Leaving But Staying; Changing But Staying the Same

by Matt Parra  |  December 1, 2011

Matt, David, and Sherise surfing just South of Brisbaine, Australia

Moving can be dramatic. Yet change is a normal part of the human experience. Accordingly, the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus (535-475 BC) said, “all things move and nothing stays still,” indicating his belief that the only constant in our universe was change.

Interestingly, Heraclitus was the first to make philosophical use of the Greek word logos which John the apostle used to describe Christ in the opening of his gospel. “In the beginning was the Word (logos), and the Word (logos) was with God, and the Word (logos) was God” (John 1:1). For Heraclitus, logos was the principle of order and knowledge that bound the universe together. Paul agreed! He said that, “in Christ we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28) and wrote that, “in Him (Jesus Christ) all things consist” (Col. 1:17).

If Jesus Christ is the logos that binds the universe together—which I believe!—then no matter how much things change, there is always a constant. No matter how much our lives change, there is something, or better, Someone, that doesn’t. “Jesus Christ,” said the author of Hebrews, “is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).

British philosopher Alan Watts (1915-1973) once wrote that, “the greater part of human activity is designed to make permanent those experiences and joys which are only lovable because they are changing.” In a way, I agree. The changing nature of our world is designed to heighten our love for life, but does Mr. Watts actually intend to convince me that I only enjoy my mother’s company because she’s aging? Or that I only enjoyed the vigor of youth because it has passed?

Perhaps what Watts is on to is that we humans have an intrinsic need for constancy. Furthermore, if that need can actually be met, we might be able to genuinely enjoy this life without the nagging fear of loss.

The Logos can meet that need. In fact, He created that need!

Christ said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27). For most people having peace depends on what happens but the peace of Christ transcends what happens. And it is this that enables us to really enjoy, or at least appreciate, the transient pleasures this world affords.

On September 11, 2011 I was voted into the position of Director of Evangelism for the North New South Wales Conference in Australia. Sherise and I are right now in the process of applying for visas, and hope to be in Australia by the end of January.

Matt Parra Teaching

Matt teaching the 2011 ARISE Cornerstone class in Jasper, OR

Talk about change!

Although we are thrilled and humbled by the opportunity this call presents, and although the presence of Christ is constantly with us, our hearts are still heavy. Our eyes are still filled with tears. The constant companionship the Word of God provides does insulate us from despair, yet it doesn’t take all of the pain out of moving. It is unbelievably difficult to leave a ministry that you really believe in, and that you’ve been a part of for six years, for a new one in a foreign land, far away.

We will always love our ARISE / Light Bearers family. We have high hopes for collaboration and are already making plans in that direction. I’m trying not to see this as a call to “another” ministry but rather to another place in the same ministry. Paul said to the church at Corinth, “since we have this ministry… we do not loose heart” (2Cor. 4:1). Paul and the local church in Corinth were not always in the same geographical location, yet he considered them to be a part of the same ministry as he was.

I’m choosing to see this move in the same way.

By the grace of God, we—ARISE, Light Bearers, and myself—will always be a part of the same ministry; maybe not part of the same 501c3 non-profit organization, but nevertheless a part of God’s worldwide remnant movement that proclaims the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ.

I still want to be known as a staff member, as a part of ARISE / Light Bearers, as a part of the team.

Ty, Sue, David, Violeta, Stephanie, Brent, Randy, Shandra, Oliver, Jeffrey, Marianna, Yamil, Jessica, James, Risë, Cindi, Brandon, Meranda, Jamie, Jason, Robert, from my perspective you are and will always be a part of my team. Thank you all for your unbelievable grace and affection. I don’t deserve it, but am humbled by it. May God continue to work in my heart so that I can become more like the Christ I’ve seen in you. I won’t forget your kindness and love. I am always at your service. The same goes for all my former students. Through the grace of Christ we are still on the same team.

Call anytime. I may not answer, but I will call you back.

“Who is my mother and who are my brothers?… For whosoever does the will of My Father in heaven, is my brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:48, 50).

Matt Parra at the skate park in Michigan

Matt skating on his lunch break at ARISE

Matt Parra Speaker
Light Bearers
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  • David & JoAnn Brevick

    We wanted to send our congratulations and our best wishes to you and Sherise. You are all about your Fathers business and you are spreading his word. God Bless you both and I hope you will be very happy in Australia.. They are lucky to have you!! You and David and Scott played such a huge part in bring David and I where we are today in our faith after hearing the prophesy seminar in Sterling Heights. We are living in Northern Florida and David is now a deacon at the Fort Walton Beach SDA church. God called us to the meetings and you all delivered his word and his truth and for that we thank you. We send our love and hope to hear how you’re doing. Hugs to Sherise..

  • Noemi Roman

    Matt and Sherise will miss you both and know wherever you go you’ll be shinning lights for Him. I praise God for the time I spent getting to know you both, you’ve both been such a inspiration and encouragement. Heaven will be the greatest reunion someday meeting up with the whole family of God, until then let’s work and spread this beautiful Gospel far and wife :). Blessings Noemi

  • Sherry Pratt

    Matt and Sherise. God uses you! He’s done it in the past and because you are faithful to Him, He continues to use you. You have both been a huge blessing in my life. I pray that God will richly bless you both! Can’t wait to hear how God continues to use you in your new home. Love to you!!!! Sherry

  • Leon Brooks

    Matt, Australia has a better side!

    For example, we don’t really do cold. I’ve built a snowman atop Mount Wellington (near Hobart, in Tasmania) in mid-Winter, wearing only work-boots, jeans & a jumper. Merritt, BC, where I was born, often hits Winter temperatures of *MINUS* 40.

    If you wish to live alongside the bluest ocean water in the world, Western Australia is kind of difficult to beat.

    If you have a decent camera, Albany has great beaches & great hills.

    If you happen to like fishing, we have a beach here named Salmon Holes for a reason, plus some excellent river fishing.

    Just west of here (Denmark/Walpole) we have some serious trees.

    The list goes on… 🙂

  • Iriann

    Praying for you!!!

  • Katelyn

    well i can say for myself that i will and already do miss you both sooo much!! and tho its sad to see you go i know that God has a special plan for you both and lots of great things coming your way.. i pray that God will bless you and you’ll always be in my prayers. God has used you both to be such a blessing in my life and to the ARISE students here, and now its time for you to go some where new and help others like me… :).. even though you and sherise are leaving, no matter how far apart we are will always be family!!! with much love – Kate

  • Cindi

    You will both be missed, but yet I know our Lord has AMAZING plans ahead for the two of you. Continue to preach from your heart!

  • Virna

    There are no words really to describe how blessed I am by God through the both of you Matt & Sherise! I always get a lump in my throat and my eyes well up just at the very thought of you all being so far away but at the same time, I have divine joy and peace in my heart knowing how God has led in your lives! You both have been such a great witness & inspiration to me! I only look forward to the time when we will never have to say goodbye in that glorious place when we’ll meet in the sky! Love you both but…Jesus Loves you more! Matt, one last thing you should know…on that wonderful high Sabbath as we stood at the riverbank anticipating baptisms, you offered a very heart-felt prayer…I can’t recall every exact word uttered but all I know, I was re-baptized by the Holy Spirit for those words I know could have only come from God because it spoke to my heart and revived me!

  • Bryan Pixa

    good man!