(Thanks! Photo by Kenneth Schipper Vera on Unsplash)
Happy Hope Sunday!
In the 1990s, I bought a historic home with some investor friends on the courthouse steps for $42,000 cash. I had flipped houses before, but this was our second “Flip” together.
To our horror, we discovered that the previous owners had become ill & spent their last 2 years in hospice. I was sad to hear of the previous owners’ hardship, but that wasn’t the “horror” I am referring to.
The PROBLEM was, they never got rid of their 2 adult pot-bellied pigs before leaving their home.
That’s right. Two adult pot-bellied pigs had free run of a once-beautiful home with hardwood floors, oak millwork, featuring an ornate, 3-story staircase, and leaded glass windows.
About twice a week for those two years, a neighbor came over with fresh food, and to let the pigs out for a little while. Then back in the house, they went. After all, it was winter (or summer) in Kansas City…
I can not make this up. 🙂
After we got the keys, we found that we were up to our ankles in pure pig waste. Wearing air-tight face masks, thigh-high fishing gaiters, and Wellies, we actually washed the inside of a 120-year old, licensed and authenticated, Sears & Roebuck Historic “Craftsman Kit Home” – with a floor-sized squeegee and a power washer.
Trust me… it felt pretty hopeless.
Our original plan was to fix up & re-sell the house within 60 days. Obviously, our cleanup and repair budget swelled up bigger than those (Ahem… now relocated) 400-pound pot-bellied princesses. And so did our timeline.
I love the story now, but wow… it was OUCHY going through it. Now, I affectionately call that flip “the Pig House”. And there’s a handful of you that have heard me tell this story before. Whether it was your first time or a repeat, I hope you enjoyed it.
How did the Pig House turn out?
We estimated clearing about $40,000. As it turned out, we were on the market a full year later, but during that time the historic district the Pig House was located in – appreciated at an astronomical rate! We cleared well over $100,000. in profit. Nice.
In fact, after the mold abatement, and sewage repair… after sanding deep-down into the aged hard oak, and giving the house some new walls, the “Pig House” was stunningly beautiful and sold for the highest sale price of the neighborhood!
Our “worst nightmare” became a great asset.
If you are wondering what kind of message this is, it’s NOT an investment message.
It’s a message about the keeping power of hope, for the 1st Sunday of Advent, HOPE SUNDAY.
First, I knew I wanted to write because you haven’t heard from me in quite some time. It has nothing to do with COVID, but my health prevented me from doing all kinds of things — including writing to you. I apologize I had to drop everything for a while.
In the same way that Perseverance and Hope got me, all of us, to the finish line on the Pig House, Perseverance and Hope helped me to keep putting one foot in front of the other… to get beyond 13 years of chronic illness.
Now, I am overjoyed to be alive, I’m thinking of you, and after last year — I’m especially excited about Christmas.
So whether you’re in church for Advent Sundays, or aware of the “church calendar” at all, I want to bring you some reminders of what a Great Hope we have in Jesus.
The prophet Isaiah looked roughly 720 years into his future and saw the dawning of the Christian Era radiating its light from the distant horizon. That Promise is where Old Testament believers were given new details of God’s plan to bring complete restoration to humankind, to earth, and all creation through Jesus Christ.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us, a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
~Isaiah 9:6 KJV (written 720 years Before Christ)
“On this mountain, the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine — the best of meats and the finest of wines, On this mountain, he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations, he will swallow up death forever.” ~Isaiah 25:6, 7
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. ~ Isaiah 43:19 KJV
In Paul’s letter to all the churches (shared to “Ephesians”) Paul shares his newfound understanding of Isaiah’s word. Paul saw that God’s Ultimate GOAL of HISTORY is to remove all barriers between (God) Himself and all of humanity, all barriers within human relationships and even the barriers we have within ourselves…
“With all wisdom and understanding, he (God) made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment — to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.” ~Ephesians 1:8b – 10
Intimacy with God here and now, reconciled to one another, and destined for Eternal Life in a world that is truly at peace. That’s a great hope! That’s an unbeatable hope. We HAVE what others spent centuries waiting, looking, and longing for. Immanuel has come!
Paul quoted Isaiah 11:10 to the first New Testament believers, in Romans 15: 12, 13 —
“And again, Isaiah says,
“The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him, the Gentiles will hope.”
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
For King and Kingdom!