Give Thanks!

You Are BelovedNo matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Our three-year “Time to Give” process is over; the campaign to move forward with “Building for Life” is now set in motion as we move down the road to fulfill the commitments we have just made to the future life of our church.  This is an exciting time in our church; it is also a time of challenge.  This is typical of our daily walk with Jesus; we are called to an exciting time that tests us in many ways and God always manages to give us whatever we need to meet the challenge.

I selected today’s quote from Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians for a couple reasons.  First, because it is thought to be Paul’s first letter and the oldest text in the New Testament; most scholars agree it was written around 51-52 C.E.  This means that it is as close to the life of Jesus as we can possibly get in written record.  The closer we get to Jesus, the better we can hear his voice in the text.  Second, because this text is filled with encouragement and hope.  The church at Thessalonica was a relatively small faith community trying to grow in the midst of difficulty and persecution.  They were having trouble seeing beyond their immediate circumstances and visualizing the future God had in mind for them.  Paul wrote to them to remind them of God’s abundance and God’s provision.

The events in our recent past could be seen as discouraging and frustrating.  Two “floods” assailed our church offices and the Caleb House.  The office cleanup revealed asbestos tile that required environmental remediation.  Our facilities have been in a state of upheaval and chaos for several weeks and more than one person has speculated about Satan’s hand in all of this.  Other “little” things have also joined in this mayhem.  Ever the optimist, I want to help us see the silver lining behind these clouds and see a vision of what will be.

First, the cost for all of this cleanup and repair is covered by our insurance.  Yes, we must pay our deductible, but I believe God has sent someone who will help us pay this obligation and significantly limit our financial pain.  Second, as is often the case, this disaster has forced all of us to carefully examine our area and evaluate what needs to be retained and what can be disposed of or re-purposed.  This is helpful to us and it will portray a cleaner, less cluttered image to people who visit.  Finally, it has reminded us of some of the reasons why moving to our new location makes good sense and it has reminded us that God is with us throughout the process.

We are committed to building for the future life of our church.  This is not simply the theme for a capital fund drive; it is the driving force behind everything we will do for the next several years.  In fact, this theme is the outgrowth of our Strategic Plan and will take its rightful place as a guiding principle for us.

We all recognize that we are not going to suddenly build two more buildings and move to the new location.  This will take time and plenty of planning and work.  Meanwhile, we must continue to serve God and God’s people from both locations.  You will see lots of activity in the next several months designed to make ministry more effective at both locations.  Painting, re-decorating, and relocating some departments are part of a plan to make our current facility as warm and welcoming as possible so that our visitors want to become members and move with us into the future.

I am so grateful to the many people who made a commitment to the Building for Life campaign.  It is challenging to see far enough into the future and realize how we will get to where God is leading us.  We may feel like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness asking, “Are we there yet?”  God is leading us to the Promised Land; we simply need to be available and willing to serve.

Give thanks to God today,
Pastor Don