Monday, February 06, 2012

Christmas and Easter Every Day

We had a record number of men in men's meeting this past Saturday evening, and Ismael gave a study on the responsibilities of both husbands and wives in the context of the marriage relationship.  It was a fun and at times funny time, as we as a group of guys talked about that intensely challenging and rewarding relationship that is marriage.

The men's group is growing, but in spiritual maturity and in numbers.  Part of the reason is that it is a group you want to be a part of because, dare I say it, you enjoy being with these guys.

The Christian life can be, perhaps, reduced to these two concepts: truth and love.  We must hear truth read and taught from holy scripture, and see truth lived out in real flesh, in the real world.  It helps me to hear how others love their wife, because it inspires me to do better.  It helps me to know that others face the same temptations as I do, because I feel less alone.  I need to listen when 1 Corinthians tells me that 23,000 people died because of immorality.

I also need to experience love.  I need to feel appreciated and respected.  I thrive when I know someone else, or a group of someone elses, really cares.  I need to feel a part of something.  That is love.

Yesterday we celebrated the Lord's supper.  Part of me always feels like I should never participate, because I know my own heart.  There are areas of my life that continue to be undisciplined, sin lurks always close-by, sometimes I just don't even want to go to church.  Sometimes when I drink the cup I feel like God just might zap me dead.  But yesterday was different...because I had David by the head, running my hands through his hair and down his face.  He was, typically, distracted, wiggly and playful.  But oh, how I love him!  And I thought of Jesus's words in Matthew 7.  If your son asked for bread, will you give him a stone?  If you, being messed-up, imperfect parents, know how to give gifts and love to your son, imagine how much I love you!?  My paraphrase there.  I drank the cup with renewed assurance, and a fresh understanding of the new covenant.  In his blood.

Imagine how much God loves you.  When he hugs you, you can see the nail marks.  When you mess up, he is holy, be he also is infinite love.  Now these two things abide, truth and love.  But the greatest of love.  Love is depended upon truth, but goes beyond truth to include grace, risk and embrace.  God went to enormous lengths to communicate that to us.  We continue to celebrate it every Christmas and every Easter.

Quote of the Day: The acid test for any theology is this: Is the God presented one that can be loved, heart, soul, mind, and strength?  If the thoughtful, honest answer is; “Not really,” then we need to look elsewhere or deeper.  It does not matter how sophisticated intellectually or doctrinally our approach is.  If it fails to set a lovable God—a radiant, happy, friendly, accessible, and totally competent being—before ordinary people, we have gone wrong.  We should not keep going in the same direction, but turn around and take another road.
 D. Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, p.329

For a report and picture of our missionary team here, which is probably the most multi-cultural team in the whole mission, click HERE for Jim Cottrill's blog post.

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