For those of you who might need help, I found instructions on a website (Wikihow). These instructions do not seem helpful to me, but they are amusing:
you are going camping, bring a tent or other suitable shelter with you. Don't rely on nature to provide shelter materials, because it is far too likely that you will not find suitable materials. [really?]
If you are of shorter stature, it may be helpful for a taller person to help you put the tent cover on. While it is possible to put it on yourself, it may cause quite a struggle. Most tents are designed for two people anyway.
careful where you set up camp. An area that looks like a good camping spot to you may be a wild animal's territory.
If young children are staying in the tent with you, make sure they know how to behave in a tent. Excessive horseplay in a tent can cause it to fall over.
Make sure you don't pitch your tent on a hill or muddy/soft surfaces, your tent will not be stable if you do.
Now the instructions:
1. Take the unassembled tent out of the package. The tent will likely consist of poles and a large, tarp-like sheet of cloth or plastic. Look at the instructions and ensure that you have all necessary parts.
2. Put the poles together to make the frame of the tent. Even if you hate reading directions, at least take a look at them so you know what shape the tent is supposed to be.
3. Once the frame is put together, put the cover on it. If you assembled the frame correctly, the cover should go right on with little struggling.
4. It's a different story if you don't have a store bought tent; if you don't, it will be very difficult to fabricate a tent. Since it would be nearly impossible to make a strong, suitable frame out of things you find (like sticks), it may be better to find shelter in a cave, under trees or a rock formation, or in your car (if it's with you).
Jesus says in Mathew 16:18: “I will build my church.” Sometimes we look in at the church and we wonder what in the world is God doing? The church looks like a jumbled mess of rain fly, poles, tarp, uncertain of what shape its supposed to be, needing a taller person to get the tent over the pole, and lets make sure the children all know how to behave properly, because if you horseplay too much it just might fall over…and sometimes it seems like the whole structure is on a slope, about ready to fall over, and how can we possibly make it. some people try to scrap the store bought model and just use sticks and twigs and nature, and you know what, maybe it would be easier if we just forget the whole thing and sleep in the car.
Jesus says, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it.”
The Church: Some Assembly is Required. God does the assembling! I believe in the church, the gathering of God’s people.
John 17 is one of the great chapters in which Jesus talks about assembling people together, a vision for Christian unity. (John 17 is nicknamed the high priestly prayer because Jesus is representing we, his people, to God.) Jesus cares about each one of us individually, but he also came to establish a new society on earth: the church.
God assembles four components to build his church: Filled with Joy, Guided by the Word, United in Love, Amazed by God’s Glory.
Joy…Filled with the joy of God. “the full measure of my joy within them” (John 17:13). The church is to be filled with a remarkable quality of joy, even in the midst of the fiercest trials. Richard Wurmbrand (Voice of the Martyrs), tortured for his faith in Christ, fourteen years in communist prisons, said, “alone in my cell, cold, hungry and in rags, I danced for joy every night…Sometimes I was so filled with joy that I would burst if I did not give it expression.” Christians have been know for joy down through the ages.
In a world of uncertainty, nervousness, and hopelessness, Spirit-filled Christians are given a radiant mark of joy. Being a Christian is no guarantee that life will be easy, just the opposite, in John 17 Jesus says we will be hated by the world and tempted by the evil one. Joy is not in response to the present circumstances, but rather in response to what the Lord has done for us through Christ Jesus. If we get to caught up in trying to solve the problems of people around us, or even our own problems, we’ll become overwhelmed, and discouraged. So we focus on the Lord and what he has done. To be filled with joy is one of the great gifts from the Lord, a mark of the Church as he assembles his people. A spirit filled joy of God.
The Word…. Guided by the Word of God. John 17:14 says, “I have given them your word.” What’s the first line of our churches mission statement when you enter the doors? “Rooted in the Word” “They have kept your word…Sanctify them in the truth… your word is truth.” I have given them your word. God’s word is a sacred deposit that has been entrusted to the church for safe-keeping. An amazing treasure. I used to clean up the ball park after a game, my father made me help. One of my motivations was to find the occasional dollar, a quarter perhaps under the old stands. Once I found a five dollar bill. The Word of God, the Bible, is a treasure entrusted to the church.
I am proud of this church, because we have always valued the Bible. Maybe our understanding has been imperfect, yet the Word has guided the saints of old, the word has kept us focused on truth. To keep going back to God’s word, God’s guidance, rather than getting off on the unimportant. In the book of Timothy is says it this way, “Follow the patterns of the sound words you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus, guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us.” The word of God is what guides us. How easy it would be to get off on the unimportant. One of the Covington principles of leadership, which seems so simple, endures, because it is profound: “Keep the main thing the main thing.” When we make that which is secondary the main thing, we are no longer guided by the Word. Sometimes a secondary issue might have great appeal and even a very good work, but it is not the main thing. For example, one of my personal temptations in this day in the place in the city of Sumas is to make social work the main thing. That would be wrong. The Clothesline is not primarily about giving away clothing, lots of organizations do that, and do a marvelous work, but it is about doing it in the Name of Christ and the relationships that are formed. We want the transformation of people to find peace and hope and kind word. Seeds of Hope is not primarily about food, it is about the Word of God, the message of salvation, the hope of Christ, the Joy of the Lord.
We, the church, must continuously listen carefully to what God is saying. The Church that is alive, and relevant for today’s world will always be prophetic, speaking the word of God into people’s lives. Guided by the word of God is one of the pieces of the church God assembles.
Love of God…Four times in John 17 Jesus prays his followers might be united in Love. (see John 17:23. The heart of the gospel message is that through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, all barriers are down. We all have access to God. We are all one before Christ. Take the pastor, (please) I am not more important than anyone. I am only more visible to many people in the community and have a different role, but not more important. We are all one, united by Christ. The question is simple: how can we preach a message of love, acceptance and forgiveness, unless we are assembled in love. “They will know we are Christians by our love” is a favorite song of many for a reason. Love is a distinguishing mark. Through-out the Bible, a lot of ink is spilled as believers are urged to get their relationships sorted out, to get along with each other, to love each other. “Above all these things,” Paul wrote to the church at Colossae, “put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” The character of the Christian Church is to be marked by love.
Glory…(17:24) It is a lot of fun listening to the people of SACC tell incredible stories of God at work among us and in our community. Even yesterday at the rummage sale for the clothesline the most amazing things happened with people blessing each other and how quickly and smoothly the clean up took. It was like God was among us. In our midst we are seeing lives transformed, celebrations, comfort for the weary. The way money works out so frequently is amazing. The amount of stuff the Lord accomplishes in our community is incredible. To recognize God’s hand in what happens is to give him glory.
We have a need to be amazed by that which is bigger than us, astounds us. I have this theory that as the Lord gets hold of us, as we grow in our faith, we learn what it means to become more an more human. The Lord created us with the capacity for all emotions. And one of the greatest of all: the capacity to be amazed.
What amazes you? A newborn baby, the fingers, the toes. We have a need as humans to be amazed by that which is bigger than us. That which we cannot fathom. A flower is amazing. The wind. Love.
The Glory of the Lord, the amazing awesome glory of God is a sacred canopy over all of life, for those who have eyes to see: Is. 6:3: And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."
Recognizing the glory of the Lord, his sacred character, his awesome power, puts into perspective who we are, his creation: Ez. 1:28: Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.
The Church, some assembly is required. I am old enough that in the past I tried too hard to put together the perfect church, to read the latest books, to bring the right pieces together. I am not very good at it. I even read the instructions once in how to put together a tent, I saw the picture, and I still could not get it right. God is the master builder. The one who knows how to construct his church. When he brings together a people filled with Joy, guided by the word, united by love, and amazed by Glory, what an incredible gathering, what an amazing experience, what a marvelous church. Some assembly is required: filled with joy, guided by the Word, united in love, amazed by the Glory of God. Amen.