You desperately want a name – an authentic, unique-to-you name. You cannot help but long for this – it is an innate need. Middle-school classmates are typically not kind enough nor wise enough to see underneath and call you who you really are. When they misname you or abusively name you, you try to make a name for yourself. But naming ourselves never works because we cannot get under all the masks either. We are too close and too afraid to name the core of ourselves.
For us today, perhaps the most poignantly practical image is the dwelling that God has established through His Spirit in us. No longer are we seeking a Tabernacle or Temple. Instead, this is a very real presence that the Bible lays out as the foundation of every other aspect of our transformed identities.
"...through our willingness to face our own brokenness we come face to face with the dark and disruptive grace of God."
Hear a summary of one of O'Connor's short stories and why it's a good read to consider.
Resolution season is under way, and there is likely a spike in Bible reading plan commitments... As you turn to God’s Word this year, perhaps the commitment should not be increased quantity but increased quality.
Thanksgiving means our nation has, in general, taken a week off singing alongside Ariel, “I want more!” (my daughter loves princess songs, so the lyrics are fresh!) and, instead, we have given an intentional look at the gifts we have stacked up in our little treasure troves; we took a break from the “who cares, no big deal” attitude and have acknowledged the presence of grace in our lives.
That is the primer: acknowledging the existence of grace.
The point being: there is always a value associated with something that is lost, and the more something is valued, the more its loss is felt.
In Luke 15, Jesus told three parables about lost things: a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son.
In various forms, time is spent directing attention toward the upcoming event so that the numerous pressures and distractions are not able to steal focus. The consistent efforts to focus display a respect for the upcoming event. I would also say preparation time admits a natural struggle to be fully engaged. If it is so necessary to set aside time to get the mind right before regular sporting events, how much more of a priority should it be before the activities that feed our heart and soul?
Why would we be putting a blog together when there are so many other incredibly wonderful options already out there? Are we trying to be hip and up to par with the Christian culture? No, that's not it. Are we aiming to be noticed and made famous? No, neither of us have the face for that. Is it because we have a wisdom that no one else has and we feel we must share it with the world? No. Well, that's not quite it.
As pastors, our desire is to instruct and minister to the members of our church in such a way that they are actually equipped to serve others with the grace and love of Jesus.