Trevor and Pappy H. with completed "project."
He's just a little guy and just turned 4 years old as of July 12, 2005. As you might expect, there was a big party for him. And families from both maternal and paternal sides were there to join in the celebration. It was no secret that he immensely enjoyed being the center of attention on the occasion!
He always has lots of energy to do a lot of things and an imagination that goes with it. My wife and I see a lot of his dad, Steve, in him due to the fact that Steve also had an imagination that led him on many adventures, including the day we caught him digging with a little shovel in the cemetery which was close to the parsonage where we were living at the time. When we asked him what he was doing he said he was digging up a dead person because he wanted to see what the person looked like! At the time he was just a little older than Trevor is now.
And then there was the first year of school for Steve and one day the teacher asked the children to stand one by one and tell what kind of work their fathers did. When it came Steve's turn there wasn't a moment's hesitation when he announced, "My dad doesn't work -- he just preaches!"
It is within such a tradition that Trevor is moving very effectively with daily demonstrations that he is capable of producing unexpected surprises.
And so it was on one of his rather frequent visits to our home that he came and said, "Pappy, help me build something." Sometimes I am called, "Pappy H.", in contrast to his Pappy Block on his mother's side of the family -- usually he cuts it short and I'm simply, "Pappy."
We had purchased a rather large log set for the children to play with when they came by -- uh, I need to tell you that there are a lot more things than the log set for them to use during play times.
But on this occasion Trevor's choice of activity was the log set and he placed before me the illustrated instruction sheet with finger on the "project" he wanted to build.
And so the process got under way. I looked at the diagram of our building and noted how the pieces were laid in place. I showed him the ones which had flat edges and these were to be placed in position first. Then others of various sizes were to be placed as specified in the illustration. I would show him what size of log he should use, direct where it was to be placed, and to be very careful as he stacked small pieces which were part of the window frames, etc. One mistake and an accidental bump in the wrong place meant a collapse of some of the pieces and then we had to start over again.
It took a while, but with never ending fascination, he stuck with it and eventually the great moment arrived when he put the chimneys on the roof areas -- the very last step in his building project. The reward was getting his picture taken beside his building -- the one that Pappy H. helped him to build, as you can see in the above photos. Folks -- there is a powerful lesson to be learned from this experience. Our heavenly Father (heavenly "Pappy" if you will) wants to help us in a building project of eternal significance!
The beginning is very similar to what happened with Trevor and me when he came to me and addressed me saying, "Pappy, help me build something."
We have to be interested and concerned enough to find out what is involved in this project that God has in mind for us -- it means we must seek Him and be open to what He has in mind concerning our lives on a day by day basis.
So here is how it is:
First, there has to be the recognition that we are sinners and have been guilty of rebelling against God Who created us for a very wonderful purpose. The sinfulness of the human race is mentioned again and again in Scripture starting with the initial rebellion of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden as noted in the opening chapters of the book of Genesis.
One clear revelation about the universality of human sin is told in the 3rd chapter of the book of Romans with the conclusion reached that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God! The question then becomes, "What do I do about this sin problem in my life and the fact that I am condemned because of it?"
The perfect and only solution to this problem is seen in God's Son, Jesus Christ. A most often quoted verse in the Bible summarizes it all very simply -- John 3:16 tells us, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
However, we need to understand that this "belief" is a very strong word -- it conveys the idea of total trust, such as a drowning victim tightly clings to the life preserver thrown to him in treacherous waters, believing that so long as he clings to that life preserver he will not perish!
The Scripture also stresses the need of repentance from all known sin -- God through His Holy Spirit helps us to understand not only our need of a Savior in the Person of His Son, Jesus, but also that we must break off from our involvement in sin in any form. Repentance involves our intellect (consciousness of sin), our emotions (experiencing remorse and regret over sin), and our will (make a decision) -- that is, the deliberate choice to change and walk in obedience to God.
That is just the beginning of a whole new life -- the "born again" experience -- the turning away from sin -- becoming as a little child in exercising faith in Jesus Christ and seeking to be obedient to Him in all things.
God has revealed that He knew us, identified us, and had a plan for us before the creation of the world ever took place! For a mind staggering experience, read Jeremiah 1:4,5; Psalm 139; and Ephesians 1:3-6. Look closely and note all the implications of those statements. In the 139th Psalm it isn't until you get down to about verse 13 that you see how God has a purpose for us.
The problem is that in the unregenerate state we are very selfish and want to do things our own way. In that condition, even if we claim to believe in God, we in effect put God on a shelf somewhere and go about our affairs -- He simply doesn't mean enough to us that we would want to consult Him as to what His plans for us involve! In fact, as we come down the home stretch of human history, things are going to be extremely chaotic in our world due to the fact that the majority of persons at all levels in each nation are going to be demonstrating the three deadly "loves" -- loves which are most destructive in human experience. The reality of this state of world chaos is seen in the opening statements of 2 Timothy 3!
But in accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and having repented of our sins, we enter a whole new world of experience and make the grand discovery that God has something special in mind for us.
It then behooves us to seek that He will reveal what that plan for us is all about. A major part of this learning experience means exercising the disciplines of prayer and Bible reading on a daily basis and active involvement in the fellowship of Christians -- yes, the church is vitally important in spite of its flaws and short comings -- one cannot justify willful absence from the church fellowship in the light of Hebrews 10 which warns us not to forsake the assembly of ourselves together as some choose to do!
And so, as a little 4-year-old came one day and said, "Pappy, help me build something," in the same manner we approach our heavenly Father through Jesus and ask Him to help us build something for eternity -- this will mean the use of time, abilities, and investment of money in sharing the Gospel of our Lord Jesus (Matthew 28) and expanding His Kingdom in the process!
When was the last time you asked your heavenly "Pappy" to help you build something?"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1,2 NKJV)
"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without murmuring and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world……" (Philippians 2:12-15 NKJV)
"Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen." (Matthew 28:18-20)
by Clayton D. Harriger
Retired Elder in Full Connection
Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference
The United Methodist Church
and presently pastor of Gipsy Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
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