Life seems to be exploding all around me. Can you believe that February is near complete? It was a full on busy crazy I can’t remember putting my feet on the ground sort of month for me. How about you?
I don’t like those kind of days where grace is fleeting and connecting is less and less because you are meeting in moments that allow for a wave and a sigh and a see you soon, I hope. I need to connect with my people to feel grounded. It’s the reset that keeps us tethered and helps us thaw from the desensitization that being in the world, and trying not to be of the world, creates.
And when our worlds are rocked with death and dying and breaking and sickness and loss and negativity we feel a bankruptcy of the soul. A cheap grace builds in our day-to-day that limits the good news from being our confession and hinders us from imitating His Glory in the midst of our peopling.
But we are called to enter into a rest that is only found in following The Way. (John 14:6)
We are called to be imitators of grace-inheritors and glory-radiators. Especially in the dark that threatens to snuff out the light.
And we are called to pour into others in such a way that we are not just encouraging but discipling, not just praying but boldly proclaiming, not just believing but actively living out the good news that, Emmanuel, God with us, is also in us because of Jesus….because of the Cross… because of what He did… because of what He continues to do.
We are all called to hope.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.- Romans 15:13
And hope is a word that seems lofty and unreachable in our fractured and divided world, but it’s not because there is no hope or truth. The gospel is the good news that makes us brave enough to speak bold love right in the midst of turbulence and division.
And hope in the presence of good is exactly the message that needs to be heard.
Words and sentences and bold declarations authored by one of the greatest evangelists to ever preach Jesus in the last century have been crossing my screens on repeat over the last two days. Waves of wisdom pouring over us again and again with the message of hope amplified by deep and powerful faith compels me to keep listening, to keep looking and gathering grace like it’s a commodity; one more nugget of wisdom, one more faith-seed to plant and harvest, one more profound truth
I have found myself weeping over each video that plays, resurrecting moments of philanthropic grace multiplied by a deep and abounding love that I know was planted by God. Not because a man lived a life and is now called on to glory, I am sad for his children to have to say goodbye to him and his family to wander through the grief of his address changing.No, these are the tears of conviction and of longing, emotion evoked by desire to have even a measure of a faith like his. A faith fully-lived life on fire for God…not wasted in wanting what was never his and not longing for the world’s accolade but diligently pursuing God every single day.
It’s this kind of faith we are called to.
The real faith that is filled with a believing-hope in an unseen truth, trusting fully in a powerful and holy God that meets us where we are and crosses the great divide to reach us because He loves us. It is the faith that propels people to suffer with Christ knowing that greater things are a result, hope is the byproduct and the inheritance which can never be lost or depleted.
And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom He justified he also glorified.”-Romans 8:30
What is my life if it is not wholly lived for Christ?
I am convinced that losing myself to gain more of Christ is perhaps the single most necessary thing I am called to. It is not just a necessity, to be armed against the onslaught of the world’s ways, but it is a must to be able to love on a world that would rather hate and hurt rather than heal and hope for good.
My son entered college this semester. I prayed for 2 whole months before he set foot on campus, before he even fully decided to make the choice to apply. Then when the wheels started rolling, I found myself knee-bent low with a burden I couldn’t identify, praying…praying…praying for him. I couldn’t put a finger on the urgency I felt. I wrestled with the possibility that fear was playing havoc with my heart and I was giving in to the temptation to forget that God IS fully in control. I have been known to do that in this grace-journey I am walking.
Out of all my children he is perhaps the most sensitive to the need for justice. Righteousness rages in him in ways that even my own rule-loving-heart doesn’t fully comprehend. He has always had a keen sense of right and wrong, of what is acceptable and what is surely not. And we usually find ourselves solving world problems around the table together, wrestling with the weight of what is wrong as we talk together and commune with words.
This week he found himself on the other side of a a conversation that questioned the validity of the Bible and the existence of God. He found himself feeling lost amidst the discussion because his answers were based on a Truth he knew the other person did not believe. He chose to listen and not to fling words because he wasn’t sure how to respond and ultimately, he didn’t want to weaken God’s Word by shooting arrows that would wound rather than restore.
Because God’s Word, even though confrontational, is fully meant to redeem the deadened pieces of our lives and resurrect life fully.
We talked about it when he came home. He asked me what he should have done. He felt burdened because it was his chance to shine light into a dark space. He knew the answer was Jesus, but he wasn’t confident enough to share that truth.
We talked about finding a safe place to start those conversations and about meeting people like Christ does…right where they are. We discussed how to protect our own hearts from the battering ram of the world’s faithlessness and still stand tall for Christ, even if we are the only one.
His passion is criminal justice, but his heart is evangelism.
“The power of the priesthood is enhanced in the returning to the truth-confronting, grace-seeking, personal contact with God…” G.K. Chesterton
I was convicted by his conviction.
I struggle with the boldness of evangelism. Because it requires a truth-telling that isn’t always received well. It sometimes feels like we forget grace when we strive to be boldly heard.
And I want grace to win, always.
Yet, we all have the gift of evangelism in us if we have Jesus and we invite the lost to find Him. We are all called to be truth-tellers and grace-imitators. Because it is all about the good news… it is always about the gospel… it is always about Jesus. And when the gospel is no longer a worthy way, grace becomes a wasted entity of unsupported weight…empty, unfounded, godless.
Without evangelism we cheapen grace.
” Cheap grace is the enemy of the church….Forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, without the cross, without Jesus.”- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I heard recently that Billy Graham told a friend that the quality of our life, our careers, our calling is directly related to the quality of time we spend in the Word of God and in prayer. That #gracemoment was a #lifehack, friends, and what struck me most is this: to spend quality time with God we must give up our quantity of time elsewhere. We must be intentional to always choose first the Kingdom like Matt 6:33 says.
For we know, brothers, loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction…And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example. – 1 Thessalonians 1:4,6
Without the constancy of His Word in our lives, flooding through every gate that opens into our hearts, we will never truly be able to speak boldly with the dunamis power of those who speak by His Spirit, imitators of grace, and pursuers of hope. Not to the level that we can be… really.
He chooses to send the goodness in word, power, spirit, and conviction fully. And we must be imitators of the giving of all we are given because we are those called to inherit grace for the good of giving it boldly away. And like those preachers who purpose to share Jesus because He is the answer to it all, let’s keep the integrity of grace, too. Let’s be truth-tellers, hope-givers, and faith-planters. Let’s preach without words and pray on our knees for the hard conversations and the boldness to meet people where they are unafraid to be gospel-announcers and life-journalists for Christ.
Because the gospel is what makes grace possible.
Praying for boldness this week as you look for those #gracemoments.
IT’S YOUR TURN TO BE A GRACE COUNTER! SHARE YOUR GRACE MOMENT IN THE COMMENTS BELOW AND THEN COUNT GRACE WITH A FRIEND WITH COMMENT ON A BLOG OR TWO.
If you are a blogger, link up here with a post about finding grace moments in your life or one of your favorite inspiring and encouraging posts from this week. Share your thoughts in the comment section telling me about the #Grace Moments you experienced this week. *(only 1 post per link please)*
Take time to visit your neighbor next to you, and if you want visit a few more friends on the journey. We all need a little encouragement and affirmation as we travel together.
If you don’t have a blog, you can connect with me via my Journeys in Grace FB page by sharing a photo or a comment. Or you can join the party by sharing your images on Instagram with #Gracemoments hashtag.
Each week I will try visit as many of your amazing posts as I can.This is a safe place to sit and dwell in grace together, friends. I can’t wait to pour a cup of friendship with you and take in the grace moments you have to share. Don’t forget to leave a comment below, I love to hear from you.