All my life I've heard people talk about God "working through us." God has no voice but our voice, no hands but our hands, no feet but our feet, I've been told.
Such theology is a great way for preachers like me to make people feel guilty for slacking off in the kingdom's cause, but if God has no voice, hands, or feet but ours, then you and I can thwart the purposes of heaven each time we decide to take a rain check on the will of God.
I'm sorry, but I simply can't accept that. The witness of the Bible isn't so much God working through us as much as God inviting us to join God in the work of healing and reconciling this broken world. It is not our job to provide voices, hands, or feet for the Almighty, but to listen carefully to the winds of the Spirit blowing around us to determine where God is already at work and accept the gracious invitation to join God there.
If you look at the early church, especially in the book of Acts, you will find those first Christians following just such a procedure. Instead of analyzing data and reasoning out the best choice (like we want to believe we always do), they tried to find the place where God was already at work. Once that was determined, the decision as to what should be done was an easy one.
As I stated in the March 8th letter from Tom Powell and me, I think this is a good model to follow in our discussions regarding whether or not to purchase the Templo Calvario property next door to our facilities. Is God was already at work here to solve FCC's problem of limited parking? Coupled with the proposed renovation of our facilities, and the continued renewal of downtown Elgin, could the acquisition of this property be one of the ways God is working to encourage future growth in our church? There is, of course, only one way to find out - explore the possibilities this opportunity affords and see if the hand of God is apparent.
On page 4 you will find a schedule of meetings through April and May to discuss this issue and, ultimately, come to a decision on May 22nd. I fervently hope you will attend both congregational meetings and as many as possible of the Q & A sessions after worship in the weeks between the meetings. This is your opportunity to ask questions, glean information, share your insights, and voice your concerns. Nothing - and I mean nothing - has been decided yet. The choice belongs to you as a congregation.
I simply make two requests: (1) Let's discuss and explore the issue with hearts open to where God may be working and calling us in the days ahead, and hands open to each other in love, and (2) When the decision has been made, whichever way it goes, let's come together and support one another and the ongoing ministry of this church we love so much.
Where is God at work? I'm not sure. Let's find out together.