I have posted in the hallway an accounting of the investment and monies spent to bring us to this day of dedication. It is amazing to me that we have spent over $180,000 and need to spend nearly $25,000 more. We have been blessed with a benefactor who has called benefactors to make this happen. We can’t look at our numbers and say, “It was our strength of numbers that brought us this blessing.” Most churches in America are under 100 in attendance with an average of $70,000 in their budgets. Lord of Lords BCC has had a budget over $120,000 for its existence and many of those years it has reached $145,000. We have been blessed and for such a small congregation of roughly 70 people, to have resources given and provided so that we could invest $200,000 to have our TCO and then our CO, is remarkable (more like a miracle).
We have had donations from anonymous sources and discounts from contractors exceeding $70,000+ to get us here. From September 2012 to October 2014 we have had numerous large donations from $500 to $10,000 given for this purpose. I’d like to believe it is because we are such special people but God is no respecter of persons. I’d like to say it is because we have such a great pastor but that is not the case either. What we have is a rich place for those who have come to grasp, stand in, and assert God’s rich grace.
When we believe the right things it places us in the gift of God’s blessing. We don’t get what we deserve; we get what we believe Jesus is to us. We get Jesus if we accept our acceptance...
Rom. 3: 21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
1Th 2:13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
I also have made an effort to recognize and appreciate the work of volunteers, contractors, and donors in our little hall of fame. Many people have come together to make this happen. I realize that it is possible to have left someone out and that would be bad; yet, it would be worse I think to not make the effort. If someone is left out it is not intentionally.
We are very grateful and taken by all their efforts and gifts. Sometimes the work has been so gracious it is hard to feel accepting of it. It is hard to just receive their benefit when so much time and work and so large a gift is being given. We would want each person to receive their full compensation; however, we need to accept their gifts, we need to allow their generosity, and we need to be willing to take and take some more. If we don’t accept their kindness, willingness, and efforts we wouldn’t be here now in this place dedicating this building for the Lord’s ministry among us. We trust and believe that everyone who has given in any way to this building’s purpose and use will be blessed by the Lord. We know that no one can out give God; therefore, they are in the position of being blessed all the more.
It is hard for us as human beings who want to earn our way, to swallow pride and just let others do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. It is another lesson in being grace minded. I remember being told, “You are in over your head.” I remember feeling sadden by the truth of that statement; but then thinking, but I’m not in this alone. I’m never alone; I have God, I have brothers and sisters, and I have Jesus.” All things come from the Lord and He directs, inspires, and leads people to be kind, giving, and gracious. When we are sin conscious we do not feel worthy of these gifts and givers; but we have been forgiven and cleansed of all our sin and in this new place of life and freedom in Christ, we do accept with much appreciation what others have done to bring us to today.
I was reading the account of King Solomon when he dedicated the first Temple of the Lord. All of the elders, priests, and leaders were gathered with all of the people to celebrate this new place where God would dwell among them. There were many sacrifices of cattle, sheep, and peace offerings of gold and precious jewels. He dedicated the Temple with a holy prayer. They feasted for fourteen days from the Kings table. It was quite a momentous event that was meant to be a pillar in the life of the nation.
What momentous event is this dedication day to us? What celebration are we going to bring to this important day of recognition? We are not a nation or a state of that nation. We are not a county or city. We are not a town but a small part of the people of a small town. Although we are not so prominent our dedication of this building is big in our lives. It is vital to many of us that we take this time to properly give thanks and dedicate its ministry to the gospel of grace.
More than anything the purpose of this place is to present Jesus to our loved ones, friends, neighbors, and community. We want the power of God to bless, save, heal, restore, and deliver those who come here. We want everyone to find the rest, peace, and liberty we have found in the love God has for all of us. We want everyone to realize that the war is over between us and God because of what Jesus is to us.
This is a place rich in His grace. Grace is the word that describes what God has done in Jesus for all sinners. God has forgiven all of us our sins in His atonement having taken upon Himself all judgment. God has taken away our reproach, our shame, our guilt, and all condemnation because of what Jesus did. God doesn’t want us to get what we deserve He wants us to get what Jesus is to us. God doesn’t want to treat us according to our ways, our efforts, or our earnings—that severely limits Him. He doesn’t want to relate to us according to the law—The law condemns the best of us; His grace saves the worst of us. He wants to treat us as His sons and daughters; He wants to treat us as He would treat Himself. He wants to pour out who He is to us forever starting now.
The dedication of this building is to present God in Christ Jesus as He really has always wanted to be to us. Judgment, rebuke, correction, discipline, punishment, rejection, and condemnation are all the result of sin entering this world. It is self rule, selfishness, and self centeredness that are the cause of all the ills, pain, sorrow and grief we know. The law was given so that we could all clearly see that in our hearts and nature we have an incurable problem. The law was given for law breakers, for sinners, and for the rebellious. The law is not for saints. Judgment, rebuke, correction, discipline, punishment and condemnation are not for those who have come to Christ Jesus. The law is not of faith; it is for natural man to awaken him/her out of their stupor.
The dedication of this place is to show how God wants to treat all of us. In Christ Jesus there is no condemnation but only His righteousness. We are given life, freedom, and right standing forever in His grace. God has taken away the claims against all of us and given us Jesus. When we come to Him we enter into a new kingdom—a kingdom if His grace.
When Solomon prayed all of his prayers were conditions: “Lord, if you will hear us…” “Lord, answer our prayers…” “Lord, forgive us and never leave nor forsake us…” “Lord, we ask your presence never departs…” There was no confidence or assurance for the relationship Solomon had with God is like all of us before we come to Jesus. We don’t really know where we stand with God. We don’t know what our record is. We don’t know if God will actually hear and answer our prayers. We know that our sins keep us from God. We know that God’s judgment is ready and waiting.
When we pray in His grace now, it is completely different. It is because we are a special people? Is it because we have a great pastor? No. It is because we understand and can see from the scriptures this truth:
Ro 4:16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all
Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
God has freely given to all of us what we could never have earned on our own…the gift of His righteousness.
This place is dedicated to teaching, sharing, inspiring, and promoting the grace of God to all who enter. It is dedicated to the power of God to confirm the truth and grace found in Jesus in us. It is God’s great pleasure to have poured out His love in Jesus. We know God’s great blessing is life, health, and peace in Him. The war and conflict is over to all who come and surrender to His salvation. God has helped us, God has saved us, God has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…and it is all found in understanding, standing, and asserting His grace.
If you have never understood what God has done for us, saving us, forgiving us all our trespasses in Jesus, in giving us the gift of life in Jesus…come; find out, receive what belongs to you. Salvation in His righteousness has been provided for all of us in accepting, receiving, and coming to God in Jesus.
John 14: 6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
7 "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him."
For those who have come and received life in Jesus, they know Jesus and also the Father. Would you know the truth and be set free?
Father God, Lord of heaven and earth, we dedicate this rich place to be full of your rich grace. We pledge ourselves to be grace minded, to stand in your strength and presence, and to allow your loving-kindness to reign here. We have put away the law, judgment of self and others; we have put on Christ and stand in His peace. This place will depend upon your desire to reveal your glory always. Your truth and grace fill it. Your fullness is reveal in it. Your will to be who you really are, is manifest here, in Jesus name forever, Amen.