Maybe it was getting to hang with some of my favorite people in the world, or all the little lessons from Jesus, or the long work days, or a combination of it all, but this week has been a rewarding and memorable one.
Last Saturday night a team from Pinelake arrived on the ground in Bradenton. We worshipped at a local church plant in Sarasota together on Sunday and celebrated Christina Rainey’s 21st B-Day together in style. (Grilled Turkey Burgers and DQ Ice Cream Cake). On Monday we started early at our house with a study from John 13 on servanthood. The main take away was that no matter what Jesus called us to do this week, nothing was off limits, even washing feet. We then headed over to Tara Elementary, a local elementary school that Good Life Church is going to meet in starting next month. Our desire for the week was to bless the school and staff, invest into the community and share the gospel and life with everyone we came in contact with. When we arrived we realized quickly that it was going to be a long week. Tara is over 20 years old and is in need of some updating across the campus. The staff, on the other hand, is a refreshing group of amazing people. From the front office, to the administration, to the teachers and the maintenance staff, we are so blessed to partner with these wonderful people. The “to-do” list included landscaping, painting exterior posts and interior halls, and a front office remodel. Each day we grew closer with the staff, working alongside of the maintenance crew and even getting to share the Good Life story with both principals over a lunch they provided. As we worked we got multiple compliments from the students and teachers as they walked by and at the end of the week we were treated to a potluck meal from the staff as well as dozens of thank you cards.
2 Little Lessons
My job, most of the week was “cutting in” for everyone painting. For anyone who isn’t familiar, this demands a still hand, patience and attention to detail… I have none of these. Many times as I painted and prayed, God would remind me how much He cares about the details. As I would glance down the hall and see the large amount of work ahead of me my initial reaction was to rush, to just get it done. Just as I would step down to move my ladder ahead I would hear Him whisper; Take your time, do it right, I care about the little things. I would step back up and carefully move the brush back and forth until there was no evidence of the 20 year old aqua paint. Jesus would whisper, this is how I dealt with your sin. I covered it completely. No more evidence of the old you. I would just smile and move my ladder along.
My second lesson was in landscaping. Before I get all spiritual, I have a new respect for anybody who does this for a living. My muscles were sore, my hands were black with dirt, and there was no sweat left in my body after a day of work outside. As we planted across the campus, sometimes we would dig into rich soil. The shovel would drive deep the first time and the new plant would be in the ground in just a few minutes. Other times though the shovel would only get a few inches below the surface before it would hit rock or a tree root. Breaking up hard ground was exhausting. It was so frustrating trying to prep the ground for this new plant. Our intention was to make the campus beautiful yet the ground many times wouldn’t cooperate. It was then that we would have to break out the axe. With each swing the ground would crumble, until finally we had broken it into submission and prepared it for new life. As I swung the axe and broke up the hard ground, another whisper from Jesus. “Isn’t this ridiculous?” “Yes Lord it is. Why is this ground so hard?”, I asked. Jesus answered, “Your heart is like this so many times Jason. I am attempting to plant something beautiful, but you are so stubborn, so hard. It is then that I break you down. Not because I hate you, or because I am mad at you. Rather I do it because I love you too much to leave you as dry, rocky ground.I want to plant something beautiful. Being broken isn’t bad, it makes for great soil.” Once again, I would smile, and move on to the next plant.
Our first preview service is a little over a month away. Please pray as we continue to prepare, build relationships and share the Gospel and Life! If you can make it down here for the service, make plans now. Oct. 21st. 10:30am at Tara Elementary School.