The series is called Imagine²: The Power of Everybody, and so far we've looked at the power of everybody to: Dream a Bigger Dream, Bridge the Gap, Hold Out Hope, and Challenge a Culture.
Our dream is not merely to reach to people of Lexington, or even the tri-city area: we are reaching out to the world via internet ministries and partnerships with churches in Africa and a broadcast ministry in India.
We desire to reach out to all people, and were challenged to find the lines in our hearts that define those who we just wouldn't associate with (even those confused people who don't know that the Cowboys are America's team, to quote Pete), and erase those lines. In discussing this with Tigger, I found a line in my own heart: mean people.
We learned about the church's mission and role, holding out hope in a messed up world.
And last week, we discussed challenging a culture of success, of ladder-climbing, of materialism.
The dream includes an extension to our existing building, and yes, there's a building campaign. The goal is impossible - to raise $8.625 million in three years - and our verse is Matthew 19:26: Jesus looked at them intently and said, "Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God, everything is possible."
At the end of last week's sermon, Pete announced how much money the 101 families of leaders in the church are stepping out and committing to give: $6.923 million, planning to sell houses, turn over retirement funds, college funds, and make deep lifestyle sacrifices to be able to give money instead to the church.
So this week, it's our turn to pledge our numbers. I've been talking this over with Flar, who is now convinced that all our leaders have "drunk the Kool-Aid." But we've found places in our budgets, where I can make sacrifices and stick to a tighter budget, and where he is willing for me to give the savings to the church.
I'm giving up my Diet Dr. Pepper habit. It sounds trivial, but I'm saving $11/week, which adds up to $1716 for the three year campaign. I'm rediscovering ice water.
I'm giving up my acrylic nails and salon hairstyling. Last year, I spent $1576.48, which adds up to $4729 for the three years. I have fingertips again.
Last night, I talked over with Flar which parts of our budget he thought we could move to a cash-basis. We agreed on a cash allowance for my clothing purchases, dining out, fast food, DVDs and going out to the movies. The savings compared to last year will add another $87/month, which adds up to $3132.
We've agreed on how much of my (extremely variable) income should be part of our budget, and the rest is available for giving. Anything I sell in garage sales, or save by using grocery coupons can be given.
So now I'm mulling over my own number. I have a basis. I have a variable source for more. I'm praying about what number to step out in faith, and trust that God will provide.
And, I get to be part of a miracle at Quest.