Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Imperfect and Broken (Newsletter article)

We are imperfect and broken creatures, thoroughly affected by the sin and corruption in the world. At the same time, we are surrounded by and, if we choose, immersed in the grace of God in Christ Jesus. It is wondrous and humbling to receive this gift from the holy and living God of the universe, to discover that we were designed to be “God-compatible” (an expression of Robertson McQuilkin’s), to say “Yes” to God and to be filled with the Spirit.

I was recently reminded of this mystery in my continuing reading of Augustine’s prayerful Confessions (Book XI, “Time and Eternity”, 31.41):
O how exalted are you,
and yet the humble of heart are your dwelling place!
Sometimes we get the wrong impression - that God’s grace toward us is something that we have managed to deserve or earn through our own goodness. Our hearts don’t remain humble and we forget that grace is a GIFT we can never merit. The Lord pointedly declares, through the prophet Ezekiel (20:44):
You shall know that I am the LORD, when I deal with you for my name's sake, not according to your evil ways, or corrupt deeds.
Songwriter/singer/jazz pianist/producer Charlie Peacock wrote a song-tribute to his friend Jack Miller, based on Miller’s signature phrase (“Cheer Up Church”, Kingdom Come album):
it’s just like God to make a hero from a sinner
it’s just like God to choose a loser, not the winner
it’s just like God to tell a story through the weak
to let the gospel speak through the life of a man
who’ll be the first to say
cheer up church, you’re worse off than you think
cheer up church, you’re standing at the brink
don’t despair, do not fear, grace is near
In the grip of grace,
Pastor JP

Our Mission: Bethany Church exists to honor God by making more disciples for Jesus Christ.
Our Vision: 500 new disciples in 5 years

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