Having been in our 90-year-old lakeview retirement home for just over a year now, my wife and I decided to undertake several projects to update the house. These included a 25-foot flagpole to display the U.S. flag and also a U.S. Air Force flag, transforming a three-season to a four-season porch to house several hundred books, and a metal roof so I will not have to climb on the roof again to remove snowdrifts.

We decided to do the flagpole self-help. The instructions called for a 12-inch-wide hole, 29 inches deep, to properly secure the flagpole. I would never have imagined that it would take 180 pounds of concrete to complete the task, but it did, and the flagpole has already stood up to gusts of 50 mph with no problems at all.

The porch and roof are not self-help projects. We have hired contractors. The porch contractor laid in a concrete foundation 6 inches wide by as many deep using a wheelbarrow. Afterward, forms were situated to receive concrete – again from a wheelbarrow.

My wife did online research and found this was a recipe for future disaster as the foundation was neither wide or deep enough for the project. Exit contractor No. 1, enter contractor No. 2.

The new contractor stated that code specifications required the footings to be poured with 5000 PSI concrete from a concrete truck, into forms that will match the excavation site for a frost protection wall on three sides of the porch down to a depth to ensure no frost heaving.

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The contract further stipulated many more specifications that we were unaware of but guaranteed the work to be done by licensed professionals, with the required permits from the county as required. To be sure, there was a corresponding increased cost factor involved.

The second contract was approximately twice what the first contractor had proposed. However, with the increased cost comes the assurance that the increased depth of the footings will ensure the stability of the porch. The footings will also comply with industry and state building requirements and give peace of mind to us, the homeowners.

The Bible also talks about how deep is our faith. Is it just enough to get by on the cheap and feel good about ourselves, or is our faith deep enough to warrant the increased effort needed to bear the challenges that life presents?

The increased effort equates to studying the Word of God, believing in God for all of his promises, sharing our faith with others, and showing the love of Jesus by helping others even if they don't believe as we do.

Romans 3:22 (NIV) states: "We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done."

A very popular hymn, "My Hope is Built on Nothing Less," does a beautiful job of explaining how deep we need to go in our faith:

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

But wholly lean on Jesus' name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand,

All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.

The Rev. Chris Belfield and his wife, Cathy, attend Beaver Bay Assembly of God, where he is providing pulpit supply. He is a volunteer chaplain for Arrowhead Emergency Services and American Legion Post 109 and Ecumen Scenic Shores in Two Harbors.