As we head to church this morning, or go on vacation, maybe frustrated that the line at starbucks is too long, or that you might run into that weird dude in the church lobby, let’s set our mind to prayer for the church across the globe.
And maybe think about our western sensibilities and what it would look like to have a kingdom strategy and commitment to Jesus. Having Jesus as our all because we have nothing else…
The last Friday of August is upon us and you are craving something worthwhile to read heading into the weekend. And just two bits from me today since I am in a hurry to get to the local library book sale!
First out of the gate is a lengthy piece from Matthew Anderson on pornography and the roots below it. “How Pornography Makes Us Less Human and Less Humane.” While Anderson’s piece is full, extremely long and you must be committed to finish it on a device, Andrew Wilson has clipped the most insightful piece. It comes down to curiositas.
You choose what to read depending on how much time you have!
Next up is An Open Letter to Pastors about teens in their congregations. While I agree with what I read I wonder if it would be more fair to make and open letter to parents of teens in a congregation so they know what the pastor is getting at.
“The simple answers that were enough for us at a younger age aren’t enough now. We need solid theology and sound doctrine, the kind of teaching that acknowledges real difficulties and gives biblical answers to them. We need an apologetic that engages both the heart and the mind. And we need to know that asking these questions is not just okay, but necessary to the formation of a deeper faith…”
“…it’s important that we’re not constantly shuffled off to be only with people our own age. Youth groups have an important role, but that shouldn’t be the only way teens ever interact with the church. We need to be part of the whole church body, living and learning in vital community with the “mothers and fathers” as well as the younger “brothers and sisters” (1 Timothy 5:1–2).”
Give it a read yourself. Of course it is promoting the book Tranformed by Truth written by Forester who is a teen herself.
That’s it. Find some fun and some friends to share it with this weekend. And go to church!
This week I am struck afresh by the call of believers to pursue reconciliation. Now we are not given a task by God to earn salvation or even an increased measure of favor, but rather because we have first been reconciled. We love because we have been loved.
It is a glorious order of operation for all of life. We are free to live with mercy, grace, and a starkly unique care for others, no matter how far from deserving it they are. All because we were further from it than them yet Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.
Still it is a regular occurrence that I want to cling to my displeasure with people over the invitation to surrender that to Jesus. Living days on end like my grudge is all I have to hold onto. To that tendency Jesus gently reminds us through his word and the community of believers that he is what we have to hold onto and he is far better than any grudge or revenge I could cook up.
When I want to “get even” the Spirit says that Jesus already has, he has balanced the scales for our good and his glory.
Now we walk that out. Living to build bridges. To love the least. To love the unlovely. Because we have been loved. Because we have been reconciled. Because we have been brought in.
Last week at our Men’s Theology group I shared my story and how I came to faith in Jesus. Part of that story was me arriving at my lowest after many failed attempts at success and fulfillment. Exhausted and drained I had a conversation with God about my desire to try him, to give over myself to his way and purpose.
This morning I was reflecting back on that story and the ride it has been since. But I was stirred to think about that act of surrender some 15+ years ago and how following Jesus has been a consistent invitation back to that posture, surrendering myself to Christ. Surrendering the idols I still wrestle with. Surrendering aspirations to greatness and popularity. Surrendering the ways I have have elevated self over others and God.
Each and every day discipleship with Jesus is saying “I am relying on you again, I give myself over to your way and purpose.”
As I was reflecting I found myself surrendering again not to gain grace but because Jesus has already poured out his grace upon me. For all of life. May we endeavor to live daily surrender for the glory of Christ!