The Master Architect
Can you briefly give a history of the fellowship where you are now?
As you know, an architect in any civilization will look at the environment. A good architect who builds or designs houses and buildings will look at the environment and build something that fits with that environment. There are many famous architects…
Yes, and with perspective.
With perspective, exactly. In a place like this with palm trees and coconut trees, would you put up a straight tall building that’s bright, shiny silver with a spiral staircase in the center? A good architect wouldn’t do that because it doesn’t fit and doesn’t make any sense.
I’m saying this before I answer your question because the Master Architect, the great High Priest and Architect of our faith will build something different in every single place that He is. Every house is different, but the principles will be the same. Such as, you better put footers down when you build. You better dig deep and find solid ground if you can. You go as deep as you can, because if you don’t go deep then you can’t go high. That’s an architectural principle.
Every house and every building looks different. A good architect might put a different looking house in a different environment, but the principles are always obeyed. For example, if you want to go high you have to dig deep. You have to build it to withstand the winds and the rains. You have to find out what kind of environment it is. If you have earthquakes in your environment, then you build differently than if there were no earthquakes.
Where I live, many tornadoes come through. There are no hurricanes or typhoons there because we are too far inland. So an architect considers the principles of what’s needed in constructing a building that will have to deal with tornadoes, not hurricanes. Other parts of the world have very few tornadoes so that doesn’t have to be taken into account.
In every city or country that we are involved with, God began things in different ways. For that reason, how He began with us isn’t as important as the principles that He will use everywhere He builds. And I would suggest that those principles are the kinds of things that we’ve been talking about over the last few hours—obedience to God rather than ideas about God and relationship rather than attendance.
How will God begin things or how will He grow things in any given environment? I’m so reluctant in my heart to even say much about that. As humans we are all so easily enamored with the latest book about “church growth” or the latest concepts and ideas about how to start something and how to do this and how to do that.
“First you do this and here are all the rules.” Have you heard any rules today? No, you haven’t, and we’ve talked for hours!
Have you heard any rules at all about “how to…” or, “First you do this, and then you do that…” I don’t think you’ve heard any rules. I sure hope not. But we have talked about principles that are dear to God’s heart. And the more you line up with God’s principles the more He can work out His own ways as the great High Priest and Architect in the environment where you live.
You’re coming from a world that’s primarily Roman Catholic. I was Roman Catholic for twenty years so I understand something about that. I went to mass every single day for years and years and years. And no matter how many drugs or how much alcohol I did, I was right there at mass on Sunday morning.
I’m serious! I thought that was an okay way to be. No one ever told me anything different. When I found Jesus (or rather Jesus extended to me and I responded by His Grace), everything in my life changed. My language changed. I used to say curse words in every sentence! I couldn’t help it. It was such a habit…curse words, curse words. Every sentence had curse words. I got drunk 40 nights in a row when I was at college. I literally set the school record for getting drunk. A few years later I fasted 40 days because my life belonged to Jesus. Though I never thought of it at the time, by God’s grace He erased 40 days of drunkenness with 40 days of worship and fasting and prayer. God does these miracles, but it’s so different for everybody.