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Revelations: Recycling for God

Aug. 26, 2011 at 3:26 a.m.

Jennifer Preyss

BY JENNIFER PREYSS

Every so often, I meet someone on assignment who reminds me how God loves turning trash into treasure. This week, I met a pint-sized country reverend who's driven by a divine purpose of doing just that.

I was introduced to the Rev. Johnny Moore - 5 feet 2 inches, 125 pounds - at his Schulenburg home Wednesday, to interview him about the church he's building in his backyard. The interesting thing about Moore is that he's building the church out of materials found in waste collection sites around town, that are later recycled for a profit. Monies earned are funding the construction of his church, the Church of the Heart.

His methods are a bit unconventional, I thought, as I interviewed him: raising funds for a church with salvaged junk items. But I couldn't help but giggle to myself as I scribbled down notes about his efforts, realizing how similar God's kingdom looks to Moore's backyard junkyard.

As I panned the systematically organized piles of metal, furniture and other items in Moore's backyard, I thought, "Aren't we all just pieces of rusty, broken garbage before the Lord restores us and makes us his treasures?"

I couldn't help but envision myself and other Christ followers as formerly broken, rusted, forgotten children who are continually being renewed and recycled in his image. If you really think about it, God, in many ways, acts as a professional garbage man; a collector of junky people that he transforms by his grace.

And isn't that what a relationship with him is supposed to do? Isn't it supposed to take what's broken, lost, thrown away and forgotten, and recycle it into something beautiful?

As I interviewed Moore about his innovative church project, I couldn't help thinking about Noah and his ark.

I remembered how Noah faithfully built that ship over many decades, under the duress of public scrutiny and doubters, simply because God asked him to build it.

If you ask Moore, he similarly believes God asked him to build his backyard church by collecting recycled materials and selling them to raise funds for building materials.

Just like Noah, Moore is a man following a divine plan that likely doesn't make a whole lot of sense to everyone he meets.

But he's acting on faith, hoping to build up a beautiful church body and church building for the Lord.

So, even if the Church of the Heart never erects in Moore's backyard, which it probably will considering the pastor's commitment to the project, his efforts in building the church are enough to inspire rusty and broken followers like me, to remember God's ability to turn garbage into beautiful temples.

Jennifer Preyss is a re porter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535 or jlpreyss@vicad.com.

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