Archive | grace RSS feed for this section

Some notes on Grace

6 Dec

Billy Graham’s grandson, Tullian Tchividjan, speaks on grace. His hope-filled words are phenomenally powerful and resonate deeply with my feelings on church and ‘Christianity’ today.
Have a read…

If we’re not careful we can give people the impression that Christianity is first and foremost about the sacrifice we make for Jesus rather than the sacrifice Jesus made for us; our performance for him rather than his performance for us; our obedience for him rather than his obedience for us. – 

Furthermore, it seems that the good news of God’s grace has been tragically hijacked by an oppressive religious moralism that is all about rules, rules, and more rules;

Christianity is perceived as being a vehicle for good behavior and clean living and the judgments that result from them rather than the only recourse for those who have failed over and over again. But if anything, it is good news for bad people coping with their failure to be good. 

Eugene Peterson has wisely said that “discipleship is a process of paying more and more attention to God’s righteousness and less and less attention to our own.” The way many of us think about sanctification is, well, not very sanctified. In fact, it’s terribly narcissistic. We spend too much time thinking about how we’re doing, if we’re growing, whether we’re doing it right or not. We spend too much time pondering our spiritual failures and brooding over our spiritual successes. 

Preoccupation with our performance over Christ’s performance for us actually hinders spiritual growth because it makes us increasingly self-centered and morbidly introspective—the exact opposite of how the Bible describes what it means to be sanctified. Sanctification is forgetting about yourself.

As J. C. Kromsigt said, “The good seed cannot flourish when it is repeatedly dug up for the purpose of examining its growth.” Unless we go to the Bible to see Jesus and his work for us, even our devout Bible reading can become fuel for our own self-improvement plans, the place we go for the help we need to “conquer today’s challenges and take control of our lives.” 

The Bible is one long story of God meeting our rebellion with his rescue; our sin with his salvation; our failure with his favor; our guilt with his grace; our badness with his goodness.
the Bible is not first a recipe book for Christian living, but a revelation book of Jesus who is the answer to our unchristian living. 

Grace is thickly counter-intuitive. It feels risky and unfair. It turns everything that makes sense to us upside-down. It’s not rational. It offends our deepest sense of justice and rightness. It wrestles control out of our hands and destroys our safe, conditional world.

These are the main points I picked out from this valuable article – I was lazy and just literally ‘copied and pasted’ but I’m not arrogant or pretentious enough to think I could have put it any better myself.

You can read the whole interview here.

WE ARE NOT FINISHED

4 Sep

#2 in the series “Punch-Packing
Not my words but these echo 100% where I feel the Church is at in this day and age and what I am called to as a devoted, adoring follower of Jesus Christ.
The world so desperately needs us to ‘stand up and be counted’…
So – listen up!

I am deeply concerned that those who inherited freedom have lost sight of its high cost! I grieve over a gospel that is cloaked in benefits but requires no responsibility. Some bask in His victory while the nations continue to live in oppression, poverty, and despair.

I don’t doubt our victory nor do I question our great calling…but I wonder at lack of resolve that many Believers have to engage society at the level of their greatest pain and carve out a path through the snake invested jungle, carrying the weak to a place of safety.

We are not called to polish our armor or hold a Body-building contest! We have been left behind to transform the world. Contrary to popular opinion, Jesus said He was finished, He didn’t say we were!

When Paul spoke of his apostolic credentials he unleashed a list of beatings that would have scared Arnold Schwarzenegger. The very man that taught us about great grace was entrenched in a battle that scared his body and troubled his soul. Yet many Believers are convinced that we will tip toe through the tulips, or win the nations through some garden party.

Where are the women and men with radical faith and outrageous courage? When will the righteous reign and the demoniacs flee at the very sight of a child of the King? How long must we stumble through this darkness before we rise with wisdom that stuns the kings of this world? Who will step out from the crowd and dare to leave the cesspool of unrighteous living to embrace a life of purity?

These are the questions that plague my very soul. As for me, I wasn’t born to live near the sound of church bells…I was created to destroy the gates of hell! Are you ready to incite a revolution?

(K. Vallotton, senior associate leader at Bethel Church, Redding, CA)

I Am Not A Christian

20 Aug

Ha! Made you look!!

20130821-155452.jpg
I have just posted this status on my Facebook wall.

I have decided to turn my back on “Christianity”. Instead I want to stake my identity as a lover, a follower, a believer of Jesus Christ. I belong to a Kingdom not a religion. I was born to be free from rules, punishment and legalism. I was born to live free and help others come into the same freedom I live in. I am a Kingdom warrior, with a crown on my head that says “Princess”. I want to stand against the mediocrity, the lame staleness the church is so often known for. Folks, we were born for SO MUCH MORE than that. Following Jesus Christ no longer equals “being a Christian.” Wake up church….!!!

Every so often I feel the need to nail my colours to the mast, to be radical and controversial. This is a kind of follow-up to this post…

It makes me so angry LIVID to see and hear, time and time again, how the “church” is capable of misrepresenting Jesus Christ and His Kingdom and how much damage it has caused over the years centuries. How little, in fact, it even knows who Jesus is. It’s shocking, shameful, and saddens me deeply.

So yes.
I am on the warpath.
I’m not afraid to be a Rebel for the King!!

[polite and loving disclaimer: I will not engage in any theological, intellectual, mind-bending debates in this blog. While your opinions are valued and worthy of respect, this site is not a platform for lengthy, wordy, subtle arguments. If you want to discuss this, get yourself a blog and write your response to this on there – then post a link to it in the comments below! X]

God’s Not Finished With You Yet!

20 Feb

God Is Not Finished with Us by Rick Warren
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6 NIV)

We humans are great starters but often bad finishers. We leave unfinished symphonies, unfinished buildings, unfinished books, unfinished projects. We may not always finish what we start, but God always finishes what he starts.

God doesn’t create a bird and give him half a wing. He didn’t create an unfinished flower or an unfinished star. He puts the finishing touches on everything he does, and then he says, “It is good.”

The Bible says when Jesus Christ starts working in your life, he will complete what he started, in spite of the hang-ups, faults, bad decisions, sins, and circumstances that we face. One day, when we get to Heaven, we’re going to become just like Jesus, because we will see him as he is. And that’s the goal.

In the meantime, if we want to enjoy the people in our lives, we need to be patient with their progress. We must allow for their growth and development. Paul could say, “I’m not the man I used to be, thank God. But also, thank God, I’m not the man I’m going to be. I’m growing and changing.”

If you want to enjoy your marriage, you’ve got to learn to enjoy your husband or your wife right now while allowing for growth and development. Otherwise, by the time they meet your conditions, you will have still another condition for them to meet.

Parents, if you’re going to learn to enjoy your kids, you’ve got to learn to enjoy them in the process while they’re growing, because there is no such thing as a perfect kid.

And there’s no such thing as a perfect adult. If you demand perfection of the people in your life in order to enjoy them, you’re going to be miserable for the rest of your life. Nobody’s perfect.

Talk About It

– To whom do you need to show grace today, understanding that God is still working in his or her life, in his own time and his own way?

– Knowing Christ will finish what he started in you, what role do you think he wants you to play in your progress? What steps do you need to take toward spiritual growth?

A Good Day

28 Jul

This morning I made cards during a rare two1/2-hour window of blissful solitude…

I know, I probably shoulda been reading the Bible and praying, but my hands needed to create. And so did my brain!! And I feel so blessed, rested and fulfilled from that…
Ah. God knows me well. And He is so patient, graciously waiting His ‘turn’ when I should be putting Him first.

Somehow, making cards recharges my batteries.
…somebody please explain this to me??

Anyway. With Ben at nursery for the day, and my two eldest at Bible Club for the morning, I chose not to rush around and clean or do my grocery shopping, or cook; I also decided not to sleep; unusual for me…

And I think I made the right choice: somehow, I sense God’s approval.

So it’s been a Good Day.
Following my ‘me-time’, I picked Sam and Tom up from HBC, we went to McDonalds, and then we bought shoes ready for the new school term.
Then Sam had an hour of trampolining which afforded me some precious one-to-one with Tom.We picked Ben up, I cooked meatballs and then we all had baths; and I disappeared off to my pilates class while the babysitter put my boys to bed.

Yes. It was a Good Day

>Full of Earth, Stained with Dirt – but ‘Wholly Yours’

10 Jan

>

I listened to this breathtaking song again today, after not having heard it for a few months… and the beauty, power and truth of the lyrics really hit me, echoing everything that my heart has been feeling over the last week; so wisely putting into words this tension, this gap between the now and the not yet, the holy and the unholy, and the grace that bridges both: Jesus, becoming dirt, sin, human, and dying to clean my stains, and wash my sin away.

“I am full of earth. You are heaven’s worth. I am stained with dirt, prone to depravity. You are everything that is bright and clean, the antonym of me. You are divinity. But a certain sign of grace is this: from the broken earth flowers come up pushing through the dirt. (…) I want to be holy like You are. (…) The truest sign of grace is this: from wounded hands redemption fell down, liberating men. (…) And so this might could be the most impossible thing: your grandness in me, making me clean.(…) I am wholly yours…”

>2009 – Nothing but Christ

1 Jan

>

How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions?
You remember that list you made with optimistic enthusiasm but unrealistic expectations.
I suspect Paul only had one resolution on his list: “This year I resolve to know nothing but Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2)
Paul’s message is radically simple: Salvation is in Christ alone. What does this mean?
It’s not Christ plus your good behavior.
It’s not Christ plus the number of Bible verses you memorize.
It’s not Christ plus your tithe or the church you attend.
It’s not Christ plus wisdom from the latest Christian seminar.
It’s simply Christ plus nothing. Christ and Christ alone.
(© 2009 Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved.)
%d bloggers like this: