Thursday, June 26, 2008

GOD, WILL YOU DO THE IMPOSSIBLE?


Matthew 19:26 (NLT)

Jesus looked at them intently and said, "Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible."

Mission impossible for me has always been to move to this city where we knew practically no one, with practically no money or formal training in church planting and plant this church. Our vision was to be in the interior of Vegas, not on the outer edges where the more affluent people almost always live. Our first several months we met in a hotel meeting room near paradise & twain. If you look at most thriving churches they normally go to the suburbs of the city to where new growth is taking place and wealthier families go to escape the brokeness that often accompanies life closer the to center of town. Our dream was to go into it not away from it. We have faced every kind of challenge along the way-spiritual attack, physical exhaustion, relational heartache, and financial hardship. Each time God has seen us through. So you would think that now I am totally filled with faith to face any challenge right? Not exactly!

If I were honest with you, I would admit that I have wrestled with doubt a lot lately. Once again our church has come upon very hard financial times. 4 straight weeks of deficit giving has left us at the breaking point. I have seen this several times before but this current financial climate in our country has turned this challenge into "my mountain" or my "mission impossible". I know how hard many of our people are struggling right now.

Just yesterday I was speaking with a man in our church who manages a fine dining restraunt in Vegas and he told me in tough times the first thing to go in people's budgets is eating out. Just then I could almost hear they voice of they enemy saying, "No. It is not eating out, it is giving. Your church isn't going to make it this time". He wants me to believe that people don't care about God's church. He wants me to believe that people will lose faith, that they will get nervous and hold tightly to what they think is thiers. He wants me to think that we will have to close the doors. Will I believe these lies and allow a sense of defeat to settle in on me? NO!

God will somehow get us through. Last night about 40 people gathered and prayed for unity in our body. I am praying that God will give us "one heart" in our giving. I am asking you to believe God for the "impossible" in this journey as we continue to build a church where many said it could not be done. It was impossible ten years ago when we started and it is still impossible now.

GOD, WILL YOU DO THE IMPOSSIBLE?

6 comments:

anna thackeray said...

Prayer works! This has been a phrase that I have often repeated again and again, this year especially. That is not to say, however, that there have not been many occasions where the enemy has stepped in and attempted to give me amnesia in this realm of my thinking, because he has. But, man, thank the lord for people and prayer! It never fails.

Let me just give you an idea of what I'm talking about for those who don't know me. I have two children, my son will be 5 in a couple weeks and my daughter is 3. While I was pregnant with my daughter, prayer gave me the courage to step out of an extremely unhealthy relationship and into a safe environment to raise children. Prayer got me through school while struggling to take care of two small children. Prayer landed me a teaching job at the school of my choice, teaching the subject/grade level of my choice.

Everyone who knows me knows that I have also struggled financially. The cost of daycare is insane. The more one works to better themselves, the less assistance they receive from the government. Of course, this is the goal, but there are times when it seems like it would be less of a struggle to quit working and live off of the assistance. Prayer kept me from doing this.

I have also struggled with custody for my children. I went through a long, 2 1/2 year battle in the courts where my mother-in-law chose to step in and try to convince the courts to allow the children to be placed in an unsafe environment. Prayer led me to a Christian lawyer. The power of prayer aided in revealing the truth in court.

I feel like I am rambling here, but I truly can go on and on. The point is, prayer works. I am still on housing assistance, but prayer has opened the door for me, yet again, and I should be off of it by this time next year. Not only that, but I spoke to someone yesterday about buying a house. Me! Buying a house! I still can't believe it. The power of prayer led me to a program that will assist me with the mortgage payments until I no longer need it. Prayer has led me to invest in a fitness company that has not only given me support to get into better shape, but is now starting to pay off financially as well.

It is truly amazing to sit and marvel at the wonders of prayer. Am I always convinced? No. I struggle just like everybody else. But, man, I would be a fool to let that struggle take hold. I've witnessed far too many answered prayers. Last night, though I could not make it to NCC, my daughter and I (my son fell asleep before we got home) prayed for unity in the church. I will continue to pray for the eradication of the financial burden that many churches face. I will do this knowing that PRAYER WORKS!

Sambi Katano said...

Last night's prayer time was incredible, and I felt the Spirit time and time again moving among us mightily. My realization was, when the Spirit prays, you're either letting Him pray or you hinder Him from praying. Submitting to the Spirit was a bit of a struggle since I had my own list of things I wanted to pray for, but once I let go, it was smooth from that point on.

God WILL do what He intends to do, and I need to do my best not to get in His way.

Lynnie said...

Wow, thank you, Anna, for leaving your story about how prayer has worked in your life. It has reminded me of how you have hung in there with God through the thick and thin of it. Thank you for allowing us at NCC to be a part of your life. Thank you for letting us help in discipling you.

Sometimes, I wonder if anybody (including myself) is really growing in the Lord. Then I read a story like yours, Anna--and I'm sure there are many others--and I say simply, "Thank you, God".

Lynnie



Anna, I rejoice with you and am encouraged to keep praying.

Michelle Wilson said...

It was you, Lynnie, that once asked me when it seemed all was going wrong, "ok, tell me what's good in your life." too often we focus on the negative. It's not that we should ignore things but we can focus on them and dwell on them. When we do, we just prove that we haven't left those burdens at the altar. I think at some point we all struggle with doubt here and there but we can't linger there. I won't linger there. God is so good! God works amazing things out! He is always faithful and never changing and I find I can rest in that even when the mountains seem insurmountable. My God is bigger than any storm. Thank you Anna for your story, it just proves how big our God is.

Michelle Wilson said...

It was you, Lynnie, that once asked me when it seemed all was going wrong, "ok, tell me what's good in your life." too often we focus on the negative. It's not that we should ignore things but we can focus on them and dwell on them. When we do, we just prove that we haven't left those burdens at the altar. I think at some point we all struggle with doubt here and there but we can't linger there. I won't linger there. God is so good! God works amazing things out! He is always faithful and never changing and I find I can rest in that even when the mountains seem insurmountable. My God is bigger than any storm. Thank you Anna for your story, it just proves how big our God is.

Tyler Byrd said...

"I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:13-14

I know the Lord is good it's just a matter of recognizing his goodness. As humans we tend to think things should be comfortable and we adjust our lifestyles to our preferred comfort levels. We want God to be nice and make everything cozy. But the fact still remains that walking with the Lord is not cozy at all. We will go through valleys and travel across mountain tops. Where we are and where we are going as a church body is completely up to the Lord. I'm excited because we are coming to an end of ourselves and are truly learning what it means to TRUST in the Lord! Maybe this is His plan after all! I know that when we are tried we'll come forth as pure as gold! So let's rejoice in the fact that God is going to do something BIG with our Body. "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:23-25