11 Lessons I Learned Remodeling My House
Updated: Dec 4, 2019
I was lying in bed (yes, I do actually sleep) and was asking the Holy Spirit to give me some ideas on how to help our pastors who attended our Church Growth Intensives. He brought me back to a situation about 20 years ago that I had never really associated with ministry. Here is what I learned through that process that can be applied to ministry… Our home was bulging at the seams. Eight children. A little kitchen. A desire to have a better environment for having people in our home. Chances are that you have been there, too, at one time in your life. We decided we would add a great room/kitchen combo onto our 1700 square foot house. We were not in a position to hire someone to do it all. So being more courageous than skilled, I took on the project. ONE: Vision is fed by desire. Call it passion, if you want. We had a real desire to “do it,” and this enabled us to plan and clarify the “why” and the “what” and allowed us to not trip over the “how.” TWO: Even in a big undertaking, you don’t have to know everything. Just be clear with yourself that you are the responsible party. Although I lacked certain skills and experience, I wasn’t building a rocket ship. At the end of the day, it was a house and homes are built every day. THREE: I got started at the part I knew. I called an excavator to dig out the footer, still not sure how or who it would take to get it all done. I priced and purchased as many supplies as I could. FOUR: Learn to ask for specific help. I didn’t ask anyone to help me build a house. I would ask, “Can you help me frame this wall?” It was a specific need and a clear objective. One day I encountered a problem. I had run plastic conduit under the floor to connect the flexible water line from the old house to the new part, but the floor was in now. I could not get that water line through the conduit. A friend was over one night and asked me how it was going. I told him the obstacle. He asked if I had any regular steel wire. I did have a spool. He helped me fish it through. He then got a baseball bat and wrapped the wire around it multiple times. On the other end, he wrapped the wire around the water line like a three-fold cord for about five feet, duct taped it, and smeared grease over it. We each grabbed the bat like a T-handle and pulled. Pop! It came through. I had been ready to rip the floor up, but he had a much better idea. FIVE: A fresh set of eyes was what I needed. The clog was in my brain. The great room had a large cathedral ceiling. After getting the walls framed, I had to lay the trusses across the walls, each wall being higher. As I notched the first truss and laid it on, I could not figure out why it would not sit level on the second wall. I tried it again with a new board, but had the same results. Obviously, there was a math equation on the angle that I did not understand. About that time, a dad showed up to drop his kids off for an activity. Penny gave him a glass of ice tea, and they were sitting in the yard watching me. I had never met this guy before. After a little while, he asked, “Do you know what you are doing?” (Not, “Can I help you?”) I wanted to answer, “Hey, look around at this project. Of course, I know what I’m doing!” But instead, I replied, “I’m confused and can’t get the truss to set right.” He hollered back the formula that I needed. He could tell I was still at a loss. He set his drink down, told me that he was a union carpenter, and repeated some other terms I was ignorant of. He told me to hand down the board, asked me for some measurements, made some marks, and cut it. And wouldn’t you know, it fit like a glove. His board became the template and I didn’t have to measure another one. SIX: Don’t let pride or embarrassment shut you off from help. The truth was that I didn’t know what I was doing. SEVEN: Always believe God for the supernatural, even in the natural. What are the chances that the very moment I needed a union carpenter, one would show up in my yard? I never saw the man again. Although the project was taking more time than I thought (isn’t that a surprise), it was actually looking like a house. Penny started to believe that I was going to get it done! Then my arm started hurting. I mean, I could not brush my teeth without pain. I had tendinitis in my elbow, and all the pounding had sidelined me. I could not lift my arm, and any attempt to work on the addition was futile. EIGHT: There are times when all you can do is wait. I had to be healthy. I could not fake it. Until I was better, that project was on hold. Every day was a challenge. Winter came. We sealed up the doorways into the old part of the house and waited for me to get better. Our personal health—spirit, soul, body—is critical to our mission. It took several months for the sharp pain to go. Even though my arm was better, it was tough to get motivated again. To get focused. Even though I had all this time and money already invested and the end was actually in sight, I was having trouble. The vision-desire was not there. NINE: Getting restarted is harder than getting started. I remember driving home one night and hating the thought of having to see that unfinished hulk staring back at me. I stopped the car at the top of the driveway and asked God for the strength to work one hour. I made a commitment, right there, that no matter what—no matter how late it was, how tired I was, etc.—that I would work an hour every night. That night, I dragged my tools out, got my lights set up, and figured out where to restart. I didn’t get much done, but from that night on, I had an increasing breakthrough. Vision and excitement returned. TEN: There are times when duty is required. Another pastor showed up one day with several guys from his church, ready to work. What a help! Now we had momentum. But money was running low. I had been in an accident several months before and was offered a settlement that I thought was too low. Our kitchen cabinets and counters cost $11,400. (I remember the number twenty years later!) When the insurance company asked me what I wanted, I told them $11,400, which was more than they had offered. Guess what? I got a check for $11,400! ELEVEN: Obedience produces vision, and vision produces provision. Some of you have enjoyed a meal and time around that huge table we put in our new room. Now you know how it got there! Maybe you are courageously making some decisions about going forward. Maybe you need some help. Maybe you need to get healthy. Maybe you need to recommit to the task. Maybe you need God’s provision. Remember, you are the responsible party, and God is going to flow through you to bring it to pass. My three-month project took fourteen months, but it got done. We enjoyed the fruit of it for many years, and many others were blessed there.
In the Master's Service,
NRP Apostolic Team Leader