It was wonderful yesterday to celebrate together, to share together in that beautiful setting. And I was excited to meet many of you in another context. I don’t get to see your children very often, so I saw what kid goes with what parent a little bit yesterday, and saw some new little babies, and just had a wonderful time getting acquainted with many folks. And it’s so important that we have fellowship together. In fact, somebody suggested that we ought to do that now and then on a Sunday afternoon and just have an evening service out there. But we’ll see if that isn’t possible sometimes in the future. We had a great day.
We have some wonderful things to share with you also this morning, and I want to take the time that I have to get right to that.
I want to share with you what is really on my heart in reference to our church – its present and its future. But as a setting for that, would you open our Bible to the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. Hebrews chapter 11.
And as we focus on what God would have us do in response today to His good, marvelous work in our lives. I want us to examine this thought of faith. Hebrews 11 is a chapter all about faith. You’re somewhat familiar with it if you’ve studied this epistle at all.
The key principle, in chapter 11, is stated in chapter 10, verse 38. Chapter 10, verse 38, quotes a familiar Old Testament passage out of the prophet Habakkuk, “Now the just shall live by faith.” That is a key biblical principle, “The just shall live by faith.” What that means is we are saved by faith. We come to know God; we come into righteousness by faith. But it extends even beyond that. We are not only saved by faith, we not only live by faith in the spiritual initiation dimension, but we live on continually by faith. Our whole life is a life of faith. “While we live in this body, we walk by faith,” Paul says, in 2 Corinthians chapter 5. So, we are saved by faith; we live by faith; we walk by faith.
In chapter 11, then, he begins to give to us some models or examples of people who live by faith. Before he does that, he gives us a definition in verse 1, “Faith is the substance” – or the essence – “of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” There are two elements, then. Faith is involving something or someone not seen and something hoped for and not possessed.
We could go from there to say that our faith is believing in the invisible, unseen God, and the things which we are promised but have not yet received. We who have come to Jesus Christ believe in a Savior we have never seen. We who believe the Word of God believe in a God we have never seen. We who have hope in heaven and have banked our destiny on eternal life are hoping for a heaven we have never yet realized.
So, faith, then, is confident or trust placed in the unseen God for the unpossessed promise. We believe in the God we cannot see for the promise we have not yet realized. That’s the way to live.
The tendency, however, among all of us as Christians, is to begin to fall back into living by sight, to get comfortable with where we are, to wrap our arms around our present possessions and the status quo and just sort of leave it at that. And we lose that sense of risk, that sense of sacrifice, that sense of setting aside the things of the moment for the greater things in the future. We need to live by faith. We need to be believing God for unfulfilled promises.
And in this chapter, he lists those who believed. “By faith Abel...” Abel believed in a God he had not seen for a promise he had not realized. He believed God would bless him if he obeyed the sacrificial revelation God gave.
And then there was Enoch. Enoch believed in a God he had not seen. He believed that a life of obedience would be rewarded, though that was only a promise. He acted in faith, and it was rewarded.
By faith Noah believed in a God he had never seen and did something that makes no sense really humanly. God told him to build a boat in the desert because it was going to rain, and it had never rained in the history of the world, and no one had ever seen rain, and no one knew what it was. But Noah believed the unseen God for the unrealized promise in His Word.
And Abraham believed the God he had never seen. When God told him to pack up and leave and go to a land he knew not where. He didn’t know where he was going verse 8 says. He didn’t know what to expect when he got there, but he believed God for what He could not see, and what had been promised he put his faith in.
Verse 17 says he believed again the unseen God, the invisible God as He’s called later in the chapter, for the promise that God had given him that out of his loins would come a great nation. And he was ready to slay his son in confidence that if God had to, He would raise that son from the dead because He had promised that through that son would come a great nation. He believed the unseen God for the unrealized promise, even to the point of sacrificing his own son.
And then it says Isaac lived by faith. In verse 21, Jacob lived by faith. In verse 22, Joseph. Verse 23, the parents of Moses lived by faith, not fearing the king’s commandment because they served a higher sovereign – namely God.
Moses himself lived by faith and said no to being the prince of Egypt and chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God. He esteemed the reproach of the coming promised Messiah greater riches than the treasures and the pleasures of Egypt. He forsook Egypt, verse 27 says, because he was not afraid of a king he could see, but rather he was in awe of a King he could not see.
Verse 29 and 30 tell us about the faith of the people of Israel that allowed them to cross the Red Sea when the waters were rolled up on each side; their same faith exhibited when the walls of Jericho fell down after they had walked around them for seven days.
There is the faith of the harlot Rahab in verse 31, who, believing God, acted in high risk to protect the spies from Israel from her own people. “And what more can we say” - in verse 32 – “about Gideon, and Barak, and Samson, and Jephthah, and David, and Samuel, and the prophets, and their life of faith? Look what they did because they believed in the invisible God and His promise which they hadn’t yet possessed. They subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again; others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.” They gave their lives because they had a hope and a faith in something they could not see and were willing to give up the very life which they could see and did possess.
“Others had trials of cruel mockings and scourgings. Some were in changes and imprisonment. They were stoned, sawn in half, tested, slain with a sword, wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented (of whom the world was not worthy); they wandered in deserts and mountains and dens and caves of the earth. And all of these received testimony through faith, having not received the promise which, in verse 40, he says, didn’t come until Christ came. We have received the promise, but they didn’t receive it until Christ came. God had them live by faith for something they could not see.
Now, listen to what I want you to understand. These people gave their lives because of their faith. The bottom-line act of faith is self-sacrifice. Mark that down in your mind somewhere. Faith is manifest in the sacrifice of self and the sacrifice of worldly goods and the sacrifice of worldly pleasures, and the sacrifice of worldly fortune for the promised purposes of God. And they never saw that promise. They were looking forward to that promise, which means the Messiah and the new covenant. But they were willing to give their lives and all they possessed for a promise yet to come.
“And here we are” - he says in chapter 12 - “compassed about with so great a cloud of people who give testimony to the value of a life of faith.” And he says, “Let us run that same life of faith.” And it shouldn’t be nearly so difficult for us, because what they had to hope for, what they had to anticipate, what they had to believe without seeing we now have seen.
You say, “What do you mean?”
Listen, we’re not waiting for the Messiah anymore; He has come, and what was unfulfilled promise to them is historical fact to us. Right? Their faith in that sense is greater than our faith, because they had to believe in something that had not yet happened and bank their eternal destiny on a Savior to come whom they had not seen, and we can bank ours on a Savior who has come, whom we have seen.
And yet, is it not true? Is it not true that when you read a list like that you look at your own life and say, “Boy, I don’t know if I’ve got that kind of faith”? Sad. We must live by faith. We who have greater advantage than they ever had. And yet the world pushes us into living by sight.
Now, let me make that an application right now to today. I think I have probably about 30 years of ministry left, if the Lord is gracious and my health remains. I’m committed in my heart to spend those 30 years here, unless you vote differently in the future. I’m committed to that.
But I’ll tell you one thing, in the next 30 years of my life, should Jesus tarry and God give me health, I do not want to try to maintain anything. I don’t want to just hold this thing together. I don’t want to go into a maintenance mode. I’m not interested in that. I am interested in growth and building and the adventure of seeing God do things we haven’t even dreamed that He could do.
And the thing that I fear is that now that we have all of this, and we are the spiritual fat cats that we are, that we just sort of settle down and say, “It’s all here, boy. There’s no challenge; there’s no more dreaming, no more visions, nothing to sacrifice for; I can just indulge myself in all of my spiritual resources. I can indulge myself in all the pleasures of life. I can spend my money on myself; we’ve done it.
You know, the early years of Grace church were a whole different perspective. We didn’t have anything, and everybody prayed, and everybody worked, and everybody gave. And everybody sacrificed, and people gave up their life savings, and they gave up their honeymoon money, and they gave up their automobiles, and they gave up anything and everything that we needed because the vision was there, and the hope was there, and the promise hung out there that God would do something great and mighty. And He has done it, and then tendency is that having seen it, we all sort of flatten out, accept it, become fat with all of it, and we lose the vision for the reality of the fact, that we have not yet even scratched the surface of what needs to be done. We haven’t even started. And we cannot fall into the terrible, terrible dulling, killing sin of losing out on living the life of faith, believing God for the things we cannot yet see.
God has done wonderful things here, astounding things. And daily they are disclosed to us. We can’t even keep up with what He’s done. And we are all thankful for that. God has provided, in this church, resources to enrich us all in spiritual growth, providing teaching and preaching and books and classes tapes and all kinds of means by which we can grow to maturity in Jesus Christ. The resources are all here, and thankfully so. God has given us resources to help us find ministry. Ministry outlets for our spiritual gifts and our talents and our abilities in serving the body of Christ and the world around us.
God has given us a fellowship that is like few anywhere in the world here, where you can find your lifetime friends. And I daresay if you’ve been in this church a year or more, you have already begun to realize that most of the people you spend most of your time with are a part of this fellowship. This is the place where you have come to grow lifelong friendships. Many of you have met your life partners here. Some of you, your life partner is here if you would just open your eyes. What better place to find someone of like precious faith and common spiritual values.
And then for those of you for whom God has called a special life of singleness, there is here a place of ministry for you to use the gifts and abilities that God has granted you. Here is a place where we have resources to help everyone who anticipates marriage and marriage preparation. We have wedding planning for you, planning for premarital instruction. There is the time when you do get married; and after that, there’s the counseling and the ministry that goes on; and then preparation for having children, and then how to raise your children; then how to build your family and how to be godly parents. All of those resources are here, providing ministry to all the members of the family from the youngest infant to the oldest adult. It’s all here. God has given us all these resources.
The nursery care – I think about that and how hard those folks worked to give the finest care to the most precious possession you have and I have - our little ones. I think about our children’s ministry. I met with Jim Wells and Kelly Cruz this week, and they said they work with about 2,500 little kids every week, teaching them the Word of God, setting an example for them, providing recreation and activities, helping them in Scripture memory, teaching them gospel music so they can sing the praises of Jesus Christ. They have a unified, biblical curriculum so that everywhere those little guys plug in they’re getting a common ground of teaching along a common line that’s being reinforced.
For example, if they’re teaching one spiritual principle on Wednesday, it’s going to come back on Sunday, and it’s going to show up in their basketball practice on Saturday. The unified idea of thrusting into their little minds and hearts biblical truth. And we have hundreds – I think up to 400 people who work with children. These people need shepherding, too, and so there’s a ministry to shepherd all the adults to provide leadership development for them: outreach, discipleship, camps and conferences; there are father/son leadership training programs within our children’s device. It’s a vast ministry that’s endeavoring to do all it can to strengthen your children for the next generation of leadership in the church. And what a tremendous, tremendous blessing it is.
I look at our youth ministry. Do you realize that last Sunday morning, about 1,200 teenagers were in this church? That’s a lot. And we see God changing their lives and shaping them. And we have a deep, wide, and aggressive spiritual opportunity for nurture in the things of Christ given to those young people that I don’t think has an equal anywhere that I know of in the United States. The finest spiritual leadership, the greatest thrust of ministry, life-changing opportunity, and they are the church of tomorrow, aren’t they? Vital. Vital.
God has given us resources to work with single adults and single parents, and all the unique needs that they have. And we have resources for all of our adults, and fellowship groups, and flocks, and Bible studies, and conferences, and seminars, and all of the training ministries that we do, prayer groups, and Bible study groups, and DE and FOF, and everything else that we try to do to strengthen and build and edify, molding and shaping everybody into the image of Jesus Christ.
Again this morning, we’re reminded of the resources of music that is skilled and excellent and done in dedication to the glory of Jesus Christ that assists us in worship. Listen, the resources are all here. We have a school from kindergarten to twelfth grade for your children. It may not, yet, as it grow, have all the technical capability or all the athletic capability that other schools have, but I’ll tell you one thing, it will have and does have the careful life-shaping teaching of God’s Word, and every parent can choose which is the greater priority for his own children. We do everything we can.
Even God giving us a college – a college which is totally self-supporting and financially independent form the church completely. And yet it’s available for all of us, for our young people.
Mom and Dad came up to me on Saturday; they were dropping – a week ago Saturday – dropping off their young man. And they said, “Well, he started junior college last week in another state. And he went to one class and came home and said, ‘I’ll never go back.’”
And I said, “What class was that?”
And she said, “Music appreciation.”
I said, “Well, what went on?”
“Well, the professor came in, and his opening remark was, ‘I just want you to know that I think drugs is an okay thing. In fact, it’s a good thing for you to indulge in before you come to this class; it’ll help you appreciate music more. At least you ought to have a couple of beers before you get here.’ And he came home and said, ‘I’ll never go back.’”
And he enrolled last Saturday at the Master’s College, and his parents were thrilled, and so was he. I thank God for that. I thank God for that. I thank God that young people don’t have to be exposed to that kind of garbage. And I thank God for a seminary that’s now enrolling over a hundred students and we haven’t even started until this week. Our first semester, and already a hundred students, and the phone’s ringing all day long from all across the country, people wanting to become a part of what God is doing there.
God has given us resources to train up another generation of young people, of missionaries and pastors and church workers. God has given us resources to help you with your problems, to counsel with you; pastors who were available to share whatever’s on your heart, whatever your needs might be. And I look beyond the local ministry, and I see a worldwide ministry. I see how God has used Grace church to model to other churches church structure, to model ministry and growth, to demonstrate the power of Bible exposition in the pulpit, and in the classroom, and in the Bible studies.
God has used our church to reaffirm the eldership in churches across this country and around the world. God has used Grace as a model for raising up leaders from within, for setting the priority of church discipline, for emphasizing the necessity to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. God has used us as a model for training pastors, for setting a standard for biblical counseling, for demonstrating compassion to those that are disabled and handicapped.
And God is using us to set a new standard, I believe, for mission strategy and involving the local church in that strategy. And I want you to know these aren’t my ideas; I’m a spectator at what God is doing through you. I mean I come to staff meeting on Tuesday to find out what’s going on here; I can’t keep up with it. I’ve got enough to do to get two sermons ready every week and the other little things that I’m involved in.
And, you know, the thing that I fear in my heart is that everybody says, “We’re here; we have arrived; this is it.” And that is absolutely frightening to me. And there are people that just want to watch. How about you?
We’re not perfect. This church isn’t perfect, but God has found us useful. Useful. I thank Him for that. I want you know you’re Grace Community Church, and whatever your mindset is that’s the church’s mindset. Wherever you are – you know, it’s the old story the chain is only as strong its weakest link. Wherever you are, that’s where we’re headed. Where’s your commitment? Are you ready to live by faith? Are you ready to risk some things? Are you ready to take some of your time, some of your energy, some of your money and say, “I put it on the line for the cause of Christ, for the future of the kingdom”? Or have you settled in so comfortably that it’s all the way you want it right now, and you’re not about to move anything. That’s so frightening. Where’s your heart? Where’s your commitment?
I, as I said earlier, don’t want to spend the next 30 years of my life just trying to sit on top of the pile and make sure nobody escapes. I really am not interested in that. I want to see you fired up more than ever to reach the people that have not been reached, and to see God do a thing over and over that we have never seen Him do yet. And it begins with commitment to the church. And it’s so easy for people to come and watch. God bless you; we want you to come, but we want you say, “I want to belong. I love the Lord Jesus Christ; I want to belong; I want to be a part; I want to receive; I want to give; I want to be shepherded; I want to be used.
And so, this morning I just – I felt in my heart, like I did two years ago, I just wanted to put it on the line. And I want to give you an opportunity this morning to say, “Look, I’ve watched and I’ve sat back, and I’ve looked at everything, and I want to get involved. I want to be a part of Grace church. I want to come and put my name on the line and my life on the line and say, “I want to belong; I want to receive; I want to give; I want to be shepherded; I want to care; I want to be used. I want to be a part of what God’s doing here.”
If that’s the desire of your heart, we have a little card, and we’re just going to ask you to come to the front. We did this two years ago, and God gave us a great response. And I just feel in my heart so burdened that so many folks have just never really said, “I’ll do it,” and taken that step of commitment.
And so, I’m going to ask that our elders come and just stand across the front. And they’ve got this little card, and it says this, “I recognize my responsibility to be a part of Grace Community Church. I therefore commit myself to becoming a member, using my time, my talent, my treasure to edify the body of Christ.” If that’s the desire of your heart, I want you to just come up, take this back to your seat, and fill it out. But before you do, let’s have prayer together; let’s bow.
Father, work in our hearts. Bring into our church fellowship, even right now, those that you would have who say, “I see the resources, and I want those, but I also see the opportunity and the privilege, and I want to be a part of it. I want to receive, but I want to give as well.”
Lord, add to Your church today those that You desire to add. Help some folks to make some commitments, to take a stand, to belong, to be a part. And help us to love them and nurture them and build them in the way you would have us to do it, for Jesus’ sake, amen.
If you want to come and take a card, just step out wherever you are, come to the front. And by your coming, you’re saying, “I want to commit myself to be a part of Grace Community Church and serve the Lord here.” God bless you. Amen.
When you go back to your seat, just fill that card out, will you? Write in it the things that are requested. And then would you pass that card to the aisle, and we’ll get in touch with you; we’ll contact you and follow up. God bless every one of you. That’s wonderful.
Thank you, men. And as you go back, you might go down each aisle, as you leave, and if there’s anyone who would like a card, just put your hand up as they go. Maybe you couldn’t get out easily, and there’s still an opportunity for you to take that card. That just blesses me so much. Thank you for wanting to make that commitment, to be a part. We can’t do it without you and without our vision and your gifts.
Now, in the last 15 minutes that we have together, I want to shift from the past and the present to the future. What’s the challenge? Where are we going? Oh, I mean I could go on for hours where we’re going. It just thrills me to think about it.
Friday night we made the pilot for a new television program that could go around the world on a weekly basis. I don’t know what God’s going to do with it, but it’s the most unusual television program I’ve ever seen. We preach the gospel of Jesus Christ pretty straightforward. Pray for the screening of that in special, selected markets around America this month. You will be able to see that pilot program Sunday night, September 28th; we’re going to show it right here. So, you’ll get to see what this is all about.
But when I think about the potential for worldwide television coming out of this ministry, of reaching people all across the globe for Jesus Christ - along with the television program is a magazine; a magazine that will teach them the Word of God, will plug them into our tape ministry, our radio ministry, our college, our seminary – the opportunities are just beyond our imagination.
I see things happening in our own community, of reaching this community, which we haven’t even begun to saturate yet. For all of us that are in here, there are tens of thousands upon thousands of people who have never darkened the door of this or any church. The potential is absolutely beyond our imagination. But it’s going to take dedication and commitment.
We’ve got to raise up godly young men and women to pastor churches in this country and all around the world. The work is just beginning. The greater years are ahead of us. We want to train up young people to be tentmakers all over the world in secular employment by being missionaries in their heart and winning people to Christ.
We want to train pastors who can go out and begin to network churches all over the world that are committed to the things of God’s Word that we know to be true. We want to bring nationals in from the world around and train them here. We want to reach our own community. We want to increase the productivity of our ministry here. We want to reach high school kids. We’re starting an outreach right away to reach 3,000 high school kids in the Santa Clarita Valley. We are committed to this ministry and around the world as the Lord extends it.
All of that to say we have some tremendous, tremendous needs. And I’m going to ask the ushers to come right now, and they can pick up your membership commitment card, and at the same time, they’re going to give you a little booklet that says, “Project Promise.” I think you’re going to be so excited as you see this. Gentlemen, will you come, and if you haven’t passed your membership card down, pass it now so they can collect those when they give you this little brochure, “Project Promise.”
Let me just mention this while they’re coming. Listen carefully, if you can, as you’re receiving yours. We have a marvelous location. I don’t know if you know this, but this is the busiest street in the San Fernando Valley, Roscoe Boulevard, by car count. We have a high profile witness. I was in getting my makeup on, Friday, for television. I don’t normally wear it. Although I did look much better with it on. I was getting my makeup on, and the makeup lady said, “I go by your church all the time. One of these days I’m going to have to stop in.”
Well, there are thousands of people who do that. We have a wonderful location, and God has given us this, and there’s not much left around us, and we’re landlocked, and whatever we do, in terms of building and strengthening has to be done right in this location. And we only have space, really, for one final project on this piece of land. We have still an opportunity to do something down the street in the future, but it wouldn’t be contiguous to this campus. And we want to preset to you what we believe is the key to our future ability to reach and teach people on this campus. It’s so vital.
Would you open that booklet, “Project Promise,” to the first page? And at your own leisure, you can read the letter that I’ve written, but I want to call our attention to the last three paragraphs. Would you follow as I read?
“Project Promise focuses on the Lord’s promise to build His church.” Can I stop there and say, for just a minute, folks, He hasn’t done that yet? Do you understand that? I know it looks good in here, and we’re all filled up, and we’re comfortable, but He hasn’t built His church yet. It’s still being built, and we need to see that vision, and we need to be sacrificial in investing in the fulfillment of that.
“Sometimes I wish we had an auditorium that seated 10,000 so we’d know what we hadn’t done. So many to reach. There is in our midst right now the church of tomorrow. Children, youth, college students, young couples. The next generation of a godly seed in order to provide evangelism, instruction in the Word, and training for ministry for them. We must look beyond ourselves to them. Project Promise is building today for tomorrow’s church. Building today for tomorrow’s church.”
And that last paragraph, “I simply commit myself to be here for the years of my life to be a part of what God is doing here. And I ask that you would stand with me in Project Promise.”
Turn the page and we’ll see what Project Promise really is. The first paragraph says, “Grace Community Church seeks to be an environment in which people can grow spiritually. We build as a result of the abundant blessings of our God and the vital task he has called us to do to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry.”
Listen, we never build a building in order to attract people. We build a building around the people that are already here because we have no space. I had a letter this week – last week. A lady wrote a very impassioned, sweet letter, telling about what the church meant in her life, and earth greatest joy was when her little boy became old enough to go to Cubbies. Now, Cubbies is for people, I think, three to five – little people. And it’s a fun thing, where they learn Scripture verses and songs about Jesus, and it’s a wonderful, wonderful Wednesday night ministry. And when it came time to sign up, she went to the sign-up table, all excited about the opportunity of her little guy going to Cubbies, to be told there were no more available spaces; we were out of rooms; we couldn’t take any more children.
Well, she was so saddened by that, she wrote me and said, “Isn’t there some way that we can find space? I wasn’t the only parent.” So many want their children in Cubbies and other ministries like that, and there is no space. That led us, a couple of years ago, to want to build a Children’s Center, and that’s where we are right now. We desperately need that kind of space that will allow us to build tomorrow’s church.
Notice our need there, on that same page. Two of our Sunday adult fellowship groups are meeting off campus, and the Career Department has to meet on Friday nights. These ministries are being hindered. Our current nursery facilities are absolutely overflowing. And that doesn’t even talk about our Children’s Division, which is wall to wall, and we desperately need the ability, particularly in some of our special events, to have more space.
Our Christian school – we now are K through 12, as I said. We have children on waiting lists because we have no facilities to house them. The regulations tell us we have to have kindergarten, first, and second grade on the bottom floor. We desperately need the space to do that. We have exhausted all available classrooms. You ought to be in a discussion when there’s some discussion about somebody needing a room around here. It’s an absolute impossibility.
Now we have added the Master’s Seminary. We need 21 classrooms for the Master’s Seminary. Now, they don’t impact us on Sunday or in the evening because they’re day classes, most of them in the morning. But we do need the space; we don’t have it. If we’re going to do what God has laid ahead of us as the vision, we’re going to have to have that facility to do that.
And then worship space. This is how we are on Sunday mornings. We need more space. This building was designed to have a balcony. You can still see up there there’s some markings where doors will go. There are some wooden plywood panels on the back pillars that will come out, and beams are designed to slide through, hook into the pillars outside, and a balcony is designed to be in here.
That balcony can seat about maybe 800 people. We can then have 1,600 more seats on Sunday morning, 800 on Sunday night, raising our capacity to maybe 4,200 or 4,300 people in this auditorium. What a tremendous thing to think that we could have nearly 9,000 people on a Sunday morning. When that balcony goes in, we will also go through those walls and create rooms, offices, and conference rooms all the way around the outside, under the overhang, and that gives us as many as 25 rooms. I hear there’s more space there than there is in the three floors of the new Education Building over there. A tremendous amount of space. That will provide worship space for us to increase the capacity here.
Office space is another need – dramatic need. We have five of our youth pastors sharing two offices. Three of them are off campus. Three pastors – some pastors have no offices at all, and we need desperately seminary offices.
Turn the page and then look at the artist rendering of our campus. Would you notice, right in the middle, where the auditorium is, you will see the second floor. That is the balcony and the offices on the outside and the rooms. You can see it sort of glassed in, the people walking under it. That will go all the way the length of the auditorium.
And then you’ll notice, at the south end, there is a bridge going across, and that is the new education building. That large one in the back. It has a common roof with our present three-story building. It will literally engulf that present building like an L. Look at my hand, and I’ll show you. It will go that way and that way. It will literally, in an L shape, wrap around that building, have a common roof, common inside, and will multiply that space immensely.
Furthermore, the whole patio will be dug up and a basement placed under it. So, the basement will be the size of the whole patio. The first floor size is marked out by a yellow line which you can see. It doesn’t look very big, but it’s only the first floor. Then we cantilever out for the second floor. We cantilever out for the third floor. So, every floor going up gets larger, and we still have space for people to walk around on the patio. The basement is large. We get a little thin on the first floor. So, we leave that space, and then we get larger and larger as it cantilevers out. You can kind of see that if you’ll look just behind the old education building. You can notice that second floor kind of overhanging, the third overhanging a little bit more. That gives us 30,000 square feet of education space and is so exciting.
We will have - to give you an idea, in that Education Building a library for 33,000 volumes, a Youth Center for over 400 kids in chairs; if they get on the floor, who knows how many they can get in there. Offices for 15 people in our Youth Division. Three new classrooms that can hold 130 each. The first floor, three large nursery rooms, a nursery office, K and first and second grade for our school.
The second floor provides a large assembly room, over 300 people. Two special ministry rooms, six new classrooms. And the third floor, a beautiful, large banquet/reception rooms, one seating at least 250, the other at least 350. Five seminary classrooms, two new seminary offices. And then we get 20 to 25 rooms over here. A large conference room. We’re going to add 330 parking spaces also. And that is necessary to serve the folks that’ll be coming to sit in the balcony. Marvelous things to think about.
Now you say, “Where are we?”
The plans for that building are all drawn, all done. They’re in city plan check right now. When they come out of plan check, we are ready to build. We can start very soon.
Now, all of this, he whole project – and you can read the rest of the brochure in detail on your own – comes to $5 million. In the back of your brochure, would you notice that Giving Planner page? The Giving Planner. I just have this here to give you an idea of the doability of this project. It can be done. The goal is $5 million. Can I give you the good news? We already have $1 million that you have given for the Children’s Center. And we decided to go beyond the Children’s Center and do the last large development we can do on the campus and just cover all we could. But that $1 million is already there, so we only have about $4 million left.
But, if we were working with the $5 million, we did a little number thing there just to give you an idea of how manageable this is. If a thousand people – notice the right-hand column – each gave a total gift of $1040.00 dollars – they could give it one time a year, $520.00, once a month $44.00, once a week $10.00 – that’s over and above your regular giving – it’s a two-year period – two years we will be building, two years we’ll be receiving your gifts – if a thousand people gave $1,040.00, 500 gave $2,080.00, 250 – and so forth and so on, we would have $5 million by those numbers. And that only adds up to 2,000 people. It really only takes 2,000 people giving like that.
You say, “Well, John, I’d like to give $2,000.00 over two years. I’d like to give $1,000.00 this and $1,000.00 next, but I don’t know where it would come from.”
Well, that’s part of faith, isn’t it? Isn’t that part of believing God? We have two years to trust God that if we say, “That’s what I want to do, Lord, if you’ll provide it,” then I believe God’ll honor that faith. We’re not saying that you’ve got to have it in hand. Maybe that’s where the sacrifice has to come.
David said, “I won’t give the Lord that which costs me nothing.”
Patricia and I, this morning, decided – and excitedly – what we wanted to do in this wonderful project, and we’re really thrilled just to know we’ve reduced the number in the right-hand column by one is kind of exciting. But we are very grateful for the privilege, and we want to be sacrificial in our giving, and I know you do as well. And it does mean that you’ve got to act in faith. I’m not asking you to do what Abraham did, to kill his son, or to get sawn in half like Isaiah, or go to the lion’s den like Daniel, but there might be sacrifice involved, and there will be faith involved.
Some of you are going to say, “I’d like to give that $5,200.00 gift, but I don’t know – maybe I don’t quite have that much, and you’ve got to believe God that in the two years, God’s going to provide that some way, and He’s going to respond to your faith.
At the bottom, it says, “Will you get an accounting or a bill?” No. This is strictly between you and the Lord. Strictly between you and the Lord. It can be done, people. A church near here, with less people than we have, is in a $15.5 million program. I know a church with 900 people in an $11 million expansion program. We’re just asking that we make some small sacrifices. Some of us, in this church, can easily give $10,000.00 over two years. Some can give the 78, some the 52. That’s between you and the Lord. But in faith, we’d like you today to take that step of faith.
Turn the page to the next page. Project Promise. Here’s where you can covenant to make your gift. You might want to give it weekly. You might want to give it monthly. You might want to give it on the special celebration Sundays, which will be every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter till Thanksgiving of ‘88. In each of those special days, we will have special offerings going to the new building. Maybe you want to give then; maybe you want to give a one-time gift; maybe you want to give something other than cash. You can do that also.
This is a covenant between you and the Lord. You sign it. You write the date. You put down your total investment. What is it you want to give? Maybe it isn’t even on that list. Maybe you want to give more than that. Maybe you can only give less than that. Just between you the Lord, spend a moment in prayer; put that down.
And then would you notice on the bottom portion? We would like to know your total investment. There’s a place for your name and phone number. You don’t need to put that there. In fact, we don’t even want to know that unless you would like us to contact you to give you further information. But we want to know your amount so that we can know what you’re committed to do, so that we can move ahead. So, put what your investment will be in amount, what you believe God will provide. Maybe you don’t even know where it’ll come from. That’s your act of faith. You put that down, and you’re going to invest not only in something you’re going to be a part of, but you’re going to invest in tomorrow’s church, where we’re going to raise godly leaders for the future, everywhere from the nursery to the seminary level, and the adult Sunday school, and everything we’ve got going here.
So, put down the amount and how you’d like to give it if you now that; if you don’t, don’t worry about that. We just would like to know today what God, by His Spirit, does in all of our hearts. And I’ll tell you tonight the total amount that you’ve committed in this service and the earlier service. I’ll tell that in the 6:00 service tonight. Let’s have a moment of prayer.
Father, we want to do just what You want us to do, what our heart tells us to do as the Spirit prompts us. We don’t want to be manipulated; we don’t want to feel like we’re doing this out of guilt, but out of love and thanks, gratitude, praise, adoration. We take in everything You give us here. We enjoy the Worship Center; we enjoy the worship, the music, the teaching. We’re so glad for all the things that happen for us and our families and our children, the resources.
And, Lord, we want to say thanks in a tangible way. And so, this is a thank offering, but it’s more than that. It’s an investment. It’s a sacrificial act on our part whereby we can build today for tomorrow’s church. What a great privilege. Lord, please wean us away from worldly things so that we can make a sacrificial commitment to this, for Christ’s sake, Amen.
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