On our way to camp, Greg and I listened to a great series on church history from the time of Christ to the present. Amazing. In the process of listening, I learned a lot, was overwhelmed, ashamed, thankful, frustrated, and wanted to worship the Almighty God.
What I learned or was reminded of:
God is Sovereign and I am amazed that I even know His name.
Everybody gets it wrong on some count…and those who cling to the truth as the gospel as the center seem to be most “preserved,” but we still cling to God’s preservation of the saints. (Because, as humans, we have grand ways of screwing things up)
When church and state “work together” it is a horrible idea.
When there is a lack of persecution of the saints, that causes laziness and lack of pursuing the truth strongly–in other words, we get off of the path of the gospel. We become about ourselves and not Christ.
Bold, truthful proclamation of the gospel–God’s holiness, our sin, his wrath, his great mercy through the atoning work of Christ, etc is what changes lives–not the manipulation of points by humans.
That the atrocities brought on by the “church” (and atrocities is a mild word) were usually not about the gospel but about power and human control.
I am reminded of the crazy ways that I have been “off” in my history–just like the church, and I cling mightily to the all sufficient mercy and grace of Christ. I stand right now on his word, in humility, knowing there are ways that I am walking in sin that I am not even aware of–and some that I am.
If you have a chance (say a long car trip, plane ride, etc), take a listen to this series–Tommy Nelson, Denton Bible Church. They have it on their website. There is a cost. ($13 for the whole series) It is worth it just to know for your personal walk and to converse with others who do not know Christ.
Since I became a Pinkner, my Cox sleep genes have been replaced. I had the spiritual gift of sleep at any time and any place, and now if I “sleep through the night” without having several bouts of waking times in the middle of the night, I celebrate. Greg has always had a hard time sleeping–and that is why I blame him.
Isn’t everything that much more severe in the middle of the night? The thought about paying a bill becomes a life and death struggle at 3 am versus the regular fleeting “to do” at 9 am.
In the last six months or more, I have had haunting thoughts about eternity and evangelism as I lay there in the middle of the night. It is like all the layers of what I think is important are stripped away and I realize how much like this world I really am. I have been ruminating over Paul’s life and writings–the urgency of the gospel in all things. And, I ask the question at 1, 2 and 3 am–Am I squandering my life away on piddly things? If I really treasured Christ above all, wouldn’t I share the truth of Christ consistently with the person checking me out at Wal-Mart? Wouldn’t I say the hard things to my family members to exalt Christ and love them without thought for the cost? Wouldn’t I watch less T.V.? Wouldn’t I speak and invest in my neighbors instead of protecting myself and waving hello from afar?
I have been reading Foxes Book of Martyrs intermittently this month, and I am speechless as I look at the boldness with which our brothers and sisters lived. I need to be awakened in the middle of the night to pray…to be convicted…to see Christ’s mercy towards me when I choose self-protection above exalting Him.
Life in Christ amidst this culture is such a battle. I want to grow in holiness and live to exalt Him and only Him, and sometimes I cannot even differentiate how different I am supposed to be. An alien, stranger…not of this world am I, yet, is that who I am?
I am thankful for being haunted with these thoughts because they shake me awake in the slumber I can get caught in in daylight. Oh, that less of me and more of Him be in me. May my fear melt the more I know Christ.
When you see me live more like the world…call me out to holiness, to boldness, to the One and Only thing that is important!
This week marks the week of Christ’s suffering and death and ressurection. It has been a blessing already as I have read the scriptures of his entry into Jerusalem and his ministry in the first part of the week. Yesterday, I was reminded in personal time with God and at church that Jesus did not deliver the kind of ruler and person the Jews expected. Conviction set over my heart as I pondered the idol I have made of Christ in my life and the idol the church has made. As, I read this morning about Jesus cursing the fig tree, cleansing the temple and telling the Parable of the Tenants, I was amazed and humbled. I was reminded of Isaiah after he saw God…declaring I am a woman of unclean lips. The church declares many things about Christ…depending upon which flavor you get. There is a lot of talk today about the mercy and love without the might, wrath and justice. In God’s word, all are beautifully written. In Christ, all are beautifully portrayed. Today my memory was jarred to the fact that Jesus spoke about the judgement of God plainly at the beginning of the Passion week. I am reminded of the judgement that I soooooo deserve, and I weep in thankful humbleness at the work of Christ on my behalf. He took my judgement for my sin. He bore the wrath. He bore the shame. It is finished. May I praise Him all of my days and not live as though it is not so. I encourage you to examine your hearts this week…examine His scriptures. Forgiveness is not given universally to all…but to those who by His Spirit, repent(turn) from their sin and confess and believe that Jesus is Lord and that he died for one’s sins and was resurrected to give them new life (he has beaten death). It is not merely a prayer or words but a true surrender of the heart. O Praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead!
Warning: This is not for the easily offended or faint at heart. This is a video that absolutely tore me apart. May we be diligent to only share what is in God’s word. May we throw off every false gospel…and share the complete truth in love. The true gospel is the ONLY thing that changes lives. No humanitarian effort or kind act eternally changes lives…only Jesus Christ. May I have the courage to cling to Him and treasure Him above every comfort, every relationship, every seemingly good thing. Amen.
Today, I spent most of my day at Panera on campus. We were finishing up a study and discussion on Esau trading his birthright for a meal. We were discussing the great hope and inheritance we have in Christ and how we trade it at times for circumstantial numbing and temporal things when out of the corner of my eye, a woman was hit by a car. In an instant, boom…our total perspective changed. It happens that fast–our lives are changed. Sometimes we are prepared and sometimes we fall apart. The woman was taken away in an ambulance, and the woman who hit her was hysterical. The girls I was with waited with me to see if we could talk to the woman who was the driver, but we were not able to stay until after the police left. I pray for both of these women. I pray that they know Christ or meet him in this painful journey. The whole scene took me back to two years ago when I was riding with Greg and J.C. Neely, and we saw a hit and run accident where a motorcyclist was sent flying through the air after being hit by a truck. It was so scary and very sobering. I attempted to call 911 that day, and I fell completely apart. This time, one of the girls with me dialed 911, and I saw that she was about to fall apart. I grabbed the phone and was able to make the call, and I made sense by remaining calm. I had thought about how to make emergency calls…I was prepared. (I think I needed to prove it to Greg after my prior phone call is one of his favorite stories to tell.) I want to be prepared in all situations. I was actually reminded of a conversation I had with a girl earlier in the day about telling others about Christ. It takes instances like these to remind me of the eternal perspective of our hope in Christ…and the urgency of sharing that hope disregarding the fear of man. When something like this happens, we are jarred into reality. A reminder of 1 Peter 3:15. Oh, that I live with an eternal lens to throw off my selfish love of comfort and love others with the truth being ever mindful that life changes in an instant.