Saturday, April 19, 2014

a messy redemption

insert a miracle. out of a tired and dying world full of brokeness comes a miracle. a baby is born and it shows God's most beautiful ideal yet: He wants to save us. to deliver us. to come to us and to give us a kingdom of glory amidst dying, poverty, and a broken existence. 

He came to the world. God in flesh and He said to us "You messed up yesterday, you'll mess up today and you'll do it again tomorrow, but you know what? i love you. with everything in me i absolutely adore you. i cherish you and i think you are worth it all. you are worthy. you matter. you are mine. through the good, the bad, and everything in between that love will not change. i love you today and i love you tomorrow. i sent this gift to you to save you. to help you and to ease your burden. i came to the world and i am going to save you. because i love you. i fiercely love you and this is how i will prove it to you.

God came into the world through a 14 year old girl. she was nothing special to the world yet kings bowed down to this baby she carried in her womb. He grew to preach and heal and change. He lived the perfect life. He never ever sinned. He was in every sense of the word, perfect. yet, He died the most tragic and shameful of deaths and suffered immensely. all for you. and for me. at only 33 years old the King of Kings died. He died amongst scoffers and mockers who would assume let a murderer go then this innocent man. the man that only came here to save us in the first place. 

the most tragic part? at anytime He could have commanded it to all stop. he could have gotten off that cross by Himself and not had a scar on His body. He could have. but He didn't. because He came to save us. He came to bring us peace and to rescue us from ourselves. from our sin and filth. 

that is a God that could have saved us in any way shape or form. He didn't have to go through all of that. He could have left us all to rot in sin and die. but He didn't. He came to the world in a dirty manger. a KING was born amongst animals and filth and was grown up into a world of poverty and sin. why? because it would take that pain and fearlessness while He walked this earth to bring such a love that was the greatest of all. a love that knew no boundaries. a love that was fearless and messy and so, so beautiful. a love that would save us all. He came to this broken world because of love. love is selfless. so selfless that the God of the universe dropped all of His glory and ranking and came just for love. He didn't come to prove His majesty or power or to prove how glorious He was. He came for love. the greatest love the world would ever experience was hung upon a cross.

but that wasn't the end. while the world thought that He was done, He was just beginning because on the third day, a tomb was rolled away and their was no savior to be found. He had risen. He had done just what He came to do. He saved us from ourselves. God used a really messy dirty story to make something so beautiful and to save me. and to save you. because to Him you were worth it. worth every tear and drop of blood that was shed. the God that died on the cross 2,000 years ago is the same God today that would do it all over again for just one person. He loves you and i so much that He would relive the torture and the poverty and the mocking for one. just one. 

He took my place on that cross. He took your place. a sinless man took the place of a dirty messy sinner so that we would never have to have that shame. we can be free, all because of Him. He carried your cross. and my cross. because of Him we would never go without grace. that is Love. that is the beauty of His love. that is the messiest, but most beautiful picture of redemption the world has ever known.

He loved us enough to come down and prove that He can make beauty from ashes. He can turn the messiest of stories into something incredibly beautiful. and you know what? He is still in that business of fixing broken hearts and making all things beautiful. He is the same today as He was yesterday and He's not changing tomorrow. all we have to do is accept His gift. just that. accept the gift He bestowed upon the world so many years ago.

rejoicing and thankful for an empty tomb + risen King.

Happy Easter.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

being the church.

in our modern world we "go to church" the church has become known as a place we go to worship, socialize, and meet with other believers. nowhere in the new testament do the followers of Jesus "go to church". what you do see is where the church gathered together. believe it or not, there's a big difference between the two. that difference still exists today.

anyone can go to church, but being the church is much different. i don't believe God ever meant for church to be about buildings, services, or filling pews. 

in the bible jesus sees the church as His bride. i don't believe Jesus sees a building as His bride, but the people. that is what the church is supposed to be. it is people. people who love Him, seek Him, and go to tell others about Him. people make up a church, not a building.

i believe being the church is about serving, missions, and loving those who need love. that is what Jesus did. He showed grace, love, & compassion. Jesus didn't go by cliques or social standings. He loved every single person He came in contact with. He loves the broken, the orphan, the sinner and the saint. and that's exactly what the church is supposed to do, yet most of the time the people inside of a building they call a church do nothing of the sort.

i think as Americans, we've gotten this idea that the only way we can have "church" is by going into a nice building with comfy chairs and good music. that's hardly the case. the best church i ever went to was in the middle of a village in Uganda. the church was just a few walls and a roof. the floor was dirt. there was no bathroom or a/c. the music was a guitar and two singers. the chairs were plastic. but there was the church. and it was beautiful.

we've allowed four walls to amount to something much greater than anything we posses on this earth. most of us have lost what it truly means to be the church. we think that by going to church every sunday we are fulfilling what we are called to do as christians. 

Jesus says this : pure and faultless religion is this; to look after the orphans and widows in their distress and to not become polluted by the world. [james 1:27]  

pure religion isn't a nice building. it's caring for those in distress and not being polluted by the greed, power, and sin of this world. that is serving jesus. that is church. 

don't get me wrong, churches are great. and not all churches have the wrong idea. church is a wonderful place for people of all kinds and churches bring many people to Him, but we don't need to leave church in that building at 12pm on Sundays. We need to be the church. at work, at school, at soccer practice, at the doctors office. we are on a mission field every day of our lives. 

You don't have to go to Africa to be a missionary. you were called to be a missionary right where you are at this moment. every single person is called to be the church. it's not a special calling just on my life. it's a call on every single one of our lives. 

We can't afford to become distracted from God's original plan for the church. there are souls at stake. God has made the church to be His body, which is made up of believers in Jesus-to reach the lost for His glory. 

we have to step up as the church, today and everyday, and go after those souls that are lost. because as Christians, that is what we are commanded to do. 

we are to be living, breathing examples of God's love. when God said to "Go and Make Disciples of all the Nations" i don't think it was a suggestion. it was a command. and one that we are called to live out daily.