Monday, June 28, 2010

what is this peace you speak of?

Today I posted on my facebook status that I was at peace, at least for now anyway and I wanted to thank God for it. This prompted a friend of mine who I haven't seen for a long time (since the San Jac days) to ask the question:

"What is this peace you speak of?"

I wanted to answer him thoroughly but succinctly because facebook only allows you to have so many characters in your comments and I didn't want to be to lengthy.
However, this is a blog.

I can be lengthy here.

So below is my response to his question in quotation marks and then below that I will add details and verses that I was thinking about when I answered the question.

"The peace I speak of is not my own peace."
Jesus gives me peace and rest, it is not mine, on my own I am a mess.
I have sins in my life that build up and weigh me down.
On my own merit, I can do nothing.
Matthew 11:28-30
28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

"It is not peace I deserve."
I am a sinner.
On my own I sin.
This separates me from a Holy and perfect God who cannot be in the presence of sin.
But only in His presence is peace.
So there is a problem here.
I can't be in His presence and have peace because I am a sinner.
So what's the solution?

Romans 5:6-12
6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

"It is the peace I have because of my Jesus."
Jesus is the one who goes on my behalf in front of God the Father.
Amber Martin posted this verse early this morning and it was in my mind today so I thank her for letting God use her and putting this verse up.
1 John 2:2
1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

"It is a peace I have because I know who I am."

My identity used to be in my good works.
I was a great youth group kid.
Sunday school, I was there.
Wednesday night, I was there.
Small group, I was there.
Prayer team, I was there.
Leadership team, I was there.
If I could have played an instrument I would have done that to but my body freaks out with uncoordinated movements when it comes in contact with a musical instrument, it's horrible.

2 1/2 years ago God took what I thought was my identity (my list of all my accomplishments) and showed me that I was putting my trust and identifying who I was by that list.

And He crushed me.
So what is my identity?

"I am a co-heir with Jesus."
I am Jesus' brother now.
Because of His sacrifice I know have access to the Father.
I've been brought into the family.
God's family.
My spirit (my innermost being) has been made alive by the Holy Spirit and has affirmed me as one of God's kids.
Romans 8:16-17
16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

"I'm an adopted son of God.

He is my Father and I am His son."
Because of my adoption I am now part of God's family.
What does that mean?
I came across this passage last year when me and Hank (the head pastor at Meadowcrest Church where I attend) were preaching through 1 & 2 Peter.
It has been stamped on my heart ever since.

1 Peter 2:9-10
9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

"That gives me identity."

That verse flows into this point as well.
I am part of a royal priesthood.
I am part of a holy nation.
I am part of a people belonging to God.
I belong to God.
My identity doesn't come from my list anymore, it comes in who God declares me to be.

"He is in control."

God is in control.
I'm not.
I can either submit to His will and be a part of His story for His glory or I can not submit to His will and I'll be a part of His story for his glory.

Phillipians 2:10-11
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

"He is sovereign so I can find my refuge in Him.
My hope is not in me and what I do but in my Father."
God is big.
He is powerful.
More so than I.
He is there for me to rest in.
To be my refuge.
And I do feel blessed that I can do that now.
Psalm 34:7-8 says,

7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.8 Taste and see that the LORD is good;blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

"That takes a huge burden off of me."

Back to the top.
Jesus says He gives rest to those who are weary and heavy laden.
Is that you?
Do you need to rest?
Are you doing all the right things racking up the perfect good list and really it's just weighing you down?
Are your sins piled up so high that you're being suffocated by them?

Allow Jesus to give you rest.

"That is the peace of which I speak."

-Thank you Jason Thompson for the prompt this afternoon. I've been praying for you since we met (believe it or not). I know I'm not perfect and you saw some of my imperfections come out during our workout sessions however my identity is not in my sins, not my good deeds, but who God has called me to be.
and that gives me peace.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

and so we begin

I have always wanted a blog.
Ever since the days of Xanga I've been interested in writing and publishing my work.
So it begins tonight, a Saturday at the end of June 2010:

I spent this last week in Aldama, Mexico with a group from Christ Community Church (Chicago Illinois) and the faithful staff of Way of the Cross Ministries

it was beautiful.

We shared the gospel with villages that are very poor by our standards.
A church was built.
VBS was done.
Evangecubes were utilized.
Testimonies were shared.
Children and adults alike put their trust in Jesus Christ.

While we were in Aldama we stayed at a camp in the mountains, a very peaceful place that you can get away from day to day distractions and hear from God.
Tonight I wanted to share a journal entry from the morning of June 24th.
I wrote this entry after struggling with my calling in my life.

I was wondering if I was selling my life short by not surrendering to full time mission work.

God answered me that morning.
This journal entry is the catalyst for this blog:

"I may not be a Missionary but I am at the front lines of people's souls every Sunday morning.
Every meeting.
Every phone call
Every conversation.

There is eternal life in the balance.

You (God) haven't called me to the mission field to pioneer new areas 24/7 but to try and reconcile those who have ran away from You and live in the world.

My job is to proclaim You as Supreme, as the ultimate thing in life.

The culmination of our joy.
The epitome of our being.
You are God.
I am a mouthpiece.

People sometimes love it, other times they hate it.
Don't let my age or background be a hindrance.
Don't let me be a stumbling block.
Let me preach with joy and let me live my life with the joy that You have given me Father. Thank You! Thank You! I shout and say thank You Father! Amen! Amen! And amen!"

I was on a mountain top (literally) as I wrote this and it seemed so simple to follow what God has planned for me in my life.

...if it were only that easy...