First, a backstory to this blog post that really does relate to the Immeasurably More campaign of Northstar Church and the construction of the Northstar Ministry Center…
Years ago, I read a lot of books that other people were reading, partly so that I could be part of the conversation. For example, with no interest in fiction, I read Angels and Demons by Dan Brown because there was so much noise about this book. Some people involved in the conversation had not even read the book but had strong negative opinions about it anyways. I also read quite a few science, and often what seemed like pseudoscience, books that are used by people to prove God does or does not exist. My opinion about the usual futility of that endeavor and my perspective (i.e. “In the beginning, God created”… Gen. 1:1; “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit”… 1 Cor. 2:14; “Now faith is the assurance… of what we do not see”.. Heb. 11:1) will be discussed over coffee with anyone interested (I’m buying).
The last part of the long backstory is that I read a book called God in the Equation: How Einstein Transformed Religion which I thought I liked. I read some online reviews of the book today and suspect there will be some gasps as sometimes happens when a Christian indicates having liked a particular movie, song, or book. Anyway, I sum up the book as being a long-winded description of the extent to which smart people can explain the universe with human thinking and equations, only to get so far, and in order to make their equation match reality, they need add a Greek character, Lambda, which represents God in the equation.
If the author intended more or differently, I missed his point. I like that even in that equation Lambda was necessary because in so much of life we don’t ever have the full picture (“Now we see only a reflection as in a mirror”… 1 Cor. 13:12). No matter how much we think, plan, forecast, and analyze, in all parts of our life, whether we like it or not, even how we breathe our next breath (“He himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else”… Acts 17:25) we can’t escape that God Is In The Equation. That’s the end of my backstory.
We are approaching construction of the Northstar Ministry center, and smart teams of people together with the staff have analyzed this project in great detail, as we should (“Suppose one of you want to build a tower”… Luke 14:28-30). The building team, together with the architect and general contractor have drawn up plans and estimated the cost. The finance team has analyzed the numbers. The fundraising team has provided ideas toward raising the required monies. The communication team has worked to keep church members and attenders well informed. And, the prayer team together with the other teams has been seeking God’s direction in this project.
But here’s the problem. We can only know so much, and this is a journey of faith. For the people of Northstar, the journey is likely far more important, far more shaping, and far more spiritual than the destination. The Northstar Ministry Center will be made of metal and wood and fabric, so we know the Ministry Center is not our “treasure” (“Do not store up treasures here on earth, were moth and rust destroy”… Mathew 6:19). We predicted how much money we would receive during the IM Campaign and got it all wrong. $540,000 was pledged but $740,000 was actually given. From those who pledged nothing, $2,646,000 was given. And more money continues to be received on a weekly basis.
Northstar Church will borrow money to start the construction project. The lender will ask two big questions. First, the lender will ask how much we want to borrow (the real answer is “none”) and how much money we need to borrow is currently $3,300,000. However, what we do know is that we don’t really know the correct answer. To move on with the project and get “dirt flying” we will likely move forward with the request for a construction loan in the amount of $3,300,000. That is the “right” answer only in light of what we “know” and see. However, we also know with confidence that God is in the equation, and we will continue to depend completely on God’s provision through His people. And, we know with full confidence that He will provide. We just don’t know exactly how and when.
Second, the lender will ask how we plan to repay the loan. They don’t like the answer that “God will provide” – not sophisticated enough, I suppose. So, we will be providing forecasts, plans, and analysis as required by the lender and then continue to do what it is that devoted Christ-followers do.
What we will do
We’ll pursue Christ, pray, and trust. We’ll do that when we are doubtful or anxious. And, we should remember to do that when we are confident and at peace. Actually, we should just go ahead and always give thanks to God the Father for everything (Eph. 5:20).