I began today by wrestling with a screen. We've been showing our power point presentations on the wall, but I thought it was time to get a screen. Well, I overbought. The thing was 9 X 12...and it was just too big and imposing for our pulpit area. So I involved others in putting it together, and later taking it apart. I'll send it back to the company. I was disappointed, but it's not a really big deal. I spent most of the afternoon taking out garbage and vacuuming the auditorium and pews. It was a pretty messy. Messy is a good word for our ministry. I have continued to be amazed at the rapid evolution of our outreach, and the cast of characters that has been assembled at Central. It's a pretty good collection of broken people. David and I have noticed that they become fast friends, recognizing their common struggles. It's a beautiful thing. It was either my friend Al Sturgeon or my friend Steve Martin (or both) who recommended I read Mike Yaconelli's 'Messy Spirituality'. I'm glad I did. Actually God is the only One who can fix most of the messes I've heard about in the last few days. It's my job to love, and I love my job. One of my new friends is Mike. Mike told me tonight that he is separated from his wife, and not just because he's down here working. They've actually been married, separated, divorced, remarried, and are now separated again. I don't know if he noticed my tears while he talked about his life with me. I know it sounds crazy but isn't there something beautiful about a love that refuses to let go? They talk every day on the phone. It's not the kind of relationship either of them would pick, I'm sure. I pray that they will find a pathway to each other, and that they will know the security, peace, and joy that their hearts long for. Tomorrow I'm going to talk about a mess that erupted when some guy's best friends ditched his party and wouldn't come. Little did they know that they would miss all of his parties from now on, as he accumulated some new friends. It had to be a neat party with all of those people gathered up from the highways and bushes. Who was in the bushes, anyway? Ah well, we can only see the Kingdom when we understand that this is all God's work. We're just believing and stepping. God provides the road. Not that we do it so well. Don't get the wrong idea. I need to confess often that I am a failure at all of this. If it all depended on me, it would fall apart quicker than a two year old's lincoln log house. My only peace is to trust His providence and grace as I serve flawfully (is that a word?). Tomorrow night I will be speaking at the Gateway Church of Christ in Pensacola, Florida. It is only about 90 minutes from here. The Gateway Church has been very good to us, and some members in particular. One of those is David Jordan. He is our David's brother-in-law. DJordan doesn't like a lot of attention called to his work. He has a super sharp mind and is as hard a worker as I know. I'm glad he's my friend. Yesterday he helped me get my stove, refrigerator and dishwasher into the house. There are others at Gateway, also. Their minister, Danny Dodd, has been a source of encouragement for decades in my life. He also was the first non-family member to provide lodging for my family after the storm. He was also the first to give me a handfull of cash. He and Terri, Taylor, and Jordan will always be dear to our hearts. By the way, I have no idea what to say at Gateway ... so pray for me! How do you talk about four months of hurricane relief in 30 or 40 minutes? I'll do my best. Danny, make sure there's some kleenex on the pulpit. We cry a lot these days.