Years ago, Eric and I purchased our first house: a 100-year-old farmhouse on an acre of land complete with a little pond. Before you imagine something really amazing, keep this in mind: we were 22 years old and still students at Ohio State.
In other words, we were broke. So, the only reason we could afford this farmhouse was because it was what they call ‘an investment opportunity’. No one talked about flipping houses back then. And this was no easy flip. The house had been empty for years, was left mid-renovation, and several families of skunks, raccoons, and groundhogs had taken up residence. There were snakes in the pond. There was poison ivy all over the yard (we found that out the hard way). The crawl space was too shallow, the walls were full of mice, and all the exterior-wall plumbing had frozen out and busted.
But to us: it was home sweet home!
Why, you ask? Because we had vision for it. And not only vision: we had plans. We were on a mission! And one year later, after lots of renovation-gone-wrong stories, that house was full of people and life and community and purpose! We hosted Joshua House bonfires, had homeless students live with us, led Young Life Bible studies, and started our family there. That place that seemed all broken down and beyond repair – after it was rebuilt – that place was full of life. (Just not animal life!)
A lot of people are looking out at their own landscapes right now and seeing things that need renovation, or that feel beyond repair:
- You’ve lost long-time friends because of heated political differences.
- Your family feels disjoined, your marriage is stressed, and your kids are totally disengaged from school.
- Someone you love is abusing substances to help take away their anxiety about the world around them.
- It’s been a year since you’ve been to church and it’s hard to get back into the habit of showing up.
- You’re asking big questions about faith and identity and purpose and truth, and foundations that used to feel solid now feel really unstable.
- Your spiritual life is out of order, and you lack motivation or energy to re-engage.
This weekend, we’re starting a sermon series on the Old Testament book of Nehemiah, because Nehemiah found himself in a similar space: his landscape was bleak. Everything that he was looking at was broken down, and he was surrounded by piles of rubble and a renovation job that was way bigger than him.
But Nehemiah had some serious kingdom vision. He looked at the mess, prayed to the Lord for favor, and said to the crowd: “Come, let us rebuild…”
And the rest, as they say, is hard work and history.
Over the next couple of months, we’ll learn from the book of Nehemiah how to find the courage to show up and rebuild: how to rebuild our spiritual lives, our church, the mission we’re on, our relationships, and much more.
So let me ask you a few personal questions. (They’re not rhetorical questions. They’re questions I’d love for you to take five minutes to pray about right now!)
How might you be called to invest in this season of rebuilding?
What kind of stories do you want to tell twenty years from now about how you showed up in post-pandemic 2021?
Could you imagine what it might feel like to be a part of rebuilding something that has an actual impact on people’s actual lives? In an actually good way?
How can you imagine Vineyard Columbus being a part of rebuilding not just our own church, but our city, our relationships, our culture, and our world?
Just like Eric and I looked at a wrecked old farmhouse filled with wild animals and saw potential, just like Nehemiah looked at the wall around Jerusalem and saw a chance to repair it, we can right now look at the church and the world around us and see not a wreck, but a kingdom opportunity.
Because we have eyes of faith, we have a God of hope. And we have the power of love that is not the limited love of humanity, but the resurrection love of the God who was, who is, and who will be.
And for those reasons, and because all of us are called to something bigger and more beautiful than just ourselves, and because we need to be filled with mission and purpose, and because we have kingdom vision.
I’m going to ask you to join the fun.
Would you be a part of rebuilding our community of faith? Would you rebuild your personal spiritual foundations? Would you do the work of rebuilding relationships and getting back into community? Would you ask God for the courage to show up, and put your time, energy, and heart into the life-changing mission before us?
You can start right now.
Help serve our kids. Join a hospitality team. Reconnect your small group by attending our Nehemiah Bible Study series together at Sawmill Campus. Serve our community by volunteering with our Food Pantry.
This spring, we’ll be offering all sorts of ways to get in on the kingdom mission and to put our faith in Christ in action in the church and in the world around us.
I’ll look forward to working alongside you!