Reading the Bible is like home improvements

My wife and I have been doing home improvements…for about 3 years…since day one of owning the home. Some projects have been easy…painting the living room. Some have been difficult…putting down Pergo Laminate flooring. But it never fails, whenever we begin a project, whatever the project may be, it always winds up being more than we bargained for.

Some “for examples”:

The Roof…We had a hail storm a year ago in March. Damage to the roof…covered by insurance…so we get a new roof put on. However, in doing so, a leak developed. The leak was “fixed” 3 or 4 times leaving behind ceiling damage. That has been “fixed” 3 times…and today, should actually, finally get done right…which means replacing sheet rock on the ceiling. That however, is not the end. Now we’ll have to paint the ceiling so that the new part will match the old part. In doing so, we’ll probably have to scrape all the “popcorn” off and “re-popcorn” the whole thing. But we won’t find out until we start.

The Pergo flooring…we had sheet linoleum (in a fake wood pattern) that covered the kitchen, living room, dining room, and hallway. Pergo can easily go down over linoleum. However, in trying to put screws down where the squeaks were, I found a soft spot in the floor. Only way to see what’s going on is to tear up the linoleum. Found more water damage from the roof leak (even though Allstate said that couldn’t possibly be the problem and didn’t pay a dime). So, a friend and I took out the sub-floor and replaced a 2 foot by 6 foot section. The Pergo, in a straight line, with no doors or transitions…yes, it is super easy. But some of the cuts take a degree in engineering of which I don’t have. I’ve been working on this “Do it yourself in a day” floor for about 3 weeks now.

The Bathrooms…ladies need a nice bathroom. So, both bathrooms have been remodeled. New fixtures, sinks, paint, molding…top to bottom remodel…both bathrooms. The one upstairs has been an unfinished project for almost a year now because I don’t want to take the next step…tearing out a wall to get to a plumbing issue…of which I’m not sure I can fix anyway.

So…the title of this post? Every time I start a new project in home improvement, it always uncovers other issues that must be addressed. The Bible does the same for us. As one of my pastors used to say…”Every issue is a spiritual issue.” Changing your attitude about someone or something. Trying to become more conscious of the lost around you. Changing your negative tone. Working on your personal worship and devotional consistency. All of these things and so much more…they are spiritual issues that will most likely uncover other issues you must address.

But think of the finished product. When you can step back and look at something you did with your own two hands in any project…that is a great feeling. The same is true when you can look back at a spiritual “remodeling” and see how God has worked in your life…that is a great feeling.

I’m working on consistency in study of Scriptures. What are you working on?

Remembering Old Times (FBC Gladewater, TX)

I served for about 2 years at a great place in Gladewater, TX…First Bapitst Church. Even though it was about 5 years ago that my wife and I left to serve elsewhere, there are still people I talk to on a regular basis. I have some great memories there.

With my “on the side” graphics design business, my wife said I should recreate a graphic we did for a t-shirt for the creative movement ministry of FBC Gladewater. As I was working on it, I was thankful as I was reminded of all the good times at FBC Gladewater.

Here’s the graphic…on a black t-shirt, with the full scripture of Romans 12:1-2 on the back of the shirt…it was pretty sweet.

transformed-graphic

HTML anyone?

I am not a web guru by any means (don’t tell my church). I just happen to know slightly more than those around me (don’t tell them that I have to look it all up first). One case in point…

I have had my own graphics design business for about 6 months now. I was doing a lot of graphic work for my church’s website and thought I could also make a little cash on the side doing the same for others. To this point, with only four or five clients, I’ve probably only had a profit margin of a couple hundred bucks (but I’m not complaining). But, one of those clients asked me about putting a specific image on a website (in his terms “Change this gif to html” – which is not really what’s happening in the process…but anyway). I did a little research and found www.echoecho.com tutorials. As a result of helping him, I have now added a button link to my design business (look left). Not bad (if I do say so myself). Check it out and let me know if there’s anything I can do for you or your church!

More thoughts from Romans 12

I told you a few posts ago about a note on Romans 12:1-2 found in my Disciples Study Bible. I’ve really been pouring over all of Romans 12 for several days of the past several weeks. The section mostly getting my attention has been verses 9 – 21…which we’ll get to in a moment.

But before I do, why is verse 2 so hard? “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is…His good, pleasing, and perfect will.” Stop trying to figure it out on your own, based on your own circumstances and feelings. Look to God and let him transform you mind. How do we do that? The only way we’ll ever change is to allow Scripture to mold us from the inside out. Which means…you guessed it, a ton more time reading scripture. We complain all the time about not knowing God’s will…or wanting desperately to know His will…this Scripture reminds us that we find His will by being transformed into His likeness…spending time in the Scriptures. Why is that so hard? Why do we complain about it so much?

But, like I said, I really wanted to display for you what verses 9 -21 say.

9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

 14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20On the contrary:
   “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
      if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
   In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

This is how Paul says we should live. I’m trying. How are you doing?

Enough Said…

Gearing up for Easter Services

Easter around here is and has been a highlight of worship for me and for many in our congregation. For obviously Christian reasons, it is a highly celebratory service. I’ve been planning this year’s Easter Service in my head for almost three months…thinking of this song and that song, different elements and how each might flow to the next.

Here’s our flow this week:

Day Three – a choir anthem with three male soloists (all top-notch) that begins with Day One events (Friday), Day Two events (Saturday), and then Day Three events (Sunday and the resurrection)…ending with a high, loud, and full He is Alive! From there we’ll have two contemporary resurrection songs (Alive Forever Amen and Mighty to Save). At the offering, we’ll step back in time a little bit as Via Dolorosa is sung, back to the present for two hymns (Christ the Lord is Risen Today and Crown Him with Many Crowns). Following that will be another choir anthem looking ahead to “When Jesus steps out…” – the all-too familiar Midnight Cry. It should be quite the celebration.

I’ve got to write some band parts for Midnight Cry, but for the most part, the rest of the service is pretty much done.

What are you doing for Easter?

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