Pulled Over for My Own Good

It was just starting to get dark on Tuesday as I was headed home from work when I noticed flashing lights in my rearview mirror. I pulled over to the side of the road so they could pass and then had that sinking feeling when I realized that they weren’t passing. Sure enough, they pulled right behind me. I immediately knew why I was being pulled over. You probably think that I was speeding, but no, I knew that I had a burnt out headlight. Matter of fact, I had the new bulb in a Wal-Mart bag right beside me, but I hadn’t installed it yet (that was obviously a mistake).

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That incident and the fact that the commandment I was scheduled to teach my confirmation students on Wednesday was “You shall honor your father and mother,” leads me to believe that this is “authority” week number two. Last week I talked about Ben and the authority that he has at his work. You can see that post here: https://gregarnett.wordpress.com/2018/10/05/the-steinway/ This week I want to delve a little deeper into the topic of authority.

Believe me, when I was pulled over I was very much, “yes, sir” and “no, sir.” I understand Romans 13, respect authority, and know that when you rebel against authority it doesn’t go well for you. But why did the police officer have that authority in the first place? It actually starts with Jesus.

Jesus states in Matthew 28:18 that “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Now that’s a bold claim! I could claim the same thing, but I couldn’t back up that claim. Can Jesus back up his claim? Let’s go to Matthew nine to find a story where this was questioned:

And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—”Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men. (Matthew 9:1-8 ESV)

Jesus proved his authority not just in this passage, but many others as well. Jesus, through his miracles, proves that he has authority over physical elements (e.g. turning water into wine, calming the sea, the miraculous catch of fish), sickness (e.g. giving the blindsight or hearing to the deaf, healing paralytics, healing the woman who had the bleeding which the physicians couldn’t heal), the demonic (e.g. casting the demons into the pigs, preventing demons from speaking about him, resisting the devil’s temptations), and death (e.g. raising Jairus’ daughter, raising the widow of Nain’s son, raising Lazarus on the fourth day, and his own resurrection).

After Jesus’ claim to have all authority in Matthew 28:18, he goes on to then give some of that authority to his believers. He said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) We call it the great commission, and it is the Christian church’s “marching orders.” Literally, the authority for the church to even be the church comes from Jesus and the authority he gave for us to be the church. Earlier in Jesus’ ministry, he had given the disciples authority “over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.” (Matthew 10:1)

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Besides the church having authority, Paul makes application of “all authority” flowing down to government in Romans 13. Parents are given authority in Exodus 20:12 and elsewhere. Paul and Peter point out that husbands are given spiritual authority (e.g. Ephesians 5:22, 1 Peter 3:1). The list of those who are given authority could go on for quite a while.

If I had fought the officer who pulled me over for having a burnt out headlight it wouldn’t have gone well for me. As it was, I was very polite and cooperative and left with only a verbal warning. (Believe me, I changed that headlight as soon as I got home) Jude gives an even stronger warning than fear of a ticket:

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. (Jude 1:5-8, italic mine)

Yet, if we obey authority we find there is a promise attached to it and a blessing. Indeed, the fourth commandment is the only commandment with a promise attached to it! God says, “that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12) And overall the commandments God says that he will show “steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:6) It might not seem fun when you’re pulled over on the side of the road, but in the end, that officer was keeping me and other drivers on the road safe. Authority has been granted for our own good.

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The Steinway

This past weekend Cathy and I got an opportunity to get away for the weekend and visit Ben up in Petoskey. It was a wonderful time of nothing but sleeping in, making (and eating) food, watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy on the big screen, and celebrating Ben’s birthday. One afternoon Ben got to show me around the Great Lakes Center for the Arts where he works.

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The Great Lakes Center for the Arts is quite the place. It cost around $25 million to build and is state of the art. It is actually two separate buildings, although you wouldn’t know it, because the theatre itself has a two-inch gap all the way around it to protect it from sound transferring from the lobby area into the theatre. All of the conduits are rubber and the heating system is designed so that there is no sound intruding into the theatre. By design, the theatre itself is a completely “dead” room. That is so that they can electronically make the room sound exactly like they want it to sound. If they want it to sound like an old church or a grand concert hall or outdoors, they can. It’s quite amazing!

Ben showed me rooms filled with huge computers running all of the lights and sound equipment. He even showed me the behind-the-scenes rooms and the catwalks. One storage room he opened seemed pretty unimpressive until he showed me what was in there. Inside this temperature and humidity controlled room sat a grand piano under a cover. He pulled back the cover to reveal a black Steinway piano. When he lifted the lid of the piano I saw that the piano was autographed by none other than Tony Bennett. I’m told that this piano cost $100,000. Ben then sat down at the piano and played it. Despite us being in this small, poor acoustics room, it sounded amazing!

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Ben is the one who installed all of the theatre lighting for this new center. Depending on the show, sometimes he’s running lights for a show, sometimes he’s working with the lighting people that come with a particular group. Although he’s not the one on stage playing the Steinway, he gets to meet some pretty amazing talent through his job and works for some pretty amazing people as well.

Like all of us, Ben has somebody over him and also has things that he has authority over. It reminds me of the Centurion who came to Jesus to have his servant healed.

When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. (Matthew 8:5-10 ESV)

Being in the military had taught this Centurion about authority and his proper place in life.  Sometimes people won’t submit to the authorities in their lives. This doesn’t end well, nor does it honor God. However, some people go overboard the other way and can’t use the authority that God has given them. They are either afraid of using their authority or they feel inadequate as if they need to get permission to exercise their authority.

Romans 13:1-2 says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” Just following that passage, God says that the authorities are “God’s servant for your good,” and “ministers of God.” According to John Townsend, this hierarchy is “God’s way of getting things done.” It just works better when we understand who is above us and who we have authority over. When this is all straight in our lives we get to do amazing things like running lights in a $25 million dollar building or getting to play a $100,000 Steinway.

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This Week’s Aphorism

In my studies, we have a weekly aphorism, which we can write a journal entry about. Understand that this assignment is one of the few things that we can do which will gain us extra credit. I’ve been writing a journal entry every week, but not because I need the extra credit. Matter-of-fact, knowing this about myself, my first journal entry began with this, “I want to start out this journal entry with a little bit of a confession. I need to do this extra credit for the learning and thinking involved, not because I need to pursue every last possible point available! Oh Lord help me not be so driven!” That is exactly what this week’s aphorism touches at, so I just thought you needed to know that about me in case you didn’t already.

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“An aphorism is a statement of truth or opinion expressed in a concise and witty manner. The term is often applied to philosophical, moral and literary principles.” (Taken from literarydevices.net/aphorism/). To qualify as an aphorism, it is necessary for a statement to contain a truth revealed in a terse manner. Here was this week’s aphorism:

You will be civilized on the day you can spend a long period doing nothing, learning nothing, and improving nothing, without feeling the slightest amount of guilt.

How would you respond to that thought? For myself, I wouldn’t know! Boy oh boy, this is a hard one for me. Not that I can’t understand the concept, but I have a hard time ever living this one out. If my schedule opens up and I have an afternoon free, I’ll fill it with something. A vacation to just sit on the beach would seem like death to me. I don’t rest well!

As hard as I push myself, several years ago I did start practicing Sabbath keeping. I’m going to give Marva Dawn a lot of credit because it was her book Keeping the Sabbath Wholly that finally flipped the switch and convinced me I needed to do this in my life. Actually, it was the Holy Spirit working through Marva’s writing, of course. Prior to that book, Sunday was just another day to get work done around the house. I’d have church in the morning but then be mowing, or doing laundry in the afternoon. Even now I struggle against the tendency to fill my Sabbath with a lot of busyness. My busyness is not “work”, but I still think in my mind about getting a workout in, or filling it with a fishing trip, or now I fill my Sunday by getting a jump on my school reading.

There was some interesting interaction when we were at the kick-off conference in California. One of the facilitators was talking to one of my fellow cohorts (who has a similar struggle to me) and she challenged her to not turn in one homework assignment. That got a reaction because it was so foreign to her (and my) thinking! Because of the reaction, the facilitator modified the challenge “down” to just turning it in late. I can tell you that I haven’t missed an assignment, or turned one in late, yet. I wonder if my cohort has or not. To be totally honest, I’m a little afraid to get to the bottom of why this is in my life. Am I trying to prove something to someone? Am I trying to earn something?

But, let’s get back to the aphorism. It used the word “civilized.” That word means to be “polite and well-mannered.” That is not the word that I would have used. I would have used: “well rested,” “rejuvenated,” “whole,” or “spiritual.” However, in doing that I might be changing the intention of the aphorism. Does resting (and in my mind Sabbath keeping) make us more “polite and well-mannered?”

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Again, if I were to bring it back to Sabbath keeping I would look at the original intent of the commandment. The children of Israel were coming out of 440 years of slavery when God told them to

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11 ESV)

 Although this was part of the law that was given to the children of Israel, would that really have come across as law? 440 years without a day off and now you want us to take a day off once a week to rest! But the following generations sure turned it into law. Jesus said that “They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.” (Matthew 23:4)Jesus put it back into perspective when he said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27) We need a long period of “doing nothing, learning nothing, and improving nothing, without feeling the slightest amount of guilt.” In the end, it just might make us more civilized.

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In Need of a Bucket

This week in my Masters studies I had to write a paper about the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. I’ve written Bible studies on that story before so I wasn’t too concerned about this paper. I contemplated using my paper as my blog post this week (which would have saved me time) but instead here I am taking a deeper dive into one little detail from the story. Here we go!

The whole story is recorded in John 4:1-45. If you’re not familiar with the story it would be good if you read it but I’m not going to post the whole story here.

The context of the story is that due to the Pharisees’ jealousy, Jesus left Judea and traveled through Samaria (John 4:1-4 ESV). Pious Jews would travel around Samaria, but Jesus was not afraid of contamination that would come from outside a person, so he traveled straight through Samaria. The reason that Samaritans were hated by the Jews was because they were the result of intermarriage of Jews and Assyrians when Israel went into captivity in 722 BC. It was just outside of a town called Sychar that Jesus encountered a Samaritan woman by the local well.

Surely the group of disciples and Jesus owned a collapsible bucket made from leather and two crossed sticks. According to Kenneth Bailey in the book Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes,“Middle Eastern wells do not have buckets attached to them. Each traveling group must have its own. It is still possible to buy such buckets in the covered market in Aleppo, Syria.” Apparently the disciples had taken the collapsible bucket with them (John 4:11), and Jesus had not requested that they leave it behind with him. I think this is because Jesus had a plan.

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Jesus specifically put himself in a place of need with this Samaritan woman so that they were forced to have interaction. And here we have the little detail that is stuck in my head-Jesus intentionally put himself in a place of need.

What could be simpler than being thirsty? It is understandable that anyone else would be thirsty in the Middle East during the noonday sun, but Jesus? Recalling Jesus’ divine nature we could recall all of the previous things that he had done involving water. Oh say, creating the whole earth, which is 75% water! Or “lesser” things like parting the Red Sea for the Israelites, or quenching those same Israelites thirst by causing water to flow from rocks. Jesus could have miraculously produced water just like later he would miraculously produce fish and bread to feed thousands of people. But Jesus did not do this; instead he chose to sit at a well in the middle of the day and be in need of somebody else to help him get a simple drink.

Later, when Jesus sent out the disciples on the first Christian mission trip he intentionally put them in a place of need as well.

And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. (Mark 6:7-10 ESV)

I think Jesus intends the same for us. I have an example from the kick-off conference for my Masters (back story is here:https://gregarnett.wordpress.com/2018/09/09/say-hello-to-blue-2/  and here: https://gregarnett.wordpress.com/2018/09/14/admit-your-faults/). At the end of each day, Scott Makin (the director of our program) would ask if anyone had anything to share. Let me tell you, it would give you butterflies to stand up and share something, but I remember standing up in front of the whole group one afternoon and sharing.  I said, “You placed me in this process group full of a bunch of needy people (totally tongue in cheek). I may have been a little slow to the party, but over the last couple of days I’ve found out that I’m pretty needy as well.” The whole group applauded for me, and Scott’s very simple response was “it feels good, doesn’t it.”

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God never created us to be stand-alone people or to be isolated. He created us to be in community-to be needy. In the Garden of Eden it was “not good” that man be alone, so God created Eve. When we’re born we can do nothing for ourselves-just the way God intended it to be. In the church we’re called a body and told that we can’t say to each other, “I have no need of you,” (1 Corinthians 12:21) but rather that “God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” (1 Corinthians 12:24b-26)

So get out there, let your needs be known! In the process your life will be enriched, you’ll find community and fellowship, and you’ll also receive a cool refreshing drink of water.

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Admit Your Faults

So there I was sitting in a circle and I was the one in the “hot seat,” when Joel (our facilitator) decided it would be a good idea for me to confess my sins to everyone around the circle. Not just, “yes, I’m a sinner,” but rather confess one deep seated sin to each person around the circle.

Let me now go back a step before I share with you the outcome of that little exercise. The scenario was the kick-off conference of the start of my Masters of Counseling degree. You really need to read the blog post that I wrote last week to fully understand what is going in this week’s blog post. You can read it here: https://gregarnett.wordpress.com/2018/09/09/say-hello-to-blue-2/

Back to my story: this was just the second day of our conference but my process group was already deep into each other’s stories. I knew that I was dealing with the character issue of integration (which is the ability to concurrently hold the good and the bad of someone at the same time without either being destroyed. It can also be an issue within oneself). Somewhere along the line my integration has been damaged and needs healing. Which is why Joel led me in the exercise that I’ve mentioned.

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As a side note, we were told prior to the conference that the more we lean into the experience, the more we would get out of it. So I leaned in and opened up to my process group. I shared one sin per person with them that I’ve never shared with anyone else.

James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (NIV) Notice that it does not say, “confess your sins…so that you may be forgiven.” I’m not saying that would be a bad thing, but I also don’t believe that any words in the Bible are by accident. “So that you may be healed.” I also find it interesting how some of the other translations translate the word “confess.” One has “tell your sins,” another has “admit your sins,” and yet another one has “acknowledge your faults.” I like those because some times when we think of confession we think only of what we do in church. Once again, not that that is a bad thing, but if that is all we do are we really being healed?

After I confessed my deep sins to my group they each shared that it did not cause them to feel more distant from me, but rather just the opposite. I was forgiven by the group, prayed for, and they all shared that they were actually drawn closer to me and that they did not feel less of me because of knowing my sins. Indeed, that brought healing to me!

The apostle John said this:

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:5-10 ESV)

Why do we go around pretending that we have it all together-as if we are somehow holier than others, that we have no sin? The sad thing is that in church sometimes this is worse than it is out in the world. We pretend that once we’re Christians our sinful self is gone. According to John we would be “deceiving ourselves.” However if we confess our sins, God does forgive us and we also have fellowship with one another.

Just this morning I had to confess my sin to one of my immediate family members. I was wrong the day before and had a restless night thinking about it. This morning the first thing I did was confess my sin so that her and I might have restored fellowship and healing. I specifically asked for forgiveness, not that she would say, “it’s okay.” No, what I did was not “okay” but rather a “fault” or “sin.”

I’m not going to make you get up in front of a group at church and confess your deep-seated sins, but I think you would find healing if you seek out other trusted Christians where you can confess your sins. I know I have!

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Say Hello to Blue #2

One month ago I started my Masters in Counseling through the Townsend Institute of Concordia University, Irvine. After one week of online classes I had to go out to California for our kick-off conference. Already it’s been an intense journey and I’ve had many people ask me how it’s going. In order for you to really understand I need to introduce you to Blue #2.

Blue #2 is my process group. We’re a group of six people who will be journeying through this Masters for three years together. However, I can already tell that this is a group of individuals who will speak into my life much longer than just getting a Masters. I don’t say that like some junior high girl who thinks she just met the love of her life…again.

I’ve never had a relationship with someone else begin like the relationship with these five other people. Within the first week of online classes we had to write out our life journeys. In five-year increments we were to tell about our family of origin, our religious journey, major events in life, and also the dynamics of our families. Then in another homework assignment we were to talk about what were our strengths and weaknesses. The Institute told us the more we “leaned into” this whole process and were vulnerable to each other the more we would get out of the journey. Blue #2 took that to heart. When we arrived in California I felt like I already knew the others in my process group, but I had never been face to face with them.

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And the experience in California-Oh. My. Goodness. Normally when you meet someone else you start with pleasantries and surface level conversation. Not Blue #2-I sum up the kick-off conference as “four days of group therapy, so we could deal with our shit, so we could be better counselors.” (Side note: yes, I just typed “shit.” Never before have I sworn in my blog, and I know that I could type out “personal anxieties,” “emotional baggage,” or “issues” but there is something appropriate about just saying “shit.” If you don’t like me using the word “shit” you probably have some “shit” in your own life to work through-I know I did.) I knew that we were going out to California to work on our own emotional “houses.” However, I kind of thought that I’d be painting a room, or maybe doing some flowerbed work. No, we were jacking up the house and digging a new foundation. To continue with that analogy: when you normally meet someone for the first time they invite you into the living room, you sit down on the “presentable” couch, they offer you a drink and you chit-chat. In California, we started out in everyone’s junky basement. Matter of fact, on the last day of the conference we sat at our lunch table and started talking about things like pets, children, and where we lived. For the previous four days we had been sharing struggles, oppressions, lots of tears, guilt, fears, and doing deep emotional work. On the last day we finally came up to the living room!

Why did this group click like it did? It’s not because we were more homogenous than other groups. The first guy I met in the group was Krish, who was born in India. Then there’s Adrienn, who was born in Hungary and Daniella who was born in Brazil. Theresa and Ann are both in their 60’s, so when others are thinking about retirement they’re starting their Masters. And then there’s me, the token redneck in the group. We’re from all over the United States-California, Virginia, Maryland, Arizona, and Michigan. Yes, we’re all starting our studies with the Townsend Institute and are committed Christians, but there are more differences than similarities so that’s not why this group resonates so deep. If I had to put my finger on it, I’d say that we all became vulnerable to each other and in that vulnerability with a safe group found a love for each other that is truly refreshing. I know that I could reach out to this group with anything that is happening in my life and they would be supportive, pray for me, and would accept me without judgment.

I think this is a good picture of what the church is supposed to be. In Acts, the believers “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47 ESV) Even from the very beginning of creation it was not good that man be alone. Genesis 2:18 is the only part of creation where God says that it is “not good,” and it’s about being alone. So God created Eve. That’s not just a marriage verse; we also are not intended to be isolated and alone. 1 Corinthians 12 talks about us in terms of a body and says that if we were to say to one another “I don’t need you” we’d be sorely mistaken.

So my prayer is that in your life you would find your own Blue #2. Seek out those who are safe, be vulnerable with them, “lean in,” and be healed.

Believe me, this story is to be continued…

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A Picture Without Words

Pastor Touloute from Les Cayes, Haiti is such an interesting man. There are times that he has many many words and then there are times where I’ll just receive a picture from him without any description.

Late Friday night into the wee hours of Saturday was the latter. So without a whole bunch of description I’ll just show you the two pictures and one video that he sent to me.

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You can see the video here: http://stpaulcaro.org/outreach/lestage-haiti.html

Not a word of description along with those! But I knew what I was looking at. That’s the mission church in Sejourne, Haiti. I stood in that exact spot eight months ago. However, the church didn’t look like that then. Rather it looked like this:

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A very quick summary of what had transpired since I was last there.

-They continued with the construction of the walls right after we left.

-Funds ran out so they halted any further construction.

-We received a message from Pastor Touloute that actually about $7000 was overspent on the construction up to that point.

-In April, St. Paul Lutheran Church voted that $7000 be sent to Haiti to help with this deficit in construction expenses.

***Here I have to start making assumptions***

-Pastor Touloute somehow believed that there was enough funds to continue construction.

-A new roof was installed on the church in Sejourne.

-An extra special service was in order to celebrate the new church!

 

I’ve shared with the people of Sejourne when we were just beginning the church that this church is not a monument to anyone, but is rather an Ebenezer stone. Even though he’s been instrumental in this congregation, it’s not a monument to Pastor Touloute. It’s not a monument to St. Matthew’s, Grand Rapids or St. Paul, Caro because they donated money  towards it’s construction. It is a testimony that God has been faithful in the past and that he will continue to be faithful in the future.

Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29 ESV) Indeed, the kingdom of God is growing even while we sleep. We can see it growing even when we don’t have words to go along with it.

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