I realize it has been a while since I have blogged, but for the past couple of months I have been on a roof…literally! It’s hard work throwing a pack of 80lb shingles on your shoulder and going up ladders, taking ‘rippers’ and ripping opening up roofs day after day. It is not for the faint of heart to throw down ripped shingles from two stories up and hit the trailer, clean out troughs, nail down bundles of shingles while the sun beats down on you, but air guns are cool though… The rain is cool too as long as you’ve got everything water tight so we do a lot of map checking on the weather network app!
Lessons I’ve learned since roofing!
1. Comraderie! I have developed great friendships with the guys that I work with. I have a great respect for the guys and the hard work put in day in and day out! We also push each other to be better, it’s great racing each other up a side of the roof. However, just don’t let Jeremy lose..he’s a Ninaber and doesn’t take losing easily. “It just doesn’t make sense!!” I hear him say when he is beaten… and yes, this speaks for me too, but I’m a rookie so no great expectations there!
We do everything together, not just roof. There are challenges like doing 50 push ups on our break just because and racing across the rafters in monkey bar style on a new home. There is jumping off the Belwood bridge, taking vents and hitting them golf style into the bin and everyone buying ball caps with ridiculous sayings! It’s all in or nothing! I feel like a youth pastor once again working with guys half my age! But, I don’t back down. It’s hard to do that when they sing, “nobody’s tough as Jack!”
2. Water! I have never drunk so much water in one day well other than a race, but everyone is making sure we are all drinking high quality H2O. There are times when this is turned into a race as well, but like the water cooler in the office, it brings us together to sit down, rest and enter into conversation.
3. Laughter and Affirmation! We have a lot of fun together. The guys are quick to poke fun at each other, we sing to each other songs that play on the radio and then there are ‘head shots’! This happens when the plastic wrap around the shingles is tightly tied into a ball and boom, someone is nailed…good fun! However, there is also good talk happening, guys challenging each other, affirming each other’s gifts, encouraging each other.
I don’t know how long I will be roofing but for right now, it has been the right tonic for me. It gives me time to think, to pray, to focus. My ultimate goal is to be doing pastoral ministry with church at the Manor full time. When I shared with Roger, the owner of the Manor about what I’m up to now with my present work, he says, “Jack, you are a pastor, you need to be ministering to the people, not on a roof!” So, inside my head, I’m thinking, wow, he’s more convinced about this than I am. God speaks in mysterious ways! So, I continue to be bi-vocational, but it has given me a real appreciation for what a lot of others do day in and day out. I’ve been a pastor for over 20 years and I can honestly say I have learned so much in this past few months since launching a church plant with my wife Sharon in the most unexpected places I have ever been, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. This past Sunday one of the guys I have been building a friendship with walks into our service with a brand new NIV study Bible. He is beaming and I am thrilled because he is ready to go deeper with God and together we will begin the first of many groups focused on life in Jesus!
So, back to the lessons I learned and a spiritual lesson for the church. I believe the church is best when it experiences these same three qualities. It is for that very reason that we will do great exploits for the kingdom.
A few verses to consider…
Psalm 133:1 A Song of Ascents, of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! 2It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, coming down upon the edge of his robes.…
It has a sweet perfume about it, comparable to that precious ointment with which the first High Priest was anointed at his ordination. It is a holy thing, and so again is like the oil of consecration which was to be used only in the Lord's service. The Treasury of David
Nothing replaces unity and a common desire to see the same vision accomplished. The people that serve with us at the Manor Church know that it is not about what they are going to get as much as what they give! We are there to pour out the anointing of the Holy Spirit through prayer, worship and listening and we do receive! Oh man, do we ever receive. It is seen in the tears of those who come for prayer and they experience the Father’s love. We said His love is relentless and that message comes through every week. We know our mission! It is Luke 4:18
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free!!
Living water is all about the presence of the Holy Spirit in us and on us and without the pouring in, there can be no pouring out! So we love to soak in the Holy Spirit and the Spirit breathes life into our conversations and prayers when we listen to Him!
John :38,39"He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'" 39But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive;
Luke 12:12 reminds us the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.
3. Laughter and Affirmation
One afternoon one of our attendees was ready to walk out of our church and walk across the street to the church gathered there to tell them to “come over here, because we are having more fun!’ Don’t worry, Sharon stopped him. So Roger the owner has been on our side and last week he showed up with a popcorn machine. He thought what other church is serving up popcorn during the service. He has also brought in coffee as well for us. We sing and shout out our praises every week and we ‘dance upon injustice’ because we believe God is in the business of restoring what the enemy has stolen!
The town will be rebuilt on its old foundations; the mansions will be splendid again. Thanksgivings will pour out of the windows; laughter will spill through the doors. Jeremiah 30:19
Thanks to all those who are praying for us and partnering with us in this ministry…you rock! We are so excited about what God is doing, we have to shout it from the rooftops!