I take no credit for God’s blessing of St. John Church. I have often said, “God blesses those He chooses to bless." I know more gifted leaders, who worked every bit as hard as me, but their ministries have not experienced the same blessing. That’s just God being God, deciding things above my pay-grade.
I do however take a little bit of credit for the number of staff people who have tackled significant home improvement projects. St. John Staff is a rehabbing bunch! I could name at least ten staff members who have tackled major projects inspired (at least partly) by my example. The thinking goes, “If Hower can do it, how hard can it be?” I used to borrow my friend’s tools for my rehab projects, but now, more often than not, our staff checks to see if I have a specialty tool or a word of advice about their project. My most common advice is, “Check it out on Youtube!”
Here are six “biblical lessons” I’ve applied to my rehab efforts!
- Proverbs 12:15 is worth its weight in gold. “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” A wise person asks advice from those who’ve been there, done that.
- Joshua 1:9 teaches another important concept useful in rehab. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I begin by asking myself, “What’s the worst that could happen here? If that doesn’t scare me, I measure twice and cut once. Rehabbing takes courage.
- Ecclesiastes 7:8 is helpful. “The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.” Be patient when attempting rehab. What’s your hurry? I subscribe to the principle that any progress is worth celebrating. Don’t delay celebrating until the project is done. Enjoy an atta-boy (and an adult beverage) for any progress made along the way.
- Ecclesiastes 9:4 has merit. “Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!” Be safe! I’ve had my share of close calls with saws and ladders and nail guns. My guardian angel has an advanced degree in special ops, but you can’t count on that in every situation. Don’t use an electric tool while standing in water. Use a safety harness when on a roof, and even though saws work better without the safety guard, it might not be the best idea to remove them. (I can never figure out how to put them back together anyway.)
- James 5:16 “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” There is no shame in admitting you messed something up and need a do-over. I’ve torn things out after spending hours on it. I recently made several cuts on a trim board only to realize they were on the wrong end. Ha! It cost me a trip to Lowe's and $8 to buy another board.
- Daniel 12:8 is also worth prayerful consideration. “I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?” It helps if you think a project through BEFORE YOU BEGIN. Make a plan and work the plan. Like the Cheshire cat told Alice, “If you don’t know where you are going, any direction will do.” (He was being facetious.)
I take pride in the fact that God loves rehabbing too. He rehabs people. He’s good at it and never grows tired of the challenge. The Bible says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.” (Romans 10:21) He’s not afraid to get His hands dirty.
I thought about this as I read the Easter stories of Peter's and Judas’ denials. Judas betrayed Jesus to make some money, which resulted in overwhelming guilt and shame. Peter also betrayed Jesus, not once, but three times. Judas killed himself. Peter changed the world. What was the difference between these two?
Judas’ sin was not worse than Peter’s, but he thought it was. He believed his sin was beyond forgiveness. Peter believed Jesus could rehab his soul. Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” Mercy is needed by those who are guilty. Mercy is Jesus’ specialty.
If your life is in serious need of rehab, not to worry, Jesus is an expert carpenter of souls. There is no person too damaged. No one beyond His ability to restore. He’s in the sinner-restoration business. In fact what we see as a detriment, He can turn into a strength, positioning us to help others who have also fallen down.
Experienced rehabbers know there is no perfect house. A perfectly square tile will quickly expose a crooked wall every time. There is no such thing as a perfect person either. “All have sinned and fall short of God’s perfection.” That is no surprise to God. Jesus knows our flaws. Sin is why He came to earth. The Apostle explained his need for Jesus when he said, “I cannot set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness (perfection) could be gained through the law (by doing only good and never any wrong), Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:21)
BUT CHRIST DID NOT DIE FOR NOTHING. He was 100%, take-no-prisoners, completely-committed to rehab. And I know from experience a person can get hurt doing that!
At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- What would cause Jesus to die for sinners?
- What does it mean when it says we were, “powerless.”
- What did the death of Jesus accomplish for sinners like you and me?
When it comes to giving people a do-over; are you,
A) eager and gracious.
B) hesitant and wary.
C) forgiving but not forgetting.
What's your opinion?
Take the survey and leave a comment based on your thoughts.
If you were unable to attend services last weekend and would like to listen to the message, visit our homepage at stjstl.net and click on Media at the top right of the web page. Growing Deeper, a Bible study, written to accompany the message series is also available to download.
St. John Church live streams Sunday services at 9:00am and 10:45am. Join us!
Gracious Lord be gracious to me. I’m often overwhelmed by my shortcoming and fully aware of my faults. Even with Your forgiveness, I’m aware of the damage my impatience and judgmental nature does to others and to my own sense of well-being. Help me every day to become more like You. Help me to accept your complete forgiveness for myself and to begin each day with renewed optimism and expectation. Help me likewise to be gracious and affirming of others. By Your Holy Spirit increase my love; through Jesus Christ, my Lord; Amen.
Getting Started | 90 minutes fly by in the quick-paced orientation to St. John | May 7
The Global Leadership Summit returns on August 10 & 11. Take advantage of early bird pricing.
Feel called to go on a short-term mission trip? There are openings for Disaster Response, Wyoming and Belize.
Stephen Hower, Pastor