Faith & Faithfulness

I am pleased to share a guest post from a wonderful church planter friend, Aaron Loy.  He posted Remembering 30 Days to recount the audacious faith of his new church.  Be inspired as you read, Friends...

 

In ancient times, altars were often constructed by God's people to commemorate what God had done during a particular time. It served as a reminder of who God was and what He had done. It was meant to prompt remembrance and worship. You could say that this blog post is an altar of sorts.

Just over a month ago, twenty or so people sat in a basement in Lincoln, NE. In their hands sat a single piece of paper presenting a radical idea: videos, vision, stories and a website all culminating in $30,000 in 30 days. One could say it was a rather ambitious undertaking for our small, developing community. And you could feel the tension in the room.

Some openly wondered, What if we don't make it? What if the videos don't connect? What if no one visits the website? What if no one cares? What if people don't give? Are you sure this is such a good idea? What would the consequences be of failing so publicly so early in the game? How discouraging would that be to our team? Could we recover the momentum we would inevitably lose? Besides, is it even okay to pray like that? Can we ask God for something so specific? What if He says 'No'? WHAT IF...?! 

Looking back, it was a defining moment for our little band of revolutionaries. We had talked a lot about mission and risk. Now it was time to put our money where our mouth was. We knew we couldn't make this happen. We couldn't make people pay attention or care or give, we could only be faithful with what God had given us. Despite feelings of fear, uncertainty, reservation and doubt, we chose to move forward in faith anyway. We committed to fast together, to band together in prayer for our city and our church, and to invite others to help us do what we believe God has called us to do. 

Just over a month later, here is what we have seen happen:

  • The 30in30 website has had over 12,000 hits from all over the world
  • We have had 3 churches (two of them local) partner with us financially - a huge kingdom win!
  • Our launch team has more than doubled in size (and with some incredible, quality people!)
  • A number of people who are connected to our community who do not know Christ as their personal Lord and Savior are being shaken up and moved by the gospel
  • Buzz about Mosaic Lincoln has spread throughout our city
  • Our associate pastor, Kevin, and his family moved to Lincoln from Pennsylvania with several thousand dollars of support from their church (not included in the thirty day total) to help them relocate and to free them to invest in our city and church
  • We received a gorgeous, $2100 guitar in the mail a few days ago from another ARC couple currently planting a church in MT who told us that God wouldn't let them alone about it and that they wanted to sow into us
  • And, praise God, we had over $30,000 donated in just 30 days! 

During all of this, our only expenses were $50 spent on a Wordpress template for the website and $52 on a kite that wouldn't fly! Not too bad for a group of thirty five people meeting in a basement.

My point is certainly not to toot our own horn as if we deserve credit for this. Quite the opposite. My point is to turn your attention to Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith, and his exceeding goodness and faithfulness to provide for our needs and answer our prayers when we ask Him to help us do what He has called us to do. We do not deserve any of this. And in looking at the list above, I hope you will join me in acknowledging that there is no way our little tribe could have pulled this off on our own.

God is good. Christ promised to build His church, and he is doing just that. Here. Now. In our midst. And we are honored, humbled, and deeply grateful to be able to play a small part in it.

Light a Fire

Poems. Lyrics. Books. They have origin stories.

I just learned the origin of my favorite hymn...

On the evening before Easter in 433AD on the Hill of Slane in County Meath, Ireland a former slave lit a fire. He lit a fire & sang a hymn. He defied a royal decree.

Lighting a fire any other day was, well, normal. Expected. Necessary. But this evening before Easter & the Spring Equinox was exceptional. High King Logaire of Tara had ordered that he alone was to light the first fire that night beginning the Druid spring festival. Lighting that fire before the King was equivalent to declaring war on the Druids & the rulers of Ireland.

The former slave was born Scottish. Captured by pirates at 14. Enslaved in Ireland. Escaped years later. Committed his life to Christ's service. Returned at 30 to lead the Irish people to the One who had captured his heart. Lit a fire & sang a hymn.

High King Logaire is said to have been so impressed with the former slave's arrogance that he let him continue his missionary work. By the end of his life, the former slave saw over 2000 churches started & more than 100,000 Irish people come to faith in Christ. The former slave changed Ireland forever.

The hymn he'd composed & sung, translated into English verse in 1905 by Eleanor H. Hull: Be Thou My Vision.

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art:
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping Thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom and Thou my true word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord:
Thou my great Father, I , Thy true son,
Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one.

Riches I heed not nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance now and always:
Thou and thou only first in my heart,
High King of heaven my treasure Thou are.

High King of heaven my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart whatever befall,
Still be my vision O Ruler of all.

Saint Patrick, the former slave of an Irish person became a slave to Christ for the Irish people. With a great vision set & a small fire lit, Saint Patrick changed history.

Though I am free & belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible... I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share its blessings.
1 Corinthians 9:19, 22b-23.

How am I enslaved?

What is my vision?

What fire should I light?

(Hear Glad sing Be Thou My Vision here. Disc 2, Track 3.)

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