Grace and Mercy Abound

The words in this title seem truer to me today than almost any day in my remembered past. On May 21, 2011, the day I married Erin, these words ran repeatedly through my brain. On January 25 of this year, my son Lukas Addai was born, on that day too these words rang true. But today, as I sit in my office and think about what is coming up on August 11 I cannot think of any words more fitting. On August 11, 2013 I will be ordained to the ministry of the Church by the pastor and church that raised me in Duncanville.

I can’t begin to explain how humbling this fact is. Pastor Keith Brister is the pastor that I sat under and was led by for the majority of my life. Greg Bowman came as the youth minister my 8th grade year and is still there today. These men have had an impact on me that I don’t think they realize. They have challenged me to grow in my faith in ways that are unparallelled by most people. I cannot express how appreciative I am for both of these men.

My dad has been a member of this church since he was in his 20s. He has served on staff in multiple roles, as the chair of deacons, a Sunday School teacher, attended many Youth Camps and countless other positions of leadership. He has also raised me in a loving home. He has loved my mom in ways that I only hope to emulate in the ways that I love Erin. He loved us kids more than we deserved and taught me what it means to be a Godly father, husband, and man. I am forever indebted to the impact my dad has had on me.

The rest of my family has been so supportive of me throughout my entire life. My mom is incredible. She would literally do anything for me. I will never be able to repay my mother for the way she comforted me when I was upset or the way she disciplined me when I wasn’t acting right. My oldest brother Ryan has always been my role model. I’ll never forget how upset I was when my mom told me I couldn’t get the same hair cut that Ryan had because we had different hair. I wanted the undercut so badly. My other brother Colin has always been my best friend. We shared a room our entire lives and fought like brothers do. But, when we finally grew up and realized that we could be brothers and friends, it was awesome. We got to live together in college for a year and a half and I take full credit for him meeting his now wife Kinsey. Kinsey is pretty cool too. Micaela, my younger sister is awesome. I haven’t always treated her the way I should, especially when we were younger, but I love her so much. My dad always told my brother and I that we would one day look back and wish we had treated her better when we were kids. He was right. She’s starting at UMHB in the fall, which isn’t HPU but its a pretty decent school nonetheless. I’m so proud of the woman of God that she has become. She has impacted me more than she realizes.

I can’t forget the bestie. Daniel has been my best friend since 6th grade. We’ve been through so much together and I can’t imagine a better friend. From watching the way he and his family grieved when his mother passed to our late night trampoline jumps, he’s always been a great role model. We used to come up with some of the greatest summer plans you could ever imagine. One summer we were going to make a robot that could do whatever we wanted it to. One summer we recorded literally everything we did. One summer we tried to draw 1,000,000 different stick figures. It didn’t matter how ridiculous it sounded or how far we were from finishing, they were some of the greatest memories I’ll ever have. Also, let it be known that we shoved the rule that you don’t keep your best friends from high school out the window. He was one of my best men in my wedding and I’ll be the best man in his this December.

There are countless others who have had an impact on my life, but for the sake of stopping this blog I’ll stop there. But, let me echo the sentiment from the beginning. I am living proof that grace and mercy abounds. Thank you all who have touched my life.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Sermon 11/25/12

Sermon on Hosea and Gomer and what Christ did on the cross.

Leave a comment

November 28, 2012 · 9:19 pm

Amazing Grace pt. 2

This past week over Thanksgiving break I decided to leave my school work at home and read a book of my choice to get some refreshment before the final push of the semester. I picked Jim and Casper Go to Church. Basically, Jim Henderson, an ex-pastor and Matt Casper, an atheist, go from church to church and give critiques (For a full book review check back in a couple of days). Casper had the same argument at almost all of the churches they visited. He always complained that the church was only preaching on what they believed rather than what they did. I think this would be the complaint of most young adults who have left the church. There is not enough doing. Casper goes on to say on a number of occasions that if there is a God who died on a cross for the sins of many, then there has to be a heavier cost to pay for it. I understand that logic, there are a lot of pastors that teach that logic. He is right that there is a problem with the selling of cheap grace that happens in our churches when we pretend there is nothing we are held accountable for. He’s right, it’s not about what we believe. But, he is also wrong that it is not about what we do either. I’ve heard many pastors ask from the pulpit “What will you say when God asks ‘Why should I let you in?'” The problem with that is we are justifying ourselves. If it is up to us in the end then we’re out of luck. It’s not about what we believe. It’s not about what we do. It’s solely about what Christ did on the cross for the sins of many. That grace covers the multitude of sins that we have committed. When we debate whether it is about what we do or what we believe, we leave the argument still in our hands. Which, I would argue is what Casper wants. He wants it to be up to him, then it’s his fault and only his fault when something goes awry.

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”

Ephesians 2:1-5

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Amazing Grace

As I prepare to preach this coming Sunday, I have become overwhelmed with the idea of grace. Grace is incredible, its unimaginable, its so magnificent that it become indescribable. Why the Creator of everything seen and unseen would come to earth in flesh form is just mind boggling. Not only that, but he lived a life entirely devoted to his death. As the old hymn says, “Who died to bring eternal life and lived that death may die.” I have always struggled with grace because it didn’t leave anything up to me. There is nothing I can do to earn more grace and there is nothing I can do to nullify the grace I’ve been given.

While I was with my students at a camp this summer the pastor told a story that he had read in a book about Christianity written by a Muslim. (The pastor was born into a Muslim family and came to Christ as a teenager.) The author said that Christianity seemed so odd to him because he pictured it as him sitting on a dock when a man runs past him telling him that he loves him and then jumps into the water and drowns. The man was Jesus, coming and dying to show his love for the man. The man had a point, if this was in fact an accurate depiction, Christianity would be absurd. But, what he missed is that we aren’t sitting on the deck. We are drowning and Jesus, out of love, drowned in order to save us. That is grace.

Hosea is an incredible picture of this grace for us to look at. He took a whore as a wife and loved her, even had children with her. She left him and he went to the slave blocks and bought her with a price. A woman who showed no desire to be with him and he went and bought her for a price. It’s a beautiful picture of Christ. Christ wants us so badly that he was willing to pay the price regardless of how much that was, even if that price is death, death on a cross.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Sermon from 9/30/12

This is my sermon from 9/30/12 on Investing.

Leave a comment

October 1, 2012 · 5:50 pm

identity…

identity:
a :sameness of essential or generic character in different instances

b : sameness in all that constitutes the objective reality of a thing : oneness

We’re always told as children that our identity should be found in Christ. I would wholeheartedly agree with that. The only problem is, what does it mean to have an identity in Christ. Above is the Merriam-Webster definition of identity. Sameness in essence. So, we’re supposed to be in essence, the same as Christ. Or just like Christ in everything we say and do. That sounds so much simpler. But, with most of life that is so much easier to say–or type–than to actually do. James told us to not be simply hearers of the word but instead we should be doers of the word. That doesn’t mean we get to do some of the things Jesus told us to, that means everything he said to do, we need to do. Now, I’m not a literalist, so if you think this means you need to carry a literal cross around campus, go for it, but I don’t think that’s what he’s getting at. On the other hand, not everything he said was just an analogy. When he says to love your neighbor, he meant love your neighbor. When he said love your enemy  and pray for him, he meant exactly that. We have been consumed by a cheap grace that teaches all we have to do is say yes and then continue living in the way we always have. One could argue that saying “yes” to Jesus is the only requirement for admission to Heaven, but if you’re in it for the rewards, you may want to take another look at your “yes.” When Jesus presented the opportunity for eternal relationship with the Sovereign God of the Universe (himself), he never buttered it up or watered it down. He said “hate your brother”, and “eat my flesh, drink my blood” and “deny yourself, pick up your cross, THEN follow me.” We have to get out of this apathetic existence that some call Christianity. We are called to so much more. And you don’t do these things so that you can get something out of it. Finding your identity in Christ is not a means to an end, its the “end” itself!

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Here it goes…

I told my wife that I was going to either start a blog or get on twitter and she laughed. Apparently, I’m not the twitter type, but she did encourage me to start a blog. So, here it goes. I’m hoping to write about once a week on topical things. I don’t plan on this being a provocative site that starts a bunch of arguments, but I do like to look at things that we do in our daily lives through a Christological lens and see if they still seem ok. I don’t know if anyone will read these, and for that matter, I don’t particularly care. This will just be a place for me to process thoughts about the world and culture that we live in. I’ll write my first real post in a few days.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized