Posts Tagged ‘grace’

Grace Pursues

Posted: July 10, 2011 in Grace
Tags: , ,

It’s always a thrill to see church growth by conversion.  We had that privilege again last week at Discovery Church.  By his own admission, Adam had been trying to get away from God most of his life – he finally just surrendered.

It reminded me of something I read recently by Francis Thompson. Thompson was homeless and living on the streets of London when his writing talent was discovered.  He later went on to write a poem entitled The Hound of Heaven.

“I fled Him, down the nights and down the days; 
I fled Him, down the arches of the years; 
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
of my own mind; and in the mist of tears…

From those strong Feet that followed, followed after
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat – and a Voice beat
more instant that the Feet –
All things  betray thee, who betrayest Me.”

And finally, after a lifetime of fleeing and hiding…

“Halts by me that footfall:
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
‘Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!'” 

“Men and women who do the pursuing can only capture empty air,” says author David Jeremiah.  “What sets apart our Christian faith is the story told in reverse – one of a loving Father who pursues us because we are too foolish and too sin-stained to go to Him.”  

Romans 5:6-8  When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.  Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good.  But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Where were you when grace found you?

Advertisements

My story of grace

Posted: July 6, 2011 in Grace, Marriage
Tags: , ,

I have been captured by grace. Here is my story, as told to Discovery Church.

Like a lot of you, I’ve been mesmerized by the story of Ted Williams, the “homeless man with the golden voice” who became an internet sensation this week. Just in case you are relying on rep.li.cate as your sole source of news, here’s the story…

For the first part of the week, I was motivated by one thought: “this is why we do what we do; you just never know.”  You never know who you might find on the street.  I’ve met guys with masters degrees and guys with law degrees.  Some have made mistakes that landed them on the streets and some have just been the victim of life’s twists and turns.  The next guy you help might have the potential to be a great leader, or actor, or musician, so we’ve got to keep working.

Towards the end of the week, I became consumed with another thought:  “what about all the ‘worthless-bums’ out there?”  Let’s face it.  We are moved by the story of Ted Williams because he has a “special gift” – he has the capacity to entertain us.  What about the homeless man who would be a great truck driver or the woman who would make a great nurse?  But really, what about the homeless who have no redeeming quality at all?  Are they any less deserving of our compassion?  Comedian Andy Borowitz tweeted this week: “Here’s my idea of a heartwarming story: a homeless man with no special talent gets our compassion anyway.”  Well said.

It’s human nature to judge – to place a value on the life of an individual.  It’s almost exclusively based on outward things.   The danger is that we do the same thing with God.  We use the same kind of scale to determine our own value to him.  We conclude that He should care for us because we have some redeeming quality.  The reality is that, before God, we’re all “worthless bums.”  Scripture teaches that, because of sin,  even the very best we have to offer is like “filthy rags” before the Holy Creator of the universe.

The good news is that, though He is holy and just, he is also gracious and compassionate.  The Apostle Paul wrote that when we were “utterly hopeless, Christ came.” THAT is where my worth lies. That is why I, Ted Williams and all the other bums are so valuable.

Interesting note: I started this post this morning before church and I’m finishing it in the afternoon. One of the songs we sang was Mighty to Save.  The first line starts, “Everyone needs compassion.” Check it out:

Coming to terms with a biblical view of worth changes everything.  It changes how we feel about ourselves, which in turn will affect every relationship in our lives.   It should also affect our capacity for compassion.  So I guess the title of this post is redundant.  Grace is, by definition, unconditional.  After all, aren’t we all “worthless bums”?