We’ve been asked so many times if we are in Texas or Tennessee that I felt it was time to send out a public update. Long story short, we’re still in Tennessee. We did everything we could to sell our home and move to Texas, but in the end the Lord put that transition on pause for now. Let me explain.
One of the frustrating things about the prophetic life, or living a life guided by the Spirit, is the principle of “now, but not yet.” James 4:13 says, “Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’” So, Lord willing, we’ll end up in Texas eventually. I believe we will. I traveled back and forth more than thirteen hours one way to Texas monthly for a while. God has given us incredible favor and relationships there. New opportunities to minister began to open up to us almost every time we visited.
When I stepped down from the last church we served in East TN, we had every intention of moving to Texas as soon as possible. What we realized is that we just needed to recover, recharge, and reconnect with who we really are and what God called us to do. We needed to get a way from all that our life in ministry had slowly spiraled down into. I stayed in my position as long as I did because I believe that God had assigned me there. When God assigns you, only God can reassign you. And over the course of a couple months in 2014, God began speaking to both my wife and I about Texas.
I told God, “If you’re reassigning us, I need a definite word.” Some time after that, we visited some friends in Texas and walked into a worship service. You often don’t realize how dry things have become where you are until you get washed away in a corporate river of God’s presence again. I wept as God just flooded through me. And suddenly two angels named Strength and Courage walked up to me. These two angels have come to me four times since following God to East TN, always at major points of transition in ministry. And I heard the voice of the Lord say, “I’m giving you Texas,” and, “establish a prophetic culture.”
I took that as the definite word I asked for. For me, Texas has represented freedom from control, strength to stand alone if need be, courage to stand apart, and boldness to be a lone star when necessary. Someone once said, “Texas is a state of mind.” I definitely shifted into a “Texas” state of mind. I knew it spoke to me personally that I was to “cowboy up” and step out into the great wide open. I knew it spoke of launching our own ministry as a vehicle to fulfill the true calling on our lives. But I also felt like it was permission to move our family. And honestly, I believe God was saying, “Okay, it’s time to reassign you and realign you.” We stepped down as pastors in the fall of 2014 and launched our own ministry just a little over a year ago in 2015.
In the meantime, we literally packed up our house, put it up for sale, and soon had a number of offers that all fell through for various reasons. Then one day I looked our house up on the MLS… and couldn’t find it. Our realtor, who literally came to us and worked hard to get us to agree to let him be the listing agent, allowed it to drop off of the MLS!
We also had a number of people telling us that they were seriously praying that the Lord would not let us leave the region yet. We had others prophesy that God was going to redeem our years and calling that were wasted and squandered by others, repositioning us in our own ministry to accomplish what He originally sent us to do. God sent us here with a Kingdom purpose, never for one man, church, or ministry. We have long served the vision of others and grown immensely because of it, but in that process our capacity to fulfill our real assignment was progressively limited.
Around the same time, my wife and I both had the same dream on the same night. It’s the first and only time anything like that has ever happened to us. In the dream, we were leaving Knoxville TN, exiting the highway to merge onto the interstate. As we came around, we saw that the interstate was like a parking lot; barely any cars were moving forward. We merged in and slowed down very quickly. Then someone bumped into us and people began bumping into each other all over the place. It was nothing serious, no real damage, and no injuries or anything like that. We got out of the car and realized we’re not going anywhere right now. We decided to make the most of it and walked off the interstate toward a restaurant. Our kids and us ate and laughed and just enjoyed our time with one another.
When we woke up we realized that there were circumstances outside of our control and because of that we were not going anywhere fast. We needed to make the most of the season and focus on our family. And so, that’s exactly what we did. Things change sometimes and we don’t always get to know the reasons why. Like good soldiers, we must simply learn to say, “Yes, sir!” and then do what you’re told. We didn’t announce that we were still here. We had a lot of family time and a lot of good food. It was an amazing season for us. We needed it more than we knew. We healed emotionally and recovered in many ways. But before long, we began to notice the effects on our boys of living in limbo, not knowing if we are going or staying. We needed to make decisions.
I’ve counseled many people as they went through similar seasons, and it’s a lot easier to see clearly for others than it is for yourself sometimes. We had churches and friends in Texas praying us in there, and others in Tennessee praying for us to stay. I took the advice that I’ve shared many times with others. The last thing God said is the last word He gave on the issue. So until the circumstances shift, God has told us to walk away from pressing to leave East TN and to make the most of our time here now. We may not live here for the rest of our lives, but we will probably always be ministering here in some capacity. And we are here now, and we’re going to make the most of our time. We are planted here until we hear otherwise.
Yet, almost daily, God reminds us that Texas is ahead of us. He’s also suddenly opening doors all over East TN that were never open to us before. God is connecting us in new ways and repositioning us to influence the church in the region on a greater level. God clearly showed me that there is a new window of opportunity opening to do what He sent me here to do. From the day I said, “okay” again, my first priority has been to identify and empower leaders to carry the various parts God has for them.
Many years ago the Lord showed me the church, divided and separated by walls of doctrines and opinions. He would point into one and I would watch and begin to see and understand what was happening and then He would send me there. Then He would pull me back up and show me another. My heart is to help you become who you are individually and corporately and to connect with other parts of the body that are made to function differently. We will see a move of God in the region to the degree that we allow unity among diversity.
This year, in the spirit, I have been seeing pockets of fire and people in caves all around the region. Some are connected with one another, but most feel alone and are not aware of the others who have refused to give up on the things that God has shown them for this region. They’ve refused to bow the knee to the spirit of religion, to find fulfillment in man-made programs, to become pacified by Sunday morning motivational speeches. There is a groundswell of God, almost like water when it just begins to boil. It just needs a little more heat and time to hit a full rolling boil. Something is already shifting; something is already happening. It’s an opportunity at hand, right here, right now.
I don’t want to control it, but I want to be a part of it and take the lead as God leads me. I don’t have to vet every person whom the Lord calls or lifts up because they don’t need to come under my ministry or leadership. We will cover many with our ministry in the days ahead and raise up and launch out leaders of our own. There will be resistance, and some people will be hesitant because we associate with a wide variety of leaders inside and outside of this region, but I’m going to associate with all who are willing to make moves for the Kingdom. It’s as simple as that.
I’m here primarily to influence, empower, and release you to be you. I’m not here to take over, control a move of God, or to pull people from one ministry to another. And so, I also don’t feel pressured to perform and make anything happen either. I’m here to set a Kingdom-level vision as one of the eyes and ears in the body, to unite the disconnected and those hidden in caves, and to awaken the sleeping giants. I’m here to spread fire and light up a grid of believers who are hungry for God. I’m here for God first and for the body of Christ which I love. I’m here to release and ride the waves of glory prophesied to ripple from this place throughout the nation.
May God have His way.
Jeremy Caris is the founder and president of Caris Ministries. Since he is called as a prophet and gifted as a teacher, much of his focus involves equipping believers to hear, know, and follow God in their own daily experience. He teaches the foundational truth of the Word with simple clarity, while revealing deep things of the spirit in practical ways. He has the unique ability to demystify the supernatural side of real relationship with a living God and make it an embraceable and accessible reality for all believers. Jeremy has been married to his best friend, Mandy Caris, for twenty years, and is the proud father of two boys.