The Daffodil Principle

This week’s post is a story by Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards that has a great principle for us all to live by.

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, “Mother, you must come see the daffodils before they are over.” I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. “I will come next Tuesday, “I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call.

 Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and so I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn’s house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren, I said, “Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!”

 My daughter smiled calmly and said, “We drive in this all the time, Mother.”Well, you won’t get me back on the road until it clears, and then I’m heading for home!” I assured her.

 ”I was hoping you’d take me over to the garage to pick up my car.” “How far will we have to drive?” “Just a few blocks,” Carolyn said. “I’ll drive. I’m used to this.”

 After several minutes, I had to ask, “Where are we going? This isn’t the way to the garage!” “We’re going to my garage the long way,” Carolyn smiled, “by way of the daffodils.”

 ”Carolyn,” I said sternly, “please turn around.” “It’s all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience.”

 After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand-lettered sign that read, “Daffodil Garden.” We got out of the car and each took a child’s hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, we turned a corner of the path, and I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight.

 It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns — great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow. Each different colored variety was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue.

 There were five acres of flowers. “But who has done this?” I asked Carolyn. “It’s just one woman,” Carolyn answered. “She lives on the property. That’s her home.” Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory.

 We walked up to the house. On the patio, we saw a poster:

“Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking”

50,000 bulbs.

One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one very little brain.

Began in 1958.

There it was….”The Daffodil Principle.” For me, that moment was a life-changing experience.

 I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun — one bulb at a time — to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain top. Still, just planting one bulb at a time, year after year, had changed the world. This unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. She had created something of ineffable (indescribable) magnificence, beauty, and inspiration.

  The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration. That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time — often just one baby-step at a time –and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time.

 When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world!

 ”It makes me sad in a way,” I admitted to Carolyn. “What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and had worked away at it ‘one bulb at a time’ through all those years. Just think what I might have been able to achieve!

 ”My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. “Start tomorrow,” she said. It’s so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask….How can I put this to use today?

Thanks Mrs. Edwards.

Nothing Like Personal Face to Face Interaction

In a recent conversation a pastor confided that he did not believe in the old school ways of reaching people. His thoughts were, “if we’re going to reach people we need to use the internet, social media, and other technology.” I could not agree more. I personally use three social media interfaces daily, post to this blog site weekly, have a ministry website and am open to other technological communication advances as well. It was the pastor’s next statement that troubled me. He began explaining what he meant by “old school.” The implication was that face to face personal interaction was no longer relevant. “People don’t want that anymore,” he stated.

While I absolutely agree that we must use the technological advances God has blessed us with to reach out to and connect with society today, I also know that nothing will ever replace the impact and dynamics of personal face to face interaction. I did not say “I believe…” my statement is that “I know...” Studies have shown for years the level of emotional, perceptive, and cerebral impact on individuals. In person, face to face interaction has always placed strides above and beyond even a personal phone call. Written notifications are even less impactful.

God placed within each of us a desire to have relationships with others as well as Himself. Relationships require interaction. The innate desire God placed within you to interact with others is fueled by emotional response. While a card, letter, phone call, text, or social media post can elicit a degree of emotional connection, none can compare to the emotional connection as delivering the same message face to face in person.

Just this morning in our staff meeting, without prompting, two staff members shared of the joy they each experienced in making an unplanned visit to church member families. I loved sitting in that meeting and listening to these two as they shared their stories with joy and excitement. One even stated that he felt a little embarrassed being so blessed when he made his visit to encourage the family.

Only a few (4-6) short miles from the church of the pastor mentioned above, is a church who had not reached out to their community in twenty years. Two years ago they decided to change that and began doing what this other pastor (and others) say people do not want today. This church is reaching people for Christ and have been welcomed by the community. There are at least six souls, that I know of, who are now eternally grateful for the church who once again decided they needed to personally interact with the surrounding community.

Yes, we should use social media, texting, e-mail, video chats, and other means of technology to reach out and connect with the world. No other generation has ever had such availability to mass communication and if we, as individuals and organizations, do not take advantage of it we will die on the vine and become extinct as the dinosaurs and many cultures who have gone before us. However, we cannot depend on these to the exclusion of God’s greatest gift to us in communing with others – the personal face to face interaction with others.

Please church, be the church. Use all the resources God has placed at your disposal, and most of all do not forget the one He gave us to make the greatest impact on those around us. Let us encourage one another to be intentional about sharing of Christ with others in the most personal of ways.

Get Excited, Do Something Useful!

The following is based on a story I shared in my message at church on Sunday. It has perhaps several learning points for each of us. But the one that stands out to me is that people get excited about using their gifts and talents for God.

People get excited about using what God has given them for ministry.

A couple of churches I’ve served in engaged in a move to lay ministry mobilization – helping our members to realize their potential for ministry. At one church we mailed ministry opportunity packets to every member household. Included in the packet was a ministry opportunity booklet, a Ministry Opportunities card (for each adult) and a letter from me describing the packet and the reason behind it.

On the Ministry Opportunity card was printed every ministry opportunity available in and through the church for our members. We listed everything from Sunday School teachers in every age group, to set up, clean up for special events, even cleaning restrooms and emptying trash. In all there were listed 212 opportunities for our members to be involved in serving others in and through the ministries of our church. Yes, several of these included local community ministry opportunities outside the church. Each ministry opportunity on the card had a number (1-212) beside it and a check box.

The accompanying booklet had all Ministry opportunities listed in the same order with a two sentence description listed beside the corresponding number and title. We mailed the packet out so everyone would receive it ten days in advance of our “ingathering service.”

Then we held a service one Sunday and invited all members to bring their cards filled out and to lay them on the altar during the invitation. The Sunday after the packets were mailed (one week prior to the ingathering service) one lady came running across the parking lot in a dress and heels calling my name excitedly. When she got to where my wife and I were standing, she grabbed my wrists with her hands excited and said, Bro. George, You mean I can serve God by cleaning bath rooms?”

This lady had recently entered into a personal relationship with God. Without a formal degree or high school diploma and little knowledge of serving, she was excited that she could use her talents to serve God by cleaning the church bathrooms and also cleaning the bathrooms on her job in the public school system. People get excited about using their abilities and talents for Jesus. What about you? What gifts, talents, abilities, and resources has God given you? God has given you a mix that only you can give back to Him. You give it back by serving others. And each one of us has a special calling to serve God through serving others.

For more on this topic contact George Yates and visit SonC.A.R.E. Ministries.

The Man Who Can Never Die in Battle

As we have just experienced another Independence Day perhaps you, like I, remembered the life threatening decision the signers of the Declaration of Independence accepted by signing that most important document of our American history. Though they could’ve been arrested and killed for treason, God was with them and not one of them lost his life for that reason.

The following is another documented true story of our first President and appeared in American history textbooks in our nation’s schools for almost 150 years, yet disappeared from those text books 50+ years ago along with other stories of Divine protection.

Years before he was our first President, George Washington, was a colonel of the Virginia militia and fought alongside the British troops against the French and American Indians in the French & Indian war.

On July 9, 1755 while marching through a wooded ravine the British and VA militia walked right into an ambush. The French and Indians began firing on them from both sides. In two hours of battle 714 of the 1300 British and American troops had been shot down. Only thirty of the French and Indians had been wounded.

Of the 86 British and American officers in this battle George Washington was the only officer who had not been shot off of his horse, though two horses had been shot from under him. He gathered the remaining troops and led them back to Ft. Cumberland, Maryland.

Upon returning to safety Washington penned a letter to his family. In this letter he stated that after the battle he had taken off his jacket and found four bullet holes through the jacket, however, not one bullet had even grazed him. He openly gave God the credit for sparing his life and protecting him through the battle.

Fifteen years later (1770 a time of peace) George Washington and a close personal friend Dr. James Craig returned to those same woods. An old Indian chief heard that George Washington, the mighty battle leader, was returning to those woods. So the Indian chief traveled a long way to meet him. In a face to face meeting the chief told Washington that he had been a leader of the Indians in that battle.

The Indian chief stated that he had instructed his braves to single out all of the officers and shoot them down, especially the ones on horseback. The chief said that he personally had shot at Washington 17 times without effect. Believing Washington to be under the care of the Great Spirit, the chief told his braves to cease firing at him.

He went on to say, “I have traveled a long and weary path that I might see the young warrior of the great battle. I am come to pay homage to the man who is the particular favorite of heaven, and who can never die in battle.”

You might say the moral of this story is God protects those who trust in Him. In fact God not only protects, but also demonstrates to our enemies His protection. No matter what you face today or this week, trust God. He has everything you need to bring you through all that awaits you.

Seven Questions to Assist Your Church & Personal Life

Seven Questions to Assist Your Church & Personal Life

Our last post pertained to church health and asked the question Is your church a healthy church? Today’s post lists seven questions that church members can answer individually or work together in a corporate setting. These seven questions are not designed to give a complete review or summation of the church’s health or the needs of the church. They are designed to assist church leaders in understanding the spiritual and physical commitment level of church members. The design is also to assist church members individually in assessing their own strengths and commitment level to the church.

The first question is a fairly broad based question. However, each answer given by church members should, and in most cases will, lead to the Great Commission. If you are part of a New Testament, Bible believing church the God-given purpose for your church is to fulfill The Great Commission. How that is accomplished varies according to the strengths and context of each individual church. You should not try to copy what someone else is doing. Instead, capture the principles behind their ministry endeavors. Then you can look to apply your church strengths along with that principle to come up with the ministry endeavor God desires for you. Again, it all leads back to The Great Commission. If any item, event, or article of ministry is not leading us to fulfill The Great Commission, then, in my opinion, we need to seriously look again at why we are undertaking this ministry endeavor.

The second question is a subjective one. It calls on the individual to answer from his or her perspective. A person who has had the church rally around her during a troubling time with a teenage son will likely praise the church and give a high score for question two. On the other hand, a person in the same church who felt abandoned and alone going through a divorce may give the same church a low score. This is the nature of subjective questions. They are based on each respondent’s personal perspective.

The third question is subjective as well. However, this question should be used to spark an objective discussion. When a list is compiled of perceived strengths a discussion can ensue as to whether each of these strengths is being used to fulfill The Great Commission – our purpose. If it is not being used to truly fulfill the Great Commission, can it be used in a way to fulfill The Great Commission?

Question four is both subjective and objective. Each respondent will render an answer based on his or her perspective making it subjective. Each answer must be considered by the body of believers as an opportunity for spiritual growth of the church, making it objective.

The final three questions turn the assessment to a personal level for each person participating. Using the responses of these three questions church leaders can learn the level of commitment, the perceived hurdles of individuals, and areas of needed equipping. Then leaders can begin developing strategies to both strengthen the body and to more effectively fulfill The Great Commission.

Use these questions to facilitate a church strengthening assessment in your congregation. Pray leading up to the assessment, pray as you enter the assessment meeting time and following the session as well. For more on this assessment and to have George Yates administer this for your congregation email me at George Yates and see more resources at SonC.A.R.E. Ministries website.

Your perspective is needed to understand the needs of our church. In all honesty and sincerity answer questions 1-7.

1. In your opinion, what is the purpose of the church? _______________________________________________________________

2. How is our church doing at fulfilling this purpose?

1—2—3—4—5—6—7—8—9—10

3. What are our strengths in fulfilling this purpose?

___________________________________________________________________

4. Where do we need strengthening?

___________________________________________________________________

5. My greatest hurdle in helping the church is…?

_____________________________________________________________

6. To assist me in becoming a fully mature disciple of Christ the church could ________________________________________________________

7. On a scale of 1-10, I am open to growing as a Christian and serving in and through this church?             1—2—3—4—5—6—7—8—9—10

Is Your Church a Healthy Church?

From your perspective, how healthy do you perceive your church to be? To answer this question you must first have a baseline of what constitutes a healthy church. If you attend a Bible believing New Testament church then your baseline is found in the pages of scripture, The New Testament in particular. Researchers tell us today that 80-90% of our churches are either plateaued or declining. Ninety percent (90%) of our churches are not growing. That is a huge statistic that should cause concern in our hearts.

Many people believe the church they attend is fine and healthy. Yet if the above statistic is true then at best only 10% of church goers would be correct in believing their church is okay or healthy. It is extremely likely your church has health issues. I believe the health of a church is demonstrated in at least four areas. I also believe each builds off of the previous. In other words the first one will be evidenced in the lives of church members and each of the following three areas will be outcomes of the previous ones.

The first is spiritual maturation. If you and I (as church members) are growing spiritually both as individuals and corporately as a church body we will experience church health and growth, spiritual maturity. Am I and the people in my congregation farther along in my (our) personal spiritual walk than one year ago? (Do I have a deeper desire for studying God’s Word and serving Him this year?) If I and each one are not committed to individual spiritual growth we cannot expect to grow corporately as a spiritual body.

However, when spiritual growth is being experienced in our lives it will be evidenced in two ways. Our commitment to serving and spiritually sharing with others will always increase. When this happens we will see as a natural (spiritual) outcome, ministry expansion.

Ministry expansion is the second area of demonstrated church health. Too often churches start new ministries not out of the need for ministry expansion due to spiritual maturation, but rather out of hope for success, or a wish to be more spiritual and for greater numbers. In many (most) of these scenarios results are fleeting or obscure.

Ministry expansion as a result of spiritual maturation comes out of a desire or necessity. When we as a church are growing spiritually we realize the need for more, new Bible study units (classes), additional worship services, more true discipleship practice opportunities. There is a need for more due to a longing in the hearts for even deeper and greater spiritual growth; people are serving both in and outside the church presenting the need for expansion of ministry. It is not out of a hope, but rather a passion due to recent spiritual transformation and growth.

With ministry expansion the third demonstration of health always reveals itself. This is Missions Awareness. Missions Awareness happens when people are maturing spiritually and the need for ministry expansion is being met. When these two (spiritual maturity & ministry expansion) are evidenced people will realize and discover the need for reaching more and more people for Christ. In too many churches the stated belief is we should reach others, as long as I’m not asked to get involved. The difference is spiritually maturing believers will have a driving desire to be personally involved in reaching others both in the local community and abroad. Where is the burning passion in your life and in your church?

As your church members reach out and have a burning desire to see others come to faith in Christ, the church will experience the fourth area of result: numerical growth. In my opinion, numerical growth is a by-product of the other three demonstrated areas of results. Unfortunately too many churches attempt to by-pass the necessity of order in this process. Most churches attempt to go for the numbers first. “We’ve got to get more people in here.” Declining attendance in the church is not the cause of the state of health in our churches today. It is only a symptom. We must stop treating the symptoms of church decline and poor health and learn to treat the cause.

When we fail to put the spiritual part first, everything else we do is in vain.

For more on this topic contact George Yates and purchase your copy of Reaching the Summit.

Marine at the Bedside of a Dying Father – Just Be There

A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside. “Your son is here,” she said to the old man. She had to repeat the words several times before the patient’s eyes opened.

Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he… dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand. The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man’s limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.

The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed. All through the night the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man’s hand and offering him words of love and strength. Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile. He refused.

Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital – the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients. Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night.

Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited.

Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her, “Who was that man?” he asked.

The nurse was startled, “He was your father,” she answered.

“No, he wasn’t,” the Marine replied. “I never saw him before in my life.”

“Then why didn’t you say something when I took you to him?”

“I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn’t here. When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed.

To what length would you go to show compassion to another person whom you do not know. Do  you have the depth pf compassion of this young Marine? Would you stay through the night, keeping vigil, holding onto the hand of an elderly gentleman, a person whom you did not know and had never met?

God places people in your life for a reason. He calls us to show love and compassion to those He places in our path each day.

When the nurse asked the Marine, “Then why didn’t you say something when I took you to him?” The Marine replied,

“I came here tonight to find a Mr. William Grey. His Son was killed in Iraq today, and I was sent to inform him. What was this Gentleman’s Name? “

The nurse with tears in her eyes answered, “Mr. William Grey………”

The next time someone needs you … just be there.

How has God blessed you recently? Let me know. Contact George Yates and visit SonC.A.R.E. Ministries.

Walter Hagan and Paper Bag Decisions

Walter Hagen was a professional golfer in the 1920’s and 30’s. His name and character were featured in a movie that I enjoy, The Legend of Bagger Vance. One interesting story told about Walter Hagen; One of his approach shots had landed in a paper bag that had blown into a bunker. He called for a ruling and was told that he would not be able to take a free drop. Therefore, his options were to either remove the ball from the bag and take a one stroke penalty or play it as it lay with the ball inside of the bag. Hagen considered his options. He did not want to take the penalty stroke and did not consider it fair to have to hit a golf ball inside a bag. So, he calmly lit a cigarette (which was not unusual), took a few drags off the cigarette, and then dropped the cigarette onto the bag, setting it on fire. Moments later, with the paper bag now gone, he hit the ball onto the green and made his putt for a routine par. I do not know if that story is true but it is a reminder that we should always consider our options before making decisions.

The Bible gives great insight into how to make decisions in life in a way that will honor the Lord. Prayer is always your rightful beginning point. Prayer is communing with God (carrying on a conversation as with a friend). Fervent, heartfelt prayer is not only a beginning point, it is THE beginning point for gaining solid godly advice needed in good or great decision making. In addition, below are two passages of advice from scripture, God’s Holy Word.

Look at all of the options in every situation. A good decision is always predicated by being informed. A great decision is predicated in understanding all of the options. Most decisions are made in life (personal and business) without giving consideration to all the available options. And in most cases you need the advice of others to help as one person can seldom (if ever) think of all the various options. This is why team decision making is crucial in great decision making. Perhaps the greatest difference in becoming successful people, organizations, and businesses is the use of others in the process of decision making.

Psalm 119:105 says “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” (HCSB) The Bible truly has solid structured advice for any situation you may face today. If I want to master a new computer software or program, I read, study, and practice what I have learned to become efficient at it. When learning to operate a new piece of equipment or appliance, I read and study the how to portion of the manual and put what I have read into practice, to become efficient and to master the use of the new device. The more we read and study the advice found in scripture, the more equipped we become in making not only good, but great decisions.

Seek the wisdom of godly people. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail where there is no counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.” (HCSB) Too often we buy into the philosophy that if we cannot find the proper solution and “fix it” ourselves we are weak. The opposite is true. There is great wisdom in counsel. Truly successful people build relationships and seek the advice of others they know and trust. Seek the wisdom of godly people that you trust.

Understand that you will make mistakes in life. When we falter and make a mistake we should seek the Lord asking for His grace in helping us to change. When we succeed we should with gratefulness give God the praise.

There are many more passages in the Bible to assist you in making healthy, godly, wise decisions. What scripture passages can you find or do you use on a regular basis? Tell me at mailto:glyates@soncare.net.

Are You Ready for a Turnaround Journey?

People are talking about Turnaround Journey. Some are reading it and sending me comments. Others have found out about it and ordering a copy to read. Still others are hearing about it and asking questions, good questions. Below are comments from a Turnaround Journey retreat I conducted recently. These comments were sent to me within the past couple of weeks, two to four weeks following the retreat. But first, let me give a little insight to Turnaround Journey.

Turnaround Journey is the story of a church that realized it was not being all it could be and was not growing. In the story you follow along as church leaders discover a simple process to follow bringing focus, clarity, and intentional execution of ministries leading to effective progress, spiritual maturation, inclusion, and greater all around health. Once learned, the process can be repeated year after year bringing renewed focus and clarity to the immediate needs for the current (upcoming) year.

The process uses a metaphorical look of taking a family journey in your car. The steps you use in planning and driving the journey are mirrored for the Turnaround Journey for your church or other organization. In fact the principles and steps could be used in your personal life. (Hmm! Could be another book in the making.) Are you ready for a turnaround journey? But for now rejoice with me as you read what God is doing through Turnaround Journey as you read these comments.

The following are some comments following a recent Turnaround Journey retreat. To find out how your church or organization can experience the same type of retreat contact George Yates at glyates@soncare.net or 859-481-2450.

Thank you for the follow-up.  We have started implementing some of the tools you introduced us to.  The staff is now doing 2 minute reviews and are beginning to see the benefits of knowing what others are doing.  Also, we introduced to our leadership team the Elder Ministry Partnership, OG  (Overarching Goal) and church’s vision.  It was received well by the team…

The retreat was beneficial because you guided without taking over. You allowed us to work through what was important to us, but knew when to engage if we were veering too far off.  I believe you assisted us in revealing what God wanted us to be aware of…The retreat not only identified the issue, but gave us a system to address it. Nathan Howard, Executive Pastor/Elder, Progressive Community Church, Stockton, CA

It was my first such retreat; and, I believe that I grew immensely. I learned that you can’t leave the growth of God’s church to happen-stance. It must be intentional or the church dies. I also picked up quite a few tools to help direct me and Progressive down that path. I thank God for men like you, who have the gift of focus. It is men like you that keep us targeted and on the right path. Alex Early Jr., Elder

I was so blessed and encouraged by what I heard and learned during the retreat. One of the principles that stood out for me was; that as a leader, I shouldn’t always supply the answer to a question or situation that may arise. It’s important for my team to think, discuss and talk through the situation, and hopefully come up with an answer or resolve the situation. I have actually put that principle into practice since the retreat and it’s worked well. Elder Mack Myles

Thank you so much for your time and efforts in helping us reach our O.G. as a church. One thing that stuck out for  me during the retreat was the obvious difference between a coach and a consultant. A consultant may have felt the need to solve our problem(s) for us, but you, as our coach, guided us into solving our own problem(s). We came up with a process where we can take full ownership. I felt like you were a part of us, working with us to achieve a God driven process. Thank you so much for your help and I hope we get an opportunity to work together again.  Elder Isom Harrison

To find out more about Turnaround Journey and to read more comments visit Turnaround Journey and contact George Yates for information about your church or organization’s Turnaround Journey retreat and other speaking opportunities.

To order your copy of Turnaround Journey click here.

Pallets Re-birthed

In the United States, businesses use millions of wood pallets each year to haul products. After a pallet has borne heavy, sometimes crushing weights and taken abuse from truck travel and forklifts, eventually it can no longer be used.

Now cracked and smashed, or loose and floppy, pallets are something businesses must pay other companies up to five dollars per pallet to dispose of. Disposal companies burn the pallets, chew them into wood chips, or dump them in landfills.

One nonprofit company in New York had a better idea, writes Andrew Revkin in the New York Times. Big City Forest in South Bronx takes other companies’ junk and turns it into treasure. The raw material of pallets is valuable hardwoods like rosewood, cherry, oak, mahogany, and maple.

Big City Forest workers dismantle the pallets, salvage the usable wood, and recycle it into furniture and flooring. Recycled wood chips are worth only $30 a ton. But when used as flooring the value of the recycled wood is $1,200 a ton, and as furniture $6,000 a ton.

If that is what can be done with lifeless wood, how much more can people be restored to lives of value. Like Big City Forest, God is in the business of restoration. He takes people that seem worthless, people broken by the weight of sin, and transforms them into works of beauty and usefulness.

Once we are forgiven and have peace and pardon from God we can have a brand new purpose in life. Have you recognized your God-given purpose in life? It will coincide with the truth found in his word, The Holy Bible.