A Story Of Faithfulness (Romans 2:1-3.20)
I can’t start any New Year without reflecting on the transforming power of God’s faithfulness.
Sadly, I know from my own experience, that by now almost all of our New Year’s resolutions have faded into the dim past…and it’s just the middle of January! Is there no way out of my “personal issues” dilemma?
Thank God that we have begun a study of the book of Romans. Paul, the author of Romans, realizes that the good news of salvation is meaningless unless people (me) first come to the awareness of their lostness without the work of Jesus and their need for God’s faithfulness to replace our (my) feeble attempts’ to be faithful enough to earn his forgiveness.
As the “old guy” on staff, let me share something from my past experience that began in a January, 18 years ago when we first started attending Christ’s Church of Oronogo and how God has shown me the transforming power of His faithfulness.
It was the mid-90’s when our youngest son, Micah, who was a sophomore in high school, started bumming rides to attend the youth group activities at Christ’s Church Of Oronogo. My wife Marsha and I were attending and very involved in a church in Joplin. All of Micah’s friends were going to Christ’s Church and that’s where he wanted to go. We came under the conviction that we should be going to church as a family, so we decided to try Christ’s Church. I was working in construction at the time and had shattered my right elbow and fractured my back in a construction accident.
While I was on disability, Christ’s Church started a construction project to build a new worship center (the room where our 2nd-4th-grade kids now worship on Sundays and Wednesdays). They had let the construction manager go and were looking for someone to oversee the building project. They had about $800,000 dollars initially in the building fund, and when they brought me a box of paperwork to figure out what was left to finish the project, there was $650,000 left to spend. A metal building was lying out in the weeds on the church property, and it was unknown exactly what the plans for its usage were to be. In this same time period, the Senior Minister resigned to serve at another church in Oregon.
The Elders of the church called a congregational meeting for a Sunday night and the church was packed. Long tables were set up on the stage with a microphone at each place at the table where the Elders were seated. The audience was told that any and all questions would be entertained and to the best of their ability answered as to what had happened. God’s Spirit filled the room that night as it was revealed what had happened with the building project and where the money had been spent. All mismanagement was disclosed and a commitment to build whatever they could from the funds remaining. No one knew how it would be possible to build what was needed with what was left in the building fund, most of all me, as the newly appointed project manager.
Throughout the next eight months, God revealed His plan to complete the project. It was through His faithfulness, not ours, that he did just that!
Our first Sunday in our new worship space was Easter Sunday morning. There are many stories I could share of how God got us to that Sunday morning, but when the building project started we were running about 500 in attendance. On Easter Sunday 1998, we thought we had finally built a big enough worship space to handle even an Easter Sunday attendance. That morning 1,000 people showed up to worship! And the rest of God’s faithfulness is told in the “rest of the story” of Christ’s Church of Oronogo.
I would be remiss if I didn’t share this part of God’s powerful faithfulness. The building came in on budget and on time for the completed cost (including fixtures, floor coverings, sound equipment, stage lighting, the classrooms and fixtures around the worship center, the foyer and counseling center) for the cost of only $18/sq. ft.!
All that to say, I can’t start any New Year since then without reflecting on the transforming power of God’s faithfulness so clearly demonstrated. It wasn’t about building a worship center, it was about building His church. Thank you God for your reminders of Your transforming power through Your faithfulness.