Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.
Dear Bethlehem family,
It would make my heart sing to look out on 3,500 of you from all three campuses in one place worshiping our great God and Savior Sunday night, November 20, at 6pm at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Our church turned 140 years old this year! That is amazing! Christ purchased his church with his own blood, and he loves her. O how he loves her! Warts and all. He is committed to her with everlasting love. 140 years of his overwhelming faithfulness!
We want to gather in one place, and with one voice say: We thank you! We praise you! We love you! We trust you!
Children and adult choirs from all campuses will help us. A video of the history of the church will show us the story. And I will preach from the all-precious Word that has been our pillar of truth for all these years.
As always, gratitude for bygone past grace will catapult us into hope for future grace. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. In fact, for the Christian, the best is always yet to come.
Part of God’s future for us is positioning the South Campus for maximal long-term, Christ-exalting impact. More than 800 people regularly worship and serve at the South Site (Burnsville High School). They have been there for over five years.
I believe the collective sense of our whole church is this: We love you, Bethlehem South! We want you to have a place of your own—the kind of place for worship and service like we enjoy North and Downtown. We are thankful for your patience. We are excited for your future.
Do we believe God could do something absolutely extraordinary in the special offering we will take that night? I am praying he will. We estimate the final outlay for the South Campus land to be somewhat in excess of $1,000,000.
Could we raise that in one night? Yes. With some really big gifts! And lots of middle-size gifts. And a whole lot of smaller gifts. Then stir in the inexplicable—the miracle factor of God’s good hand. A million dollars! With man, impossible. But not with God.
This is a TCT offering. Treasuring Christ Together is our vision for Christ-exalting growth through multiplying campuses, church planting, and caring for the poorest of the poor. So the offering will go 90% for purchasing a location for the South Campus, 5% for Church Planting, and 5% for the Global Diaconate (for the poorest of the poor).
Husbands and wives, pray together about this, and ask your heavenly Father what he wants you to give. Children talk to your parents about your part. Single people, you are free to deal with God deeply in your own soul about your own money. But let’s all stretch. Let’s do something “beyond our ability” (the way they did in 2 Corinthians 8:3). Let’s ask God for something amazing. He loves to work wonders for those who wait for him.
In the next several months, we will be saying more about the full plans for the South Campus, and the plan to raise the funds for it. We will be tying all this in to Bethlehem’s “Antioch Moment” that I preached about last April.
For now, we want to thank God for his 140 years of amazing grace. And we want to show him that we are not like Judas but like Mary (John 12:3–6). We love Jesus, not money. We want our “lavish affection” to overflow in lavish generosity. We want to say: We can let this money go, because we love your name and your cause. And we believe you will take care of us.
The usual Sunday evening service that night is canceled, so we can all be together at 6pm at the Convention Center on November 20. Would you put this on your calendar in big red letters? I am eager to see us all together. I am praying God will give me a crucial word for us for such a time as this. Please pray with me.
With affection and expectation,