Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Relentless Grace

I am a mess. I am a pastor. Somehow God's relentless grace breaks through and shines glory in the midst of mess. I pray this is profoundly encouraging to you today.

Recently, I made a list of the times I’ve put myself into glorious messes…the list was a lot longer than I’m comfortable talking about outside of my counselors office. Most were so shamefully stupid that I can’t believe that they actually happened to me, let alone I was responsible for them.

One story that is fairly safe to share happened in college, I got busted stealing a mattress. We were living off campus…I didn’t really need a mattress, my friend did, but I had the truck…you can see where this is going.

So I drove him on Pepperdine campus on the first day of school, when everyone was moving into the dorms, mass chaos, freshmen weeping, upperclassmen checking out the new crop of ladies, and we went to a dorm that was the “supply” dorm for the rest of them, where there was a pile of mattresses. My buddy and I went up, grabbed a mattress, and put it in my truck, and drove. Of course we were spotted by the fuzz. Not real cops, mind you, but rentals. They were called campus security…they were packing no heat, but they packed other things walkie talkies, flashlights, donuts, handlebar mustache, fondness for the word negatory.

And they gave chase, full siren, lights flashing, in their golf cart.

I’m flooring it in my 1.5 cilinder Nissan, going upwards of 30, 31 mph, when I realize it’s hopeless. My truck had no guts, I’m hearing sirens from all different directions, and Pepperdine only has two exits which both have gates, and I begin to see the absolute folly of our plans…it might comfort you to hear that I’m no criminal genius.

So I drive into a parking spot, hand my buddy the keys, and then we get out and sit on the ground with our hands on our heads just as 10 public safety vehicles surround us, helicopters, swat team repelling down from the Law School, K9 Units…Pepperdine is a pretty sleepy campus, so this was high drama…you would have thought that plastic mattress was worth its weight in diamond.

Busted. A glorious mess. No way out. I received more community service hours than it is possible for a human being to fulfill. I still head back there on weekends to pick up trash. My kiddos go with me, doing time with daddy.

Here is the good news about Mike Howerton…God didn’t give up on me then, and He didn’t give up on me when I ran my dog over with a snowboard (last week), or when I almost burned down Durango Colorado(it was an honest mistake), or when I did the other knuckleheaded things on my list, and God will never give up on YOU!


No(dot dot)el said...

Nut ugh... your kids go with. No way? Somehow I don't think that's for reals.

Sara said...

I'm almost done with Glorious Mess and I wanted to tell you what divinely inspired timing it has been for me to read it! It's been so encouraging (and funny) to read. Also, I lived in Durango, CO for 6 years - what fire did you start??? Are you talking about the fires of 2002 in the valley???
P.S. I was introduced to the free Kindle download through Amazon from your SIL's blog... I hope it does great, it's a must-read!