Fred and I (Vanessa) were on the Thalys train en route for Utrecht to meet with some other European church leaders. It was mid November 2022, Winter was well and truly on its way, and I had left Paris with nothing much “prophetic” on my heart for this time other than an excitement to pray and plot together, with these Kingdom partners who have become friends, for God’s will to be done in this continent!
By the time I had finished my “daily” reading on the train, however, I was so stirred in my Spirit that I turned to Fred and said with great excitement: “We need to spend time praying together for the release of finances for the churches in Europe!” Much to my amazement and surprise, in just a short train trip thanks to His life giving and path illuminating word, God had released faith into my heart that this was actually His will! And this just “happened” to be not even a week after that season shifting church office prayer time where God started to birth faith in our hearts to believe Him for the impossible, and more specifically, to buy a multimillion Euro building (see link here to Fred’s blog post “The Story Behind Épicentre”).
I am ashamed to admit that ever since we re-committed our lives to Jesus some 20 something years ago, every time I heard about a building project and the raising of funds for a building, I secretly hoped that we would never have to try motivate a church or people for this. When God first spoke so clearly 5 years ago about giving us a building, it felt so other-earthly, so alien, that while it was probably for me the clearest prophetic word we had ever received, I had more faith for a building to “fall into our laps” already paid for, and neverimagined we would encourage people to give to a work like this.
Back to my train reading that day… I was reading in 2 Kings 12, a passage that had never really “spoken” to me before. It tells the story of king Jehoash, who we could consider to be one of the better Judean kings even though he failed to take down the high places thereby “permitting” the people to continue to sacrifice and make offerings there (2 Kings 12:3).He did, however, initiate a work to repair the house of the Lord. This work was financed through two regular sources as well as “the money that a man’s heart prompts him to bring into the house of the Lord” (v4) *1. This was the first verse that caught my attention that day. I sensed something of God’s presence while reading it without expecting it orunderstanding why. But God had caught my attention.
The author of Kings tells us that the rebuilding work was very slow as it seems that the priests were not wanting to use “good money on mere buildings”*2. Ha ha.. how many of us have felt the same? So the king took matters into his own hands. He bore a hole in the lid of a chest, set it to the right inside theentrance to the house of the Lord, so that not only the “offering box” but also the amount in it was visible to all who came in. It’s written that “whenever they saw that there was much money in the chest, the king’s secretary and the high priest came and they bagged and counted the money” (2Kings 12:10, emphasis mine).
As I read these words, the stirring that had started a couple of verses back grew into a vision or impression of something like a snowball effect in giving: that as people witness the giving and generosity of others, it encourages them to give too, to the point of almost wanting to outdo one another in generosity,just as Hebrews 10:24 encourages us.
We are told that Jehoash’s repair efforts actually led to a very humble restoration of the temple, especially in comparison to it’s former glory. But, the story does not stop there! On this same train trip, the passage in Kings, thanks to my study notes, led me to read Haggai 2. As I read verses 4-9, I felt likeGod was speaking directly to us; not just Fred and Vanessa, but church leaders and believers in Europe and elsewhere:
V4 –5 “Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the Lord. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of Hosts, acccording to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not.”
V6 -9 “For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.”
Why had I never seen that before?! One of the reasons for the shaking that is happening all over the world is to release finances for Kingdom work and rebuilding! It all belongs to Him anyway, the “silver” and the “gold” are His! So we are not to be afraid of the shaking… that has been and that will come… we are not to be afraid of trusting and following Him in the faith steps He calls us to take.. He will continue to shake everything that can be shaken! But through this shaking, He will release treasure for the rebuilding of His temple and His Kingdom in such a way that despite it’s humble and “small beginnings” since after the time of Solomon, it will be even more glorious than ever before. This, I believe, is the will of our Father as revealed in His word. May we pray according to His will, and act in faith to see His promises fulfilled!
So we did just that! We spent a chunky time together in Utrecht, the day after we arrived, praying with the other church leaders to God for finances to be released for Kingdom work and church buildings especially in Europe. The day after this prayer time, Fred woke up to a text message from Gwen explaining a 0,51€ transfer to our church building fund, a fund that had been dormant for years! Far from being insignificant (see “My Story”), God brought faith that our prayers were heard and being acted on, and just like it is with the Kingdom that starts as the smallest of seed, this faith act was bread and fish in the hands of our Almighty God who would do the multiplication necessary.
We have now raised over 400 000€ of the 500 000€ minimum needed for the first step of entering our new building. For us to restore the building and pay other legal fees, we need another 200 000€ on top of that. May God continue to multiply, to prompt hearts and to stir faith like He has done in so many of us! May He continue to break the poverty mindset that holds so many in His Church captive and release faith and a spirit of generosity that reveals His glory!
And we will say like the psalmist “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad.”(Psalm 126:2) The wonderful and humbling thing about this project, is that ONLY God can do it… There is no way we or any other man can get any credit for the way He has worked or will work in order for this project to be realized. “They” will indeed “say among the nations” that “The Lord has done great things for them”.
*1 My ESV study notes equate this to a “fund-raising campaign” similar to that carried out by Moses.
*2 ESV study notes 2 Kings 12:7-12