Fairfax Community Church was preparing to sell their building. They were literally located on a dead-end street. They planned to move to a location off a major highway in a fast-growing neighborhood. But, the phone rang. Lawyers were telling them that deed restrictions made it impossible to sell their building. Their enthusiasm deflated. That was that; they could not sell the building.
Fast-forward twenty years later. A new pastor arrives at Fairfax Community Church. The church sees remarkable growth. They outgrow their building. Because they cannot sell their building, they rent the High School auditorium. Their first service seemed to be a success. Their attendance doubled. But there were signs of trouble. Forty of their members did not make the move. Slowly, attendance at the High School service dwindled. They were forced to return to their building on a dead-end street, feeling humiliated and defeated.
The experience proved to be a time of transformation. Their pastor learned to rely less on his own competent abilities and more on God. This led the pastor to do something stupid. He actually took the church’s deed to a lawyer. The lawyer said they would have no problem selling the church. Thirty-nine years after the church had been told they could not sell their building, they dedicated their new facility on a major highway in a growing neighborhood. This church now has over 2,500 people in attendance. It is a healthy congregation with most of its members participating in small groups and a high portion participating in identified ministries. The story tells an important lesson: be careful what report you are listening to.
The Israelites under the leadership of Joshua were at a crucial crossroads. Would they cross over into the land God promised them? Almost forty years earlier, a report went out, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are (Numbers 13:31).” The people listened, and it cost them decades. This time, an entirely different report goes out, “Surely the Lord has given into our hand all the land… (Joshua 2:24).”
What report will you listen to? We may not have a physical land to invade, but we do have a mission to respond to. The world reports, “Anything worth getting is to be gotten by securing for yourself as much comfort, convenience, and ease in this life as your time here affords.” The Kingdom of God reports, “the only thing worthy of all our time, energies, and talents is the building up of God’s Kingdom on earth.” What report will you listen to?
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