I had the idea that I wanted to re-purpose some of the old boards from my woodpile and build bookshelves for my office. The design worked well in my head and even when I drew it on paper. However, after I started actually building, I became overwhelmed.
During the holidays, JP, my son-in-law, helped me dig the boards out of the woodpile. The boards were wet and very dirty. So, most of them had to be dried and cleaned which included considerable sanding. I did not expect that it would take 30 minutes or so to just clean up each board. Because I wanted the shelves to be 12 inches deep, I had to double the number of boards. Most of the boards were eight inches or less, so I needed to cut and glue boards together to achieve my desired depth. After all this preparation, I still needed to cut the groves in the legs, and insert the shelves. I assembled the shelves on the floor and they had to be turned upright. I could not do that by myself, so I had to find a neighbor to come help me. The project stretched out for a couple weeks. A couple times I almost gave up. Was this much effort worth it?
Nevertheless, I stuck with the project and it turned out well. The old boards are sturdy, match the floor and continue the theme in my office. Generally, it is more difficult to re-purpose old things than to build or buy new. However, the old has beauty and character that cannot be matched by new stuff. Now that the project is completed, I’m glad I persevered. Not only are the bookshelves functional, they are fun to look at. They remind me that often we find the most beauty, strength and stability from the past.
It was a very cold early February weekend 36 years ago (1980) that 500 other Penn State students and I were exposed to a fresh-to-us biblical understanding that our God is a global God and He desires and deserves to be worshiped by all nations. The information we received during that Student Conference on World Evangelization and the subsequent “Perspectives” class changed the course of our lives. Every major decision I have made in my life has been influenced by the understanding of the biblical meta-narrative that we learned.
Last evening was also very cold in State College. Nancy and I were there because the current Perspectives course coordinator, Julie McEIfish (pictured with Nancy and me above) had invited me to teach Lesson 2, The Story of His Glory. Julie was a fellow PSU student back in the early 80s.
I have taught this material numerous times in other places, but what an honor and privilege it was to teach at the current PSU course! I had to fight back emotions as I waited to be introduced to the students.
There have been many successes and failures, victories and defeats during the past 36 years. Somehow, today I am freshly feeling all of them. After our Perspectives course finished in the spring of 1980, dozens of us set out to complete world evangelization in our lifetime. By God’s grace, we have made progress, but we have not fully succeeded. Because of that, we continue to press on, hoping to be able to report as Jesus did in John 17, “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.”
Last summer Nancy and I responded to an invitation to visit the church that the realtor who represented the sellers of our church-house attends. Lisa knew that we were looking for a Christian fellowship to join and accurately guessed that we would enjoy her church. We have been attending Sunday morning and other services and have begun to connect with Lisa’s small group. Our spirits have been lifted!
Last evening we were wonderfully blessed by the small group. They, along with the pastor, came to our house to pray and dedicate it to the Lord. We spent the evening moving from room to room praying prayers of protection and anointing. Nancy and I feel honored that these new friends would come and minister to us in that way!
Since my last post, we also were blessed by visits from three of our four children and their spouses as well as from a number of other family and friends. It is fun to give these loved ones tours of the house and observe their reactions to the beauty and function the Lord has enabled us to create here!
The house is working pretty well, although we have had a couple issues. One night when a couple of our guest rooms were full, the plumbing clogged! None of the drains were working and all the showers, tubs, sinks filled with waste water. It was a major clog and required extraordinary effort by professionals to clear it. Thankfully, they did and we have not had any more problems. This week, during the first cold spell of the year, the pipes leading to the hall bathroom froze. We were able to thaw them out and hopefully diagnosed the problem which the contractor expects to fix tomorrow.
We are still unpacking, organizing and finishing various non-critical projects. However, we are feeling more at home and grateful for this house and all of God’s wonderful blessings!