We were created with an abundance of potential to do many great and wonderful things in this life. We are musicians, surgeons, athletes, dancers, artists, carpenters, writers, plumbers and more. Yet, all these titles are secondary to our primary purpose in life. And while arms and legs help accomplish these secondary roles, our greatest human purpose remains to “love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and our neighbors as ourselves.” Did you read anything about arms and legs in that sentence? Watch this video and be inspired to recapture your primary calling from God.
One of my favorite bloggers is the internet monk Michael Spencer. I’ve been onboard with his journey through “the post-evangelical wilderness” for probably almost 2 years now. We have much in common: both evangelicals seeking a more holistic, ancient, missional, theologically open-minded, Jesus-shaped spirituality. I would highly recommend my southern-accented Kentucky brother to you all as you carry on your own journey in your faith. You can read him at both his Internet Monk site or his Jesus Shaped Spirituality blog. The following quote is proudly displayed on the sidebar of his Jesus-shaped blog and a sentiment I whole-heartedly endorse.
“Our central lie is in the discrepancy between the language of worship and the actions of worship. We confess “Jesus is Lord” but only submit to the part of Christ’s authority that fits our grand personal designs, doesn’t cause pain, doesn’t disrupt the American dream, doesn’t draw us across ethnic and racial divisions, doesn’t add the pressure of too much guilt, doesn’t mean forgiving as we have been forgiven, doesn’t ask for more than a check to show compassion. We “sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” expressing our desire to know Jesus, but the Jesus we want to know is the sanitized Jesus that looks a lot like us when we think we are at our best. Despite God’s Word to the contrary, we think we can say that we love God and yet hate our neighbor, neglect the widow, forget the orphan, fail to visit the prisoner, ignore the oppressed. Its the sign of disordered love. When we do this, our worship becomes a lie to God.”
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If we’re all honest with ourselves we would all admit that New Year Resolutions are those lists of high ambitions we wish we would keep but usually break by mid-March… That’s why I try to think of at least ONE attainable one to go along with the list of fat-chances. This year my “gimme” was resuming a blog (so far, so good). On the more ambitious side I joined the gym (not doing too well) and, <drum roll please> decided to get back into reading the New Testament in Greek. It’s been about 7 years away from the alphas and omegas and I’m still in the game. For those of you who don’t know the “wild fun” you’re missing out on by settling for a good English translation, let the following musical tribute whet your appetite and move you toward the nearest Koine Greek class.
I hate shoveling the steps and sidewalk. There’s nothing appealing about it. It’s cold. It’s tiring. It’s dangerous when icy. It seems easiest to just let it go…until you slip and fall on your head! Falling flat on your back is far worse.
Sin works the same way. Everyday we fall short of living as we should. Like cold, freezing rain, sin falls upon the the surface of our hearts and leaves a cold, icy layer over everything. God’s word invites us to get out the shovel to scrape and melt the ice away daily. God’s outrageous love melts our sin away as we confess our sins and receive God’s forgiveness.
“If we say we have no sin we are liars. But if we confess our sins to God, he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from unrighteousness.”
Still, it often seems easier to take our chances, carefully tip-toeing around the hidden sins in our life hoping for the best. Honestly, facing our sin is a cold, uncomfortable exercise. It’s about as pleasant as scraping your windshield in 40 below windchill weather. Yet, when we let sin remain in our life we are only setting ourselves up for an eventual fall. And falling is always more painful in the end.
“What joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone” (Psalm 32:1-5).
May we keep short accounts with God this new year and bring our sins before the mercy of our savior daily. Let the fire of his forgiving, redeeming, restoring love keep your heart free from sin’s icy grip!
In his grace,
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path” (Ps. 119:105).
Life is a journey. This much is certain. Like any cross-country road trip it’s always good to keep the car on the road. Danger and destruction lingers in both ditches. To make matters more worse, according to the Christian perspective on things, the world still lingers in the darkness of sin and death. Our journey home is an all night trek through darkened landscapes and blurry shadows. What a hopeless situation this would be if our vehicle lacked headlights to illumine the path ahead. Similarly, how foolish are those trying to navigate life apart from the revelation of God who is the source of all true light and wisdom!
God is light. His light shows us the way home. God’s Word is a flashlight in a dark tunnel, a matchbox and candle in a cold, darkened wood. Jesus is a lighthouse drawing sea-weary ships safely to harbor.
“The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world” (John 1:9).
As followers of Jesus in the year 2009, may we all grab hold of the light of God’s Word and let it show us the way. The light we have been given is a gift from God. We dare not keep it to ourselves or arrogantly scoff at those without. It is all gift. We are called to share this light with others who are still stumbling in the dark, bumping into each other and veering into ditches.
I dedicate this new and improved “Daily Illumination Blog” to the task of sharing the light of Christ and His Word with those who are trying to find their way day by day across this darkened landscape.
“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).
Join me as I seek daily illumination from God’s Word this new year!