Series 32



“Someone should bulldoze that house,” Will said.

It was around the corner from where I lived. I owned it at one time. So I knew Will’s suggestion wasn’t a reflection on the house’s quality.

A few years earlier we stood near the same spot. That day Will said, “The Kedler’s are dead.” I already knew. Our words were few that day.

The Kedler’s had been long time residents of the house. Will’s next-door neighbors and friends. After they moved out their oldest son killed his mom, dad, and little brother. And then himself.  A few years later the next owner accidentally ran over his wife in the garage; killing her.

I thought, “Maybe Will’s right.” Because now the house had witnessed another tragedy; its newest owner had committed suicide.

I felt a lot more like crying than bulldozing. But, is either one a solution? More important—how do we keep tragedy from our own homes?  To some degree, this is part of our earthly journey. 

The Bible tells us: “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all is God.” This God- built-everything truth must be bulldozed into our hearts. Essential to know, to believe, and to tenaciously live by.

Then we open the door to God’s protection. Psalm 91 concurs: “…the LORD who is my refuge…then no harm will befall you…He will command His angels…to guard you in all your ways…”

We open the door for the Holy Spirit to reside inside us. He will warn us when temptations contrary to God’s ways arise. Actions which could lead to a wasteland of calamity.

We open the door for Jesus; allowing His death on the cross to continually be a combative force against sin and evil.

What door are you opening? Who will be the builder of your house?


Is Your Work Glorifying God?

He grabbed one box and marched it to its destination. Then he grabbed an even a bigger one. This one obscured most of his stout upper frame.

Efra’s grandparents, Merna and Ron were unloading two minivans full of boxes and bags into our ministry building. And this six-year old was doing almost as much work as each one of us.

When we finished I said, “Wow, he’s a great worker.” Efra heard my words. My intension. He just stood there with a quiet dignity. But his grandma spoke, affirming my observation, giving a couple of examples of this little guy’s work ethic.

Then Merna added, matter-of-factly: “He’s got Jesus in his heart.” Her words tightly tied together Efra’s Jesus-influence with his being a diligent, motivated worker.

Jesus said, “I have brought You (Father God) glory on Earth by completing the work You gave Me to do.”

Glory to God. That’s what Jesus did through His work on Earth. He honored God, magnified God’s goodness, and revealed God’s praise worthiness. This is what “glorify” means.

Several years ago I worked as construction manager on a church remodeling project. There were many specialized sub-contract crews involved. Through the numerous challenges of the job, many of the most frustrating situations were caused by a crew which was owned by two Christians with several other Christians working for them.

Watching eyes noticed. Verbal complaints followed—from the church’s pastor, workers on other crews, and spiritually-needy jobsite neighbors.

God was not glorified. And their work reflected an absence of God-powered living.

There’s a song that goes: “They will know we our Christian by our love…”  So True.

Can I add a verse? “They will know we are Christians when we work to glorify God…” Conversely—can we rightly glorify God if our work-life is shoddy?


The Church Bit

“The wallpaper fell off the wall,” Margaret said.

She was following-up on what her husband Jim had just said: “If you really want to test out this church bit…”  The measured cadence of his words, along with Jim’s wisdom about church life, silenced everyone.

He added, “What does church really mean to me? Am I just taking it for granted?” So Jim told how he had tested “the church bit.”

He simply stayed home. Would he feel any different? Would he miss church? Did it have real meaning in his life?

He and Margaret put up wallpaper on one of those stay-home Sundays. As previously reported, it ended up on the floor.

The Bible says, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know Him better.” Who wouldn’t want this—to know Jesus better? Through wisdom and revelation. And then a few verses later it says, “And God placed all things under His (Jesus’) feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.”

These scriptures are saturated with the profound importance of the church. To the point of showing that the church is: “His Body.” The Body of Jesus. Wisdom and revelation from the Spirit of Christ caused Jim to embrace this truth; not fallen wallpaper. Trial separation from the body, the Church of Jesus Christ, proved beyond a doubt to be harmful.

“…taking church for granted?” Jim’s question resonated deep within me. For granted?

No…not me.

I’m grateful. God allows me to be a member of His glorious body. It’s not “the church bit.” It is the way this world will see Jesus.


Sin, Sin, Sin…Sin, Sin

“Have you sinned today?” Brandon asked. “I have,” he added. His question was directed toward Daniel. Another one of the passengers in the car I was driving to church. Daniel affirmed he had sinned.

I started thinking, “Is he going to ask me next?” So my mind started rumbling through the day’s events. And in a few minutes Brandon pointed the question toward me. For me, this sin-talk rarely comes up in conversations.

I had to really think how to answer. I didn’t want to lie about my sinning. My mind even flashed back to a lunch five years ago. Fourteen year-old Christopher asked, “Do you ever sin?”

Sin. Very few three -letter words in the English language carry the weight of this tiny word.

Sin. The Bible declares, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” So Christopher had his answer, “Yes, I have sinned.” Like all humans.

Sin. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death.” So if I answered Brandon, “Yes, I sinned today. But only once.” Would I die? Even if it was only once?  Yes if no provision for the wage, for the payment for the sin, had been secured. The death would be a spiritual death. Meaning: eternal, forever separation from God. Much worse than mere physical death.

Sin. The Bible offers the only solution. “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly…God demonstrates His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Brandon’s almost-taboo-sin-question needs to be addressed more. Read the Bible. You’ll find the word over six-hundred times.  And while reading, you’ll find even more mercy, grace, and forgiveness through Jesus. 

Good news. With Jesus, sin dies. We don’t have to.


The Apostle of Sawdust

“Thanks for doing ministry,” the Pastor’s wife said.  She laughed, “You won’t get in the newspaper.”

Jim didn’t care. His immediate concern was not getting too much sawdust on the carpet. And making sure the deadbolts he had installed worked: “Just right.”

What about the ministry he was doing?

The Bible says: “It was Jesus who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.”

So where does Jim fit in? Is he the Apostle of Sawdust?

How about Susie? She volunteers two afternoons a week at a ministry which provides free clothing. One of her duties is hanging up used underwear. Maybe she’s The Used-Underwear Evangelist. 

And then there’s Jake. He’s been Chaplain at the jail for…well kind of forever. Church groups come and go. He’s still there. Inmates come. “Get saved.” Return another time. Get saved again. They backslide repeatedly. Jake’s still there. Guess he’s Pastor Backslide. But he’s still there.

How about John? Electrician by trade—always willing to donate his skills. Quietly, efficiently offering his time. Usually in a backroom or the attic. He must be the Teacher of Electricity.

Then there’s Steve. He sold his place on the river, moving into a semi-dilapidated commercial building. His entire reason was to provide a meeting place for those with alcohol addiction. But many times no one shows up at his meetings. He presses on, even as he struggles personally.

Steve?  The No-Show Prophet?

A few verses past the above verse, it says: “From Jesus the whole body, joined together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love. As each part does its work.”

“In love…as each part does its work.” This is Jim, Susie, Jake, John and Steve.

Is it you?