Over Spring Break, I spent 7 days in Guatemala City serving with Fellowship Guatemala. There are so many lives being transformed by God’s grace in that city, and we got to see God do some amazing things in that week. I’m still processing all that I saw and learned. I really hope to post more about it, but for now I just want to let some of the pictures do the talking.

 

I love listening to teachers who frame everything with the Gospel. I love the gut punch I get when I realize that every broken part of this world is remedied by the grace that God has lavished on us through Christ. Our teaching pastors here at Fellowship do a great job of this. And this weekend, we got to listen to Paul David Tripp teach on suffering through the lens of the Gospel.

The weekend started with Paul speaking at our Marriage Conference, where he laid a Gospel smack-down on about 500 couples. Then, Paul spoke on Sunday about how we face suffering in light of the grace we’ve been given. He used Psalm 27 to show how we endure the ugliness of suffering because there is One who is more beautiful. We live with the knowledge that we are connected by grace to a beautiful God. I really encourage you to take 35 minutes and listen to the entire sermon. You can watch it HERE.

Here are a few of the quotes from the sermon that hit me:

PDT Quote 2

PDT Quote 4

PDT Quote 5

PDT Quote 3

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After 2 ½ days of being iced-in with small children, our family had to get out of the house. We went out to eat and then ventured to the grocery store with both kids, which was a first and probably a last.

When we finished shopping, it was freezing cold and still icy enough to be dangerous. I started the car and realized the fuel light was on! So, with a whiny 3-year-old and a screaming 11-month old, we stopped at the gas station to get gas.

When I pulled up to the pump, I noticed a woman talking to a man by another gas pump and then walk back to a fairly beat-up mini-van. As I started to pump our gas, the lady approached me. She said, “Sir, we’re almost out of gas but we don’t have any money. Do you have just a few dollars?”

This is not a bragging post about a good deed. I wish I had responded differently, but I didn’t. I looked at the woman and semi-politely said, “Sorry, I don’t have any cash.”

In my mind, I was running through a million different scenarios. Most of them revolved around the person not deserving my money or my help in this situation. And then the grace of God hit me like a ton of bricks.

Who am I to call someone else undeserving?

Even though I am undeserving of love, God chose to love me. Even though I deserved to be judged and punished for all my sins, God chose to pour out His grace to forgive and redeem me. Knowing all His grace has done for me, am I really refusing to give grace and show love to this lady?

She hadn’t walked too far. This grace lesson had my heart racing so fast, I think I shouted the next sentence at her. I said, “Ma’am! If you need gas in your van, I would love to fill the tank for you.”

I pumped the gas for her and she thanked me. I told her that I hoped it was enough to get her some place warm for the night, and then I got back into my car with the screaming kids.

I set a goal for 2014 to better understand God’s grace and to show more grace to others. This story reminds me that I’m still struggling to understand grace and show grace. Last night, I gave away a tank of gas and received a huge lesson in grace.

A Life of Audacious Love

February 13, 2014 — Leave a comment

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In less than 24 hours, people everywhere will be hatching plans to show love to the special person in their life. Flowers, candy, proposals, and more will be shared on this Valentine’s Day. People will wait in anticipation of who or what might show up at their door to say, “I Love You.” This one day is a sobering reminder that people are searching for love.

If you don’t believe that, check out these stats on book titles from Amazon.com:

  • 507,878 book titles about HEAVEN
  • 766,921 book titles about GOD
  • 884,737 book titles about MONEY
  • 922,816 book titles about LOVE

This immense desire to be loved is something I think God intentionally puts inside all of us. It is a need that can only be met by the gracious love of God through Jesus. With a world that is searching so hard to find true love, how can my life point them to Christ? I love the way Bob Goff answers this question in his book, Love Does. A co-worker recently shared about this story and reminded me of the powerful message of the book. After telling the story of a young man proposing to the love of his life, Goff says this:

Ryan’s love was audacious. It was whimsical. It was strategic. Most of all, it was contagious. Watching Ryan lose himself in love reminded me that being “engaged” isn’t just an event that happens when a guy gets on one knee and puts a ring on his true love’s finger. Being engaged is a way of doing life, a way of living and loving.

It’s about going to extremes and expressing the bright hope that life offers us, a hope that makes us brave and expels darkness with light. That’s what I want my life to be all about— full of abandon, whimsy, and in love. I want to be engaged to life and with life.

I enjoy those parts of the Bible where Jesus talks about how much He loves His bride. It makes me wonder if the trees and mountains and rivers are things He planned in advance, knowing they would wow us. I wonder if God returned over and over to this world He placed us in thinking what He had created was good, but it could be even better, even grander. I wonder if He thought each foggy morning, each soft rain, each field of wildflowers would be a quiet and audacious way to demonstrate His tremendous love for us.

Lord, help me be someone who loves like You love. Let my life be an instrument of Your grace.