The Ups and Downs of Renovation

Walking your whole life with God will bring lots of ups and downs just like a renovation project in real life would.



Good morning.  My name is David Sorn.  I am the pastor of Renovation Church
We are continuing this morning in our series about “renovation”
We’re sort of discussing the similarities between real-life renovation projects and God renovating (making new) our own lives
Last week, we talked about the similarities between the motives we have for starting a renovation project, and the motives we have for coming back to God
This week, I want to talk about the similarities between the ups and downs of doing a renovation project, and the ups and downs of God renovating our lives

A Renovation Project can often be great fun
It’s usually especially fun to start something
Most of us tend to start projects w/ unbridled optimism
You take a look at your kitchen, your car, whatever you’re working on, and there’s a sense of excitement for what is to come  
A year ago, I went to St. Louis for a wedding…and the day before, went w/ a friend to “The Arch”
Went on the ride…underneath there is a museum
Watched, “Lewis and Clark” on IMAX
As they start out…there is such an excitement and optimism for their project
As there usually is when we start a project
But as I’m watching, I’m thinking to myself in a mixed batch of hindsight and arrogance, “What a bunch of idiots.  Didn’t they know it was going to be rough?”
As it was for many people who went out West in those days
Which reminds me of playing the old comp game “Oregon Trail”

Start out with such optimism, but Oregon Trail is infamous for what we are going to talk about later…the unexpected letdown.  
“David” has died of cholera

But things tend to start really well when we renovate things
Sometimes when there’s nothing on TV, I oblige and let Lindsey watch HGTV
Once in a while, they have shows where they will renovate like an entire kitchen.  And sometimes they rip out all the cabinets
It’s a fun way to start
And often, it’s amazingly fun and joyful to start walking with Jesus Christ
(Mark 7:31-37)
31Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis.[i]32There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hand on the man.  33After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man's ears. Then he spit and touched the man's tongue. 34He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, "Ephphatha!" (which means, "Be opened!" ). 35At this, the man's ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.  36Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. 37People were overwhelmed with amazement. "He has done everything well," they said. "He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."
Over and over again, when God starts moving in people’s lives, the Bible says they respond with an overabundance of joy and excitement
And we do the same.
I can remember when God first started moving in my life when I was 18.
There’s just so much joy and excitement
One of the weirdest and perhaps saddest statistics about being a follower of Christ, is that the longer you are a Christian the less likely you are to tell anyone about it
It’s the people who just meet Him that are often the most excited to talk about Him
And that is often a major UP that we have with God in our lifelong process of Renovation
Another “UP” would be this…
Ever been working on something for a REALLY long time, and all of a sudden it dawns on you how to fix it?
Say you’re fixing your computer, or even some weird item you have in your house like say a Sewing Machine
And you’ve been working on it FOREVER, when all of a sudden, you have a breakthrough
You’re so excited you call a friend!
A couple weeks ago in preparation for starting this church, a few of us took all of our equipment to another church gym and took it all out and practiced setting it up
I decided to work on the lights
About 2 hours in, I got them to flash on
And I was so excited, that I got up and was like, “Zach, there…flashing!”
I hadn’t fixed them…But I finally made progress!
And sometimes we take steps like this in our spiritual walk
We start getting pulled out of a rut, we start experiencing God again, feeling Him in our lives…………..
And unexpected progress is often a really fun “UP” in our renovation process with God.  
I think perhaps the best part, the highest high, of doing a Renovation Project is when you finish at the end
Say you do re-do your whole living room…the best part is the end.
And I think one of the hardest parts of walking with God on this earth is, we don’t get to experience that until we die
Parable of the talents “Well done”
But we remember that that is what we live for.  That is what we strive for. That is what we “run the race” for.  
It is our final up, and it is our motivation to keep living this life for Jesus Christ.  

Yet, any logical person knows that life is full of ups and also it’s full of downs
Yet, sometimes we oddly lead ourselves to believe that God wouldn’t let it happen to us…
Or, a similar conclusion people sometimes come to is:  IF something bad happens, then God must not really be real.  
And sometimes that “bad” isn’t even that “bad”
More and more I meet people who say things to me like, “David I’m not sure God’s real anymore, I haven’t felt him in 3 days”   “David, I lost my job, I’m not sure God’s real.”
And I don’t want to trivialize anyone’s pain.  Pain is often contextual, and I don’t know how much it hurts, but as our society gets more and more advanced, our tolerance for pain gets less and less
So why is this happening?  Why are peopling in our country walking away from God so often because of a pain in their life?   Because you don’t see this happening at the same rate in impoverished countries which often have a whole lot more pain, poverty, and death.
Part of it is just bad Biblical teaching in this country
There are more and more crazy people out there every day who will tell you that if you follow God, everything will work out.  
He’ll bless you, and make you happy, and prosper you, and make you healthy and wealthy
I’m not sure what Bible those people are reading
For instance, Hebrews chapter 11 in the Bible gives a listing of the “heroes of faith”

These people really lived for and loved God, and you’d think if for anyone, they would have a life full of “ups”
Let me just read you a few of their names and mention some of their “downs”
Abraham:  Couldn’t have a kid forever, asked to leave his homeland, asked to sacrifice his own son
Isaac:  Pawns his wife off as his sister to other men, Tricked by his own son to give the wrong blessing
Jacob:  Tricked into working for his wife for 14 years
Joseph:  Get’s thrown in a pit, accused of rape, thrown in jail
David:  Huge rollercoaster life.  Anointed as king at a young age, kills Goliath, but then has an adulterous affair, kills the husband of the woman he had an affair with, his son rebels against him and tries to take his throne…all while the Bible claims he was a man after God’s own heart
The point is this:  Nowhere in the Bible is there this idea that if you follow God, you will only have “ups” in your life.  
In fact, at the end of Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount,” which we are going to study as a church starting in Nov., Jesus concludes w/ this parable:  
(Matthew 7:24-27)
24"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
Notice, that whether you build your house on the rock of Jesus Christ or on the sandy of your own independence, the rain, the wind, and storm still comes.
Trust me, there’s way more life in living with Jesus Christ.  Way more. Walking with Jesus is liking finding the groove of life that you were always meant to be in
BUT…the Bible never says that if you walk with Him, your life will be storm free.  
No, the storms still come.  
And sometimes those storms are what build character in our lives
Sometimes they build the perseverance we need

(James 1:2-4)

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Yet, even though we probably get this deep down (that yes the downs will come and yes that doesn’t mean God has left us or forsaken us), I think we honestly still struggle with this more and more in our society every day.  
We live in this world where more and more WE have control.  
Things are very different than hundreds of years ago..
We now control the temperature of our houses, what song we want to hear next, whose phone call we choose to answer or not, the speed our vehicles can maintain, and so on and so forth
The insane growth of technology has given us the unfortunate illusion that WE are in control
And we tend to believe it.  
Until…we get sick.  We lose our job. We lose a loved one.  
And then the unexpected in life can be simply overwhelming.  Especially if we thought we were in control

As someone who likes order in their life, I think even in little ways the unexpected lows can be overwhelming sometime
Let me give you an example from HGTV again.    I was begrudgingly watching it with Lindsey again, and this show was on where they were…  
Remodeling this kitchen.  Everything kept going wrong. There’s a wire here!  Your wall is gonna fall down. We can’t do this, your counters aren’t level.  
And as I pictured myself in their place, I saw myself going, “You gotta be kidding me!  This can’t happen!”
But the people didn’t stress out.  Not even a little.
Why?  They weren’t in control.  

Because, if it’s just you, or just me, in our own houses, and things go wrong…we say, “What am I gonna do now!  I can’t afford this!” And before you know it, you’ve thrown a hammer across the room…
But the ppl didn’t have to stress out because HGTV was in control. They have some of the most skilled carpenters/models around.  They’re paying for it! And they have to make it work. They can’t have a show where it doesn’t work out in the end.
And we have to realize, that ultimately, we aren’t in control.  
I mean, it’s like the parable that Jesus told that I mentioned earlier.  
We can control what kind of foundation you build your life on.  The foundation of the Rock of Jesus Christ or the quick sand of your independence
But we cannot control the weather.  And we know that.
And neither can we ultimately control all that happens in our life.  
We are left to put our faith in the one who is truly in Control despite the ups and downs of our life.  Despite the ups and downs of our renovation process
And ultimately, HOW you navigate the ups and downs of your life and your walk with God, comes down to who you think God is.   
When something breaks, when the renovation process goes awry, who is God to you?
Bike Chain Story
The “downs” of our lives often tend to push us away from God because A) We sometimes, as I said, we’re expecting any downs to happen and B) Sometimes, the “downs” of our lives, if we’re honest, are our fault.
And often, in those downs, we don’t turn to our Father.  We turn away from Him.
Because we forget who He is.  We mistakenly think of Him as someone He is not
But our Father, Our God, is a loving Father
And if my earthly father can look at his six year old son who foolishly messed up his bike and say, “It’s ok.  I love you. Let me help you with that.”
How much more can our heavenly father look at us and do the same?
Even when we commit the most foolish and even sometimes terrible sin, if we turn to Him, He still looks at us like a Father looks at his child with compassion, and says, “It’s ok.  Come here. I love you. I forgive you.”
In fact, his love, compassion, and forgiveness for us runs SO DEEP, that He sent his one and only son to die on the cross in our place even though we deserved it.  
This is a God of unparalleled love!

And maybe you’ve been overly discouraged by the downs of life
And I want to encourage you this morning to take refuge in the arms of God
Listen, we really believe as a church that it is important to respond to what God is doing in our hearts in worship of Him.  In engagement and interaction with Him
That’s one of the reasons, we like to take some time after the message to do some more worship
Not just to do it to do it.  Not just to sing to sing.
But I want to encourage you to take these next moments of worship to engage God
Maybe you just need close your eyes and picture that loving Father with his child.  Because that is his heart for you

And always will be his heart for you.  
Through the highs and through the lows as he renovates you makes you new
Let’s pray.  

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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