Over a year ago someone completely and thoroughly damaged and destroyed the outside of our church sanctuary. They ripped up the pavement. They knocked down coverings over sidewalks. They ripped up the concrete walkways. They even ripped out pews, ripped up carpet, tore down lights, ripped sheetrock off the ceiling, pulled insulation out of the ceiling, and tore off a couple of the front doors.
You may be asking, “Shouldn’t you have called the police, the sheriff, the FBI, or at least the local security guard employment agency?” That might be true any other time, but this was different. The culprits of all this destruction on our church’s campus were concrete companies, electricians, demolition experts, and builders. You see, in about eighteen months, in the place of all this destruction, we received a beautiful new church sanctuary and campus front. You can go to www.greenacresbc.com and see what it looks like now. But…for a while, it was a mess!
I guess I am a little surprised at just how much destruction must take place for beautiful construction to result. All the beauty of our new sanctuary and campus at Green Acres never would have happened if we were not willing for the mess and ugliness of demolition and destruction to take place.
Is that not how God works? So much of what God does in our lives for His glory and our good happens from some of the most destructive experiences. Once upon a time there was a church in its infancy all gathering in a city called Jerusalem. God’s power was evident, and thousands of people were joining.
The church grew and additional administrators had to be chosen in order to handle ministry tasks and funds. Seven men were chosen, and one of those men was named Stephen. He was a powerful preacher, and leader in the church. Some of the religious leaders of the time hated Stephen so much that they decided to stone him to death. It was an awful sight as Stephen – being pelted with large rocks and stones – called upon God and died.
As Stephen died, the Bible makes a footnote about a young man named was Saul, and he held the coats of the stone throwers. Saul also launched a persecution against Christians that was concentrated in Jerusalem. Up to that point, the Christians had been primarily positioned in Jerusalem. In Jerusalem the church gathered regularly. Christians having trouble eating were assisted by other church members. Fellowship was so sweet in this new church that most of these Christians had no intention of going outside of Jerusalem. After all, why would they when things were so good in Jerusalem?
There was only one, small problem with this situation. Jesus had guaranteed that the Gospel would be carried into the world. If Christians stayed in Jerusalem, how would the message of Christ be spread? This is where Stephen’s death, and the persecution came in. Because persecution was so heavy, many Christians ran out of Jerusalem and scattered like seed. In part, the persecution was how God began carrying the message of salvation into the world beyond Jerusalem.
So…as it was then…it is now. God may bring what seems to be destruction in order to construct someone for His will. What destruction is happening in your life right now that God may be using to bring you to Himself?