This past Sunday Alan shared Immanuel’s current financial challenge within the context of my sermon on Jonah 2, where we learned to “remember the LORD in the depths” – remembering who our God is and our covenant relationship with Him in Christ; remembering our unique call (God with us…for the sake of others); remembering to pray and respond to His words. As I concluded, I called Immanuel to two weeks of listening prayer.
“Father what are you saying and doing through this particular challenge? Is there any place where we’re out of alignment with our call? Is there a specific, adventurous step forward we have yet to take? Is there something from our past we need to release? Is there something new we need more fully to embrace?”
Please read Alan’s words below, then join us in remembering the LORD, trusting in his steadfast love.
Your Pastor in Christ,
“Praying for Direction”
Recently, I spoke about the continuing need for us to have a Building Fund in order to pay our mortgage. I also mentioned that we have a shortfall in that area, but that our building fund reserve allows us to make up a moderate difference ensuring that we not miss any payments. That is still true.
The Operations Fund is a bit different. We also have a shortfall in this fund; approximately $21,000 is needed in order to meet a net income requirement for the bank that holds our mortgage. That income requirement is the difference between our income and expenses, and cannot be met by simply a transfer of funds. (For the record, we are not permitted to transfer monies from the Building Fund into Operations, since those are financial gifts designated by givers to be used for the building.) As a result, both the Finance Committee and the Vestry prayerfully made adjustments to our spending plan to make up about half the shortfall.
So, if you now are expecting an appeal for more income, you’re about to be disappointed. The Immanuel family has been faithfully and even sacrificially generous over many years, so generosity is not an issue for us. What the Vestry and Father Travis are asking is for you to pray. Pray diligently and deeply, with confidence and patience. And not just about money but mission as well. After all, without a clear mission, we don’t need money. God has a plan – one which we have been in the middle of for a long time – and he will, in his good time, tell us what to do and how to do it.
Finally, when praying about an unknown like this, it strikes me that there is a certain parallel with the concept of tithing. I have known many people who are faithful tithers, but none have ever said they knew how to tithe before they did it. They only learned how to do it after they had done it. That suggests to me that praying about such things is less a matter of arithmetic and more a matter of the heart. And that is right in God’s wheelhouse.