Some More Ramblings. . . This Time on Sacrifice

When we started this church, twenty-one short month ago, I, along with several other church leaders (11 families in total), had to take a risk everything and quit ours jobs. Some from that initial team took new jobs in the marketplace, and others came to work here at Northgate—though they didn’t get paid for some time. For me and my family, quitting my job was a really big deal financially. My wife is a stay at home mom, for which I’m grateful. She works very hard and she holds the craziness of our lives together. However, because she stays at home, we don’t have any other income whatsoever. And, back in those first months, when I finally got paid, I didn’t receive a full paycheck, but experienced a 30% cut in my overall compensation. It was tough. Now, before that time, Sarah and I had made an agreement with God that we would increase our giving every year by one percentage point of our income. . .  every year, no matter what, so long as we were working. Within the first few months of starting Northgate, we had a decision to make. Do we increase our giving or do we just go back to the tithe (10%)? It was a tough decision. We didn’t know how we were going to pay our bills. We didn’t know if we’d be able to pay our mortgage.  And, the idea of giving something like 17% of our significantly reduced income back to God seemed literally impossible.

And so, I said to Sarah in a moment of weakness, “Let’s go back to 10%.  Let’s go back to the tithe.” But my wife (who is more faithful than I) said to me, “No. We made a promise to God. God’s provided for us in the past.  He’ll provide for us in the future.”  And so, together, we prayed an impossible prayer and God provided.

Now, of course, we did our part too.  We cut back. We cancelled our season tickets. We went to less plays and games. We bought cheaper food at the grocery store. We went out to dinner hardly at all (unless we had a gift card from someone). When we went on dates, we took walks instead of going to coffee. We cancelled our annual summer vacation, indefinitely postponed our 10 year anniversary trip, and held onto one of our cars longer than we would have. Still, we paid all of our bills on time and we were in the black every single month.

And, when I stood a few weeks ago on the stage at Northgate on Easter Sunday and watched over 40 people give their lives to Christ in one morning, and 225 people in the past 21 months do the same. . . let me tell you, it was worth every dollar sacrificed.

Before God do an impossible work in your world, he has to do an impossible work in you. For me, it was in the area of giving. As we wrap up our building project, “Not to Us”, ask God what he wants you to give over the next three years. It just might surprise you. When he tells you, don’t just laugh it off. Write that number down, do what you need to do, make the necessary sacrifices, and watch God do the impossible. See you this Sunday for Celebration Sunday—a milestone in Northgate’s short history!

Not to us. . .

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