So Far So God
July 1, 2020
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When Ebenezers was being built, I was invited to speak at a community meeting on Capitol Hill. I was nervous because I knew we needed the community’s backing to get our property rezoned. I was also concerned that people would think of us as a Christian coffeehouse rather than a legit coffeehouse.
After sharing our vision for Ebenezers, I fielded questions. Someone asked me what Ebenezers meant, and I said that it basically meant “so far so good.” But that isn’t what it meant. And I knew it. I substituted good for God, when God is the One who miraculously gave it to us.
The bottom line? I chickened out.
A few weeks earlier we had hosted an Easter Eggtravaganza for several thousand kids and parents in our community, and one of the guests complained because she said we were talking about Jesus too much. We explained that National Community Church totally underwrote the event, we had permits from the National Park Service, and it was Easter after all. Oh, and then there’s the Bill of Rights, which includes freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Even the free candy, petting zoo, and egg hunt didn’t pacify her antagonism. So be it. Well, this woman was at the community meeting, and it put me in a defensive mind-set. So instead of offending this woman by saying so far so God, I offended the Holy Spirit.
Afterward I felt convicted by the Holy Spirit and my wife. Their voices sound very similar! I’m grateful for a godly wife who speaks the truth in love. After apologizing to God, I vowed that I would never play chicken again.
On our coffee sleeves at Ebenezers, there is a Scripture reference that looks like a SKU code—ISAM712. There are also the initials SFSG. The initials stand for “So Far So God.” We took good out of the equation and added God.
In every dream journey there are Ebenezer moments. You have to celebrate those milestones by building altars. Then you have to surround yourself with those life symbols so you don’t forget what God wants you to remember. That’s why I have an old liquor bottle in my office. We found it in the crackhouse that we turned into Ebenezers coffeehouse. I also have a framed copy of the front-page article from the Washington Post.
I don’t believe our greatest shortcoming is not feeling bad enough about what we’ve done wrong. I think our greatest shortcoming is not feeling good enough about what God has done right. When we undercelebrate, we fall short of the glory of God!
For some, Leviticus is their least favorite book in the Bible because of all the rules and regulations, but take a closer look. One of the commands was a seven-day celebration. Question: When was the last time you celebrated anything for seven days?
We need to celebrate more.
We need to celebrate better.
Why? Because hitherto the Lord has helped us!
Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. NCC also owns and operates Ebenezers Coffeehouse, The Miracle Theatre, and the DC Dream Center. Mark holds a doctor of ministry degree from Regent University and is the New York Times bestselling author of 17 books, including The Circle Maker, Chase the Lion, and Whisper. Mark and his wife, Lora, have three children and live on Capitol Hill.