Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a Pastor whose house was struck by lightning…

Luke 1:78 A new day will dawn on us from above because our God is loving and merciful.

Today is a new day. The trucks are beginning to move our belongings back into our home. Since our house fire 6-months ago it has felt at times like I was living out some kind of a parable. If Jesus were telling the story he would begin it this way. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a pastor whose house was struck by lightning…

Here’s what I’ve learned through living this parable.
Things are often worse than they first appear. Looking back it seems hilarious the way we were thinking the night of the fire. I mean we literally thought we would be back in the house in a day or two. No one told us that, call it coping, denial, or whatever but we actually thought we would clean the place up, patch a few holes and be back to life as normal in just a day or two.

What we discovered is that the more the walls got peeled back the more damage there was and the more work required to restore our home. Seriously, for the first month it seemed like we were receiving daily updates that things were ‘worse than we initially thought.’ By the time the peeking was done, it would be discovered that several roof trusses were compromised and must be replaced.

You know we are all damaged goods. Life has dinged us all. And it’s when we dig below the surface that we discover the real structure problem that exists. And it is deep within, for own safety, that the real work must take place. Things are often worse than they appear on the surface.

The Hope of ‘Better’ helps when things get ‘Worse.’ Early on in the demolition of our house, even though we couldn’t visualize it (at least I couldn’t) we were promised that when the project was over our home would actually be better than before. Now, I can tell you when I first heard that I was like, I don’t want better I just want what we had. Just give me back what we had. In fact, if someone would have made this offer - Terry you can have ‘better’ in 6 months or ‘just like it was’ right now. I would have picked the ‘like it was (worse), but right now’ option. That is human nature. Most of us will choose familiar over better every time. That is why we need leaders, that is why we need God, (acts of God) to push us toward better.

I remember vividly one day last fall when the dire reality of the situation hit me. It was in October and it had been a few days since I had been to check on the progress of the house. I remember opening the front door and everything was gone. No furniture, no dishes, no cabinets, no interior doors, no flooring, no walls! It then hit me… this is bad. I know. I’m sharp, right? But in a cascade of emotions the severity of what had happened and the enormous scope of the rebuilding project pounded me. Things were at their worst. It was the flickering promise of ‘better’ that brought light in my moment of darkness. When things look bad it is the hope of better that carries us through.

Immanuel Kant, philosopher of a few centuries ago said that three keys to happiness are having something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for. I think Kant is on to something there and we can’t underestimate the third, something to hope for.

Over the past several months, mirroring our house rebuild has been some significant rebuilding at Bayside too. Things have been good but God is calling us to great. And there were days over the past few months that things looked worse rather than better. The more we dug the worse it looked. Deep change and deep hurt. But it was the Holy Spirit whispering to us the promise of better that carried us forward.

Today there are moving trucks bringing our belongings back!  Today, things are better. The house is incredible! God has blessed us beyond what we could have imagined. Our house at Norris Way is better today in practically every way than it was before the fire. I’ve learned that the journey from good to great is actually one from good…to worse…to great. Most people quit when it gets worse.

And there will soon be moving trucks heading to Bayside bringing the dear Stamper family to us - Kevin, Marie, Jane and Oliver. We are so excited about adding the Stamper family to our ministry team. Pastor Kevin is great friend, a tremendously talented young leader that will be our Creative Arts Pastor. They will make us better! We are excited to welcome them.

The smoke has cleared, the worst days are behind us, and we are moving toward awesome days ahead! A new day will dawn on us from above because our God is loving and merciful. Amen!

You are Loved,
Pastor Terry

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