Faith & Reason ... a mystery

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Church is the Embodiment of Grace and Truth!


John 1:14: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of Grace and Truth.”

I love the thought that you and I are to be FULL of both grace and truth. Jesus and the N.T. does not suggest a balance between grace and truth, but the full embodiment of grace and truth. Jesus did not come to strike a balance between grace and truth, but He brought the FULL MEASURE of both.

So what is Grace and Truth?

             Grace is generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved acceptance.

             Truth is is that which confirms reality, fact, or actuality. We don’t have time to debate the philosophy, the historical, or even the age-old question, what is truth. This definition will work for our purposes … In other words, what Jesus is teaching and revealing is that the confirmation of my faith is when I live it in reality, as fact, and in actuality.

The church is the embodiment of BOTH Grace and Truth. Now listen, the only group Jesus consistently condemned were graceless religious people – those who misused truth to control through guilt, fear, and condemnation.

The bible is the ultimate truth which is filled with the ultimate of grace. The church (You and I) is to be characterized by a full dose of truth … calling sin what it is and pointing to the purity and holiness that comes through believing, accepting, and uniting with Jesus … AND characterized by a full does of grace. THIS IS A CHALLENGE!

It takes boldness, commitment, and to move beyond yourself! How do we do this?

First, We confront sin! In our own lives and in the lives of those around us. 

Second, We don’t ostracize the person, including ourselves … Jesus always looked beyond the sin, to the person and helped them to see a greater possibility through living the truth. 

I want to commit to having soft hearts of grace and calloused hands from serving! You know I love ya, Don

Sunday, April 17, 2016

How Important is the church?

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I wonder, if we were to ask the person in the street, “Why is the church important?” … we would get a wide range of answers. Some would laugh at the question, because for them the church has no importance. 

Others might see the church in the same category as museums:  The church preserves things from the past… They’re a nice place to visit on rainy days, where you can observe how quaintly people used to live, but they’re out of touch with our modern world.  

Others might couch their answer in political terms: They view the church as a powerful voting block to oppose the erosion of morality and to preserve the family.

Or, some might respond to our question by saying that they see the church’s importance as a social institution.  It helps meet the physical needs of the poor and the emotional needs of the lonely and distraught. It ministers to people at the pivotal times of life: birth, marriage, death … 

For many American churchgoers, the church is important because it meets many of their personal needs. They shop around for a church that makes them feel good each week…when they feel good, they is no reason to go. It is a weekly boost that enables them to cope with life.

Then, we come to a short, balding man with a beard, who looks decidedly Jewish. Somewhat hesitantly, we ask him,  “Sir, we’re asking people the question,  ‘Why is the church important?’ Would you care to comment?”

He says, “I believe the church of Jesus Christ is the most important force in the world today. Its task is more important than all the governments and universities of the world combined. There is nothing to compare with it!” We reply, “That’s a pretty strong statement, sir! Why do you say that?”

He leans forward and says,
“Because the most significant event in human history was when the living God took on human flesh and lived among us as the Lord Jesus Christ to bear our sins. And since He ascended into heaven, His church now reveals Him on earth, even as He revealed God when He was on earth.” So, The church is important because it reveals Christ, even as Christ reveals God in human flesh.”

I believe this statement with all my heart, even more today that ever before. The church is the unified assembly bearing the embodiment of Grace and Truth. You know I love ya, now go out and be Jesus to somebody! Don

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Power of Touch


There’s an example of God’s kind of mercy in Mark 1:40-42. There we’re told that a leper came to Jesus, and knelt before Him and said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.”

 “The amazing part of this healing is how Jesus did it - Jesus TOUCHED him!” You didn’t touch lepers. They were unclean! If you touched them, you became unclean and no one wanted that! But Jesus TOUCHED this man.

Isn't it great to know that Jesus is willing to touch our deepest guilt, shame, sin, sorrow, and heartache? Jesus loves us enough to touch us right where we are.

Philip Yancey tells the story of Dr. Paul Brand who devoted his life to treating leprosy patients in India. In the course of one examination Brand laid his hand on the patient’s shoulder and informed him through a translator of the treatment that lay ahead.
To Dr. Brand’s surprise the man began to shake with muffled sobs. Brand turned to the translator “Have I said something wrong?”

She questioned the patient and then replied: “No, doctor. He says he is crying because you put your hand around his shoulder. Until you came here no one had touched him for many years.”

How is God's mercy being experienced in your life? Have you touched the heart of anyone lately? 

You know I love ya, Don


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Mercy!


I once read the true story of a preacher was organizing an evangelistic outreach using small acts of kindness to demonstrate Christ's love. He phoned several neighborhood grocery stores and Laundromats for permission to do specific services.
On one call, the employee who answered the phone hesitated, then said, "I'll need to ask the manager, but first, let me make sure I understand: You want to clean up the parking lot, retrieve shopping carts hold umbrellas for customers, and you don't want anything in return."
"Yes, that's right," the preacher replied.
After a few moments the employee returned to the phone.
"I'm sorry," he said, "we can't let you do that because if we let you do it, we'd have to let everyone else do it, too!"
(Ann Jeffries, Kansas City, KS Christian Reader, "Lite Fare.")

Now why did that store respond like that? Because NO ONE does stuff like that!
This church was obviously out for something… an ulterior motive. And the grocery store was right. The church did have an ulterior motive - they wanted to reach their world for Christ and the tool they were using was something called “showing mercy.”

What exactly IS mercy? Mercy is:  a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion (that’s what God does) and it is also … compassionate treatment of others because of his divine favor (that’s what Jesus-followers do).

Basically, mercy is the act of getting your hands dirty helping others. Mercy is where a person visits the shut-ins, feeds the hungry, clothes the naked. This is giving your offering first and making a point to give over and beyond. Mercy is when is follower of Jesus is doing the love of Jesus. And they do this act without expecting to be paid to do it or recognized.

You know I love ya, Don