Tomorrow we dedicate a wonderful new building here at Lancaster Baptist Church.
As I walked past the building today and saw all the last minute details being attended to, I had several thoughts flow through my mind.
First, I am grateful to the Lord for His provision, and His grace. Many churches and many pastors never see a building built in their history. Some statistics say that many pastors resign shortly after a major building program. (During our first building program, Dr. James Rushing told me that I would understand why Noah got drunk after his experiences with the ark!) But, God has been faithful throughout our twenty-six years to allow us to see numerous large projects completed for His glory.
I am also grateful to a loving and grace-filled church family who have prayed fervently and given generously to provide room for our growing ministry. I certainly want to give our members the credit for a great job, even as we give our Lord the glory for all that He has done!
My second overwhelming thought was concerning the sense of responsibility. We all know that buildings don’t change lives, but when we are faithful to use those buildings to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), God will do great things in our midst.
And, that’s the real “building program,” isn’t it? Seeing people’s lives built on the Word of God.
I like the way the Apostle Paul describes it in in 1 Corinthians 3.
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.bAccording to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.bFor other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.bNow if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;bEvery man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.—1 Corinthians 3:9–15
God has called us to build by the grace He gives to us. (As a side note, I’m always amused at those who talk about grace, but are harsh and critical in their spirit.) God endues us with grace to build and edify his people. We are to build on the foundation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And for those who want to build by God’s grace, let us remember that the Lord is our judge, and He will burn away the waste, leaving only that which glorifies Him.
It is my prayer that the West Wing, and more importantly, the church (people) that is edified in this building, will become pictures of His grace!