About a month ago we elders got together for a meeting. In this meeting we decided to fast and pray to seek God for several things like more unity within our staff and more power and revival in our church. We decided to fast for one week. It was a long fast. I had several other things to pray for during this time as well.
During this fast we each experienced some answers to prayer and experienced powerfully the presence of God.
I want to talk to you about what God said to me.
On my 6th day of fasting, I was at a retreat with CityServe pastors up on the Santa Cruz Mountains. During this retreat, one of the other pastors, one from Harbor Light Church, took us through a fun game - a kind of ice breaker. The game worked this way. This pastor passed to each of us in the group a piece of paper. We were seated in a large circle. We were to write a “What if” question. I, for example, wrote What if… “ Hitler had won World War Two.” (The what if was implied). Then, after everyone wrote their question we passed those papers back to the pastor. Then he passed out those papers again, and each of us took a different piece, making sure to not take the one we had written our “what if” question on. We took someone else’s paper. Then, on that piece of paper, we answered someone else’s “What if” question by writing on the back of their slip of paper. Again, he collected those papers. Then he passed them out for a third time, and we each took one, making sure we did not take one on which we had written either our what if statement or our answer.
Then we went around the circle. The first person read the question on the paper he held, and the next person read the answer on the back of the paper they were holding. It was silly and funny. It was just a fun ice-breaker game.
The slip of paper I received, with both the what if question and the answer said this. Someone had written What if… “I moved from the Bay Area”. And the answer written on the back said, “Release”. Beth and I had been praying to God about the direction in our life, where he was taking us. And I told God I needed a really clear answer. So He wrote to me. I have the slip of paper right here.
So, we are moving out of the Bay Area. We are leaving Cedars Church. We will be moving in July. Our last day here at Cedars is June 30th.
I am going back to seminary to get my Doctoral degree. Beth and I feel that God has called me, and us, to teach. As you know I have been teaching village pastors in India for eleven years and in other countries for many years before that. I have also taught for Tozer Seminary in Woodland on an occasional basis. Last year I taught at a college in Lebanon. I have been asked to go back there in May to teach a two week intensive course.
What we want to do is to teach younger kingdom workers. We feel God’s call to teach pastors. I don’t know how this will work exactly as we are counting on God’s continual leadership but it might look something like this. After completing my doctorate, we might teach at an existing school. We are praying about the possibility of starting a school somewhere, maybe here in the U.S. or in Europe. We dream of teaching pastors and then taking them with us to places around the world to teach village pastors. We would be giving them two different kinds of education, one in the classroom and one on the mission field actually teaching village pastors like I do in India.
Beth and I have been here in Newark for almost 16 years. God has done so much in us and changed us. We are thrilled to have been a part of CBNC and now Cedars. Admittedly, the beginning of Cedars was very hard on me, and us. We are excited to have come through the hardest parts and we anticipate that God has great things planned here at Cedars.
We love that we are connected with you. We are the body of Christ. Christ is the head. Thank you for your partnership in the gospel. We will miss you.
Joel and Beth Mattsson-Boze