Friday, August 10, 2012

Its Finally Friday

Birthdays have always been a big deal at our house.  Breakfast in bed, enjoying a favorite dessert and time spent celebrating with family and friends! 

This week's Fill In the Blank Friday with Lauren is all about birthdays!
Happy birthday cupcakes
love cupcakes


1. The age I will be on my upcoming birthday is the big 5-0.  Can't believe I actually admitted that.

2.  The best birthday present ever would be someone to come into my house and declutter and organize every square inch, including my closet and clothing, replacing outdated things with fasionable replacements.  Not to excess, mind you, simple yet adequate!!

3.  My favorite birthday to date was this past year since I remember it the best.  I had dinner with my family received flowers at work and went to lunch with a special friend!

4.  Brithdays make me feel excited, special and loved!

5.  The worst birthday I ever had was my 40th. 

6.  When I was born things were very different from our "norm" today.  It's strange to me that I now remind myself of my Dad who used to frequently begin his sentenes with "Well, when I was a boy we didnt' have...".  So in the tradition of our family...when I was a little girl we didn't have air conditioning, we had to get up from the couch to change the television channel (we only got 3 channels so it didn't make that much difference) our phone was attached to the wall, we only talked to our friends voice to voice and only for 1/2 hour because someone else might try to call, we ate dinner at home every evening as a family, we played outside ALOT, we didn't take pictures of ourselves in front of the mirror in the bathroom, our ice came from an ice tray that we filled up and emptied by hand.  Technology is wonderful, but sometimes I miss "the good old days".

7.  So far my favorite age has been 38.  I remember that time in my life being very busy, but I had plenty of energy and seemed to be somewhat organized, at least that's how I remember it!  But you know, when you're pushin' fifty all that energy and pep seem to dissipate.  Thank goodness for caffeine.






Sunday, August 5, 2012

What is the Gospel?

 
All the behavior modification in the world will NEVER change our hearts
~Derek Webb

This is a statement that I heard recently while listening this CD my son-in-law left at my house "accidentally".  I've listened to it over and over again since it was graciously and providentially brought into my realm of being.  It totally unpacked for me a more complete understanding of the Gospel.  For more than 20 years I thought I knew what the Gospel was.  You know, Christ died for our sins, was buried, rose again the third day, etc.  But I am coming to see that it is much more than that.  It doesn't just stop working, moving and being in our life AFTER conversion.  We don't need something else, something more, some "holy living" preaching, we just need the Gospel.  We are called to preach the gospel to ourselves every day, and to preach the gospel to one another!

In the culture we find ourselves most often, even in church culture, we are defined by WHAT WE DO.  That's really a shame because we are not what we do, we are who God tells us we are.  So often we look at other people and judge them by what they do, it could even be "he's the pastor".  Well, he does teach us the bible and his title technically is "Pastor" but that's not really who he is.

We also give respect to certain people, hold them in higher regard because of WHAT THEY DO.  Are you getting my point here?  It's not about what we do!!  We're sinners, we're going to sin and when we do, no one should be surprised by it.  That may sound a little strange but it's something that is true, about me and about you. 

When our friend handles a situation badly, or exhibits selfishness, or is lazy or crass or unforgiving or just downright short temptered and angry, we should not be surprised.  We should give grace, knowing that we are of the same family...a family of sinners.

Here's a question for you to mull over.  Should we praise people for their "good" behavior?  That's hard.  When we see someone doing well, demonstrating grace and loving kindness to others we want to pat them on the back, give 'em a thumbs up and a "good job".  But what do those words say about what we believe?  What is important to us and demonstrates the Spirit at work?  It's not about us, it's about His work in us.  It's a demonstration of God's grace at work in us. 

Why do we forget ALL OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS IS FILTHY RAGS?

And why do we not see that WE LOVE THE PRAISE OF PEOPLE!  Think about it a minute.  When your friend notices something and compliments you on your "whatever" what does that do for you?  How does it make you feel?  Or, a little closer to home, when you post a picture of your family or your child's latest accomplishment on Facebook, how do you feel about all the positive comments you read later that evening?  Come on, be HONEST!!  We all appreciate (love) when folks admire and praise our children or their accomplishments or our accomplishments.  Just take a look at your news feed sometime, and ask yourself some tough questions.  Are we seeking the praise of people?  And conversely when someone doesn't notice OR points out a flaw or a weakness, do we feel "bad"?  Are we basing our worth as individuals on what people, family, church friends, think about us?


Here's the truth:  our actions betray that we are sinners. 

 Why can't we just accept that in ourselves and in others and quit hiding our sin? 

 Why can't we just be gracious to others when they sin and love them even while they are sinning? 

That's what Jesus did for us and demonstrated time and time again in the New Testament! 

 Jesus LOVED SINNERS!!  Why don't we?? 

Why do we think that our friends and family who profess Christ aren't going to sin,
against us and against others? 


The gospel frees us to be "real" in our community of believers.

The gospel is what transforms hearts!



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