Saturday, October 22, 2011

Homeless and addicted to glue at age 10...

The stories are true.  The lives led by young boys in Kenya addicted to glue are 

unbelievable...

                     horrifying...

                                      heartbreaking...

But, God has laid claim to every part of his creation...including this. He is in the process of making all things new, bringing order to chaos and weaving together everything that has unraveled.

His redemptive work is on vivid display in the lives of these precious ones.



My friend Gabe Greenberg has answered God's call on his life 
to serve the least of these through his ministry to the street boys in Kenya.  




Gabe is donating his 26th birthday party to help raise awareness. 
Join him in his effort to support 16 of these boys 
 who have been rescued off the streets.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Just.write.



So this is my "I'm just going to start writing" post.

I've been stuck for several days now...wanting to write but having nothing to say. Is it really that I have nothing to say or am I just lacking the motivation, the desire to put sentences to paper?

Every day that has gone by I think "I will write".

                                                          something.

                                                                   anything.

                                                                          and.

                                                                                then.

                                                                                      nothing.

That's when God's grace broke in.  

A sumptuous bit of encouragement from a friend today.  We weren't talking about writing. We were talking about what makes each of us tick, what animates us and what excites us.  She very sweetly encouraged me by telling me how she enjoys what I write and believes God has gifted me to write.  

I walked out of her office very aware of God's kindness to me.  

And once again I am amazed at how God's kindness and love inspire and encourage and motivate me.  

The feeling of dread at the thought of "having" to get something on paper sent me the other direction.  

Instead... 

...it is with joy I type these few thoughts tonight; 

...it is with freedom I write; 

...it is my cheerful response to God's lavish and generous love for me.

Isn't it amazing to think that
the God of the universe cares about 
this little gathering of words 
suspended in a galaxy of sentences?  

"See how very much our Father loves us, 
for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!" 
1 John 3:1

Friday, October 7, 2011

Gospel Centered Life - Part 4


This is the final post in a four part series entitled Gospel Centered Life. 



Christ’s Finish 



Appropriately it is the last post and speaks of the finality of Christ's accomplishment on behalf of sinners like me and like you. Because Christ has set captives free we can take this freedom, this gospel and this liberty into our relationships and into every aspect of our lives. It will change our responses. Knowing the love and forgiveness Jesus has already given us changes everything. It has immeasurable practical application. It is not a list of to dos; it is a declaration of "it is done". Over. Jesus said "It is finished!".  You don’t have to do anything.






Listen to these gospel drenched words paraphrased from the pages of scripture:
Grace to you and peace from God your Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for your sins to deliver you from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. You have been crucified with me. It is no longer you who live, but I who lives in you. And the life you now live in the flesh you live by faith in me. I have loved you and I gave myself for you. In me you have redemption through my blood, the forgiveness of your trespasses, according to the riches of my grace. Through me you have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which you stand, and you can rejoice in hope of the glory of God. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. My love for you controls you. I love you and have freed you from your sins by my blood.Mark 9:13, Galatians 2:20-21, Galatians 1:3-4, Romans 5:2, Romans 6:14, 2 Corinthians 12:9, Ephesians 1:7, Revelation 1:5, 2 Cor 5:14-15 
The love of Christ controls us.  Not the law, not a list of moral obligations. Resting in all Christ has done on our behalf gives us freedom to live not for ourselves, but for others.  It compels us to love, realizing how much Jesus loves us. It strengthens us to give up, give in and lose for the sake of others. It gives us fuel to admit wrongdoing, humble ourselves and extend grace to others.

Shortly after God saved me twelve years ago I began to search the bible and books and sermons for answers on how to live this Christian life. I knew I was now different and I wept knowing God in Christ had forgiven me and he loved me. Not in a human way but in an eternal, never giving up way. But, I never really understood it was not somehow because of something good in me. So I set out to discover how I could get "gooder".



What are the things I must do now that I am "in" to keep me in good standing with God? I quickly became submersed in the "christian culture". I attended Bible study, sunday services and church committee meetings. I volunteered in missions, youth, sunday school and women's events. And while all those things are good, I believed [wrongly] that I was climbing rungs on a ladder - the stairway to heaven.





It has just been in this last year or so that God has shown me these marvelous truths – the truths about his love, and the welcome and forgiveness I have in Christ.  The stairway to heaven was never part of God's plan - Christ said it is finished - no more climbing!

It has changed everything - the way I view my marriage, my parenting, my employment, my church involvement. It's not that all things are perfect now, I am just quicker to remember that when I begin to feel frustrated, angry, disappointed, disrespected, unloved, guilty, self condemned or ashamed I remind myself that I am not the perfect one.  Christ is the Only Perfect One.  With all my wrinkles and imperfections and let's just say it - wicked, evil, rebellious and disobedient ways, God loves me as if I am perfect.  Christ is my perfection.

What does being gospel-centered look like?




Realizing there is nothing you have to do.

Rejoicing in the liberty and freedom of God’s grace

Resting in It is Finished!






(read Gospel Centered Life - Introduction, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Christ Hath Paid Thy Debt


Patrick Hamilton was Scotland's first Protestant martyr. He was executed because he decided to follow the teachings of Martin Luther that say we are justified by faith and not by works.

He was convicted, sentenced and burned at the stake on February 29, 1528 at the age of 25.

On the difference between the voice of the Law and the voice of the Gospel he wrote:

The Law saith to the sinner, ‘Pay thy debt.’
The Gospel saith, ‘Christ hath paid it;’

The Law saith, ‘Thou art a sinner, despair, thou shalt be damned.’
The Gospel saith, ‘Thy sins are forgiven thee. Be of good comfort, thou shalt be saved.’

The Law saith, ‘Make amends for thy sin.’

The Gospel saith, ‘Christ hath made it for thee.”

The Law saith, ‘The Father of Heaven is angry with thee.’
The Gospel saith, ‘Christ hath pacified Him with His blood.’

The Law saith, ‘Where is thy righteousness, goodness, and satisfaction?’

The Gospel saith, ‘Christ is thy righteousness, goodness and satisfaction.’

The Law saith, ‘Thou art bound and obliged unto me, to the devil, and to hell.’
The Gospel saith, ‘Christ hath delivered thee from them all.’


The winds of gospel freedom will always be refreshment for the weary soul!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Is Marriage for Keeps?

A good friend of mine was kind enough to connect me with the editor at a Christian publication and I was asked to write about marriage - the irony was not lost on me since I am definitely not an expert. Yes, I've been married a long time; 29 years to be exact. I am however, far from figuring out how to do it well. Most days I stumble through.

You can usually find me perched somewhere between guilt and pride.
I have talked to enough people to know that I am not alone.

If all my years of marriage have taught me anything, it's that marriage is hard. No amount of premarital counseling can protect you from the inevitable challenges you will face. But, no matter how hard it is, I believe marriage is for keeps.  Read Till Death Do Us Part.