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Arms high and heart abandoned

OWASSO—It’s become one of the favorite worship songs of Owasso, First. A song whose chorus simply yet passionately states, “I’ll stand, with arms high and heart abandoned in awe, of the One who gave it all. I’ll stand, my soul, Lord, to you surrendered. All I am is Yours!“

This is the cry of celebration from the people of Owasso, First to our God.

Six months ago, we began to make some BOLD statements and pray some bold prayers. One of those statements was:

“We will be a generous church. We will give more than we think we can afford and trust God to provide. We will recognize that we are tremendously blessed and that because we have been given much we can give much. We will not shy away from trying to meet the needs of as many people as God entrusts to us. We will be the church that serves people and serves other churches.”

We have asked God to give us a generous heart. We have challenged one another and shaped our ministries so that we could serve people and serve other churches. And now—God has answered one of our prayers.

On Jan. 1, 2011 the people of Owasso, First owed $1 million on our current campus. By the greatness of our God and the faithful generosity of His people, today, we are debt free.

Last year was a year of transition for the people of Owasso, First. The search for our next senior pastor continues, while 2011 saw God call other key leaders to ministries in churches in other states. We’ve said from the beginning, God moves the troops around. He’s placing all the right people in all the right places to accomplish His purpose for His church in this community and around the world.

What God accomplished through the people of Owasso, First in the last few days of 2011 is another example of how He is preparing the way for our next exciting season of ministry together. What God did financially through the people of this church is nothing less than miraculous.

Between Dec. 1-31, 2011 more than $350,000 was given to eliminate our mortgage. We entered 2012 debt free.This represents more than $28,000 a month freed up to accomplish the mission and ministry of our church.

Nearly $30,000 was given to the World Mission Offering—that’s almost double what was given in 2010.

Additionally, specific ministries at Owasso, First received significant restricted designated gifts designed to enhance ministry in those areas.

All this occurred while more than $2,190,000 was given in tithes toward our Annual Operating Budget.

God’s goodness and the church members’ faithfulness are so great it’s difficult to describe! The good news keeps coming.

We began 2011 having spent more than $13,000 out of our reserves to cover regular ministry expenses. We began 2012 able to replenish those reserves, having received more than $55,000 than was spent all year long.

God is clearly positioning and equipping the people of Owasso, First to fulfill His purpose in this community and around the world.

On Sunday morning, Jan. 15, Owasso, First celebrated  the greatness of our God and the faithful generosity of His people as we burned the note. Because this is such a significant event in the life of our church we adjusted our regular schedule and brought together our entire church family between services for a special ceremony of praise and worship.

That evening, we celebrated again with a vision service and fellowship, expressing our passionate praise to God and casting vision for our next exciting season of ministry together.

God has blessed and the people of Owasso, First have demonstrated with remarkable acts of generosity that they are faithful. It’s time to give thanks, refocus our generosity, refresh our vision and get ready—God is doing something remarkable among us.

Chad Balthrop is  minister of leadership development at Owasso, First.

Author: Guest Writer

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