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Trust the Carpenter

My Dad is a carpenter. A handy man.  Mr. Fix-it.  He really can do anything. If it’s broken, my Dad will figure out how to mend it.

When Lindsey and I started planning to convert the home office into Baby Benjamin’s room, one of the first things we mentioned was new flooring.  The flooring that we had was “hand-me-down” flooring from my parents.  They got new flooring in their home and when Lindsey and I bought this house, as broke newlyweds, we didn’t have money for new flooring, so Mom and Dad passed down their old stuff to us.  It was better than what we had!

Now, the old flooring in our upstairs is about fifteen years old and it is beyond time for new carpet.  A coffee stain in one place, a red wine stain in another, it’s beyond fixable.  We bought a steam cleaner once and tried to remove the dirt and grime on our own, but some stains are so deep that you just can’t do it by yourself.

When we realized it was time to change the flooring in Ben’s room, I considered doing it myself, possibly with the help of a friend or two.  Why?  Because I’ve never been able to do any sort of manual labor or handy man work very well.  Once I came to my senses, I realized that was foolish, when all I have to do is ask my Dad to fix it or replace it and he will.

Even though my Dad is a busy guy: fireman, paramedic, plumber, hunter, mechanic, and carpenter, he still made time for me.

We started by pulling up the old floor.  It had to go.  It was worthless.  Stained, stinking, and saturated with filth.  We pulled it up and threw it out to the trash heap.  Once the old was gone, we swept up, getting rid of any trace of the old stuff.

And this afternoon and evening, as I stood back, of no real help, watching my Dad replace my floor, I had to fight back some emotion.

The carpenter was in my home, fixing, repairing, and replacing what I could not do on my own.  In my own strength, I was incapable.  But it was almost as if He seemed even more “cool”, even more capable, even more skilled, due to my lack.  He could fix and replace what I could not do for myself.

Isn’t that just like Jesus?

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The Biggest Loser? I Don’t Think So!

Galatians 2:19-21 “What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man…It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me…Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.”

“Iron Mike Tyson”

From Wikipedia.org:

Michael Gerard “Mike” Tyson (born June 30, 1966) is a retired American boxer. Tyson is a former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and holds the record as the youngest boxer to win the WBC, WBA and IBF world heavyweight titles, he was 20 years, 4 months and 22 days old. Tyson won his first 19 professional bouts by knockout, with twelve of them occurring in the first round.

Yea guys, this is the dude who bit Evander Holyfield’s ear off.   He’s also the guy who was convicted of rape and served three years in prison.  Oh, and did you know he filed for bankruptcy?  Yep.  During his career he earned $300 million, only to turn around and lose it all.

Most people would have called Mike Tyson a loser.

A moron.

A FREAK.

Have you see the way he has COVERED his body in tattoos?

I almost forgot…he is a high school dropout.  It doesn’t get much worse than that.

After one fight, Mike Tyson made this statement, “I’m the best ever. I’m the most brutal and vicious, the most ruthless champion there has ever been. No one can stop me…I’m the best ever. There’s never been anyone as ruthless as me…There is no one who can match me. My style is impetuous, my defense is impregnable, and I’m just ferocious. I want his heart! I want to eat his children! Praise be to Allah!”

He’s been married three times and has eight different children.

If the title hadn’t already been used, Mike Tyson could totally have a reality show called “The Biggest Loser”; however, lately, Tyson has been making a new comeback.  He’s been open and honest and admitted his mistakes, he recently sought out help for his drug addictions and has been “straight up”, regarding his financial ruin.

There is hope for Mike Tyson, and anyone else in need of a second chance.

Now, forget “Iron Mike” for a few.

What about you?

Are you washed up?  Do you feel like a “has been”?  A failure?  A nobody who used to be somebody?  Are you miserable and in desperate need of a second chance?  Are you your own worst enemy?  Do you feel like everyone has put you up too high on a pedestal and you can’t possibly perform to the level of their expectations?

Here’s what the Bible says,” All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end. Romans 5:19-21

Copyright: Harpo, Inc.

When you hear the Enemy saying to you, “I’m the best ever. I’m the most brutal and vicious, the most ruthless champion there has ever been. No one can stop me…There’s never been anyone as ruthless as me…There is no one who can match me…I want his heart! I want to eat his children…”, you just remember this, “We’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:15-17

–Steve

People of the Second Chance: Overthrow Judgement, Liberate Love!

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WARNING: CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE

That warning label is not uncommon. Do you have a gas grill? A can of hair spray? Ever seen that warning on a huge truck going down the interstate? That label means don’t mess with me too much, or in the wrong way, or I just might explode. On you. In flames.

Pressure isn’t always a dangerous thing. You want your tires to have pressure. Otherwise, you have a flat. That means you are calling Dad for help. Or AAA. The pressure of the school bus arriving at a specific time in the morning means that you get up and get ready when you are supposed to. Pressure of good grades means you turn in your homework. Completed. Extreme heat and extreme pressure turns carbon into a diamond (and then earrings and rings and other fabulous bling)! Thank you, Mr. Pressure!!

Pressure is unavoidable.

YOU will be under pressure.

You WILL be under pressure.

You will be under PRESSURE.

What if we had warning labels on each of us? 

Would your label read:

CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE. FLAMMABLE.

Or

CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE. READY TO CRY.

Or

CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE. PLEASE MAKE ME LAUGH.

Or

CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE. READY TO FIGHT.

Or

CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE. LEAVE ME ALONE.

Or

CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE. PRAY WITH ME.

Or

CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE. PLEASE LOVE ME.

Maybe we do have a label, if we would just let it show. Knowing that others are under pressure just like us will help us deal with them in patient and loving ways. Showing our label may help others be patient and loving with us.

Here is a label we all need to wear:

CHILD OF GOD. LOVED.

Put this label on. Write it on your heart. Write it in your journal. Wear it. Show it. Love it. No matter what the pressures are, you are LOVED. BY GOD. (and that’s a whole lot!)

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

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4 Ordinary Ways to Change the World

I’ve been thinking about this concept a lot lately:  Ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  Normal folks doing amazing tasks.  It’s what God calls us to.  No ministry degree required, no special gifts necessary. Here are four ordinary ways to change the world:

  1.  A burden: Those folks that are on your heart, mind (and prayer list) constantly.  If you have a desire to see people change for the better, you’ll do extraordinary things.
  2. Time: In order to be used by God, it is going to require sacrificing some of our “free time”.  A cup of coffee, a trip to the Basement, a conversation on Facebook, etc.
  3. Listening skills: Everyone wants to be heard.  Making eye-contact goes a long way and showing an interest in something or someone other than yourself can really impact someone’s life.  Caring for someone else will invite relationship.
  4. A loving heart: Love melts the hardest heart.  Love breaks down walls, it defeats opposition.  Get it?

Our beliefs need to be seen, felt, double-checked, and tested.  They can’t be purchased from the library or the local Christian book store.  Beliefs aren’t given out in “freebie bags” at church.  They’re developed over time and create the whole of who we are.

I just want to encourage you to be unashamed in your love for Jesus and your love for each other.  To love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. The only way we’ll ever change the world is by learning to love past our differences and see each other through the eyes of Christ.

So how do ordinary people do extraordinary things?  It all starts with a little love.  Love goes a long way.  What you love is valuable and you value what you love.  If we loved each other more, and Jesus the most, we would truly be unstoppable.  Love is the catalyst for changing the World.

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