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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Building the Bridge as We Walk On It

I don't talk too much about ministry and my personal life here on Nearly Brilliant but today I feel led to. A few years ago Robert Quinn published a book called Building the Bridge as You Walk On It. Quinn's book's focus was on leading change. I haven't read the book but I love the title and wish I had thought of it myself because it's so clever. The title itself has become a motto for me, especially in recent years. Just a few years ago, my husband, Jeff, and I left secure positions in traditional church ministry in California (we are not native Californians)  to do something crazy by starting a non-profit coffee shop ministry church in Hickory, NC. It's been a faith walk ever since and has been both the most exciting and most stressful thing we've ever done. We took what was left of the proceeds from the sale of our house in CA and put them into the ministry...of course by that time the housing market crashed and the economy tumbled and no bank would give us the loan we needed to close the gap. So we've been getting along with volunteer labor behind the counter and no pay check in the ministry realm.

During the start up phase helped support us by working at a non-profit which brought in meager but reliable income while we got Java Journey up and running. All that shifted at the end of June in 2011 when I lost that job and our faith walk increased considerably with me now spinning multiple plates as a freelance writer, artist and entrepreneur (helping run and grow a friends pet silhouette business) and church plant manager while Jeff does sports officiating off an on and church plant managing. From one month to the next we are not sure what our income will be nor whether we will still have a house or a coffee shop ministry. But it often seems that when things look the bleakest is when God steps up to the plate. It's almost as if he's got these extra poker chips in his pockets and when it looks like we're going to lose the game, he suddenly throws some more on the table.

He did that today. The bathroom at Java Journey has been out of order since Dec. 24th and it was not an easy fix, not merely a clogged toilet. Te landlord isn't liable because of the nebulous contract we signed. So with the pipes needing more than Roto Rooter--we are talking cutting up concrete and replacing pipes--the bathroom has remained out of order. We had various people get involved in trying to help and each time we thought we'd have it fixed something fell through. But last weekend we began to see a glimpse of hope and today we had a break through. We managed to cut a hole in the floor last weekend to get down to the pipes with the help of some guys from Exodus Homes ministry. They gave us an estimate on what it will take to finish the job. Today Jeff talked with the landlord about the cost, $1,000 which we don't have.  He agreed to pay for the cost up front and allow us to pay it back a little at a time, an answer to prayer. But it also means fundraisers. Just as I was contemplating how we would go about having a fundraiser, in walked J.D., a guy who was helping dig up the floor last weekend. When he learned of the financial predicament he came up with a food fundraiser idea which he and his crew are willing to help with. Amazing! It seemed as if God said, "Don't worry, I've got this."

This same kind of thing happens with our finances too. It seems no matter how hard I work, I nearly almost always make the same thing, or God brings in a little extra to cover the difference. I still get worked up over finances. I should know by now that God has a universal savings account he draws from. Day after day we continue to experience God building the bridge as we walk on it. I don't truly understand how it works but I can tell you it's real and the bridge is solid, an amazing testament to how God continues to work in our daily lives.


  1. Teena, I too, can testify of God's ever present promise to meet our needs. My husband (also a pastor of the smallest congregation we've been in...around 25-30) has to coach football, baseball and teach in a Christian school just to try to make ends meet. (I had a brain tumor removed and cannot work). But we've had people take us in and let us live for a year w/o paying anything, just to help us get back on our feet! God is so faithful. And yes, we can't build our faith unless we step out there on Faith! I love that scene in the Indiana Jones movie where he has to cross a chasm to get to the Holy grail, or his dad and he both will did....and he closes his eyes and just takes that first step, out of love for his dad. That was such a vivid illustration of faith to me. I found your blog via Barn Door Book Loft. I read books for several different companies and then post reviews on my blog:,, goodreads, etc.
    I just wanted to say thank you for sharing with us and to hang in there (I just had my 59th birthday and have moved 58 daddy was a pastor as well as me marrying one). You are a truly gifted lady and I pray the Lord will bless you in a tremendous way today! Redeemed~Teela

  2. Teela, great to meet another kindred spirit. I love you name. It's only one letter different from mine. Your congregation is bigger than ours LOL. Being faithful to God is hard. And I so relate to the Indiana Jones example because that always comes to mind when I talk about building the bridge. Where are you located? If you want to share any of your reviews on this blog you are welcome to. I am looking for other participants.