Friday, June 22, 2012

4G Grace

4G Grace
So often we feel like we have been caught up in the "baggage" of the past. You know what I’m talking about: a bad relationship, bad decisions, divorce, and even tragedy. Some hold on to that baggage--and sometimes actually display that baggage as a backpack, strapped on--and carry it everywhere you go. Eventually, the backpack defines who we are; and inevitably, you are known as the mess that is in the backpack.

You have a life that is all wrapped up into the mistakes you've made, and the things that have separated you from God. You have to ask yourself: is this what I want from life? Do I want to be defined by the mistakes and the pains of my past? Or do I want to be known by something else?

Let me tell you something: Grace is beautiful. There's a reason for the song being called "Amazing Grace."  Grace is what allows us to have a new beginning. It is what allows for us to have that baggage--that backpack--taken off of us and forgotten forever. No longer do we need to be defined by a past that is full of mess and sin. Grace makes us new.
Grace has to be in the DNA of the church, if it is to be a movement. There will never be a perfect church (I don't care how many people go to your church. I don't care how many athletes or famous people say that you are the best preacher or best congregation.) "Perfect" is unattainable for us, and that is why grace is essential in the heart of the church if it is moving, healthy, and going forward with the message of Jesus. Grace is what makes the church move without holding on to mistakes and what-ifs.

"All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that's the end of it.  Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life--a life that goes on and on and on, world without end."
(Romans 5:21 NIV)

4G (God and Human relationship)

4G #4
“The YES of the Kings' grace now allows humankind to respond with our own YES that accepts his invitation. When our own YES echoes God's YES, we join his kingdom and joyfully accept our role as the body of Christ in its kingdom mission.  We live out this acceptance in both our individual and our corporate efforts to see kingdom justice brought to all.”

As we live in awe of the King's grace, we can't help but want to serve him.  This is how God intended it to be.  He wants us to be so in love with Him that we only live for him.  Every action we take is an action that is for Jesus. 
So the question we have to ask ourselves, if God has given us grace and we have new life, then there must be something beyond this.  God didn't come to earth and give grace just for the sake of showing his power. There is a reason behind why He did it. 

The Great Commission is why we have received grace.  We have been called to go into the world and share the love of Christ with others.  When the Church is a movement, this is the only focus.  It is not an organization concerned with casseroles and organ music, it is concerned about making disciples. That is the filter for a healthy church.

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:16-20

Saturday, June 2, 2012

4G #2

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, "Where are you?" He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"
(Genesis 3:6-11 NIV)
Adam and Eve had it made.  They were walking with God in the garden.  They were living the line in the old hymn, "and he walks with me and talks with me."  Yet they turned from something that was good, and because of this they felt guilt.  Because they sinned, they felt guilt, which turned into sin. 
As we look at Adam and Eve's story today, we can call them fools. They had it so good and still did not follow through.  But couldn't we say this to ourselves, too? 
Hebrews 5 says, But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” In our bias we think we can discern right from wrong with our own consciouses, but this is not true.  Only with God’s help!  People who are mature in Christ have the ability to discern right from wrong. When we look into this passage there is much that leads up into it.  A mature person is one who fasts, prays, and knows the Word of God.  If these things are not in your life on a regular basis, then you will have a hard time knowing right from wrong. 
Guilt carries with it a heavy burden that keeps us moving forward in Christ and so keeps the church from moving forward in Christ.
Guilt is what we feel when we have done something that is wrong. It leads to fear, and fear is what keeps us from living for God.  When we are in this position, we need a savior.  If we are to be a church that moves, we cannot let guilt keep us from accomplishing our goal of transforming our community to be followers of Jesus.