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Loose Lips and Devoted Life

Imagine lips being loosed and boldly proclaiming Jesus the Christ crucified for sin-your sin, bearing it in your place. You hear that you must repent. You must turn from your evil ways. You must be saved and Jesus is the only one who can do it and you just killed him. An unjustified death at your hands. You are taken through history. You are shown without apology that Jesus is the Messiah. He is the promised One. He laid His life down on His own initiative for your sake to bring those far away and screaming “crucify Him!” near to God.

Imagine there are people from all over the world gathered in your city and much to your shock there are people speaking in the native tongue of all these tribes, tongues, and nations that surround you that shouldn’t be able to speak like that.
Imagine that you are cut to the quick and all you can do is repent and follow Jesus the one who was promised and you crucified. You’ve heard reports that he appeared to many. You doubted, but no more. You were standing there with your sin, your treason, and your Messiah-killing straight up in your face. You cannot escape what the Holy Spirit came to to do: convict, convince and empower you to follow Jesus.

This isn’t just an emotional and mental response. This is beyond you. You were dead, but now you are alive. You were blind, but now you can see. You were rescued and your whole mind, heart, affections, and allegiances changed in one fell swoop.

And so the Church was born.

You became a people, both Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, young and old. There was extreme devotion. You know, the radical, inconceivable, odd, and utterly faithful kind of devotion. You were compelled to devote yourself to the Apostles teaching. You and your people, this new community couldn’t help yourselves; you hung onto every word. You examined and talked and praised and longed and loved and held tightly to every word. And, together, you believed it, trusted it, and did what that teaching demanded. And you did it freely and gladly whatever it cost. You were entirely devoted to each other. Rich, poor, young , old, Jew, foreigner, slave, free man, male, female, it didn’t matter; you were of one heart and of one mind, fully, completely following Jesus because of what He had done and His promise to return. You were one new man. Nobody had anything he kept to himself. You shared everything. It was incredible. There were no needs among this new man, this new community of Jesus followers. You went from house to house eating together and sitting under teaching together. Those outside of that community were in awe. It was crazy. They saw your deep devotion to this Jesus, to his teachings, and to each other ,so they marveled at the kind of love and devotion they witnessed, and they began to repent and believe as well. You looked around and it seemed like this thing could not be contained. Together you prayed day and night. You all knew you were utterly dependent on the grace of God poured out on you through His crucified and risen Son and through the helper who was promised, God the Holy Spirit who seemed to be opening mouth after mouth in gospel proclamation and warning, and opening heart after heart to believe and be saved and added to this deeply devoted community.

The Church was wild and untamed because the Holy Spirit blew wherever He wished causing people to be born again to a living hope.
The Church was marked by deep and abiding devotion to the Apostles teaching, to one another (radical self-sacrificing love), and to prayer.

Jesus followers were following Jesus together in real and tangible ways. This was not a mere emotional or mental assent. This was the result of the dead made alive, of the old made new, of those far off brought near to God and near to one another.
It was not without cost though. You saw emboldened, gospel-proclaiming friends stoned. You saw family members dragged off and flogged. Several in your community were in prison. Yet, people’s souls were being added, and those flogged, imprisoned, and stoned were rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer for the Lord Jesus who was crucified and raised. This was deep devotion not born of man but of God.

But wait,you don’t have to imagine. This is not dream. This is recorded for us. The Holy Spirit was promised. As Jesus ascended into heaven He told his disciples that He would be with them to the end of the age and that they would be his witnesses in Jerusalem, and Judea, and Samaria and throughout the whole earth.

God the Spirit is still loosening the lips of people to speak the good news and warn people to repent and follow the crucified and risen Jesus. And through that proclamation hearts are still being cut to the quick and producing deeply devoted Jesus followers.
This, my friends, is what gives me confidence to keep speaking the truth. I cannot stop proclaiming the truth to my children. I know what the Gospel promises to produce. I have no power to save them-the gospel does. This is why I will keep telling it when I sit on the porch, walk around the neighborhood, or sit at the table over coffee. It’s why I am unfazed by the gangster rap blaring and people twerking in the yard, beer in hand. I ain’t got the power, but the gospel has the power. It’s why I want to connect my neighbors to the church. It is why serving a meal, teaching some math, playing some educational games, and playing tag with the kids in CTKC’s Wednesday children’s ministry is good, but not enough. It is why we proclaim the gospel week in and week out. It is why I stick with my church when things aren’t going my way, because I am hearing the gospel proclaimed and taught week after week. I trust that God will make a name for Himself as He faithfully builds His Church. It won’t be stopped. It can’t be stopped. Not the true Church, anyway. The institutionalized Church, the people who play church as long as it is safe and comfortable, and easy and inclusive; that won’t last. But the Spirit-born, deeply-devoted people of God will. Because they belong to God and He will do it. The gates of hell will not prevail against it. And people from every tribe, tongue, and nation will continue to be added to it. Why? Because He said so.

So, there is no way I am going to keep my mouth shut, my door closed, and my table empty when there are stories like the above in the Bible. No way! He has created a whole new man and He isn’t done. There are men, women, and children in Kenosha who are His and He is going to use His deeply-devoted people to call them out. I don’t see it vaguely. These are not faceless, nameless sheep. They are the men next door, the lady across the street, the whole street a block or two away swarming with children that I play with, listen to them sing , tell their stories, and watch their dance routines. They are the people I cry with, and laugh with, and drink really sickening sweetened coffee with. These are the children who come to church with me every Wednesday evening: faces, names, real souls. Some of these faces may have their names written in the Lamb’s book of life. I know they will hear their shepherd’s voice when he calls, and he just might call them through me. And it won’t be a vague calling. It will be a deep, abiding, and radical, life-transforming, devoted call to Jesus, the crucified and risen Savior.

No need to imagine it. Live it. Because the same Holy Spirit alive and active then, is alive and active now. The one new man He was building then, He is building now. And He is still doing it through the preaching of repentance and faith in the crucified and risen Jesus.

He is still loosening lips and freeing hearts and making them deeply and radically devoted to Him.

 

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Posted by on October 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Words:What’s the Big Deal?

Sitting around the dining room table late one night , which is the place many conversations happen, words became the topic of the night.

What’s the big deal about this word?

What’s the big deal about that word?

Do your words really matter?

When you reach parenting children in the teen years you think that the late nights are over …. you are wrong. Dead wrong.

If you think, dear sister, that later in life parenting is going to be easy because you are no longer elbow deep in diaper changing and you no longer spend half your days disciplining a toddler, you are wrong. Dead wrong.

If you think that if you are faithful and parent well now in the little years means you will breeze through parenting later….well, it definitely builds a firm and lasting foundation that is a fruit of faithfulness (it’s a good fruit that you should desire),but there is no breezing through it. Sorry!

You will be in this sort of delightful, crazy, sanctifying, bitter-sweet parenting haze. But, don’t worry, God’s word gives clarity!

I have great kids who are also sinners. They are young. They are human. They live in a confusing world.

Parenting can get a little wild.

You need Jesus.

You need gospel.

You need God’s word close at hand, embedded deep in your heart,and to have it flowing out into your life screaming, “This is life, this is truth, this is the only way.”

So words, what’s the big deal?

Instead of getting into a list of words and why we can or cannot say them, we zeroed in on, do words matter to God ? And what do words accomplish? What is their purpose?

Words expose.

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45

The lips of the wise spread knowledge;not so the hearts of fools Proverbs 15:7

 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.  For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.  If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.  Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.  So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life,and set on fire by hell.For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind,  but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.  From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.  Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?  Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. James 4:1-12

What we say tells a lot about us. Words do not just slip out. Words reveal our hearts. Words expose us for who we are.

Words are judged.

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Matthew 12:36-37

This is a reality. God isn’t playing around. He isn’t joking. He never says later,”Now, now, I’m not really going to judge your words, I was just trying to freak you out.” This should drive us to Jesus. This should make people who are born by the Spirit and made new creations,cling tightly to the finished work of Jesus on the cross,and confess and repent quickly and consistently. It should have a purifying effect as we are being molded and shaped into the image of Jesus. We should see our words reflecting hearts that are being transformed by the renewing of our mind in Christ.

Words have an effect.

 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

A soft answer turns away wrath,but a harsh word stirs up anger Proverbs 15:1

A gentle tongue is a tree of life ,but perverseness in it breaks the spirit Proverbs 15:4

 Our words are clearly meant to influence and affect those around us.

We should be asking what effect do my words have?

How are they influencing others to think and live?

Was what I said useful?

Did my words give clarity to a situation?

Who or what do my words point to?

Remember that all things are lawful, but not all things are profitable.

If my words just benefit me and help me feel a certain way or be satisfied with the way I express myself, then did I really use my words in the way God has intended?

So, we did not give our teenagers a bunch of “good” words and “bad” words.

Here’s the barometer we asked them to use.

Do my words reflect the fruit of the Spirit?

When I speak am I seeing growth in patience? Love? Kindness?

Are my words faithful?

Do they reflect self-control?

Is joy being expressed?

Are my words gentle/useful?

Are they words that bring or reflect peace?

Then conviction came raining down.

I had to take a good hard look at myself. My words can be loose-careless. My words can be hurtful. My words can be unloving. They have often had a tone of impatience and a sense of agitation. My words at times have been too many.

Motherhood is sanctifying.

The gospel -the good news that Jesus died to save His people from their sins is precious.

My words matter.

Our words are a big deal.

Our Savior is a bigger deal.

His grace is greater than our sin. Hallelujah!

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you,Oh Lord!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

The Straight Up Gospel

We hopped in the van and I turned the ignition as I whispered up a quiet prayer, “Lord, help me. She is hearing voices in her head and I am clueless.”

All I could do is what I know. And what do I know? That this woman, whatever the issues of the mind, whatever the matters of medication that need to be attended to, there is the  matter of the heart. I know she needs more than the psychotropic drugs we were quickly going to “Crisis” to get.  So, with permission, I literally laid hands on her to pray.

“God, deliver her. Deliver her from the evil one. God, do your saving work and transfer her from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of light. Give her eyes to see and ears to hear, that she might repent and turn to your Son, whom you were pleased to send and crush and pour out your wrath on, so that she might be rescued from her sin and from your judgement. Put her in her right mind according to your mercy.”

We got her meds, went home, and were done.

Nothing happened to her, there was no miraculous mystical thing that happened. Merely, I became even more resolved to lovingly and clearly speak the gospel and not hold back. This woman or any other human being on the face of the planet will not be truly set free by anything but the gospel. The real, full, true gospel in all it’s glory and splendor. It alone is the power of God to salvation.

If I want to see the woman with voices in her head set free, then it is clear that the answer is to plead with God that he would do His saving, kingdom transferring, life giving work, and proclaim with my mouth the good news that though we are separated from God and under his judgement waiting for His just wrath to be poured out, in love God sent His only Son so that those who believe would not perish in sin, but rather have eternal life through Jesus our great Rescuer! That is far better than a great therapist, a few drugs, a good self image, or getting our own way!

I am resolved to speak a full and clear gospel and pray in humble dependence on the only one who  has the power to cast both body and soul into hell.

I am merely the rescued pointing to the one who rescued me.

The good news is that Jesus whom God raised from the dead rescues us from the wrath of God to come.

No need to sugar coat it.

“A false or even an incomplete gospel is like a sugar pill. It might fool the patient into thinking he will get better, but it doesn’t have the power to cure him.” -Church in Hard Places

 

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Gimme That Truth For The Body

Oh Lord!Gimme that God Almighty
That good old Gospel
That old school doctrine
Oh Lord!
Gimme that truth for the body
Ain’t nothing new about it
But it’s still full of power

Sound doctrine is essential. Paul is pretty serious about it in his letter to Titus. It matters to God. He has revealed truth to us about Himself and we must heed it and we must teach it to others.

I have seen and continue to see the devastating effects of false teaching.

And I’ve seen the mind numbing, soul harming effects of really fluffy nicety-nice, watered down, sugar coated Bible teaching.

It does not create Christians who take up their cross daily and follow him.

It does not cause Christians to persevere when the going gets tough.

It creates weak missionaries at best.

It is why we look outside our own front doors and yawn as we see our neighbors dying in their sins.

It is why right now, there are professing Christians, who are speaking out against the Nashville Statement. Seriously. Church after church. Completely vacating God’s design and good gift of sex.  Churches are throwing out verse after verse, or simply reinterpreting them because they seem to tired and old and irrelevant. It is happening folks. We want to be inclusive, so we water down God’s word. No need for repentance or to die to self. We see no real need for the ministry of reconciliation, but rather want to be considered relevant and inclusive. God have mercy!

It is what causes us to want to be “real” or be seen as “authentic” to our brothers and sisters in Christ, but be unwilling to put the death the deeds of the flesh through the power of the Holy Spirit. Why? Because we have no idea what it means to walk according to the Spirit so that we do not carry out the desires of the flesh.

We grow weary of speaking that good old gospel, that old school doctrine that is still full of power, because we really don’t believe God in His sovereign goodness uses His word to bring people to the knowledge of His Son and salvation.  The doctrine of salvation – the redemptive, radical, regenerating work of our sovereign triune God gets dumbed down, added to, and completely missed because we are trying so hard to make it palatable, because we do not truly have hope that there are sheep that will hear his voice and come to Him. We miss the gospel and take away it’s power.

We don’t know our God-given,God glorifying roles because we do hermenuetical gymnastics to get around them.

Sex is just sex and we really could care less what God has to say about it all in the name of love. But wait-whose version of love?

I want to be a real disciple who makes real disciples. Doing that is a radical outworking of God in a person’s life, but it does mean I live and teach the little I do know and as I press into God through His word and grow in the grace and knowledge of my Lord Jesus Christ, I continue to teach and live out what I grow in. I guess I know today’s problems are not new or Paul wouldn’t have been talking about them so long ago.  There have been statements, like the Nashville Statement, drawn up in the history of the church,borne from very real error creeping into the church in ages past.

This is why even in the small ministry we have at our church that reaches the children of families in a particular materially poor part of our city, we are emphasizing God’s word. We are planning to teach it from beginning to end, always pointing to Jesus and His saving work. I’m so grateful that our church uses The Gospel Project as we disciple children on Sunday mornings, and that we are now able to use it to make disciples of children we are reaching out to during the week in the neighborhoods as well. We want to be more than a community center. We want to be a gospel community who lives and breathes gospel into the families we have contact with through this ministry. Word-driven, Jesus Spotlighting, Gospel-centered ministry, that gets children deeply connected to a church that teaches God’s word.

 

I am grateful to sit under the word not watered down, but rightly divided.  That, my friends, is grace. That is love. That is what we all need. It is what leads us to salvation and transforms us from the inside out no matter who we are or where we are from. It is changing me-shaping me.

Oh Lord!Gimme that God Almighty
That good old Gospel
That old school doctrine
Oh Lord!
Gimme that truth for the body
Ain’t nothing new about it
But it’s still full of power

2 Timothy 3:15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

2 Timothy 3:1-7 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Let Them Consider

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord. Psalm 107:43

Psalm 107 has been a precious balm to my soul this week.

It starts out: Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed out of trouble….

Then it ends with the above in verse 43.

In between there are all these sweet words about his people:

He delivered them.

He led them.

He satisfies.

He fills with good things.

He brought them out.

He healed them.

He brought them to.

He raises up the needy.

And this phrase comes up 6 times- “His steadfast love.”

In each section before all these phrases is a description of a deep need of some sort.  There is distress, sin, fear, hardship. They humbly call on the LORD and then the LORD responds according to His steadfast love.

How did this Psalm that I have been dwelling on all week affect my considering when……..

Yesterday I walked in the door from work and I immediately needed to discipline a toddler pretty much literally all afternoon. A discussion with my older children was going so well, I called my husband telling him that he would need to enroll them all in public school this year, as I was unwilling to home-school any of his children this year. I proceeded to fall apart crying.  I very acutely felt my selfishness, my sin, and my weakness.  I had a lot to consider.

I had responded to, “I hope you are not reading our history lessons out loud to us this year because you read like a Kindermusik teacher and it is so annoying” with, “Well, you’re annoying, so…”

This oh-so-annoying Kindermusik educator lost her temper, her mind, and any sense of who my God is and what He is calling me to be.

I was not considering the steadfast love of the Lord.

I had to take my mother somewhere so I left, and when I got home I stayed outside for a little bit because at that moment I was more willing to sit with people who are completely outside of their minds outside of my house, than the ones inside who needed me to confront the flesh that was rearing it’s ugly head and put it to death in His grace. I knew I needed to humbly seek forgiveness from them, and confess my sin before the Lord who would faithfully and justly forgive me because I have been bought with a price. I had to confess that I, in fact, have been bought with a price and I am not my own, but belong to the Lord. I needed to see this as a redemptive, sanctifying moment. God was chiseling away at me to conform me to the image of His Son , and I didn’t want to waste it.

God drew me in as I remembered this Psalm.

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

Let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

Let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

Let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

I cried out, He answered me.

This oh-so-annoying Kindermusik educator is still going to teach her kids, lovingly discipline her toddler, and make disciples in and out of my home, because the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases and His mercies never come to an end – let the redeemed of the LORD say so.

I’m still considering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Our Own Front Door

The moment we step outside of our front door we encounter our broken world. I cannot hide it from my children. Even if our children never saw a news report, even if none of them went to a public government run school, they step out on the porch and….BAM! Babylon…er…uh… Kenosha. People. “The world”…as the Bible puts it. Philosophies- systems of belief lived out on the front porch. People ruled by the Prince of the power of the air. Those who lie in lap of Satan, lulled to sleep by his eloquent lies, living in the dark, and so accustomed to it that it doesn’t appear dark anymore. It is all so ….. normal.https://ak8.picdn.net/shutterstock/videos/20460751/thumb/11.jpg?i10c=img.resize(height:160)

We wave to the tall man with the perfect complexion, wearing hot pink pants, a belly shirt, and a long blond wig. We encounter for the 5th time today the drug addict who lives next door who asks for money saying she is homeless and 7 months pregnant. “You live next door”, we say. “You’ve been 7 months  along for a while now, so, no, but you can come in and eat with us if you are hungry.” She nods her head and walks away. She will be back later.

Someone yells from across the street, profanities follow, but it is friendly. Just checking in and looking out for us. “Are you okay? Do you need me to come up over there?  Don’t be givin’ people no money…I told you!” I reply, “Yes, Ma’am.” We exchange smiles. The kids shriek with delight because our friend’s grandkids are out. “Come on over!” she yells. We cross the street, talk, laugh, watch. She yells at the gentlemen on the porch across from us to stop peeing off the porch in front of the children. Why they won’t simply open their door and go inside, we will never know….

Life is sweet though. We walk around and friends are a-plenty. My children never lack for others to play with. We are warmly welcomed on to porches. It is such a warm community if you only just give it a minute. Summertime is such a good time in our neihgborhood.

But, it is in darkness; separated from the Son of light. And as those who have been reconciled to God through the death of His Son, as those who have been transferred from the domain of darkness into the Kingdom of His beloved Son, by no power or goodness of our own, we deeply desire to see our friends on the porches lovingly welcome us, our friend who begs for money or anything she can sell to get drugs, and the gentlemen in hot pink pants to be reconciled to God, themselves, others, and the rest of creation through the power of the gospel of Jesus the Christ! poverty-model-imageWe must proclaim Jesus and not ourselves. We must be servants to them for His name’s sake. We have been given this ministry of peacemaking by God Himself. The reconciled must reconcile!
2 Corinthians 5 has given us our marching orders. We are controlled by the love of Christ because we believe that he died for our sins and that we have been reconciled through His blood by God himself and as He changes us from glory to glory to glory, He is reconciling us in relationship to those around us, to how we steward his creation, and to ourselves as we gain identity as kingdom citizens. So like in 2 Corinthians 4, we speak the truth plainly to those around us. That means preaching repentance, not soft-peddling the truth.https://i2.wp.com/www.revistaecclesia.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/biblia.jpg  And we love our neighbors as those who are actively and persistently loved by God. We partner with our church and are equipped through the word of God and in fellowship with others who are following Jesus and so put the gospel on display for all to see, so they know who this Jesus we follow really is.

We as ordinary people in a small town cannot do anything about what is happening in all parts of our world, but we can live our life as a follower of Jesus right where we are.

We can live in the light and train our children as we sit at the table and walk by the way…..around the neighborhood. We must be a holy people, distinct in how we live and what we believe. We are a people set apart. We cannot look out at our neighbors and say that darkness is okay and everybody can be whoever they want to. But we can look out and see people who, just like us, need to be at peace with God, with others, with themselves, and with creation. We must lovingly point them to the Savior, whatever it costs. We must warn them of God’s impending wrath and how they must run to Jesus who alone can save us from that wrath, all the while sitting with them, eating with them, and opening the door every time someone knocks.https://i2.wp.com/physicalculturist.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/handshake.jpg

We might not always say or do what they want, but they will know that there is a place at our table, room on our porch, and desire in our heart for their good.

With all of creation I join in on the groaning and longing for the completion of God’s saving work, but until that day, we must teach, preach, and reach out with our very own hands to those who are sleeping in the dark, so that they might through the power of the gospel wake up!

So, controlled by love, equipped through the Word, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we enter another day, another season, with our front door open, an extra spot at the table, room on our porch, and desire in our heart, to be the reconciled who reconcile.

We can’t change the world, but as an ordinary family, living an ordinary life, we can be faithful to follow Jesus in our little part of the world in our front yard.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

What Does My Table Look Like?

Charlottesville.

Racism. White supremacy.

Protests.

Violence.

Statues.

Constitution.

History.

BLM.

Antifa.

These are all words being thrown around all over the news and internet. It is not new. The race discussion has been on the table for a long time….but at whose table?

I am angered. Outraged, Horrified. The events in Charlottesville were wrong. It is an affront to Jesus, whom I follow. It goes against God’s word. It is anti-gospel.

Now, I can spread my outrage here on the internet, like I am now. But how are we going to start living out the gospel and changing and promoting change? I can echo what others have already said.

“It starts with our families.”

“It starts in our own churches.”

“It starts with me.”

So my husband and I have been discussing around the dining room table, “What does that look like?”

We are starting with what does our table look like?

What discussions are brought there and with whom?

Who do we closely associate with?

Who do we live in close gospel community with?

Who do we warmly welcome into deep gospel fellowship?

Who eats at our table?

Who are we serving alongside in church?

How are our discussions turned toward gospel reconciliation between races and classes?
Do we even discuss it?

More than that, do we live it out as an example in faith for our brothers and sisters and children to see.

Are our shepherds equipping us from God’s word in this and then showing us by their lives how to do it?

We thought about our oldest son. We had many discussions preparing him for public high school. I mean, we have been theologizing, catechizing, drilling biblical truth into our children since birth, if you will – preparing them to think biblically. When it came to our oldest entering public school, we talked even more intentionally about creation, sexuality, technology, and other worldly philosophies he would need to recognize and think through, and we continue to do so. But, you know what we didn’t really discuss? Racism. White Supremacy. Neo nazi’s. That’s right. We didn’t prepare him to recognize racist rhetoric, or tell him how to respond or how to gospelly think and stand up for those whom that rhetoric targets. Why? Because we didn’t really think it would be an issue. Because we are white and privileged and didn’t think too much of it (even though we love and are part of a neighborhood filled with mostly minorities). Until…..the boy came home with stories. And to our great delight, our son was angry, and ready to fight. But, what it taught us is that we need to be intentional in our gospel/Bible teaching in this area as well. Because where there are humans, there is sin, and since sin came into the world there has been hostility and hate and arrogance against people different then us.

So what discussion do we bring to the table? How do we bring theology to bear in our own children’s lives around the table about Imago Dei? Do we talk about the wall of hostility being broken down through the death and resurrection of Jesus around our dinner table? Do they see it in our lives, in our ministry, in our actions? Are we giving them an example to follow?

You see, my family will never have political clout or major cultural influence. We are average. We live in a small city. We are members of a small church. We play a small, but super sweet role in that small church…where we can easily be replaced. We work unimportant jobs where we can for sure be easily replaced. So, people, we are NOT going to crusade and change the world and rid it of all it’s injustices. We don’t hold that kind of talent, personality, or influence. We will have to trust God to do that on the last day.

But, my table can change.

Here are a few links to some articles that have really helped me in my thinking the past few days.
http://www.albertmohler.com/2017/08/13/letter-berlin-lessons-history-heresy-racial-superiority/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/08/14/russell-moore-white-supremacy-angers-jesus-but-does-it-anger-his-church/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/08/14/russell-moore-white-supremacy-angers-jesus-but-does-it-anger-his-church/

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2017 in Uncategorized