So here’s the question: what does your life feel like right now? Are you doing that thing where you get up every day and walk through it, then fall into bed, get up and do it all again the next day … no change, no vision, no resurrection power? Are you existing … but not really alive? Do you realize there is an option? It is a choice to let the resurrected Christ live in you. And it is a choice to let the cross work on you.
Fasting is more than denying ourselves food. It is choosing to act out, by temporarily denying ourselves food, that we do not live by bread alone. We are completely dependent upon God, and we deliberately choose voluntary weakness. We become identifiably humble in the face of the problems with which we are dealing. We admit to each other, and primarily to God: only you can get us through this “mess.”
Discipleship is not about techniques and gimmicks. It doesn’t happen HotPocket-quick. It is about being formed in a way of life over the course of time, and with a deep immersion into the practices of the Christian faith. We’ll find transformation in that process, too, and it will reveal within us something we’d never dream of otherwise.
Beyond any book review or helpful ministry-related text I could recommend as a “must-read,” I would encourage you to pull a book off the shelf that has nothing to do with church, leadership, preaching, management, or finance. Let grace, beauty, and truth be revealed to you from the words of those who wish to tell a story, paint a picture with words, and sing a song without music.
Are you with us or against us? That's a question/decision I feel I face nearly every day. I'm tired of choosing sides. Choosing a side moves me either left or right. I, for one, want to move forward on dry ground. It worked for God's people long ago. Surely, it can work again.
Over the past few months, having been to the cross, visited the empty tomb, and celebrated the Resurrection, let us now live in awareness of the sin for which we will never be crucified.
Grace brought me to him; Grace made me right with him; Grace is the only way I am allowed to live with him. God’s first word and his last word toward me is Grace.
He is saying that those who get it will be the ones who realize we’re nothing by ourselves that what we want most from life won’t happen if we think we have to do it ourselves. It will happen when we let the One Who Is Enough serve us as Lord, and Messiah, and Friend.
Christmas reminds us God is redeeming all our little human stories into his great divine story through Jesus Christ. This is the good news of the Gospel. The nature of Jesus’s incarnation—God becoming human to be in relationship with each of us—puts us face to face with real people with real stories. When we choose to distort, ignore, or not enter into another’s story, we deny the incarnation and change what is happening.
I think the deepest appeal of Wesleyan theology is that is heartily affirms a God who is truly good and sincerely loves all persons. God does not determine, God empowers, enables, encourages. And the message that God loves us and wants to empower us to love him back, as well as each other is a message of great hope. No one has been “passed over” or determined by God for eternal misery and damnation. To the contrary, there is hope for everyone, and the resources of grace are available to transform even those persons who may seem most hopeless in our eyes.