A God Jealous for His Own Worship
As we prayed this morning, we were moved on several themes. Two of the themes resonated with me in ways they had otherwise not in the past; dependence on God’s provision for a new building and the desire for God’s fame above our own. As we prayed it felt as though God gave some insight as to why He has chosen to carry things out the way He has.
Dependence for a New Facility
We have prayed for God to provide us with the funds and property for a new building on a number of occasions. Blue Sky has steadily grown to a point where we feel the smallness and restriction of the building we are in. We long for a space to permanently call home and plant churches out of. We want a building that makes it easy for new guests and families to feel safe, that they might be more receptive to hearing the gospel as they visit any given Sunday. We have prayed for God’s blessing in this many times, but this morning something felt more fully revealed than it had in the past. Although I have rarely cared for money or felt troubled by financial canyons that seem impassible, I do frequently feel a true need and desperation for God’s action in bringing costly things to bear. Within the church I have sometimes puzzled at why we seem lacking in the resources we desperately need to make some of the giant strides forward it seems God has charged us to make.
QUESTION 1: Why, God, have you not supplied your church abundantly and clearly with the money for a new facility in this grossly expensive city you have sent us to?
Desire for God’s Fame
Another theme we prayed on was the importance of, and longing for, the fame of Jesus. Not the fame of any network, not any church, not any individual, but Jesus. As we prayed, we asked that the roots of this network would grow deeply and that they would be far reaching. We asked that He might use us over the next 200 years to spread a desire and passion for His name. That we would hold fast to biblical truth and be uncompromising in sound theology. As we prayed that, the inescapable reality that there is a generational ebb and flow of Jesus being worshiped was brought to mind. Some generations are filled with belief and pursuit of God, others are not. Some experience dramatic empowering of the Holy Spirit and see many miraculous signs and wonders, others don’t. So why is that? Why would it not be that God continuously builds the momentum of His church from generation to generation until it apexes at the 2nd coming of Jesus? If it is true that no generation has changed or created anything new about God, that He is the same yesterday, today and forever as revealed in scripture, and that all we do is follow the teachings of our timeless, eternal God, why would He not ordain the same favor generation upon generation in holding fast to Him?
QUETSION 2: Why, God, would it be that one generation you bless, from the other you withhold? Why look upon one, and turn your face from the other? Why not keep the momentum going?! Why not make it so that we never see a Jesus-loving-God-exalting-Holy Spirit- empowered church dwindle, drift or die?
Both of the questions above make me wonder, what purpose does God have in doing things the way he does? Isn’t there a much more effective route to take? Although there are 10,000 reasons and purposes behind every wave and move of God’s hand in his sovereign decisions and wisdom, I believe one substantial reason to be that he is a God JEALOUS for his own glory, and rightly so.
A Facility: In our best efforts to calculate and plan for funding a new facility, the fact is that, at the end of the day, the pooling of all our current resources would maybe buy us about 20-30% of a building in our city. The impossibility of the situation is glaring. The hope and beauty of the situation is that it leaves no room for a savior, other than our God, to provide us what we need. The direness of the situation has caused a great dependence on the action and provision of God in His people, not any individual or conventional wisdom. When we someday open the doors of a new facility to call our own and be firmly established in, there will be no mistake in who is honored and worshiped as the one who made it happen. No man will stand on the stage and be applauded. No man will have songs written about him and sung to him for providing so richly and extravagantly for God’s people. No man’s name will burn blazingly through all generations to come for what he has done; God’s will. God is jealous for His own glory, and in His sovereign choosing to currently withhold the necessary funds to move forward, He will receive much more glory on the day He when he provides for us and shows himself mighty and able to act and move as the God of this city.
God’s Fame: Regarding God’s decision to bless or withhold, to save or condemn, to build up or tear down with any given generation: what greater purpose in doing so than for God to be worshiped in both peaks and valleys as the only one with power to save? We see clearly that churches and networks have seasons, some last many more years than others. God chooses the length of those seasons. Through the blessing of God, there are some personalities, churches and movements that become firmly and famously established over many years. God determines who He uses as His hands and feet, how influential they are, and how long of a season they are to be used in that capacity. The only thing that is season-less, is God. He does not change. He does not fail. He is steady and true through all generations and there is no other equal to Him. As the waves and swells of movements and churches come and go the one who is worshiped and credited for all of them is God, not man. Out of the heartache and desperation produced by lulls, God’s people are utterly dependent and crying out to Him as the only one who can do anything to satisfy and save them. Out of the times of great joy and gratitude when there are swells of God’s blessing and times of favor, God’s people are utterly grateful and worship Him as the only one who was able satisfy and save them.
God is jealous for His glory. He is most fully glorified by His people when he is worshiped in both times of great need and times of great provision.