“The God of heaven is the one who will give us success, and we his servants are going to start building….” (Nehemiah 2:20)
Biblical history fascinates me. Nehemiah was a simple cup bearer to a foreign king. Ok, he tasted the wine to insure a noble was not poisoned. But God stirred his heart to be something more and to lead a revolution of the spirit. With a humble heart, a king’s servant became a servant-leader of a holy people that rebuilt the wall around the holy city of Jerusalem! If God can do that with a wine taster, just imagine what God can do with you.
God stirred the hearts of Trinity United Methodist Church to create a new holy space, not so different than hearts of Hebrew people long ago. In 2010 God stirred your hearts to purchase ten acres of land for a holy space on Plymouth Avenue, and you paid off that debt in record time. God stirred your hearts to start a capital campaign over a year ago and with God’s help you have already raised almost $850,000!
God stirred your hearts last fall to approve a footprint and financial plan for the new Trinity United Methodist Church. God is stirring the Building Committee in their continued final plans and ground breaking and things are now moving more quickly.
I have some more amazing things that your financial stewardship has accomplished through the grace and blessing of our Lord:
1. Five years ago, you had an annual budget of $433,947 and it included a preschool, with 243 giving units (or households). That equates to every household giving, on average, $1,786 annually.
2. Today we have an annual budget of $405,650 with 132 giving units. Instead of losing over $40,000 with a preschool, we are gaining over $10,000. That equates to households giving, on average, $3,073 annually. Consider also, that back then we were not giving to a capital campaign. In just five years we have increased our giving per household $1,287. This is reason to celebrate generous and unselfish hearts!
3. This church has great resources moving forward as well. We have the Florida Conference, East Central District and Florida Foundation that are with us every step of the way. We also have the wonderful sale of this beautiful old church building to a new owner.
4. Just as God stirred up folks in Nehemiah’s time, I believe God is stirring our hearts as well. Yes, we have lost a few folks over time, but do not discount the folks we have not even met yet who will want to see this “new thing” God is doing among us. When God does a new thing, why would we have doubts? The second half of Nehemiah 2:20 addresses the doubters, “…but you have no share or claim or historic right in Jerusalem.” I do not have any doubts about God’s ability and purpose for Trinity UMC!
“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)
Sometimes we all have doubts about what we can accomplish and we may worry about our future, but remember, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phi 4:13). The power is in the authority and grace of God. The Lord never does anything half way for those who have faith! Shabbat Shalom…may you have God’s Sabbath peace/rest.