#changetheconversation

I just came in from my morning walk.

My devotions led me to this.

We got back from our most recent trip to Haiti about eight hours ago. I, and three very humble, gifted, generous, funny, faithful friends had a full day of travel and retrospection. As is true after pretty much every trip the conversations kept steering to what could we do to “fix Haiti.” We didn’t use those words but that is the bottom line.

There are many responses rolling in your mind right now.

“Heal thyself” might well be one of them.

I digress.

By “fix” we are pretty much skipping over some of the greater truth to chase an economic solution.

Economic change is greatly needed there.

That’s exactly the thing we cannot fix.

To dwell on that is to come to a level of frustration that leads to spiritual stagnation that leads to defeat.

There is a line in a Book I read fairly regularly that says “the One who began a good work in you will see it to completion…”

We aren’t called to finish the job. We don’t even have a good grasp of what the beautiful result should look like. We are simply called to be participants in the project.

If we lose sight of this we also lose sight of something very sweet.

The good work is exactly that.

We can’t fix Haiti (or Anderson for that matter) but there are over 600 children going to school through the work that was begun in us. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti (or Washington for that matter) but there is a young woman with new clothes going to college. New clothes and college weren’t even an option, not even a dream. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti (or even change one hair on my head) but there is a very bright young man who is back in classical (secondary) school who’d dropped out because he didn’t have the $250 for the annual tuition. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti but I also can’t get the image out of my head of several people leaving our outdoor woodworking area with chairs, tables, stools, and HUGE smiles. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti but there is a freshly painted building with new pews to sit on where people gather to praise and draw strength and find hope in a place where these things are as essential as air and food. That means something.

I can’t fix Haiti but I can believe in a Friend who is in the process of doing that very thing - and fixing me in the process.

I got to the church building here in Rogersville about 11 last night. I checked my messages and mail. There was a note from a sweet lady who had a serious injury and several surgeries last year. She had no money for food - or for Christmas gifts for her children. You gave generously to her. The note she sent included the words “you have no idea how much that meant to us.”

She’s right.

As our Friend and I were winding up a fairly brief stroll this morning I felt compelled to confess the part of my life that wants to see everything fixed. He smiled at me the way he does and said…

“I prefer to look at the fixers.”

Your move.

Brother Pat

#changetheconversation

I just came in from my morning walk.

My devotions led me to this.

I want to rerun this one. It strikes me as more true now than when I wrote it four years ago…

Bugalagrande!

Ok, I might need to explain a little. In the Cauca Valley in Colombia South America there is a town called Buga. The population is about 100,000. It is a thriving city with a shrine that attracts about 3,000,000 people every year. But this is not about Buga.

A few miles from Buga there is a village. It was once also known as Buga. Soon enough it was overshadowed by its larger neighbor. Then the people of the village made a discovery and a decision. They renamed their town Bugalagrande, “Buga the great!” They were grateful for their town, their families, their work in their place and they wanted to know that the size of their neighbor in no way limited their lives!

I came across all of this because our small church in our small town just had the opportunity to help build a new church building for a faithful group of faithful people who had outgrown their modest meeting place - in Bugalagrande!

And the name sort of became a rallying cry for me, and the few other silly folks who think like I do and like to say fun words.

Earlier this year I was in the presence of a wonderful young woman. She was describing the very large church in the large city with whom she worships and serves. It sounded like a very wonderful church. She said it was one of the “mega churches.”

I responded “mine too”!

And smiled.

I can say that with all honesty for two reasons. God has pretty much always worked through the small and obscure to do His mighty works, mega works, of love and mercy. It was David, the least of the brothers, who confronted Goliath. It was Paul, with his “thorn in the flesh” and (lets be honest) abrasive personality, who took the Good News to us. It was Mary, a teenager in a time when young women were hardly noticed, who gave birth to the Lord of all good things. It was in choosing the weak that God shows his strength and wisdom. So there’s that.

But I also want to affirm what I have seen with my own eyes. I have seen a small church in a small town accomplish miraculous works of grace. They have built churches in many lands. They have fed multitudes. They have nurtured babies and comforted grieving people. They have overcome every obstacle in apostolic overcoming holy ways. They have started ministries and movements that are reaching the world with a redemptive love. They persevere in loving one another during this perilous season. That doesn’t even scratch the surface. It can’t, because “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things which God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

In you there is a grace and greatness that is vastly beyond your numbers, and even your abilities. It is something born of God. But it is lived out because of your commitment to the love of Jesus. When I allow myself the opportunity “I thank my God for you, each time I think of you. And when I pray for you, I pray with joy.” (Philippians 1:3-4)

So Bugalagrande my friends. BUGALAGRANDE! And Bugalagrande to all of you other Bugalagrandes out there!


Brother Pat

Posted 6 days ago