On Sunday, January 3, 1988 those in attendance at Bethlehem gave an offering of $73,450.33. Not counting designated gifts, $55,232.84 of that was applicable to the budget needs of 1987. This exceeded the budget need by $23,232.84.
Our contingency plan for the “unexpected” was that everything over our budget need would be given to the U.S. Center for World Mission (50%) and to the Baptist General Conference debt retirement effort (50%)—up to $12,000 each. At this writing we are $767.16 short of being able to send the full amounts of the “unexpected” funds to both ministries!! But we will send the whole amount because there were other checks that came in too late for the Sunday morning count.
In other words, we hit our “unexpected” goal ($24,000 over budget) just about on the nose.
What can we learn from this?
- That God reigns.
- That his resources are great.
- That he invades the hearts (and purses) of his people.
- That he answers prayer.
- That his people trusted his promises to meet their needs.
- That he provides excess when the plan is not accumulation but sharing.
- That we should plan for the future beyond what most people believe is possible.
- That on the continuum between risk and caution we are not about to fall off the end of risk.
- That we should saturate the upcoming Income Expansion program with prayer.
- That we should expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.
Another Encouraging Development!
As of December 29 Bethlehem now owns the so-called Hacking property five doors down on 7th Street. This will be remodeled into educational space and recreational facilities for the youth.
What is so encouraging is that the Baptist General Conference Home Missions revolving loan fund loaned us the money to buy it outright ($250,000). This means that the interest we pay will not go to the former owner of the property, but to the church planting ministries of the BGC. I regard this as absolutely terrific. My prayer is that any money we may have to borrow for the proposed sanctuary will stay circulating inside the BGC as well.
O what a year this is going to be!
Excited to be here,