Yesterday was amazing day. It didn’t start out that way though. Let me review the day with you…
As a part of our Better Together “One-Day” offering, I had prayerfully challenged our church to give $250,000 on Sunday, June 9. The reason for the goal is this: our church is seeking to purchase 26.7 acres of land along 287 highway north of downtown Fort Worth and west of I-35W. The purpose for purchasing this land is to eventually start a second location for North Richland Hills Baptist Church (you can read more about the entire campaign here).
Again, the day didn’t go as I had planned. To appreciate my quiet despair, you must know about the work that had been going on for several months in preparation for yesterday. People had prayed in groups as families and friends. Many of us had prayer-walked the land over Memorial Day weekend. Before the beginning of 2013, God had been working through the leadership of our church as well as various leadership groups (finance, personnel, long-range planning committees and others) to see that we purchase this parcel of land. In addition, I had prayed privately for months, journaled my prayers and thoughts, and wrote many people within our church to specifically pray for this one day.
All of this work went into yesterday. But then the frustrations began to mount. First, it rained before the 8 a.m. service and it rained throughout most of the first service. Now, we are usually thankful for all the rain the Lord gives in Texas but rain makes Baptists stay home from church. 🙂 Our attendance felt lower than I had seen for any Sunday during my first year as pastor.
Second, what I thought was allergies on Saturday turned into a cold on Sunday. I felt lousy and I preached accordingly!
Third, the first service seemed like it had little life to it. As experienced pastors can tell you, sometimes it just happens this way through no fault of anyone in particular.
All of these things had my mind thinking, “This is not going to be a good start for this three year campaign.” I was quietly disappointed as I reflected on the rain, my cold, and the attendance.
Yet, the results of what God did were far different.
By the end of our third service, we announced our total offering had exceeded $487,000 (some monies have still yet to be counted as I write). This means that on the first day of the financial part of the Better Together campaign, we have purchased approximately 3.5 acres of the land for the second site and have raised more than $97,000 for other mission causes. More than this were the stories behind the gifts. I heard a child bringing his piggybank with coins for the one-day offering. A elderly gentlemen brought an envelope between services to one of our members saying, “I cannot stay for worship. My nose is bleeding and my wife isn’t feeling well.”
As I reflect on yesterday and the grace of God that led to this incredible offering, I am reminded of Paul’s word to the believers in Corinth:
“…What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7 ESV)
Yesterday was good because of God and not because of us. I thank God for our church family’s generosity yesterday. I look forward to many days to come as it will be exciting to see the lives changed at the second location because of the gospel of God’s grace for years to come.
Thank you church family. Now let’s pray God moves in the hearts of children this week for Backyard Kid’s Club.