Can I use your boat?
TJ nudged me as Evangelist Nathan Morris said this.
Can I use your boat? I want it to be my platform.
I rolled my eyes the second time Nathan said this while preaching on Luke 5.
God wants to know, can He use your boat for his platform. It isn’t just a boat.
The third time Nathan Morris posed this question TJ and I looked at each other and laughed. God was definitely speaking to us.
Last month TJ and I were invited to our friends’ church – Revelation Church – in Apopka, Florida for a three-day pouring out of the Holy Spirit.
Okay, lets just call a spade a spade, this was a revival.
We drove down for a long weekend that promised to be packed with great speakers, solid worship, and excellent teaching; leaving Vivienne at the beach with my family, we went. TJ and I needed some time away to continue to focus, pray, and discern what God wants for us and this long weekend was going to satisfy all of that. Similar to the attacks of Satan on our way to Pennsylvania, we had issues getting to Apopka on time. On the drive down the ol’ Honda Pilot started to have engine trouble and we had to make an unscheduled detour to Goodyear in Jacksonville, Florida… the only place that could get us in that day to get the spark plug changed.
After we got the spark plug changed, we drove (very quickly) to Apopka – three hours Southwest – where TJ dropped me off at Revelation Church while he took our dogs to the Air BnB we booked on the other side of Lake Apopka…and additional 30-minute drive. Our friends ushered me into the sanctuary of the church and sat me not in the middle, not in the back, but in the first row behind the VIP seats. Okay, color me nervous. I knew this church was much more charismatic than my Anglican self was used to, and I was already nervous about it.
Five minutes before the evening worship began, TJ walked in the door and took his place beside me. We made it! The worship team began to play and sing while everyone around me raised their hands and closed their eyes, giving praise to The Lord. I sang along with the worship team, awkwardly raising my hands and closing my eyes while swaying to the songs. Every so often I would open my eyes and look around at the people who were seemingly “lost” in worship — people on their knees in prayer, laying on their faces before God, and standing in awe & reverence of Him. Before I knew it, over an hour had passed and the music came to an end as we moved into the teachings for the evening.
Each night began the same way, but each time after the first, I found myself getting lost in the worship instead of looking at everyone else. I felt the peace and love of The Lord surround me as we moved from worship to teaching. To my surprise, the teachers for the evenings were world-known Evangelists – Daniel Kolenda, Michael Koulianos, and Nathan Morris – in addition to the pastor of Revelation Church, Joe Manno. Needless to say, the weekend was packed with people causing us to want to dig deeper in our faith and obey God’s calling for our life.
By the time the last night approached, I was exhausted and my experience at the church service that morning had shaken me a bit…I didn’t want to go back for the evening. We were at the Air BnB for about an hour between the services and I was drained. I didn’t want to drive back to Apopka for another four-hour evening. I wanted some tea and my pillow. TJ was grateful we went to Florida for the weekend and wasn’t going to push me to go back for the evening, but, as I was reflecting on the day, it was evident Satan did not want us to attend that evening. So, what did we do? We got back in the car and drove to Apopka for the last evangelist of the weekend – Nathan Morris.
Pulling into the already packed parking lot just before the doors for general admission opened, I reluctantly put on my badge that let us get in before everyone else and walked through the doors of Revelation Church again. This time I wasn’t going to sit in the front, I wanted to sit near the back and on the edge so I could get up and leave if I wanted to. Satan was working hard to get me out of that building and I had to wonder…why? The worship team started their beautiful music and I found myself getting lost in awe and praise of The Lord. Swaying to the music and down on my knees I prayed for God to open my heart and mind to what was going to happen that night. I prayed He would send Satan’s attacks far from me so I could clear my head and listen to the teachings. Before I knew it the songs came to and end and Nathan began to speak.
Unenthused, I sat there hardly paying attention to what he was saying. I was people watching the others in the church and slouching in my seat…lest I be seen by anyone. After introducing himself and giving his testimony, Nathan read Luke 5. Without detailing the entire chapter, the beginning talks about Jesus asking Simon Peter to let him use Peter’s boat to speak to the crowds; then, after Jesus preached, he asked Peter to go out and cast out his nets for a catch of fish. Peter, unbelieving, said they had fished all day and caught nothing. They were now cleaning their nets to go home…essentially licking their wounded pride. Jesus asked him again to go out into the deep and let down his nets…so he did. And he caught so many fish the nets began to break.
Anyway, after reading that passage Nathan stated God is asking, “Can I use your boat? I want to use it for my platform.” He repeated this question several times and by the third time I was nearly laughing out loud and saying “yes” to God. While a “boat” can mean many things to many people, we actually have a boat that we know God wants to use to reach more people for His glory. God is asking to use our boat…and we said yes. So this is why Satan didn’t want us here tonight! He knew God was going to use Nathan to speak directly to us.
After that I sat up in my seat and listened closely to what Nathan taught. A few times I thought he looked directly at me as he walked down the center aisle teaching. And maybe he did. At the end, as Nathan was walking out while people trying to get to him so he would pray over them, he looked directly at TJ and winked. He doesn’t know us. He doesn’t know our story, and yet, it was as if God told him something about us.
If there was any doubt, the weekend in Florida (once again) confirmed for us that God does want us on our boat. He wants to use us AND our boat. The weekend reaffirmed the things about which we felt peace at MOP in June:
- We are to live on our boat and sail away…NEXT MONTH…slowly heading south.
- I am homeschooling Vivienne in preparation for living abroad in BELIZE.
- We are meant to work alongside locals to help build connections and relationships…
For now, we are in the process of launching a nonprofit organization to serve as our apostolic covering, sending agency, and legal organization for tax-free giving for those who wish to support our mission. There will be more to come on this at a later date, as I am working hard (well, harder now that Hurricane Flo is away from us) to get all the legal paperwork in order. We are so excited about where God is leading.
We ask for your prayers as we prepare to cast off from the dock in Charleston, S.C. and head south on our way to Belize…leaving Charleston is the first and biggest step in trusting God’s plan for our lives.
We must go.
TJ, Lane & Vivienne
** All photos are from the Revelation Church Facebook page **