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Last week, as I was organizing, I ran into an old, battered, paperback Bible that I received in my “youth”.  On the cover, in some 1970’s-type font, were the bold words, “GOOD NEWS”. 

I looked at it, and said the words aloud, “Good News”. It’s all supposed to be GOOD news.  Everything I do as a teacher/preacher at my church is supposed to be about GOOD news…hmmm.

Ironicwould Jesus recognize what we, as churches and ministers, offer as “good news”?  When He walked the earth with us, He spent much of His time reminding that church leadership of the day that His Father was all about GOOD NEWS.  He then reminded them that the church shouldn’t take it upon themselves to make up new rules to try to HELP God, because they just make things more difficult.  It’s really quite simple, He insisted, it’s GOOD news.  Everything my Father does is about GOOD news. The end result of everything I teach you as about GOOD news.

So why does it often seem like just a bunch of rules, traditions, regulations, and fences?

A few years ago, I was traveling for business, and was put up in a small, but nice, hotel for a few days, close to my work (I could walk everywhere I needed to get to).  The place was popular with families, and there were children all around.

The day I checked in I watched as a young father played with his two small girls, laughing, running, playing “tag”.  I could see them clearly. From the front door of the lobby, I could see through and past the lobby into a small grassy, tree-shaded park, filled with sandboxes and swings.  I could see them through the floor to ceiling glass windows at the back of the lobby. I checked in at the Front Desk and entered the elevator. I found my room, unlocked the door, and went in.  I was on the third floor (the TOP floor of this small hotel). 

I could hear the laughter of the father and daughters, and realized my room was on the same side as the little park outside the lobby. I walked to the window, parted the drapes and looked out where I could see them playing.

From my vantage point on the third floor, I could see something that they could not see. The small playground/park was surrounded by a tall, beautiful, eight-foot solid wooden fence, which (if you were in the small park) one couldn’t see beyond. What I could see, just beyond the high fence, was a construction site where jagged pieces of metal lay about, along with concrete forms, wooden planks, deep trenches, and electrical wires – a dangerous place for children, just a few feet away from where they were playing.

GOOD NEWS sometimes comes in the form of “fences”.  Jesus offers freedom to choose, even to play beyond the fence-line, but when and if we do play, and live, “outside some boundaries” there may be danger.

Some people see God and think of the fence, and not the park it surrounds.  The GOOD NEWS is declared when we realize that if we DO find ourselves outside the fence, God is there to rescue and restore us back to the healthy environment on the green grass where we are free to run, laugh, live, and love.

The Church, and Her Pastors (including this one) are sometimes more prone to speak of the fences and not of the parks they surround.

One day, we will be in a place without fences. In that place, there will be no danger.  There will be nothing to fear.  The new earth and heaven will be ours.

God’s entire “reason for being” is us.  He lives for our joy.

So, remember, it’s supposed to be…GOOD NEWS.