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Friday, May 31, 2013

What Brought You to Christ?

What Brought You to Christ?

I have been pondering this question a lot lately, both for myself and those around me.


Because I want to know what the draw is so I can explain it to those who know nothing about Him. But now I’m thinking there is no one right answer. For some it’s Grace, the idea we are forgiven for all our sins. That would make sense, but I don’t think it’s what first drew me.

You see, though I’ve been a sinner all my life—I know, shocker ;o)—and I did lots of things adults told me were wrong, so did everyone else … or so I reasoned. Yes, unfortunately, I think I believed in a “works theology,” but I thought I was doing pretty well, because there were lots of people around me doing much worse.

I worked very hard to maintain some standards in my life. Some for my vague notion of a moral authority (or God), but many to ensure I was successful as the world defines success. I liked being master of my own destiny, feeling I couldn’t go wrong, because I had control over what happened to me. This gave me a sense of power, but became increasingly wearying as the awesome responsibility attached to it grew.

When I first heard—vaguely—about this thing called Grace, it didn’t resonate as having a ton of value. I didn’t realize the depth of my sins, nor did I recognize the sacrifice made for my prescribed punishment—death. I guess I thought my “good” behavior was more about escaping punishment in this life.

What did it for me? What finally attracted me to this Savior guy and His Father?

I asked my sister the same question recently and she answered with the same word—Peace.

Why peace and what does it come from? The answer for me would have to be from order and security. You see, now that I can trust a wise God who knows all and believe that His framework is a good one, I don’t have to wonder what to do next. I do what He calls me to do, whether it be abstaining from sin or acting on an answer to prayer. I didn’t used to trust God completely. You might say I didn’t have faith. But once I saw other Christians following His precepts from the Bible and watched the fruits of that faith, I decided to try it myself. That’s when I discovered something amazing—He knows what He’s talking about, and the fact there is someone out there who truly knows—amongst the contradicting talking heads—gives me peace.

Which brings me to the next characteristic—security. Oh, how I used to worry about every little thing. When relying on myself to achieve, I also relied on myself to stay safe. But this is not a safe world, so for someone desiring absolute safety, I’d be tempted to cloister myself and never take risks. Not a good way to live. Then, I learned about the Sovereignty of God and I no longer need be ruled by my own control. I could leave it in God’s hands and know that whatever happens He has a purpose in it. Yes, bad things still occur, but I’ve been able to see how He’s used even these for good.

As I listen to sermon after sermon on Grace, or read about others putting down churches for focusing on the abstention of sin—calling them hate-mongers—I wonder why it is I sometimes feel a greater comfort (yes, I said comfort) with the latter. For me, I guess, it’s partially because that is the place God met me first—showing me a better way. It’s where I learned to trust Him. It was also the first time I was able to relax.

Think about Psalm 23:4 where it says, “your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (NIV). Why would a rod and staff bring comfort? They are big sticks! The word for rod, as translated, can be a tool for punishing, ruling (like a scepter) and walking. The word for staff means a walking stick used for support. The message here is that His authority and our trusting reliance on His wisdom gives us comfort. And it does for me. I no longer have to figure EVERYTHING out. I need only look to Him.

I like that!

So where does Grace come in? Given it is the one thing that sets Christianity apart from all other religions, it plays a huge roll. For some who’ve grown up in a works-based church it is the immediate draw. But for those whose lives were saturated in relative good and bad, it appears almost meaningless.

Finally, as I learned more about this God of the Bible and how smart this dude really was, I learned two things: 1) His ways are right; and 2) Knowing He’s right, I still don’t always follow Him. It began to dawn on me that He is really really good, and I am really really … not. He does not have to save me from my prescribed punishment and yet He sacrificed everything to do just that. The more I come to know Him and the more I seek to do His will, the more I feel the gap between who He is and what I am.

NOW, I appreciate Grace! Oh boy, do I appreciate Grace. I think this is what Paul meant when he wrote, “No one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law; rather through the law we become conscious of sin” (Romans 3:20, NIV). We cannot truly appreciate this wonderful gift until we understand, not just the law, but the wisdom of its author. It’s humbling to say the least. And yet God reaches down to us and calls us His.

So as we preach the Gospel, let us not only teach of God’s love, but of His wise counsel. Let us help others experience the totality of their Creator’s greatness: order, tempered by His unending love.

Please tell me in the comments below, what is it that first drew YOU to Christ? And if you have a longer testimony you’d like to share with me, email me from my contacts tab. I’d love to hear from you!

Other posts you might like:

A No-Matter-What Kind of Joy

You Are Holy

Evolution or Intelligent Design?

Friday, May 24, 2013

When It Rains He’s There

If you can’t see the imbed above, click here for a video of Third Day’s When The Rain Comes.

Last week I wrote about God’s Amazing Kleenex and how He’s there for you in times of trouble. Today, I’m thinking about the soaking rain outside my window and the storms that eradicated towns in Oklahoma.

Rain is falling. People are hurting.

He is there.

He didn’t promise to keep us from all pain. But He did promise to be there through it.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me(Psalm 23:4)

Yes, He is there. In the rain and the rubble, He is there. I pray for those standing amidst that rubble today. People who have lost loved ones and just about everything they own. People who are asking questions of their Creator and wondering why. I don’t have the answers to their questions, but I know …

He does! Seek Him!

So now that I’ve shown you a video with the very wonderful lyrics written by Mark Lee of Third Day. To lighten things up, I want to show you another video of what happens when your band has written soooo many wonderful songs with sooooo many great lyrics, and you are called to sing one you haven’t in a while

Other posts you might like:

Let Me See Redemption Win

Be His Witness By Demonstrating With-ness

Jesus Wept

Friday, May 17, 2013

God’s Amazing Kleenex

1 John 3:1

There’s something magical about the tissues in our house. But even more, at the handing of them to my daughter by her Daddy. The tears meant to be dried by that tissue seem to evaporate at the receiving of it, before it even reaches her eyes.

It’s amazing!tissue

I’ve seen it at least a hundred times and I’m always dumbfounded.

My pre-adolescent daughter will be in the middle of a tear-fest that threatens the lack of flood insurance we have on the house. Maybe worry over a project or test at school. Maybe concern for a friendship on the brink. It could even be because her Dad reprimanded her about improper behavior.

No matter what it is, or even who caused it, the fact that Daddy handed her the tissue meant to care for her fragile emotions means a lot to her. I guess she experiences it as an act of acceptance and love. Whatever it is, it’s magical.

God’s love for us is like that—even when His reprimand is the cause for our sorrow. Yes, sometimes we’re called out for bad behavior. Sometimes He says “no” to our request. But rest assured, He’s got a tissue to dry our tears, and a broad shoulder on which to wet His shirt.

Use it! He’s calling you to do just that.

He’s calling you to Him.

Other posts you might like:

What Are You Worth to God?

Be His Witness By Demonstrating With-ness

Relax, Let Go—And Let Him Carry

Friday, May 10, 2013

Do You Want to Hurt Yourself?

It’s been a crazy week and my mind swirled with too many things I could write about, but nothing seemed to fall into place. I had this calming thought that kept telling me God would reveal it Friday morning, so not to worry.

Then He did. On Friday morning.

I’ve wanted this website to be about helping people find wholeness in Christ. It should not be about me, it should be about Him. But when another website has the goods to tell the story, sometime you just need to point the way. That’s what I’m doing today.

I discovered this website a few weeks ago and I am enthralled. These ladies have a heart to help the hurting. They have recently started a series about “cutting,” a practice used by people who have shut off their emotions to the point they can only feel by hurting themselves. It’s more prevalent than you think. Some of the video testimonies on this site echoed the lives of many young women I knew growing up. These videos give hope and potential answers for those suffering with this and similar issues.

Check them out. If not for yourself, maybe for someone you know. Pray for these women and the many out there needing the same answers.

Here are the links:



Take a look around at the rest of the site. Good stuff there!

Other posts you might like:

God Loves Broken People—A Review

Christ: The Perfect Romance

A No-Matter-What Kind of Joy

Friday, May 3, 2013

Archie Bunker on Shoes and Socks

If you can't see the imbed below, check out this link to a Classic clip from the show All in the Family before reading on.
Every time I put on my shoes and socks I think of this scene from All in the Family. It’s amazing how today, if you want to get a glimpse of a show from the past, all you have to do is Youtube it. For this one, I typed in “Archie Bunker shoes and socks” and there it was.

How awesome is that!

But before I ramble on about the virtues of Youtube—though it is uber-cool to pull up the past in living color so easily—I really wanted to talk about how people were made to think differently.

Okay, I admit it. I’m still not as progressive as Meat-head (that’s the brown-haired dude to those too young to remember this show). In fact, I still clothe my feet, socks on both first, then shoes. But I have often wondered if it would be more efficient to complete one whole foot before moving on to the other? That way I wouldn’t have to move each foot back and forth as much.

Anyone else wonder this?

<crickets chirping …>


<crickets chirping louder>

Bueller—I mean—Anyone?

<bullfrog croaks>

Okay, I’m the only one pondering the order of how to put on shoes, but this got me thinking about a lot of things. Why do most people put socks on both feet before moving on to shoes? And why does Meat-head’s way, though possibly more efficient, seem so odd.

Maybe because Archie’s method is how it’s always been done.

There are lots of ruts we get into like this one. Kind of like the Pharisaical laws. First, there were God’s laws, but then the teachers of the law threw in a few extra to help the sinners in obeying the first. But instead of being suggestions to help, they became laws themselves, proscribing judgment and punishment for not following them. I’m sure many of us can think of church rules and mores (pronounced morays) in some of our congregations today that have been elevated beyond their due. That is not to say some are not helpful suggestions, but we should not call it sin when these new things are not adhered to.

I remember seeing a video years ago based on a classic novel where a congregation protested the addition of the new-fangled organ replacing hand-held instruments used for worship. The argument was that the organ, being different, was “devil’s music.” I was floored that such a thing could be true considering some churches today have protested the organ giving way to worship bands (using hand-held instruments).

As Christians, it’s always important to consult the Bible in order that we act according to His Will. We need to do it for two reasons. Not only that we ensure what we DO honors God. But also that we don’t stifle our creativity in using all our gifts simply because what is being suggested has never been done before, or looks different from what we're used to. By knowing the whole book, what is and is not proscribed, we can’t allow it to be used in such a way.

God is an amazing, creative God. He is boundless. We should not keep Him in a box—nor His creations—that He did not design.

Another good reason to study that big-ole Book yourself. You never know how freeing that knowledge can be.

Other posts you might like:

Jake, The Encourager

When A Christian Music Artist Loses His Voice

What Did Moses Do Anyway?