Today’s theme was “BUILD”… first Chris Barrow shared about his 23 years ending in South Florida and going to build a new life in Gainesville with his growing extended family and newly arriving first grandchild.     

This reminded me of my youth, growing up in Fairlawn, NJ. We lived in a huge collection of garden apartments a few doors down from my grandparents. My grandmother never learned to drive, so we walked to the corner deli and grocery store every day while my mother worked. If I behaved she might let me go into Woolworths and buy a matchbox car or a banana split at the soda fountain. Other times I’d get a whole half sour pickle out of the barrel or a just baked water bagel with cream cheese at the deli. My grandfather would travel all over the Northeast selling art supplies and when he came home, he’d take me fresh and saltwater fishing. There were dozens of kids my age in the area and tons of playgrounds. It was a simpler time when even small children went outside all day to play sports, jump in giant leaf piles, have snowball fights, and run around all over the neighborhood without security fears. We also had several pets, including an Irish Setter named Flame, and for some reason, a skunk named Daisy. As I blogged previously, my biological father disappeared when I was a 2 and my mother remarried when I was 7. At that time, my parents decided we would be moving to a brand new home in Hopatcong, NJ, about an hours drive away. This was devastating to my short life. I’d have to find a new school and friends. My parents decided we would not be bringing any pets with us into the home. More importantly, we were moving away from my grandparents, who I felt closer to than my parents. My mother found me crying in my room a few days after moving in. When she asked why I was sad, for some reason I was embarrassed about being honest and missing my grandparents, so I mumbled something about missing our pets, but it was a lie. I was lonely in my new school with no friends. I went from an area with young children everywhere to a very swampy, heavily wooded, isolated area in Northern NJ with only a few homes completed. 

The good news is that eventually I was able to BUILD a new life. Children my age started moving into the area and that swampy, heavily wooded forest became my new playground. My grandparents started visiting most weekends and the trout fishing was better on Lake Hopatcong. We eventually even got another dog.This is where the molding of my faith began as we read in Prov 3:5 about trusting God.     Tony shared today that “BUILD” in our Christian walk stands for…

  • Biblical Instruction…Participate in all meetings of the body.
  • Unexpected Circumstances… Aware that God uses every situation for our good.
  • Individual Disciplines…Read, Pray, Fast personally.
  • Life Of Service…Serving, teaching, and praying for others.
  • Deep Relationships…Allow others in to help one another.    

If you want to build a relationship with God, Paul reminds us in Rom 4 that we need to be like Abraham. With no scriptures (like we have), he obeyed and trusted God, and it’s credited to him as righteousness, and he was greatly rewarded. Tony concluded by sharing that if we trust in God’s commandments (which is the story of God trying to bring us closer to him by training us to trust him more), we’ll do what they say.      Have a great week and BUILD !