If there is a story in the Bible that simultaneously encourages and irritates me, it is the account of Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
Encouraging? God gave Nehemiah a vision to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. As Nehemiah shared the vision, the people rallied and built, raising the walls to God’s glory.
Irritating? The complete project was finished in a mere fifty-two days! Obviously, the Jews did not have to deal with permits, city codes, building inspectors, local ordinances, or the countless other time-takers we have today!
Sunday night, I shared a tremendous vision with our church—an expansion to our Worship Center. In reality, this West Wing Tower is only the first in a three-phase project to make room for what God is doing through our church.
This would be a significant undertaking at any time, but considering the fact that we’re in the midst of a national recession, it is daunting.
A vision of this magnitude doesn’t happen overnight. (And I don’t even want to talk to Nehemiah about time tables.) From now until we see the West Wing completed, I expect difficulty to arise and the devil to attack. What promise do we have to sustain our efforts until the vision has been completed?
Sunday night, I shared eight vision-sustaining truths with our church. These are applied specifically to our situation, but I hope they will encourage you in whatever vision God has placed on your heart.
1. The Priority of the Local Church
But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.—1 Timothy 3:15
The local church is God’s vehicle to bring the Gospel to a waiting world. Christ has promised to build His church, and I believe that He will provide for the growing facility needs of His people.
One of the “good problems” that comes with a growing ministry is competing areas of growth. There are so many buildings I would like to see built on our campus, and I know every one of them would be used to capacity. As I prayed about where to direct our focus, however, the Lord specifically laid on my heart to make room for the most crucial part of our ministry—the teaching and preaching of God’s Word.
2. The Prayer Preceding this Project
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.—Philippians 4:6–7
Like every new building project on our campus, this West Wing has been conceived, developed, and planned in prayer. It was not the decision of a moment, but it has been the fruit of diligently seeking God’s direction.
3. The People Who Need Jesus
Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.—Acts 17:16
Like first-century Athens when Paul visited, our community needs the Gospel. I can already see the added facilities in the West Wing being filled with people being led to the Saviour.
4. The Provision of Space for Ministry
And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.—Luke 14:22–23
Through the years, soulwinners from Lancaster Baptist Church have gone out “into the highways and hedges,” and our filled-to-capacity auditorium is the fruit of their labor. As we continue to obey Christ’s command, we need more space to serve people.
5. The Principle to “Occupy until Jesus Comes”
And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.—Luke 19:13
Christ has commanded us to settle in and be productive with the resources He has given us. I don’t know a better way to do that than to use them to make room for His work in lives.
6. The Promise of Sowing and Reaping
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.—Luke 6:38
In God’s economy, giving is the best way of investing. As we give what we have to the Lord, I believe He will bless the seeds sown and multiply the harvest.
7. The Projection of God’s Power to Our Community
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord—1 Corinthians 1:30–31
A church family giving to build new facilities during a time of national recession says something to our community about the greatness of our God. I love to think of the people driving by on their way to work, seeing a large building going up, and for the next few moments contemplating how it is possible. Of course, there is only one answer—the power of God.
8. The Promise that God Blesses Faith
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.—Hebrews 11:6
A vision of this magnitude will only be realized by God. From now until the building’s completion, we have the opportunity to exercise faith in our great God. And God has promised to bless the faith of His people. The finished building will be a monument to God’s faithfulness.
In every undertaking for God, there will be times when the project becomes frustrating and success seems impossible. Although we may be tempted to slack our involvement or neglect our faith-filled prayers, it is during these times that we need to look to God’s Word to sustain the vision God has given to us.