The Latest on the Property Transition Plan

I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that Romans 8:28 is still in the Bible. God works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

The bad news is that the opening of our facility is still four weeks away. I have it from reliable sources that there is no way everything that needs to get done on the building before we can apply to the city for a certificate of occupancy will occur before then. Go figure.

Frankly, the thing that troubles me most in this? Jared and Jillian don’t get to have their wedding in our new facility. May I ask you all a favor? Would you join me in rallying around these “kids” in offering to do whatever it takes to make their rehearsal/wedding/reception on the weekend of April 13-14 a smash-bang-over-the-top-out-of-this-world success? Thankfully, a contingency plan exists. More to come on that. If you feel led to ease the sting of losing their distinction as the first wedding in the OGC facility, contact Jared and/or Jillian as soon as you can and offer to help. I am counting on the people of Orlando Grace to smother these dear ones in love. Thank you!

Beyond that, a bunch of dominoes fall. First, we are likely to hang around the SDA facility a bit longer. Hopefully the good folks at 455 Maitland Ave will delight to take our money into the month of April. We will keep you posted on that. Second, our annual meeting on April 1 needs a new home. Hopefully we can reserve the SDA for the eve of April 1 for that purpose. We will keep you posted on that. Third, the Good Friday service gets problematic. We’re working on a plan. More to come on that. Fourth, the Kristian Stanfill concert is cancelled for April 15. Hopefully we can reschedule. Somebody please put me out of my pastoral misery!

Isn’t this fun? Nobody said the Christian life and church dynamics would leave you bored! Thanks for being patient with the process as we navigate this once-in-a-lifetime season in the life of our church.

Seriously, let me remind us. Let’s keep the main thing the main thing. Let us live moment-by-moment in the assurance that God has everything under control and that what we need to do more than anything else is love one another as Christ has loved us so that the world may know that we are His disciples.

Wanted: Weekend Warriors

Don’t know any other way to characterize my weekend.

Today at 3 PM – Allmand/Taylor wedding.

Tomorrow at 8:30 AM – prayer on the property.

Tomorrow at 9:30 AM – adult equipping hour teaching – So Many Questions: How to Answer Common Questions about Christianity.

Tomorrow at 10:45 AM – worship service preaching – Faith’s Ultimate Display (Part Two), from John 12:1-11.

Tomorrow at 6 PM – annual congregational meeting – state of the church at OGC.

Have already scheduled a complete meltdown for Monday.

Anyone care to join the fray?

Two Are Better Than One

Tomorrow at 3 PM, Lord willing, I will have the privilege of marrying my son, Joshua, to his betrothed, Emily in a park in south Orlando.

I plan to present my message charge to them from Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.

9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

There is a scene in the movie Gladiator where Maximus, played by Russell Crowe, leads a group of fighters into the Roman Coliseum to face not one another, but some unknown foe. The gladiators have no idea what kind of battle awaits them. Just before they step into the arena, Maximus pleads with them: If we stick together, we have a much better chance of surviving whatever is going to come out of the other tunnels.

He invoked, knowingly or unknowingly, a principle of ancient wisdom contained in the Bible in Ecclesiastes 4. It was written by one of the wisest men to ever live – King Solomon. And it is supremely applicable to the reality of marriage. Two are better than one. It follows some verses where Solomon laments the emptiness of a person swallowed by greed who works feverishly all his life without anyone at all with which to share his life.

The reason two are better than one, v. 9 goes on to say, is because they have a good reward for their toil. The Old Testament usually uses the word reward to refer to wages rendered for work done. But here it has a wider application to that which brings a satisfactory or pleasant outcome. And nowhere is that perhaps more true than in marriage, though this passage actually never says anything at all about marriage. It speaks to the superiority of companionship on any and every level over and against the inferiority of isolation.

But clearly we aren’t off base when we apply it to marriage when we consider God Himself and His estimation of the condition of aloneness in the Garden of Eden in Gen. 2:18 when He first created the institution of marriage. It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. It’s not good, this alone thing. As a rule, though there are exceptions, two are better than one when it comes to that part of the image of God in man that is his mandate to exercise dominion and subdue the earth.

Married couples are meant to participate in the larger story of what God is doing on His earth. He leads couples to understand that together they can be more effective than apart as regent and vice-regent in the task. If this was true with Adam and Eve before their fall into sin and rebellion, how much more is it true now after sin has tainted everything in the human experience?

Every time we attend a wedding it should remind us of the gift of companionship of all kinds and the advantage it brings to our call to execute our God-given stewardship on this earth.

Hug your spouse and/or friend tomorrow and say a prayer for Josh and Em whom I toasted this way at the rehearsal dinner on Friday night:

Long life, lasting love, ferocious commitment, and the daily experience of what the wisdom writer said, “Two are better than one.”