No, Kati and I are not pregnant (although feel free to pray for that to happen).
Sunday morning we discovered a new addition to the building that the church meets in. You know those boards where the put up the Hymns we’re going to sing for that day, or what this weeks and last weeks tithes/offerings were, or the attendance for this week and last week (or any combination thereof). Well at some point during last week the pastor put up another board, on the other side of the stage (now it’s symmetrical). This new board is dedicated to the “Building Fund.”
You see, over a year ago (maybe two) the church voted that it was a good idea for them to build a “family life center.” So they took out a large loan from a bank and built a building. The building was only finished a short while ago. Now they have a brand spanking new building, a large monthly payment, and a drop in all of the “numbers.”
This “drop” in numbers appears to have been happening over the past few months. This pattern caused the pastor to preach what he preached yesterday. I have to say, I laughed out loud (involuntarily at some points) more than once during this message. But what cracked me up most was the new board. The following is my impression of the “Building Fund” board.
Yes, that is right, we have 10.00$ in our building fund. And we need 3154.89$! I am sorry, but that just cracks me up – 10.00$!!!!!. Oh and that’s not all! Our “general fund” is about 1000.00$ in the hole!
So we heard a word from God. Specifically from Haggai 1. This is when God warned the Israelites because they spent 16 or so years building their own homes and wasting their money, instead of building God’s temple like they originally intended to do. This was used as an example of what was happening among us. There were references to “sin” being in the “camp” which was causing the numbers to drop (both head count and money count – which is fairly obvious).
Regardless of that fact that I got a good laugh about what was said, I was also very upset. I was saddened and angered over what was spoken. I was not convicted nor do I think I am being prideful. I was most of all upset because I knew there were people there who were hurt and were made to feel guilty instead of being discipled or edified. You see, no matter how many times the speaker said that this was not a message to knock people around but a message to warn them – it seemed like a message to knock them around and guilt them into a paradigm of building buildings and showing up to weekly lectures. At one point he said “If you have ever said, ‘I’d like to come to Bible Study on Wednesday nights but I have to work – God will understand,’ then you know where the Israelites were at here in Haggai.” He gave numerous other examples like, “I’d like to tithe, but we cannot afford it this month” and other nonsensical drab.
At the end of this message, there was an “invitation” to “obey God” in tithing. Many people went up to the stage and did whatever it is they did. The preacher concluded saying that he knew many hearts had been changed.
My question is this, where they changed because of what the Bible teaches, because of a conviction from God? Or where they changed because they were made to feel guilty by someone whom they trust to teach them the truth?