After I posted yesterday, I got a headache. Reading my own words made the room spin. “WHAT ARE WE DOING???” I thought. “This is beyond our ability. It’s too much to take on financially. We could cripple ourselves, but if we don’t do something, we won’t grow. You’ve got to stretch yourselves in faith at key times in order to get to the next place that God wants you. How is this all going to work out?”
I spent the rest of the evening quoting scripture to myself in an effort to calm my own flesh down…Unless the Lord builds the house, we labor in vain…Not by might, not by power, but by MY Spirit, says the Lord…on and on the Words of God rolled in my head.
I woke up several times last night and a flood of stress came back. Again, “Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord.” This morning I lay in bed listening to my own breathing. Weakness and worry was at the forefront of my mind. “God, I don’t want to get out of bed. It’s all too overwhelming today.” Nonetheless, my feet hit the floor and the day began.
Thirty minutes later the phone rang. It was early and unexpected, but I could tell from Mark’s voice that it was a good conversation. It was our good friend, Troy Jones, pastor of New Life in Renton. He’d been meaning to call for days, but life had set him back. He said he knew it was early, but he was going to make the call anyway. He told the story of how New Life, now a sprawling mega-church in the Seattle area, had started their building process dozens of years ago with a $20 deal and a handsake.
He then invited Mark to come to his church on April 25 so that his church could literally give $20 handshakes to a pastor who needs a financial boost to get to the next place as a church. There are thousands of people in his church, so $20 handshakes will add up to a much-needed investment into our future. All of what he was saying was made more ironic since he was completely unaware of the precise point we are at as a church and the ramifications of that offering.
And the words all came flooding back…”Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit.” says the Lord.