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Welcome! The primary purpose of this blog is to explore and encourage around what it means to be winsome and sent into the world for God's glory. If you are new here, the definition of "lighthouse-searchlight" or our missional journey is a good place to start. Come peruse the blog and add me to your RSS feed!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

this is grace [repost]

[repost]

After the messages on "Grace and Truth" I saw this description of that worship service posted on Facebook. I'll also include my follow-up comment and another... to be sure there are days when we don't get it right, but then there are days like this where we catch a glimpse of God's purposes in the Church... and it's pretty glorious if you're looking (or as more than a few spiritual directors have named it: "cultivating the discipline of noticing" God's presence)!

PRISCILLA: One of the many reasons I love having the opportunity to celebrate communion Sunday with all of you is the kids. For whatever reason, even the youth seemed to be sitting with family today, my own daughter sat with me. As service progressed and I would glance around I saw so many children being physically loved on in the pews. This was not just the little ones either. Teenagers were getting and openly receiving love all around the sanctuary. Middle-schoolers ended up on someone's lap or holding a hand. One family's 3 elementary aged children all ended up on the 2 parents laps. These visuals added so much to the service this morning. Thank you all for sharing your precious children with this community of believers!
ROBERT (me): I also heard babies cooing, giggling, and fussing (and wouldn't trade it for anything); I saw our good friend with the stroke pat a young boy on the back as they arrived at the Communion Table to leave something in the Ten Cents a Meal basket; I saw a couple of guys from the men's group home worshiping all-out; I saw some new faces eagerly engaged in worship; I saw some folks I know are struggling with the whole idea of faith, but are there checking it out because someone they love is there. It is a very beautiful thing and I am beyond blessed to pastor this flock.
RUTH: For here is Jesus, welcoming all into HIS family - the young and the old, the strong and the weak, the puzzled and the calm, the grieving and the peaceful, the lonely and the scared. All looking so diverse on the outside, yet all made in HIS image, all with eternity set in their hearts by HIM. And this is what LOVE is - this is GRACE.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

grace and truth [repost]

Monday Musings are reflections on things I've been pondering lately. They may be a result of the previous day's sermon or come from my own life or the ministry I'm involved with. As with any of my posts, I invite your comments, questions, or further reflection. Thanks for stopping in!

Early in 2014 I was preaching on truth and grace and one of the dear members of the church was led to create a grace and truth banner for our sanctuary.


I used that banner as a sermon illustration and it grew into this graphic, which spelled out a little more of what I think Jesus was teaching.

 
The gist of the idea is that real grace and real truth are inseparable. There is a false grace ("license") and a false truth ("legalism"), but the real thing is held together in Christ (literally, IN Christ - embodied in as well as taught by).

Further, in that space between grace and truth there is FREEDOM, specifically two freedoms. There is FREEDOM TO FAIL, which is an important freedom. It is the freedom to hear the truth of God’s Word and be found both guilty and still wanted and loved. We settle for believing we are not guilty or for finding others who look worse than we are. Yet we are not righteous before God. And here’s the Good News: we are not cast out, but we are chosen, wanted, and loved.

And in understanding that, accepting that, and rising in that, there is the FREEDOM TO LIVE. That’s also in that space and tension between grace and truth, in the presence of Christ. It’s a freedom to obey God’s Word, not because we have to, but because we want to. It’s the freedom that comes from failing and experiencing forgiveness. It’s the freedom God has designed us for. And it exists there in the middle space.

That's the main idea I'm continuing to muse upon. You can read more in the three sermons linked below (especially the second one, where I first used this graphic).

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