whc weekly word – 3/18/21

God’s Timing and Faithfulness

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Planning for the future is the responsible thing to do. We do that on a daily basis, whether planning for long term goals or for the events of our daily lives. We make financial plans, plans for our education, plans our employment, work projects, trips, plans for our children and even for our daily activities, including our meals. One key thing to remember is that our plans should never be viewed as an absolute and we should never be unwavering with them. Even when things seem to be falling into place, just as we anticipated, God can bring those plans to a screeching halt. Sometimes those plans die in place, and other times, they are put on hold, temporarily. But in every case, when God is the reason for the halt, He either has a better plan for us or there is a better time for those plans. How do we respond when “our” plans get derailed? Do we readily accept that as God’s doing or do we get upset, angry, or discouraged?

We got to witness and be a part of something amazing that points to God’s sovereignty, his providence, grace, love, and faithfulness. A few years ago, Tim Burns (missionary in Japan) visited WestHill Church and shared his desire to move to Nagoya which was a booming city with huge potential for growth. He felt led to start a church there and even located an ideal facility that would meet all their needs, both for their family, the church plant, and a ministry that his wife Chie was leading.

Over the past couple of years he pursued purchasing this facility and over time, learned that this would not be possible since they required him to apply for 2 separate loans, one for his residence and another for the church. They could not afford 2 mortgages and didn’t qualify for those loans. They determined right away that this was not God’s plan for them and they continued serving at the church they were attending.

As we mentioned on Sunday, they were approached by the bank who owns that building and made an offer to them. An offer that was much better than any deals they were pursuing in the past. They were approved for a loan for the entire 3-story facility under a single residential contract, The interest rate offered to them was at 0.6 percent. If that wasn’t good enough, they could acquire the building and the loan if they could come up with $38,000 for the down payment. When the numbers were crunched, they also determined that their monthly mortgage payment would be less than what they are currently paying for their current location. This would allow them to pay off the loan ahead of schedule. Tim and Chie were really excited about this, and praised God for this opportunity, but still pursued it with the attitude that if this is God’s will, He will make it happen. And if not, then they were ok with that. They still had to come up with the $38,000 down payment and had to do so in a span of 2 1/2 weeks. Lamentations 3:25-26 instructs us on this same kind of attitude. The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

We presented this situation to the congregation on Sunday, to be praying for them and to be praying about opportunities to financially support this endeavor. I received a message from Tim on Tuesday evening, just 4 days after sending out the initial email to the church and just 2 days after our Sunday announcement, that they had reached their goal of raising the $38,000. This immediately brought joy and praise to my heart as I’m sure it does to you as you read this. What an amazing God we serve. Not only was this exciting to hear, it was such a blessing to know that God allowed us to be a part of it. Your prayers and support made a difference and was such an encouragement to Tim and Chie. Your faithfulness and love for them and the work that they are doing does not go unnoticed and you are deeply appreciated by them.

They actually exceeded the amount needed for the down payment and are now looking at being able to get some of the renovations needed. The down payment seemed to be such a huge endeavor that they didn’t even want to think about the renovations until they knew they would get the building. Now they have the ability to get started on some of those. That being said, I know some of you were still asking how to make your contributions, and didn’t get a chance to do that yet. Feel free to continue with your support to get them to the next phase of their ministry. For those who are still asking how to support financially, you can do so through our website. This is the easiest and quickest method and all contributions need to go through their sending agency, Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society (JEMS). Tim and Chie Burns will be the first one that pops up. Click on their name and it will take you to their page which has a donate scroll across the top.

Nothing is too big or attainable for our God, and I am reminded of His faithfulness and the many promises in Scripture about pursuing Him and His will. Doing this with the right attitude is pleasing to God. We should be amazed but never surprised at God’s provision.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Bryan