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Acton, CA 93510

(661) 269-2515

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Arise and Build

After many years of good AFBC people volunteering countless hours, energy and skill, and many others giving their talents and resources, it appears we are finally ready to “arise and build.” If the final permits are not in hand when you read this, they soon shall be. Only days remain for final approval. I am glad the day has finally come. The process has been too long for me to be giddy, but I thank the Lord that our own place for worship and a base from which to serve our community is at hand.

Naturally, it’s time to talk about giving. Buildings are expensive…and more so, much more so, after county requirements are included in the price tag. Giving at AFBC has been a little down in terms of the General Fund -- out of which come salaries, missions, rent, expenses of all kinds -- but we’re doing okay there. Building Fund contributions are up. We received over $40,000 so far this year, thanks to some generous large gifts and many smaller donations. That has been a huge help getting us where we are. Obviously, we will need a lot more to build our small church.

These are hard times. We know that. I don’t want anyone putting themselves in jeopardy for a physical structure. But I do know that God expects us to fund His work. I especially want to appeal to those who haven’t made giving a priority in the past. If that is you, would you begin to give your share? I know we don’t take an offering at church. That’s not because we are flush with cash. The sole reason for having the “box in the back” is to remove barriers to the Gospel for unbelievers when they visit. The church does need the willing support of God’s people.

If giving has not been a priority for you, this is a great time to pitch in! I don’t know who you are. None of the pastors or elders know what people give. That way we insure you will never be treated differently in any way based on your giving. But to complete the work so many have labored for and given to, we need all hands on deck.

It would be edifying to read how the Tabernacle was built in the time of Moses. Read through Exodus 25:1-8, then Exodus 35:5-9, 20-29 and notice how often the text mentions that God seeks a “willing heart” from those who contribute. There was no compulsion, no tax, no dues, no pledge, no special pleadings. The need was made known, and those whose hearts were moved to contribute gave. That’s the way we want it. We won’t do all the coercive techniques used by some churches to raise the funds. We won’t twist arms, seek pledges, sell memorial bricks, or make a big show over big donors or anything like that. We won’t talk about it all the time. I have no plans to preach a special giving sermon on Haggai 1:4. We are building a house for God’s work, and we believe those with willing hearts will do what they can to see it to completion. We will keep you informed about our progress and need, and put forth a vision of what can be accomplished.

“How much should I give?” That’s between you and the Lord. New Testament principles for giving focus on phrases like “as he may prosper” (1 Cor 16:2). If the Lord prospers you, give out of that prosperity. All giving is to be sacrificial in some meaningful way -- that is, we are choosing God over things. It’s a universal principle in the Bible that we don’t give God our leftovers but our “first fruits” (Mal 1:7-10, Deut. 26:2, Neh 10:34-39, Prov 3:9). Here’s how Tim Challies answers the “how much” question:

How much am I to give? Enough that it matters. Enough that I am sacrificing some comforts and some experiences I would otherwise enjoy. What the Lord teaches those who give this way is that the joy of giving, both now and eternally far outweighs what we could have instead.


That seems most reasonable and biblical. It is a display of faith and ascribing worth to what God is doing. Let’s do it together. Let’s arise and build.

floor_plan

Yours in Christ,

 

Pastor Wayne Wilson

Originally printed in The AFBC Pony Express. Vol. VI, No. 2, January 2013.

 

“Give ear and come to me, hear me, that your soul may live.”

– Isaiah 55:3