Most of the world has been reading the headlines about Paris: The Cathedral of Notre Dame on Fire, the Yellow vest protestors burning cars and trashing store fronts on the Champs Elysées.
Disaster always grabs the headlines because bad news sells.
The work of God, however, continues to plow ahead in France, gaining territory one difficult inch at a time. Faithful men and women sacrifice what little they have so that a future generation will be inspired by their example of faith and perseverance.
In January of this year the Lord spoke clearly to me to challenge the members of our church to give sacrificially towards the building project. The sacrifice was to begin with Kathryn and I, then our leaders, and then the members of the church.
As I struggled with this challenge, I remember being invited to attend a Super Bowl party in the home of a multimillionaire in south Florida. I thought, anyone of these people could have written me a check for the $1.5 million building we were wanting to buy. And most of them wouldn’t have missed the money at all. But I had to go back to Paris and inspire our very young and very blue collar church to give sacrificially. It had taken our congregation more than 23 years to save up about $100,000. And by May 5 I needed to show the bank that we had about $350,000.
It tore my heart apart every time I heard stories of great sacrifice: the single mom giving a special gift beyond her means, numerous people giving the money they had saved up for a vacation, several giving to God their inheritance.
On May 5 when the workers had finished counting the money, we had raised about $10,000 above our goal. And whereas we still need to raise the money to put the architects to work, by the time you read this we should have signed the initial contract with the owners and the bank. Afterwards, the city officials must sign off on the sale before we can actually become the owners.
We are so very grateful for the many friends we have outside of our church in Paris who have sown into Phase 1 of this project. Thank you. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the funds came from the members themselves, who put their personal financial welfare on the line because they believed in a vision to reach The City of Lights with a message of hope.
The world may see Paris on Fire. But there is a different fire burning in the hearts of God’s people. The day will soon come when the headlines coming from France will not be about terrorist cells, but about terrorists coming to Christ. They will not be about the yellow vest protests, but about massive prayer meetings of God’s children calling out to God for a transformation. They will not be about an antagonistic political system seeking to silence the moral voice of Christians but their embrace of that voice. They will not be about the post-Christian culture of Europe, but the revival of genuine biblical faith among the youth and their determination to change the world around them.