I have to write you a special letter about a most ALARMING situation. Frankly I am grieved to the point of suffering over the situation in God's Church!
Jesus said plainly: "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Ever since the Feast of Tabernacles, more and more of you brethren have been neglecting, more and more, the very necessary SPECIAL offerings for the property and building fund. Does this mean you have your heart less and less in GOD'S WORK?
We still are obligated to pay the Behlen Manufacturing Co. $18,000 per month—and there are always other building and property expenses to be met besides. For example, we now are obligated to regular monthly payments, for five years, on the 250 steel booth- cabins on our new housing district at the Festival grounds near Gladewater, Texas. The two new sanitary buildings in this new district have had to be paid for on a 90-day basis—the last payment now due. It became necessary this year to pave our entrance and drive-way into the grounds—and that was a few thousand dollars, to be met during these few immediate months. All told, God's Church NEEDS, and must PAY out, about $25,000 per month on these building operations.
And yet, as I look at the report from our business office of last week's income, I find that our brethren—God's own people on earth—sent in only $1,938.76 for this building fund for last week. That is only at the rate of about $8,000 for the month—and we have to pay the Behlen company, alone, $10,000 more than that!
This means we are now having to take more than half of these necessary expenditures out of THE GOSPEL WORK. I am not going to allow God's Church to default or get behind on these payments, as long as God makes possible a way to avoid it. But these expenditures ought not to take away from the preaching of the Gospel to the world! These needs are FOR THE CHURCH ALONE. We ought to meet our own needs entirely outside of tithes and offerings for spreading the Gospel!
Brethren, there is a mighty, heavy load on my shoulders, and I need your prayers and your encouragement—but it is truly discouraging when so many of our brethren become so careless, or neglectful, or lukewarm in their zeal for God's work that the extra special offerings, over and above—in addition to—your tithes and regular offerings for God's work, should drop down to a mere ONE-THIRD of the needed amount.
I realize that we are now past the time for which so many of you pledged definite special amounts for this Building and Property fund. But are YOU going to do only what you pledged—only what is required—and NO MORE? If so, you need to read Luke 17:10, and realize that such people are UNPROFITABLE SERVANTS—and then read Matthew 25:30, and see the FATE of unprofitable servants! We are not PROFITABLE servants who shall enter the KINGDOM OF GOD unless we do MORE than required of us!
In Moses' day, the carnal children of Israel, who were not given God's SPIRIT, gave so liberally for building a tabernacle Moses had to send a proclamation asking them to stop sending. Do we have less of the Spirit of God than they? MUST I SEND YOU A LETTER EVERY MONTH, to prod you on? For perhaps a third of you, NO! —thank God, a few do not need this! To you, I am doubly grateful! But for more than HALF of our brethren, it seems I do.
BRETHREN, I have to say this is a discredit and reproach to God's Church! I AM SURE MOST OF US NEED TO PRAY MORE—need to get closer to GOD, and get our hearts more in HIS WORK and HIS CHURCH!
There are HUNDREDS of additional members who have come into God's Church since I asked for the pledges for special additional offerings for this property fund—and many of you newer members may not have known of this special need. But now that this need is made known to all—with perhaps a 40% or 50% increase in membership since I first asked for the pledges—I am sure GOD'S OWN PEOPLE WILL RESPOND TO THIS CALL, and SUPPLY THIS NEED EVERY MONTH.
Let us REMEMBER how abundantly God is blessing His Church, and His work which He does through His Church. Constantly He is opening NEW DOORS for preaching and publishing Christ's GOSPEL around the world. More have been converted, baptized, and brought into the Church this year than any past year! HOW GRATEFUL WE OUGHT TO BE!
New churches are being raised up every year. The latest one is in New York City where the new church started out with an attendance of 181. I know you will all rejoice in this. Recently new local churches were established in Seattle; Akron, Ohio; and Long Beach, California. ALL churches are growing steadily in membership. But MORE important than growth in numbers, is SPIRITUAL GROWTH in the lives of those of us God has already put in His Church!
Do you remember to pray for me and Mrs. Armstrong, as well as all the ministers—- and then for ALL THE BRETHREN? We must pray earnestly for one another. Let us be THANKFUL and GRATEFUL for all the blessings God has lavished upon us, His very own people! Let us realize we have given our very lives to HIM to use!
Thank you, and remember God IS BLESSING YOU!