Posts Tagged ‘Discipleship’

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The Gospel

June 13, 2011
The Gospel is not some pithy catch phrase to gloss over our lives and make them whitewashed with goodness.  The Gospel isn’t some bumper sticker we place on our car as we join a club.  Instead, the Gospel is an invading force of light that penetrates every pore of our being until we ourselves become light so all the world might see.  It is my greatest pursuit that more of Jesus live in me today than yesterday.  That is only made possible by the provision of the Gospel.  You see, I use to SAY I believe, like some still do, but then live our lives as if the Gospel has no power.  It doesn’t.  Not in a life that believes but doesn’t embrace.  One of the scariest verses in the Bible for me is James 2:19- “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.”  What is this faith then, that saves us?  It is the faith that chooses to allow Christ to transform us by HIS grace and not by our own attempts.  From death to life.  From darkness to light. From brokeness to wholeness.  From sinful to holy.  All made possible by the Gospel by which we live:  Christ lived perfect, died a sinner’s death, rose to life, and ascended into Heaven.  It’s simple… yet simply life altering.For me, the Gospel is everything.  It not only saves my soul from hell, but gives me everything I need for life and godliness.  When famine comes, it is my sustenance. When doubt comes, it is my truth. When fear comes, it is my peace.  I know that in the Gospel, I am nothing, but Christ in me is everything.  What a relief!  What a joy!  What a promise!

Sometimes I am scared at the reality of the Gospel.  As a believer I skim over the grotesque nature of sin so that I can live a comfortable life, not consumed with the depravity of others in order to penetrate my light in a way that will lead them away from darkness.  The questions we are faced with today with the ever-increasing wickedness around, the dissolution of morality, the severity of sickness and catastrophe;  I don’t have the answers for, so I often remain silent.  I excuse my responsibility by thinking “I don’t know the Bible enough, I don’t know their situation enough, I don’t want to damage our relationships.”

Well, the real only foolish thing is to remain silent on the one thing I do know.  Christ is life.  What that means in the places of sickness and poverty, I wish it could magically erase these devastations now (it will some day when Christ returns!).  But I am learning that the hope of the Gospel, the transforming nature of the Creator working in the lives of the believers; is available for anyone, even an awful sinner like me.  It’s not for the faint of heart, but for the brave.  It meets all of us where we are at and gives us the hope and purpose for it all … the good and the bad.  For the adventure He has me on takes me to uncomfortable places within my self and within the world.

The Gospel is not some pity catch phrase to gloss over our lives and make them whitewashed with goodness.  The Gospel is to die to myself so that others might live.  The Gospel gives me life… the Gospel is my life.  He died so I might live… and the life I live, I live by faith in Jesus Christ so others might live.  Yes, it’s sloppy.  No, I am not perfect.  But I desire to be changed from the inside out.  No whitewashed tomb here… just an overhaul in process…. thanks to the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Distracted

February 11, 2010

Distracted
This past week one of my spiritual mentors and friends, Pastor Gene, told me in a strict, but gentle voice, “You need to rest. You need to focus your energy within instead of without.” That same day I came home and my husband told me “You need to rest and focus your energy on taking care of your body and the baby growing in there.” Okay, Okay! I get it, Lord! I need to rest.

But there is so much to do! The baby’s clothes need to be washed and organized, the house needs to be tidy, the laundry folded, the taxes prepared, the groceries bought, people called, work prepared…. The list goes on and on.
Once again God draws me back to the story of Mary and Martha. You know the one. We have heard sermon after sermon on it. But the words in the story are guiding me into the depths of His spirit in a way uniquely more intimate than any time before.

As I re-read Luke 10:40, I discover another layer of truth hinged on one word. Luke writes, “But Martha was DISTRACTED with all the preparations that had to be made.” DISTRACTED? Why did he not use the word, “diligent” or “faithful”? Why did he not use the word “helpful” or “considerate”? Distracted. Distracted. That word convicts me. I don’t want to be distracted! I want to be diligent, faithful, helpful, and considerate!

It boils down to the bottom line: intimacy with Christ. Does he care that there is a rag sitting on the table on the porch? No. Not really. Is it honoring to take care of what He has given us? Of course! Yet, my question remains, “how, Lord? How can I be diligent and faithful to my responsibilities and not distracted?”

It’s the heart. It is the heart intimate with Christ that breaths His life into every activity. As we live IN the vine and not BESIDE the vine (John 15). So, I am not DISTRACTED with activity, but my activity is an outflow of attention to my relationship with the Lord.

What distracts you? Work deadlines? School papers? Kids’ schedules? Getting dinner on the table? Let us work diligently to sit at Jesus’ feet like Mary did. And Jesus said, “Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.” Then, the outflow of our hearts being knitting with His, will lead us in all diligence in faithfulness to complete the tasks HE has given us to do.  At the end, as we stand before His throne we can then say like Jesus, “I have glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work which You have given me to do.” (John 17:4)

Oh! How I don’t want to live a distracted life!