April 28, 2010

something to chew on

I'm going to quote part of one of Jon Acuff's posts from today. Please read the entire post here, but I just had to post some of it because it's too good not to read. It's really something that I need to hear, and mull over.

The Gospel is such a huge, powerful, beautiful, mysterious thing that I know I need to meditate on daily . . . and I'm amazed at how much I still have to learn. Here's the excerpt from his post:

I believe we risk a great danger when we try to say that people “go a little too far with the whole ‘Christians are covered by grace’ thing.” And the danger is simply that we downsize grace.

We establish a limit to grace and God’s love. We start to draw boundary lines on grace and it’s not the first time we’ve seen this kind of thing happen.

There was a guy in the Bible who was the worst. He was such a failure. He lied once and got an entire village murdered as a result. A priest and his family were killed because of his lies. He committed adultery. He cheated. He trusted in his own strength instead of the Lord’s. And when he did, when he failed, thousands and thousands of people died as a result. His family suffered from incest and murder and his hands were so covered with wrongfully shed blood that eventually God wouldn’t let him do something really important.

Now imagine if that person was a commenter on Stuff Christians Like. Imagine if they confessed to homicide and adultery and a laundry list of other sins. I mean there have been some crazy comments on this site, but no one has ever said, “I saw this girl online and thought she was really hot, so I slept with her, got her pregnant and then arranged on craigslist for her husband to be killed.” But this guy, the guy in the Bible, he could have left that comment. And if he did, would you or me or the writer of that email instantly think, “He didn’t take grace too far?” No, we’d be horrified. We’d be terrified.

So how is he referred to in the Bible? Here is what God says about him:

“I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart,”

What? Are you kidding God? David, the murderer? The adulterer? That can’t be right.

Surely David himself knows what a mess he’s made. Aren’t we all our worst critics? David knows that there is blood on his hands. How does he describe himself in Psalm 26?

“Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.”

No. No. No. David hasn’t led a blameless life. He hasn’t trusted in the Lord without wavering. He ran away and got people killed by trying to cover up his tracks when he was afraid. How can David say these things? How can God say these things?

Because grace is scandalous.

Grace does not make sense to our tiny human brains. We can’t control it. We can’t draw boundaries and borders on it. And when we try I think it breaks God’s heart.

I think we insult the cross when we act as if we can “out sin” it.

I think we wound our father when we think we can “out filth” his love.

I think we hurt our Christ when we believe that we have found the end of his grace.

I know, I know, I know that it is possible to mistreat the Lord. To blasphemy his name with our actions and our attitudes. David certainly did and he paid the consequences. I don’t think we get discipline or grace. I think we get both. I think discipline is a by product of grace and in my own life I have received large amounts of it.

But above that, I think God understood the grand risk when he offered us grace. A book called “True Faced” called it the New Testament Gamble. I think God knew the risk that we’d misunderstand grace and try to take advantage of it. I think he knew we’d try to find the limits of it with our sinfulness. Which is why he made it limitless, which is why he made grace infinite and never ending.

I don’t know what you’ve done. I don’t know your life or the bumps or bruises. Maybe you actually have murdered more people than David. I don’t know. But I do know, as many readers pointed out on this post, we serve a God who accepts our repentance and confession. We serve a God who when offered a chance to reveal himself to Moses, chose one thing to show, the most important thing, his goodness.

We serve a God who “rises to show us compassion.”

A God who delights in you.

A God who sent his son to the cross not to show the end of his grace, but rather the beginning.


I heart pandora

And I'm not talking about the planet where the Na'vi live (although that's pretty cool), I'm talking about pandora radio. I have a station that mostly plays Bob Marley, Sublime, 311, Slightly Stoopid, etc. It makes me feel like I'm at the beach grilling in the summertime with a slight breeze blowing through my hair and a drink in one hand. Fabulous.

I haven't blogged in nearly a month so I feel OK with rambling about pointless things as an intro to this post.

I straight up lied at the dentist today. The dental hygienist asked, "you're flossing, right?" and in my head I was saying "no way, lady!" but with my mouth I quickly said "yes," without even blinking. She was nice enough to accept my sheepish response, but my gums don't lie . . . the dentist called me out on it. And then proceeded to tell me how why I should bring floss when I'm backpacking in the deep woods (and how I could fashion a toothbrush out of twigs and other miscellaneous shrubbery).

I don't know why I'm so afraid of getting found out sometimes that I deny my actions with my words, but then something gives me away, like my sore gums after the ole floss and metal pick routine. It's like when you're a little kid and you've got your hand in the cookie jar. Who even owns or uses a cookie jar? Cookies stay fresher if you keep them in those nifty re-sealable packages. I don't buy cookies. Unless I plan to leave them at someone's house. Bogus.

I have recently indulged in reading a little blog called "Stuff Christians Like." It's pretty hilarious - I think everyone should check it out. It's funny because it's true, and sad because it's true. But, there's also some pretty enlightening and convicting stuff in there. I am a huge fan. I think a few favorite posts are the side hug reference and of course the one about Lady GaGa.

I have a hate-love relationship with Starbucks. I hate it because it's a ginormous chain, it's way too trendy, corporate and expensive. I ADORE indie/independent coffee shops, they are my first choice. However, I love Starbucks because it is so close to my apartment, I love the way their coffee and espresso tastes . . . and I love that on tax day, they had free coffee for anyone who brought in their own travel mug. I love that they normally give a discount if you bring in your travel mug instead of getting a paper cup. I love that it only costs 50 cents at the Starbucks at work if you do this. I love how much more their coffee seems to wake me up than other coffees I've tried. I love getting their sugar-free hazelnut in that coffee. I love that they have me thinking more "green." (I think I'm falling into the trap of trendiness - but at least it's for a good cause, right?) . . . now I want to start bringing my own bags when I go grocery shopping too. Oh my.

*end of ridiculous random junk*

I read 1 Kings 1 today, and it's funny how you can miss so much when you read more than just a passage or a few verses at a time.

The commentary that I like to follow zoned in on one verse in particular that King David says to Bathsheba as he is about to hand off the throne to his son Solomon.

And the king took an oath and said, “As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my life from every distress . . ."
-1 Kings 1:29

And I just have to quote Chuck Smith because I could not say it better than he does regarding this passage:

"What a glorious testimony that is. Now he didn't say the Lord kept my soul from all distress.

A lot of times people have a mistaken notion that God somehow is going to give me divine immunity from problems. That somehow I'm going to be immune from any kind of distressing or vexing situation. Not so. As a child of God, I face many distressing situations. I have no immunity from problems, from sufferings, from hurts. Nor will you. But I do know that God will deliver me out of all my distresses.

Now you see, the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian isn't the fact that a Christian doesn't have distresses and doesn't have problems because I have just as much distress and problem as an ungodly person has. The only thing is I have One who redeems me out of them all. The ungodly not so. They've got to make their way the best they can through them or perish in them or whatever. But the Lord will redeem my soul out of all distresses."

Sometimes I definitely feel like as a Christian, I should never be angry, depressed, emotional, hormonal or crazy. If you've ever listened to a Christian radio station, maybe you feel like you should be just as sugar-coated and happy all the time as the DJ's or songs they play. But it's just not true. Life isn't easy - Christian or not. We definitely have problems and hardships, we just go through them differently. Going through crap with God by your side is a lot different than going through life's crap by yourself. And I think that's what the difference is supposed to be.
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