Friday, January 20, 2006

Amazing Grace

The following story was in a devotional book called Seeking Him that our staff is going through right now. It really made me think about the amazing grace of God...

If a young man is killed through some random act of violence, and his father tracks down the guilty person and kills him, we would call that vengeance. If, however, the father calls the police and the murderer is arrested, tried, convicted, and executed, we'd call that justice. If, at the trial, the father pleads for the guilty man's life to be spared and the judge and jury consent, we'd call that mercy.

Now imagine this: in addition to pleading for the guilty one to be spared, the father actually appeals to the judge to release the offender into his custody and care. Miraculously gaining approval, the father takes the young man into his heart and home, adopts him, and raises him and loves him as his own son...that would be GRACE!

Ephesians 2:1-9
And you were dead in the tresspasses and sins in which you once walked... and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Big Willie Style

No this is not "my lovechild from my former marriage" - this is my nephew Wilson. He will be 3 on April 2. He is a future football and basketball star. You can just sense it at a young age. He is also a future missionary of the gospel. I am not sure if he will end up in urban America like his uncle, but I am praying that he will one day come to know and love the Lord.

The Basics

At a recent Phat Friday service I was challenged by a Christian hip hop artist by the name of Tedashi on "the basics." He started with a sports illustration...Every great team does the basics well. For example a good football team blocks, tackles, and runs the ball well. He then flipped it to the spiritual side and challenged us with the reminder that in order to live victoriously as Christians, and to make an impact for Him we need to focus on the basics. The basics are...
(1) Prayer - talking to God
(2) Reading the Word
(3) Sharing our Faith
(4) Fellowship
He reminded us that God has not made it hard or complex, he just asks that we focus on the basics.

Friday, January 06, 2006

A Beautiful Thing

During the month of December some things happened in my life and in my parent's life that reminded me of the beauty and the blessing of the body of Christ when we work together and care for one another. First of all, my dad was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer in November. As soon as we got the news, brothers and sisters in Christ both in Michigan, Illinois and all over the place began praying for my dad. Not only that but several couples from my parent's church who had gone through the same thing in their lives (meaning prostate cancer) either called my parents or went and met with my parents to encourage them and to give them wise council when considering the treatment options. Throughout this time my church here in Chicago has prayed for my dad and mom. Then, the night before my dad was to leave for Detroit for his surgery some close family friends from my parent's church came over and prayed with me and my parents. Someone else made us a food basket to take to the hospital. Several people called my dad as he was driving to Detroit to tell him they were praying for him. Two of my uncles and one of my aunts came to Detroit and stayed in the hotel and were there for the surgery. My parents have felt the love and support of the body and it has been a beautiful thing to watch.
Then during the month of December I got support gifts from several different people unexpectedly. God's timing always amazes me with these gifts, and people's generosity always amaze me with these gifts. Living on missionary support has definitely been a growing experience for me. It has been amazing to see God time and time again provide just what I need, at just the right time, and often times using His people, the body of Christ, to do it.
I have been reminded of 1 Corinthians 12, and I have been thankful for the body of Christ. Though as members we all have our issues, when we work together and encourage one another, it is a beautiful thing.