Monday, April 4, 2011

His Workmanship

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

There is a book I came across in our church library at age fourteen. It’s a biography of Amy Carmichael written by Elisabeth Elliot called A Chance To Die. The first time I read it was on youth mission trip to Wyoming. Again I referenced it in college. Now it sits on my nightstand with my Bible. Both Amy Carmichael and Elisabeth Elliot are heroines of mine. Their stories inspire and challenge me to live the calling God has put in my heart.

Recently, reading a chapter from A Chance To Die helped settle an issue in my heart about raising money for the mission work Chad and I are doing in Oklahoma City. The work of our new church plant has recently demanded our full attentions. By faith, we are planning a summer of outreach and church growth. God provided miraculously during spring break and we expect more great things!

In 1889, Amy Carmichael was walking by faith. She had a growing Bible Study of mill girls who met weekly called the “Shawlies”. The group had grown so large they needed a facility. Amy had seen an advertisement for an iron building. She knew even if she could afford the building she would need a piece of land in close proximity to the mill to put the building on.

As she prayed about what to do she remembered having walked with her mother as a young girl to raise money for charity. They went to the porch of a man who was living in a brand new home. Elisabeth Elliot writes “He refused to give anything. Stunned, the little girl (Amy) pondered the wisdom of asking money from people who don’t really love God. ‘Why not’ she thought ‘ask God to make people who love Him want to give?’ so Amy and the Shawlies did exactly that.”

Amy wrote about her decision to trust God in a newsletter she and her siblings wrote called, “Scraps”

“We must have money. We can’t build spires ninety feet high without it, we can’t decorate our churches with elegant windows without it, we can’t issue costly programmes for our social meetings without it . . . How are we to get it? You may touchingly plead for the heathen abroad. You may paint a picture terrible and true of the state of the home heathen at our doors. You may work yourself into hysterics over these and other intensely real realities but you won’t get the money. So another plan must be devised. We shall get up a fancy fair.”

Amy went on the write, “Oh yes! WE shall get the money for our poor dear little church, and everybody will have the pleasing consciousness of having devoted themselves to the noble cause of screwing, wheedling and extorting money out of a selfish, thoughtless public --- for the cause of God!”

We can then compare this picture to Moses and Aaron building the Tabernacle, a dwelling for The Spirit of God. In Exodus 35 verse 4 we read, “And Moses spoke to the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, ‘This is the thing which the Lord commanded, saying: Take from among you an offering to The Lord. Whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as an offering to The Lord : gold, silver and bronze.”

In verse 29 we see God’s people respond. “The children of Israel brought a freewill offering to The Lord, all the men and women whose hearts were willing to bring material for all kinds of work which the Lord, by the hand of Moses, had commanded done.”

I read this chapter several times. It is a beautiful picture of God stirring among the hearts of His people to do His will. Exodus 35:26 describes “women whose hearts stirred with wisdom spun yarn. . .” Exodus 35:33-31 “And Moses said to the children of Israel, ‘See the Lord has called by name Bezalel. . . and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works. . .”

When we, as God’s people, allow Him to express His Love, charity, creativity, wisdom and workmanship through us it is a miraculous work.

“Three things we may notice:” Writes Amy Carmichael about those who gave to build the Tabernacle “1st as many as were willing hearted, 2nd brought their own possessions, 3rd unto The Lord.”

Chad and I spent this morning responding to messages from people who desire to give to help our church get off the ground. One mission committee is praying about supporting us financially in whatever way they can, another group had some food and it met the need of us feeding at our outreach tomorrow. Another lady emailed who works full time and wants to see how she might get involved. A friend of ours in Amarillo made index cards with Scripture verses on them for the children we teach. Mom and our newest members at Truth Baptist prepared breakfast for our fellowship Sunday morning. I taught Sunday School using a complete set of Bible study materials mailed to our apartment by a woman I’ve never met.

I have no doubt as we contemplate the “bigger needs” of Truth Baptist Church such as buildings, vans and support, God will be faithful to stir the hearts of His people to respond.

It is a beautiful and miraculous thing to witness God’s people follow His leading. As we step out in faith to plant a church among these thousands of residents here, please prayerfully consider how you might help. We are deeply thankful for your prayers and encouragement!

Truth Baptist Church

12701 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Apt. 173

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73120

Referenced: A Chance To Die By Elisabeth Elliot, Exodus Chapter 35

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