For several years our church has been on a journey, planning and raising money for a new ministry center.  2 years ago the initial pledge total fell nearly $.75 million short of what we needed but we prayed that would change.  Several months before needing to sign the contract, it became clear that it was not going to change.  All along giving has been very much in line with what had been pledged, but not much higher.  So we asked the body if they could dig deeper.  This second wave of commitments totaled an additional $331,000–remarkable for our blue collar congregation.  
There was a way to begin construction with less money: complete everything but the kitchen and fellowship hall.  It was not to be.  We still fell $135,000 short.  A month ago church leaders announced to the congregation that we needed to hit the “pause” button and would not break ground this year after all.

On January 20, I wrote that the “stage was set” for God to show up in a powerful way.  It was the only option left since our “own” resources were exhausted.  Only if He miraculously walked across the stage and provided could we move ahead.  He did.  Last Sunday we announced that the builder discounted the project price by $100,000–and between other donations and commitments of time and materials, the $135,000 gap was closed.  We’re going to build this spring after all.  Glory to God!
We’re praying for one more miracle : $225,000 in the next 3 months so we can complete the building.  It’s still His stage, so I would not be surprised if on another day in the not to distant future, He walks across it again and provides.  I can’t help remember Jesus’ words to Peter, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Our purpose as a church is to glorify God.  But sometimes He does it all by Himself.  

Newt’s Something

Former US House Speaker Newt Gingerich may be one of the brightest guys I’ve ever heard.  His grasp of economics, social realities, politics, and more, I find impressive.  His inability to get much done in congress in the mid-90’s leaves me unenthusiastic about his candidacy, but he’s certainly one very bright boy.

I’m looking for something more than intelligence from him.  Something big.  Only Americans who don’t have a TV, computer or a cell phone don’t know about his 3 marriages, 2 affairs, and 2 divorces.  He had an affair with wife #2 while still married to wife #1, and an affair with current wife #3 while still married to wife #2.  Media talking heads had a field day with a CBN interview in which he blamed some of his waywardness on overwork driven by his (patriotic drum roll here) undying devotion to this nation.  

In 2009, Newt the Baptist became Newt the Catholic–the faith of his third wife.  “Redemption” is the word often publicly associated with this denominational shift.  Perhaps.  In the Bible, redemption is the enslaved sinner being released from his captivity through another paying the required price.  That’s the gospel.  It’s not joining a church.  It’s not making amends for sins–that’s what Jesus did.  But what Jesus did, does.  That is, His salvation does something to a person.  
Newt has said publicly he’s made mistakes–which we all have whether high crimes or misdemeanors.  But I’m still looking for the man who’s been forgiven by Christ–and running for high office, to seek the forgiveness of those he sinned against (several wives and kids).

Let’s say after drinking too much one night, I ran a stop sign and killed a teenaged girl.  Sentenced to prison, I hated incarceration but didn’t really think all that much about the girl.  Then someone shared the gospel and I found freedom for my guilty soul.  And, as is the case when God saves, the accompanying change of heart brings a sorrow for sin that should lead me to make a phone call to the grieving parents.  Redemption should lead to repentance.  I’m looking for that Newt.