The Beauty of Restoration
by Todd Williams, pastor and owner of rare 1962 Glastron Saberflite
What is it that attracts grown men (and some women) to old beat up boats? What possesses some of us to wander through boat yards looking longingly at faded, forgotten, wrecks that have long left behind their glory days of splashing across the water with smiling passengers on-board?
What is it that makes us pour endless hours into these old heaps of fiberglass and plywood, sanding and sawing, rewiring and re-fitting, painting and polishing, and fixing and fastening? Well, for some of us, it’s nostalgia – some us just want to return - return to simpler happier days. We’re trying to relive memories of glorious days in the sun, on the water, with family, loved ones and friends. We want to get some of that back, so we buy an old boat and begin to restore her, hoping to regain what was lost over time and in living in this hectic upside down world in which we try to exist.
For me, sure, I have fond memories of zipping around in a 60’s fiberglass boat with Dad at the helm, his shirt off and a Miller in his hand - and mom with her sunglasses on an her hair up in a pony tail, with the smell of Coppertone, wonderfully joining in with the aroma of the gas/oil mix of the outboard exhaust and the hint of mildew wafting up off of my orange life preserver tied tightly under my neck. Memories of learning to water ski, of catching fish with my Dad, of rafting up with friends for picnic lunches, or traveling by boat to a restaurant, or a beach or some special destination.
Those times were wonderful, but what really interests me about these old boats goes much deeper than trying to return to the innocence of my youth and recapturing some fond memories of days gone by. When I look at these old boats I see potential – I see what ought to be – immediately my heart forces my mind into gear and I begin to think of all the improvements that could be made to return that beat up old boat to better than new condition.
If you’re anything like me, I tend to be less than practical in my estimation of the time and resources it would take to actually do the job. I just dream about what could be, and as I run my hands across the bow of the boat, I almost whisper – “Do you want a new life?”
That same interest I have in old boats
and old cars and old all-sorts-of-things, really, is part of my persona,
it flows from my desire to help put things back to their intended condition.
There’s a great sense of pride when you look at before and after pictures,
and you realize you were part of the redemption of a project. Your
time and effort and hard work produces visible and lasting results.
You brought new life to something that was dying a slow death neglected
and rejected by someone else. I like that.
My hobbies tend to be in the area of the restoration of old things, my job is one of restoration as well. I’m a minister. (Kind of like the guy on Seventh Heaven.) My job is to help people find a new life and help them to grow to reach their intended potential. I see potential in broken and hurting people. I see beyond the obvious mess of their lives an I see the glorious luster of what God had made them to be. I see the answer to problems that are eating away at people’s souls, and I work at helping them to find the steps to restoration.
The funny thing is, some of the people most in need of my help are those who at first, seem to have everything going for them. They may be bright and beautiful on the outside, successful and popular in everyone else’s esteem, but there’s something missing. And when they’re honest enough to look at themselves deeply, they know it.
Have you ever sensed that sort of thing? Have you every thought that something was missing in your life? Something important, but you didn’t know what.
The Popular artist, Billy Joel, has a handful
of songs that get at the heart of this longing. Piano Man for one.
Italian Restaurant for another, but the most insightful of all his lyrics
comes from the album (read CD, all you youngsters) River of Dreams.
The title cut (Track 8) goes something like this:
In the middle of the night – I go walking in my sleep; from the mountains of faith to the river so deep, I must be looking for something, something sacred I lost, but the river is wide and too hard to cross… I try to cross to the other side to finally find what I’ve been looking for. I’m searching for something taken out of my soul, something I’d never lose, something somebody stole. I don’t know why I’ve been walking at night, but now I ‘m tired and don’t want to walk anymore… hope’n it won’t take the rest of my life to finally find what I’ve been looking for…
What is it that we’re looking for? What are you looking for? Maybe it’s a new life. A life made new by the presence of God in our lives. God is more than just somebody vague that we pray to once or twice a year when things get tough, more than just an abstract thought that we hear mentioned when we are in church (if we go to church or any other house of worship), and certainly more than a modifier to an explitive when we drop a hammer on our toe. God is real. He is the creator of all things and God created us to seek him.
God has made a longing in each of us that can only be satisfied when we come to Him in a personal way and he fills our life with his presence. God comes to us with real power and He gives us real meaning in our lives and brings real fulfillment and contentment. Has that kind of peace and contentment and fulfillment eluded you? If you’ve been looking for something to bring meaning to your life, then I think its time you hear this:
God, out of his great love for us has made a way for us to return to Him (“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. John 3:16,17).
He has provided a way for us to have a new and more enjoyable life. He has counted the cost, looked at our present state and with the master appraisers’ eye to our condition paid the full cost for our restoration, by sending his only Son, Jesus Christ to live and die for us, to bring us what our soul has been thirsting for (Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” John 7:38) and give us the life for which we have been searching( Jesus said, “I have come that to bring you life, life that is full and abundant”. John 10:10).
A new life with God as our personal restorer
and captain means a new way of living. We live with new zest, new
courage, and new power that comes from His Holy Spirit that he gives to
us. This new life bears new fruit as we live by the power of the
Holy Spirit (The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Gal 5:22); a change
in us that improves our lives and the lives of those around us. Along
with God in our lives comes God’s power to overcome feelings of loneliness,
stress, fear, and hopelessness. (God is love. Whoever lives in love
lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among
us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this
world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives
out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is
not made perfect in love.We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:17-19).
And power to break previously unbreakable habits like selfishness, depression,
anger, prejudice, lust, overeating, over drinking, and drug abuse.
(Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do
not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers
nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy
nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of
God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified,
you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit
of our God - 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
Todd Williams’ ’62 Saberflite
But why are so many people still searching - but not finding this new life? Why are Billy Joel and all who are humming his tune, wondering if they’ll ever find what they’ve been searching for?
You see, many people are blind to the truth. We ignore or can’t understand what’s right in front of us. Our self-centered disposition disables us from reaching out and asking for a new life. All of us by nature are self-centered and not God-centered. When we fill our lives with our self at the center, there’s no room for God. We fight our insecurities with a sprit of arrogance and independence. The irony is, that we are all dependent upon God for life and health, and good fortune, yet we convince ourselves that we are not, we tell ourselves a lie - a lie that says that looking out for number one and trusting only in ourselves is the key to success, or at least surviving. We start with self interest, which leads to self-trust, which leads to self boasting, which leads to self reliance, which leads to a critical self analysis, which leads to self hating which leads to lonliness and despair. Trust me folks I see it all of the time! Then, when we can’t stand to look honestly at ourselves in the mirror any longer we return to seeking out our own self interest which leads to self trust… and the cycle goes on and on.
But having God in our lives - at
the very center of our being - breaks that cycle. But how do
we get God into our lives? The problem is that we have three major
barriers that separate us from God that must be broken down. First
Barrier - We have a Bad Record (True righteousness comes from God through
faith in Jesus Christ to all who sincerely believe. It doesn’t matter how
good or bad a person is, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory
of God. Romans 3:21-23), A Bad Heart ( Jesus said to them “Are
you so dull? Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside
can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach,
and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”)He
went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’
For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’” Mark 7:18-23), and a Bad Master (Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. John 8:34). It’s like finding an old boat with a bad transom, a bad floor and bad stringers. Three strikes and your out! But instead of rejecting us, and looking for an easier project, God declares he will fix us, and pour his life into us. The question is, will you be fixed? Will you let God in to do his work?
Is your self reliance so great that you’re willing to live a dry, broken down, unsatisfied life filled with anger, guilt and fear, depression, cynicism, and critical feelings for yourself and others? Are you content with a life that’s not all it’s cracked up to be, living in an decaying body that destined to wear out and eventually die, only then to find that you still will be missing that peace with God? Do you want to find that at the end of your life that you are separated from God for all eternity, suffering great pains of conscience and soul, with an elusive, ever-increasing thirst for peace as your only company.
Or will you take a step of faith to lay hold of a new life that will bring streams of living water into your soul, peace with God and with yourself, a release from guilt and shame, power over depression, anger, fear and addiction. Do you want to lay hold of the promise of an everlasting life in the presence of God? Then listen to this:
The Great Cost of our Resoration:
God sent his Son Jesus who had a perfect life, had a perfect heart, and followed his Father’s commands perfectly. God will take that perfect record and exchange it for your faulty record. (But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1: 7-9), Our standing before God is not based on our good things but that we are by faith “In Christ” – or that his righteousness becomes ours (It is because of God’s grace that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”1 Corinthians 1:30, 31).
And not only is Christ’s perfect record
is credited to us, giving us peace with God, but His spirit and his cleansing
completely change our lives for the better as well - I will sprinkle clean
water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities
and from all your sins. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit
in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart
of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees
and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:25-27). The three barriers
are removed - our Bad record, bad heart, and bad master are replaced
with Christ’s perfect record, a new heart filled with God’s holy spirit,
and a new Master – Christ Jesus as our Lord.
You need to make sure of where you stand with God. Are you a helpless project in need of restoration? Are you trying to fix yourself ? You will either have a new life with God’s help or be dead in your self-centeredness! (As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world…But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our sinful ways—For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. - Eph 2:1,2,4,5,8,9,10)
The most amazing thing is, that all of this is a free gift from God, if we will just receive it by faith! (For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 6:23). It’s as if the original maker and designer of that broken down old boat would come to you and offer, free of charge, to restore it to it’s original beauty! Are you ready for a new life? Are you ready for God to fill your life with his power and presence and bring you peace and contentment? If so, then just follow these simple steps:
Are you ready for that new life?
Then take look at life life your living now. What do you see?
Are you disappointed? Do you feel an emptiness? Do you see
areas where you have failed? Are saddened by your selfishness?
Do you see the negative effects of sin in your life? In Sorrow over
these things turn away from the sins and shameful things in your past and
turn to God for forgiveness and the promise of a new and better life.
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon you. Isaiah 55:1,2,7
To have that new life, you must live by
faith, and trust in the perfect life of Christ as your
only standing before God. (Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved! Acts 16:31. And: The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Romans 10:8-11)
Once restored you should be filled with remorseful repentance over faults and failures , but a remorse that isn’t a work of goodness, but a sorrow that’s genuine, and is mixed with joy, knowing that no matter how bad we fail, no matter how much we fall short, We are still loved. Once God begins his restoration, no matter what damage occurs to us after he’s taken us on, he will loving repair that damage and will never discard us.
Trust in God. Trust in His Son, whose
perfect life can be credited to you and whose perfect death can remove
the guilt of any and all of your sins. On the cross Jesus suffered
all the torments of hell and endured the full wrath of god that should
have been our destiny if we had continued in our selfish Godless condition.
Jesus was legally condemned by God and, we, who receive this loving exchange,
are declared legally righteous and cleansed from our sins. Jesus
removes the barriers of a bad record, bad heart and bad master, and opens
up God’s grace to us to let our prayers pass freely to our heavenly Father
and let his richest blessing fall down upon us.
Tom Goetsch’s ’58 Surflite
Risen from the dead, Jesus lives to give you a new record, a new heart, a new life! Rest on him, and trust in him alone as your savior, and you will have a new life now and the promise of a heavenly home for all eternity.
If you’d like a new life without delay, then pray this prayer:
Plain and simply, I am a sinner and I have loved myself, and other things more than I have loved you. Please forgive me, for I know that all my sins, have been an offense to you. I abandon my wicked attitude of independent self- centeredness, I promise to turn from my sins and trust that you will erase my bad record and credit Jesus’ perfect record to my account, and that his perfect death will cleanse me and wash away all of my sins. I trust in Jesus as my Savior and Lord and believe that you will give me a new life that is centered around you! I give my life to you Father, God, and trust that you will give me a new life, filled with your Holy Spirit through Jesus my Lord. Amen.
If you prayed this prayer, or one like it, with a sincere heart, you already have a new life. One that will be filled with greater joy and contentment than you ever thought was possible. You still will have doubts, and struggles, and difficulties to face, but now you have God as your Father on your side to overcome them, Jesus as your advocate and the Holy Spirit to encourage you and fill you with power and joy.
Keeping in touch:
If you prayed this prayer and have just now committed your life to God through Christ then let others know! I’d love to hear about it - you can e-mail me at: email@example.com . I know Todd Kimball, president of the CGOA, would love to hear news of your new- found faith as well.
But most importantly, keep in touch with God by praying to him every day, several times a day. Prayer is simply talking to God. Keep doing whenever you have needs or fears or great joys and triumphs. As you pray, thank God for the blessings in your life. Praise God for his goodness and kindness to you. Confess your sins daily to God, and ask for help for you and others.
Growing in your New Life
Read God’s Word. Start with the book of John. Study it every day. Read one chapter of the book of Proverbs each day. Ask the Lord to give you insight and direction. Get involved with others who read the bible and encourage each other with the things you have learned. Take classes from learned individuals who can show you some of the deep truths of the faith so that your knowledge of God and his goodness to you will always be increasing.
Being part of a family of faith is part of this new life. Find a church that teaches directly from God’s word, that worships joyfully, that prays faithfully for you and others, and most of all a church where Christ is exalted and honored as Lord and Savior. Lifting up praise to God in the midst of others who love you and love god is one of the greatest joys in this life.
Be a witness in defense of God’s goodness by testifying to others about what God has done for you. Share with your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers and tell these people what you have learned, and lead them to the one who can give them a new life as well! Be gracious and understanding if others don’t want to hear what you have to say, but let your obvious change of life testify to your new life and then watch as God works in them to bring to them the joy that you have found in your relationship withy God.
God has restored you, and given you a new life – now go and be about your Father’s business – restoring things that matter – not just boats, (even though it’s a very enjoyable past time) but relationships, and people’s souls – because that, my friends, is what its all about!
Your Friend and Classic Glastron Owner’s Association Member,
Senior Pastor, Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church
Kent Island, Maryland