Of Fire and Bees and the Stamp

You can relax. This blog isn’t about stamping out fire and bees. We actually need both. But in the last seven days, we’ve experienced the fire, the bee, and the stamp.

  • The tragic apartment fire Saturday night is more than a news headline now. Forty some people were displaced by the flames that rapidly spread through the attic space of those units. One of our Andrews grad students quickly assessed the threat and raced door to door to evacuate the residents. The good news is no life was lost, no one was injured. But the human needs are now significant for those displaced. Thank you for the offers of housing. It looks like the relocation process is going well. But having lost their earthly possessions, our fire victims (many of them students and workers at the university) need replacement items. If you would like to donate to their needs, please mark your donation “Fire Victims” on a tithe envelope and turn it in this Sabbath. Naturally, you can also go to Red Cross and Andrews University web sites to donate there. Thank you for caring.
  • Regarding the bees, Sunday found our church site a hive of “busy bees,” as volunteers kept showing up at our beautification Work Bee. What a turnout! And what a transformation! Take a walk around the church—if you can find a single weed, please let us know—and we’ll pull it! Then take a walk to our bathrooms inside—volunteer crews have left them spic and span. So a very big THANK YOU to all of you who made this work bee a success. It is God’s House, and I’m certain he smiles down upon us as we seek to glorify him by beautifying his House of Prayer for all people.
  • And the stamp? Our Renovate: Heart & House team is rejoicing over the state electrical inspector’s stamp of approval on the huge electrical project this renovation has turned out to be. Wires of every color and size in conduits across the roof, up the walls, and under the floors—thank God for skilled minds keeping track of every fiber. A few hours after his approval, our local Fire Marshal Bruce Stover and Don Damron (assistant fire marshal) revisited our sanctuary, along with the local Americans with Disabilities Act compliance inspector. Praise God they, too, gave their stamp of approval for full-time occupancy of this sacred space. So the university on Thursday will be the first post-approval gathering under the roof. And, of course, we’ll be right behind them gathering for two festive worship celebrations this opening Sabbath of the new school year.

I’m excited about this first-ever “Bring a Friend to Church” Sabbath (August 31). Karen and I went to visit our neighbors last evening—and two families indicated they will join us this Sabbath. A third is thinking about it. And three others weren’t home, so we’ll catch today or tomorrow. Trust me—it’s a simple but thoughtful gesture you can make to those who live around you—all you need to do is hand them the invitation card (we have plenty extras here at the church for you to pick up) with that winsome smile of yours and say “I hope you can join us—we’re pretty excited about our newly renovated sanctuary.” And then pray. It’s the Holy Spirit’s mission to do the impressing—he just needs us to do the inviting. So thank for sharing what you and I are blessed to have—the very good news of Christ Jesus our Lord.

May I add a personal word of thanksgiving for your sacrificial gifts to our Renovate project. I am amazed at how God has moved your heart to be so unselfishly generous with him and his House. The monies continue to flow into the church treasury, and no sooner do they arrive than JoAnn Siagian, our church treasurer writes another check to one of a score of companies and crews we’ve hired to turn our collective dream into reality. There is still more renovation to go—our Grand Opening will be Sabbath, October 26—and so there are still more checks to write. May God bless you to the max as you join our brigade of “cheerful givers.” Truly the best is yet to come—with Jesus.