A stack of lumber doesn’t become a house or home unless the boards are angled  and joined together. We need to work the angles for prayer, fellowship, spiritual counsel, and faith. (Haggai 1:5-6)

Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
Sermon # 11520
7:30 PM on 8/5/2018


P. Schaller

P. Cooper is back from Puerto Rico. Charles Hadley, you want to take a bow in a Turkish way? That’s amazing. He’s back from Turkey 5.5 months and a great experience. Do you want to share a little in the rap tonight? In the café. Is John John Odahara here? You want to take a stand? That’s my grandson and he’s a marine and stationed in Hawaii. He came home for one week and said to his mother I want to go to Camp Life for one day. I’ll put my gun down and go to Camp Life and sing the songs and love the brethren and be with the Body. I’m proud of him. I wonder if I missed any one. P. Dennis and the whole family. Jane and Ruthie. From Albania. This is like Convention! This family is here from Albania and Ruthie is going to go to Bible college here. The family praying about their future and going back to the Balkans maybe. How many years in Albania? Ten years and not finished.

Haggai. This will be a rhema I believe. You are here because you trust God to put your life together. I want to explain what that means.

Before we do, let’s look at this text, Hag. 1:5.

Ever stopped and considered your ways? I was in a junk yard looking at my car that had flipped over, and praise God I survived that. It wasn’t only a rolling, but a long way rollover. I love to dramatize that story. Praising God nobody got hurt. I considered my ways. I wonder how this could be applied in your life.

vs. 5-6. Have you ever felt like you can’t get a head? I just feel like I can’t get ahead say to your neighbor. I got a bag with holes. Johnny Appleseed was sowing seed. A bucket with a leak. A bank account that is always at even. This happens to us. This could be misunderstood because we are Americans and we calculate with these things a lot. I don’t want you to be misled here in what we want to say. You can have a stack of wood that is lumber for the building of a house and it’s just sitting there but there isn’t anybody that can build the house. We got the material but lacking the skill and wisdom.

We need angles and sometimes this scholar, Eugene Peterson, that wrote the Message Bible used this metaphor in one of his teachings that there are lines but we need angles. If you have angles and you have three sticks, it makes a triangle. Four and make a square. If you have a stack of lumber and have the right angles, we could have a house. He wrote a book, Getting the Angles Right. The angles needed in our lives to put them together, specifically speaking about pastors.

I think it applies to all of us. We need to have a bag that can hold seed. A bank account that can hold some money. A marriage that can hold a family. A congregation that can be held together by angles. These angles are principles from God, wisdom from God. I can have a job and a family, but I don’t know how they go together. I could have relationships with people, I could have a job, administration but don’t know how it works. God made us with the ability to have all these parts like a pile of lumber but is saying come to me and consider your ways because it’s not working. You are empty or lacking. I met people in a state of rebellion and they are angry with themselves, God, about life, how it’s not working and they use four letter words to describe what is going on in their lives. I want to say a few things to us about what makes our life work and it does work. It is amazing when you find the angles. You have administration line, a job; you have your family or household, relationships. You can put any number of sticks here. For some people they are separate pieces. As they live, they don’t have a coherency, a sense of peace. If you take and put these sticks together, you have angles. When you have the angle and it goes with the pieces, then you are building something. You can’t build without the angles. You can’t have anything that will hold life, hold your purpose. What is the purpose of the sticks? What is the purpose of the bag if it can’t hold anything? What is the purpose of my marriage if I don’t have any sense of what it’s about?

When Christ came into the world, he said wisdom has built her house in Prov. 9:1 and hewn out her seven pillars. That’s another metaphor along the same lines. We don’t know how to build. We don’t have the angles. 1) Prayer. I agree with P. Love when he took the offering that the Spirit in our meeting is the Spirit of holiness. People came in here, some tired, but are seeking God. Maybe emotionally they don’t have a lot to give but are able to receive. God brings the angles into the building. Prayer connects me with my brothers. Prayer helps me with my family. My family is connected also with my job which is also connected with – I’m using a lot of different words here – we can say administration. If my life is only administration, I might be good at it but don’t know how it relates to every other part of what wisdom is building. Prayer is when we depend on God. I can’t build my house. I need you. A life of prayer. A Spirit of prayer. Also the word “joy.” Prayer and joy going together. Light heartedness. Thankfulness. Prayer and thankfulness go together. When Miriam came out of Egypt, she was dancing. They were dancing because they came out of Egypt and were worshipping God in the dance. In some of the psalms we read in our own mood but if the Holy Spirit were to bring the text alive, we would understand joy and thankfulness and playfulness and light heartedness is a big part of life. To be happy. To dance. To be thankful. To be a little bit crazy. I think we need that. Craziness is needed in my life, not to take it so seriously. Let God build my house because I can’t. God will. Prayer.

An angle I feel many young people need to understand. I don’t know how to say it to you. I want you to pay attention to it. I remember being a missionary in Finland the first year and having a hard time and the H.S. gave me a verse. He said in your patience you possess your soul. I went to the gospel. It just came to my mind. I wasn’t reading it. I went to Luke and looked it up and I said in my heart, Jesus, do you mean if I’m patient, I’ll be okay? If I’m patient, I’ll be able to control my soul. If I’m frustrated and driven, I can’t build a house. The rhema word is the word in the Greek, a living word. Reading the Bible. The Scripture is an angle that builds the house. If I don’t have the Scripture, where do I get the angle to put these two by fours together? They can’t be lined up in a straight line. They need to be fitted together by angles. I got to get an angle that comes from God. I need God to build the bag. How to sow the seed so the birds don’t eat it. I need God to give me divine direction on how to do it. That’s why the ministry – I said to a brother on the phone recently, – he’s an awesome brother. We had a good talk but he has a problem. He said can you give me advice. I said Jesus, give us a word. I repeated the question and said you can analyze problems but it doesn’t minister to people. You can analyze things all day long but it doesn’t minister to people. You might be clever and smart, but it doesn’t minister to people.

I read this story that kind of illustrates that point. A clever and learned atheist showed up in ancient Rome….no God, no purpose, no meaning and therefore anything was permitted. He picked on a rude shepherd in the town square as a foil for his arguments thinking to make sport of him. He cut him up with his razor logic….he concluded with a flourish. What do you say to that? The shepherd took out his flute and played a lively tune and within minutes all the people were dancing for joy. The two by four is the logic but the logic can’t build the house. We need God. When God speaks, we have a ministry. You cannot have a ministry by being a good guy. You have to have a ministry from the Holy Spirit. That quiet voice, that rhema from heaven that will put your house together. When he puts your house together by these angles, we are talking about the house is solid. It will hold water, a family, and will be what God wants. He gives rhemas.

On our team in Finland, we had 10 people and at the end 4 survivors were standing! Six people were gone. God bless them. I didn’t really see them again. It was hard. Living in Finland that first year was hard. God was good to us. We had a pastor, and I love this part of the story, who taught us ministry. The angles. In my words, I don’t remember him saying it this way but we would say we learned angles in the ministry. We learn how it goes together. The natural man just has the pile of 2 X 4 and tries to build something. As far as eternity goes, it doesn’t hold water. Do they survive? I hope so. They have the goods of this world and the systems they have but it comes under scrutiny one day. God will say there is nothing here of me. You have built on sand. There is nothing here eternal. Nothing here endures the test of eternity. Build on your personality or hard work or understanding or morality. This is not the house that wisdom builds. This is amazing. You get it? I know you do. You folks are amazing. You are amazing. Because I know why you are here tonight. Thank you, Jesus. We can feel it. And our lives have some ministry going on. We can feel it that people’s lives are changed. We had a video from Vietnam. Pirjo has it on her phone. I don’t know if it’s allowed. It’s a room full of Vietnamese people. About 70 people and they are singing a Christian song and they don’t know English. They are singing it in English. The name of the song is it’s beautiful. You see the crowd and Doug and Bethany. They are in a language school based on the Bible and singing Christian songs in Vietnam.

Third one we can mention is spiritual counsel. I don’t want to hear any spiritual counsel so I’m not going to get any. I don’t want to hear about it. But in my heart and this is why we are here, in my heart I want it. I need it. I listen to messages from the past and I’m with my brothers and sisters in the Lord. I’m in the midst of this church. We can listen to God and look for it. I go through things to think about it and stir up my heart. I’m not very good at building this house. Except what I’m saying tonight which means I do know. God is glorified in it. You go to Bible college to finish Bible college. You go to the church to hear and focus and concentrate. If you are learning on your own, you are learning in the midst of the Body. You choose your friends. I was with the cool guys when I first started but realized I need help. I was looking for the guys who were serious about following God. I found one brother and drew close to him. I would receive from him and listen to him. We were a little geeky or dorkey. I left the whole thing about being cool at the cross. A lot of cool people can’t build a house. God would say you are very cool but do you have a bag with holes or a relationship that lasts through thick and thin.

Have you found the mystery of our faith? Are you growing in church planting, evangelism, discipleship? I don’t mean this by way of a system but in a mystical way where every one of us is different from each other. I am different from P. Scibelli, from every man there. We are all different from each other but what have we found? The angles. God given angles that put the building together. We are saying this is rock solid. God said I did it. I was with you in your job, in your relationships. I guided you in wisdom in how to think. I visited you in the night season. I guided you along when you didn’t know which way to go. I am your God.

Do you know that? We are saying yes, we do know that. Thank you, Jesus, with all our hearts. I am a pile of 2 by 4’s that nobody could figure out how the thing works but I happen to be humble enough in our hearts – nobody is humble but Christ is – but foolish to know I need help from the living God.

How did you make it? Why are you so thankful? Why are you continually rejoicing and how come you have this attitude? Sometimes when I’m sitting with a person at the other end of this – have lost family, job, health and sitting there quietly and they have angles. They have the same angles you and I have. They are quietly there and I honor them. They are amazing people. They are brothers and sisters and minister a lot to us.

This is what I have in my life but I have God. I have a house that God has built. What he has built, you cannot destroy. What I have in heaven is forever. My heaven is there. I don’t have anything left in this life. It’s all gone through my fingers. I have been praying and trusting and getting rhemas from God. I’m broken in life and at the end of my life but it looks to some like I lost. I didn’t. I have humility that is Christ, wisdom that is Jesus, motivation that is Jesus but my inner man is renewed day by day. When we sit with those people, we say thank you. You minister much to me. You can hardly talk but I know your spirit and attitude and we can say thank you.

This is a mystery but I think you understood what we wanted to say tonight.



Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.