One of the most awesome and satisfying feelings you can have comes from taking on a challenging renovation project. The feelings are those of accomplishment and satisfaction you get when you take something that was ugly and broken and make it beautiful and useful. I’ve had numerous experiences of changing things in houses and now at New City, this is my third experience in the ministry with renovating an old building and making it useful for kingdom building. There are numerous life changing lessons that we can learn just from buying and renovating an old building. Let’s not waste this wonderful opportunity that we have at New City to grow as Christians just by praying, participating, and learning about our God and Savior and His love for us just by looking at a building.
Lesson #1 - "…The righteous shall live by faith." Romans 1:17 – It has been my experience over the years that usually when churches begin a project they design that project based on what they believe they can do. They typically do what many believers do. They do what they think they can do as opposed to what God can do through them. This is the normal way that people who do not know Jesus operate. Often times those endeavors are accomplished within their power and they fail to see God’s power, God’s hand, and God’s favor visibly and actively working in their lives. Transformed people rarely will attempt to do things within their own power. A transformed person seeks God’s will through prayer, (careful research mind you), and a step of faith that fully requires God’s hand the whole way. This has been the direction that was taken in the two previous churches I’ve been a part of and in the purchase of this building by New City. In all three cases the project was larger than the ability of its members but, “The righteous shall live by faith."
Example #1 – In Birmingham, at Ensley Bible Church we were in a store front building. By faith we stepped out to purchase a building from another congregation. At first we began renting at a price that was not in our budget with an agreement to purchase. By faith God enable us to pay rent (even though barely). When it was time for us to purchase the building we didn’t qualify but we kept praying and trusting by faith. Guess what people? The owners gave us the building! Praise God!
Example #2 – At Macon Community Baptist Church we attempted to buy and renovate a building with a total of eleven people in the church, (Please get this!), with no money. God provided first a new owner of the building who agreed to lease it to us. Next God provided the $10,000.00 down we needed to move into the building. Next God provided skilled workers, a project manager, and numerous workers from other churches to do the labor. Next He provided over $100,000.00 worth of renovations that we did not owe one dime on at its completion. God provided in such a way that all of his workings are indelibly graved in my heart.
Example #3 - At New City by faith through Pastor Keith’s leading, God has provided (1) a building. (2) He’s provided a contractor, architect, electrician, and other skilled professionals who are donating much of the cost. Presently we are operating way under normal cost even though the cost may be high. Praise God! (3) God has provided finances through many of you AND donations from unexpected resources. (4) As we walked through the building this week with the contractor after tearing out so much we realize that we need so much more through which God has already provided. We just don’t have it yet but by faith we will have it!
So then what do these steps of faith by the church do for us? They remind us that our God is able to do exceedingly more abundantly than all we can ask or think. He doesn’t need us to do anything or to be anything because He can do everything. Our job is to believe in Him and His power for all of life’s challenges. The challenge or situation you are facing right now is really your opportunity to live by faith. The more we live by faith, the more we can live by faith and the easier it gets to trust Him. The more we trust Him, the more transformed we become in all areas of our lives and it gets easier to trust him. Living by Faith becomes a normal and regular expression of a transformed life. Pay special attention to the purchase of this building and learn the transforming lessons in the process. Become as much a part of the process as you can so that you can experience God’s power and see firsthand that our God is exceedingly Awesome and you can trust Him! The righteous shall live by faith."