Renewed & Repurposed

This week our Eden Café had a “soft opening” for the community around. It has been a long work-in-progress and it is such a highlight to see the finished space – a bright, beautiful, brand-new café. This renovated place is now full of purpose, aiming to create jobs for people who might otherwise have barriers to get a job due to past addictions or lack of experience.

Vision came to our Senior Pastors inspired by the Holy Spirit to bring this social enterprise to impact the Downtown Eastside. A lot of thought, effort, and renovation was then put into creating this café. When our leadership found the space, they saw the hidden potential in the old rundown laundromat and envisioned to turn it into a space for Eden Café and meeting rooms for Alpha, Life Groups, and more. Renovations took around a year. The structure of the retail space remained intact, and whatever could be saved remained the same. New flooring, windows, walls, kitchen, coffee bar area, and seating were put in. Now we see a new and improved space repurposed for God’s work. Today, tremendous amount of light comes through the café windows, and transformational light goes out from it into the community.

The process the Lord takes us through to redemption, right standing with Him, and sanctification is a bit like the process we had with our Eden Café.

When our leadership started to lease the space that used to be a laundromat and the contract was signed, the space was instantly ours to start to work with. Similarly, we instantly become children of God as we believe in what Jesus did for us on the cross (John 1:12). He paid the price in exchange for the redemption of our souls and forgiveness of our sins, and the Holy Spirit comes in immediately to make us new, instantly and progressively (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Once we entered into a lease, the space was now set apart for a new vision. The process began with the stripping down of the old finishes, saving the essential structure. At the same time, the planning and preparation began to include new wiring, plumbing, and needed foundational structures through careful study of blueprints. The space looked more and more like a café as time went by. Such is our sanctification process with our Lord. The Holy Spirit enters in and changes our character to the extent we allow Him to, while keeping our personality. When we spend time with Him, reading His Word (our blueprint), opening our hearts to be molded, and being obedient, we become more like Jesus. Quoting Jack Hayford, “sanctification is instantaneous before God through Christ, but progressive before man through the obedience to the Holy Spirit.”

It does not get better than this! Becoming all that God wants us to be – whole and holy – is not a work we can muster up ourselves, but of the Holy Spirit. He is committed to empower and renovate us in spirit, soul, and body, progressively! And just like the Eden Café became a purposeful and beautiful space after much renovation, so we will become equally purposefully fit to do great works for God. Let’s bank our confidence in God as our sanctifier as Paul asserts this truth in 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24:

May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!