Cathy Madavan spoke really powerfully this evening in the Big Top:
Need to confess an addiction that’s got too big, too big for a hobby, addicted to TV house programmes, addicted to Location, Location, Location, binge on Grand Designs and more. Favourite programme is the Restoration Man with the lovely George Clarke. He comes alongside the nutters who take on the really difficult projects, and with incredible passion and sacrifice they look past the piles of rubble and see the potential. They see potential in a place where we see problems. Lived in 6 houses with Mark, and renovated four from scratch!
We all need restoration, our selves, our churches, our country, our world needs a restoration man, and our good news is that Jesus is alive and in the restoration business. We can live in this world because we believe deep down that Jesus can transform things, he can bring transformation. But how do we see past the rubble, the problems and the challenges. Rather than seeing what is impossible, how do we see past and see hope.
Hopefully learn something from John 16, part of Jesus’ farewell discourse. It is Jesus with his disciples, knowing that his arrest is around the corner, every word is pregnant with purpose, and we eaves drop on them. The disciples are thoroughly confused which brings reassurance to us! Jesus knows very well what is ahead, that there is betrayal, grief, fear ahead and very painful death on a cross. Their project will be in ruins in front of them. They will be facing what looks like an impossible situation, but he also knows there will be a resurrection, there is a hope.
He knows that as he is a sacrifice for the wrong, and that as the resurrection happens we will be reconciled to God forever. In v. 20 he says your grief will turn to joy. It’s like having a baby, it really does smart a little, but the joy eclipses the pain. Jesus longs for us to be restored, but he’s not a cosmic self-help guru.
We live in a self-help culture, in a world that says we aren’t good enough and we need to be improved through adverts on TV and magazines. Women have heard this for too long, to have toned thighs, cook nutritious meals, self-styled homes, running a business from your spare bedroom, and you need to be a swiss army wife! This pressure we feel to self-improve and compete is not the kind of transformation that will help us, it is personal consumerism. The only place we can deal with our deep longing is through Jesus. Dallas Willard describes it as a transformation of the Spirit in The Renovation of the Heart.
Our restoration, our renovation is about becoming more Christ like, and God is really, really committed to that. He is far more interested in our character than our comfort. He restores us, but it must not stop there, he wants us to restore the world, conflict, places where the world needs grace and truth. We need to be like the first disciples and trust him even when it feels like we can’t.
Walking in Wales with daughter looking at beautiful scenery., got the bags of food Got to the last field and saw an enormous herd of cows looking straight at us. Take it slowly and we will be fine. Walked quickly along the wall of the field. The cows walked alongside until half-way along when the whole herd turned to look at them. Chief cow looked at them, at her mates, and then charged. Who knew cows could be that quick? Did what every Countryfile expert did and tried to ring husband on iPhone, who didn’t answer. Ran as quickly as she’d ever run, eventually the cows ignored them. The farmer’s wife said the cows saw the plastic bags and thought there were Werthers Originals. Mark laughed so much, until Cathy said he better stop or else he’d meet an angry cow!
Imagine Jesus looking at the disciples saying I know it is scary and you will all want to escape but trust me I am the restoration man, i want you to bring people to God, to serve the poor, my mission is your mission. He has gone ahead of us, we will see him there, he is preparing the way. He asks us to trust him and go in his name. Yes it is tough, there is grief and pain but I believe their is hope, there is brokenness but I believe God can heal.
That has always been his plan, right from the garden of creation, his plan has always been to be reconciled to us, and for his world to be restored. Revelation 21: everything made new again. That is the mission of God. We are to be restoration men and women, there is nothing else that compares with that, seeing lives changed, the kingdom of God come here on earth, but we have to step out in faith.
Aged 19, at university in a very dark and lonely place, parents recently divorced. Someone had said Jesus had died for them, but couldn’t believe it was true. Sat over a golf course and asked God to show himself if he was true. An old man walked past and asked to sit down next to Cathy. He said he was a missionary and felt God had asked him to say that God really loved her. Completely transformed her life, but he didn’t have the big picture, he just had a little bit, but it completely changed the course of her life.
That’s our mission to bring the hope of the resurrected Jesus in the home, the mission place, the work place, the grocery store, the golf course and more. Bill Hybels describes getting a holy discontent, someone has to do something, those kids without food, so many marriages breakdown, kids looking at pornography on their mobile phones in their lunch break, old people are left lonely and on their own, women are still being exploited, the next generation are growing up without knowing about Jesus. He says go and get stuck in, that is my heart. Go in the name of Jesus and start restoration.
When took daughter in pram to a video store she saw explicit videos as they were done alphabetically. The manager said he couldn’t do anything as it was the national company policy. Wrote to the CEO who rang her and met her in the store and fully supported it. Videos in that company were put into genre from then on. Jesus was there in front of her, he wanted to use her to restore that are. God wants you to be restored to him, but also to help restore the world.
Tonight the renovation project of my heart is too big to do it on my own, I need your help. I want the renovation job of my heart to happen. You are designed to be restored to God. But want you to know something else, just like the first disciples, we might not always know the big picture or the big plan and quite frankly it can be scary and challenging. But he wants you to know there is a huge restoration project that he wants and needs you to be a part of it. Our church, our country, our children and grandchildren need you – this is not a time to faff about. God wants to restore you church, country and the world. We are called to serve the world in Jesus’ name as he is still making all things new.
Step out, whatever you holy discontent is, your area of mission, trust God, he will be before you, you will seem him there, you will see his kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. Are you willing to do that?