We Prepared a Place For Him

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 2 Chronicles 21-22; John 14

“Don’t be troubled. Trust in God. Trust also in me. My Father’s house has room to spare. If that weren’t the case, would I have told you that I’m going to prepare a place for you? When I go to prepare a place for you, I will return and take you to be with me so that where I am you will be too. You know the way to the place I’m going.”

Thomas asked, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you have really known me, you will also know the Father. From now on you know him and have seen him.” (John 14:1-7, Common English Bible).

When I served as pastor at First United Methodist Church in Grapeland Texas we built an entirely new facility. We moved the church building from one location about a mile away to a new location. We built a new place for the worship of God.

It would seem to e a reverse of the lesson for today. Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you.” Here we were, building a place for Him. As we were preparing for the building of the new facility, raising money, working out details, having parts of the building redrawn by the architect, I would sometimes think of David who wanted to build God a temple and God said no. Was God saying I wasn’t to build this building? There were days it certainly seemed that way. Even once we got started with construction there were times I thought we might not finish. When tropical storm Allison blew into East Texas and dumped water I felt pretty dejected. We had water in both the old and the new buildings.

Now, after several building projects (never to the extent as in Grapeland) in several churches, I have come to realize, it isn’t us building a place for God as much as God building a place for God. I know God is the one making everything possible.

Well before work ever started, we said we had to have half the required funds for whatever we built and we would borrow the remainder. The truth is, we didn’t have anything that actually belonged to us. It was all things God entrusted to us. The real question is, how much would we trust God to use all God had entrusted to us.

The biggest difference I see between us preparing a place for God and God preparing a place for us is one thing, What God uses to prepare a place for us actually belongs to God. From the money we gave (that already belonged to God), the materials we used (all made by God) and the labor from us and the contractors (God gave us the knowledge, the ability, and the energy to get it done) it was still only us being faithful to God and God’s call for our congregation.

What God builds for us, is all God. What this place is that God is preparing for us, I do not know. Nor do I know what it is made from or when it will be ready. What I do know is, God made the universe and all that is in it. God’s got the building materials already on hand. If God is going to give knowledge and energy to human contractors, I do believe God has what it takes to get the places for us prepared.

Where we should take comfort is, unlike our building in Grapeland that didn’t finish when we anticipated (not necessarily the contractor’s fault, he can’t control tropical storms), God will be ready with our place. Something tells me God doesn’t have to worry about a tropical storm getting in the way.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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