In Christ… you are adopted!

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Galatians 4:4-7 ESV)

We could talk of our adoption in Christ all day. What a joyous truth. We are sons and daughters, chosen, loved, redeemed and now heirs with Christ. We know it but we rarely live like it.

But it is true. It is beautiful. And it is important. We have a new identity because we have been adopted by God through the work of Christ for us. Hallelujah!

Adoption of children by loving families illustrate this reality with grace and significance. People choose adoption for any number of reasons but beyond our motivation it is a great picture of the love God has for us in Christ.

Yesterday, an adoption was made final. Our friends Andy and Sunita have been through a long process but now their son is theirs. Forever. Here is what they said of the event:

“Today was our adoption day and the tears keep flowing that it is done; that he is legally, forever ours; that this miraculous, beautiful boy who God has forged our hearts with cannot be taken away from us and we get to spend our lives offering back this perfect gift.”

What beauty. What grace.

In the same way, God forges our hearts with His through Christ. And we spend eternity with Him as our perfect gift. Rejoice in this today!

Giving up the Bink

Stacy and I have decided that it is time for our two-year-old to lose the pacifier. She has only been allowed to have it a nap and bed time but it has been amazing to me to watch her grow out of the need for her “bink.” She honestly knows nothing else. She has always had the bink to help her sleep and the first couple of nights were rough as she learned to sleep without it. But she is growing up and she doesn’t “need” the bink anymore.

This morning during devotions I was wondering what things I have added to my faith that act as my bink. While some outside of the faith would claim that Christ is a pacifier, I would agree only he is not just a pacifier but my breathe, my food, my shelter -he is more than momentary comfort, he is everything. But there  are things we tend to use as “pacifiers,” if we don’t have them all is wrong in the world. It could be music style, Bible translation, just the right books, the right technology or the right people for us to be around and doing our faith with.

As I hear in my mind little Iona crying “I need my bink…” I can’t help ponder what things I “need” for life that are simply not of value or worth maintaining. Maybe I need to recognize areas where I should grow up a bit.

Response in Sermon Prep

Today I am preaching to my class on Romans 9:1-3. It is a challenging text as Paul laments over the lost of Israel. Today the sermon is tailored to a group of 10 seminarians pursuing ministry. Later this summer I will preach from the text again to a congregation bringing hope to their part of the city in what should be a much different sermon.

But on thing I have learned well from my preaching class is to respond to scripture throughout the preparation. For so long I would look for how God wanted to challenge those I was preaching to. And while this is still vital – I have learned to first answer how God is challenging me through the text and then respond to that.

On this text I am challenge to be truly sorrowful over those rejecting Christ. It is far to easy to become comfortable in our Christian bubbles (and I know that believers need to constantly hear the gospel) but how often do we have compassion for those outside of Christ? Our neighbors, those punk kids on the street, the dying old man in the hospital, our own family.

I have determined to live my life proclaim the gospel because it has been transforming who I am and now I recognize that I long for others to experience that transformation as well, more than ever.

Whether my sermon is a flop or success today I know that the text has challenged me to live differently in light of it. And I pray that others might be challenged too.