The task before us is daunting. The 2nd preview service is only 9 days away, and once again, there’s so much to do! After that the mission trip, another comeback event, another preview…the launch October 5th… We have definitely surpassed anything that we can do in our own strength, and honestly, that’s a good place to be. I find great comfort and truth in those verses in 2 Cor. 12 when Jesus says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Then, Paul goes on to say how he’s pleased in weakness because, “when I am weak, then I am strong” (in Christ). Weaknesses can be illness, conflict, exhaustion, stress… If we thought we could do it all, it would be us doing it… and that is never a good thing! I ask that you continue to cover this process with us in prayer, that the power of God may rest on this ministry, not the power of any one person or team of persons. I read this morning in Psalm 17:6-7, “I call on You, God, because You will answer me; listen closely to me; hear what I say. Display the wonders of Your faithful love.” Isn’t it fabulous that God hears us, that we can leave things up to Him and He’ll take care of them and do a superb job, better than we could ever do?
I think about the team God has brought together. Seriously, we’re a mix. Ever see the Bad News Bears? We’re playing a baseball game that we should never win, yet July 20th was pretty amazing and I look forward to what’s in store for August 10th. It always cracks me up how God’s way is so opposite the “world’s” way, how he chooses those to serve Him. 1 Cor. 1:27-28 explains it well, “God has chosen the world’s foolish things to shame the wise, and God has chosen the world’s weak things to shame the strong. God has chosen the world’s insignificant and despised things – the things viewed as nothing – so He might bring to nothing the things that are viewed as something, so that no one can boast in His presence.” There is nothing this motley crew can boast about, but about Him. None of us on the launch team have oodles of money, none of us have a Doctorate in Divinity and most of us have pretty ugly pasts – that Christ has beautifully redeemed! We come each week and bring our 5 loaves and 2 fish, just like the little boy in the story of the feeding of the 5000, and give it to God to bless and multiply. God has been so faithful and we have had just what we need when we need it. Even though we pray and formulate plans, it is, all and all, HIS plan.
Finally, I want to address an ongoing problem among Christians (WARNING: Soapbox potential… read at your own risk!). Matthew chapter 5 and James chapter 5 both talk about letting your “yes” be “yes”, and your “no” must be “no”… Basically, don’t agree to anything that you aren’t going to do. When we were on deputation (again, that word means when missionaries go around the country raising financial and prayer support), we had several churches and individuals financially and prayerfully support our ministry. Between us and the mission board, we agree on an amount that we need to raise to cover ministry and personal expenses. As you raise support, it is divided into what your total need is and is presented as a percentage. When we left for the mission field in June of 2004, we had 85% of pledged support, the bare minimum that our mission board would let us leave with. When we arrived in the Dominican Republic, what came in each month was initially more like 55%!!! 30% of pledged money didn’t come in, people or church’s “yes” wasn’t “yes.” Did God still take care of us? Of course! However, this happens to missionaries all the time, just ask them. Recently I was listening to KLove, and they were sharing how even though they had raised 80-100% for most city’s stations during their recent pledge drive, only about 45% was coming in each month. Once again, someone’s “yes” wasn’t a “yes.” Same situation in this ministry (church-planting), we have prayed and asked for sponsors. We have had a good response, yet we haven’t seen a dime from most of what was pledged. It would be easy to be cynical, angry and frustrated, but what good would that do? Plus, God shows us and proves over and over that He is the Sufficient Provider. True that. Nonetheless, as Christians, we shouldn’t promise something that we’re not going to do. If you aren’t going to or can’t support something, just say “no”. Don’t say, “yes” and be a liar. Let your word be a testimony of Christ in you. (End soapbox).
Meanwhile, we press on and “run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.” Heb. 12:2