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Friday, October 5, 2007

Extreme Makeover Comes to Town

The Extreme Makeover TV show has drawn a thousand volunteers to a construction site on the southeast side of Colorado Springs. Sunday, October 7, the popular TV show will hand over the keys to a newly constructed spacious house to the Woodhouse family. Right now the flurry of activity swirling around the site is rivaled only by the constant swirl of prairie dust.
The Jeremy and Kim Woodhouse were selected to receive the “big house on the prairie” because their daughter has special medical needs that incur huge medical bills. She cannot feel pain, and she must wear a space-age cooling vest to keep her body’s temperature at precisely the right level.

Gloria and I visited the Extreme Makeover project this morning. We have a special interest in the project because Jeremy is the assistant pastor at a church I served a few years ago as interim pastor. Looking east, we saw what appeared to be an endless stretch of sandy soil and light-brown prairie grass. To the west, the foothills of the Rocky Mountains rise like a jagged wall marking the end of the prairie’s domain.

We stood across from the house alongside about one hundred Air Force Academy Prep School students. The students were being summoned to the construction site fifteen at a time to carry clutter to a disposal site. Not a very glamorous job, but the students seemed to be happy doing whatever Extreme Makeover asked them to do. Each received an attractive blue shirt for participating in the project.

The Bible features an extreme makeover. Second Corinthians 5:17 indicates, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” You and I may never receive a brand-new house constructed and donated by big-hearted construction companies and a large cadre of volunteer workers, but we can lay claim to a brand-new life offered as a gift and made possible by the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. He shed His blood for us. If we believe on Him as our Savior, God removes our sins and grants us everlasting life. But there is more, He promises us a home in Heaven. Someday the family of God will live there, and its comfort, convenience, and security will outclass anything Extreme Makeover builds down here—and that’s saying a lot.

“The gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23b).

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Getting Rid of Monsters

Someone has come up with a creative moneymaking idea: monster repellant spray. It seems many young children are afraid of monsters, especially monsters that lurk in bedrooms at night. Now, there is help in a can. Before kissing Mommy and Daddy goodnight, kids can spray monster repellant liberally around their bedroom and even on their bed. Presto, monsters vanish into the aerosol mist.
Hey, I have an even better idea. Why not teach little ones that God watches over them all night as well as all day, in the darkness as well as in the light? And why not teach them that monsters don’t exist. Even very young kids can trust in the Lord to keep them safe. With a little help from Mom and Dad, they can memorize Psalm 4:8: “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”
So, instead of reaching for monster spray repellant at bedtime, parents can pray with their children. “Let’s pray” instead of “Let’s spray” results not only in a restful night but also in a close parent-child relationship.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Bogey Coyote

When two golf buddies and I walked off the 18th green of Springs Ranch Golf Course in Colorado Springs, we saw a fierce-looking coyote positioned between the cart path and a pond. I’ll call him, Bogey Coyote. Crouched and facing the pond, Bogey appeared big and mean. However, after staring at him for a while from a safe distance, we noticed he wasn’t moving. Surely he didn’t die in that position, I thought.
One of my golf buddies threw an old golf ball at Bogey, but Bogey didn’t move. We took a closer look, and discovered Bogey was a fake—a lifelike fake, but a fake nonetheless.
When we asked the pro shop attendant why Bogey was positioned beside the pond, he replied, “We put him there to scare away ducks and geese, and it has worked. You didn’t see any ducks or geese at the pond, did you?
Ducks and geese may not be able to tell a real coyote from a fake—until a real one bites, but you and I should know the difference. However, how often do we fear something that cannot harm us? Our Bogey Coyote may be one of a host of what-ifs that may never become real. What if I get cancer? What if I lose my job? What if I get involved in a car wreck? What if . . . .
Such fears may keep us from living confidently with reliance upon God and His promises. Philippians 4:8 commands, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Verse 7 identifies the result of turning our anxieties over to God: “And the peace of God . . . will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
If you face your fears with faith, you will find they can’t hurt you any more than Bogey Coyote can hurt geese and ducks. So don’t be a silly goose!