Archive - April, 2008

Take it back.

I remember thinking before I was a follower of Jesus, “this will never affect me in the future.”

Of course, the “this” in the previous sentence could be anything from drinking to drug use to empty relationships with women to a harsh word spoken about someone. I thought I was impervious to any sort of retribution; no consequences to my choices.
I came face to face with a consequence today.
I met with a man who I had not talked to for 10 years. Literally. When I had known him previously, I never spoke a harsh word directly to him, but I certainly did behind his back. I also joined in with others in making fun of his awkward appearance and social miscues. We all had a laugh at his expense and no one thought twice about it.
Until me. Until today.
You see, I had to meet with him to discuss plans for an event I’m helping plan. I arrived at our meeting and was greeted by a warm and friendly smile, a handshake, and a genuine interest in how I had been doing.
I never felt more awful.
If nothing else, it made me realize just how powerful our everyday actions can be. The choices we choose to make extend way beyond the temporary situation in which we make them and the consequences follow us – good or bad.
I left the meeting completely humbled and with a resolve, by the grace of God, to see the Image Bearer in all people – no matter who they are. I came home and told Kerry, “I’m a fraud.” I was half-joking, but it is certainly humbling when you see yourself in a light that is not-so-great… Even 10 years after the fact.
So, I guess what I’m saying is this: I’m sorry. What about you? Have you had any experiences like this? What have they taught you about yourself and others?
Peace.
JMW

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Power & Desire.

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him.”

There are few passages in the entirety of Scripture that I enjoy as much as this one.

Followers of Jesus serve a God who is so rich in mercy and in grace that he not only gives us the power (read: ability) to do what pleases him, he gives us the desire (read: traction) to accomplish those things as well. The word for this, in short, is grace.

Picture something in your life that you despise doing. Got it? Now, how hard is it to get the motivation to do that certain activity? For me, it’s working out. I despise working out, but because it’s good for my body and it keeps me healthy, I do it. it takes a lot of motivation for me to get out of my door and onto a treadmill at the gym at 6:30 in the morning. I have the physical power to do it, but there is very little, if any, desire to do it. (Aside from maybe not wanting to get a ponch-belly.)

Contrast that with something that you love to do. For me, it’s going to the movies with my wife. I need very little motivation to head to a movie theater, buy a box of candy and a bag of popcorn, sit down in the theater and anxiously await the opening credits. I would go to the movies every night if I could. I love it. I have the physical power to get there and I have a whole bunch of desire to do it.

The Bible tells us that God would want our life with Christ to look much more like the movies and a lot less like working out, figuratively speaking. A Christ-filled life is supposed to be vibrant, full, and filled with light – not painful, despondent, crusty, and dead. And God, in his grace, will fill us with the power or the desire (or both) to do what pleases him if we do not have it.

This is the reality of heaven that awaits you and me everyday – but is this what we see? Do you see Christ followers as people who are filled with grace and compassion and mercy, knowing that the power and desire in their lives comes not from them but from their benevolent Father in heaven? Or do you see judgmental, holier-than-though, robotic animitron Christians who you would really like to vote off the island?

Power and desire. Power and desire. Two powerful motivators in life. The question is, where do yours come from?

Peace to you on this Monday…

Justin

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The 8.

For those of you who have ever stepped foot in “The 8”:

Go ahead Megs, go ahead..