Broad Street Church, NOLA  jlc

“Oh ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.  That’s how the light gets in.”  (Leonard Cohen)

I was visiting my son and daughter in law and the adorable grands (all 5 of them) this weekend. 

I always enjoy getting to worship with them on Sundays, to taste the spiritual food they’re receiving–it’s like sitting at the same banqueting table, sharing a meal and saying, ‘mmmmm, isn’t this good?’

This Sunday I was pleasantly surprised: the pastor is new.  No, not ‘pleasantly surprised’; that’s too innocuous–I was blessed and ministered to.  He’s brought a fresh voice to this large, established congregation. It was a strong message and a challenging one….very refreshing. And it spoke to me very deeply.

He was teaching from Matthew Chapter 7, verses 13-end, starting with Jesus’ messages about the Narrow and Wide Gates, A Tree and its Fruit and ending with The Wise and Foolish Builders. 

About those wise and foolish builders: In verses 24-27, the pastor pointed out that wisdom and foolishness is found in the building of the FOUNDATION.

Jesus made it clear, “everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice
 is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

Puts them into practice.  The difference is the hearing and the D O I N G.  You can build two houses side by side–same color, windows exactly alike , the same front door, both of them two stories, identical landscaping, and so on.,  When does the difference show up?  When the storms come–when life gets rough, when the waves come, when the streams rise, when the strong winds blow and beat against the house… Beat it, pound against it. 
(Like the thunderstorm they had in my son’s neighborhood last week that literally shook the house.)

Citing I Corinthians 3:11-15, “One of the most important verses you can live by, bar none,” the pastor read Paul’s admonition:

“10 But each one should build with care.
 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. <sup class="crossreference" value="(Q)”> 
12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,
13 their work will be shown for what it is, <sup class="crossreference" value="(R)”> because the Day <sup class="crossreference" value="(S)”> will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 
<sup class="crossreference" value="(T)”>  14 If what has been built survives,
the builder will receive a reward. 
<sup class="crossreference" value="(U)”>  15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”

Well, I’m good, I thought.  I know where my foundation’s strong–I’m not foolish…I’m built on Jesus. I’ve built with the right materials–prayer, sacrifice, patience, self-control, all those high-ticket God items.  No worries. 

Or so I thought. 

I arrived home Sunday evening after a busy, full weekend, (including two nights of not very restful sleep.  The 5 grandchildren, remember?) Two and a half days of activity and cupcakes and movies–
“Cloudy with Cheezballs”–and a field trip outside and popcorn and hamburgers.  Very taxing but so enjoyable.  Laughing, drawing, story telling, bean bag games, way too much Wii. My heart and my brain were full.
To overflowing.
Couldn’t wait to share with my husband, the Grandpa. 
Who loves his adorable grands more than all the tea in China.

But—when I got home, there was a banking issue and a phone issue and “did you water the garden?” and (me) “I’m hungry (it’s 8 o’clock) what’s to eat?” and he says, “I did a load of laundry while you were gone, honey, I need to go put them in the dryer…”

Wait a minute……..

I’ve been gone all weekend visiting with the most precious people on the planet and I need to share this with you and there are pictures and stories and ‘you wouldn’t believes’ to tell you and you’re talking about laundry and the blankety blank bank account?

Can’t they wait?  Until I pour out my heart to you and share my joy and the love I have and show you this video we made just for you, Grandpa? 


But I communicated none of that–didn’t ‘check in’ when I got home to say, “Hey, hon, I’d like to share my weekend with you.  I can’t wait to tell you all about the grandchildren.”

I just figured he’d what, ‘get it?’ Like read my mind, know that my grandmother’s heart carries that kind of love and care inside and well, he should KNOW that’s what I wanted to do was sit down and talk, talk, talk?

Didn’t DO or say any of that. Didn’t put into practice my self-control or kindness or patience or communicating-ness. Just thought of my self.

So the storm came–a loud one.  The winds blew, the streams (of tears) came. The foundation was exposed in all it’s shallow, embarassing sandy-ness. 

I wreaked havoc with a wailing wrecking ball of destruction with my own little hands and my sharp, harsh words.  Tore the house down in two fell swoops, dismantled the doors, took off the shutters–it all just came crashing down. 

Oh………………after the streams dried up and the wind died down, quiet again prevailed and I fell apart and repented repeatedly….and I will be bearing the scars of that awful homecoming, baring my building for what it was, probably for a few more weeks.  That kind of pain doesn’t disappear without leaving a scar.

But Father, remind me, I pray, when I see the cracks again, to remember your grace is rebuilding and repairing and replacing my materials, sending me back to the blueprint, to look at your Plan.  Remind me of the foundation–that you, Jesus, your blood, shed for my sin–are the only Rock to build on that will keep me anchored and steady in the storms.

These verses are precious to me today:

Psalm 103:8-13
“The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve (by striking us dead)
or repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above thge earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.”

Remind me, Father, to let you build in me a foundation that will not fail, even if the house falls down….

sharing in the Community of Grace
with Michelle for

and with Laura for Playdates with God
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