“My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” ~Philippians 4:19-20
Our gracious God today delivered far more than anything I could ever ask or imagine. I’m still a little numb. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around what it all means. What happened today makes no earthly sense. None. There’s nothing to do but give glory to God. There’s no one else to thank, nothing else to credit, no other explanation. That’s the way our God works. He’s truly the only one.
This morning, by the grace of God and by the power of his Spirit, Central came through on our first-ever Missions Sunday with $328,417.24, far surpassing our ambitious (I thought) goal of $250,000.
I’ll type that number again so you don’t think it’s a misprint: $328,417.24.
I was ready for a lot of things today. I was prepared for us to meet the goal. I was ready for us to have barely missed it. I had prayed for and was ready for us to blow right past the goal. I really thought it was going to happen. But this? No, I didn’t see it coming. Not this.
What a great morning. Adriann Moore gave her life to Christ by submitting to his Lordship in baptism. All our children, from the four-year-olds to the high school seniors, inspired us with their readings from Scripture, their prayers, their dramatic offerings, and their bold proclamations of what God is doing through them for the sake of the world. Kevin took us straight to God’s throne in song. Adam powerfully reminded us of the great blessing of table communion with those who’ve gone before and those in the room with us right now.
And then our amazing God blew us out of the water by providing us with so much more than any of us expected.
When John Todd got up at the end of our service to announce the total, it was pretty obvious we had surpassed the goal. His poker face isn’t that great. But when he began to break up and sniff back tears during his first sentence, it was clear that something really special had happened.His prayer of thanksgiving to God was beautiful. His words of affirmation to our congregation were perfect. And as the church burst into celebratory song, I almost took off my shoes. Holy ground. Sacred space. A powerfully miraculous thing had occurred. Our God was moving in and with and through his people. God had far exceeded our grandest plans. The Spirit energy and enthusiasm generated by this blessed event was overwhelming in several ways.
First, I believe God is telling us we’re not thinking big enough. Our missions committee and elders and ministers had carefully and prayerfully presented a plan that we thought would push our church to the very limits of possibility. And God, I believe, is telling us to do even more.
Second, I think it’s a testament to this congregation’s heart for missions. This church family is all about evangelism, and today’s offering is an unmistakable witness to that commitment.
Third, I don’t know yet how we’re going to spend all this money! I had more than a couple of missions committee members come up to me after the end of our assembly, wondering what we’re going to do. We had a pretty good plan, lots of line items, everything budgeted and accounted for. Now what?! Back to the drawing board, I guess. Again, I think our God is telling us to think even bigger about what he might do through this group of Christians in Amarillo.
As blessings pile on top of blessings, we are increasingly convinced that our Father is keeping his covenant promises to Central and to all of his creation. May he be glorified and may his Son be exalted for ever and ever. Amen!