#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.

Sorry, but I just can’t seem to get away from those signs. Sometimes they “message me” in unexpected ways.

A couple of days ago a new friend in another state, a new friend largely because of the message on the signs, “messaged me”. She had her daughter work up some art that said “Encourage one another” and “Just be kind.” She has a project in mind you see. Then she noted that there was not room for their church information - meaning the logo and name. I responded, “that IS the church information.”

If we are the church, or if we are even becoming the church, we aren’t going to be into our brand. We aren’t going to be about our building. We aren’t going to be about ourselves.

We are going to be about Jesus and his gentle ways. We are going to be about Jesus and his kindness. We are going to be about Jesus and the “yes” he is to us for we need that encouragement. It has meant so much to us that we offer it to others. Freely. As they are. Where they are.

Another new friend came to worship with us a few weeks ago. She hasn’t missed being with us since. It is a good thing because she needed to be loved on. And we needed her wisdom. Just a couple of days ago, about the same time I got the “message” about the sign. She “messaged” this…

“… In fact I don’t think preach is quite the word for it. It’s more like a conversation between a group of people who love God talking about the goodness and the grace of God. I leave church with such a sense of peace every Sunday…”

And so, this morning I conclude that the church information is you. The ways that you are living out your faith. The incredible love you have received and freely share. This morning I am reminded, strongly and dramatically, that the church sign is YOU. Someone, this very hour, is waiting for you to “message” them.

Your move.

Brother Pat

Posted 3 days ago