Living in the book of Acts...
Four weeks ago, we were experiencing a financial hemorrhage the likes of which we’ve yet to face. The bleeding wasn’t stopping and the infrastructural vitality of our body was weakening by the week. For whatever reason, numbers went down for 6 straight weeks from the end of May through the month of June leading into the first weekend of July, which was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Our offering on the first weekend of July was less that $7,500 which is nearly $5,000 less that our weekly need. The 5 weeks prior to that were averaging a paltry $9,200 each week, which was slowly draining all of our cash reserves. Each week we were praying for a reversal in the trend, but each week we were seeing an increased drop off in attendance and tithing. After the first week of July and the backbreaking $5,000 shortfall, we had several emergency meetings with leadership teams seeking counsel from each other as well as wisdom from God. We fasted and prayed and sought the face of God on what he would have us do. Through our times in the Word, in prayer and with each other, God was revealing his heart to us for the weeks to come.
In fact, one evening I was sitting all alone in my living room literally sick to my stomach with anxiety and pressure wondering aloud to God, “I don’t know what to do and I’m not sure I’m equal to the task in front of me.” As I was sitting there looking out the window I sensed God speak into my heart, “Just tell the people the need and let them give.” It was almost so simple that it felt stupid, but the minute I sensed Him press that into my heart, a peace came over me instantaneously that released my stomach of knots and my head of clutter. God very clearly was afoot.
I look back now in amazement at the unfolding miracle of God in the last 3 weeks. We have averaged almost 14,500 dollars a week in tithes and the sacrificial offering in the first two weeks has been $46,525! This is nothing short of a modern day miracle! Typically we have about 70-80 giving units a week, but this past week we had 116 which shows the amount of new people putting skin in the game and tithing, which for some is probably the first time in their life they’ve ever tithed! It is this kind of radical obedience berthed by the Holy Spirit recently that has left us speechlessly humbled!
This is all the more extraordinary when you consider that July is cyclically the worst month of the year for giving and attendance, and yet our attendance has gone up nearly 25% and our tithing nearly 100% when it should be going down! And all this happening while we’re talking about the single most unpopular subjects known to mankind, “Tithing and Sacrifice”. Did you get that? The worst season of the year + the most unpopular topic = the best month we’ve had in the history of our church financially speaking. This is worth celebrating as a supernatural act of God Himself. Only he could do such a thing is such a time as this. We know this with all our heart.
This may not mean much to you, but this is drop dead, jaw dropping power in my opinion! People have been living out the rabid early church practices of selling possessions, land, and vehicles...tapping into their 401k's, retirement and savings...and coming up with the most crazy fund raisers your could ever imagine in your wildest dreams. Suffice it to say that it's been like living in the book of Acts.
Now I know why Acts is one of my favorite books in the Bible.
Miracles don't happen all the time, but when they do, they are nothing if they aren't life-saving.