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May 5, 2021 11:00 am
As I was thinking and praying this week in seeking the Lord about what it is not say of the Holy Spirit made it very clear to me that today the focus is not to be on MacLean Bible Church. What we've gone what we've achieved you, even though we tried to do it is for the glory of God. Nono that the focus today needs to be on God's sovereignty is omnipotent, his faithfulness to this church. Over the last 50 years because the reason that we are where we are in the way we are and what we are today is all because of him.
And so in that spirit, what I want to do today is have us look back over the last 50 years, and I've picked five Seminole moments in the history of MacLean Bible church that demonstrate the amazing faithfulness of God to this church that I want to talk to you about, but please please remember these five points are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to God's faithfulness to this church, God. Faithfulness has been a constant and unbroken's dream running through the past 50 years here at this church were just going to pick five examples of it so are you ready okay here we go number one. Let's begin with the founding of MacLean Bible Church in 1961 there was no Beltway. There was no Legion bridge across the Potomac.
There was a small group of believers living here in MacLean who were crossing the train bridge and going to fourth Presbyterian every week, but they had a passionate yearning to establish a strong Bible preaching Bible teaching evangelistic church in Northern Virginia and so under the leadership of Dr. Ted Dykman five families, 10 adults, the Dykman's the rights, the Hutchison's the Roundy's and the word Burns got together in 1961 and established MacLean Bible church. Our first service was Easter Sunday 1960 wanted Chester Brook elementary school on Kirby Road and to do this.
Dr. Dykman and his wife Gloria was with the Lord. They out of their own personal funds agreed to pay the salary of the first pastor they agreed to by a parsonage for the first pastor and they along with those other four families agreed to cover all the expenses of MacLean Bible church during those early years until the church could begin to pay for itself friends in God's marvelous faithfulness. God provided the money for these folks to be able to do it.
Dr. Dykman was an orthodontist. The other four families had modest jobs and modest incomes, and yet God provided the extra funds they needed to cover the cost of MacLean Bible church.
This fledgling work for God in those early years number two let's talk about God's faithfulness in providing us with our first facility. Now, as we all know land prices in MacLean Virginia are beyond beyond than they been beyond beyond since I don't know beyond who notes and so there was serious doubt as to whether we were ever going to have church no more than we could ever afford a piece of property here in McLean, Virginia, and so the people of MacLean Bible Church in the early 60s began to pray and they began to ask God to do something it brought Mary with this and so in 1963 when the final plans for the Beltway were codified. What happened was the Beltway, as it intersected Georgetown Pike went right through a farm that this gentleman had and cut off 6 acres of his farm, leaving it inside the Beltway. The rest of his farm was outside the Beltway and so the man decided he was going to sell those 6 acres. You can't really pot across the Beltway on a tractor you know what I'm saying. So he said I can't really use it. He didn't want to sell commercial establishment. He didn't want to sell the to a hotel or anything like that. So MacLean Bible church approached him and said would you sell it to a church and he said okay and so in 1964, we bought all 6 acres of this land just how much we paid $55,000 for all 6 acres. All you should've been there and bought some land. Yes you sooner. All right. And then you know what an act of God's faithfulness coming.
God could have the Beltway go anywhere.
God wanted the Beltway to go but in faithfulness to MacLean Bible church.
He had it chop off this 6 acre parcel. So MacLean Bible church could have a place to call home and we built a little yellow brick building there on that property and then that's where we grew during the 60s and 70s to a congregation of about a couple hundred feet. Number three. I'd like to move to 1980 when I was invited to come here is the pastor of MacLean Bible church. Now I hesitate to call this event an act of God's faithfulness to MacLean Bible church, but I will call it an act of God's faithfulness to me and my family. I came to Christ in 1971 down at University of North Carolina and then I hitchhiked around the country with my dog. That's me and that's the only picture in existence of my dog Noah getting baptized with me least. I assume that's what he was doing. I'll have a clue what he was doing in the water, but then we hitchhiked around the country. My dog and I for a while.
Came to Washington I attended capital Bible seminary graduated in 1975 I began teaching at capital while I did my doctoral work at Johns Hopkins, but friends I got bored teaching seminary.
I mean look to be wrong. I'm a big fan of seminary and I believe in seminary education but it least for me. I felt like I was part of the supply train understand. I wanted to be on the frontlines I wanted to be leading a church to make an impact on its world and preaching the word of God. Every single week and so Brenda and I began praying that God would open up a pastorate for me and and in 1980 Bill Poston was one of our elders here approached me and said, would you have any interest in being the pastor MacLean Bible church. I said yeah I would. Well, that was great, but let's just say the Canada dating process went a little bumpy. There were a lot of people here who did not want me to come and be the senior pastor of this church and looking back now I totally get.
I mean I was 31 years old.
Brenda was 28 years old we were kids. I never pastored a church of my life in those days, I knew more about probably leaving a synagogue and I did leading a church and in the picture you see with the mustache that ugly little thing on my face. People say yeah you ever going to grow the mustache back no no I grew it in the first place because I look like a baby, and I look so young I needed to look older. I don't have that problem anymore so no I'm not planning to grow it again but anyway the week before.
They were going to vote on me takes a 75% vote of the congregation. According to our church constitution to call a pastor here the week before they were going to vote. We had a question and answer time after the evening service and one gentleman said to me he said well Rev. Solomon. He said how much more than 75% would you need to get in order for you to feel confident that it's God's will for you to come is the pastor of this church, I said Sir, if I get 75%. It will be such a miracle that I don't know God wants me at this church I sit 75% +10 is all I'll need. Well many years later, Vic McCauley, the chairman of our congregation in those days, said he said well you know a lot.
I never told you this before because I was afraid it would discourage a but you know in 1980. You only want by three vote lawn had he feel about that friend I feel fine about God is sovereign God could have two people vote the other way if you wanted to, and if he had Brenda and I would never been here, but you had those people vote the way they did and you guys been stuck with me for 30 years you've been stuck with nice hot bath a while back I got a letter from a church in Dallas and they said invited me to come to becoming their pastor and I wrote them back and I said this and I quote I said I'd like to express to you how honored I am that you would offer me the opportunity to be considered for the position of senior pastor. However, I would like to withdraw my name from any further consideration, I went on to say, it is my plan, God willing, to remain here MacLean Bible church until I die or get fired. Which ever comes first and let me tell you why I feel this way friends.
I feel this way because it was an amazing act of God's faithfulness three boats that put me in this church to start with and I have no intention of being unfaithful to God and pulling myself out of this church until the Lord Jesus Christ himself moves me a man amen that's worse. Now let's move on to our number four. Another example of God's amazing faithfulness to this church and that is what God did hear the blessings he gave us in the 1990s.
You know, in February 1991 I survived a no-confidence vote on the part of the congregation here that time I won by eight folks will release my popularity is: come on. I'm doing better and after we won that vote. We decided the elders and I that now it would be time that we had a man day to retool MacLean Bible church and make it into the church that you see today and how did we try to retool it. Well we tried to retool it into an outwardly focused outreach driven people centered, multi-cultural theologically sound the Christ centered impact all of Washington DC for the Lord church and in his amazing faithfulness during the 1990s, God provided leaders. He provided volunteers. He provided resources that we needed to impact thousands of lives for Christ. Here in Washington around the world and to bill the ministries that we know as MacLean Bible church today when I look back at all. The Lord enabled us to do in the 90s. I gotta tell you, I'm amazed and I think you will be to the first thing we did is we codified our mission statement and I want you to say it with me are I the mission of MacLean Bible church say it with me now is to make an impact on secular Washington with the message of Jesus Christ and then in the 90s we set out to align the all of this church around that mission. In 1991.
We started Alana in 1994. Jane Daniel came on our staff and re-created our women's ministry in 1994 cannonball joined us and we started frontline to reach young adults in 1996 we started access, ministry to to minister to children like Rusty and others with disabilities in 1996 Turkey outreach started in 1997, not a sermon, just a thought went on the radio for the first time in 1997. We did our first global impact trip in 1997 we started the gathering for college-age young people in 1998 Sue Langley retool all of our children's ministry and the kids quest as you see it today. In 1999 we started the house in Anacostia in 1999 we started daybreak to Lincoln Heights in 1999, we started our small group ministry.
That's churchwide and in 2000, Dale Sutherland came and turned our teenage ministry into the Rockies.
You see it today will want to dictate, and you know yeah as we thought impact all of Washington with the gospel God.
Malachi 310, open the windows of heaven and poured out a blessing on us that we didn't even have room to store the more impact we made it seem like the more resources the Lord Sending us so we could keep on making more impact, and I'll tell you through those years God taught us a very important lesson. He taught us that his power is unlimited. He taught us that his resources are inexhaustible and he taught us that when ever he asks us to step out in obedience and faith and attempt great things for God. We can always ask back great things from God.
God taught us that the very first question we should always ask. MacLean Bible church is never can we afford it. Where's the money coming from, how are we going to do this and pay for it. That's the wrong question.
He taught us the right questions. Always ask is what is God's will.
Does God want us to do this is God asking us to step out in obedience and faith and do this and if we will step out in obedience and faith God taught us the resources will always be there.
That's how we've approached ministry ever since the 1990s and how we still do it today.
You know when we are dedicated Joe's house back in the fall of 2010 at the ceremony. There were a couple of special ed teachers from Fairfax County and I got to chatting with them and they were telling me about what happens when you reach 22 years old. As a special ed student, you can go to school anymore and there's not much else for you on Fairfax County not Loudoun County. Nowhere around here and I somewhat of these children do and they should. They said with a gotta know they say all and their parents are aging, which is a real problem to take care of these. These are children anymore. These are adults and I still will you know what we here MacLean monitor to do some about this and they said that be wonderful so I talked to Elvis about it and I got together in December 2010 with four or five people from access ministry and we all sat in my office we talked about this and at the end of the discussion.
I pointed each one of and I said you prayed about this. You thought about this.
Do you believe in your heart.
God is calling us to do this.
Yes yes yes yes yes I said okay so here's what were going to do I fit into weeks per year will be over first thing were going to do is trust God to bring in enough money so we end the year in the black operational then we have to trust God to bring in $450,000 more than that to pay back the money we borrowed from ourselves to start our Bethesda campus. God bless you guys it Bethesda all paid off. God blessed are now and then I said, so I will were going to do that us and how much will it cost us for all of 11 and all of 12 to pay for an adult program for young adults with disabilities and they said $200,000. I said okay we are going to trust God for $200,000 above all that so we can start this because I believe all my heart. God is asking us to do so. Brendan, I want vacation over Christmas break and I was get daily emails from steel. Let me know how things were going so your vacation friends is no such thing as vacation from being the pastor MacLean Bible church. Sorry there's no such thing, and so on.
The December 31 week we passed the point where we ended the year in the black. Praise God, man us at this wonderful three days later we had passed the point where we had the $450,000 to pay back our Bethesda expenses.
Praise God we got to January 7 and we have $100,000 more extra bubble we we said we needed to. We have one Brenda said to me will want to start with one nested no no no no, we said were trusting God for two and if God can provide one he can provide to and that's what were doing. So Brenda and I went out for lunch and we sat down and I said let me pray and I said God's to get lunch. This is not Wednesday at lunch. Lord, I'm here to ask you $400,000 and I said I don't care where it comes from Lord I don't care for comes in stocks or bonds are out of somebody's mattress.
I don't care where it comes from, but send us a check for hundred thousand dollars in bills feeling written me and said launched January 7 were probably not to get any more envelopes in postmark December 31, as the Lord, I don't care about that your bigger than that. I we need a check for hundred thousand dollars because I know you want us to do this ministry. No, so send us a check and and blesses whatever event we read out the 5 o'clock that afternoon I got an email from Bill steel and Bill Ceylon you're not going to believe what happened.
You know those those services that pay your bills for you.
You know that they write the checks automatically, and they often were a little behind. He said we got a check in from one of those services postmark December 31, but it just got here today and you'll never guess how much that check was for you want to just $100,000 to the penny. Yes sir and I want you to know that that adult program for children disabilities and started I want to see some of the young people that are attending here during the week. We hope to expand this to hundreds and hundreds of children throughout these counties and give these children a place to go in a place to be loved and a place to serve and let me tell you something. The only mistake I made is I should ask for $500,000. What was I thinking I must've it out of my mind while you live all right ones, what we need in the ones what we got. This is how we do. We here MacLean Bible church and God taught us this in the 90s we don't depend on gimmicks to get the resources we need for this church. We don't depend on programs to get it and we don't even depend on the people of this church to get it.
We depend on the living risen Christ of this church to provide for the needs of his charts.
Number five, because God faithfully always has number five finally, let's talk about are the new campus that you're sitting in and beyond, you know, as we thought to be true to the mission. The God given us of reaching out to Washington we began to grown on growth, not everything, but we began to grow is just the fact we went from 2 Morning Services Involves Hill Rd. 3 morning services before morning services. We parked the Cooper school was shouting from Langley high school.
We had 1/2 a mile backup of traffic on the on the Beltway wait to get off the exit. It was a mass so we began praying for a bigger church home from which we could impact more Washington we looked and looked and looked one realtor even said to me. Lonnie said there is no piece of property like you're looking for in Tysons corner and if there were, you couldn't afford it anyway you want you to sell your property moved to Loudoun County.
I said, there's a good answer for that. The answer for that is that the name of this church is not Loudoun County Bible church, the name of this church.
MacLean Bible church and don't tell me what God can't do mainly male, don't tell me God can give us a piece of property like that. So we pray for you.
Nothing happened. Suddenly we heard the National wildlife Federation property was for sale. That's where you're sitting today.
I didn't even know this place was back behind the trees and ad lib. your 30 year well the National wildlife Federation property is 43.5 acres not 25 and it was 4.5 miles from Bartlesville Road. I came over I visited admit I walked in here. I knew this is our church to have you know I can't tell you how I knew but I knew, so we tried to call the real estate agent not wouldn't call us back.
Finally, after calling for month. The guy called us back and I said we need to meet. He said no. I said we need to meet.
He said no. I said we need to meet. He said no. I said why you keep saying no. He said because is no way financially. You guys can perform on this thing friends in 1997 we have 3000 people attended MacLean Bible church and our total annual income. Annual was $3 million. I said don't you worry about that. This is have lunch so we did finally agree so this young Jewish real estate agent and I sat down and the two of us going at it together at the table and finally I said to him I said look I want you to know that this property is our property from the foundation of the world and all the National wildlife Federation's been doing is holding it for us to we got ready for December there to other people ahead of you in line to buy and I said don't worry. Don't drop out when they do you call so about a month later he called he said you're not going believe what happen is a lot of know I might try me.
He said those two people drop out just like you said. I said, did I tell you this is our property from the foundation of the world. When we met with the National wildlife Federation board not long after that he stood up on the board and said I recommend you sell this property.
The MacLean Bible church. He said I don't know I don't fully get it.
It's something about the foundation of the world is that I don't fully understand that these are but I really think you should sell it to and so they did. Now it gets worse, because after that we had to go through the Fairfax County zoning and political process or you talk about an adversarial nasty 14 month process as we were approaching the end of that October 1998, the chairwoman Kate Handley of the board then approached Stu Mendelson our supervisor and said students MacLean Bible church thing is a loser. I've already done an informal poll of the board.
You can't get the six votes out of 10 that you need to pass it. You need to drop this thing like a hot potato will I'm so glad God is bigger than the Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County are two yeah and so Stu stuck with us in God's wonderful faithfulness.
He turned Stu's heart towards us and Dave Ballard and I went to see every single supervisor all 10 of them and presented the situations that we need your vote. We vote for, and friends. By the time the boat came in January 1999, the chairwoman turned out to be right. We did not get six votes out of 10 we got all 10 boats, including her praise God for that. But I get bars now we had to pay for. We started off. We thought this was a $35 million project. It turned out to be a $93 million project you say are you nuts must be a Toledo church with a $3 million income in one $93 million building program. If you completely lost her mind. While some people would think I have but not over this issue.
No I have not lost my mind friends I have an omnipotent God. I haven't lost my mind and my omnipotent God is all the money in the world and if we are walking in obedience with that God. Money is never a problem. And so here we are 13 years later, enjoying this wonderful facility and you know we have paid the debt down on this facility to $5 million and by God's grace in two years we will burn the mortgage and be out of debt on MacLean Bible church.
Praise God for that and doing all 13 of those years. The Lord also provided the resources Frost and every single year in the black operationally.
That's no small thing. Our budget last year was $25 million pay and top of that we were able to build Jill's house to serve wonderful people like Rusty and others. And hey, on top of that we were able to start building a spiritual beltway around Washington with two campuses in Prince William, one in Bethesda wanted Loudoun wanted Arlington one in Silver Spring and we were able also to start our Internet campus, which I thought at the beginning was the dumbest thing I've ever heard.
I said to my staff who was going to sit and watch us on a computer somewhere. Well, right now we have 4000 people a week who sit and watch us on a computer somewhere around the world pay bruise. I don't know everything, and all of this, my friends. What I'm trying to say how much more faithful. Could God have been to this church. Over the last 50 years. How much more faithful. Could you do we give God an expression of how much we appreciate that a lot. I got yesterday.
My unit is plaintiff.
I mean lots of other churches preach the gospel lots of other churches have sound doctrine. A lot of other churches are trying to serve God they've never seen God use them like God is used us in made an impact through like God is used us today at how you explain this friends I have no logical explanation for this.
All I can tell you is the spirit of God.
Those with the spirit of God wants to do. But even though I can't tell you what we did bring this blessing of God on this church. I can tell you some things we can do to lose it really quick.
That's what I want to talk to you about next week I want to talk about. Looking forward to the next 50 or hundred years of the Lord Terry's and how we keep the blessing of God on this church. I hope you will be here for that now can't stop to. We ask our questions and this is our 50th anniversary. So what so what you think and we can we really do a good job Loudoun Prince William because all you guys can we run month here we go ready. Why show a that was also that was awesome. Good for you is to live on. So what's out heard everything you said but really I don't see that that has much to do with me. Will it does and very quickly. I'm going to tell you how you know God told Sarah she was going to have a child when she was 90, and she laughed and the Lord said to her. Genesis chapter 18 verse 14 Sarah anything too hard for the Lord to limit me, Sarah, and God said to Jeremiah. Jeremiah 3227 I am the Lord, the God of all flesh is anything too hard for me.
Don't limit me.
Jeremiah and when Gabriel told Mary that she was going to have the Lord Jesus, and she said I'm a virgin house is going to happen and Gabriel said to her. Luke 137.
Nothing is impossible with God.
Don't limit God.
Mary and finally Jesus told Peter. Luke 1827. What is impossible with men is possible with God. Don't limit God. Peter functional as followers of Christ. I've seen it so many times so often as we approach situations in life we decide ahead of time what God can do and what God can't do what God will do and what God won't do.
But as we seen today from the history of MacLean Bible church my friends. Ephesians 320 God can do exceedingly abundantly above anything we can ask or think, or even imagine.
What's more, God wants to do that, you and me. Jeremiah 33 phrase says call on to me. God says, and I will show you great and mighty things that you can't even anticipate but we placed limits on God in our puny unbelief we get in the way of its now don't get me wrong, this is not a name it and claim it prosperity gospel message. I'm not saying if we approach God with no limits that God will give us whatever we wanting to give us that wouldn't even be good for us. I'm saying that in keeping with God's wise and good plan for our life.
He has massive blessings he wants to bestow on us. Blessings of every kind physical blessing, spiritual blessings, family blessings, career blessings, ministry blessings inner soul blessings just like he has bestowed on MacLean Bible church for the last 50 years, but we will never see these blessings is in our puny human unbelief. We limit God the way we need to approach God is to say, Lord. As a follower of Christ.
The only thing that I'm going to allow the limit you is your own sovereign will for my life in your own sovereign plan for my life.
You do whatever you want to do, Lord.
I'm not even going to put limits on what I think you can do you be God. So let's close by saying this.
Everything we've ever attempted over the last 50 years.
Here MacLean Bible church at every critical point we had people telling us that what we were attempting for the Lord couldn't be done, but it was impossible because everywhere they do that it was too big for us that was beyond our capacity.
I call these people the BTE club. The back to Egypt. Club these are people who see everything through the lens of human reality and their answer to everything is we can do and it's just too hard for us it's too much aware were we ever get the money from let's turn around and go back to each you know what if we do look at things the way they look at things we would still be a little ingrown church meeting in a little yellow building making little or no impact on the city's Christ. This is not how God calls us to see the world, my friends, God calls us to see the world through the lens of the word of God and the word of God tells us that we have an unlimited God who has unlimited power and he is prepared to do unlimited things for those people who will give him an unlimited platform in their lives.
That's what the word of God teaches. That's how we built this church and that's how you need to build your life as a follower of Christ, so let me close by asking you the question.
Where do you need to take the limits off God in your life. Where do you need to trust God for something in your life that only God can do to to to move an obstacle that looks immovable took to give you strength to face something that looks unphased similar to do something that looks undoable to forgive someone who's done something unforgivable yellow or tooth to meet medical needs are financial needs seem unbeatable.
The issue is we just listening to the back to Egypt. Club will you stop deciding in your own puny unbelief what God can do and instead let God decide what he will do: to me. Jeremiah 33 three and I will show you great and mighty things that you can't even anticipate this is our God, and this is how he wants us to relate to spreading heavenly father.
Thanks for challenging us today from the history of MacLean Bible church and from your word and remind us father that just because something looks impossible unlikely undoable doesn't mean a thing when were dealing with God. Lord give us that sense of your greatness and your omnipotence that we are able to trust you Lord, even through things that other people are trying to tell us is stupid is silly. Lord help us to reject the back to Egypt. Club and the way they see the world in six. Help us to see the world the way the giants of the word of God saw through the eyes of faith toward Jesus change the very way we live because we were here today and we do thank you so much for the demonstration of your faithfulness these last 50 years. Here MacLean challenge our personal lives with, and we pray these things in Jesus name. What are God's people say amen