Clean House.

Back when we still had cable, Jeff and I would sometimes watch this show called Clean House. It was pretty awesome, and it was also pretty disturbing. Basically, there were people on this show who had so much stuff in their homes that they couldn’t function anymore. Some homes were so piled with junk (sewing machines, clothes, furniture, kitchenware, etc) that there were only thin paths through the house that its inhabitants could use to get from one room to another. It was pandemonium. It was chaos. Unlivable.

And whenever Jeff and I would watch this show, we’d say things like: “How can these people live like that?! Where do they sleep at night? And most importantly, where the heck do they sit to watch television?”

And then, the expert organizers/designers on the show would have to pull arms, legs, teeth, the whole nine yards, just to get these people to agree to get rid of this stuff and sell it at a yard sale. Sometimes, it would take bribing (“If you agree to sell this collection of half-broken model airplanes, we’ll put in a new carpet in your living room!”)

Sometimes the person would say: “No. I just cannot get rid of those broken model airplanes. Or the oversized stuffed dog. Or the half-broken curio cabinet filled with great aunt so-and-so’s thimble collection.”

And by making this decision, this person would miss out on a new living room set, a new stove, new carpeting, and the obtrusive item he or she did not wish to give up stood out like a sore thumb, a reminder of the past clutter.

I would then wag a finger at the TV and say things like: “You should’ve gotten rid of your broken 30 year old scuba gear!”

Now, it’s hard to say there is something morally wrong with these people. I wouldn’t say that their messy houses are a source of sin, necessarily. But I do think this is an obstacle. And I think that it ultimately diminishes these people’s lives.

This show makes it clear how hard it is to let things go, especially when they become a part of your daily life. I thought of this during Brad’s sermon on Sunday. I often settle for a cluttered and messy life. It’s not awful, but it’s not great; it is a diminished version of what it would be, mainly because I have grown accustomed to it, and I don’t want let these things go.

The reason why God wants us to follow him and do his will and sin no more is because he wants the best life for us. So when God sees us wasting our time, or sees us consumed and burdened by things that diminish rather than add to our lives, I’m sure he wants something more and better for us. He wants good things for his children, and we often settle for mediocrity. He created us for his great purposes, and we instead settle for youtube clips, TV marathons, and hours on facebook.

It’s time I cleaned house a little. Settling isn’t worth it. 



Advent Fast.

I thoroughly enjoyed Brad’s message Sunday about weeding things out of our lives that choke our fruitfulness.  But more than enjoying the message I’m going to try to apply it.

As a recovering TV addict, I got rid of cable TV years ago.  The problem is that I can now get TV on my laptop.  So for the month of December, I’m going to leave my laptop at the office.  I’m not bringing it home on the weekdays.

This will cut out weekday TV watching.  This will eliminate weekday web surfing.  This will eliminate two time wasters.  I’ll be interested to see what happens.

This Advent I’m going on a laptop fast.  How about you?  What weeds are you going to pull this Advent?

New Facebook Page!

We are moving from our Staff St. Paul’s Profile (which works well for people) to a Page (which works out better for organizations and groups).

The Facebook Page is a great way to get out information, make announcements, and send out reminders to you all, which makes it serve a very similar to the blog. What’s different, though, is that Facebook makes it easier and more convenient for you all to post questions or thoughts and announcements of your own on its wall when you need to, and to connect with one another.

It is important that you switch from the Staff Profile, and like our Official Church Page, because we will eventually delete the old profile and completely switch over to the new one. 

Please “like” our new page, and suggest it to your FB buddies!

St Paul’s Facebook Page. 

God loves you!

Good morning.  My heart is so full this morning, and I have to leave the house in 30 minutes, so bear with me.

Everywhere I have been lately, one message is the same; your Abba, Father wants you to come into a new understanding and experience of how much He loves you.

This is a new, now message – not new in the scriptural sense, just new in the cultural sense.

Please consider the following and understand that it is the best that I can explain it right now – but that’s okay, because this is a blog, not a doctoral dissertation.  I share this because I love you (and by the way, it would not be possible for me to love you if God didn’t love you first – and more.)  My prayer is that as more people “get” it and begin to walk it out we can share the joy of learning more about it together.

Think about it, when God created man, He was pleased.  He said it was very good.  This was before He gave man anything to do.  Before the fall, God walked and talked with Adam.  Why?  Because His man was the most beloved of all His creation.  In fact, the rest of creation was a gift to and for mankind.

We think we know what the fall cost us.  But ask yourself – what did it cost God?  It cost Him the intimate fellowship with the object of His love.  (And we think “Titanic” or “Casablanca” are sad love stories.)

Now, this is where the shift begins.  Jesus came to save mankind, NOT so that God would have an army of servants to do His will (He already has the angels who do a much better job of that), but to get His children… His kids… to get you back.

So ask yourself – if you are God’s arch-enemy and you weren’t able to destroy what He loves most forever – what is the next best thing you can do?  Keep them apart!  How?  By lying to them.  By making them believe they have to earn what God has freely given.  By getting them to focus on their flaws and weaknesses instead of on their Father God who loves them and longs for their company.

There is so much more I would like to say, but I have to go now.  I would love to talk about this more with anyone who is interested, but for now I leave you with this.  God loves you!  He loves you because He created you – uniquely, individually, in His image.  He loves you because you are His.  I pray that you would take some time and ask Him to show you… to prove it to you.  He will! 


God bless you all!  I love Thanksgiving! If there is anyone out there who has no one to share this day of thankfulness and joy, this is your invitation to join the Riddells. We would love to have you. Our home is open all day, 117 Eastview Drive, Coventry, (860)742-0254.  Shalom and Agape!