Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Monster.

I hate going to the dentist. I hate going to the dentist, because I know when I get there my dentist is going to ask me that one question. “ how is your flossing going” and I know I am going to have to look at him and reluctantly say something like “well….uhm… its going ok….i’m trying” and then admit that I haven’t been doing as well I should be, and then he will give me the look of judgement. He will give me the evil eye.

I hate going to the dentist because I feel like my relationship with him is entirely determined by my performance to him. I will either leave the dentist full of pride because I did well in my flossing, or leave in despair because I realize I don’t do as well as I could.

It is amazing how in the  similar way in which I view my dentist, many people view God.

Everything inside of the human heart strives to measure up, to perform, to succeed, and to be accepted. Everything inside of the human heart drives us to try to earn our way. The harder one tries, the better one will become, the harder on performs and measures up, the more acceptance one will achieve. This idea often carries into our relationship with God. We try to earn his acceptance. We try hard to obey the rules, serve, and be good people, in order to be accepted. It is called self righteousness and it is a monster. Its the biggest and yet most subtle heresy in the church today.

The Monster says I obey therefore I am accepted. The idea being if one tries hard enough to follow the Law and Prophets and, by worldly standards, does a good job, God will love them. If one does all the right things, works hard and performs well when its necessary, God is happy with them and they may go to heaven. To get closer to God one must obey as many rules as possible.

The Monster is about becoming better on the outside; at the heart of it, all The Monster is concerned with is making himself the savior of his own life. Following the rules set out by God, he becomes proud of his own actions and not joyful in God’s. And as pride rules the heart so does contempt for those who are deemed less worthy by prideful people.
The Gospel Man says that I am accepted therefore I obey. Through Christ, God is infinitely happy and accepting towards me. Through Christ I have gained His acceptance, His love, and His approval. I no longer work in order to gain his approval, but out of loving response to grace I will work hard. God is a father who looks at his kids; a father who loves me, in spite of who I was. God does not love me so that I will obey, but loves me so that I can obey. His relationship with the father doesn’t depend on his obedience to him, but Christ’s obedience to him on his behalf because he never could. Out of that thankfulness and relationship with Christ comes the fruit and obedience, motivated and fueled by grace and love rather than duty and obligation.

The Gospel Man says that there are only bad people, who are either repentant or unrepentant. Since are all born into sin, all are sinners, all are bad, all are rebels, and enemies of God. So when Gods see him, he doesn’t see bad or good, he sees unrepentant or repentant; Dead or alive; he sees bad and he sees Jesus. Period.

The Gospel man recognizes his unworthiness.

The Gospel man is repentant and understands the message of the Gospel. He understands that he indeed is bad, sinful, unclean and in need of the mercy and grace of God and when confronted by God’s law, can’t help but cry out, “Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death”

The law shows us that our best is never good enough. It is as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 54:6) It reveals how quick we are to run from God but the gospel reveals how quick God is to run after us. The bad news is that we are more wicked then we could ever know or fear but the Good news is that in Christ we are far more loved and valuable then we could ever hope or have imagined.

If you are a Gospel Man, you are right now under the completely sufficient righteousness of Christ. In the courtroom of heaven God the judge has examined your case & declared you totally innocent in his eyes. Your pardon is full and final. In Christ, you’re forgiven. You’re clean. It is finished.The threat of failure, judgment, and condemnation has been removed. You’re in.forever.  Nothing you do will make your position better and nothing you do will make your position worse. you’ve been set free.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


    God is sovereign; meaning that he is in control of everything and has a plan. When he does one thing, he is doing a million things. Whether he is doing miracles or whether he there is suffering God ultimately has a plan and is in control of the situation.
     In Acts we see both miracles and suffering which are used by God for God. After the healing of Aeneas (Acts 9:32-35) it says “all the residents ...turned to the lord”,  and after the healing of Dorca “ it became know throughout Joppa and many believed in the Lord” God is using these miracles not only to heal individually but also corporately.
    After the stoning of Stephen(Acts 7:54-60) there was a persecution against the church in Jerusalem and the church scatters (Acts 8:1) God uses this persecution to spread the Gospel outside of Jerusalem.Likewise After Ananias and Sapphira’s death, great fear comes upon all who hear (Acts 5:5,11) which leads to the church being held in high esteem (Acts 5:13). Furthermore, Peter and Johns arrest leads to the strengthening of the church in Acts 4:24, 31
    The reality is that we live in a fallen, broken world  that is corrupted by sin and we should expect suffering. Fortunately we have a loving, sovereign God who works out all things for good (Rom 8:28) Though he has freed us from the penalty of sin, and is from the power of sin, we are not yet freed  from the presence of sin but one day we will be.
    When I read the book of Acts I see that there are in fact good times and bad times but I also have a loving God who is in fact with me(Acts 18:10) and in control. Those who call themselves Christians should expect suffering and can be content in every situation, because as Paul says in Philippians 4:13 “ I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”

Grace changes everything.

    A true taste of Jesus, changes everything. A picture of his scandalous, radical, undeserving, irresistible grace will take persecutors and make them preachers, will take cowards and make them courageous, will take dead people, and make them alive. Jesus’ changes everything and in the Acts of the Apostles we see that those who know Jesus and his Gospel, can not help but to tell everyone about it. Those who love Jesus, share him with the world; at any cost.

 As people who have been radically effected and touched by Jesus, should the church not want to tell everyone about him?

 We motivate people to be missional by teaching, preaching, and reminding Christians of who Jesus is and all that he has done. That he was missional first. He pursued us, loved us, died for us, and gave us something we could never get on our own; Grace. Not only should the life of Jesus challenge us to be missional, it should fuel us.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Jesus; a glutton and drunkard.

In the book of Luke we  discover a Jesus who is shocking, radical, counter cultural, and offensive. We see a Jesus who loves to party with prostitutes(Luke 13:1-17) and the outcasts of the society. The tax collectors and ‘sinners’ love him, the lepers love him, the widows love him, While the pious, religious, well behaved moral people take offense to him(Luke 11:45) and can not relate to what he was about; the outrageous, scandalous grace of God.

In reading the book of Luke, one can not help but to notice how he interacts with the social outcasts of the day. Instead of looking down upon them, rejecting them, despising them, he shares a meal with them. He offers them grace.

What is the Son of Man doing when he comes to earth? The Jews expected him to come  defeating God’s enemies and vindicating his people but instead he shares a meal with the lowly.  God comes to earth and he shares a meal with his enemies. The leaders respond by calling him a glutton and a drunkard(Luke 7:34), while the ‘sinners’ respond by sitting at his feet(Luke 7:38)

The ones who considered themselves good with God, seem to be furthest away from him, while those who were considered the furthest from him, are joining in intimacy with him. This is a game changer.

Jesus meets broken people where they are at, interacts with them, and then he turns them into worshipers. He speaks into their situation and their life is forever changed and he doesn’t care about the cultural norm. He accepts them, forgives them, and joins into relationship with them, as it was always meant to be.

God has sat down and eaten with sinners. When he sat down with Levi, he was sitting down with me. Despite my uncleanliness, my sin, my past, the baggage that I have. Despite all my good works, and all of my bad works,  Jesus has offered me relationship. He offers to meet me where I am at. I  come as I am, join relationship with him and have forever been changed. I do not obey, in order gain acceptance from him but because I am accepted I will obey.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011