Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Romans 1-4

So we had another meeting this morning of the persons excited and passionate about beginning Christianity Explored. It's a group of people who are addicted to 'standing on the edge of eternity'...that's about as good an explanation as I can find. We're a group not necessarily gifted in the nuts and bolts of getting it off the ground but all of us are excited to be IN THIS and just praying that God does something in and through our passion. That's not to say there are not people doing what needs to be done, it's just that sometimes the what needs to be done isn't readily recognized?? I don't know I just know I can't wait to see what happens but I wonder what I NEED to be doing in the meantime.....?

Dan and I doing Soul Care by Larry Crabb and it too is very be learning that what we have found is meant to be given away but recognizing how often we have gotten in the way of God using us...for different reasons to be sure but still how we get in the way of perhaps what YOUR intent is. This is scary stuff and yet so motivating as well. What an amazing wonderful awesome God!!

And this is for us NOW....Romans 1: Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. 6And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

Blogging and the family we make here IS mutually encouraging.....Romans 1: 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith.

PASSION is NOT for the new believer it is for all of us stunned by GRACE daily....Romans 1: 16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

Romans 3: 9 What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. 10 As it is written:
"There is no one righteous, not even one;
11there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.
12All have turned away, they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good, not even one."
13"Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit."
"The poison of vipers is on their lips."
14"Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness."
15"Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16ruin and misery mark their ways,
17and the way of peace they do not know."
18"There is no fear of God before their eyes."

In Soul Care there is this great paragraph that just yesterday I was stunned by I think it's saying the same thing. Why do I hear things one time and miss it the next...oh yeah it's that fallen thing!!
What that means, very simply, is this: everybody you are in contact with is somebody who has fallen short of God’s design. Everybody you are in contact with is somebody who is not living to their full potential. Everybody you are in contact with is somebody who is not living by design and therefore is not experiencing the fullness of joy, which is available to them. Everybody you are in contact with is somebody who is not bringing God as much glory as He deserves to get out of their lives. That is who you have been chatting with in your small group every week for the last couple of years.
It seems to me it is like, a little bit like, driving along the highway with hundreds of cars, including your own, and you notice with every car on the road, something’s wrong. An engine is sputtering, the brakes are not working, the front tires are out of alignment, the car is veering—it will not stay straight. Every car is moving in a way that is not entirely right. Something is wrong. Something is flawed.
Every person, created by God to resemble Jesus Christ, and thus to have a desire for the Father, is moving in a way that reflects that their internal workings are not right. There is no car on the road that is moving properly. There is no car on the road that is moving in the right direction entirely. Now when you see somebody, you need to understand that at any given moment, the movement that you see in their life—if the Spirit is ruling in their lives—they are moving toward an eternal destiny that is wonderful, toward a beauty that is magnificent. Or at this moment, the way they treat their husbands, and the way they are handling their own sexual desires, they are moving in a direction that is destined to bring them to incredible misery.
You have never met an ordinary mortal. But I would suggest when you begin to become aware that everybody is kind of a mess, when you become aware of that, your response can be a variety of responses.
One response might be that you might get very frustrated. “You know, nothing’s working as it should. There is no small group that works properly; there is no church that works properly; there is no marriage that works properly. I’m sick of the whole thing!” You become a cynic; and you become despairing; and you become tough to live with. And when you get frustrated over the fact that nobody is living as they should, including yourself—which people with frustration do not see quite as clearly—what you end up doing is you keep your chairs facing straight for-ward.
There is no turning because you do not want to get involved with people that frustrate you. You are not a good mechanic; you are tired of cars that do not work, so you just stay away from them. Frustration. Or, what a lot of people do is, and I think that this is the disease of the Western church to some degree, we pretend. We do not get frustrated.
We pretend that things are better than they are.

When that (frustration) happens THAT'S when I begin throwing my fit.....just like Emma in the middle of the kitchen floor.... wanting what I want so badly I cannot hear anything else.....A BIG FAT FIT!!

OK I'm not blogging anymore I am sharing too much of what I am learning...a real problem for me....but I love all of it.....well maybe not and THAT'S the point... but I do love Christ and being stunned over and over by the GRACE that is just always there.....
Thanks for listening and love standing on the edge with you!! There's alot more Romans I need to read.


David said...

grace, carry me away, Mercy cover all my faults, Love of God, wrap me in your arms today

Ann said...

Most interesting and true.

So I Go said...

i am soooo glad you included that paragraph from Crabb.. it will be a great conversation starter for our small group when we meet next time.. i keep wanting to say something about the brokenness we all share, and he put those thoughts to words much better than i could.

hey.. guess what? i went to college with Larry Crabb's son. how 'bout dem apples? just a bit of useless trivia for you to take into your weekend.