Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Building Walls and Breaking Ground

Progress is being made on our house. I thought I'd make this a photo post so you can see a bit of what is happening.

We won't see these messages once the house is built, but we'll know they are there.
A couple weeks ago, University of Findlay students joined the U of F chapter of Habitat for Humanity for a special event where they painted messages on some of the boards that are going to be a part of our house. Here are a few pictures.

Some students got rather artistic.If you look closely, you will see some Japanese writing.
Do you see "Oiler Build" on one of the boards?
That's because it is being built by the University of Findlay Oilers.

A character named Derrick is their mascot.

Last week, University of Findlay students joined the U of F chapter of Habitat for Humanity to begin constructing the frames for the walls.

Rachel and I got to drive a few nails ourselves.
Someone got a picture of Rachel at work,
but I haven't gotten that one yet.

The house is as far as it can go until mid-August. For now, the frames for the walls are all stored in a semi-truck awaiting the raising of the walls which is scheduled for August 22nd.

This past Saturday, the ceremonial groundbreaking was held on the University of Findlay campus. It was held there because it was in conjunction with another University of Findlay activity. Students went out to our property and brought back buckets and buckets of dirt from the site to put in a big orange box. (Oiler colors are orange and black.) Here we are "breaking ground".

Many thanks to the U of F Habitat family. You are all so very special.

I just love how much fun Rachel seems to be having.
Such a special day.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Then Came Sunday Morning

Image found here
Sitting in silence.

Wrapped in grief.

Haunted by fear.

Hearts echoed with the emptiness left when Jesus’ body was laid in the tomb.

Hope had disappeared.

Then came Sunday morning.

The sun peeked over the hills. Women trudged with feet as heavy as their hearts to the tomb. In their hands were fragrant spices to properly prepare their Master and friend for burial. 

But who would roll away the stone? Who would let them in?

Image found here
Suddenly hope was rekindled! The stone was rolled away!

"He is not here!” the angel said. “He is risen!” 

The tomb was empty, but their hearts were full.
Fear gave way to courage!

Grief gave way to joy!

Silence was swallowed up in victory!

Sin, where are your shackles?
Death, where is your sting?
Hell has been defeated.
The grave could not hold the king.*

Then came Sunday morning—and absolutely nothing would ever be the same again.

*Lyrics from “Arise, My Love” by Newsong.

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Dark Side of Sunday

It is Friday night. I just returned from attending an Easter cantata at a local church that begins in the fall each year preparing for a deeply impactful ministry to our community.

Through song and story, we walked through the life and ministry of Jesus’ here on earth. We remembered His birth, re-lived His miracles and life-changing teaching, reflected on His suffering, and rejoiced in His resurrection. Hope, amazement, anguish, sorrow, joy. All these emotions and more poured into a two-hour recounting of the greatest story ever told.

Image found here
As the story unfolded, several songs bridged the gap between the sorrow of the cross and the victory of the empty tomb. Here on the bright side of Sunday morning, we can see how the story of the cross turns out. We know that weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5b) We know that their sorrow and loss did not last forever. We know that hope and joy was just around the corner.

Not so for Jesus’ disciples. That night over two thousand years ago, Jesus’ followers grieved on the dark side of Sunday.

Jesus had told them what was going to happen to Him. He had told them that he would suffer and die. He had explained to them that this was necessary. He had even let them know that He would come back. In spite of all this, His closest followers seemed to not really understand.

Perhaps they didn’t even begin to grasp the significance of Jesus’ mission. Perhaps they still thought that Jesus would one day fulfill the hope of Israel by becoming a king who would lead them to freedom from the tyranny of Rome. If that is what they were hoping for on that dark side of Sunday, they would not have realized that Jesus had taken onto Himself the brokenness and bondage of the world, so He could set His creation free from the tyranny of sin and death.

Maybe some understood that their Master and Friend had come purposefully to suffer and die so He could bring His people back to Himself. Perhaps they believed that He would rise again. Yet on the dark side of Sunday, they felt keenly a sense of deep grief and profound loss. We can understand that grief. It is the grief that mourns the passing of a loved one, even though we have hope that we will see them again someday in heaven. We know that death is not the end, yet we mourn the loved one’s loss in the here and now. Even those who have hope still mourn on the dark side of Sunday.

Then there were those, like Peter, who had denied that he even knew the One who was his dearest friend. He had left Jesus alone in His darkest hour. The fact that Jesus knew all along that he would do so was no comfort. On the dark side of Sunday, Peter carried the crushing weight of failure and regret.

Image found here
All those gathered together behind locked doors hid in fear of the Jews. Their Master and dearest Friend had just suffered the most brutal execution. For all they knew, they might be next. Numbed by the very thought of His suffering, perhaps they sat in silence. Terror lurked in the shadows on the dark side of Sunday. Fear stalked them in the night.

The dark side of Sunday is not a place anyone wants to stay. Thankfully, we don’t need to remain there. Yet on Good Friday, it might be beneficial to linger for a time in that place of sorrow. Perhaps we should allow ourselves to truly feel the weight of the sin and shame that Jesus took on Himself so we could be free of it. Give God time to impress upon us the extent of Jesus’ love—a love that led Him to lay down His life for you and me.

Jesus reaches out to each of us in the midst of grief and sorrow and loss. Let’s meet Him in a special way right here, right now—on the dark side of Sunday.

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