Dear Beloved Friend(s),
If you are like me you still can’t quite get over last Sunday’s kick-off to our Capital Expansion Campaign. The practicality of the new structure, the sense of unity among our people, and the commitment of our leadership are all causes for great rejoicing. The last one in particular is such an encouraging sign. That fourteen families among the leadership of our dear church would commit $163,000.00 dollars shows a depth of dedication, ownership of the vision, and belief that God is leading us that is simply inspiring. I spoke by phone later in the week with a visitor who was present on Sunday. He mentioned that he felt he and his family were visiting by divine appointment. He said that the presentation gave him the impression that Bethel’s leadership is Spirit-led in how they are operating. That is certainly what we desire to be.
As I ponder all of this, I have been thinking of the first building project in the Bible in Exodus when the Israelites funded the Tabernacle in the wilderness. A number of guiding principles can encourage us as we move forward.
- They were responding to God’s vision for them (Exodus 25:8). We aren’t hearing a voice from Mt. Sinai giving detailed instructions about our building, but we feel just as certain that our Lord is leading us. That’s the most important thing. This has to be His vision.
- The purpose of the building was worship and education (Exodus 25:8-9). God said He would dwell among His people in the Tabernacle and that they were to make it exactly according to the pattern He gave them. The details were so key because each of the pieces of furniture would teach vital truth about God and ultimately point to their fulfillment in Jesus Christ (see Hebrews 9:9-11). That of course is the purpose of our building—to be a place of education and worship of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- The Lord blessed His people with all the wealth they needed to fund the project (Exodus 12:35-36). The Lord gave poor slaves who had nothing such favor in the eyes of the Egyptians that they gave them all the material wealth the Israelites asked for when they left Egypt. God was blessing them materially so they might be able to give when the time was right. God will do the same for us. If He is leading, He will give His people the wealth they need so that when the time is right they will be able to give it to His cause.
- The offering was given willingly (Exodus 25:2). The interesting thing is that giving to the Tabernacle was a matter of personal choice (freewill offerings, see 36:3). Only those whose hearts moved them to give were asked to give. God is always more interested in the heart than in the gift. And so He asks us to give willingly, cheerfully from a heart that is in love with Him.
- The offerings were so generous that Moses told them to stop giving (Exodus 36:4-7). What an exciting experience! They were so inspired by God’s vision that they gave more generously than anyone could have expected. What a sense of joy, unity and purpose they all must have felt. Maybe that’s the most exciting thing of all—to know we are partners together in something God is doing that will help create lasting results in people’s lives for eternity. Amen!
Your friend, Pastor Brian (:-}).