Luke 11:8 “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.”
We still serve a miracle working God. On May 21, 2017, I stood before the church challenging them to pray a prayer with “shameless audacity.” I thought I should give them an example of a shameless audacious prayer, so I said, “Let’s pray to have the building paid off by the end of 2018.” I had just looked to see where our building fund was at the time. We owed $242,103.18. Could the church honestly pay off nearly a quarter million dollars in less than two years? There was no way. I know since 2007, the church had never paid off that much of the debt in 20 months. Undaunted, I and others began to pray daily with shameless audacity for God to pay off the building debt by the end of 2018. I knew what was impossible for man was possible for God.
By July, God offered us an opportunity to refinance our loan through the Foundation of the Kansas Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists. Refinancing immediately took a year off of our five remaining years, thus saving us thousands of dollars. God began working quickly in this prayer. At the start of 2018, we owed $178,209.22. I was not too confident but knew if we focused on it we would pay off more in 2018 than we did in 2017. Many faithful prayer warriors persevered in praying with shameless audacity. Throughout 2018, we saw God do amazing things through His people. There were many times I simply stood back and laughed. We continued to see the total shrinking month to month. You could feel the excitement in our church when we were below $100,000. God was at work.
We continued to pray with shameless audacity. In our December business meeting, we voted to take General Offering funds at the end of the year to make up any difference. Oh my goodness, God is going to do this, I thought. However, deep in my heart, I wanted us to make the final loan payment without having to take any general funds. On December 1, 2018, our balance was $44,369,03. Could God do this through our church? We also set a challenging Lottie Moon Christmas Goal of $10,000 (For more about Lottie Moon). I had told people if they could only give to one or the other, always choose to give to missions.
God worked a miracle through His people. His people gave over $45,000 to the Building Fund, over $10,000 to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, and over $40,000 to our General Fund. I don’t think there are many churches our size that could accomplish that feat on their own. Only God could do accomplish this. We serve a gloriously great God. In two years, God paid off $266,091.21 through our people. He alone deserves all the credit. This proves there is nothing God can not do through his people when they are obedient to His call.
As of January 2, our Building Loan with the Foundation is paid in full. We must now ask, “What’s next?’ Why would God answer such a shameless audacious prayer? Being debt-free will free up countless resources to help our church have a global gospel impact. I can’t wait to see what God will do during our next chapter. Our purpose is not to pay off a building, our purpose as a church is to “Know Christ and Make Him Known.” God is about to do exceedingly abundantly more than we can imagine. And like I often tell our church, “I can imagine a lot.”
Join us this Sunday, January 13, 2019, as we celebrate and have a Mortgage Burning Service. I know many people have faithfully been giving over these 15 years. Join our celebration. We will begin at 10:30 am. Stay for our barbecue luncheon after our service.
We are done, but we are not finished. We have only just begun. We have freed up thousands of dollars per year for Kingdom growth and gospel impact. God will do great things.
Many people say God is no longer in the business of doing miracles. As for me, I’ll choose to disagree with you. First Southern Baptist Church is a testimony that God is still in the business of making miracles happen. To God be the glory from whom all blessings flow.