Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Silver Lining to the Slump?

The church is people, not buildings, but the people still need a place to meet.

Looking at some real estate for the next congregation that Christ Church NYC wants to plant, we saw some very well located space in Manhattan. There was serious conversation about paying $10 per square foot for it.

That's not missing a zero. Elsewhere in the city, rents can begin at $100/sq ft.

So the massive blowout for companies here might make it possible for the church to offer more for folks who have been laid off! I can't decide if this is ironic, wonderful or sad, or all three.

But I think I've been spending too much time looking at office space, space for the church to meet, etc. The last time I looked at the descriptions of the New Jerusalem in Rev 21, I thought, wow, Grade A space!

Strength in Weakness

At some Bible studies this week, I'll be leading discussions on Judges 6-8, the account of Gideon. Like every hero in the Old Testament, you can't really follow his life as a model of faith in an unqualified way. There are great moments of trust in God, and boldness, but the man didn't really finish well. His family was a terrible mess, and that played out at the end of his life and into the next generation. The wealth he accumulated from his great early success proved to be a snare for him, and others, too.

Yet overall Gideon is a great example of faith -- because God's power was shown through Gideon's weakness. So we learn from his triumphs as well as being warned by his falls. And more importantly, we get an early glimpse of how God operates.

As Paul wrote later, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

Last chance to try for the book -- my blog tells me many people have looked at the quotation, but no one has felt bold enough to give a guess! Read up on Gideon and get inspired for boldness...