Confessions of a Mega-Church Pastor (Hardcover)

Old House treasures in all kinds of places

“This house will take care of you.” Those words rang in Steven’s ears.

When he was just a little boy, Steven’s father, Henry, walked him through the family home one day and said, “This house will take care of you. Everything you need is in this house.”

Now, years later, Henry had died. Steven was now helping his mother pack up the family’s belongings in order to sell the house and move to Florida to be near her grown children. As they walked through the house one last time, taking one final glance at the home built by Henry’s own hands, memories flooded Steven’s mind. And then came the words again, “This house will take care of you.”

It was as if his father were standing right there to remind him. “Everything you need is in this house.”

Henry had been a WWII hero, a Flying Tiger. Henry had radiated Yankee know-how, independence, frugality, and self-sufficiency. He had loved time in the woods. He had raised his children well, and he had raised them in that house. But now he was gone. Fifty years of memories had accumulated in that old house.

As Steven took that one last walk-through, he reminisced on years gone by, including his entire childhood and adolescence. He also looked for any possessions that might have been missed in the packing. In his parents’ bedroom, Steven noticed an odd screw in the ceiling, an object that had never before captured his attention. Steven knew his dad’s meticulous nature and assumed that the screw surely had some purpose, so he stepped up on a stool to look more carefully at the ceiling. When he removed the screw, a hidden panel emerged from the ceiling. Behind the panel rested two Folger’s Coffee cans, each of which was filled with cash.

“This house will take care of you.”

Steven’s mind raced. If his father had hidden cash in one place, there might be other cans hidden as well. Steven soon discovered screws, hidden panels, and coffee cans all around that old house. Hidden treasures all around him, and he had never realized it.

By the end of the spontaneous scavenger hunt, Steven had found more than $5000, hidden years before in the old house by a Depression-era man who knew you cannot always trust forces outside your own house. In addition, Steven also found old report cards, children’s notes and drawings, and other family memories his father had stashed away in those coffee cans. Instead of using safe deposit boxes, Henry had carefully hidden his treasure in the ceilings and walls of his own home. “Everything you need is in this house.” As you will soon learn, Steven played a crucial role in introducing me to Catholicism. Whether he intended to do so, I do not know. But it seems most fitting that his own father’s story provides the metaphor for my simultaneously joyful and painful journey into the Church.

You see, for the first thirty years of my life, the Catholic Church was just an old house to me. An old house that often looked like it needed some sprucing up. To be sure, the Catholic Church and her history have not been without blemishes, and like any old house, the Church has a few creaky windows, a few cracks in the walls, and an occasional leak. Sadly, as an American and as a Protestant, I knew more about the blemishes than about the house itself.

Having grown up as a Methodist, having descended from at least five generations of Methodist pastors in the South, the Catholic Church existed in my world simply as an old house. The Catholic Church was old and historic, but it was never something that attracted my attention in any real way. Catholic churches were often physically beautiful, but I never really noticed anything else about the old house at all.

During my nearly twenty years as a Methodist pastor, I neither liked nor disliked the old house of the Catholic Church. In each town where my family lived stood a Catholic church, which in my mind was just another church, one of the many varieties in the world. I really had no reason ever to notice its existence. I was not Catholic, nor was I particularly interested in those who were. It was just an old house, with some old rituals, old buildings, and old ideas. I paid it no attention.

Without my expecting and certainly without my invitation, God began to reveal to me irresistible treasures hidden in the walls of the old house known as the Catholic Church. In fact, as I moved through the old house, I discovered new treasures in all kinds of places. For example, in the dining room, I found the treasure of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. It had always been there, but it lay hidden in the wall. In the basement, I discovered a foot locker full of saints. In the bedroom, my wife shared the Church’s mystery with me. Exploring the old house proved to be a thrilling and life-giving wonder in my life. In fact, the exploration proved life-changing. “This house will take care of you. Everything you need is in this house.”

All in all, God showed me the treasures found only in the Catholic Church. He used them to paint a mosaic of truths and experiences in my spirit. As a result, after having served as an effective Methodist pastor for almost two decades, including the final eight years of my ministry at one of the largest Methodist congregations in the world, I left it all behind to enter the Catholic Church in January 2008.

These treasures taught me that this old house is, in fact, my home. In these six treasures, I found life. A new home in an old house. A journey to the center of the heart of Jesus Christ and His intentions.

Confessions of a Mega-Church Pastor (Hardcover)

by Allen Hunt

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Confessions of a Mega-Church Pastor (Hardcover)

by Allen Hunt

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