Everyone at Ignite is involved in developing the biggest evangelistic youth outreach for a generation. It is exhilirating, exciting and not a little scary!
At the beginning of the year we took a day out and committed it to prayer and fasting. The question that I wanted answering was a big one but a simple one. Was igniteHope 2012 something that was on God's agenda or was it just a worthy developed by Ignite. In truth by the end of the day we had not heard from God on this. However, as the week progressed there were numerous ways that God made His will known. Not least being increased bookings, churches signing up and cheques in the post.
Let me be honest in saying that although IgniteHope is a joy, it is not without its challenges. One of them is paying all the bills. This is the biggest project we have ever undertaken and we need to find a significant amount of extra cash. For a small organisation like us this would be challenging enough but in the middle of a worldwide economic crisis it is even more challenging.
However, in simple terms I believe that where it is His will it is His bill!
A few weeks ago I met with a bunch of guys at Band of Brothers. They asked what they could pray for. I asked them to pray that we could meet payroll the next day. To be honest I knew we were short but I had no idea by how much. When I enquired the next day how much we had allocated for salaries I was shocked to discover we had only £185! I would like to tell you that we had a cheque in the post that morning that resolved the problem. The truth is that we needed to be more creative than that. We needed to claim gift aid, move money from one account to another and a number of other things I cannot now recall. However it did mean that I signed all the cheques within 2 hours!
In church the previous day, Pastor Steve Ball preached on giving and finance. One of the key verses about God's provision came from Exodus 36: 5-7
5 and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done.”
6 Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, 7because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work. Imagine being part of a project that had more income than was needed? Wow!
As part of that we were asked to make a declaration. It was:
As we receive today's offering
we are believing the Lord for:
Jobs & better jobs
Raises & bonuses
Benefits, sales & commissions
Estates & inheritances
Rebates & returns
Cheques in the mail
Gifts & Surprises
Debts paid off
Blessing & increase
Thank you ,Lord, for meeting all of my financial needs that I might have more than enough to give into the Kingdom of God & promote the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Lesley & I give our tithe monthly to the church but I felt a prompt to empty my pockets into the offering basket. That evening we had one of the occasional "Sunday in the City" prayer gatherings. I was asked to share something about IgniteHope. I chose Hebrews 11:1 as my introduction.
" Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." It was natural to share this as we could not humanly see how it would be done but God was in charge.
The next day during team prayers at 9am I was prompted to share the same verse but emphasised that the key to how much faith we had was related to the confidence & assurance that we have. As a result of this I declared that we would pay the marquee bill by Wednesday. Also a bill for the deposit for the ourdoor stage that had arrived would be paid by Friday. We all agreed on this and declared that we had faith that God would supply for all our needs! I decided to plot our journey on twitter and facebook so that friends could watch how God provided for us. It was at this point that Lois Seco was prompted to tell me that she had felt God tell her that the Exodus 36 scriptures were for IgniteHope.
So back to the marquee bill..... What I was unaware of was money had been trickling in and we were £240 pounds away from being able to pay the bill. The post arrived and there was an anonymous cheque for £240! By lunchtime I had signed the cheque. As we were busy praising God, I remembered to update my twitter followers and facebook friends. The news encouraged many but it also reminded one of our site managers that he had a bill that he had forgotten to submit for over £900. With this timely reminder he called the office.
We surround ourselves with great people. It is one of the joys of ministry to be labouring with special people. Now this particular guy, although he had forgotten to tell us about this important deposit was kind enough to offer to write a personal cheque for the bill as a loan. Honestly, my initial reaction was to accept this but I felt a check in my spirit that we should invite him to join our journey.
By Wednesday, God had provided enough income for us to pay the deposit for the stage (remember I had said it would be paid by Friday at the latest). Thursday saw me travel up to London. I met a couple of guys on the train both of whom were excited about what God was doing as they had heard through twitter. Later in the day the office called to tell me that the final deposit was on my desk waiting to be signed! We had seen Him meet every need. We had no money left but we also had no debts either!
The next day at team prayers, Chris who is only in on that day said that God had reminded her of a story from the bible. Although she could not remember where it was it was about the builders telling Moses they did not need any more gifts to build the temple. I was of course able to remindf her it was Exodus 36. The others in the team were excited, as I was, that this was God re-confirming His promise.I got a call from a friend who had heard the story. He was kindly offering a £1,000 donation & he was willing to get it to us that day. I was able to say that he could send it at his leisure as we had enough. (again reminiscent of Exodus 36).
As we continue this journey, each day there seems to be something that is challenging us. However we are certain that we are on the right road and in all of our ways He will make our paths straight.