Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Gospel Treehouse (and other DIY thoughts)

So for those that did not know - we bought a bank foreclosure last winter out in “the country”. We weren't in the market for a new home but had been thinking it would be nice to have more room and an actual yard especially since we home-schooled and would utilize a home and yard more than most families. Well, last October we were at Kim’s sister’s place and we spent the night in their home out in the country. My brother-in-law Kurt is an amazing landscaper and arborist and they have a beautiful home that forces you to unwind and appreciate God’s creative beauty and so the whole family has always enjoyed visiting them. I’ve posted a pic below of their place so you don’t have to use your imagination.

Anyways, despite the peaceful setting, I woke up at 2am that night in their home and couldn’t fall back asleep so I opened up my iPad and perused through Zillow to assuage my boredom. Long story short, I happened upon a listing for a bank foreclosure that was only two miles from their home that made quite an impression on me – especially at the listed price. So at the break of dawn I whisked over there and walked around the outside (i.e. the inside was locked up) and I must say I instantly fell in love. The pictures did not do it justice. After some prayer on whether we should move forward, a hot and heavy multiple bidding process ensued but God graciously provided and we moved in during polar vortex #2 (or was it #3?). The home is far more than we could have ever dreamed of – especially considering we lived in a small townhome for 9 years prior with no yard. It’s a bit of a shocker to go from managing one small hanging plant on our back deck to managing 2+ acres and a private pond but who am I to complain….God is good!

Hammer wins....again.
But while God is good, I am not handyman stuff. In fact, we used to have a guy named Dean do a lot of handyman work in our old townhouse because the only tools I knew how to use were a hammer and a drill and as you can see from my thumb even operating a hammer can be challenging at times. True story: when Caleb was three years old he once saw a light bulb go out and he immediately yelled, “Call Dean!”. But, anyone can change and if necessity is the mother of invention, than frugality is the mother of motivation. In other words, when I saw all that needed to be done at our new home I became very motivated when I realized I could do it myself for ¼ the cost of a professional. However, my wife and I have learned that there are few rigid mathematical proofs when it comes to DIY ("Do It Yourself") projects: 

Proof #1: DIY = contractor cost x 0.25
Proof #2: DIY = contractor time x 10
Proof #3: DIY = contractor quality x 0.125

But all men can focus on is Proof #1: "I can do it myself for 1/4 the cost! AND use these incredible cost savings to get some cool power tools for future projects!" (grunting and scratching and loss of all rational thought ensues here)  While wives tend to focus on proof #2: "Are you planning on painting the other half of the room?" and Proof #3: "Aren't doors supposed to close all the way?" Details! Details! Joking aside, I think people are drawn to home improvement and extreme home make-over shows  because they are innately drawn to the gospel. Think about it. You are taking something that is typically old, broken and dilapidated. And you are infusing undeserved love and sacrificial devotion into it. And in that process you transform it into something new, beautiful and whole. There is something that feels so good and right about that and if that isn’t the story of the gospel….I don’t know what is.  
"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold, the new has come." -2 Cor 5:17
Anyways, I may post some of my other DIY projects I’ve been working on here in the future but this post is dedicated to my treehouse. So one of the things I immediately noticed on my first walk around the home back in the fall were two beautiful oak trees standing nearly 40 feet tall. When I was in high school I used to attend a youth group at a church called “Twin Oaks” which was named after a verse in Isaiah: “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. (Isa 61:3b - NIV)”  For some reason when I looked at these trees I thought of that verse and felt a treehouse just belonged here.  To give you some context this exact passage was actually quoted by Jesus when he returned to his hometown of Nazareth and unfurls the scroll of Isaiah in Luke 4.  I find it interesting that he specifically chose this passage to inaugurate his earthly ministry. Why? Because it prophesied his earthly mission -- a mission which contains a beautiful message of hope for the lost and the broken:
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearterd, to proclaim liberty to the comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion-- to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.  -Isaiah 61:2-3 (ESV)
Jesus is in the business of finding that which is lost. Freeing that which is imprisoned. Restoring that which is broken. This is quite simply what he does and he does it for his glory and for our good. Praise him.

Not my childhood treehouse....but close.
I should also mention that this isn’t my first treehouse project. When I was 12 years old I attempted to build a treehouse with a neighborhood buddy named Steve. It was a frightening conglomeration of rusty nails, graying scrap wood and splintered lumber and probably a civil engineer’s worst nightmare but hey it was our own leaning tower, we built it, dang it, and had a lot of great memories in that creaky mess! So why not give my kids some great memories to build on as well (sans the splinters and myriad safety hazards)? I made the mistake of telling my 6 year old girl a few months ago that I planned on building a treehouse and she made me promise that I would do it this summer (and asks me almost daily when it will be done). So despite a long list of other projects awaiting (like putting covers on our electrical outlets) the treehouse project has nevertheless begun. 

I hope it's a source of great memories for my children...
I hope it reminds us that our home must be built upon the greatest "oak of righteousness"....
I hope it creates a joy and a longing for the greatest restoration project in the history of the universe...

....the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Next week I’ll share how I laid down the main beams (the most important part!), joists and flooring. If you're interested... =)

Peace of Christ,

Peter & Kim


  1. Love this post! Keep the construction going… can't wait to see the final project!

  2. You go, Peter! Love the biblical always deep, humorous, and Gospel-centered insights!
    Happy Birthday!

  3. Great post! Can't wait to read more and see final project.