Thursday, October 23, 2008

God, Poker and the Poor.

Recently I have been amazed by how a simple act of faith can affect so many people. In our spiritual community we have recently been faced with the problem of needing a new place to meet in. We currently occupy a small but nice facility that God miraculously blessed us with. Over the last few months it has become evident that we need to find something a little bit larger to meet our current and future needs.

For some, the solution might be easy. Just do a capital campaign, raise some cash and rock and roll. Unfortunately I have this thing where I really don't think that God needs pastors to be fund raisers. Not to say it's wrong or that someone else shouldn't do that, I'm just suggesting that God can provide other ways. Call me idealistic, stupid or whatever, that's fine it's just my conviction and for now our Leadership Team is in agreement.

Anyhow, we are still waiting and praying and honestly watching some people come and go in the process. Who knows if it's because of the facility being full or simply the fact that the I don't wear a tie and our worship leader has tattoos. Regardless, it's our reality.

In the midst of this we have recently connected with some missionaries in Guatemala. As a result we have learned about how some of our brothers and sisters in Christ are living in extreme poverty. We also learned that for $3000 we can build a house for someone in desperate need. So we said, "what if we decided to build a house a month for the next 12 months for some people who need it much more than we need a facility?"

The next Sunday we introduced the idea to the church and people seemed genuinely excited. Until you see that kind of poverty put on display and have some kind of connection with it, it's easy to act like it doesn't exist. Our people were genuinely moved.

Over the last three weeks we have seen God do some incredible things. Right off the bat we had a member of our leadership team commit to funding a house. Then the day after we made the announcement, I got an email from a friend that I haven't seen or spoken to in over a year. Among other things he said, "We want to support what you are doing and I have a check here at my office for $2500, when can you come by?". He has never been to our church and had no idea about the project. When I told him that we would put the money toward a house for a family in need he responded "That's great and count me in for two more."

There are other stories of generosity that are just blowing me away. We recently had a first time visitor who is a professional poker player commit to raise money among other players to build a house. In fact one of the guys he contacted expressed interest in going on one of our trips to Guatemala.

As I see all of this progress, I wouldn't be surprised if God provides in such a way that we don't end up spending any money from our regular budget on this project. It also wouldn't surprise me a bit if we see God provide a new facility for us in the right place at the right price, sometime in the near future.

I will keep you posted on how everything plays out and if you are interested in knowing more about the 12x12 Love Project click here

"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." - Jesus