The weather around here in Western Oregon has been awesome. We have had weeks of beautiful weather and lots and lots of sun. They tell me it's really not that good, we need rain. I am willing though to give up rain for this weather. In fact this weather has really been a motivator to actually get work done around the house. Over the last couple of days I have worked hard at finishing the deck in the back of our house. I finished the last gate on the deck Sunday after church. I don't like to brag, unless it has to do with my house, so allow me to tell you how professional it looks, don't worry, pictures of the deck are coming and you can decide for yourselves.
We have also been working around the yard too. Alex mowed the grass last night and did a pretty good job. It's hard to mow an ugly lawn, so we are doing what we can to turn that around and make a yard worthy to be mowed. We have bushes blooming and others getting ready to bloom and we have a pretty good idea of what we want it to look like around the yard. We just have to put it all together now.
I will be attending a men's retreat this weekend at the camp. The weekend should really be a chance for me to get away and spend some quiet time in study and prayer. It is a lot of fun to hang out at the camp with so many great guys who are so encouraging and inspiring.
This Sunday I was really encouraged as I spoke to the congregation here at Sixth and Gibbs about Grace. It gave me a chance to share my heart on the issue and call all of us here to be better grace dispensers. We as Christians get a bad rap sometimes for being too close minded and too rigid. Some of this criticism is well desired based upon the ungrace we have shown on occasion. Yet, God calls us all to be people of grace, simply because that's what he has given to us. The difference between Christianity and every other religion is grace.
The hard part about grace is giving it away and seeing it abused. We have all tried to help people, to give them a lift up, only to see your gift ignored or abused. We help a lot of people at the church here in Cottage Grove, mostly with gas and food. We have a consistent return visitor whom I recently saw on the streets. He obviously didn't recognize me, cause his story changed, from a hard working guy, struggling to get by, to a vagrant travel, just passing through. I think I may have felt, just a little of what Jesus feels each time someone ignores or turns away from His grace. It hurts and it is sad but we have to keep passing out the grace.