April 18, 2016

It’s amazing how quickly Monday recycles back around. It feels like I was just here. Is this déjà vu or just life? J Let me just share some Paul Tripp wisdom as we get going, in case you don’t get anything from me. “Today your heart will search for satisfaction. Will you look for it in the creation or in a relationship with the Creator?”
The fence saga – Part 2. In case you missed last week’s blog, I began the story of how God taught me some lessons through something as simple as staining/painting my back fence. I left you with the idea that God wants our very best even in simple things. It is how we are called to do life . . . to the very best of our abilities and giftedness.
One thing that came to my simple mind was how quickly all this went downhill. I know the main reason for the fence collapsing was because it was built with cheap posts and cheap wood. They did the very least they could do (instead of their best) to sell the house and make it appear like it was a good fence. I was reminded again of the kids out there painting and no matter how much paint we put on the fence and how many new “slats” we replaced the fence was doomed. I guess in retrospect that 10 years is pretty good for a bad quality fence. But I was reminded too that any fence is temporary. No matter if I had used metal poles or thicker wood or whatever, eventually it too would come down. Everything in this world is temporary. Even granite will eventually crumble (I think). As much as I wanted to pretend that the fence I was painting was “really going to last” I knew that all too soon it would come down as well. My only hope was that it would last until either I sold the house or I was long gone to heaven.
As I slowly worked at the task of painting the fence I began to develop a plan on how to get it done. This was probably more to keep me engaged than any real benefit, but I began to take the fence painting in manageable chunks. I first would divide the job into just one section, the 8 foot section between posts. Then I realized that was too much so I divided the job vertically and there were four natural sections. I then got a little smarter by painting the bottom section first before my back gave out and then the very top section next before my arms gave out. Then I would fill in the middle sections which were more at a normal height. This was a lesson on how we accomplish things for the Lord or in our life. We want things done with one stroke of the brush. Even if it’s a little painful like ripping off a Band-Aid we would rather do that than work at something over time. It took me a number of trips back around to that fence to finish the job. It didn’t just happen in one minute or one hour or one afternoon. In your life the struggle is important. In our church we are learning that our Vision for a Legacy Faith doesn’t just happen after one amazing sermon (ok, maybe not amazing but you get the idea). It takes time and it’s like the illustration about how to eat an elephant . . . one bite at a time. Progress is made a little at a time.
I could go on with this story and with the lessons that God taught me. Things like perseverance and “finish strong” and “fight to the end” and so on. I’m sure I sensed a sermon series while I was out there or maybe even a book. I could call it “Lessons from the Fence.” OK, well maybe I was a little delirious at that point or I was just extremely bored but the ultimate lesson was we all can find lessons in life if we will just open our eyes and look for them. When I was in college I had a class (my degree was Bible and Theology) where one requirement was that we had to carry around a little notepad and write down illustrations in life as we encountered them going about our daily lives. I didn’t really like the assignment but it did teach me to look for lessons in life. God wants to teach you and me every day. But we have to open our eyes and really look for it. Are your eyes open today? I pray you will see God throughout this wonderful Monday and on into the week!
I want to quickly say thank you so much to our church for the Commissioning Service yesterday. I will be sharing more in the next few weeks before we begin our journey to Poland. Four weeks from today we will be in Amsterdam and on our journey. Please be in prayer as we finalize several legs of our trip.