A few weeks ago, our blessed city went to the ungodly temperature of -3 degrees out.
It was bitter. Absolutely awful.
Our current bedroom is one of the rooms in our house that we have NOT renovated yet, and so it is not insulated and we don’t
have a very good heating system set up in that room yet, so it got down to about 45 degrees at night during
that week inside the room, which was really really cold....
I woke up that morning, just freezing, and went fill my hario water kettle with water so I could make a cup of coffee and begin to warm myself up, and I turned on the cold water in the kitchen, and nothing came out.
I waited. and waited. and nothing.
I turned on the hot water, and I could tell it was struggling but that water did come on... so it was not hard to diagnose that the cold water line to the kitchen has frozen.
Nothing was coming out.
So I text Ben Allen and asked him for some advice... and he gave me several wise words... obviously, the hope... the goal in that moment, is to figure out how to get the pipe to thaw before the water expands and the pipe bursts.
He asked some questions about the way that we had the pipes insulated, and their location in our crawl space under the house...
He explained that the way you prevent the pipes from freezing, beyond taking the proper steps to insulate and protect them, is you have water running through them. Running water prevents freezing. But obviously, at that point, the water was already frozen inside, we had to warm the pipe up.
The first idea was, get a space heater and just blow hot air on it until it thaws, and then make sure to insulate it properly.
But when we went outside to go down there, we realized that we had, in the summer, taken the little door off of the crawl space to get into it, and we never put anything back in its place. So the absolutely frigid cold air was under there... NOTHING stopped the outside air from coming in, the pipe was as good as OUTSIDE... in -3 degrees...
of course it would freeze. So Jake helped me make a new door and we put this huge piece of insulation on the door, and we closed off the crawl space. Then we got a little heater for Dawn and I’s room that was 45 degrees before then, and we heated that back up to about 68...
so now the whole house was a good temperature, the floors weren’t as cold because the crawl space was finally closed off, and we were able to sleep without being miserably cold, and we woke up the next morning, and went to turn on the cold water, and it kind of gave this weird sound like it was working hard but was clogged or something, then all the sudden the facet spit out this wonderful brown colored water for about 10 seconds, and then the water cleared up, and it works just fine now.
Nothing had burst! We were so grateful.
But in that particular circumstance, we never even went fully down into the crawl space and blew hot air on the pipe. All we did was adjusted the atmosphere around the pipe. We changed a few small things, and in doing so we fixed a problem that could have been much worse.
and life is like that.
Sometimes there are areas in our lives, that we just need to change, if we are going to be who we are supposed to be. There are certain places in life that you will not be able to go if you aren’t willing to make the necessary adjustments to get there.
and please, hear my heart on this, because you know me... I believe with all of my heart that God can use anyone. He can use anyone to do anything. He spoke through a donkey in Numbers 22 (verse 30)
In the Genealogy of Jesus listed in Matthew chapter 1, we find out that God used one of the most screwed up family lines in history to be the ones who usher in the Christ.
In that family line include Judah and Tamar, which is one of the most screwed up stories you will find anywhere both about gross sexual sin, manipulation, and the thing that the bible describes as the worst thing in their story... utter injustice, as Judah refused to do his required duty of taking care of Tamar, who was the widow to his sons.
In that Genealogy is Rahab, who we know was a prostitute.
One of the most peculiar lines in Matthew chapter 1 talks about King David, it says that David was the Father of Solomon, by the wife of Uriah. So Matthew even goes out of his way to focus on how screwed up that situation is, by not even naming Bathsheba but instead focusing on the fact that through something sinful... through David sleeping with someone else’s wife... continued the family line of Jesus.
Abraham was a liar and a coward. Isaac was a liar and a coward who followed in His Father’s footsteps, did not learn from the mistakes of his father, but instead made the same mistakes.
On and on it goes... and on and on God continued to use those people to play a role in the greatest story that will ever be told for all of human history.
God can use anybody. No matter where you find yourself today. God will meet you there... right where you are. And he can use you to do something great, even as you are right now, even when maybe you even think... “I am not as I should be.”
I believe that the gospel of grace is the most powerful, life changing gift on the planet. But I also know that as a church, and as people who want to see God move radically in this place... we can’t just stay the same after grace gets ahold of us.
Ultimately something has to happen in you, if your life is ever going to move beyond this place where you always feel like God is fixing you and reconciling you and bringing you back all the time... to a place where you can just stand in health and say God, I am not perfect, I never will be... BUT I AM NOT GOING BACK TO WHAT I USED TO BE.
God will use anyone who is wiling to be used, and He can even use bad situations to lead to things that fulfill his purpose, like he did with King David. He did a series of bad things, that in many ways got progressively worse, and in the end Uriah, Bathsheba’s first husband was killed at David’s hand, and Bathsheba ended up losing the baby that was birthed out of that affair...
and God still used that relationship to later birth Solomon, who would carry on the family line that Jesus would eventually be born into.
And God continued to use David in amazing ways for his purposes.
but there had to come a time when something changed in David, that actually took shape in his heart and took form in the way that he lived his life, so that he could actually be used by God every day... through everything that He did... not just the things that God had to save him from and redeem him for the mistakes that he made.
There had to come a time in David’s life when he uttered these words:
“Create in me a CLEAN HEART, oh God, and renew a steadfast Spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
and he was later known as what?
A man after God’s own heart, who did all that he was commanded to do.
Something changed in him.. he was a flawed man who became so in tune with what God wanted him to do, that he did it all.
we have to change if we are going to be the change.
And there are things in our lives that just cause us to stay the same, year after year, time after time.
For some people it is obvious sins that we keep coming back to.
But for others it is subtle sins that we keep coming back to... and sometimes it is things that, in and of themselves aren’t even sinful, and yet we give them such a hold over our lives that they derail what God is trying to do in us and it becomes sinful.
So for this series, we are going to cover some of those areas.
These are not the only things... but these are some of the things that really work against people and really stop people from being who they are supposed to be and doing what they are supposed to do in life.