by Mike Sanborn
*** This is a longer post than usual because I will be exploring how stewardship applies to our renovation project. Plus there is some exciting news about our connection to over 19,000 people that just accepted Christ in Kenya, and an invitation to engage in prayer walks.***
Sanctuary renovations start August 26! I know, I know, you've heard this before, but this time it's really happening! This means that...
This Sunday, August 18, will be our final single service for the year. Starting August 25, we will start having worship services at 8:30am and 11:00am upstairs in the newly refurbished C-27/28 multipurpose room.
We are PRAISING GOD that He has provided $300,000 of the $425,000 needed to meet the construction cost budget! We are moving forward in confidence that God will provide the remaining funds. We will not borrow money because that is what we sense God telling us, but we are moving forward because almost all of the remaining $125,000 in the construction budget is for contingencies - It's a safety net in case we need additional funds for unforeseen costs. It is common to include contingencies in the actual budget. However, there are still some essentials for which we need funds, and the contingencies are an unknown - We may need more than we budgeted! So we are praying for God to provide the remaining funds, and perhaps even more that we may continue to do needed maintenance and renovation on other parts of the campus (e.g., the parking lots, Joy Hall, etc.).
Why renovate? We have discussed this question and wrestled with it a lot over the last several years. We talked about stewardship this past Sunday, and so the ultimate question regarding this project is, Are we being good stewards of God's stuff? I have heard some comments and questions over the years such as, "It's not the buildings, it's the people," and "Why are we spending all this money on ourselves?" and "Don't think that if we build it people will come."
Here are my thoughts on this... This church has a mission, which is to help people in our community and around the world find real life by losing their old lives to follow the Author of Life, Jesus Christ. To most effectively carry out this mission, we need a public gathering place, which God has graciously provided us here at the corner of Granada and Leffingwell over 64 years ago in answer to many specific prayers (for some of these stories of answered prayer, listen to week 1 of our Liferoots sermon series CLICK HERE titled "Our Friends Roots"). Over time, the Lord provided funds to expand and update our facilities as needs arose. And as time goes on, things break, fade, get dirty and dusty, and the people who inhabit these places have different needs and desires. Just like our own homes, our church home needs to be maintained and renovated over time.
The sanctuary is our most public gathering place. It is like our living room that we welcome anyone in who would want to join us. We offer "services" here, which are intended to serve anyone who comes inspiration and encouragement to draw closer to Jesus and find life in Him. We hope that people will want to become members of our body and join us in our united mission. We pray that people will enjoy the presence of God among us as He fills us with love and as that love overflows in our interactions. We look forward to how the encouragement we receive from our services will help fuel fruitful lifestyles throughout the week, Monday-Saturday.
All of this will be bolstered by a hospitable gathering place that communicates love and care for the people who come. Our sanctuary has a warm, sacred, and "homey" feeling for many, but for others it feels stale, musty, and uncomfortable. We don't want our living room to distract people away from Jesus. We want it to help people settle in and feel safe to open their hearts to God. We look forward to increasing the sense of warmth, sacredness, and "homey-ness" for as many people as we can through this renovation project.
It is our hope and prayer that Granada Heights Friends Church will be able to continue to partner with God for many more decades to come in His mission to rescue this world. I believe that God has a lot more for this church! Several years ago in 2005, I got to participate in Granada's 50th anniversary celebration. What an amazing time that was, celebrating story after story of how God transformed lives. Wouldn't it be wonderful if one day Granada got to celebrate a 100th year anniversary, where our kids, grandkids, and many others shared countless stories of God's amazing love!
Here's an amazing story of a huge event that our church had a smart part in supporting. This summer, one of the missionaries our church helps support, Stephen Mbogo, led a massive evangelistic campaign throughout the Kenyan city of Mombasa (population: 1.5 million). Stephen is the head of African Enterprises which spearheads evangelistic campaigns in cities throughout Africa. He and his wife Rosemary used to attend Granada when they lived here while both of them were going to school at Biola (each earned a doctorate degree). Our own Judy Wills got to go and help with the Mombasa campaign. Judy reports that over 164,000 people were presented with the message of salvation in Jesus Christ, and 19,332 people accepted God's offer of salvation! Wow! This is the kind of wonderful fruit that we want to continue to see happen for years to come!
Let's PRAY! So we need $125,000, but this is actually an opportunity for us as a church to draw closer to God and to each other by refocusing on His mission. To help us refocus, we invite you to do some PRAYER WALKS over the next few months, over the course of our renovation project. Attached below is a 2-page PRAYER GUIDE for prayer walks that can be done around the church or around the church neighborhood. These can be done on your free time, either alone or with others. We encourage you to get some friends together and do it as a group! The Elders will also be organizing some prayer walks from time to time that will be open to anyone. The first page has a map with some suggested paths (but feel free to walk your own path!), and the second page has items to guide your prayers, following the acronym P.R.A.Y. which is Praise, Repent, Ask, and Yield. We will provide hard copies of these prayer guides this Sunday and subsequent Sundays.
We are thrilled to see how God is moving, and we look forward to new blessings each day from His infinite storehouse of eternal goods.
May God shine on you today!