Not what was supposed to happen…


This is supposed to be where a sermon is posted. It was supposed to be a well prepared sermon as I had two weeks to work on it. The sermon was supposed to give some much needed guidance from scripture about our responsibility to governing authority.

The sermon was preached, sort of… Meaning the delivery was less than stellar. (kind of embarrassing when that happens) Tried doing a Facebook Live event but that had some technical issues. The biggest problem was we were using my phone and the battery went dead at an unusually fast rate.

Another issue was I used a different phone to record the message so at least I could share the audio here. I have done this several times before without fail. Except this message refuses to leave the phone via email or otherwise. Literally unable to get the audio out of the phone.

The good news is I may have a second attempt to deliver a great message about our responsibility to governing authority some other day. Until then I have a different message stirring in my heart. Hope you enjoy it when it’s delivered publicly.

 

Rev. Burt Schwab

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Getting things done


I missed a couple of weeks of update posts. In case anyone was concerned I did not succumb to illness from a spider bite or strange virus. However, I did get side-tracked with helping a family member.

Prior to moving to Iowa it was a good idea to explore potential income in the form of work. I had suggested the possibility of being a handyman but was informed that “folks around here do their own repairs.” I was also told there aren’t many jobs around here. Both of those are not accurate statements. Iowa is in a serious shortage of skilled labor. In addition several people have questioned why I don’t hire out the house repairs. After all working full-time and preaching when possible is time consuming. Fact is I’ve tried to hire some of it out but local construction and handyman are too busy to do the work.

Anyways, my wife’s parents wanted to replace their powder room floor covering. So we agreed to do the update while they were on vacation. After all it’s just flooring, that shouldn’t take more than a few hours. Right?

Now this house is about as old as the house we own. The floor was carpeted and that was hiding seriously damaged sub floor. That was challenge number 1.

Waite powder room

In case you can’t tell by the picture the closet was also in need of some attention. Like most really old houses the closet was out of square in four different directions. A few sheets of drywall, couple of coats of paint, and a new shelf brought some life back to the closet. All was going well until I went to hang the sliding doors. I am pretty sure it was a puzzle maker that invented those things. After a few frustrating attempts and some minor modifications we got the doors back on the track. After some further thinking and another minor modification the doors actually opened and closed. It was a pleasant surprise to hear my wife say the closet doors had not worked well in years. Secretly I thought the problem was something I did…

waite powder room 2

The last step of any project is cleanup and detail work. Listen fellow-men, this is where women greatly exceed men in ability. We may call it clean and ready but that is just the beginning for women. All said and done it only took seven days to do this few hour project. Not bad considering my track record.

Waite powder room 3

I can already hear the critics asking what this has to do with spiritual matters. Well folks the Bible tells us that God would have us help each other. That is at the core of the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. Scripture is also clear that we are not to burden the Church with helping family in need if we have the capacity to do something about it. God has gifted me with certain skills to repair things. What about you? What can you do to bless others?

God has placed in our hearts the desire to help others. This compassion can even be seen  in those who do not profess to be Christian. It is an act of love to serve others in a way they cannot for themselves. An anonymous author once wrote “Helping others with an expectation of getting something in return is doing business”.

“I don’t want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for each other. Not just the people who are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I can’t change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit.”
Charles de Lint

Rev. Burt Schwab

 

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Spiders and alien virus


Sometimes my imagination can run a little amok. Part of this current porch upgrade is to insulate underneath it. This was originally an outdoor open porch that has been enclosed but without any insulation.

The first obvious problem with doing any work under the porch is the spider webs. I suggested just selling the house but my wife wasn’t excited about that idea. However she did say she didn’t know how I could go down there to work. Turns out she wasn’t making a comment about my weight but was thinking of how dirty it is under the floor.

Anyway as I was laying in the dirt several things entered my mind. Some of those thoughts included:

Maybe it would have been wise to have bought Tyvek coveralls.

I remember reading somewhere that anthrax lives dormant in dirt.

In the movie ‘X files’ an alien virus lived in the dirt.

I wondered what might kill me first, a spider bite, anthrax, or an alien virus.

Maybe I should have bought a hazmat suit.

To move around under the porch requires a belly crawl. At one point an old apothecary bottle complete with the cork was unearthed. Maybe it once held a cure for an alien virus! Or maybe just cough syrup, who knows.

After finishing what could be done that day my wife asked if there were any signs of animals under there. I assured her there wasn’t. She does not like mice in particular and the thought of having them in the house kind of freaks her out. I know it’s silly when you consider the fact that there is spiders and possibly imaginary viruses to worry about.

Now that the repairs are complete and the insulation is done the new floor covering can be installed. So far it’s only taken 1 1/2 weeks to do a “weekend” project. Another 5 or 6 days should be sufficient to finish this project.

By the way, there is a broken light fixture in the upstairs bathroom. My honey-do list is starting to resemble a full length novel. I just have to remind myself of Ecclesiastes 10:18 Because of laziness the building decays, and through idleness of hands the house leaks.

 

Rev. Burt Schwab

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Work in progress


If you were to visit my house for the first time you might notice it is in need of a lot of work. This old house is over 110 years old. What you might not readily know is how much improvement there has been in the last year. A complete kitchen make over that included all new cabinets and appliances. Several electrical improvements along with some much-needed plumbing repairs. Even the garage has new doors and a rain gutter.

None of the improvements have been just surface level. Some old plaster walls have been removed to the studs and recovered with drywall. The garage front was raised up to correct a sagging issue. Old dangerous wiring has been replaced with new.

Most recently we remodeled a small bathroom. It really is a powder room. Someone asked how long the project took. I said a month but that isn’t accurate. Where does the clock start on major projects? If it was the day the problem was identified, that would be over a year ago when we bought the house. If the clock starts the day of planning, that was a few months ago. If the clock starts the day the work began, that was a month.

By the way those home makeover shows are not reality. In a half hour the shows will have completed a major house renovation. It takes me a half hour to find my tool pouch. Don’t set unrealistic expectations. Five minute projects will quickly turn into three trips to the hardware store.

I am currently working on the front porch. The main project is to replace the flooring.Front porch 1

This porch was enclosed several years ago and was done nicely at the time. It is our intent to use it as a 3 season small sitting room. With that in mind we decided to add some outlets, a proper front outside light, and insulate under the floor.

front porch 2

There is no access under this porch from outside or under the house. Since part of the floor was water damaged and rotten that is the access point for running electric and insulating. More about that in next post. Oh, and the treadmill has to stay in the room during all this work. The treadmill was assembled in there and now is too big to remove without disassembling it. Oh well!

Some have questioned why we would put so much effort into this old house. We can’t possibly expect to sell it for a profit when it’s finished. The answer is simple. We like this house and want to make it useful for our purposes.

Often times we judge people based on how much work is needed in their lives. We have no idea if they are in the pre-construction phase or if they are a work in progress. It is not our job to determine when God will change an area a person’s life or how long that might take. Just know as Christians we are all work in progress,  and that Christ loves us all and wants to make us useful for His purposes.

Rev. Burt Schwab

 

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Change of plans


When we first moved to Iowa it was my intention to shut down this blog site as a part of a new life. We moved here with the expectation of replacing a retiring Pastor of a small church. Long story short the Pastor changed his mind. It has been a very painful season to go through, however, for me to tell the details would make me seem like a victim or a hero. The truth is probably somewhere in between those two extremes.

As a result of the plan change I changed my secular occupation from part-time sign installer to a full-time welder on night shift. By God’s grace this is a Christian owned company that is very generous. One major benefit we have is onsite corporate Chaplains. If you are fortunate enough to have a Chaplain in the work place then you work for a great company. As well as welding I also continue ministry work through pulpit supply at various churches.

One very large change that has occurred for my wife and I is moving from a beautifully finished home to a house of many “projects”. With each major repair or modification some life lessons have taken place. It might be worth reading about some of the changes and lessons learned from them.

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This is our current home that sits on 1 3/4 acres in Iowa.

 

Rev. Burt Schwab

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As you go…


This is an audio of a sermon I preached at New Life Community Church in Charles City, Iowa. The Church has one true purpose and that is to make disciples.

Rev. Burt Schwab

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Intercessory Prayer Revisited


I have preached on this subject before. This sermon was delivered at New Life Community Church in Charles City, Iowa on May 20, 2018. I hope you are blessed by listening to it.

Rev. Burt Schwab

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Because the Lord is my shepherd…


This sermon was preached at New Life Community Church in Charles City, Iowa on

May 6, 2018

 

Rev. Burt Schwab

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What happened…?


Do you remember Dolly the sheep? It was a cloned sheep born in 1996 and made world-wide headlines. The possibility of human cloning suddenly seemed inevitable. Many ethical questions were raised about going further with cloning science. For some Christians it raised the question “would a clone have a soul?” If humans were cloned should we try to reach them with the gospel message to be on the safe side? Should the Church embrace the idea of cloning humans or is that too much like playing God? One thing was for certain, we did not know if we could accept a truly different human.

Many things have changed in the world since 1996. We now accept terrorism as a reality. Things most Christians once taught against, such as sexual immorality, is now just widely accepted by most local church congregations.  In fact in many cases the world just gives such things as homosexuality a new definition and call it normal.

At work we just had training on cyber security and active shooter training. In a nut shell if you are in an active shooter situation your choices are run, hide, or fight. It is strongly encouraged if you have to fight to show zero mercy for the shooter. Literally do not stop fighting until the shooter is “neutralized”. In other words in some situations we are told to treat another human as if they were not human. Make your own opinion about that statement, you won’t convince me differently about how to react.

All these headline grabbing events are just symptoms of a deeper issue. Do Christians really believe in one true God? Is the Bible the literal word of God? Can we truly learn how to live as Christ? I would like to say yes to all these things. However, it has been my experience over the last 30 years to see different truths lived out in the church. Local church leaders often are more concerned with their own status than making disciples. The directors of many churches in America are convinced that they are right and nobody else has a clue. There is little or no cohesive thought from our leaders. The division among denominations prevent local churches from work toward a common goal.

I am not sure of what the local church will look like in 30 years from now. there is an overwhelming need for the local churches to get out of the box they put themselves in.  We need to be able to offer those who work on Sundays the chance to experience church. We need to give our youth the chance to learn about God at a level they can process. We need to shut down outdated religious ideology and face the demands of reality! Part of that reality is our children, and theirs as well, do not know the true God! Religion will not reach them. Policy will not change people. Laws will not stop immorality. There is only one true hope, that is Jesus Christ.

 

Rev. Burt Schwab

 

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Walking the Talk Part 4


Spirit-guided Relationships

This is part 4 of a 4 part series.

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