This is great Seth! What are some examples of choosing into grace?
In this season of brokenness, we especially need grace. Many people are trapped in their homes in what feels like a place of judgment and are dying to exchange it for one of grace. And that is the first thing that churches need to offer as we open up our doors again.
When Jesus came bringing the kingdom, he was bringing the economics of grace rather than judgment. His first sermon was about how that works. He was saying, “learn how to practice forgiveness.” And “learn how to practice giving as a lifestyle.“ This is grace.
As I reflect on my upbringing in the church and in missions, I think about all the complicated situations I was in that needed grace.
Almost all of the communities I attended on Sunday morning or worked alongside from 9 to 5 didn’t understand grace. When people messed up, they were kicked out. And sometimes you found yourself sitting in the ejection seat and didn’t know why.
There was the time when as a young man I was summarily fired from a ministry for what felt like no good reason. There was the string of churches my family attended that imploded and fired their pastors. And the church splits. The divisive meetings. The bitter and broken relationships that resulted.
Sometimes the Christian communities that we’re a part of can look like train wrecks. It’s no wonder that close to half of young people are leaving the church and want nothing to do with it. All they want is authenticity and grace and they don’t see it in our communities.
For churches who want to connect with young people, perhaps a good place to begin is to consider, “do our lives show God’s grace?” Yes, repentance is necessary, but after that, so is grace!
Here we are today in Covid-time – not in a great place, but maybe closer to grace than we realize. What if we were to make a list of the people we have judged and ask, “How could I love them better? How can my community reach out to those who are different than us and offer hope?”
As we leave our houses, we have the opportunity to try to re-invent community as a place where Jesus would feel welcome. A place where people get a second chance, not at fixing themselves, but at just feeling accepted. A place where the truth is told in love. A place where we fight for one another.
That’s what I have been dreaming about all my life. That is what people are dying for.
PEOPLE ARE GOING TO FORGET THIS 1 DAY AND GO BACK TO IGNORANCE AGAIN SORRY TO SOUND SO BLEAK I HOPE I’M WRONG.
When you put out such heartfelt thoughts and material for the world to see there’s always going to be a return. I am moved by every blog specially the ones that are about what we are going through right now. The words are like food laid on the table to sit and eat and meditate on. I am going to start a blog again. I have one with 12 months worth of stuff and I can’t even access it because it’s about a year into accessing and it just won’t let me in. I am blessed beyond measure by this particular one you put out. If I wrote down all the thoughts I’m having I would probably write three host a day.
Father I pray you will continue to inspire my brother. I pray you will continue to inspire the body of Christ to feed upon your word. To sit at your feet. To bow our heads and be thankful for everything we have. To appreciate the simple moments of just seeing the rain, looking in the eyes of a loved one, looking at your precious scripture, being able to breathe and not have covid-19. Appreciating the blood of Jesus that washes away all of our sins. Knowing that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life before the foundation of the world. Knowing that we were chosen for good work before you ever made the world. Knowing that you will play out these good works in our life as long as we are willing to shift with the times and realize that sometimes you have a whole new plan for us so that we will not fall asleep before you return.
I hear you Lou. Personally I believe that God has a lot more to do on this Earth before people really start to repent. People as God said in the word will grow harder and harder and wax cold in the end times. However person to person in individual situations can change. People can be restored in their friendships, families, neighbors. It is possible. But a big repentance, a big shaking, God has yet to do what we have never seen.
Thanks, Sandy. I appreciate the prayer and the courage you show in continuing to press in!
Subscribe to Radical Living:
Receive updates on the latest posts as Seth Barnes covers many topics like spiritual formation, what if means to be a christian, how to pray, and more. Radical Living blog is all about a call to excellence in ministry, church, and leadership -as the hands and feet of Jesus.