had about New York came rushing back to me and I knew instantly God was asking us to step out in faith, trust Him and Obediently follow the call to plant a church in New York City.

Looking back that decision to be obedient was an easy one compared to the other ones we have had to make. After processing everything and confirming over and over in my heart that this is what God is saying to me, obedience suddenly had to go from a good idea to some hard practical steps. Every decision we’ve made about planting and are still making is constantly being processed through a filter. Our filter is a question we keep asking and reminding ourselves of: “Are we following God in total obedience?” 

I recently heard a preach by Tyrone Daniel about obedience. It was

incredible. Two main points stood out for me.

1. Do I see OBEDIENCE [in doing what God has asked] as an OPPORTUNITY

2. OBEDIENCE is the outward expression of your LOVE for JESUS. 

When I was in New York in December a friend [Dave Louw] asked me a question: “Is following Gods plan a SACRIFICE or a PRIVILEGE to you?” 

Tyrones sermon and Daves question have challenged me and shaped my thinking around the subject of Obedience in a big way.

After being on a journey for the past 3 years exploring the subject of obedience I have come to this conclusion about the subject:

If I want to do everything God has called me to do I need to see obedience as a privileged opportunity to do what I have been created to do and therefore I am fulfilled in Jesus’ love. 

THAT’S WHAT I NEED AND I AM CONVINCED THAT IS WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS

Listen. Believe. Obey

We wrote an article for NCMI.net recently. Thought you guys would enjoy reading it and finding out more about our journey 🤙🏻

Our journey with God so far has been a journey of listening, believing and obeying. I heard God at the end of 2014 about planting a church in New York, Taryn (my wife) was eight months pregnant at the time, and with two toddlers she was not at all interested! The subject became mute and I laid the desire down in exchange for the honour God had for us in administrating the Bedfordview site of Cornerstone Church in South Africa.

But in October, 2016 God started speaking to Taryn through a preach of Callie Tayler’s at a women’s meeting. She was speaking about how God had said to her one day regarding Keir, her husband. “If you obey your husband, he can obey Me,” God had said. At the moment Callie said that, Taryn felt God speak directly into her heart: “this is about New York, Taryn”. From then on, for Taryn, God started working in her heart, challenging the way she saw Him, starting with one simple question: “Taryn, how big am I?”

One day Taryn felt God ask her to ask Him for something big, that only He could do. She asked for a bigger house – one we could never afford ourselves and one she thought we really needed with three kids. She felt Him reply, “Do you want a house? Or a nation?”.

In May, 2017 I felt God ask me: “Would you obey me no matter what I ask you to do?” I immediately said “yes” and God reignited the passion and calling to plant a church in New York. Since then he has been answering every question we have. He calms our doubts and gives us courage and confidence to step out when, honestly, there is NO WAY we can get to the States on our own steam. We can’t ever afford to do it; we are not in ourselves able to do what He has asked.

But the God of the universe, the One who loves unconditionally and the One who draws men and women unto Himself, doesn’t need anything from us to build His church. What He wants is that we listen when He speaks and believe that He is able to do in us, through us, and despite us, more than what we could ask or even imagine. He wants us to hear and obey obey Him, knowing who He is – knowing His nature and His character – and trusting He is before us and with us.

There have been many who have told us that we must do this and that or be this or that before we can even try to plant a church. There’s an article Alan Jones wrote that said all you need to do is believe that God has called you. That is the most securing thing we have in our lives, on this journey, the promise that God has called us and with Him, whether we “fail” or “succeed”, we have walked every step with Him and we will have the most amazing adventure being truly alive in His purposes!

We went to New York at the beginning of December last year and God has faithfully cemented in us the “where”. We have met many church leaders of different partnerships, assuring us that the gospel is alive and well in New York City. God is at work in that city and we are so excited about the future. So we have the ‘where’, the ‘when’ is getting sorted out, and step by step God is faithfully getting the ‘how’ in order.

Awesome.

Craig, Taryn, Titus, Knox and Stella Herbert

the Answer

The most common question we get asked is “Why would you want to plant a church in New York?” Hence the name for this blog. Hopefully by the time we are in New York and our church has started you have followed this blog and read amazing articles about New York City and our journey that you want to come with us… wink, wink, nudge, nudge. 

So, why New York City? Because that is where God told us to go. If we where able to pick we would probably have picked some different places, but as this call has grown in us, it has become as clear as day light that NYC is the perfect city for our family. Obedience to what God calls us to do has been a value we have built our lives, marriage and family on. Explaining the significance of obedience in our story will be a whole post on its own. 

Does the daunting call of planting a church in one of the most influential cities in the world scare us? Of course. The 2 questions we have asked God over and over processing this is, firstly, Why NYC? and the second, are you sure it is still New York City God? Over and over we have heard God for ourselves ‘yes’ to both questions. 

That is secure in both of our hearts. I love doing research about things that I am passionate about, so due to my nature I have processed a lot of information about NYC and come to these 5 conclusions on Why NYC:

  1. New York City is considered one of the most influential cities –  https://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2014/08/14/the-most-influential-cities-in-the-world/#3f746f357ad0
  2. New York City the biggest populated city in North Americahttp://worldpopulationreview.com/us-cities/new-york-city-population/
  3. New York City is in the top 5 for the most linguistically diverse cities in the worldhttps://englishlive.ef.com/blog/english-in-the-real-world/linguistically-diverse-cities-around-the-globe/
  4. Nearly 2 million New Yorkers are under the age of 18https://www1.nyc.gov/site/planning/data-maps/nyc-population/population-facts.page
  5. New York City has been described as the cultural, financial and media capital of the world and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, and sports  – https://artsandculture.google.com/entity/m02_286

These 5 facts might scare some people away from this city, some people might think the need for a church plant is greater somewhere else, someone might believe that there are easier or harder places with similar facts. This is our story and these 5 random facts excite us for our journey. Yes it can be intimidating but what a seed bead for the Gospel to take root and have a massive impact in this city, in this nation and hopefully true to this city’s reputation, influence the whole world.  It comes down to this: God has called us, we have fallen in love with this city and we are desperate to establish a church in this city – to make Jesus know all over NYC.