Monday, August 21, 2017


(This is the message that I gave at the centennial celebration of the Log Church)

One hundred years ago the town of Tripoli was a booming community. There was a great sawmill on the bank of the millpond. There were stores, hotels (more than one), taverns (pretty sure more than one), a lumber yard and railway station. Tripoli had schools and even a theater. There was everything that a growing town would need.

Someone gave the town the name of Tripoli. The name sounds like it came from the Greek, and so it did. It means “three cities.” In this nascent town of Tripoli, there was great hopes of promise. Perhaps the community would one day grow to include even the town of Clifford, and possibly even Brantwood. The three cities.

Now we turn the calendar twelve hundred pages – one hundred years. The stores are gone, the hotels and taverns are no more…oh, I think there is one tavern yet, in case someone has a real thirst, but it is not one of the original taverns. The theater is gone, and the train now just speeds on by Tripoli without even so much of a thought of stopping. The schools are gone. Even the sawmill, the enormous engine of the community, is gone.

What remains of all of those original buildings, each constructed with visions of grand plans of success? They are all gone, each destroyed either by neglect or by fire. 

But there is one other building of one hundred years ago that I did not mention. That building was a small, unpretentious little church that sat humbly, near where the creek crosses the road. The church was made of logs – more or less a sign of poverty in those days. For the settlers in those early years, the sooner that they could cover up the logs in their homes with siding, the better. But the best was to have a house built out of lumber.

Out of all of those original buildings in the town of Tripoli, one hundred years later there remains only one – the unobtrusive little log church. Gone from Tripoli are dreams of a great center of commerce and industry. Some might say that there is little hope at all left for the town. However, the road is still there and the creek is still running, and where they meet, the Log Church is still standing. 

I am not saying these things in a boastful or prideful kind of way, but I tell this tale of the town of Tripoli as an allegory. In some way, it is the story of each of our lives. Perhaps all of us, as we were growing out of adolescence and into adulthood, had dreams of greatness—remarkable things that we would do and what we would build with our lives. Some may have even realized a small measure of that success in their lives. But the reality is, most dreams of youth will never be achieved. And the more sobering truth be told, none of those successes will last long. They will all eventually fail through neglect or by fire, or perhaps by some other destructive process.

Like the Log Church of Tripoli, it is only the spiritual life within us that will remain. It is as the Apostle Paul said of our lives, “We know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1).

Knowing this, why is it that we tend to put so much effort into building something that can never remain, and then neglect that part of our lives which will endure? Why do we so often simply ignore our spiritual lives? Why is it that so many simply do not seek God at all? They spend their entire lives chasing their own ephemeral hopes, either to never achieve them or to finally see them vanish in their hands like last night’s dream. Do we not know what is important?

It is because of this that Jesus said, “Don’t lay up for yourselves treasures on earth. Here on earth, the moths will destroy the treasures—or rust. And if these do not get your treasures, thieves will break in a steal them. Rather than this, lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. There, neither moth nor rust can destroy it, and thieves cannot break in and steal.”

Then Jesus closes with this: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

For one hundred years, the Log Church has ministered to build the spiritual lives of the people of this community and beyond. Today we are rededicating it to continue into the second century. This is where our treasure is.

Like the little Log Church of Tripoli, it is also the spiritual aspects of your life that will endure.

Today, we are dedicating the Log Church to continue with its task of ministering to the spiritual needs of the local community and beyond. To what do you wish dedicate your life from this time forward?
(Link to news story below)
Local Television News Story about the Centennial Celebration

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