God is a generous God. He’s not stingy. He “opens his hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing.” He promises “no good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” His posture is open toward us as His kids. He is a good Father who “delights to give good gifts to His kids.” His generosity is defined out of the abundance of who He is, who supplies “all our need according to his riches in glory.” He love isn’t like our love. He ‘lavishes’ his love on us to the point that it’s almost too good to be true.
But it is true. He teaches us what this means in its fullest sense as we gaze at “God with skin on” in the person and teachings of Jesus, who “did not count equality with God a thing to be held onto, but emptied himself" by taking the form of a servant who would die for his enemies to make us his kids. He teaches us that it is “more blessed to give than to receive” and he embodied this in the way he lived, as Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve us.
This is beautiful, isn’t it?
I pray we can all slow down our pace during this Advent season to take a long, lingering look at him. All our problems have as their root a problem of ‘seeing.’ We refuse (or have become too distracted) to see just how gorgeous God’s heart is, how perfect his ways, and how reasonable any sacrifice or obedience is in light of who he really is and what he has actually done, is doing, and will do. This new Kingdom reality we’ve been caught up into is the thing we’re all desiring and longing for. It’s coming, but in very real ways it’s already here if we just have eyes to see. But it’s hidden in places we may never look if not for the Spirit’s work in us.
I took time this morning to pray for all of our partners by name. I’m praying this season of Advent we’re in would be a deep, meaningful one of renewal and a refreshing breathe for all of us. I’m also praying a fresh experience of the generosity of God towards us in the gospel would produce an open handedness in our lives where we acknowledge that every “good gift and perfect gift comes from above.” Paul understood this in his second letter to the church at Corinth when he links their generosity to the generosity of God. He exclaims, “thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” after he has reminded them that God does not need our generosity, but he does get glory from multiplying our little into more than we could ever comprehend. He writes,
“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For this ministry of service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.” (2 Cor. 8:10-13)
This passage has always been true and we’ve always believed it, but these last few weeks we have been tasting it and experiencing it doing a work in us as we’ve witnessed the love and generosity of so many people towards us.
As most of you know, we hosted our first Vision Dinner a month ago back in East Tennessee. What a special night! We had over 120 people join us as we shared a meal and shared a glimpse of what God has been up to these months as we prepare for The Oaks Church to become a reality in Denver. We were also able to introduce a portion of our team (who will each be writing a ‘guest post’ in the coming months, so you will be ‘meeting’ them soon!), and spend time in worship and prayer for Jesus to be enjoyed through the multiplication of churches through The Oaks! It was definitely one of those moments we will forever look back on as pivotal in our journey.
I also want to provide a snapshot of where we are in terms of financial provision from partners who are called to invest in The Oaks. Our financial goal for 2018 is to raise $100,000 in monthly partners as well as $20,000 in one-time gifts for our start-up expenses.
The $100,000 includes my salary/benefits (which is set through the Send Network alongside our sending church, Tri-Cities) and an initial ministry operating budget which includes hospitality, loving & serving our neighbors, resources to get the word out about church, and initial start-up expenses.
By 2019 our goal will increase to ~$175,000/year due to legal fees, increased ministry budgets, and the inflated real estate cost of leasing a space to gather within the city of Denver.
Here’s where we are to date:
~$14,000 in one-time gifts
~$5,200 in monthly partnerships
$12,000 annually for specific use for our global partnerships/sending strategy among the nations (separate from our budgeted needs)
This means we are trusting God to provide for 2018 through His people an additional…
$6,000 in one-time gifts
$3,100 in monthly partnerships
We know partnering financially with us is not something everyone ought to do, but we do want to invite you to prayerfully consider investing in the vision & mission of The Oaks Church for the glory of God, the good of Denver, and the joy of all nations!
If you would like to begin investing monthly gifts or contribute a one-time gift, we would be deeply humbled and grateful!
Thank you for joining with us by staying informed and praying specifically for us!