Monday, February 16, 2009

Judgment Call

OK, so when a pastor is convicted from the sermon from Sunday it usually means one of 2 things:
1. He didn't preach the sermon.
2. He found himself struggling with the subject matter.

Well, as it so happens, this week I'm batting .1000. Andy Stanley's sermon on judging others and how we need to approach this so important topic really nailed me to the wall. I don't like to judge others, but I find myself doing this often. But I also find myself on the other side of the debate often and I sometimes ignore areas in others lives that I need to confront. It's an area that is harming them or others and they are headed down a slippery slope. For some reason I then go into overdrive with the "don't judge lest you will be judged" excuse. Not that Andy is reading this blog, but thanks Andy for digging deep to help us begin to understand how to make the "judgment call".

Here is part one of Judgment Call in case you missed it. Join us next week at Rock Point for part 2!


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Paul Would Be At Home Today...

In our small group recently we have been trekking through the book of Galatians. This "letter" was probably written around 50AD to the beginning church in Galatia. (I emphasized "letter" because we often call it a "book" but it was originally a letter.) Here's the Cliffs Notes version of this letter...The new Christians were being swayed into falling back into believing that we achieve our relationship with God on our own. If we're "good enough" we can make it, and God will bless us here and for eternity. Paul is reminding them sternly that this is not only wrong but dangerous. That if that was the case...what did Jesus die for?! He reminds them that this gift was free and you do nothing to earn it...just accept it. Wow, we have come such a long way since that time...or have we?

If Paul were walking the streets of America, say in Chattanooga, and he began hanging out with followers of Christ, I think he might begin to have flashbacks of the church in Galatia almost 2000 years ago. How often we think God blessed because we were "good". How often do we compare ourselves with others and justify our actions because we're at least "better than them" and God's eternal scale surely will tilt our direction. It's the Merry-Go-Round of self-righteousness that ends up having much more "self" than "God" as the focus. This way ends up dangerous for ourselves and for others.

So what does it boil down to? One word - GRACE. Sounds like a real churchy term and there's even an old song written about it. But there is no other word that can calm our anxious hearts or stop our pursuit of "goodness". It is the word that releases us from ourselves and puts the keys of eternity in the hands of the Creator. It's the word that allows us to welcome anyone and everyone into our church doors because we're really all in the same boat!

I would be nowhere without this gift of GRACE. How about you? Do you expend your time and energies earning God's love and acceptance or living in His GRACE?