Note: This was supposed to go out tomorrow, but tomorrow is Good Friday and I decided to post it a day early. Enjoy.
So, without really planning it, this week has become a little series. It started more observationally than anything. On Monday, I wrote about how I did very little to be where I am—it was God’s doing. I followed that up on Wednesday with a post about why grace is such a difficult concept. I figured to try and conclude this accidental series today with a way to hold these ideas together—to provide some type of balance (even though I hate that phrase and view much of my life as imbalanced).
On the one hand I did little/nothing to be where I am. I am humbled regularly. The greatest gifts in life that I have received are really gifts form God (Jas 1:16-17). On the other hand I did do work of one kind or another. Jobs don’t work themselves. Degrees don’t earn themselves. Children don’t discipline themselves (though that would be nice). So what gives? How can we think about it?
Earlier this week, I wrote about how there is very little in this life that I actually did by my own strength. In fact, the things that perhaps I should be credited for are usually the things that go poorly. If I just slow down—if I just take time to reflect on where I am in life—I can see that it had little to do with my own power and might. With just a tiny bit of perspective I can see that my strength got me nowhere.
Why, then, do I still spend so much time taking credit for things that I had little hand in bringing about? Why do I have such pride in the things that “I” do? For the past three semesters I have been serving as a GTA (graduate teaching assistant) with an online class at Dallas Seminary. It’s one of the intro pastoral ministries classes and the content of that class has helped to remind me as to why I still try and take credit.
Everything meaningful thing that exists in my life has little (almost nothing) to do with what the amount of work I put in. I’m not just talking about my salvation—I’m talking about basically everything.
I know that such a statement is true for everyone, but sometimes it feels more acute in pastoral ministry settings. (Again, I’m not talking about super Christian-y things, just normal everyday things.) Here are just a few thoughts that remind me that it will always be hard to say that I did anything of significance by myself.
This Sunday we will be continuing in our Resolved series. Every Sunday we are pulling back the curtain on our motivations and, by God’s grace, praying for the Scriptures to take root and produce new convictions and habits. Personally, I have found this series both challenging and encouraging. It has been challenging because I am finding so many areas where I leave my life unchecked. It has been encouraging because grace always stands to receive me when I realize that.
This Sunday we delve into just that idea—how do we think about the grace we have in Jesus and, at the same time, our own personal growth as believers? These topics bring tension—both for the preacher and for the listener. Continue reading “Tensions in Grace and Growth”
Don’t Christians sometimes make coming to church feel like this? Like we have the right answers, the right responses, and the absolute right way to live—and we should never question it? I’ve been that man—shoot, I often am that man. I cannot fathom how someone struggles with something I don’t struggle with; nor can I fathom someone who doesn’t struggle with something I do.
Today, like every other Sunday, we were confronted with our savior—who he is, what he’s done, and how we need him. Uniquely, we spoke from 1 Timothy 1:1-11 and how gospel ministry does certain things. . .
Life ran away from me over the past month. I’ve failed to give an update on our Sundays for over a month!
In talking with a friend, I mentioned that this Sunday people at the second service will likely remember three things: (1) that I said “have a drink”; (2) that I said “dork”; and (2) that I am a selfish and meticulous person. I told him that that was not my goal in the least. What I hoped people heard was that God’s grace is relentless, and that we all need it.*
Yet somehow, we miss it more often than we find it. Like we don’t even know the song that is sung to us morning by morning.
The grace of God is the thing we have to offer people in this world. It’s the most unique thing about our faith. It changes entire villages. It restores broken souls and resurrects dead lives. Nothing is more important. Nothing is more satisfying. And it comes to us through what Christ did on the cross.