Summary: God's Building Plan
Building and Being Built
This morning, you are on Holy Ground…in a sacred place where God touches people and heals broken hearts; where the Holy Spirit washes sin stained people, breaking addictions and restoring their God-given beauty and innocence. In this building, Jesus is very much alive and present, ministering to members and guests, old and young, giving us second chances and breathing new life into us. This is Holy Ground, where miracles happen and lives are changed. But let me ask you, “What did you think the first time you drove up this hill, turned the corner and saw this building”? Perhaps you heard something about there being a church up on the top of this hill, or you felt God leading you to drive up here to see if this is where He would establish a church. Whether you were one of the founding members of Shepherd Church or a guest, or if this is your first time here this morning, what did you think when you first saw this building? Honestly? Because I’ve asked that question many times and have heard a lot of responses, like: “So, Where’s the church?” or “This is a church?” or “Seriously?” or “What happened to the steeple?” or “That’s unique”, and my favorite, “Doesn’t look like a church.”
Two and a half years ago, God led a group of Jesus’ Disciples up that hill to this place, and at the time, it was empty; an unattractive building that had lost its purpose. But as if to give us a living metaphor of what God does to every human being who asks Him, God gave this old building new life. God gave this building a second chance and an eternal purpose; He gave this building a beauty that only God can give. That’s what God does to people, you know…. and sometimes to buildings as He grows His Kingdom.
And if you have been a part of Shepherd Church for any time, you already know that God is doing amazing things here on top of this hill. He has grown us far faster than any of us imagined (there are well over 300 active people who are a part of this Body). God’s Spirit has cultivated an atmosphere here that is unlike any most of us have known; where we are accepted and loved and welcomed and where people are not judged for who they are or what they have done, for what they wear or how they look. In a building where people used to buy mattresses, they now meet Jesus and experience a taste of the God’s love. In a building where folks used to shop for bargains, people discover the riches of free grace found in the cross of God’s Son.
For almost a year and a half, there has been an ongoing conversation, with a lot of excitement and a little trepidation about the need and the possibility of expanding these facilities; building additional classrooms and offices and bathrooms and a kitchen and Fellowship Hall. A lot of prayer and planning has gone into the process of preparing for this new building that we approved by an overwhelming congregational vote just last month. The Board and Finance Team are in talks with local banks, the Design Team has met with various builders, and the Building Team will soon be ready to move forward. ----This is no small thing, and so before we go to the next step, there are some things you should know: and I’m not talking about the dimensions of the building. I don’t mean the interior or exterior colors, or the architectural style…not even the cost. Those are all secondary matters. You know, the Bible says a lot about building, and so I want us to look at several principles in Scripture, about God, His people and building things.
1. Unless God is in it, it is an exercise in futility and failure. (Psalm 127:1-2) Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. Notice---not just the construction of a building; its everything, even watching over the people. Jesus put it this way, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” When God wants something to be built, He puts the dream in the hearts and minds of His people, and if it is going to be successful, if its going to honor God, if its going to accomplish God’s purposes—it needs to be God’s idea! The Bible says our ways are not God’s ways, and our thoughts are not God’s thoughts. (Isaiah) Now, we can just decide to build something for ourselves and on our own, but if it is OUR dream and not God’s dream, it is destined for failure.