Wednesday, April 27, 2011

OnFire #257 Things We Assume Work

OnFire Encouragement Letter

OnFire #257 Things We Assume Work

Hi folks:

What a full few weeks it has been leading up to Easter. Our senior pastor has resigned, effective in June, and so we are going through pastoral transition. I will remain in family ministries to maintain stability for a future senior pastor. We have an interim pastor coming in.

Jan and Mark went to Dallas for the World Sport Stacking Championships. Mark had second, third, and fourth place finishes in individual events in the 15-year-old category. Team Canada won three bronze medals. His picture appeared in the paper at this site:

Jan had her surgery for carpal tunnel last week. She is getting by on regular acetaminophen and is already feeling some relief. It will take about 6 weeks to recover from the surgery, and then there will be therapy. At some point in the future she will have the other hand done also.

You will remember that Jan’s brother, Bruce, died suddenly in January. We will have the memorial service this Saturday in Saint John. Please include Jan’s family in your prayers since this opens up their wound once again.

Blessings for your week.

While on vacation a couple of weeks ago, I started to repair a section of ceiling which was damaged by a leak in our bathroom. As I pealed away the blistered paint and applied new drywall compound, I was perplexed to find that one section wouldn’t dry. Since the original damage happened two or three years ago, it didn’t make sense that it would still be wet, so I went looking for the problem. As I opened up the access hatch to our bathroom plumbing, there it was: a small drip in the shower diverter.

As I drive around our city, I can see the evidence of a long, hard winter. Our neighbour replaced his wind-damaged roof last week. A barn near our house collapsed under the weight of so much snow. A steel shed from one of those do-it-yourself kits looks like a giant smacked it from above. The top was flat and the sides bulged round.

We never think about our plumbing until we find a leak. We never think about the roof over our head until it stops doing its job. Integrity is a quality no one notices until it is missing.

This seems to be true in people as it is in buildings. We never think about integrity until there is a problem. We assume people around us act in good faith and, in fact, we count on it. Every time we pay a cashier, swipe a card, sign a contract, leave our car with a mechanic, hire a tradesman, invite a guest into our home, or drop off the children to a program, we trust that the people involved are honourable. That’s why we feel betrayed when we discover that integrity has broken down.

Integrity was the issue for Barnabas and Saul when it came time to deliver a gift to the believers in Jerusalem. A prophet by the name of Agabus predicted there would be a severe famine and so the Christians in Antioch decided to send money to their brothers in Judea. Acts 11:30 records simply, “This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.”*

This seems to be another one of those insignificant verses we pass over on the way to some deeper insight, but we should not miss the fundamental issue of character. They had earned the trust required to deliver this money and they did not disappoint. How refreshing it is when we find people who are absolutely trustworthy.

Integrity is about what we do when we think on one is paying attention. What will we do when we think we won’t be caught? What will we buy? How will we spend our time? Where will we go? How will we treat people? Can people trust us to do the right thing? Can they count on us to avoid doing the wrong thing?

Barnabas reminds us that integrity needs to be our centre, our basic operating principle. I hope this helps. Be on fire.


OnFire is a weekly letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis. Troy is the Pastor of Family Ministries at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. This letter published April 26, 2011. *Scripture taken from the New International Version. To subscribe or reply, email Archives are located at Blog located at

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