Today I was convicted in church...
Many of you have been following us from the beginning. You know that what motivated this typical American family to leave everything they know with no game plan was our faith. And to a certain extent you "know" what faith that is. It is no secret that we are Christians. But in todays society of relativism and personal definition what exactly does that mean?
Today, our pastor pointed out in a passage a comparison of events. In one section we are called to keep our mouths shut and we don't and in another we are called to speak and we don't. The latter caught my attention. With all of details of our life that we do share, have I fallen trap to not boldly proclaiming to you all the truth of what this family believes? Have I been keeping my mouth shut? I know! Me! Keep my mouth shut? Well, although you have all decided already that we are radical fanatics today I am going to open my mouth (something I have never really had a problem with) and explain WHY we are radically fanatic.
Everyone believes in something. The thing that sets Christianity apart from all other "religions" is what we believe in. We believe in the unfathomable power of God and we believe in the horrific substitutionary death and resurrection of His son, Jesus. We believe in the restoring power of Jesus at the hand of God. To many people Jesus is a historical figure and documented to exist in the bible and in other non-biblical publications. It is not enough to recognize that Jesus was a man who walked this earth. Other religions believe that and even many atheists (people who deny God) believe that. The power is in admitting that God is all powerful, and understanding who Jesus really is and why Jesus had to die.
There are many ways that I could clearly communicate this but I keep coming back to the way we described it to Andon and the way we will describe it to our girls when they are ready. I choose this description because of the affirmation I received in church today. Our pastor presented in a very similar way to the way we teach our kids so I guess it won't come across as to remedial.
God is perfect, pure, clean, good and just.
People are imperfect, dirty, unclean, ugly and really only care about what is best for them.
In the beginning God hung out with his humans everyday. Then Adam sinned. Adam sinned first but we are all capable of the same thing and would have done exactly what Eve and Adam did if it had been anyone of us there instead of them. Adam sinned first but the fact that we all would have done the same thing makes us just as guilty. Adam sinned first but what he really did was uncover the true selfish nature of the human.
God has high standards. By uncovering our true selfish nature we became separated from God. He could no longer hang out with humans. Not because he wasn't powerful enough to over ride the whole mess but because He is perfect and the way he saw humans was no longer perfect.
We may not have disobeyed in the Garden of Eden but we continue to make terrible choices, disobey and ignore God and every time that we do it shows up like disgusting black spots on our heart. Just like a gross disease would put black spots on our skin. A nasty disease that has no cure. Nasty, rotting flesh that stinks. Despite all of our efforts to cover it up, it is still there. And as long as we ignore our disease it will eventually get us. And when it does what would you expect to do with this nasty, rotting grossness? I don't know about you but I do not keep trash on my fireplace mantel next to my treasures. The fastest way to get rid of the stinky, rotten trash is to burn it. In our human nature we are trash whether we like it or not. In our human nature we belong in the incinerator to be burned up.
Through God's eyes all he can see is our trash and there is nothing we can do to change that.
Here it is. This is why we are crazy...GRACE
The key is not in changing ourselves from trash into what WE THINK is what God treasures but in changing the way God sees us. There is not a thing we can do to find favor with God and make up for our ill-will. Not a SINGLE thing! There is only one thing that can keep God from seeing our ugly, nasty black spots. Jesus' blood. Being covered in Jesus' blood. Jesus' blood is so thick and so pure that God cannot see our black spots through it. Jesus' blood is so clean that it starts to heal our black spots and it is then that we become restored treasures. We cannot change ourselves but we can be changed by Jesus' blood. This is God's offer of GRACE. Giving us something we don't deserve. Giving us something we didn't earn. Giving us something we can't earn. So why JESUS' blood? Jesus is the son of God, who was sent by God to be born as a person, he lived a completely pure and undefiled life because of the power in him that is God. God requires an exchange of the best of the best for all of the worst. Humans would equate this to a cancellation of debt. Jesus, in all of his perfection, died to cancel our sinful debt.
If Jesus had not died for our black spots we would not have the option of anything other then hell.
If you don't believe that Jesus died for your black spots then there is only one place you can go...hell.
If you don't understand how Jesus could die for your black spots but want to then CRY OUT to God. CRY OUT that he would teach you to understand.
Here it is in the condensed second grade version.
We are covered in black spots (sin).
Because of our sin we were destined for hell...FOREVER!
God can't hang out with us as long as we are covered in black spots.
When Jesus died his blood poured out covering our black spots.
It is so thick and pure that God cannot see our black spots anymore.
It is so clean that it heals our black spots.
Now God can hang out with us...FOREVER!
If God is hanging out with us, then we can't go to hell because God doesn't live in Hell.
I am not perfect. I cannot be perfect. I will never be perfect. I was going to HELL! But God loved me so much that he couldn't stand not being with me so he sent something to change it all in a way that allowed his perfect self to hang out with my not perfect self. Jesus.
Jesus saved us from ourselves and Jesus saved us from Hell.
That's it. That is why we are radically crazy. Because Jesus saved us from burning in hell, but today, in this moment he saved us from ourselves. And anything that can save me, Dawn Jennings, from herself must be supernatural. It must be all-powerful. It must be merciful and it must be gracious because Dawn Jennings' black spots were disgusting. If you all only knew...