It has taken some getting use to seeing the “for sale” sign at the end of our driveway. For various reasons my wife and I decided  that we need to try to sell our Alaska house. We love our house, but will anyone else love it enough to invest in it?

One of the greatest selling points of our house is the view. Our house sits on about a 120 foot bluff over the Knik Arm, a salt-water inlet. Beyond the inlet there is the Chugach mountain range. Over the years, though, we have allowed the trees on the bluff to block some of the view. I’ve tried to clear some of the view myself, but the bluff is so steep that it hasn’t felt very safe. I’ve done some clearing, just not enough. It was hard to admit that I needed help. That “for sale” sign at the end of the driveway became my motivation to do something different. We hired a company where the owner and one helper came to clear the view. Yes, they were both young. In two hours they did more than I could have done all summer!

Even though our view is phenomenal, that is not enough to sell our house. We have been fixing some of the small problems that we have lived with for years. We had a cracked window replaced, some trim re-attached, and some caulking done. We also had all of the windows professionally cleaned, and we have been keeping the house clean so that it can be shown at a moment’s notice. Extra cleaning happens every time we know that there is a showing scheduled. We want people to be able to easily see that this is a special house.

Every week we have the possibility of coming into contact with people who are considering investing their lives in our Christian faith. Many of these people are also wondering about becoming involved in a church–perhaps even our church! Ironically, selling a house might give us some reminders of how to share our faith.

Are we helping people to see clearly the difference that our Christian faith can make in their lives? Sometimes we have allowed issues to grow so big that we start to make it difficult to see our Christianity. We have some clearing that needs to be done, both in the life of our churches, and in our personal lives. We need to reduce the anger that surrounds these issues, and replace it with the love and non-judgment that Jesus has taught us.

There is also a lot of clutter that we need to pick up. Some of this is physical clutter. We get so use to being around our churches that we quit seeing some of the disrepair and mess that can be so distracting for people new to our settings.

Some of the clutter is relational and emotional. It is easy to allow negative issues to fester within our church families for a long time. It appears to me that both negative and positive vibes can be picked up by those who are having their first experiences with our churches. Do we have relationships within our church families that need to be repaired so that we are ready to receive new people?

There are times that we know that changes have to happen in our churches, but we don’t know how to do it alone. This is part of what I love about the United Methodist Church–we are a connectional system. I believe that this is one of our greatest strengths. One of our greatest weaknesses, in my opinion, is that we don’t always know how–or when–to use our connectional system. We may not always feel like we have much power to impact our denomination as a whole, however, we have a lot of power to impact our South District. We need to be a team–a family. We are stronger working together than we are alone. We need to help one another. I’m glad to be a part of this connection, and to be connected to each of you.

God is working through us to reach people who are struggling and hurting. As much as I would like to sell our house, it pales in importance in reaching even one person who has not received Christ into their lives. The role that we are allowed to be in has the potential of making an eternal difference!

                   Your brother in Christ, Mark

 

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