Posts tagged christ.
Someone told me today that you can try to give as much grace as you can, but there comes a time when you have to say, “you need to get your shit together.” And I guess there might be some truth to that, but imagine if that’s what God said to me.
“Sorry Netanya, but you used up all my grace. I can’t give you anymore.”
Gosh. Thankful that His grace is never-ending, that He is molding me and transforming my heart, and always pulling me back into His goodness.
My job this summer has been such an unexpected blessing. I work for conference services at my university and during the summer my school basically turns into a hotel where groups and camps stay. Occasionally, we get a chance to talk to some of our clients and I’ve had some of the most interesting conversations about Christ, sin, culture, politics, religion, ect. It’s been such as good thing and I’m always surprised when it happens.
I was monitoring in the theater tonight for Worldview, and I started talking to a man about traveling, studying abroad, and my experience being an exchange student. He told me has also traveled most of his life and has met people from all over the world. We started talking about the differences between cultures, particulary French and American, and how Americans are more public about their personal lives while the French are more private. As we were talking about this, he began to tell me a story about a Russian girl at his church who told him that Americans just give their smiles away and it means nothing, but when Russians smile they are giving you their whole heart; a part of themselves. He explained to her that when Americans give a smile, we are acknowledging you as a fellow human being. In this moment they both shared a common understanding and respect of each other’s cultures. But the last thing he said was, “Isn’t it amazing that despite where we come from, we as Christians share a common foundation. And that’s Christ. Because we make an effort to understand each others’ cultures, we understand that forming those relationships will be different or slower-paced than we are used to, but the same goal is there for both of us. The goal is to share Christ.”
Such a thought-provoking statement, and one that stirred my heart and prayers for those sharing the gospel in foreign countries. The same need for Christ is there, and I pray that the Sprit will break down those cultural barriers so the truth can be proclaimed to all the nations.
I had a strange dream last night, an actually pretty morbid dream, but never the less it weighed on my heart this morning as I tried to piece together what it meant.
In my dream there was a killer in the town (I’ve probably been watching to many episodes of criminal minds) and he was reeking havoc. I saw him and saw what he looked like. I then ended up in this snowy clearing with huge trees all around. I was with a friend and we saw this frightened boy come up to us with blood all over his feet and ankles. I don’t remember how he was related to the killer but we grabbed him and packed snow around his feet. He was standing right in the middle of this forest and I asked him if I could pray for him. He said yes and I grabbed his hand and began to pray for him that the Holy Spirit would open his heart so that he would know Jesus. I prayed that he would realize that his sins were forgiven and as I was praying I saw three ornate crosses in front of me, flashing in a 3-D sort of way. And then the blood on the boys feet was washed away.
I don’t know why I had this dream or whether or not it was significant or just coincidence, but it reminded me that our sins have been washed away. We have been made white as snow. I think I’ve been fighting that lately. I’ve been bogged down with my sin, frustrated, and trying to fix me with me all the while forgetting that it is finished. I have been made new. My sin is never too much for Him. However strange this dream was, I pray that I be reminded of this every day.
“But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” -Isaiah 53:5
Can I rant for a second?
I’ve had a lot of frustrations lately and I think a lot of it has to deal with the Internet. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the Internet. I use it more than I should. I spend more time on facebook than reading or doing my homework, and helloooo…I’m on tumblr right now so that must give an indication of my love for it. But the problem I’m having with it lately is this idea that people have come so accustomed to communicating on the Internet that they feel like they can say anything they want because they can hide behind everything they post. It’s not a face-to-face conversation so there are no emotions, repercussions, or consequences to whatever they decide to say. Everything is a free for all. (And yes, I realize the irony right now as I communicate this to you on tumblr.)
I follow some artists on facebook and one happened to be a Christian artist. He posted some observation about the President singing Al Green. It was not a dis and he made that very clear, but people just started hammering on it. Spouting off Bible verses left and right, fighting over comments, hating on politicians and making all sorts of hateful statements. And in reading this, I just felt an overwhelming feeling of sadness. This is a group of Christians saying these things and you know what? We’re just like the world. We aren’t any different and that’s the saddest part. The other day my pastor said something that got me to thinking. He said something to the affect of “Do you see Christ in me? Does my daughter see Christ in me? Does my neighbors see Christ in me?’ Looking at these comments on that page, seeing Christians bashing on other Christians/churches on the Internet and arguing and bickering over politicians and whether they’re Christian or not, I don’t see Christ in that at all. And that’s what’s frustrating. Because when non-Christians see this, do you think they are going to want this? No, because it looks like something they already possess. This is man’s manipulated and falsely interpreted Jesus. And the Internet has only blown this to a whole other level; making it acceptable for anyone to say anything and everyone to see everything. It’s just a huge outlet for non-Christians to see the division and hate amongst the body of Christ. This isn’t how it should be.
God does not repay evil for evil, and thus the righteous should not do so either. No judgment, no abuse, but blessing…Blessing means laying one’s hand on someone and saying, despite everything, you belong to God.— Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Now I know that there are theological and political tensions and I don’t disregard the importance of discussing those matters at all, but in the end, does it really matter? I don’t think so. The point is Jesus. And apart from that, I don’t want anything else. Are these churches biblical, gospel-centered, and are people coming to know Jesus? If yes, then in the end that’s all I care about. As for politics, I got into that for a while and it left me bitter until God laid it on my heart that a politician’s campaign doesn’t define me, He does. So should you care about the issues? Should you know what’s going on in the world around you? Of course, yes. But just know all politicians are campaigning. That is their job. They are not going to solve the world’s problems or create peace. And bills passed in the Legislature won’t ultimately change society; you can’t legislate a nation into righteousness. What can change a nation is a powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit saturated and grounded in the gospel. This is where I am placing my hope.
“If God had perceived that our greatest need was economic, he would have sent an economist. If he had perceived that our greatest need was entertainment, he would have sent us a comedian or an artist. If God had perceived that our greatest need was political stability, he would have sent us a politician. If he had perceived that our greatest need was health, he would have sent us a doctor. But he perceived that our greatest need involved our sin, our alienation from him, our profound rebellion, our death; and he sent us a Savior. “ —D.A Carson
Jesus>Religion. Had to show this to y’all.
“Religion say do. Jesus says done. Religion says slave. Jesus says son. Religion puts you in bondage, while Jesus sets you free.” || G R A C E ||
Listening to a guy on a bus talking to another man about Jesus, urging him to find his identity in Him, and laying out the love and grace of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins.
Praying that God will bless this conversation. God is so good. Never stop sharing the good news!
The first day of the New Year. There are no resolutions, only an open heart allowing Jesus to change it in ways that brings more glory to Him. I’m coming off 2011 at the Resurgence Conference with conviction, but also such a feeling of redeeming love. He loves me. Every day He is changing my heart to look more like His and in that, there is such a feeling of freedom, joy, and desire to follow Him.