Votes Count

On Sunday there were two very important votes taken. One you’ve heard of and one you probably didn’t. Both were significant to me. I think the way Doug Wilson began his post on the one you’ve heard of kind of summed up my feels about both:

As I have already noted, God is still in His Heaven, and things are still all right in the world. Our God in in the heavens, and He does whatever He pleases. God draws straight with crooked lines, and the sun will still come up tomorrow.

God rules in the affairs of man. The proverb “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will” (Prov 21:1) is even in a democratic process where there is no king. That was the lesson I learned on Sunday. Well, one of the lessons. The sermon tilled my rocky heart and reading chapter 4 of Tim Teller’s The Prodigal God trimmed out the corners the sermons missed.

So what are the two votes? Obviously the first is the health care reform bill in Congress. This was huge. Fortunately, they didn’t play any games to get it through like reconciliation but they did play a game to get pro-life Democrats on board with President Obama promising an executive order to ensure that federal money isn’t used to pay for abortions.  This is a pretty weak assurance and I’m surprised anyone bought it. Such is politics I guess.

Upon hearing about the passage of the bill I apologized to my daughters for what this will mean to them in 20 or 30 years. Bernadette asked me what was wrong with the bill. I guess my biggest problem is that it forces all Americans into a broken system. They didn’t do anything to address the fact that health care in America is hugely overpriced. Instead they made it a requirement that everyone be part of it. From what I can see, the government has shackled us to an insurance system that is shackled to a bloated health care system. So as the system continues to get worse and more expensive (since more people are part of it) what is likely to happen in the future is that as insurance companies begin leaving the market, the government will step in and take up more of the slack. That means an even bigger deficit and most likely a worse health care system.

The end result of this, I think, is that the electorate will march up to the Democrats, grab them firmly by the ear and walk them to the curb. Unfortunately, the only ones to take their place are the equally confused Republicans who currently lack a clear voice and leader. They’ll get in and decide to “fix” a fatally flawed system thereby making it worse. Sigh.

And yet Jesus rules the nations.

The other vote was much happier. Eight years ago when my family joined Lakeland Evangelical Free Church the church was about 400 people. That felt strange and huge to me. Since then we’ve doubled in numbers but the building remains the same size. So about 4 years ago our elders started looking into property options. We’re pretty much maxed out on our current 5 acres so eventually a move will be required. So after years of looking the plan has come down to two phases. First, we’re going to renovate the existing building to maximize the space we have. Second, we need to be looking to an eventual move. Since the real estate market is so soft now it seemed wise to try to purchase land now so when it is time to move we’ll do a capital stewardship campaign for the new building.

Free Churches are congregational and so while we elders did all this research and planning and praying and seeking advice, it is the congregation who must approve large expenditures, major facility upgrades and real estate purchases and sales. Three weeks ago we had a congregational business meeting where we presented a motion to the congregation to these ends. We didn’t take a vote on it at that time, we simply wanted the congregation to see what we were looking at. Two weeks ago we did a town hall Q&A with the congregation about the motion. Based on that discussion we split the motion into two pieces, one for the upgrade and one for the land purchase. Sunday while Congress was voting on the healtcare bill,our congregation voted on these two motions.

What the elders have said throughout this process is that we don’t want it to be our plan unless it is also Jesus’ plan for our church. One of the ways we would expect to hear His voice in this would be to hear it from His body, the congregation.

In order to pass these measures we needed a quorum which we well exceeded and a super-majority (75%) voting affirmative. The first measure, the renovation, passed with just a few no votes. The land purchased passed the super-majority but only by a few extra votes. It was closer but it passed. So we move ahead.

At the same time, that was my last official act as an elder at Lakeland. I’ve now been released so that I can focus on LifeSpring, Lakeland’s church plant.

God is sovereign over both votes.

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