pastor grant's blog
I'm always relieved when I do something wrong, or stupid or disobedient and I am spared the consequences of my actions. I'm also someone who is keenly aware of my own high expectations for how I like my house to be neat and organized and well kept up and it bothers me greatly when I can't meet these expectations. Often how I deal with it is to tell myself that its ok and lower my expectations. In both cases I'm being let off the hook.
We often try to explain what it means to be forgiven by God in the same way. We think God "lets us off the hook" by sparing us from the consequences of our actions or that He understands we can't meet his expecations of obedience but that at least we're trying.
In fact God doesn't spare us the consequences of our actions, forgiveness is that Jesus Christ experienced the ultimate consequence of our actions in our place. And God never lowers his standards of obedience for us, forgiveness is that Jesus Christ was able to keep those standards on our behalf.
When I understood who Jesus truly is - not a good moral teacher, but my substitute who allows God to forgive me - that changed my relationship with Him, and it changed my life. I hope understanding this truth will change your relationship with Him and your life too!
I was going through the drive-thru at McDonalds today, listening to some Christian rap music on my car stereo at rather high volume. When I rolled down my window to place my order I turned down the music so I could hear, when I finished I cranked it back up again.
However as I approach the window to pick up my food I became conscious of the lyrics that were unapologetically blaring out my open window "God is an awesome God!" I reached for the volume control and turned it down again, thinking that I didn't want to offend the worker at the window by blaring my religious music so loud for them to hear.
But then it struck me, this person handing me my food was created by God. They are the work of his hands, He is their creator, their sustainer - they deserve to know about the one who made them and what He is like!
Back to the volume control and crank up the music - "God is an Awesome God!"
Its easy for us to abandon our calling to share the truth about Christ with our friends, neighbors, co-workers and McDonalds workers because we're afraid to offend people by pushing our views on them. Don't buy into that.
Remember - God created everyone, and everything you're not pushing anything on anybody by simply sharing with them information about who made them.
Crank it up so everyone can hear!
I'm excited for this upcoming Sunday - I'll be baptizing a little child again! Each time I administer Baptism to a child I think about the process of how parents pass on their beliefs to their children. I'm always very glad to have parents decide on behalf of their child to allow the promise of Baptism to be given to them, because it indicates that they intend to work at passing on their Christian wordview and understanding of life to their child. (With God's and the Church's help of course) I believe this is the normal route which God intended for faith to be passed on.
On the other hand, I see many parents who allow their kids to attend or get involved in some church program because they are taking the 'buffet approach' to passing on faith. They want to let their kids sample a little bit of Christianity, read up on Buddha, hang out with some Muslims, visit a Hindu temple and then they can decide for themselves what they like.
These parents are tentative to pass on any Christian heritage they may have grown up with, they refrain from telling their children what they believe about the big questions of life, and what they think about other religions because they 'don't want to force it' on their kids and they believe that religion is a personal private choice.
However, God created the parent-child relationship to be a conduit for transmitting beliefs, attitudes, worldviews and faith. So in refraining from passing on the Christian heritage you may have received as a child, you are not giving them the 'free choice' you thought you were!
Instead you are communicating to them that faith is relatively unimportant and unconnected to life! You communicate that it doesn't really matter what you believe as long as you are a decent, well-behaved person. That is the "faith and religion" that you are passing on to them, and it will suit them well in our current social context.
However, one day we will all have to answer to Christ for what we believed and how we lived. I wonder how these children will feel at that point - knowing their parents could have passed on their Christian heritage and faith, but chose not to and instead passed on a lie that was more convient for the times in which they lived.
Something to think about as we raise our children.
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is older he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6