How many of us know the wonderful feeling of having a paid-off mortgage?  Given the youthfulness of our church family, most of us are probably still a long way from this goal.  But for those of you who have experienced this blessing, congratulations!  You know the elation of reaching this milestone.  May you enjoy the fruit of your hard work and faithfulness.  For the rest of us, may God bless our labors as we strive toward that end.

Do you all know that very soon, we could have our church “mortgage” paid off?  That’s right — at our current rate of giving, we could be debt-free in a little over two years.  However, we could also do it sooner than that.  We could be debt-free by the end of 2011 if we pray faithfully, sacrifice accordingly, and give generously.

Our existing church debt is from the construction of our bus barn and the adjacent parking lot across from the church, on the other side of Calhoun Road.  This work was completed in 2005, during the time when Morningview was without a senior pastor, just before I arrived in 2006.  This was a great undertaking at a time when the church was in transition.  The original loan amount was $485,000, and the existing balance on this loan is about $119,000.  That means that we have been able to pay off $366,000 in just six years — to God be the glory!

Due to the faithfulness of members who have been giving above their normal tithes and offerings, we have paid extra principal over the entirety of the loan.  We make a monthly payment of about $4,600, and over $4,200 of that goes toward the principal.  That means that at our current level of giving, we could have the total paid off in about 28 months.

BUT I WOULD LIKE TO ISSUE A CHALLENGE.  I would like us all to make our giving towards our building program a matter of prayer.  I would be the first to tell you that Morningview is a very generous church.  We are blessed with numerous faithful saints who, regardless of the level of their means, give faithfully and sacrificially every week.  We have also added a lot of New Members in the past 5 years, and I would guess that they also give faithfully.  But many of our members, both our long-term members and new members, may not be fully aware of how they can be a part of us becoming debt-free by the end of the year.

On all of our offering envelopes, there is a second line where the amounts are entered.  This line is labeled “GROWING IN GRACE.”  We should all be faithful to give regularly and sacrificially (in terms of our tithes and offerings) to our “Budget Offering.”  This offering provides for the church’s budget that the congregation approves every year — this covers our normal week-to-week ministry expenses.  But our building programs are not part of our church budget.  We meet that responsibility solely through the gifts given to “Growing in Grace.”  Here’s where you can be part of the blessing, if you are not already.

Whenever Morningview has undertaken building programs, we have gathered for a time of vision casting, prayer, and commitment.  Those who are currently giving to “Growing in Grace” are those who prayerfully made the commitment to support the needed expansion of our parking and the construction of a facility for our church buses.  If you are not currently one of these generous members, I want to challenge you to become one.

If you are a more recent member of Morningview (you have joined in the past 5 years) or if you are a longer-termed member and are not currently giving to this need, then please prayerfully consider giving above your normal tithes and offerings by designating additional funds to “Growing in Grace.”  We all enjoy the benefits of ample parking and church transportation when it is needed.  We all enjoy the blessings God has afforded through our assets and facilities here.  So please consider what you and your family can give to “Growing in Grace” so that we can be debt free this year.

The note for the loan has to be renewed this November, likely for a higher interest rate than the one we have currently.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to burn the note because we have paid it off rather than renewing it?  So let’s pray, sacrifice, and give.  And to God be the glory!  I love you all!