I am grateful to God for the numerous ways He is blessing our church and using us to reach many with the grace gospel of Jesus. It is a good problem when you cannot keep up with all the great things God is doing! We are sending mission teams all over the world. Our students had a great week on mission in Houston this week as Daniel led about 50 people on this endeavor. Ross will take a team to Burbank, California on Saturday to help one of our church plant partners. Bud Bruner is getting his team ready to go to Maui. Terry Hurt and Mike Mericle are gearing up for what I believe will be the best mission trip yet to South Asia among our UUPG. I am taking a quick trip to Peru next week to help one of our Great Hills ministry partners, Finny Matthews. We will be teaching pastors as well as providing other ministries. Close to home, Susan Murray and her team continue their great work in east Austin providing VBS to children. And I am sure this is not all of the teams and people representing our radiant church as we shine outward for our Lord. Will you join me in praying for these teams?
Thank you for your patience as we make improvements on our church campus. In addition to the new flooring, you will soon see new audio and video equipment being installed in the worship center, a new coffee shop, and new library. Phase one of Building Vision continues to go very well. Thank you for your sacrificial giving which enables us to do all this without borrowing any money to do it! I want to give a special “thank you” to all our worship and media staff and the many volunteers who are helping us greatly and saving us much money. We appreciate you very much.
Occasionally we get the question as to why we are making these upgrades on our campus while we are in debt. That is a fair question; allow me to answer. The remodels and upgrades to our campus are needed and the longer we delay, the more expensive it will become. Also, we are on a very aggressive plan to eliminate our debt completely. When I first came as pastor six years ago, our debt, including the $2 million penalty, was $9 million. Yes, you read that correctly! Currently the debt is under $6 million (including the penalty), but in just over four years three major things will happen:
- The $2 million penalty will go away. This is the only reason we have not totally committed to paying off the debt. To do so would mean we would have to pay this substantial breakage fee. However, if we wait until the loan matures in 2020, the penalty goes away.
- Starting in 2018, we will begin receiving money from the ground lease of the four acres on the northeast corner of our property. In September 2020, we will sell the land and, as a result, will be debt free with money in the bank.
- As a result of being debt free, we will no longer owe the $57,000 a month which we are currently paying and will continue to pay until 2020. God is providing; we have a plan; keep being faithful and trusting God and behold the mighty things He will continue to do!
We will continue our study in the life of Joseph this Sunday with a message entitled “Grace, Grace” (part 2). Our text is Genesis 44:25-34. Many of you are inviting people to join you on Sundays as evidenced by the number of people who came on Sunday, and that is exciting. Please keep inviting and investing in others as we grow and touch many people with the good news of Jesus and His love. And remember this Sunday is our Change-Your-World Offering, so please bring your loose change and help our benevolence ministry. Thank you.
1 Corinthians 2:9