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Fixer Upper Life: Renovation - Repairing The Damaged Areas - Friday

Posted on Fri, Oct 21, 2016

On the seventh day God had finished His work of creation, so He rested from all His work.  Genesis 2:2
Recently a buddy of mine with a cold was helping his kids with their homework. The next thing he knew he woke up at the table in a pool of his own drool. Ever been there? Sleep takes over and we wake up wondering what just happened. We all need rest. It’s woven so deeply into who we are God included it in the creation of the world.
So, when we’re working with God as He renovates our hearts we have to rest. In Nehemiah 8 the exiles have returned and the work of rebuilding is being enjoyed. In verse 10 of that chapter it’s described that they all eat and eat well. The smoker is filled up, billowing the best smells you can imagine and it’s time to eat. God works, we work, and He also commands rest. 
Home renovation shows take on and complete a 3,000 square foot project in an hour, but the reality is it took 30, 40, or more days to go from run-down to renewed. Renovation work takes time and so we have to rest along the way.
The second half of verse 10 in Nehemiah 8 says that the day of rest was “holy” (set apart) to the Lord and that it was the joy of the Lord that is your strength. Heading into the weekend it’s important to consider how we will rest. If we don’t rest our work will wear us out and we’ll never complete the job. 
  • Happy Friday! Rest well.

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries

Fixer Upper Life: Renovation - Repairing The Damaged Areas - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Oct 20, 2016

Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king. They replied at once, “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!” So they began the good work.  Nehemiah 2:18
There comes a time when you roll up your sleeves and get to work. Building your life on Jesus is as simple a concept as there can be. Simply follow Jesus every day, in every circumstance, and repeat the next day. There was even a handy bracelet created for us to be reminded of this. Following Jesus is simple but hard. Jesus said the road to following Him is narrow. He also said we WILL HAVE TROUBLE when we follow Him. Following Jesus, building our lives on Him, is just plain work. Yet, He also said that the work fits us well and blesses us.
The work of rebuilding and renovating isn’t easy. In Nehemiah’s case they had to deal with a real enemy. It got to the point where they essentially had a shovel in one hand and a sword in the other. This vigilance slows things down, but it keeps the Enemy away. It’s true for us too. When The Enemy, Satan, has hurt us and we’re renovating, he isn’t going to give up easily. He is going to fight back. That is going to slow us down. So, let’s commit today to joining God in the rebuilding of our lives. Whether you are in the middle of massive renovation of the heart or simply some touching up, let’s get the Sword of the Spirit, the Bible, in our hands. Better yet, let’s get it in our hearts.
  • Pick a scripture to memorize. If you don’t have one in mind, google a scripture that speaks to your specific struggles. Print it out, put it in your pocket (or pocket book), and recite it every time you think of it or see it. Any time you reach for a pen, your cell phone, or your chap stick recite the scripture that’s in there.

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries

Fixer Upper Life: Renovation - Repairing The Damaged Areas - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Oct 19, 2016

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Philippians 4:8
When I get into a home repair project, it will take me longer than I assume and will involve multiple trips to Lowe’s. I’m as average as they come at it. I watch a six-minute YouTube video, think, “That’s simple enough,” scratch out a list of supplies, travel to Lowe’s, purchase the supplies, watch the YouTube video again, start, get stuck, cue YouTube again, screw it up, go back to Lowe’s, watch YouTube again, fix my last mistake, make another mistake, say angry things, go to Lowe’s for the thing to fix that mistake, whine to my wife about this stupid thing, fix my last mistake, and repeat until I finish the project. This may play out in a day, weekend or entire week.
All that said, if I don’t have the right materials, the entire thing is a non-starter. You can’t patch drywall with potting soil, and you can’t pot a plant with spackling. The same is true for our lives. If we aren’t building things with the right materials, we are going to end up in the same place we started or worse. Einstein is typically attributed with the loose definition of insanity being, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” 
In our lives we want to see change, but we keep building with the same materials. In our story from Nehemiah he had access to the king’s lumber yard. He had access to the best materials to rebuild the walls. In Christ we have access to the same. What materials in our lives are from Him and which aren’t? 
  • Take time today to ask him to show you what is in your life consistently that isn’t of Him, from Him, and is ultimately hurting you. Since many of us have addressed this during our series, let’s select new materials and tools to build our lives. What spiritual practices can we choose that will help us build our lives with the materials of a Godly life?

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries

Fixer Upper Life: Renovation - Repairing The Damaged Areas - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Oct 18, 2016

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have - Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11
One day Jesus gets up in front of a crowd and preaches a masterpiece. In what is known as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus lays out the depth, breadth, width, and height of life in God’s Kingdom which has now come. It’s the greatest sermon ever spoken and volumes are written about each line. If you haven’t read it lately it’s worth your time.  It’s the end that I want to draw our attention to. At the end of ushering the foundational vision for God’s Kingdom come to earth, he challenges the audience to consider their next step. 
He calls the audience to choose the foundation on which they will build their lives. In our renovation process we’ve got to ask the same question. On what foundation will we build our lives? The easy answer is Jesus, but is that the honest and truthful answer? If you are like me, my life is built on Jesus AND… I want it to be only Jesus, but if I’m honest it’s too often:
  • Jesus AND financial security
  • Jesus AND fitting in
  • Jesus AND feeling good
  • Jesus AND being entertained
  • Jesus AND getting what I want
  • Jesus AND forward-moving life trajectory
As we start to carry out the renovation plans God has for us, let’s get the foundation right.
  • Take some time today to list anything you’ve built your life on aside from Jesus.

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries

Fixer Upper Life: Renovation - Repairing The Damaged Areas - Monday

Posted on Mon, Oct 17, 2016

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
You are entering into the third week in our series called “Fixer Upper Life.” The theme of the first two weeks was inspection and demolition. This week we focus on renovation. Through the prism of the book of Nehemiah, we’ve seen God working to rebuild something big that had been destroyed. This is the step where forward-moving actions take place. So today we discuss the plans. After demolition from last week, what is it that God will build new in your life?
I love the step in home renovation television shows where the plan is revealed. The design idea and picture of what’s possible is breathtaking. So, let’s dream a bit about what is possible. What new thing is possible in your life? Can God reuse something from your past to do a new thing in you, your family, and/or future generations? What beautiful thing is possible in you that brings new beauty, hope, and purpose? What would you plan for your life if you knew it wouldn’t fail?
  • As we get a vision for all of this possible renovation, let’s take time to ask God to reveal the path forward. The next few days we’ll look at practical steps to take together. For now, spend time in prayer and ask God to help you see His plan for your newly renovated life.

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries

Fixer Upper Life: Demolition - Removing The Damaged Areas - Friday

Posted on Fri, Oct 14, 2016

“I’m doing a great work; I can’t come down. Why should the work come to a standstill just so I can come down to see you?” Nehemiah 6:3
The reality is, life is not like reality TV. While so satisfying, the broken things in our lives are not going to come down and be made new in a one hour time slot on a Tuesday night. The truth about me is God has been working for the past two years to pull fear and people pleasing out of my life. And the process has been sloooowwww. Some days I take a step backward, and other days I experience huge victory in sweeping leaps. Some days I fight the enemy and others I believe his lies. The key in the whole process is to not give up. Nehemiah knew this better than most. I love his line when people were trying to distract him from his work on the wall. “I am doing a great work; I can’t come down.” When the enemy tried to intimidate Nehemiah, he just worked with greater determination. Hopefully this week, you have gotten some new tools in your tool belt to help you tear down the broken things in your life. Maybe you are finally starting to admit that addiction. Maybe you have found some old hurts and hangups underneath the tough exterior you’ve built. Maybe you’ve reached out to some friends and finally asked for help. Whatever it is, don’t give up. Get the right people around you, do the hard work, and remember that the Lord is fighting for you! With His help we can move into the next part of our healing process - Renovation. We’ll talk more about that next week, but for today remember, “I am doing a great work; I can’t come down!”
  • If you need help in the healing process we are here for you! Reach out to our Care Team if you need more guidance and help processing next steps.

Hanna Wahlbrink
Creative Director

Fixer Upper Life: Demolition - Removing The Damaged Areas - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Oct 13, 2016

The laborers carried on their work with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon. All the builders had a sword belted to their side. The trumpeter stayed with me to sound the alarm. Then I explained to the nobles and officials and all the people, “The work is very spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. When you hear the blast of the trumpet, rush to wherever it is sounding. Then our God will fight for us!” Nehemiah 4:17-20
There is one thing that is a part of every single episode of Fixer Upper, and that is Chip’s sweat. That might sound gross, but don’t be fooled. In one hour you get to see the beginning, middle, and culmination of what actually took months. Transforming a house in real time is plain hard work. Transforming your heart is no different. In Nehemiah, we see the Jews working day and night. We see the enemy come against them, taunt them, try to get them to quit. We see them take turns working and standing guard. And eventually Nehemiah says all the men worked with a tool in one hand and a weapon in the other. The Jews are in a “whatever it takes” kind of season. Removing bad habits and rotten experiences can turn into a serious battle. Not only do you have to deal with the issue, but you also have to fight the enemy! This can seem totally overwhelming at times, but I love the promise in the end of today’s verse. “Then our God will fight for us!” Nehemiah knew his men had to be prepared to do the hard work and to fight the good fight. But he also knew he had the ultimate trump card. The Lord. Remember, you have to be prepared to deal with your issues, and fight the enemy, but never forget that the Lord is your rear guard. He is fighting for you, and with Him on your side, the battle has already been won. 
  • In the midst of all of your hard work God has promised to do His part. He is fighting for and with you. Don’t give up. Read Ephesians 6:10-18 today.

Hanna Wahlbrink
Creative Director

Fixer Upper Life: Demolition - Removing The Damaged Areas - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Oct 12, 2016

So I placed armed guards behind the lowest parts of the wall in the exposed areas. I stationed the people to stand guard by families, armed with swords, spears, and bows...I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!”  Nehemiah 4:13-14
Chip and Jo are the stars of Fixer Upper, but the truth is, it takes a whole army of people to get a house done. I love the montage scenes of rooms transforming within a single moment. They are able to take weeks of work and show you the results in seconds. And you see so many people in and out in those few seconds. When it comes to discovering the broken things in our lives, the truth is, we can’t do it alone. Take a look at Nehemiah. His workers were getting tired. There was too much rubble to be moved and they wanted to give up. (Sound familiar?) He knew there were weak places in the wall. And if he didn’t put guards in those exposed areas, it was inevitable that the enemy would come and destroy all of their hard work. When it comes to admitting and discovering our weaknesses, we can’t just leave them completely unmanned. As we are processing the pain and brokenness, we have to have people around us. Healthy conversation, the ability to get out of your own head, is a huge part of your demolition process. Do you have people in your life who are willing to stand guard as your weak places are exposed? People you can tell the truth to? People who are praying for you as you go? People who are saying, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord who is great and glorious!”
  • Who are your people? It’s ok if you can’t think of anybody. Celebrate Recovery is a great place to start. There you’ll meet some of the most honest, real, and authentic people who want to help you find healing and restoration.

Hanna Wahlbrink
Creative Director

Fixer Upper Life: Demolition - Removing The Damaged Areas - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Oct 11, 2016

Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices? Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that?”  Nehemiah 4:1-2
In almost every episode of Fixer Upper, when demolition begins, they discover something they didn’t see in the initial inspection. There’s water damage under the floor or old lead piping that has to be removed. There’s always something that couldn’t be seen when all the walls and floors were intact. This is true for me and you. When we start to peel back the paint in our own lives we can quickly discover pain that’s hiding underneath. Many of us have spent years trying to cover up and just move on. Maybe you were misunderstood or abused as a child, and you cover it up by keeping people at arm's length. If you don’t have close relationships, you can’t get hurt again, right? Maybe you were made fun of or ignored. So you’ve spent a lifetime comparing yourself to others, and you feel like you’ll never measure up. To cover up you buy nice clothes and do your best to fit in. I don’t know what it is for you but chances are, when you begin to tear down the exterior, you might find some not so pretty truth. The reality about facing the truth is - it’s hard work! And we have a very real enemy that doesn’t want us to face it. Just like Sanballat mocked Nehemiah and the Jews when they wanted to rebuild Jerusalem’s wall, you may experience mocking from the enemy. “You can’t do it! Just quit!” Nehemiah responded to the mockery by praying. We can’t tackle demolition on our own, but with God’s guidance and protection, we are sure to find healing and restoration.
  • Is the enemy mocking you today? Pray! Ask the Lord for protection and don’t stop fighting to find the truth.

Hanna Wahlbrink
Creative Director

Fixer Upper Life: Demolition - Removing The Damaged Areas - Monday

Posted on Mon, Oct 10, 2016

“Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.” Nehemiah 1:3
In the words of Chip Gaines, “It’s DEMO day.” Y’all, confession time. I LOVE Fixer Upper. It’s ok if you don’t. I mean, I’m shocked if you don’t, but it’s ok. I love watching couples pick a house and always hope they pick the craziest most janky one, just so I can watch Chip and Jo work their magic. In case you haven’t seen it, the formula is always the same. Couple picks a broke-as-a-joke house. Chip and his crew jump in and rip the house down to the guts. They tear down walls. Discover original shiplap and hardwood floors. And once the new layout and cabinets are complete, Jo gets her interior design on and turns every home into the perfect cottage from The Holiday. I don’t care that it’s always the same format. Every couple, every house, every new project pulls me in. There’s something so satisfying about seeing a dilapidated mess turned into perfection. What Chip and Jo do with houses, we’ve seen God do with our hearts. I think I love Fixer Upper so much because it points to what God can do when we give Him the keys to our lives. Last week we talked all about Inspection. The very beginning, what it means to allow God to take a look inside you, and find what is hiding in the dark corners. What has been shoved in a closet, forgotten about, broken? Hopefully you’ve been spending some time allowing God to search your heart. This week is all about Demolition. The hard work. We are going to ask some tough questions and hopefully allow God to tear some things down that are holding us back. It’s not gonna be easy, but it’s gonna be totally worth it.
  • Roll up your sleeves and get ready for demo day. Start this week by reading Nehemiah 4 and 6 to get some insight into where all this hard work can lead you.

Hanna Wahlbrink
Creative Director

Fixer Upper Life: Inspection: Surveying the Damaged Areas - Friday

Posted on Fri, Oct 07, 2016

The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven.  Nehemiah 1:4
I always remember the last thing I encounter as if it was the most important thing. When I read a book, the last chapter sticks better than the others. I can recall the last part of a movie better than the first part. This probably means I have a short attention span, but the reality is, I hang on to the most recent thing a lot easier than the thing furthest in the distance.
I will assume that you may be a little like me in this way. That’s why I’m closing out this week of heart inspection with the most important piece. Everything we’ve studied is important, but if you only remember one thing from this week as you assess damages, remember this: Pray.
Throughout the book of Nehemiah, we find that his first response is to pray. Before he speaks, he prays. Before he battles bullies, he prays. Before he addresses challenges, he prays. We learn a lot about the man Nehemiah in his responses, but we learn more about our God in them. These stories are not in the Bible to teach us how awesome or awful the characters and events are, but to teach us what God is like. And because Nehemiah’s first response is to pray, that teaches me that my Father desires to hear from me early and often and that makes me feel valued.
As you inspect your heart, pray. As you begin a path towards healing, pray. As you seek help, pray. As you do the work of repair, pray. Healing is a process and I’ve learned that prayer is not only IN the process but that prayer IS the process. Remember this: Pray. Pray. Pray. 
Can we pray for you? As you discover painful places in your heart, text us (859) 428-7729 and we’ll pray for you as soon as we receive your text. We’re in this together.

Chris Hahn
Lead Executive Pastor/ Elder

Fixer Upper Life: Inspection: Surveying the Damaged Areas - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Oct 06, 2016

When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard about this, they were very much disturbed that someone had come to promote the welfare of the Israelites.  Nehemiah 2:10
In the movie, “A Christmas Story”, my favorite scene is when Ralphie goes “postal” on the bully Scut Farkus. For years, Scut has terrorized all of the kids in school. But then Ralphie snapped. In a moment, Ralphie is on top of Scut, raining down blows! Everyone celebrated as the bloodied bully ran out of the scene, never to bully again. We all love a good “bully-gets-what-he-deserves” story.
In Nehemiah chapters 2 and 6, Nehemiah encounters bullies. These guys do not want Nehemiah to rebuild the wall. They want Nehemiah to be fearful, discouraged, and distracted. They want him to fail, so they attack him with words. But Nehemiah is unfazed by them. He has authority to do what he’s doing so he keeps his mind on his task which ultimately defeats the bullies.
We have a bully who does not want us to inspect and repair the damaged places of our hearts. Our enemy wants us to live in those painful places. He wants us to be fearful, discouraged, and distracted. Jesus tells us in John 10:10 that our enemy is a bully who comes “to steal, kill, and destroy.” But Jesus wants us to “have life and have it to the full.” 
The enemy will do whatever he can to keep you from addressing your painful places. But like Nehemiah, you have authority over him in Jesus. So stay on task and don’t get distracted. Rain down blows on your bully by claiming the full life you have in Jesus. Send him running, never to bully you again.
Where has Satan tried to bully you away from finding healing? Recognize his lies and then claim the life of freedom Jesus offers you by repeating this prayer: “In the name of Jesus, I claim victory over Satan. He has NO power over me and so I choose to walk in freedom in Christ.”

Chris Hahn
Lead Executive Pastor/ Elder

Fixer Upper Life: Inspection: Surveying the Damaged Areas - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Oct 05, 2016

The king said to me, “What is it you want?”. Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”  Nehemiah 2:4-5
I destroyed the ligaments in my thumb several years ago playing basketball. My doctor inspected the damage by giving me a shot in my hand which numbed the area. He then moved my thumb in directions that a thumb should never be permitted to move. It made me want to pull my “cry-trigger!” But amazingly, I couldn’t feel a thing. What should have been really painful was completely numb. 
As you search the damaged areas of your heart, you may find that some of the most wounded areas have developed callouses. What should be painful may have become numb which could cause you to deny the pain you need to address. We have to cut away at the calloused areas and rediscover that pain so we can treat it properly.
How do we do that? By seeking help. 
My doctor helped with my damaged thumb. My HVAC guy helps with my troubled system. The king helped Nehemiah accomplish his mission. Without the help of the king and a few others who Nehemiah leaned on (2:7-9), Nehemiah would never have been able to help with the destroyed walls in Jerusalem. But God, in His amazing grace and provision, orchestrated the help of a few strategic folks to help Nehemiah assess and repair the damages.
You may need help addressing the painful and numbed areas of your heart. If you’ve found some places that are too tough for you to confront on your own, call us. We’d love to be able to put a strategic person beside you to help you assess and begin to repair. Give Jennifer a call today.

Chris Hahn
Lead Executive Pastor/ Elder

Fixer Upper Life: Inspection: Surveying the Damaged Areas - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Oct 04, 2016

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept.  Nehemiah 1:4
I’m not a cryer, but I’m pro-crying. My best friend has a quick “cry-trigger.” He can talk about the weather and mist up. But me? Not so much. I did cry during the final episodes of M*A*S*H and Seinfeld. My “cry-trigger” works, but is extremely weird.
Nehemiah learned of the pain his people were enduring and his reaction was to cry. His heart ached and his eyes responded. Compassion is when someone else’s pain moves from my head, to my heart and to my hands. I see the pain, I feel the pain and then act to alleviate it. When the pain of his people moved from Nehemiah’s head to his heart, he wept.
Tears are a natural reaction to painful situations and there’s no need to fight them or dismiss them. It’s healthy to just let them flow.
This week we’re crawling around and inspecting painful places in our hearts and the sore spots that we discover will move from our heads to our hearts and that will likely pull our “cry-trigger”. Pull it. Let the tears flow. You’ll feel the pain release from your heart as the warm tears flow down your cheeks and cover your hands. It’s more than ok, it’s healthy and it will begin a road to healing.
John 11:35 simply says, “Jesus wept.” Jesus saw the pain that death was causing in the lives of people and it caused Him to cry. His heart hurt for those He loved, so He wept. Jesus sees you in your pain today and He weeps with you. He desperately wants to heal your heart. 
Pray this prayer with me:
“Dear Jesus, reveal to me the damaged areas of my heart. Let my emotions respond appropriately. Open my heart and may healing tears flow from my eyes as I release that pain. Meet me in my pain Lord Jesus and show me the path to healing. Thank you for the tears you shed for me. Amen.”

Chris Hahn
Lead Executive Pastor/ Elder

Fixer Upper Life: Inspection: Surveying the Damaged Areas - Monday

Posted on Mon, Oct 03, 2016

By night I went out… examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire.  Nehemiah 2:13
I have a love-hate relationship with my HVAC system. I love being cool in the summer and warm during winter; but when there’s an issue with my system, it’s no picnic trying to find it. My system is located in my attic. The entrance is small and once I get up there, it’s like navigating the gauntlet of American Ninja Warriors in the dark! When I finally discover the unit, I’m sweaty, bruised and fraught with splinters. But I have to find the problem if I want to fix the system.
Nehemiah had a mission to rebuild the destroyed walls of Jerusalem. In chapter 2, he goes out at night, navigating tough terrain on a donkey to assess the damage and see what he’s up against. Some places are too difficult to pass through even for his donkey. Nehemiah saw some really tough work ahead.
We all have some damaged areas in our hearts - wounds from the past that weaken our health. Harsh words from a loved one. Betrayed trust. Broken promises. Abuse. The damage may be from any number of things, but we’ll never be able to heal if we don’t get on our donkey and inspect it - navigate the gauntlet of dark places to find the problem.
Jesus wants to heal the damaged areas of our hearts, but before we can set Him free to do so, we have to find the issues.
Let’s do some inspecting this week. In the next 3 days, set aside an hour to be quiet and uninterrupted. Ask God to show you the areas of your heart that are bruised and damaged. Look back over your life. Shine light in the dark corners. Look for the painful places and expose them. Write down everything you discover. Wrap up your time by asking God to help you with a plan to find healing for those sore spots.

Chris Hahn
Lead Executive Pastor/ Elder

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