Tag Archives: church finance

‘Dad, we need a shed’

My son, Hosea, learning to surf

How to discern between need and want? Your Father knows what you NEED before you ask him. — Matt. 6:8 NIV (my caps)

Undoubtedly, finances are the fuel for ministry. You will be limited in outreach opportunities by lack of resources.

But where finances have lacked most, the gospel has spread most. The church in China exploded in the 1980s and ’90s with growth while they had precious few pennies.

A leader needs great wisdom. And he needs contentment with what God has granted. At the same time, there’s nothing wrong with praying for more finances for ministry.

My son yesterday told me we need a shed. We need it for the bikes, and now for a beginner’s surfboard. Bikes were stolen out of our backyard, so we are stowing them inconveniently overnight in the church. But we’re renters without a lot of money, so a shed may not be the best option.

We Americans always “need” something else. The new IPad. A new car. New clothes. I used to be a missionary on a shoe-string budget. Sheer lack helps to distinguish true needs. When are “needs” in truth only “wants?”

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Battle of Leyte

When the small task force in charge of protecting Gen. MacArthur‘s rearguard found itself surprised by the Japanese Center Force in Leyte Gulf on Oct. 23, 1944, they didn’t expect to win. Twenty-seven Japanese warships — including the largest battleship ever made, the fearsome Yamato — bore down on Taffy 3 U.S. Task Force to blast landed U.S. troop like sitting ducks.

The U.S., who didn’t expect the enemy to appear on the horizon, left land forces protected only by planes with depth charges and destroyers so light they were called “tin cans.”

Gen. MacArthur upon landing in Leyte

First they set up smoke screens to mask the retreat of U.S. aircraft carriers. While these light destroyers were doing this, Capt. Evans of the U.S.S. Johnston, without orders, broke ranks and charged the approaching ships on a torpedo run. Other ships watched incredulous what would surely be a suicide mission.

But the Johnston miraculously wasn’t hit as 27 Japanese ships trained their guns on it. It sailed to within five miles, fired its torpedoes, and scored a hit on enemy forces. Seeing this, other U.S. destroyers became brave to enter the fray. When the battle was over, the vastly superior

A forgotten hero, Capt. Evans

Japanese fleet retreated, American troops were safe, and history was written. The “greatest mismatch of naval history” was won by the underdogs.

Does this describe your church? You’re attacking futilely an enemy so large and fierce. You feel outgunned, outmanned, and outsmarted. You’re out-financed. You have practically no finances. Well, certainly not enough finances. But you have one potent weapon: daring.

You dare to continue serving the Lord. Finances are down to a trickle. Make a prayer run to torpedo the enemy and save the day!

Rubble rousers

Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and end this disgrace! — Neh. 2:17 New Living Translation

Maybe you can relate to Nehemiah. He had the insurmountable challenge of rebuilding Jerusalem´s wall — with no money.

No cranes. No engineers. No bulldozers. No blueprints. No workers. NO RESOURCES.

All he had was a bunch of rocks, stones strewn everywhere, the tragic remains of Nebachadnezzar´s siege nearly 100 years earlier.The graceful wall of defense, once a wonder of ancient architecture, lay broken, a demolition job that embarrassed Jerusalemites.  Not only did it remind them of past failures, it was present day eyesore and heartsore for the once proud inhabitants. Thieves and enemies could penetrate and wreak havoc in the city at will.

All Nehemiah had was will power.

So he prayed. And God did the impossible in response. Jerusalems´s men let their hearts be stirred and their hands set to action. They erected the wall in record time and restored dignity to the city.

The project before you is impossibly big. You yearn to extend the kingdom of God, but “financial realiteis” tell you to scale back your dreams. Instead, ramp up those dreams in prayer. If Nehemiah´s task was daunting, his testimony should encourage you. Let God do the same in your life that He did in Nehemiah´s. Be a rubble raiser!