Don’t Get It Confused

Throughout my life I have tried to be viewed as a person that tries to give his all to God. Clearly I have fallen short through the process and I have given in to the things that this world deems as good. This is evident as I think about the fact that I am writing this blog post on the iPad I was given as a gift, but couldn’t settle for just an iPad, but I also needed the matching bluetooth keyboard. I am a technophile, and this mere fact shows that I give in to the latest and greatest the world has to offer. (I certainly am not claiming that owning an iPad is a sin, but my obsession certainly crosses into the idolatry side of things.)

However, in preparation for a sermon I recently gave I was reminded that as much as I want to be viewed as a devout follower of God, it IS NOT ABOUT ME!!! I get this confused far too often. In Acts 13, Paul recounts the history of Israel, and throughout this history the main thrust is not about what Israel has done, it wasn’t about how well the law of Moses was followed, but rather it is about how FAITHFUL God was and is, and how much GRACE is poured upon us time and time again. I will fail, but God has taken care of that sin, and God will continue to take care of me.

This bashed in my skull again as I sat reading Romans 12, as I worship I have thought that I was bringing something to God, but in fact, God brings the goodness, the grace, and the fulfillment. So again I am told loud and clear that IT IS NOT ABOUT ME!!! So I realize that it takes a lot more humility to simply accept the grace that God pours upon me, and to even go further to ask for serving after serving of this grace.

We are called to respond to this grace, but our response is not the source of the grace, nor is it the reason the grace was given in the first place. God gave us grace because He LOVES US ABUNDANTLY, and that is why CHRIST DIED, that is why our JUSTIFICATION can only be found through the power of God expressed in Christ dying on the cross and being raised from the dead. That happened. Whether or not we respond by living our lives as worship-filled as we can, God still LOVES us!

SO don’t get it confused, IT IS NOT ABOUT ME!!! (or any of us.)

Happy Reformation Day

The popular belief is that on this day in 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 theses, and sparked the Protestant Reformation. Later today it is my task to preach the Word of God. I feel obliged to include in the presentation of the Word, the actions of Martin Luther in 1517.

Ultimately, the importance that we find in scripture, and in history, that no human institution or human action is worthy of worship or praise, but rather it is God Almighty alone that has the power to save us from anything. Therefore, the important thing to understand is that through the prodding of the Holy Spirit, God granted Martin Luther the boldness to present this argument to the church. Certainly, Martin Luther had to respond to the prodding, but it is the Holy Spirit who reforms us, not an action by a single human, or human institution.

When we lose our way, and begin lifting up the institution above God, or even at equal position with God, we lose sight of the reforming and transformational character of God. This breaks God’s heart, because the Almighty loves us so much that when we fall into the traps that trap us in thinking that God requires a special formula, or the right “hocus pocus” to be effective, we become stagnant in our worship, and restrict ourselves from taking a step back and breathing in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. When we do this, God laughs and cries because we simply miss the point that God is God, and we should strive to be more like God, and less stuck on our own patterns and ideas about right and wrong worship.

The Almighty God alone judges. God is bigger than our churches. God seeks to grant us each a deep and true Shalom, wholeness, prosperity, peace, and completion. Only if we are willing to come together as the Church, are we going to see the true Reformation. However, that starts with our own personal expression.

God desires a personal relationship with each of us, and that relationship takes time and effort on our part. How do we respond to the grace that is present for us before we do anything? We are called to respond with JOY, GLADNESS, THANKSGIVING, and SERVICE. This has nothing to do with being Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, etc. This has to do with God, and coming together to be the true church.

I think it odd that Jon Stewart reminds us that we have more that brings us together, than that which pulls us apart, but if we amplify our differences, we wont be able to see our similarities. God loves you, God loves me, and because of that we should respond by loving one another.

It never was Luther’s intention, nor the desire of God, for the result of the Reformation to split the church into a million different denominations. In fact it was intended simply to be a corrective, and a call for the church to remember that which God’s calls us. We are called to be the salt of the Earth, and to bring the love of God to all of those lacking hope. Therefore, I pray that on this Reformation Day, we as the Church of God can come together and participate in the Reformation of the World.