Our weaknesses and misgivings notwithstanding, nothing should be allowed to hold us back from attempting the apparently impossible when we know our Heavenly Father approves. We serve a great and powerful God and He is anxious to demonstrate His greatness through human beings just like you and me.
Matthew Barnett came to Los Angeles with a lofty dream: to establish a mega-church in the city of Angels. It wasn’t going to happen.
As Matthew was walking through Echo Park God gave him a new vision: to establish a ministry to the lost and hurting in downtown Los Angeles. It would not be a conventional church. He dreamed of establishing a hospital for the hurting, a place of physical, emotional, and spiritual healing for those in desperate need.
With a remarkable faith in the greatness of God, he was driven by a passion for the down-trodden in central Los Angeles. Like the Psalmist, “My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned” (Psa. 39:3). And then he learned the Queen of Angels Hospital, owned by the Catholic Church, was up for sale.
Reality says, “Don’t be a fool!” Faith says, “Why not!”
They were seeking to sell it for $25 million, and an offer was already on the table from Paramount Studios for $15 million. They made an offer of $3.9 million, not mentioning they only actually had $30,000 in the bank.
As recounted in her book, Willing to Walk, Caroline Barnett writes, “The nuns accepted their offer with one stipulation — the mortgage had to be paid off within eighteen months. Matthew and [his father] Tommy morphed into fund-raising roadrunners. For the next year and a half, they made phone calls, they traveled, and they talked to anyone who could help. At the eleventh hour, which seems to be God’s favorite time, the last $2 million came through.”
The history of Trinity Temple, the church I established in Camp Hill, PA. in 1968, was much more modest. But a crisis three years into our ministry was just as critical to our future.
Through a series of events I can no longer reconstruct, Trinity Temple acquired a small but lovely Methodist-Episcopal church building in West Fairview, PA. Complete with a working bell-tower and irreplaceable stained-glass windows, it was perfect for our needs. We installed front-to-back royal blue carpeting, a floor-to-ceiling light-blue set of drapes behind the platform, set off by golden chandeliers throughout. Unbelievable! Trinity Temple was back in business!
Contiguous to our property, an all-brick school building the school district had abandoned came on the market. The bottom-line asking price was $13,000 cash, a steal for the size of the building, but for our small congregation of some 80 people, an impossible dream. We prayed about it and I invited the congregation to join me in a true venture of faith and offered $13,000. I held my breath — or perhaps, more correctly, I stopped breathing — as I came to the board meeting in charge of the sale. We were the only bidders! We raised the $13,000; Trinity Temple was in business again!
Venture to do great things for God. He can still do the apparently impossible for those who dare to trust Him. The life to which God has called us will seldom be equal to our strength. He challenges us to a walk of faith that demands His intervention or we fail.
Dream impossible dreams!