Of Irons and Fires, Of Pots and Burners and the Peace Of God

These last several weeks have been full of living. The Vicarage project has been delayed by permits and weather, but that is probably a good thing. I have been so busy with God’s work these last weeks I am not sure how I would have handled the pace if we had the house project in full swing.

God really does know what He is doing! I am coming to accept that His timing is perfect and waiting is a good thing

There are lots of irons in the fire…..lots of pots on burners….and yet the peace of God is what is controlling me these days. I guess I have come to the realization I am not supposed to put all the irons in the fire at once. I am not responsible for all the pots on all the burners. I am one guy. I am one part of the body of Christ here in little Winchendon MA. The body is responsible for the irons and the pots. I am responsible to equip the body to handle all those irons and pots (well maybe not all of them but the ones we are called to).

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This week as I was in prayer God told me He was going to show me many things that were to go on in the world but that I needed to be careful not to allow what He showed me to distract me from what He had told me to do……otherwise……

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He has called me to lead the church to Doing Life Together and to discover our gifts. He has promised that if we did those two things He would help us to reach the lost, send the found and change the world!

I have come to it over the last several weeks that there are several pots I have been trying to get on the burners….several irons I have been hoping to put in the fire that for the moment will just have to wait so that I can fulfill the current call of God.

My book is one of those irons or pots. I am realizing that I will not have the time to finish it and do the work set before me. So….for the moment I am putting this pot back in the fridge….this iron back beside the fireplace. Maybe someday, but not today.

I am also realizing that the delays in the Vicarage project are giving me a better pace. These projects have to happen, but the idea that I was going to get all the work done in these few short months….well that just doesn’t seem to be in the proverbial cards and maybe that is in keeping with the plans and purposes of God.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PLANS YOU HAVE THAT NEED TO BE TAKEN OFF THE BURNER AND PUT BACK IN THE FRIDGE FOR THE MOMENT?

Delays and Mushrooms

Cee has challenged us with A MIDWEEK MADNESS CHALLENGE FOR OCTOBER ON THE TOPIC OF CLOSEUPS OR MACROS.

Since I have nothing to report on the Vicarage building project I thought I would show you these mushrooms that have sprung up at the edge of Boat Garden.

Everything is in readiness for the project to begin but the town building inspector is on a two week vacation and so our building permit is stuck in committee somewhere until he returns on the 18th of October….Ah yes it is the double edged sword of living in a small town. It is easy to know all of the town officials if you want to, but that is because there are not a lot of them, and no one to replace them when they are gone. Delays and mushrooms that is what we have here right now, but that is how God works. There is purpose in all things. Yes even in delays…and yes even in mushrooms.

It Begins

Well everything is in place!

The dumpster and port-a-potty hav arrived along with the new gutters and siding.

Now that the rain has stopped, the crew will be arriving today (or maybe tomorrow) to begin peeling off the old shingles. So take one last look.

I have been trying to get my part done for this project which is clearing the porch and the edges of the house so that the crew can get at the shingles.

I have set up a little seating area on the edge of the wood for prayer through the project.

Things Come, Things Go, Nothing Stays the Same.

I am in the middle of two very full, very wonderful weeks. Two weeks ago. I peached a message on the call to ministry and five people from our congregation were touched by the call.

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I have had the wonderful privilege of meeting with each of them personally and affirming the call and speaking with them about next steps.

I made reference last week to the fact that the Vicarage project had met its first snag. The outside budget was outstripping the inside project and it was looking like the inside project may not happen at all.

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So Brenda and I asked a few questions and our contractors, wonderful men of God, got back to us with the answers and a detailed budget with the cost overruns included. Brenda and I took a night to pray about it and then had a Zoom conversation about what we were sensing from the Lord.

To us it made no sense to tackle the inside if the outside of the building was just going to fall down around our ears. Here is what I wrote to our contractors…

Good Afternoon Gentlemen,

Brenda and I met this morning by Messenger Call. After a night of prayer we have come to 
some decisions.
* Honestly we cannot go above the $205,000.00 quotes at this time. That is our all in 
budget so the price of 234,000.00 is out of our reach.

* Getting a new kitchen and a new downstairs bathroom while not fixing the leaks in the 
upstairs bathroom is counterproductive (It would only destroy the new work).

* Redoing the inside of the house but not addressing the structural issues on the outside 
is also counterproductive.

* We realize that the pricing for the outside projects absolutely needs "Uh-Oh" 
money and that the  quoted $68,000.00 may not actually be enough.

* So we have agreed that while all of the issues need addressing eventually and sooner 
rather than later we need to prioritize now.

* We feel we need to fix the outside to keep the house from falling down.  So we would 
like to do the structural repairs and siding at this point.

Since then things have moved pretty quickly. It looks like the outside project will start next week and be done within the month of October. The port-a-potty arrived today (for the work crew).LAte this afternoon I signed the application for the construction permit.

The bushes still need to get gone, but I am thinking they will be gone by Friday. Our plan now is to see what we have left after the outside project is finished and then use that money to start the inside projects. I am praying it is enough to at least tackle the bathrooms.
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Cleaning Out Clearing My Head

I said yesterday that there was a lot of news to share about the Vicarage. To do that I am going take part in another challenge hosted by Cee. This is the CMMC CHALLENGE (CEE’S MIDWEEK MADNESS CHALLENGE). THIS PHOTO CHALLENGE REQUIRES ME TO POST PICTURES AROUND MY STORY THAT HAVE THE LETTER “O” IN THE MIDDLE.

THE BATHROOM CUPBOARD.

The project at the Vicarage has hit its first snag. The cost of supplies has driven the price of the project beyond our budget, and so we are looking at what we can cut out.

CLOSET

We know that while all the work is important, keeping the house from falling down is the first priority. So we are going to focus on the outside and then see what we have left to give to the inside projects. I don’t know if this closet will ever become the new doorway to the kitchen. I don’t know if we will have money to refinish the bathrooms. By faith though, I am preparing these spaces for the work. I am emptying and cleaning these space to get ready for…something to happen.

SUPPORT MAN

But the Vicarage is not the only place where projects are happening. We just had an annual church clean up day out at Cornerstone. Amanda, Jody, Joe (pictured here), Ken and I lugged logs from trees our maintenance man, John, cut down in front of the church. Meanwhile others tended the garden beds which had not really been tended since last year.

JODY SHOVELLING A ROOT.

We got a lot done in the three hours we had. But there is much more to do; So John is compiling a list of jobs and will farm that out to our DLT (Doing Life Together) groups to see if we can’t get some help with these jobs before winter sets in.

Tonight we have a ZOOM meeting to make some plans for the altar space repairs inside the church we are hoping to do in November.

Life is full! And I am finding that cleaning things out is clearing my head.

Sharing My World From the Vicarage 9-20-21

It has been a long time since I participated in THE SHARE YOUR WORLD CHALLENGE. It’s been a long time really since I participated in any challenge ( except I did get to play Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge a few weeks ago). I miss them. They are such a good way to build community on line.

I am slowly figuring out how to manage my time with my new position as lead pastor. Each time I think I’ve got it, a new layer of responsibility rises up. I am learning to shuffle things off my plate, but I am just a padwan learner at delegating. But, one of my goals is to get to the place where I can be writing on both of my blogs each day. I have no idea how long it will take to get there but I am a patient man and I will arrive at my destination eventually. I HOPE AL Y’ALL WILL STICK WITH ME AS I CONTINUE TO LEARN.

Now since I have carved out this time for this challenge let’s get launched in. SHARE YOUR WORLD is a challenge where our host Melanie asks us a few questions and in answering them we share our worlds and get to know one another a little better. The questions and my answers are below. I would ask once you have finished here check out Melanie’s blog by clicking one of the underlined links above.

THE QUESTIONS:

If you were to be cast as part of a comedy double act, which part would you play…. the straight man or the funny one, and why?

I AM PART OF A COMEDY DUO WITH MY SISTER. NOT THAT WE PERFORM ON STAGE OR ANYTHING BUT IN SOCIAL SETTINGS WE ARE A DUO. I AM THE STRAIGHT MAN AND SHE IS THE FUNNY ONE.

If you were to be reincarnated on Earth as any non-living/inanimate object of your choosing, what would you come back as and why

I MOST DEFINITELY DO NOT BELIEVE IN REINCARNATION AND AM VERY HAPPY THAT I HAVE ONE GO AROUND. I WOULD NOT WANT TO COME BACK AS ANYTHING ELSE. I AM HAPPY BEING ME AND I BELIEVE I “AM FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE.” (PSALM 139). AS A HUMAN BEING, EVEN IN MY FALLEN STATE, I AM THE APPLE OF GOD’S EYE. WHEN I BECOME ALL THAT HE INTENDS ,WELL MY DAYS SHALL BE UNNUMBERED, AND I SHALL KNOW ETERNITY!

BUT IN THE INTEREST OF THE QUESTION. IF I HAD TO BE AN INANIMATE OBJECT I WOULD BE A MOUNTAIN, BECAUSE THE MOUNTAINS DO NOT RECKON TIME IN DAYS OR WEEKS OR MONTHS BUT IN AGES OF EARTH AND EPOCHS OF HISTORY. THEIR ROOTS GO DEEP AND THEY HAVE SEEN MUCH.

 

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We all know how dogs mark their territory.  How do you mark your territory?

WHERE MY COFFEE IS THAT IS MY TERRITORY.

If you were on a trivia show and had to correctly answer ten questions in one subject to win a million dollars (or whatever currency is used in your locale), what would you hope the category would be?

I WOULD HOPE THE SUBJECT WOULD BE RELIGION OR BIBLE, FOR TWO REASONS: ONE I AM WELL VERSED IN THIS; TWO I HAVE NOTICED ON TRIVIA GAMESHOWS ALMOST NO ONE ELSE IS.

In democratic societies, do you believe that the right to vote is merely a privilege or a duty for all citizens?  This should not be thought of as an “Americans only” question.  ANY ONE is welcome to answer.

THIS IS A CIVICS 101 QUESTION. IN A DEMOCRACY VOTING IS A RESPONSIBILITY NOT A PRIVILEGE. ONCE A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY STOPS VOTING OR IS STOPPED FROM VOTING, IT IS NO LONGER A DEMOCRACY NO MATTER WHAT THE SHINGLE OVER THEIR BORDER SAYS.

Well that is it for now folks. There is so much going on at the Vicarage and an update is coming soon on our project but the biggest news here is that I am a grandfather again! My third grandchild was born yesterday to my Son Joe and his wife Kristine. My little grandson is Joseph Elon Lillie VII. He will be called “Sevy”.

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Multiply and Prosper

Everyone has heard the phrase “divide and conquer”. I am not so sure I like when it comes to succeeding in life. I much prefer the phrase “multiply and prosper”. We did a lot of multiplying and prospering at The Vicarage this weekend.

On Friday Mom had as Drs. appointment and someone had to be in Wilmington MA at the Granite place to choose the countertops for our renovation project.

So Amanda and I multiplied our efforts. I took mom to the doctor and Amanda kept our appointment with Clarissa at The Granite Place. She only had five counters to choose from in our price point. I think she did a great job. I cannot wait to see it in our new kitchen.

On Friday night we had a gathering of current and prospective church leaders at one of the homes of our congregants. God is getting ready to multiply growth at the church and we need to begin preparing for that growth by multiplying our leadership team.

This was a great first step with many more to take.

Saturday a group of men gathered for breakfast at a local coffee shop. This is all part of our DLT (Doing life together) initiative.

On Sunday I led my first annual business meeting as lead pastor. I made it through without breaking too many of Robert’s Rules.

We are ready now for the next step. The journey of the Vicarage lies open before us.

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A Touch Of Tile

Yesterday was tile choosing day at The Vicarage.

I drove the 45 minutes to Westford to meet up with Jennifer McKenzie at A TOUCH OF TILE.

Jennifer showed me a slew of tiles in my price range.

Here’s the tile I chose for our downstairs wet room.

This is the tile for our bathroom shower which will be opposite a sage accent wall upstairs.

And this deep blue is our backsplash for the kitchen which will go against white cabinets and coordinating blue walls.

Today Josh, from Brothers remodeling, was out to measure the windows in our pillar rooms. So much going on. The fun is beginning!

WHAT COLOR IS YOUR KITCHEN?

Memories Of a More Innocent Time

As I have considered this renovation project at The Vicarage I have had to ask myself why. We have had those offers that come from buy as is companies. We could sell and rent a condo or even buy a smaller house. So why do the renovation? I think a piece of it has to do with my past. I got thinking about that as I read fellow blogger

CEE NEUNER’S FUNFOTO CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK, COAT OF MANY COLORS.

Dolly’s music always gets me nostalgic about what seems like simpler times . Cee asked us to create a photo post based around the song, and here is what the song made me think of.

Mom and me

These photos are all taken in houses that are within a mile of The Vicarage.

Me and Brenda at Gramma and Grampa’s house around the corner from The Vicarage.

It is so strange to think that such a huge portion of my life has circled around this block I am living on, have lived on in every season of my existence.

Mom, Dad and me at the house on Pearl St. across from the Duvarneys

This place is my memory, my coat of many colors.

Brenda at the house on 360 Front St.
Dad, Gramma, Brenda, Grampa and me at The Vicarage.

But it is not just about my past. This is the place where my past, my present and my future meet in their own dazzle of color. This is as much about me putting a stake in the ground for myself and declaring what my future is going to be, as it is about me tipping my hat to the choices of my ancestors.

The Vicarage is our generation’s Coat of Many Colors Project that we will leave for the next generation to display the love that we have come to know in this life.

Using My Tools

It’s fall. The summer is over and the seasons of work have begun….at least that is how I have always viewed fall and winter….seasons of work.

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It’s back to school time and done with vacation time. It is also the time when people launch into their winter routines and the daily disciplines that help them make it through the darker seasons. I have a sense that this year the church is being called to some work which will call us all deeper into the presence of the Lord and into the spiritual harvest field that is our region.

The to do list for the ministers of the Vicarage is pretty big:

1. Facilitate the Execution of the mission God has given Cornerstone Church to…DO LIFE TOGETHER….TO REACH THE LOST….TO SEND THE FOUND….TO DISCOVER OUR GIFTS…..TO CHANGE THE WORLD.

2. Relaunch our children’s programming starting in September.

3. Launch the Bridge Artistic Network in Zaandam starting in September

4. The reconstruction project for the church altar begins in November.

5. And finally…The Vicarage reno project is heating up. This week we are choosing the tile and the countertops.

BBJ Tile – Professional Tile Installation in Raleigh NC Since 2005

As full as my plate looks to be over the next few months I am finding myself oddly at peace. God keeps telling me that I can do this if I will just use the tools He has given me. Over the last decade I have been practicing disciplines under the Lord’s direction which I now understand are going to help me through this very full season. These disciplines are like tools in my tool management tool belt. What I know about them is that if I can use these tools successfully to help keep myself organized and sane then anyone can use them.

The tools in my tool belt are:

SCHEDULING ACCORDING TO MY ROLES….When I first started scheduling myself I thought it an unspiritual necessity. Over the many years of keeping a daily schedule I have learned scheduling is perhaps one of the most spiritual and fruitful habits I have developed. But I don’t schedule according to my tasks anymore. I schedule according to my roles. I am: a child of God, a family man, a lead pastor, a writer and a friend. These are my roles and my schedule has to reflect these roles. The things I allow to populate my schedule have to reflect these roles. When a task that does not reflect one of my roles keeps showing up in my schedule I need to either accept a new role or get rid of the activity. That leads to the next tool.

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PRACTICE SAYING NO A LOT…. When something doesn’t fit in the schedule or when something gets in the way of me living out the roles God has given me I need to say no no matter who it disappoints, even if that someone is me. I also need to decide in advance the things I am not going to try and get done in this season. That requires me to…..

BE HUMBLE ENOUGH TO ADMIT I CANNOT DO EVERYTHING….I had forgotten how much work renovation projects were and I really am just doing prep work for this one. The heavy lifting is all going to be done by our contractors. That said there is a lot to do up front and during this project I am realizing Mom is going to need more help than I previously thought. Add the work being done at the church and I have to be realistic in saying that is about all I can handle. I think the book project I hoped to complete this fall before Christmas is going to have to wait.

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CALL IN FRESH EYES… I have learned there is wisdom in calling in someone who can look at my situation from the outside to help me keep a well rounded perspective. I have asked a certified life coach if he would walk with me through this season to help keep me on track. My first session with him is this Thursday and we will be talking about prioritization.

PRIORITIZE SELF CARE…. For me this means a couple of things. Prayer. Exercise. Eating right. and immersing myself in nature. I love my wild forest gardens at the Vicarage. As the flowers fade I am already planning my winter of birdwatching and how I am going to set myself up for that.

THESE ARE THE TOOLS I HAVE IN MY TOOL BELT. WHAT AM I MISSING?