In Touch August 21, 2009
Posted on August 21, 2009 by under Touché,

“4 AM with Abraham Lincoln” 

At four in the morning I was awake with Abraham Lincoln, reading about Salmon Chase going to Ohio and starting his campaign to challenge Lincoln for the presidency in 1864.  Why do I give you this little picture of my study last night?  It is not the content of my reading, but the reason for my reading that I share with you this morning.  I had a restless night of sleep as I reflected on our consistory meeting Tuesday,  worrying about our finances.  It is not so much our finances for this year: We are currently running about 3% behind our giving last year and our budget plan is for us to have a 3 % increase in our giving this year.   The economy is tough and it can be expected that we would have some challenges, but I am confident about the generosity of Hopewell in the coming months.  We will meet the challenge for 2009.  I am sure of it.    


But as we look to the challenge of 2010 we have some greater mountains to climb.  Our “Next 250” campaign gave us resources for three years as we developed one church in multiple sites.  We had money set aside in the Ministry Development fund that supplemented our income to ensure that we could launch these projects and hire new staff.  We planned to draw down that money, but we are trusting God for an increase in giving and growing that would match the money that we were drawing down.  Our worship attendance has increased by 2 percent so far this year, and we see new people coming to HRC at all sites every week.  What we had not planned on was an economy that would be decimated the way it has been,  causing our investments to stagnate and flatten our giving.  That bigger picture of 2010 is what had me reading Lincoln last night.


Jesus said if you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain “Move!” and it will move.  Our faith will surely be tested in the months ahead, planning for the year to come.  I make you aware of all this in August, because we need to get those mustard seeds planted now to discern God’s movement.  Please pray for good nights of sleep as we plan our approach to ascend this peak.  I thank you for your faithfulness and the ways that God has worked through you.  I thank God for the things that God will do, things that we cannot even see at this point.


I am not sure yet how the 1864 election turned out.  Chase is trying to outmaneuver Lincoln, but fortunately I was asleep before that chapter.


Yours in Faith,