Posted by: pastortomvabeach | February 12, 2008

Thought For The Week February 17, 2008

 

 

As I look out my window I see the empty space that used to contain trees, grass, and piles of compost.  The bright orange silt fence calls attention to the beginnings of a project that has been longed for and hoped for but always seemed just over the next hill.  With these initial steps what was once just a dream is slowly taking shape and bursting into life.

 

We are surely crossing over the Jordan River to see the new building the Lord has been leading us towards these many years.  Through all of the delays and rejections God has been teaching and preparing us for this day.  The time is here!

 

In Exodus 35 and 36, the account of building the tabernacle gives us some ideas of how a fellowship of God’s people can accomplish something as big as that must have been and as big as our new building is to us.  God had given Moses the blueprints for the tabernacle and all of its accessories beginning with Exodus 25:9, Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you…and continuing through Exodus 30:38.  Then in Exodus 31, the Lord chose Bezalel and Oholiab as the general contractors, so to speak, who would oversee all of the construction and preparation of all the objects of worship for the tabernacle.

 

We have made it this far.  We have the design, drawings, and plans for our new building and have a general contractor overseeing the project.  It was at that point that Moses called all of the people together for one of the most important meetings in the process of building the tabernacle.  Listen to Exodus 35:4-5, Moses said to the whole Israelite community, “This is what the LORD has commanded: From what you have, take an offering for the LORD. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the LORD an offering of gold, silver and bronze;(etc.).

 

For the tabernacle to be built everyone in the community of the nation of Israel had to take part of what they had and donate it to the tabernacle building fund.  Notice the list begins with gold, silver, and bronze, descriptions of what we might call financial assets.  If you continue reading, you’ll see a large list of items of value, some that would be used in the actual construction, some that would be used in making the holy garments and objects of worship, and some that likely could be exchanged for necessary building materials.

 

The thing that applies to us and to every Christian community in a building project is that Moses called the whole Israelite community.  For this to happen, everyone had to share in underwriting the effort.  In the end Exodus 35:29, says, All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the LORD freewill offerings for all the work the LORD through Moses had commanded them to do.  Now, I suppose we could take this to mean that there were some who were not willing and did not respond, but the end result tends to make me think that, at the very least, most of them brought offerings and they brought a lot.  Why do I say that?  Exodus 36:4-5, The skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done.”  Imagine this, Moses had to tell the people, “Stop! You have brought too much.  We don’t need any more.”

 

This all applies to our church.  The call is going out to every person, every family in the Christian Chapel community – Let’s Cross Over!  Since we have the plans and the professionals to build all we need now is the money!  As Moses called on everyone to bring in the offerings for the tabernacle, we are urgently inviting everyone to bring what you have.  This is a call to mutual sacrifice and mutual generosity.

 

Brothers and sisters, I know this will not be easy, but I also know that the Lord has been more than generous with us in the past and will continue to be as we move ahead.  He will take care of our needs without a shadow of a doubt.  I believe He is calling all of us to evaluate our real needs in life and for the next year willingly do without all of those nice to have things so that we can sacrificially present the funds that will bring this building in debt free.

 

Here is what I believe the Lord has asked ME to do for the next year (March 2008-February 2009).  First and foremost, I must be faithful in the tithe, the baseline of Christian generosity.  Secondly, to be faithful to give anything God puts in my hand that is extra money (anything more than the normal pay Lilia and I receive) to complete the missions Faith Promise He directed me to make for 2008.  Then, so that I can give generously to Let’s Cross Over, I will do without golf; movies; Starbucks, 7-11, or WaWa coffee; candy bars; and so forth.  I am prepared to also limit my gift giving this year for birthdays and Christmas putting more thought and less money into the gifts.  All of this is to free up as much extra money as possible so that I can make a sizeable contribution to the success of Let’s Cross Over.

 

That is the heart of Let’s Cross Over.  We are moving forward, together, equally sacrificing and sharing to pay cash up front to make this building happen.  This will take faith because we must believe that God will take care of our needs if we’ll give as He leads us.  This will require sacrifice because we are so used to just getting what we want when we want it and may have to do without for a while.  But in the end the result will be so satisfying because we will see the hand of God and His provision in greater ways than ever.  I believe there will come a day when our contractor comes to me and says, “Tell the people we’ve got enough, they don’t have to bring any more.”  Won’t that be a great day?

 

I know I’ve kind of veered off the normal path that these musings take.  It’s just that Christian Chapel is so engaged in moving forward in faith that it happens to be what I am thinking about a lot lately.  What about you?  Have you considered how you could sacrifice and bring what you have to make this building go up as fast as possible?  If you haven’t why not take a moment and just give it a thought?  Just a thought!

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