Pastor’s Corner – May 2014

Jim Mann

I attended the funeral of a high school friend’s father today. Before the service began, I enjoyed watching the video presentation of pictures from years gone by and was smiling at some great memories. During his message, the pastor shared a story of another reminiscence I had forgotten.

My friend had a car in high school. This was back in the 80s, and most of us had cars we had worked to buy. I bought mine, with dad’s help, after a summer or two of back-breaking work. It was a blue Honda Accord. My friend worked for his car, too. Only his dad bought the car for him and the two of them worked to restore it.

It was an old ‘57 Chevy. I never saw it when it was towed to their house, bought from a junk yard. I just saw it after it was finished. It was awesome…by far the coolest car in Denton High School. [Editor’s note: I can say that now; back then I’m not sure we appreciated just how cool it was]. My friend’s father was a real craftsman and took it apart piece by piece. I think he enjoyed the project, but his real goal was to spend time with his son [again, not appreciated at the time by a teenage boy!].

In the funeral service, the pastor mentioned this man’s character. The word itself comes from the ancient Greek word meaning “to engrave.” Before that the word described a pointed stick. The idea is that character, the qualities that define a person, aren’t necessarily inherent to us at birth. Rather they are etched into us. Sometimes this engraving is painful, sometimes a joy. Sometimes it is a life experience, an example of a parent or teacher, travel or even a book that etches character into us.

But I believe real character comes from God. That’s the way it has always been intended. Many years ago in the Garden of Eden, humanity was created in the “image of God.” The qualities that defined us as people looked like the qualities that defined God himself. But when we sinned, that image was lost, not completely, but greatly damaged and marred.

From that moment on, God began the process of restoring that image. Sometimes with a hammer and chisel, at other times with a fine-pointed engraver’s awl, God began to etch. He turned a childless couple into a family, then turned that small tribe into a nation. He pulled that small nation from obscurity and began revealing himself to them and to the world. Ultimately we saw that image most clearly in His Son, Jesus.

You and I are a bit like that old ’57 Chevy. I’m sure it was a pretty good car back “in the day.” But that car now… restored…it’s a treasure. In Jesus, we can find similar restoration from a great craftsman.

Not only will he forgive us our sins and pull us out of the junk heap, he will begin to painstakingly etch into us his character, restoring us piece by piece, until we look again like we were always intended to look.

See you in church!

Jim Mann, Ph.D. pastors New Life Church at Robson Ranch, which meets at the Robson clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. Visit for more information.