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A thriving ministry has no shortage of messy stalls.

I stood in our compact, two-car garage one Saturday morning, the floor around me covered with the remnants of a preschooler's play: a ransacked doll house that looked like a teenage block party, wiffle bats and balls, two Big Wheels (one with plastic tires worn smooth and flat), a big green tricycle with blocks on the pedals. I was just about to yell at my daughter, "Jeannie! "

You see, this was my garage. My cars sat in the driveway because I couldn't get them in the garage, where they belonged. Besides, I hate messes.

But just before I yelled, I realized, You won't have a messy garage long, because that 4- and that 2-year-old won't be around long. Someday you will walk into an orderly garage that will stay however you leave it because there won't be anyone around to mess it up. You'd better enjoy it whiLe you can.

It was a sobering, teary moment that stood me well during the next fifteen years of parenting.

It also contained d principle for ministry: raising kids is messy, but the mess is ...

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