The message last Sunday was "Finish". We are ambitious to complete construction. The story is told of a man who long ago desired to come to America. He was a poor man who saved his money to purchase a ticket to the New World. He walked onto the ship with a few clothes and a large box. Days passed. He lost weight and strength. One day an officer of the ship took notice that the man disappeared at meal times. He followed the man down into the deep bowels of the ship. The man cut a piece of cheese and ate it with water. The officer asked why he did not eat in the cafeteria. The man answered: "I only had money for a ticket and this block of cheese." The officer replied: "When you paid for your ticket you paid for your food!" How sad when Christians live below the favor of God. How tragic when they are eating cheese in dark places and could be sitting in banquet halls in the presence of Christ and the saints. How unfortunate that money is so loved that persons claim faith and yet do not see the biblical principle of tithing. The joy of rendering to God that which is just. How heartbreaking when Christians consume their possessions on their own pleasure or hoard their possessions to secure their own future. Jesus shared the story of the rich man who said: "I have need of nothing. I will build bigger barns. I will lay up treasures to secure my own future. I will not have to depend on anyone." (Luke 16:19-31paraphrased). Jesus shared that in that same night God called the rich man a fool, and he died before the sun rose and found himself in hell begging for a drink of water. Only when we come to the full recognition of how short life is, how long eternity is, how awful hell is, and how wonderful heaven will be will our hearts be captured to live the Christ life. Only when we see Christ crucified for our sins will we be willing to take up OUR cross and follow Jesus. Only with the cross on our back will we be willing to invest in Our Lord's Church with a generous spirit and reap the sweet rewards of heaven's favor. Acts 10:4 makes note that God saw the prayers and money being given by Cornelius as beautiful to heaven. Proverbs 11:30b reminds us that "...he that winneth souls is wise." Winning a soul to Jesus makes angels in heaven sing. Winning a soul to Jesus gives us more joy than any house we will ever live in, any car we will ever drive, and any vacation we will ever take. All IN! Can you imagine a winning sports team having one player that before every game would say: "I am not going to give my all. I do not plan to win. I do not want to win! I just want to play ball, but I do not care about the finish!" Together! Yes, Together! All IN! We march forward to victory. Trusting in the Lord for the miracle. Believing God for FINISH! Do not look for Laila and me in the back. We are running! No, we will not slow down. If you want to pass us you will have to run harder and longer! We believe God that you will be beside us running! We believe God that a spirit of generosity will prevail. We believe God with you for the finish! My hope is that your commitment card will be prayerfully returned this Sunday! Each of us doing our part will provide a path for heaven's favor!
Time is of the essence. So much to do. NOW is our time! Carpe diem!
Until He Comes, Much love Pastor Bare
Nehemiah 2:18 ….(paraphrased) the people committed to work with enthusiasm to get the task completed.