Sunday, December 6, 2009

Unless You Become as Children…

Jesus spoke these words in response to the question: “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of God?” He wasn’t saying that we should act childish, He was telling us that children are the picture of a life lived freely, dependently, and without condemnation and worry. Don’t we long for such simplicity?

On Saturday, the WAVE groups all joined together for a day of “childlike” enjoyment…which included all kinds of activities centered around being “a kid.” We had lots of lively conversation, great food, a viewing of Disney’s “The Kid”, some games on the grass and on the beach as well as some time to swim in the biggest waves we’ve seen since arriving in Barbados. It was a wonder-full day (you should have seen Barry, the oldest “kid” amongst us, getting pounded by those waves and laughing with delight). We just thought we’d post some pictures for you to get a glimpse of the “WAVE’rs” at play. All part of the journey…

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Little Inside Information...

It's December 1st- oh my gosh...really?? How did we get here so fast? We've been in Barbados now 2 1/2 months...time is moving way too fast for me. We're nearly through first half of The Wave...can that be possible? I suppose it must be. No......Stop!!!!

Well, I guess I can't control the movement of time any more than I can control anything else. So, having once again realized such a profound Truth...let me move on to more amazing things. This past Sunday we continued our series at Barbados Grace Fellowship on "Foundations of New Convenant Relationship." It was my "turn" to speak and the topic we chose for the morning was in regards to our being called to live from a place of Union with God rather than a system of standards (The Law). It was a good morning and I've had some amazing feedback as to how powerful this struggle is for most of us. It is so easy for us to buy the lie that if we can just measure up to the standard, life will go well and God will be pleased. Just not true. But dang, sometimes it just seems so much like it could be.

I recieved an email yesterday which has started a glorious conversation (sorry, I know I sound like Herb, but he's here now I want him to feel like he's special so I used his rhetoric - ha ha!). I thought I'd share a bit of it with you who are following our BLOG as I think it will give you a little "inside" look into what our time here is all about...walking with people on their journey to discover the Truth (Jesus) that sets them free.

Here's the email I received:

Hi Laurie,

Hope you don't mind me emailing you. With regards to yesterdays service my husband and I have been discussing alot of things. One of the questions that has come up is this; What about someone who kills then? If the law still exists, but you are under grace what happens when you sin to that extent? Does there not still have to be a rule of right and wrong for people to follow??

Love Gertrude (made up the name!)

My response:

Hey Gertrude:

I love questions, especially when it is in response to what the Spirit is saying inside of you. So, no problem, ask away. The truth is, I might not know the answers either, but we can explore them together and see what He reveals.

As to the Law…there are several levels of “Law” that we’re dealing with. There is “Old Covenant Biblical Law”, personal laws, and society’s laws. They are all independent of each other while at the same time intertwined at different levels. The LAW (Biblical) was given to reveal the character and nature of God and to provide a means by which society could function without anarchy. So, it served both to reveal man’s inability to measure up to it (in terms of God’s perfection) and therefore lead us to a need for a Savior. But, it also pointed out needed guidelines for a functioning of the governing forces in a community. Now, we’ve moved a long way from this point, but, nonetheless, it was the foundation. So…to your question…if a person kills someone else, they will be treated one way by “society’s laws” and another way by God. Society will prosecute and inflict consequences (hopefully!) in order to maintain safety and security for its members. So yes, right and wrong are extremely important when it comes to the functioning of a society. However, just because there’s a law that says, “Do not murder” does not mean people will not murder, obviously, it happens every day, countless times. So, there you can see the principal that the LAW does not stop people from sinning, it simply points out what sin is and institutes consequences for breaking it. And, under the Old Covenant, that’s how man related to God, as well as society. BUT… (and it’s a big BUT!)…when Jesus came in human form, He fulfilled the LAW…in every way. He never sinned…amazing huh? Not because He was God but because He was a man living in total dependence upon GOD. That’s how we’re now called to live. So, when Jesus died and said, “It is finished!” He was saying the “Old” way of relationship with God was now over and a “New” way was being instituted. It was no longer man’s job to keep the LAW (they never could anyway, that’s why Jesus did it for us) but that the LAW was now written on our hearts through the UNION we now have with Jesus through the Spirit. So, you know internally that murder is not a part of your new nature, even if you’re so angry you feel as if you could commit it. But, it’s not the LAW that keeps you from doing so, it’s the living Savior within you that says, “That’s not who you are…let me fulfill the commandment through you…which is now to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.” But, even if they do commit murder, in God’s eyes, they are forgiven and free. There will be consequences (both in society and in relationships) but with God we still stand in His perfection of the LAW. That’s why it’s GRACE. Now, does He want me to do such things and is He condoning such actions, of course not. Paul says in Romans 6:1-2 says: “ 1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” So, the point is not “getting away with sin because we’re under grace.” The point is, grace sets us free to NOT SIN! 11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2: 11-14 So, grace leads us to behavior that reflects who we are. And that comes out of our UNION with Him.

I know this is probably a lot more than you asked for…but, I hope it helps.


Her response:

Hi Laurie,

Thanks so much for your is very helpful.
As I was telling you yesterday about my father in law you can see why my husband struggles to understand exactly what being under "grace" means. Your reply really helped him as well as me, because just like you were explaining yesterday it sometimes gets very confusing. The book "The Shack" really helped me deal with this issue of bad people being forgiven by God although it still is hard to understand at times.

Have a wonderful day,

Love Gertrude

So, there you have a little insight into one of the parts of being amongst people, journeying together with them.

Herb is here this week and we've got a full week to boot. So...more upates to come. Love to you all and a very Happy Holidays!