Unless the Father Builds It

Unless the Father Builds It

Congregation Dedicates its Childcare Center to God & Community

The following address was delivered at the dedication of St. Paul, Albion’s Little Lambs of Jesus Preschool & Childcare Center on Sunday, November 17, 2013.

Rev. Dennis Matyas

Rev. Dennis Matyas at the dedication

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On July 5, 1869, the first members of Die Deutsche Lutherische Kirche dedicated their church building on the corner of Superior and Elm Street. The total cost to move the building to that location, and make alterations and improvements to it was $880 … over 400 times the amount paid to Calhoun County in rent for this property for Little Lambs of Jesus Preschool & Childcare Center.

A new church building at Superior and Elm was dedicated in November 1888, a date which is carved into the stone of our present building on Luther Blvd to this day. The parsonage, built in 1906, cost $2,540 … just slightly less than what the property cost for this Center over a hundred years later.

On July 13, 1958, our current church was dedicated. In like fashion, on July 13, 1969 at 10:30 a.m., the cornerstone of the education wing was laid.
Today, after less than a year of talking, planning, and executing, this building on 615 Dalrymple Street is being dedicated to the glory of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The Lord has done this great work. He saw the need in the community before we did, and He foresaw the end of this project before we did.

In October 2012, five of us sat at my dining room table and prayed a very simple prayer: “Lord may you direct us to whatever it is you wish us to do.” In August 2013, over 80 people had volunteered to cook, clean, rake, mow, mop, trim, sand, paint, varnish, paint, assemble, paint, install, paint, clean again, paint again, and clean again. A board has been established, a director and assistant director hired, and as soon as the State of Michigan gives us the green light nothing can stop us. Ladies and gentlemen, God is good.

But it is better not to call this the end of the project, but the beginning. We are here for the sake of the children and families of Albion, so that they may be fully devoted followers of Jesus through Christ-centered care and education. We are here so that as many people as possible may be saved by the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are here because people need us and God has commissioned us.

On a personal note, it is a distinct honor to be in the midst of Christians who will stop at nothing to utilize their God-given gifts for the sake of their community. It is a distinct quality of St. Paul that you care so deeply for the town itself. And I straight up brag that Christ has chosen us to be his hands and feet in such an extraordinary way.

There will be challenges, as there have been already. There will be tears, as there have been already. And if only one human being believes and is baptized because of the Gospel taught in this place, it is all worth it. Our Lord Jesus left the 99 sheep to search for the one that was lost. Jesus was our example. He found you. He was instrumental in your Baptism. And the Holy Spirit sanctifies you for the work of His Kingdom. Here, today, now, we are blessed to have the Little Lambs of Jesus Preschool & Childcare Center.

Pray with me.

Father, unless you build it, the house is built in vain. Unless you bless it, the center is remade in vain. Unless you will it, the Gospel is preached in vain. Build it, remake it, preach it. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who makes all things new. Amen. Taught by our Lord and trusting His promises, we are bold to pray: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever.

Amen.

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