Keep On Walking

For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazing10 For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago” (Ephesians 2:8-10, The Voice).

At Room in the Inn, some guys from The Church at Station Hill led a Bible study for the homeless men on Ephesians 2. What caught my attention was the part in verse 10 where Paul states that we are God’s poem, created by God for good works, which He prepared ahead of time that we should walk in them.

The guy leading the study pointed out that walking denotes remaining steady and grounded. It means you aren’t flashy and don’t garner a lot of attention, but you are faithful in the little things and the daily chores. It’s a day-by-day thing, more of a marathon than a sprint.

Plus, it’s more than lip-service. It does no good to know all about the Bible if you live contrary to what it says. It does no good when you profess faith with your lips then deny it with your lifestyle (to borrow from the original Ragamuffin, Brennan Manning.

Walking in good works means that you make a habit of doing what God says to do, not in your own way, but in God’s way. It doesn’t mean that you don’t occasionally falter and fail, but that you never stop striving for obedience and faithfulness to Jesus.

Rather than hearing us quote verses and spout doctrine, what those around us really need to see is a quiet life of committed faithfulness and staying true to the path of walking in what God commands. That in itself is the greatest witness a believer can have.

All that from one Bible study.


Grace on an October Thursday Night

“For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazing. For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

We are heaven’s poetry etched on lives. I like that.

You and I are not accidents. We are not mistakes. You and I matter very much because God says so.

You and I have a purpose. Some may take longer than others in finding theirs, but all of us have one. And I believe strongly that it is never too late to find out what that purpose is and to discover who you might have been and still could be.

Just remember that when you go to bed tonight, feeling tired and worn out and useless. You do matter. God says so.


Some thoughts about worship

Jesus didn’t die for our good works or good intentions. He didn’t die to make good people better. Or for that matter to make bad people good. He died to make dead people come alive. He died for our dark places, our wicked deeds. He came to take our blame and our shame and give us His perfection. Jesus died to make us worshippers.

John Piper says in effect, Worship, not missions, is the purpose of His people. The reason that missions exists is because for so many peoples, worship does not. People can’t worship a God they don’t know. People can’t worship a god made in their image that is too small to save or love or rescue anybody. Redeemed people worship a real God. Really when you look at it, missions and evangelism are both forms of worship– declaring the great worth and works of God to all peoples.

Worship is Romans 12:1-2, offering our bodies as living sacrifices. In the Old Testament, part of worship was offering sacrifices like bulls and goats. Since Jesus did away with the old sacrificial system, what we bring as our offering of worship is ourselves. Worship is giving to God our bodies, our souls, our true selves. Worship is giving back to God what was already His and acknowledging that He owns it all, including us.

Worship is James 1:27. When we give to the widow and the orphan, we give to Jesus. Whatever we do for the least of these, we do for Jesus. Jesus didn’t choose the popular or strong or wise; He chose the throwaways of the world, the lepers, the outcasts and the abandoned to be His worshippers. Worship also means keeping yourself unstained by the world, to be set apart and different. Worship is either a 24/7 lifestyle or it’s nothing at all.

Worship is taking your two loaves and five fishes and watching Jesus turn it into a meal for thousands. When we give what little we call our own to Jesus, He takes it and not only blesses the multitudes, but gives back to us more than we can contain.

Worship means to kiss, to adore and to sacrifice. It is saying that God is supremely worthy of all of me. It means I will give my life away on a daily basis for the Kingdom of God. It means that every breath is a praise and every thought a prayer.

Honestly, after all this, I still don’t really know what worship is. I’m not very good at it. Or I should say I am not very good at worshipping the right thing, i.e. Jesus of Nazareth who died on the cross and rose triumphantly from the grave and has all authority in heaven and on earth, including authority over my life.

In the New Testament, when people worshipped, they fell on their faces. In the book of Revelation, the apostle John fell on his face before Jesus as a dead man. That’s what I pray for: to die to everything else, to fall on Jesus, and live to Him, with Him and for Him only.

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.