Pieces of the Puzzle

The world is full of people who will help you manufacture tornadoes to simply blow out a match. Don't overthink things. Give it time, and the pieces of the puzzle will come together.

“Always pray to have - Eyes that see the best in people, A Heart that forgives the worst, A Mind that forgets the bad, and a Soul that never loses Faith in God!”

Puzzles are fascinating!  Scientists and medical researchers have conducted multiple studies that have demonstrated the correlation and connection between the critical thinking/problem-solving skills necessary to assemble various word, number and image puzzles, and “brain health” /cognitive ability as we age. 

I invite you to spend the next few minutes puzzling with me over the importance of puzzles.

The Psalmist writes:

 Psalm 139:14-(NRSV) - I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
    Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.

From the Message Bible: Psalm 18:20-24 - God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, He gave me a fresh start. Now, I am alert to God's ways; I don't take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works; I try not to miss a trick. I feel back together, and I'm watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.  

You need not be puzzled over the vastness of the “puzzle” of life.  When we trust God “the maker of the multi-dimensional, multi-faceted, multi-level puzzle” called life, we can be assured that we are in good hands!  James Peterson’s THE MESSAGE version of Psalm 18:20-24 reminds us that – “God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. 

If we use the metaphor of puzzles to understand ministry, we have a new way of understanding the complexities and combinations of the challenges that ministry presents; we are called to ministry in the midst of life, and life is a giant series of complex puzzles!  If we understand that even though our life might be described as a puzzle, even if we “complete” the puzzle, our life is part of the bigger whole of the great big cosmic puzzle.

The first piece of the puzzle to examine today is an update on the quest to help establish a place in North Rome where families with small children can find affordable childcare.  You may remember that the One Board of Rome First sent a proposal to the Rome Carrollton District Trustees that sought to utilize the education building of the former North Rome UMC.  The good news is after multiple meetings with neighbors, business owners, community partners and other congregations in the area – there is agreement on the need for affordable childcare that emphasizes early childhood education and learning readiness.  The bad news is after a due diligence period and multiple conversations with engineering and construction professionals, it has been determined that the use of the education space at North Rome is “cost prohibitive”.  The good news is through the meetings and conversations with our neighbors in North Rome we have more folks “on board” to help bring the needed resources to the community to meet the need of affordable childcare that emphasizes early childhood development and education with an emphasis on readiness to read. Keep Praying that God will work in a Mighty Way to bring this dream into reality!  God has made all the pieces of this part of the puzzle. We are still working on connecting the pieces and are encouraged that others have joined in the pursuit of providing this valuable and needed ministry/service in our community!

As you may know, the Do Good Shop (another piece of our ministry puzzle!), has been successful and has made the move to Broad Street! We celebrate with Allison Watters and Renee Webb in the growth of this mission-minded, responsibly sourced boutique that seeks to DO GOOD!  With the relocation of the Do Good Shop to 215 Broad Street, the property at 206 East Second Street  was going to be empty, but at almost the same week as the Do Good Shop notified us of their intent to relocate, we had two mission agencies already related to Rome First inquire about the possibility of “renting” space. (Again, the multi-dimensional, multi-faceted moving pieces of the puzzle of life come together in God’s vast eternal plan).  Action Ministries Northwest Regional Office and Murphy-Harpst Development Office will share the space at 206 East Second Street.  Watch for details about an upcoming open house and time of prayer and consecration for the shared ministry space and the endeavors of these missions supported by Rome First.  We have inquiries from additional ministry partners and are actively examining options to house and host those ministry partners on the property of Rome First. (Remember SERVE ROME – and our Vision statement – Serving Rome by Loving and Welcoming all as Partners in Transformation.)

Can you tell by now that I enjoy puzzles?  I enjoy the challenge of putting the pieces of puzzles together. I enjoy solving puzzles and having the pleasure of seeing the bigger picture afterward. I enjoy all kinds of puzzles, especially word puzzles and crossword puzzles.  I enjoy working with others to “put the pieces” together to complete a complex puzzle.  

I believe that life can be the most challenging puzzle we have to “piece together”, together! In life, I have found that even if you can have all the pieces and can see the whole picture, it still takes time and patience to solve it. We feel more at ease in life at times not knowing the whole picture, not knowing the whole level of difficulty or number of pieces that we're missing, but just building up one piece at a time.  

Some people will find comfort in building up the corners and the borders, but very rarely do we venture into the middle of the puzzle. We'd rather work little by little holding on to our safe border and only move towards the center when the pieces are still in touch with our borders. On the other hand, you might be one of those people that jump in the middle and builds on every piece you have in order to get small portions of the bigger picture.  Not having the borders or corners in place might mean that you don't need to know your limits in order to realize that the puzzle will one day come to an end. 

No matter how you piece together a puzzle, you acknowledge every piece is equally important. We should not succumb to the temptation to only focus on one point or piece and limit possible connections. When piecing together a big puzzle, the best strategy is to spread out, finding, even more, connections. The truth of the “puzzle of life” is that information or pieces come in different shapes and colors, but in the end, it's all connected. Information might be divided, spread out in different areas, different people, and varied experiences. What's important to remember is that every piece is meant for you. You might throw it on the side now and use it later, but it will forever remain a part of your bigger picture. When you work on the “puzzle” of your life, remember to work on your puzzle with patience and care in moving forward with an expectant spirit, because the puzzle of your life is connected to the “puzzles” of others.  A multi-faceted, multi-leveled, multi-dimensional infinite puzzle that even when you complete “assembling” all the pieces of your life’s puzzle, the “whole” puzzle will not be complete.

You are an important “piece” of the Big Picture!  The Ministry of Rome First is a multi-faceted, multi-dimensional puzzle with lots of “moving” pieces. In the first part of this article, we looked at two “puzzle pieces”. Now, I would like to share with you two additional pieces of the puzzle where your help is needed in assembling all the pieces.

#1 – On April 30, 2017 we will worship together in one great time of worship in the historic sanctuary at 10:00 AM, praying, singing and rejoicing together! After worship we will assemble in the Wilder Center to enjoy an awesome “POT LUCK” meal (very much like a puzzle – because you never know what the meal will be until all the entrees, sides, salads, desserts and treats are assembled and served). 

#2 – On April 30, your help is needed to help us assemble current photographs of all the members of Rome First to be included in our new church databas – BREEZE!  Breeze will be available to all members of the Rome First Community.  We will have staff and volunteers available to take your photo and help you create your BREEZE account.  Your BREEZE account will allow you to access the contact information of all the members of Rome First and will serve as our directory of the church members.  Breeze will also allow you to securely “log in” through BREEZE to access your personal financial record of giving and pledges to Rome First.  So, once you have a BREEZE account, you can log in and check on the status of your financial commitment(s) and pledges to Rome First. Again, staff and volunteers will be available on Sunday, April 30 to take your photograph and to help you set up your secure personal access to use BREEZE from the convenience of your own home or mobile device as it will be connected to the Rome First mobile app!  It’s a Breeze!

Lots of great things happening in the “big puzzle” of our world, lots of “moving pieces!”  Isn’t it comforting to know that God knows where all the pieces fit and how they all fit together?  One of our greatest challenges is not to “pitch a fit” while we are being “fitted” for our “fitting” place in the giant puzzle of the cosmos!  You are an important “piece of the puzzle” in the big picture of the life and ministry of Rome First!  I hope to see you here in worship and in your small group or class and out in the community, serving the community with our community ministry partners during the week!


Robert ><>