Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NRSV)

In Gordon MacDonald's book, FORGING A REAL WORLD FAITH, he tells about a dramatic episode that he witnessed one time when he was sitting on the balcony of his apartment in New York, gazing out at the river with his binoculars. His attention was drawn away from the river by the sight of a green van with engine trouble pulling off to the side of the road. The van was at least an hour's drive from MacDonald's apartment, so he knew he couldn't do much to help the unfortunate driver. To MacDonald's surprise, the van driver just walked off and left his vehicle.

Every hour or so MacDonald would return to his binoculars to see the green van still parked by the side of the road. The next day, it was still there. At one point when MacDonald was checking out the van, he saw a car pull up behind it. He was relieved that the driver had returned for his vehicle. And then he realized that the man in the car was not the original driver. The newcomer climbed in the van, and 90 seconds later came back out with the van's radio in his hands. Later, MacDonald also saw two men come by and, in a matter of minutes, steal two of the tires off the van. By the next morning, the van was missing one door, its front seat, and one of the windows. Another day passed and the engine was gone. As Gordon MacDonald reflected on this poor van that had once been in good condition, he realized that there was a strong parallel between the stripped-down van and our own sinful world.

Let's do all that is in our power to put God's world back together with the help of Jesus Christ.

God of peace, give me the will and the strength to build up your kingdom. In Jesus name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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