One early childhood memory of mine is that I hated taking out the trash. I grew up on the 4th floor of an apartment building in NYC and that was the top floor. I had to walk up 4 long flights of stairs everyday up and down. 

When you grow up in a neighborhood like mine, it was important to never let your trash build up. It was important to get it out of the apartment and out onto the streets…and placed in heavy trashcans. If you didn’t your apartment became infested with roaches, mice and rats. 

My dad left when I was six months old, and my mom raised my 2 sisters and I in that apartment.  Being the man of the house I was given the chore of always taking out the trash. 

I hated taking out the trash. The #1 reason my mom got on my case growing up was for not taking out the trash. I would do everything in my power to get out of that chore. I would forget, deny, and procrastinate taking out my trash. I would give excuses like: I can’t get dirty; I don’t have time or let someone else do it. My list was endless because I hated the trash in my house. 

I guess subconsciously I always knew that trash reflected something terribly wrong in me. And the same excuses I had for not taking out the physical trash in my apartment, were the same excuses I used not to deal with the Trash in my life and in my heart. 

When I was in High School we moved to the Bronx. The apartment we lived had something I had never seen before. Something incredible. A Trash compactor!!! That’s right…not just a place to put your Trash…but a place that would compact your trash so you can get more trash in the same place. The Trash compactor seemed to make life so much better. Less trips to the garbage can was always a plus at first. 

I would even convince myself that the Trash compactor made some of the trash go away because there never seemed to be as much because it was so compacted. But in reality that Trash never got smaller it just got packed tighter. And you know what I discovered about compacted trash…it stinks worse than normal trash. And if it is not thrown out…it will cause the same damage that regular trash causes.  

You see I had started packing away some trash in my heart at an early age that started growing inside of me like an emotional cancer. My trash was the never-ending buildup of un-forgiveness in my heart that wreaked a vile stench that affected others. My garbage of bitterness and un-forgiveness was fueled by shame and guilt that paralyzed me and hurt others around me. 

The largest garbage company in the world is Waste Management and they couldn’t even come close to handling the trash in my heart. 

The CEO of the greatest recycling corporation in the universe was the person I contacted to take care of my Trash. His name is Jesus and he is the great recycler of trash, of pain, resentments, character defects, sins, shame, and guilt. 

Jesus not only cleaned me out but he made me new. I am now recycled as a trophy of His grace. I love God’s recycling program!! How about you? 

How is the trash in your life doing? Has it been piling up? Does it stink? Do others smell your garbage? Did you miss the pick up for your garbage this week, this month, this year? 

At Encounter, the garbage man comes every Friday and there is no cost for him to pick up your garbage. He even recycles if you want to go beyond having your garbage taken out by allowing Him to make you new! 

So many of you were coming to Encounter with your trash and leaving clean. Then over the past 2-3 months you stopped coming every Friday and I wonder how your trash is doing? I hope it is getting thrown out on a regular basis like it is for so many of us working the program. 

Some of you are choosing other studies and other ministries while trying to be a part of Encounter and while there may be good things to study and join, all it takes is one week for the trash to start building up again and before you know it the smell is back! But let’s face it…we all have a complacency side of us that when the smell of our trash level gets reduced, we stop working a program like Encounter. 

We look to get involved in other programs and studies before we are ready to move on. Or we go to a more secular approach that is appealing to our selfish and stubborn nature instead of being challenged to change because that is what real discipleship programs like Encounter compel you to do. 

Here is the problem with a reduced smell of trash…IT STILL STINKS!!! And it only gets worse until it gets thrown out and thrown into the recycling bin of the blood of Jesus!

Please join or re-join us again this Friday as I am going to do a little “Trash Talking” We are kicking off a two week forgiveness series that will eliminate the trash in your life once and for all. 

I look forward to seeing you all there in full force! This Friday and next is an all-hands on deck Encounter event for our leaders and volunteers. 

P.S. Don’t forget to bring your Trash

Be Blessed and Encouraged

Bill Rieser
Encounter Pastor