Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Backstory to the 1200 Club

In Jake’s words…

I remember February 2013 like it was yesterday. I was sitting in my office at Kingdom Courts organizing rosters for another basketball tournament when my phone rang. My caller ID showed the name Tim Day. It had been years since I talked with Tim and I thought the call was quite random. Tim is also an elder at Cornerstone Church so we had passed by each other from time to time within the church, but it had definitely been a while since we had talked outside of the cordial hello.

Tim was calling to tell me that Cornerstone Church was preparing to do a one time free will offering and that they would be giving all the money away. Tim also informed me that Cornerstone was prepared to give Kingdom Cares International a portion of those funds. He had no idea what the amount might be, but he did give me a couple of stipulations. Tim told me I was not allowed to just sit on the money in the bank account and with that being said he asked if I had any immediate needs and/or projects that the funds could be used for. I don’t believe Tim knew me real well at the point in time, but God is always laying projects on my heart so my immediate answer was of course we have a project (even though I had no idea at that time what we would do with extra funds). The conversation basically ended with “Ok that sounds great - we will be in touch!”

Over the next couple of months I did not hear much from Tim or the church as the free will offering had come and gone. Then in May of 2013 Tim decided to call me again and inform me that Kingdom Cares International would receive $40,000 from that free will offering. Just writing this still gives me goose bumps. Then he once again asked me if I had a project we could use the money for. Over the months in between the first phone call and this phone call God had clearly spoke to me about what we were to do with the funds. God was telling me to use the funds to build the first Kingdom Cares International Mission Center in Asikuma, Ghana where we could care for the most needy and orphaned children in this community.

There was one small problem. The vision that God laid upon my heart was a $200,000 project - not a $40,000 one. I believe I may have left out a few of those details for Tim as I just went with the flow and said we were going to use the funds to build the first ever Kingdom Cares Mission Center. The one thing God has taught me since 2008 is that if we are going to truly live a life for Christ then we have to walk by faith. David Platt in his book the “Radical” puts it this way, “We know we are doing something for God when we are in major trouble if He doesn’t show up.” The reason God asks us to walk by faith is so in the end He will always receive the glory and not the individual that God is using.

In June of 2013 when those funds were received by Kingdom Cares I knew it was time to walk by faith and pray like I have never prayed before as I would REALLY need God to show up on this one. We took the first $40,000 and purchased the land, hired the construction team, and started in on the foundation without one clue where the other $160,000 would come from. Over the next few months every time we ran out of cash God would lay it on someone’s heart to donate or a random check would show up in the mail and at a snail’s pace the project would continue. Over and over and over again, God would allow the account to hit $0.00 and then He would provide just a little more.

In the months after that first gift I would be out telling people about what Kingdom Cares was doing and how we are building this mission center in Asikuma, Ghana. Everyone’s first question to me was after it is built how are you going to meet the monthly operating cost? The truth was that I had no idea how we were going to meet the monthly operating expense (let alone actually get the mission center built)! I just knew that God was telling me to take the next step and he would work out all the details. This is where the rubber meets the road with an organization that believes in what the Bible says as absolute truth. In the world of business - with people who have resources - this ideology makes no sense and does not seem like something that would be smart to invest in. With that being said I received a lot of handshakes and compliments on what I was doing, but not a ton of outside financial support. However, I knew what the bible teaches on how we need to walk by faith and how God uses the foolish things of the world to teach the wise! I just prayed that this would become a reality with my walk as there were many nights I woke up at two in the morning wondering what in the world was I doing. I was just so thankful that during this time God’s voice was so was clear to me that I had no choice but to continue to follow the Lord’s prompting and continue to walk by faith.

Now let’s fast forward to a cold November night in 2013. It had been a long night of training at the Kingdom Courts gym and I was down to my last session of the night. As I was training God began to speak to me once again. The idea that was planted on my heart was so clear. God was asking me to start something called the 1200 club. The 1200 club would be where people could give $100 per/month for Kingdom Cares International projects and on-going operations for things like the Mission Center. I wrestled with God that $100 was just too much. Organizations like World Vision only ask for $35 per/month to sponsor a kid. $100 was certainly out of the question. I even asked God if we could just do the 600 club…$50 per/month…much more doable for people. I continued to get the same response back which was NO. I felt as though God was saying to me that I want it to be a number that when people commit to it, that it will be a step of faith into an organization that walks by faith. I believe that God does not want Kingdom Cares International to just be a place where some cool things happen internationally for the Gospel, but a place where God can use and teach others to walk by faith. With that being said I was done arguing with God and was willing to follow where the Spirit was leading.

On the way home that night I called Doug Vander Weide and laid out the 1200 club vision for him. Doug always supports my crazy ideas and gives me encouragement when I need it and it was no different that night. The next morning I woke up feeling a little crazy, but I have also gotten used to that feeling as this is a regular occurrence in my life. That morning I skipped my treadmill time at Anytime Fitness and rushed to our offices. I announced to my staff that in December we were going to host the first annual Kingdom Cares International breakfast where we would officially announce the 1200 club, and hopefully raise some additional funds for the Kingdom Cares Mission Center because the account was back on zero. Alex looked at me like I was crazy and I believe Todd may have added in that December is only a few weeks away. I guess I thank God for Ankeny Rental & HyVee catering because we pulled off that first breakfast!!

As I continued to wrestle through the 1200 club idea God told me to put the names of all the people who participate on the wall as you enter the Kingdom Courts facility. We were just going to put up one small section but God once again said, “NO, I want you to fill the entire wall” and that He would worry about the details of filling it with names. I told Greg to head to fast signs and get this wall designed and what the name plaques would look like. I praise God everyday for being surrounded by people who just say, “ok,” while I know in the back of their minds that they have to be thinking I am working for a crazy guy!

I still remember when the silver back drop of the wall was installed. It was installed without one name on it; yet I was confident in God’s voice telling me that in due time that wall would be filled with names. We kicked off the first breakfast and slowly some names were added to that wall. In March of 2014 God blessed us with a large gift that finished the mission center and names continued to be added to that wall. For over a year as I ran my training sessions on court 2 (purposefully so every night I could stare at that wall) I would see names slowly added, but would also stare at the big wall with the portion of plaques where there were no names. There were no names on the big wall for 364 days. During those 364 days there were many times that I wondered if I was losing my mind!! Then as only God would do it, the night before the 2nd annual Kingdom Cares International Breakfast the first wall had reached fulfillment at 54 names and one lone name was added to the big blank silver canvas on the second big wall. Since December, we have added 6 new names to that big empty wall with 5 new names in production to be added in the next week or so. As I stare at that silver canvas every Tuesday & Wednesday evening, I am reminded of the promises that God made in my life in 2008 when He began to teach me to walk by faith. I am reminded of June 2013 when we received that first gift from Cornerstone Church. I am reminded of that cold November night when God clearly spoke to me about getting people involved through the 1200 club. I am reminded about how God faithfully saw us through in the building of the mission center. I am reminded of how there are orphaned children now with their forever families. I am also reminded of the work yet to be done as one by one the empty spaces come to be filled.

Today I want to invite each of you to possibly take that step of faith and come alongside what Kingdom Cares International is doing and become a part of the 1200 club. God can do awesome things with our lives, but often he asks us to take the first step of faith so that His glory can fully be seen.

To become a part of the 1200 club please visit http://www.kingdomcares.org/donate/ and once on the form select Kingdom Cares, select recurring gift, and follow the steps from there.

Thank you for considering supporting our mission!


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