Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Wasted Life

"If Christ is not made much of in our lives, they are wasted. We exist to make him appear in the world as what he really is—magnificent. If our life and death do not show the worth and wonder of Jesus, they are wasted." -John Piper

We waste our lives when we live for our glory rather than the glory of Christ. We waste our lives when we store up treasures on earth and live for the fleeting pleasures of this life. We waste our lives when we do not love others by pointing them to the cross. We waste our lives when we do not carry our cross and follow the Lord, regardless of the cost.

The wasted life is really the wasted day. If we are not to waste our lives, we must not waste our days. Living for Christ's glory and His Kingdom does not start after graduation, after we have a family or at some other distant point in the future. Living for Christ's glory starts now. It starts today. If we are not to waste our lives, we must not waste our days.

"Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." -Luke 9:23

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." -Matthew 6:34

Sunday, September 5, 2010

When Ministry Becomes a Joyless Burden

I love the story of the Samaritan woman who encounters Jesus at the well. She encounters the living Christ and the experience is so radical that she immediately goes back to her town to tell others about Jesus. Ultimately, her testimony prompts others to believe: "Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony...So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers" (John 4:39,40-41).

I believe the story of the Samaritan woman holds several implications for the body of Christ:

First, the Samaritan woman shares the message of Christ not out of duty but joy. Where is our joy? Where is my joy? Ministry so often becomes a burden. It becomes a joyless task. Why? We are no longer pursuing Jesus. Yes that is blunt, but I believe it is truth.

When we ardently seek after Jesus Christ we inevitably encounter His surpassing greatness and supreme goodness. Jesus is the true treasure, and all is rubbish compared to Him! We simply cannot keep Jesus to ourselves after experiencing Him and His love.

Second, the Samaritan woman meets Jesus and through her testimony of Christ many more become believers. She does not share an abstract and intangible Jesus. Rather she shares a Jesus she personally knows. She shares a Jesus who is living and active in her life. Her testimony holds merit because she speaks of something she actually has experienced.

And so, may we seek Jesus! May we abide in Him and His love. May we keep our eyes ever fixed on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Redemption

Stories of redemption stir my heart. Stories of human frailty encountering the life-giving grace of Jesus Christ. Stories of captives being set free. Stories of Jesus taking something broken and making it beautiful.


I think my heart awakens to such stories because they illuminate deeper realities and truths...


We have an inner awareness that things are not how they should be. We realize things are broken. We realize we are broken. And yet we tirelessly attempt to create the semblance of perfection. We wear masks. We pretend to have it all together. Perfection, however, is but a fa├žade. No one is perfect—not one.


We are imperfect and broken because this world is fallen: Adam and Eve were created in the image and likeness of God. They were made holy and righteous, as God is holy and righteous. When Adam and Eve chose to sin, however, their perfect nature was cancelled, and all born of Adam and Eve inherit a contagion to sin.


We are thus created in the image of God. We were created to be holy, as He is holy, and yet because of the Fall, we are prone to sin. This is the tension we feel. The longing to be perfect because we bear the image of a perfect God, and yet the paining realization we are incapable of living out His image.


In enters the Gospel. God sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to be a sin offering. Jesus came to set the captives free. He came to redeem sinners. He came to make all things new. He came to reverse the effects of the Fall and to restore creation to its original order.


And yet we live between the times. Jesus died and was resurrected. We are waiting for His second coming. We are waiting for the new earth where sin will have no place—where there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.


Thus, until His return we will feel the tension between the old and the new order. The Kingdom is here, but not yet. Because of the Spirit, we are continually renewed into the likeness of Christ. We are continually being made holy and whole--and yet we live in a world marred by sin. We are freed from the control of sin, but we have not yet been freed from its presence.

“The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently."

Romans 8:19-25

Let us wait patiently in hope. Let us wait in expectation for His return, and as we wait let us love extravagantly.