The old saying that “talk is cheap” was on my mind last Saturday as I woke up at 3:00 am to make my way to HYC. It was time to stop talking and start doing. Doing what? Officially launching the “Abundant Campaign”, starting with the removal of the pews from the auditorium.
On the way north I wrestled with the idea that maybe I heard God wrong. The auditorium, cabins, sound system, continued improvement on the waterfront, renovations to all these could be put on hold for another year. As I ran into a rather heavy snow squall somewhere between Grayling and Gaylord, I had determined that this was God telling me to “go home”, no improvements needed. I waited at a nearby rest area, took a 15-minute nap and was rather discouraged when I saw relatively clear skies when I awoke.
I continued with the trip thinking as I drove on the grounds at 9:40 am that there was still time to pull the plug on it. I had told the guys to meet me at 10 am. Perhaps no one would show up to help, and even if they did, maybe I could have a discussion with them asking if they really thought it was a good idea (and if the answer was no, we could cancel it and go for breakfast). As I made my way down the hall and turned into the auditorium I quickly realized that, whether I liked it or not, we were moving forward with the project. John Williams and his sons, Dusty Hopper and Ben Hopper had started and were nearly a quarter of the way through the project. Some other guys from staff joined us, and by noon the pews were gone.
As I took this picture of the empty auditorium I thought, “Either we’ve just begun an unbelievable renovation project for God’s work or I’ve just created a really large shuffleboard court for Rev. and Mrs. Pen to enjoy this winter.”
If I did the math right in my head, there are approximately 30 Sundays until we’re scheduled to have a service in this very auditorium. If we had to do that now, my dad would be sitting crisscross applesauce next to Bill Paul. While that mental picture is relatively humorous to me, I doubt either of them would be coming back if improvements weren’t made. To say the least, a bit of fear crept in.
As I was getting ready to leave I had a book I wanted some of the guys on staff to read. Under the title of the book were the words “If your dream doesn’t scare you, your dream’s not big enough.”
We are currently 20 days away from Christmas as I write this. I know it’s not a work that you probably think about when you hear the Christmas story, but if you think about, “fear” had to have been a large part of it. If you look at each of the major characters involved in Jesus’ birth, fear had to have been there. The wise men, following a start, told not to go back home or they’ll be killed- fear. The shepherds, watching sheep, then BAM- angels in the sky! You could just stop right there and if I’m a shepherd that night, I’m having to change my rode before we go find Jesus. Fear.
When Lora was pregnant, I knew the route to the hospital. Also, I was relatively certain they would have room for us when we got there. I was still somewhat scared with the uncertainly of everything. Imagine Joseph, first the news from Mary that she’s pregnant. Second, an angel comes to him. Third, he has to leave and take a very long trip, with a pregnant wife, with no real certainty of where they’ll be staying. Follow that up with news that they can’t go home because the king wants to kill the child. There is a lot of fear there.
I can’t even imagine Mary’s level of fear. Fear when she heard the news from the angel. Fear when she had to tell her family. Fear when she had to tell Joseph. Fear when she had to leave home. Fear when she realized she’d be having this baby in a barn. Fear when she found out people wanted her baby dead. Fear.
When I realize the very real fears those involved in the first Christmas story had to face, I see that my fear, while still real, is relatively small. If God could calm the fears of wise men, shepherds, Mary and Joseph- and see His plan through them- He can do the same with me and this comparatively minute project.
I want to ask for your help this month as we continue to raise money for the renovation of the auditorium. Removing the pews and getting new seating is only the beginning. At a minimum, we would like to see new flooring and new lighting before the first service this coming June. Please pray to see what God may want you to do in helping with this project.
Thank you for helping launch the Abundant Campaign to move HYC forward in 2017 and beyond. Details surrounding the entire campaign can be found here.