Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lent -- 16 of 40 (Sunday school sharings and Jen's "where I stand")

The past two weeks at Sunday School have been so great, so so great (love you Jimmy!)

Last week's lesson was about where to sew your seeds in life. Are you sewing your seeds where you will make a lasting impression on the world or are you devoting time to things that won't matter a hill of beans in God's plan for you.

It made me think about the story from "The Circle Maker" when Honi (the circle maker) saw a man planting a carob tree. Honi asked him how long it would take him for the tree to bear fruit? And the man replied, "70 years." To which Honi asked, "Are you quite sure you will live another seventy years to eat its fruit?" and the man said, "Perhaps not. However, when I was born into this world, I found many carob trees planted by my father and grandfather. Just as they planted trees for me, I am planting trees for my children and grandchildren so they will be able to eat the fruit of these trees. And then Mark Batterson writes, "This incident led to an insight that changed the way Honi prayed. In a moment of revelation, Honi realized that praying is planting. Each prayer is like a seed that gets planted in the ground. It disappears for a season, but it eventually bears fruit that blesses future generations." Later he says, "Prayer is the inheritance we receive and the legacy we leave." WOW, between prayer and the other things we do for God's kingdom, we can really leave a legacy for generations. Now, what kind of Legacy am I going to leave...

...question answered in this Sunday's lesson about (what else, but) being who God wants you to be and leaving behind a Legacy.
We are studying from the book "One Month to Live" by Kerry and Chris Shook and they talk about three things we must have:

1) CONVICTION: A belief is something you hold onto, a conviction is something that holds on to you!

  • Striving to reach the character of Christ
  • God scultps us into the likeness of Jesus. Michael Angelo when sculpting his David said when asked how he did it, "I just whittled away anything that didn't look like David." We must whittle away the things that don't look like Christ (insert me: so many things in my life).
  • God sometimes puts pressure in our lives to accomplish this; sometimes he puts people.
  • We talked about being gathered to your people here on Earth and once we get to heaven.
  • And how in heaven as well as here on Earth we have our brothers and sisters in Christ, whom we love and care about. We also care about those who don't know Christ and strive to show them the love of Christ in all we say and do, to lead them to see his love and be saved by Him.
Which brings me to a great blog post I read this week by my girl Jen Hatmaker (I am obviously trying to work either Jimmy or Jen or both into every post)...(I am also going to add dinner with Jen Hatmaker to my Life Goals list)...but I digress. She wrote (in my lowly and humble opinion) a beautiful blog post on the issue of homosexuality in our world and I just don't know if it could have been written any better. She uses the well known story of the Good Samaritan to hit home her point and oh how perfect it is. Here is an excerpt:

If our only response is to speak the truth in love to the exclusion of the hundreds and hundreds of verses that call us toward mercy, peace, kindness, hospitality, and patience while leaving judgment to God, the only One able to judge fairly and correctly (James 4: 11-12), consequently also the only One who transforms and sanctifies, then I insist that you exercise that practice with every single sinner in your life. Every single one. Every single sin. Otherwise that obedience has no integrity. Every. Single. Sin. I want it called out in truth and love, I want it blogged about, I want it argued into legislation, I want it discussed in public forums outside of genuine relationships, I want articles, I want excommunications. I would respect a believer who calls out every sinner and sin around him in equal measure over one who selectively applies Scripture to certain categories. (I would not like that believer, but I would at least respect his consistency.)
Why homosexuality has devolved into such an isolated war, I am uncertain, but as I lay in bed last night, listening, still, prayerful, God reminded me of the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10), which Jesus told after a very smart expert of the Law asked how to inherit eternal life.

“What is written in the Law?” [Jesus] replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

I find it so ironic as a Bible teacher that the Savior of the world boiled down the kingdom to such a simple formula while me and mine exegete everything within an inch of its life. When I get bogged down, I always remember Jesus: Love God and love people. There you are. Do this and you will live. The end. I love Him.

And I agree with Jen... 

Jesus is my favorite ever too! 

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