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Participating in God's Economy

I read an article some weeks back that began with the words, “God is exceedingly rich. He is like a businessman who has an enormous amount of capital. He has a business in this universe and his vast wealth is his capital . . . all of this capital is simply himself.” Think about that. What is God’s “business?” In Matthew Chapter 16, Jesus’ words to Peter are,“I will build my church.”
Within this universe that God himself created ex nihilo, he is building something; his Church, the Body of Christ. He adds to his Church daily those who are being saved by grace through faith in his Son. And then, by his Holy Spirit in us, we are the Body of Christ and, miracle of miracles, God chooses to make his appeal for reconciliation through us.
Throughout the ages, that “appeal” has taken on different appearances and methods but the message is always the same. It is the simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is how God builds his Church and how we participate in the construction.
In our time and culture, capital (cash, money, assets) makes possible the spread of God’s love and his good news in many different ways. At First Presbyterian, we have invested in “building up” Gardere Christian Community School through educational excellence founded in the life of Christ. We’ve planted a church in New Orleans, the Church of the Resurrection, to bring Christ to so many who desperately need him. We have partnered for orphan care and education with Bethany Centre in Uganda and for the rescue of sex trafficked women through Global Transformation Ministries in Medellin, Colombia. 
Our “Building Up” effort in the fall of last year, exceeded our goal of $1.5 million by over $600,000. I pray that you were able to feel God’s pleasure with your cheerful giving. It is part of building up God’s  Church.
Even in the face of this seemingly never-ending pandemic, your faithfulness in giving to your church has made continuation of our worship, ministry and over 30 ministry partnerships in Baton Rouge uninterrupted. It is such a joy to see so many give so much for so great a cause as God’s purpose of building up his  Church. 
One last observation by your Ministry Executive. Each year almost 34% of our giving arrives at the end of the year in November and December. This means we run a deficit during the first ten months of the year. But we build our budget based on this dynamic. Likewise, a large number of us wait until as late as February to send in our estimates of giving (pledges). This means that we enter the new year not having yet received pledges from those who pledged last year. It is more comfortable to develop a budget based on pledges received rather than pledges not yet received. These two dynamics of pledging and giving certainly keep things exciting around our business office between November and February. But you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. Seeing your faithfulness year in and year out is such an incredible blessing and reminder that God will continue to build his Church and make his appeal through the likes of us. Happy New Year!