For as long as I (Daniel) can remember, our family motto has always been, “Lord, here I am. Lord, here we are.” So whether it’s connecting with our neighbours or selling everything we own and moving to another country, nothing has ever been out of the question. Since our lives are not our own, Christina and I have always strived to live with open hearts and open hands because God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are always better than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Sometime in the fall of 2018, Christina and I began sensing that change was on the horizon. There was this unsettledness in our hearts that couldn’t be explained because we loved everything about our lives in Nashville. Our community was incredible, our church was healthy and growing, our podcast was impacting marriages and families, and my work at LifeWay was helping churches around the world. I was also in the middle of writing my third book while continuing to accept invitations to speak on my previous ones. In other words, there was no human reason for us to move, or even consider a change.
So you can probably anticipate how surprised I was when, only a few months later, Christina and I started praying about coming back to Beulah Alliance Church—especially since it was in the middle of an Edmonton winter. And to be crystal clear, this wasn’t some trite little “prayer” that we carelessly tossed up to God. No, this was one of those all-hands-on-deck, get-on-your-knees, everything-is-up-for-grabs kind of prayer. Specifically, we were asking God to reveal whether coming back to Beulah to serve as the next Lead Pastor was simply a good opportunity or a divine calling.
I still remember it like it was yesterday: it was April 13, 2019, after the Saturday night service when God answered our prayer and made it extraordinarily clear that he was calling us to move back to Edmonton. After several months of conversation, and then three days of interviews with the staff team and elders, Christina and I were debriefing what had happened and how we sensed the leading of the Holy Spirit. It was in that moment, as we were worshipping and praying, that God broke our hearts for Beulah and Edmonton. That night, we sensed God was saying that this is where He wanted us. And that everything we had learned and done in life was leading us to this next divine appointment.
So, here we are back in Edmonton, and more excited than ever to continue leading Beulah toward her vision of reaching 1% of greater Edmonton for Christ. And it’s not because this is some sort of opportunity. No, it’s because this is a calling—God’s calling on our lives.