Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Realities 1

Well, the other day, August 22 to be exact, was my blog's 1 year birthday. I should have written something profound, but to tell you the truth, when the day came, I forgot about it...oops.

I thought I'd share some new realities with you all that I've had through "Scandalous," by D.A. Carson. This will be the first of many to come.

Jesus receives a desperate plea for help and demonstrates his love by delay.

John 11:5-6 "Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Therefore, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days." We all know the story well. When Jesus does come to Judea, both sisters tell Jesus that if he was there things would have played out differently. Sometimes we have a warped sense of time, and like children we say, "I want it NOW." Life gets rough, real struggles come, real suffering comes, and most of the time we say, "Lord, if you love me, you'd get me out of this heartache and pain." Or maybe we don't say it because we know that the Lord doesn't work that way, but I would venture to say that we all think it. And still Jesus delays. Its hard. In Romans 5:3-5 we see that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. "And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given to us." The knowledge of these verses does not make the realities of hardship easy. But the hopeful part about our situation, whatever it may be, is that the Holy Spirit is given(has been given) to us in love. He comforts us, leads us beside still waters, gives us peace, and he directs us to Jesus which is exactly what we need.

"We need the reality of God himself- God as he has spectacularly and definitively disclosed himself to us in the person of his Son. He will require of us that we focus our attention on him, both for this life and the one to come," D.A. Carson.

So, even though life knocks us down, we have a savior who knows our weakness and he gives us strength to make it through. To him alone be the glory in our lives. We are not capable of saving ourselves or picking ourselves up by our bootstraps; while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. He is the glorious one. He is the almighty redeemer. Savior King. Living God.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

New Things

It seems as if there is an anticipation of new things as the new school year approaches. New teachers, new classes, new books, pencils, people (a new flux of people some every summer in the military community). Since Joel and I hang out with high school students, we too are feeling this excitement, anticipation, and questioning of what this new school year holds.

One of the biggest new things, is that we will be starting small groups in our church. Joel and I will be leading one for our "adult" friends, and then I will be leading an 11th and 12th grade girls study. This is a bit scary for me. It means that surface level relationship are no longer a plausible option. The goal of a small group, apart from learning about Jesus, is sharing life with those who partake in the group. We've been sharing life with our adult friends for a while, but somehow we've managed to steer clear of major heart issues. The heart issues is where its at though; knowing that you're completely accepted for who you are, with all of your faults, and quirks. One of the other things that worries me is the different doctrines that people hold to be true. Because of where we are (a baptist church) Joel and I tend to be out numbered in our thinking about certain issues. I guess we'll just have to hash through these things with each other and with Jesus through His word and with the help of the Holy Spirit.

I think the way I want to do it is share food, worship, and the Bible together... you can't really go wrong with that can you?

Other new thing that I think about is the youth band that I am currently leading. Some of our key leaders left this year with their families. They went back to the states and are getting plugged into churches there. (Side note: I just got an email from one of the guys, that he is now playing and leading in his new youth band. SO EXCITING!) Anyway, our band grew to know one another really well. They became quite good at reading each other, and just in general their musical talent progressed on an individual and group level. With new people coming in, we'll have to work of all of these things much work...starting from the stage 1, again... But I do feel its worth it.

With all of these new things I am hopeful that the Lord will give me grace to work with people to be successful in sharing Jesus and just simply working with different leaders to love on these youth kids and anyone else that the Lord puts in our paths.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Cross

"Do we enjoy new identities, so that we are no longer to see ourselves as nothing but failures, moral pariahs, disappointments to our parents--but as deeply loved, blood-bought, human beings, redeemed by Christ, declared just by God himself, owing to the fact that God himself presented his Son Jesus as the propitiation for our sins? All this secured by Christ on the cross and granted to those who have faith in him," Scandalous, D.A. Carson.

This question that D.A. Carson asked really hit home with me today. So many times in my life I find that I identify myself by what I do or don't do. I think this is because of the pressure that our world puts on us to produce a product and that we are only as good as our efficiency to produce that product. What happens though when there isn't a real visible product that we are producing? For me, not working, being home most of the time, what am I worth? We become what we do. Our value and worth is defined by it. If we aren't "doing" anything, well then we must not be worth anything. How false that is!

We are deeply loved, blood-bought, human beings, redeemed by Christ, declared just by God himself. Period. The End. The Lord has given us a value and a worth, not based on what we do, but based on what Jesus has done for us. This is good news for sure.

I need to let this reality seep into my brain. I need to think about this day and night...maybe then I will start believing what the Bible says about who I am. Maybe I'll stop letting the world, culture, or even my family define my worth.

Dilemma wretched: how shall holiness
Of brilliant life unshaded, tolerate
Rebellion's fetid slime, and not abate
In its own glory, compromised at best?
Dilemma wretched: how can truth attest
That God is love, and not be shamed by hate
And wills enslaved and bitter death--the freight
Of curse deserved, the human rebels' mess?
The Cross! The Cross! The sacred meeting-place
Where, knowing neither compromise nor loss,
God's love and holiness in shattering grace
The great dilemma slays! The Cross! The Cross!
This holy, loving God whose dear Son dies
By this is just--and the one who justifies.