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Prayer Is The Work

 In October 2016, Brian Hook decided to take a road trip with some men he’d been discipling from Hope Church. At the time, Brian was a Lead Pastor at this church and preparing to plant Aspire Church in Tucson. Brian wanted to take these men down to Tucson for a few days so they could get to know each other, and pray over Tucson before Brian’s wife, Jessica and their kids moved here in January 2017. Brian specifically wanted the men to cover the city with prayer including where the Hooks would live. The trip consisted of 11 men, and the only assignment was prayer. A couple of the men later said they considered not going because they were interested in “doing some work” and “praying only” didn’t seem too active. 

For two days the men prayed at the four corners Tucson. The first stop was a high rise that overlooked the city. The sun was bright in the large board room, and the men decided to lower the blinds. Within minutes of praying, the men heard thunder and rain. As they opened the blinds they were greeted with a rainbow that appeared to settle right in the parking lot of the building. All the men sensed that this was a visible and spiritual promise from God that his presence was on this trip and Aspire church. As they went to each of the next three stops, sunny skies were greeted by rain. It was clear than God was bringing his blessing and refreshment on this trip, the Hooks, Aspire Church and this city of Tucson.

 Men on MountainAt the end of the day, the men shared of their powerful experiences during the past few hours. they began to discuss where Aspire might first have meetings. One by one they prayed about divine appointments for Aspire Church, and specifically a first meeting location.  As we were praying, Brian got a call from his realtor.

She said, “You aren’t going to believe this but my boss, Jeff (CEO of the Realty group) asked if I know of any churches that needed a place to meet. She said, “Why?” He explained that there was a new ordinance that was going to be passed on the legalization of marijuana. The owner of the abandoned restaurant near the large realty office was pursuing a marijuana distribution license.  Jeff wanted to get a lease contract signed with a church as soon as he could. Arizona State Law prohibits marijuana being sold within a certain distance of schools and churches.

Brian asked if he could come by immediately to see it, and bring his 11 praying friends.

Men in front of conference roomThe men hopped in the car like a bunch of teenagers headed to local hangout. They were blown away by the fact that the office was only 1 mile from where they were praying. They walked into a brand new conference room that seats about 90 people including an outdoor patio that seats 30. The conference space also has separate restrooms, a full kitchen, full audio, screen, and a brand new video projection system.

Brian asked how much this new facility would cost to rent after hours and on the weekend. The realtor said, “My boss isn’t looking to make money on this. How about one dollar per year?”

One of the men humorously chimed in, “Here’s $20, let’s lock it in for 20 years!”

By the end of the week Brian had a 5-year contract signed with the owner for a whopping $5. 

This story is not so much about the conference room, but rather God answering the prayers of obedient men. Aspire believes prayer isn’t something believers do before they work. Prayer is the work and then God works. These men were able to see the power of God in action through the prayers of men joined together.  In a very real and practical way, these men saw the reality of Matthew 6:33

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Aspire isn’t about just planting a church. Aspire is about expanding the Kingdom of God.  If believers focus on the Church, they can miss the Kingdom. But if believers focus on the Kingdom, they will get the Church. Pray for Aspire to continue to join God’s Kingdom activity in Tucson. Specifically we ask you to pray for spiritual covering for the Hook’s, the Campa’s’ and the Chang’s as they work together in the city. Pray also for laborers to come to help make disciples. Pray also for churches to partner with us long-term as we impact a city.





Posted by Brian Hook with

Beautiful Feet

     Noah and Faith A call to church-planting is not a call for just the husband. God did plant the first seed in Brian’s heart many years before He did in mine. But He knows the times and ways that He will carry out His will in our lives, and the calling didn’t come for both of us at the same time until He knew we were in agreement and ready. 

     I have been moved several times to hear pastor Vance and Kristie’s story about the calling to plant Hope. One lesson I have learned from them is that you primarily have to have a “word from the Word.” I have believed that truth with my head, but it hasn’t been until the last two years that my heart has become fully engaged as I have been able to see it carried out.

            I love how God will use His word to speak to us, and how He will specifically re-assure us and draw us to obedience in ways that we individually need....

            Two years ago, a guest speaker named Danny Akin delivered a sermon at Hope Church that was very impactful for me. One question that he asked was if your child could be remembered for being a star professional athlete or a missionary sharing the gospel, which would you choose? As a mother, it was very convicting and it challenged me in the area of living on mission as a family. Had we become complacent? How was I teaching my kids to live on mission? I thought of our oldest two kids in college and how they learned to serve and share this good news many years ago when we did our first church plant. They have often said what an impactful time that was in their life. The key verse that Dr. Akin used was from Romans 15:20, where Paul, a missionary of the gospel stated, “And thus I ASPIRE to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation. I physically felt in that moment as if that verse was being laid on top of my head. It felt so powerful. 

            By the end of service my heart was pounding. I wondered if God was possibly going to send our family across the world, since the verse spoke of preaching where Christ had not already been named. One word that stood out in the verse was ASPIRE. I hadn’t heard that word used in scripture before, and it is not used in every Bible version of this verse. It is a verb that means “to want to do” something. For me, it speaks to our actions as believers since they do define what we truly want or value. I left the service that day full of wonder, asking God to show me more about this experience. In verse 19 of that chapter, it says that the reason Paul aspired to preach in the first place was because of the signs and wonders, and powerful acts of the Holy Spirit he had already experienced. Verse 21 says that they who have no news of Him shall see, and they who have not heard will understand. I immediately asked God to show me signs. I needed physical evidence that He was going to use this verse, and particularly that word ASPIRE to change the course of history in our family.

             God heard my request. The first sign came right after service that day. We wanted to take the kids to a new park, so we headed toward Mountain’s Edge. As we turned left into a community that led to a park, there it was... the word ASPIRE, engraved into a sign that named this new group of homes.  The next day, Pastor Travis Ogle had a shirt on that said APIRE. The following week, it appeared on a water bottle that was handed to my at the gym from a complete stranger.

             Of course, I doubted, and thought that must just be coincidence. So God stayed quiet for a season after that.  About nine months ago, the word started to appear again. It showed up on a piece of mail, on the words of worship in songs at Hope Church for more than three weeks in a row, and on a shirt that Pastor Teddy Johnson wore that he claims he didn’t even know he owned. Pastor Teddy also prayed that verse over the congregation in the service I was in during that same time time frame. Brian noted that it had not been prayed in the other two services that weekend, which confirmed that it was for my ears to hear once again. God had already spoke to others that same week about how he would use us as a couple in a plan that I was yet to know about. One fellow believer had dreams about me being surrounded by cactus, and another heard our names through prayer. Days later, Brian was approached about church-planting in a mountain area that was unreached in Arizona. Soon after, we went to visit, I was astounded to see more cactus together in one area than I ever had in my life. I knew God was setting things into motion, but I hadn’t put my “yes” on the table yet. 

       The most beautiful picture of how God uses scripture and other believers to confirm a calling came in April of this year.  I sat down to pray one day with no Bible reading agenda, and no plan. I said in desperation, “God, I need one more sign. I need to know for sure that you ASPIRE to do this through the Hook family. I heard God say, “Look over at your phone.” My first inkling was to hit the Facebook icon, and I did. That day, a memory from over six years ago posted. It was a picture I had taken of my two youngest children’s feet. Upon posting the picture, a Godly woman in Texas that day had commented, “I wonder where those feet will take the good news one day.” At the time I remember thinking, oh that is so sweet, but we are going to live in this “very Christian bubble” in Texas until we die, so the comment didn’t mean much at the time. 

            I believe that her words weren’t written for me that day, but that He knows the times and seasons He will carry out His mission, and today was the day for me to receive her words as a promise to claim for my children.  Shortly after reading them, I opened up my bible. There it sat in Isaiah, and my eyes met the words of Isaiah 52:7: “How lovely on the mountain are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation. “ In tears, I got down on my face and said, “okay God, okay.”

            That day I felt loved by my Father more than I ever have before. He chose to use what is closest to my heart, my own two children to finally draw me in to ASPIRE to join this work that has already begun in the Catalina Foothills of Arizona. I had doubted enough. My best excuse was, “God, I don’t have it all together, even on my best days.” God reminded me that was the type of person He was looking for! 

            You see our enemy, the great deceiver wants us to believe that the best way to peace is to have things under our control, and to live a safe and predictable existence as if some such thing really exists.  But God, in His infinite passion for us, wants so much more. He really does want to give us every chance to not only ASPIRE to answer His calling, but the opportunities to do so. What is God calling you to? Have you taken time to ask Him to show you?


Posted by Jessica Hook with