Thursday, March 19, 2009

Arise and Build (2)

I read the following comment by a Christian sister at another blog regarding the $19 million raised for New Creation Church's building project:

"God doesn’t reside in a physical house of worship. He resides in your heart. Enough said."

While what this sister said is true, I feel that it is not enough said.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NLT)
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

1 Corinthians 14:26 (NLT)
Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done mus strengthen all of you.

Yes, there is no longer a need for a physical temple, like the one built by King Solomon, for God to reside in because God resides in our hearts and we are now temples of God BUT Hebrews 10:25 encourages us to meet together to encourage and strengthen one another, hence we need a physical location for that purpose.

Wherever the people of God meet together, there is the church - be it a rented shophouse, someone's home, a church building or even a grand cathedral. Then why does NCC need to spend a budgeted $500 million to build a meeting place? I have dealt with that issue from a practical and logistical point of view in an earlier post. However, it is interesting to note that the bible also recorded a case of someone facing the same problem as NCC - the necessity to build a bigger meeting place for a growing congregation:

2 Kings 6:1-2 (NLT)
One day the group of prophets came to Elisha and told him, “As you can see, this place where we meet with you is too small. Let’s go down to the Jordan River, where there are plenty of logs. There we can build a new place for us to meet.
“All right,” he told them, “go ahead.”

While some Christians agree that NCC needs a bigger meeting place, they think that $500 million is too much money to be spent on a church building, they think it is extravagant. I must stress again that NCC is NOT building a church building but a commercial complex with a retail and entertainment zone owned by its joint venture partner, CapitaLand and a civic and cultural zone (which includes a 5,000-seater auditorium which NCC will use for its Sunday services) owned by Rock Productions, NCC's commercial arm.

However, even IF the $500 million is used to build a church building, is it really wrong from a biblical point of view? King David wanted to build a house for God but God told him that his son, Solomon will be the one building it instead of him (1 Chronicles 17:11-12). Even though King David was not allowed to build the temple, he was the one who set aside all the construction materials necessary for building it, and look at what he set aside:

1 Chronicles 22:14-16 (NLT)
“I have worked hard to provide materials for building the Temple of the Lord—nearly 4,000 tons of gold, 40,000 tons of silver, and so much iron and bronze that it cannot be weighed. I have also gathered timber and stone for the walls, though you may need to add more. You have a large number of skilled stonemasons and carpenters and craftsmen of every kind. You have expert goldsmiths and silversmiths and workers of bronze and iron. Now begin the work, and may the Lord be with you!”

Do you know what is the price of gold today? It's about USD900 an ounce. 1 kilo is approximately 32 ounces, 1 ton = 1,000 kilos, so 4,000 tons = 4,000 x 1,000 x 32 = 128 million ounces, therefore 4,000 tons of gold is now worth about USD115,200,000,000 (how much is that? the number's mind boggling but I think it is definitely more than S$500 million).

$500 million does not seem so extravagant after all when compared to the house that King David wanted to build for God. Take note that God did not refuse to accept the house; He just did not allow David to build it because he has shed blood. God did not tell David, "No, you must not do this. It is too extravagant."

When you see the grand cathedrals like St Paul's Cathedral in London (pic left), do you admire its beauty or do you say "It's too extravagant! This should not have been built in the first place!"



7 comments:

Daughter Of Sarah said...

Hahahahaha brilliant and yes it is a mind boggling number indeed!!! I think that's like USD$115b plus just for the gold!!!

Honestly if God did not will for us to go ahead to build this church, I doubt people would have been led to give as our sister Angie has testified on her blog. I doubt we would have been blessed and favoured so greatly so far.

People might call all that coincidence but to me, there are no coincidences in Christ.

At the end of the day, we have justified sufficiently our position but let us let Jesus be our advocate in this matter. We can say our piece but some people will be ok with it and others won't. We can't please anyone but we can continue doing what we need to do for Christ and be like Nehemiah. =)

Thy Word Is Truth said...

Hi Stanley,
I agree with your point, there is a need for a physical place or building for people of a church to gather. NCC or any other church for that matter is right to consider having their own building to meet this need. What people outside NCC, both public and professing Christians, don't quite understand is the need to spend the large amount of S$500 million.

Biblical based Stewardship applies to a Church, how a church leadership uses its money or expense capital budget (capex) needs sound stewardship of the money and resources at its hand. Biblical Stewardship means using it 100% wholly for God as He directs.

You see, any professing Christian organization has to answer to God in exercising good stewardship in the same way a Christian (such as yourself) uses money to meet your need for a car, your computer, your house, your clothing, your books and everything you have. A Christian's and Church's spending priorities must be examined and exercised in a way to meet Biblical Stewardship, the bible is very clear on this.

Can a $50 million or $100 building meets the need of NCC ? Well, to be fair, only NCC and its leadership know. When you have a NEED to carry 4 people to carry in a car from point A to point B, a Pastor can buy a Toyota sedan to meet this need. Alternatively, another Pastor may WANT a BMW "7 series" sedan to do the same thing and nothing less.

You may like to know that there are many brethens in nearby countries also needing a church building of their own:
"Right now, there are hundreds of congregations in Asia waiting for a church building, including some who lost their building during floods or attacks from anti-Christian extremists.

The good news is that it costs only about $11,000 to provide a simple church building where up to 300 people can worship together. These Christians, even though poor, are often willing to provide all the materials and labor they can. The church building, and the "family" it represents, mean that much to them."

Donate to Church Buildings http://www.gfa.org/churches

Shalom

Stanley Wong said...

Hi T.W.I.Truth,

"What people outside NCC, both public and professing Christians, don't quite understand is the need to spend the large amount of S$500 million."
---> please read my article "New Creation Church's Building Project", i have thoroughly explained the reasons in the article.

"Biblical based Stewardship applies to a Church, how a church leadership uses its money or expense capital budget (capex) needs sound stewardship of the money and resources at its hand."
---> please read my article "Arise and Build (1)

"Right now, there are hundreds of congregations in Asia waiting for a church building, including some who lost their building during floods or attacks from anti-Christian extremists."
---> are you suggesting that we build a church building for others first even though we do not have our own building yet? would you build homes for people made homeless by natural disasters first even if you do not have a home yourself? what would your family members say if you do that?

"These Christians, even though poor, are often willing to provide all the materials and labor they can. The church building, and the "family" it represents, mean that much to them."
---> a permanent location for church services also means a lot to NCC members and we are very willing to provide all the materials and labor we can. In fact, we have just provided $19 million in one day!

Daughter Of Sarah said...

Stan, we can explain all day long but if people have already made up their minds to judge us wrong, no use wasting our time =)

25% of the people will choose not to accept what we say, 25% are not totally agreeable but might agree here and there, 25% might be persuaded to agree with our view, and 25% agree with us stick by us all the way.

If people have chosen to disagree wholly and stand firm, let them be. Like I said, we cannot please everyone. The only thing that is needful for us is to do what God has called us to do and do it well for His glory! =)

Better to spend our time praising the LORD and seeking His Word too. =D

As seen from your above answer, you've already proven your point over and over again. Rest bro. Let Jesus make the point for Himself.

Shalom,
Geri

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Geri,

Don't worry, I am not trying to convince people like T.W.I.Truth to agree with me :-)

But I am not willing to let misleading comments, which seem to have some logic but are actually illogical when you probe deeper, go unchallenged in MY blog. After all, this is "The Logical Christian" ;-)

Angie said...

LOL! stan, you're not only logical, you're witty too (lor) :D

Daughter Of Sarah said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

AMEN Stan. True, true.

I agree with Angie, you have a huge dose of wisdom and wit. =)

May the LORD continue to enlarge your understanding of His grace. =D