Being ‘Remodeled’ [v163]

SEPTEMBER 2012

Being ‘Remodeled’

Just last month (August 2012), the non-profit group I’m involved with, “Life Remodeled,” built two new homes for struggling families in troubled Detroit-area communities. But what good is a new home, if the new family can’t keep it long-term?

Life Remodeled recognizes that people in need of shelter also need essential “life skills.” In addition to building modest homes, Life Remodeled counsels all families in personal money management, careers, spiritual guidance, and psychological issues for a period of three years.

Since most everything for the project has been donated—land, materials, and labor—after three years, if the family has paid their property taxes and utilities on time, and has kept the house in good repair, they are allowed to purchase the house for just ONE DOLLAR!

Similar to “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” houses are built in six days—but, as Life Remodeled’s Founder and President, Chris Lambert, continues, “remodeling lives takes a little longer.” In addition to the house, sometimes as much as a month before the build, other volunteers ‘extend’ the makeover concept by helping the surrounding neighbors with needs they have—general house repairs, painting, roofing, building wheelchair ramps and repairing stairs, tree trimming, debris removal, landscaping, gardening, and general beautification to ‘remodel’ the entire neighborhood! A ‘summary’ video of the house that was completed the first week of August in Farmington Hills, MI, for the Goddard family, will give you an idea of what a typical Life Remodeled ‘project’ is all about:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6SA91Rztsg

[ Note: The ‘backstory’ video on the Goddard family here: http://vimeo.com/45950833 ].

Then, just a few weeks later, in Redford, Michigan, another ‘team’ of volunteers—after 6-8 months of effort—built a new house for the Ray family:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRo2PMJk1Wo

[ Note: The ‘backstory’ video on the Ray family here (shows ‘snippets’ from the Farmington Hills build):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXOkJYWz4TA ].

 
So, why would people give up their time (some give months of daily effort) and finances (up to tens of thousands of dollars) to help a family they do not know, and may never meet?

Well, something I didn’t mention is that Life Remodeled is sort of a “guiding” organization, and is not ‘directly’ responsible for the construction of the house—“lead teams” are—and they have all been Christian churches in the surrounding neighborhood, that have ‘banded together’ to show those in their community the LOVE OF CHRIST.

You may say that there are other non-religious organizations that do similar things in their neighborhood, too—and you would be correct. Those organizations do provide needed services to the community, but are usually supported by corporations that receive some kind of ‘recognition’, or the receiving family may be subsidized by a governmental agency, or have to ‘reimburse’ the non-profit in some way.

But Life Remodeled ‘projects are different—EVERYTHING IS DONATED. So, after three years, though there is no mortgage ‘burden’ on the receiving family, as Chris Lambert says, “It’s not a hand out, it’s a hand up”—the family is required to be fiscally prudent, and is encouraged to “pay it forward” by volunteering on a future Life Remodeled build.

 
So, this “love of Christ,” what is it all about? In a word, “GRATITUDE.”

When a person enters into a love ‘relationship’ with God through Jesus Christ, they’ve have been forgiven of their sins, and experience God’s presence in the everyday tasks of life. They also have an assurance that they will, one day, live in Heaven with God, forever. Most individuals that understand HOW MUCH that really is, want to find some way to express their gratitude.

Most people express their gratitude in a few ways: They share their experience and knowledge with someone not familiar with Jesus; they give of their time to help a person in need; or they make financial/material contributions to spread one of Jesus’ messages around the world—that of “mercy, compassion, and support for the needy.”

In the Bible, Jesus told a parable to communicate the concept that, one day in the future, everyone will have a sort of ‘final examination’ or reckoning about their lives—and the people who will be welcomed into the joy and glory of Heaven will be those who “walked their talk”—their faith was obvious by the ‘good deeds’ in their lives. Jesus kind of gives the Christian a ‘checklist’ of some of the things to do to become more like Him in this Scripture verse:

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” [Matthew 25:35-36].

[ Note: If you are interested in a bit more in-depth study on this particular verse, my church did a “sermon series” on it: http://www.4fcc.org/wordpress/?page_id=5313 and the coordinated “Advent Lights” community outreach campaign:
http://www.4fcc.org/wordpress/?page_id=5324 ].

 
Jesus said those who will make it to Heaven will be the ones who fed the hungry, gave water to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger, clothed the poor, tended to the sick, and ministered to the prisoner. Those turned away from Heaven will be those who, regardless of their verbal claims, ignored the hungry and thirsty, turned away from the stranger, the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned. Jesus doesn’t ‘catalogue’ all the ways that God’s people can live out their faith, but what He does describe is an active faith that visibly demonstrates the tremendous love and mercy His Father has so freely shared with them.

Did you notice how Jesus described the acts of mercy and compassion? He said, “I was hungry… I was thirsty… I was a stranger… I was in prison…” He ‘personalized’ them. Then the people, being a bit ‘defensive’, said, “Jesus, we never saw you in such condition, so how could we have helped you?” Jesus said that though these acts of love were done to those in need, He considers them as having been done to Himself. Likewise, for those too preoccupied with their own lives to worry about someone else, it will turn out that they have ignored Jesus, not just the needy—Ouch! This says to me that these acts of mercy were not done to gain favor or impress, but were a genuine response to human need that arose out of hearts overflowing with God’s love. They were not performed because one “had to” or “ought to,” just but because they wanted to.

In another place in the Bible, another apostle, James, addressed how a Christian is not ‘complete’ without doing “deeds”: “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” [James 2:14-17]. Notice that James didn’t say a faith without action is deficient—it is dead!

 
Now, all people do things for some sort of ‘recognition’—it just depends on the ‘degree’. Most non-religious people, deep down, do ‘good deeds’ for some kind of recognition for themselves—however small. The Christian is a bit different. Though they also seek recognition, the type they seek is not for themselves, but for God, and His glory—to show others the “love of Christ” that is working THRU them.

Elsewhere in the Bible, Jesus emphasized that this is how a Christian is supposed to live their lives: “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” [Luke 14:12-14]. If their ‘good deeds’ are done with the proper ‘spirit’ behind them, their ‘reward’ in Heaven will be much greater than it would be here on earth.

 
Even though these Life Remodeled projects were ‘primarily’ focused on just one family, many of the volunteers mentioned to me while we were on the building sites (and since then, too) that THEY were ‘remodeled’ by the experience—and were now going to focus on strengthening their relationships with friends, family, and God. [ View videos of their comments below ].

Just as these people have found, as I get older (and hopefully gaining more ‘wisdom’), I realize that we all are in the PROCESS of being ‘REMODELED’—the important thing is ‘where’ we get the proper ‘PLANS’ from to be guided by.

 
Let me suggest that the God of the Bible, our “Creator,” would be the One that would know what’s the best for us—and if you have surrendered your life to His Son, Jesus, you are in the ‘process’ of being make more and more into His likeness [2 Corinthians 3:18]. This makes one a “new creature”—not ‘perfect’, but the ‘grubs’ in our ‘yard’ will continue to be cleaned out over our lives. We’re still people who sin (living in a sinful world), who struggle to obey God, and do what is right.

But the good news is, we are God’s ‘project’, not a ‘makeover’ we try to ‘grind out’ ourselves. True, it requires our participation, but becoming more and more ‘holy’ starts, continues, and ends with the power of God.

 
So, just as the contractors built foundations for the Life Remodeled houses to be built upon, the kind of ‘spiritual’ foundation you build upon really matters. The Bible says that it is the “foolish builder” that builds on sand, since when the ‘storms’ come (and they will!), it will fall with a “great crash”—but it is the “wise builder” who build on the ‘rock’, since it will stand against the ‘storms’.

[See a short video of the foundation that was created for the first house in Westland (in an April snowstorm!):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71wi4BWgPK8 ].

The Bible also mentions that, “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” [Psalm 127:1a]. Again, just as it was done with the Life Remodeled houses, there were construction ‘plans’ to guide the contractors on how to properly build them—and that’s what God wants to ‘impart’ to you!

 
Just as it was for the families that received a house as a ‘free gift’, it was not because of what they had done, it was because they were in need. God wants to afford you the same kind of FREE ‘GIFT’ of ‘compassion’ to help you in your ‘NEED’, and to guide you successfully to complete this life as He has intended for you! [ FYI: You get to live in a “mansion” that He has prepared for you! ].

 
If you have not yet done so, let me encourage you to investigate how Jesus can help you ‘REMODEL’ your life, and give you the assurance of eternal life with Him!

[Excerpts from: Ken Larson; LifeRemodeled.com]

 
[ P.S.: If you would like to investigate further about what the Bible has to say about how to GROW CLOSER to God in the here and now, visit the following link:
http://www.thesearchformeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q12_d1_1of10.html

 
[ P.P.S.: “Life Remodeled” is registered 501c3 non-profit corporation, and all donations are tax-deductible. http://liferemodeled.com/ ].

==============

FYI: PREVIOUS LIFE REMODELED BUILDS
Videos of the other three Life Remodeled builds:

Pontiac, Michigan build “time lapse” (April 2012):
http://vimeo.com/43497014

[ Note: The ‘backstory’ video on the Banta family here:
http://vimeo.com/41573230 ].

———–

Hazel Park, Michigan build “time lapse” (May 2012):
http://vimeo.com/43496232

[ Note: The ‘backstory’ video on the Fournier family here:
http://vimeo.com/44945514 ].

———–

Westland, MI (April 2011):
Demolition:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEvgAnvYXOc

Reveal To Family:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kz5b_0G2bv4

Show “Trailer”:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtxMbG9t0fM

[ Note: See the entire ‘story’ by watching the 45-minute pilot episode of a ‘Reality TV’ show we created:
http://vimeo.com/36855371

 
Blessings…Mark

 
LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v163) for SEPTEMBER 2012
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

Thank You’s To:
Suzi Lee

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LIFE REMODELED ‘REMODELS’ EVERYONE
The following are videos of some of the volunteers talking about their experience(s) on the various builds:

Sharon (Volunteer-Day 1) [Farmington Hills]:
http://vimeo.com/47065045

Art (General Contractor-Day 2) [Farmington Hills]:
http://vimeo.com/47139191

Jerry (City Mayor-Day 3) [Farmington Hills]:
http://vimeo.com/47213109

Mark (Volunteer-Day 4) [Farmington Hills]:
http://vimeo.com/47264841

Ken (Pastor-Day 5) [Farmington Hills]:
http://vimeo.com/47339797

Becky (Volunteer-Day 6) [Farmington Hills]:
http://vimeo.com/47372741

Sharon (Volunteer-Her neighborhood) [Farmington Hills]:
http://vimeo.com/48116694

 
Kevin and Kim (Neighbors) [Hazel Park]:
http://vimeo.com/43351055

 
Mike (General Contractor) [Westland]:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxryK-oYGrs

Chris (WMUZ Radio Host) [Westland]:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQzCQnCiVCk

Joanne (Dir. Of City Housing) [Westland]:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n52732hcIW8

Jeff (Volunteer) [Westland]:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uCTW6uwTqo

Kevin (Volunteer) [Westland]:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4uXn3Y06Ic

Ken (Show Producer) [Westland]:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsHW5cx46Gg

 
TV BROADCASTS:

WDIV (Channel 4) [Farmington Hills]:
http://vimeo.com/47426087

WXYZ (Channel 7) [Farmington Hills]:
http://vimeo.com/47240074

WJBK (Channel 2) [Farmington Hills]:
http://vimeo.com/47239946

TV20 (Channel 20) [Farmington Hills]:
http://vimeo.com/47177833

 
WXYZ (Channel 7) [Hazel Park]:
http://vimeo.com/43209706

WDIV (Channel 4) [Hazel Park]:
http://vimeo.com/42895728

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GOD’S ACCURACY
God’s accuracy may be observed in the hatching of eggs. For example:
– The eggs of the potato bug hatch in 7 days;
– Those of the canary in 14 days;
– Those of the barnyard hen in 21 days;
– The eggs of ducks and geese hatch in 28 days;
– Those of the mallard in 35 days;
– The eggs of the parrot and the ostrich hatch in 42 days;
(Notice, they are all divisible by seven, the number of days in a week!)

God’s wisdom is seen in the making of an elephant. The four legs of this great beast all bend forward in the same direction. No other quadruped is so made. God planned that this animal would have a huge body, too large to live on two legs. For this reason He gave it four fulcrums so that it can rise from the ground easily.

The horse rises from the ground on its two front legs first. A cow rises from the ground with its two hind legs first. How wise the Lord is in all His works of creation!

God’s wisdom is revealed in His arrangement of sections and segments, as well as in the number of grains.
– Each watermelon has an even number of stripes on the rind.
– Each orange has an even number of segments.
– Each ear of corn has an even number of rows.
– Each stalk of wheat has an even number of grains.
– Every bunch of bananas has on its lowest row an even number of bananas, and each row decreases by one, so that one row has an even number and the next row an odd number.
– The waves of the sea roll in on shore twenty-six to the minute in all kinds of weather.
– All grains are found in even numbers on the stalks, and the Lord specified thirty fold, sixty fold, and a hundred fold—all even numbers.

God has caused the flowers to blossom at certain specified times during the day. Linnaeus, the great botanist, once said that if he had a conservatory containing the right kind of soil, moisture and temperature, he could tell the time of day or night by the flowers that were open and those that were closed!

The lives of each of you may be ordered by the Lord in a beautiful way for His glory, if you will only entrust Him with your life. If you try to regulate your own life, it will only be a mess and a failure. Only the One Who made the brain and the heart can successfully guide them to a profitable end.
[Author unknown – Received from Suzi Lee]

******************************
THE BIBLE
When you carry “the Bible,” Satan has a headache; When you open it, he collapses; When he sees you reading it, he loses his strength; AND when you stand on the Word of God, Satan can’t hurt you!

And did you also know…when you are about to forward this e-mail to others, the devil will probably try to discourage [ed. or distract] you—so, be sure to do it anyway!
[Author unknown – Received from Suzi Lee]

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DEEP THOUGHT:

“Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil—it has no point!
[Author unknown]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
[Matthew 5:14-16].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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