Monday, July 28, 2008

Hebrews 11:24-27

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter,
25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.
27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.

Right now this is the most fascinating section in the Bible to me. What does it all mean?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Love Books...

...because I am a sinner.

I love them because they impress people when they see how many I have.
I love them because they give me information I can use to impress others.
I love them because when I read them I can assert my knowledge and opinions above the author and even rebuke him for his weaknesses.
I love them because I can take the information I want and ignore the wisdom and insight that confronts my sins and shortcomings.
I love books because they can take me away from God.

*Note: This post was not written to attack or convict others who like books. This post is pure autobiographical reflection, intended to display the sins of my heart in one specific area (books). I am also not saying that books are inherently evil; it would be pure, undiluted foolishness to say that--and I don't believe that anyway.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Church and 'Authenticity'

Not to be rude, but the Apostle Peter* and I are pretty similar: It takes both of us the longest time to finally 'get it.'

*For those of you who either don't know or who have forgotten who the Apostle Peter is, this quote is his crowning achievement: Peter said to him, "Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." (He did not know what he was saying.)

End tangent

What I have taken so long to understand is how people in the church ought to get along and care for one another.

A friend was sharing with me her observations concerning how open and 'authentic' people are at one church versus people at another church. Church A has people who give no second thought to sharing their struggles, failings, or prayer needs in a given conversation. Church B seems to be a dry campus where everything and everyone is Fine. How was your week? 'Fine.' How is your family? 'Fine.' How is your uncle--the one with liver cancer? 'Fine.'

Not only does this 'Fine'-ing make for painful conversation, it fosters a social and spiritual stagnation that has no place among God's people. Sure, open insurrection and strife in a church body is bad, but what about a bunch of mutes milling around, trying to keep the cards in their hand from showing. Who knows if anyone has a quasi-spiritual thought buzzing around in their head after 45 minutes of singing and reading the Word and having it explained to them? What if someone is strongly considering leaving the faith? Is anyone sick? Any marriages on the rocks? No one knows.

Grace. It is God's God-given remedy. It is God's great equalizer. It fuels the life of 'authentic' Christianity; it makes us view ourselves and others as we really are: fallen and redeemed creatures who bear God's image.

Grace breaks down our own pride. We can see the needs of others above our own.
Grace allows us to forgive. When we hear of sins people have committed (wheter against us or not), we will not demand just recompense. We also can share or sins or difficulties with others and hope they too can forgive us and show grace to us in our own time of need (which is all the time).
Grace forces us to seek God. It originated with God, and it continues with him forever.