by: Jeff Poppinga
This past Sunday Faith Baptist Church had a ground breaking ceremony to kick off the building of our addition. Here are the main points I shared before the ground was broken:
1. God does not dwell in temples made by human hands. Acts 17:24 says, "The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man..." As we get ready to add on to the church building let us be clear that God dwells in His people not in this particular place. It is the household of God that is "being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:22). God does not dwell in temples (buildings used for worship) made by human hands but has chosen to dwell in temples made with His own hands; we are the temple! 1 Cor 6:19 says, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?"
2. God is the One who works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Phil 2:13 says, "for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." We often use this verse as if it is only in regard to salvation but it is in regard to us wanting what God wants and doing what God wants. As we have sought God regarding this building project we are convinced that God wants us to add on to our current structure. It is God who is moving us and directing us. God also moved and directed the exiles who came back from Babylon in the rebuilding of the temple. Haggai 1:14 says, "And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came and worked on the house of the Lord of host, their God." God has also stirred our spirits. Just as we have faced some difficulty so they, in Haggai's day also faced difficulty, but if God wants us to do this we can do it. Haggai 2:4, 5b say, "yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the Lord. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts.......My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not." God has brought us this far and He will bring us the rest of the way.
3. God expects each of us to give as He has blessed us. With a building project like this we do not expect equal giving because God has blessed each of us in different ways but we should each give as the Lord has given us ability to give. When the Israelites were called to build a tabernacle during their wilderness days they we each led of the Lord to give with generous hearts. Consider these passages from Exodus 35. Verse 5 says, "Take from among you a contribution to the Lord. Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the Lord's contribution..." Not everyone gave the same thing but each gave in the same way, with a generous heart. Verse 10 says, "Let every skillful craftsman among you come and make all that the Lord has commanded." Some are gifted with skills that can be used. There will be opportunity to use your skills on this project so be ready. Verse 21 says "And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the Lord's contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments. 22-So they came, both men and women. All who were of a willing heart brought......an offering.." In these passages we people whose hearts are stirred and whose spirits are moved giving of their possessions and skills to accomplish the work of God. This is what God has called us to do.
4. With these things in mind, I have ten shovels this morning that are different shapes, sizes, ages, kinds and qualities. These different shovels represent the diversity found in the church body. We do not all have the same gifts and abilities but we should all have the same desire to serve God. We have members here who are founding members of this church and we also have members who have only been members short while. We have young people and more seasoned people. We have men and we have women. We have home school families and public school families. We have families from several different towns. No matter our difference we have a common foundation in Christ and so we come together to accomplish this project for the glory of God.
Prayer: Father continue to stir our hearts and move our spirits to accomplish the work you have given us to do. Thank you for providing us with the skills and supplies we can contribute with generous hearts.
Let the building begin!!!
Glory and Praise to God
Grace and Peace to you,
Pastor Jeff Poppinga