Hi Five Oakers, The weekend's coming and there are a few things I want to share with you.
Have you ever set out on an unfamiliar route and, after traveling for a long and difficult journey, found yourself back where you started? I have a story to share with you this weekend about a time something like that happened to me.
This can happen in our spiritual lives, too. It can happen all too easily. We find ourselves struggling again with a sin we thought we'd conquered. We face a challenging situation and we discover our faith isn't as strong as we thought it was. Or maybe an old doubt that once haunted us returns.
What if God spoke to you now and explained where you are heading in the wrong direction spiritually so that you don't end up right back where you started? This weekend's sermon from Galatians 4:8-20 is an opportunity for you to get a course correction from God.
Russell D. Moore on "What I’ve Learned in Twenty Years of Marriage"
My grandmother wisely asked one night when I was finally going to ask “that girl from Ocean Springs” to marry me. I answered, “When I can afford it.” She laughed. “Honey, I married your grandpa in the middle of a Great Depression,” she said. “We made it work. Nobody can afford to get married. You just marry, and make it work.” Apart from the gospel, those were, and remain, the most liberating words I ever heard.
Will McDavid in "Christian Battle Lines and the Narcissism of Small Differences"
Why did Jesus preach the Sermon on the Mount? Especially the parts about anger making me a murderer and lust making me an adulterer – the Jewish Law seems to have covered all that pretty thoroughly. Did his audience need to hear the Law again; were they unfamiliar with the Hebrew Scriptures? Or perhaps they needed, like me, a reduction from the many voices to the one: “be perfect, just as your heavenly father is perfect.”
One More Thing
I have said these things to you, that in my you might have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
A little over month ago we had our kitchen torn out and yesterday the new one was installed. The counters will be installed in about two weeks, while we're in Cuba. It's been a challenge, but as we remind ourselves daily, it's only a "first-world problem." Being without a kitchen is not a real problem.
So the installers completed their work in twelve hours. Today our contractor and friend came by to do some work and asked, "So, what do you think?" And, of course, I focused most of my comments on the one thing I don't like about it and how we might remedy it.
I know. That's terrible. It's beautiful, and the cabinets are built with excellence by a small company in WI owned and run by Mennonites who try to live as Jesus was if he was in their shoes. The one thing we're not crazy about has nothing to do with workmanship. But that's what I talked about more than anything else.
Well, my contractor friend laughed at me, mocked me a bit and all but hit me on the side of the head. I defended myself. I said, "After you spend that kind of money, you want it to be perfect." (I know. That's terrible. I can hardly believe I actually said that, but I did.)
So my contractor friend says, "That idea kind of runs counter to your theology, doesn't it? You know, don't you, that nothing in this world is going to be perfect." I felt like saying, "Yeah, week 6 and 7 from the Story of God. Of course I know that! Instead I sighed and told him I'd see him later.
A bit later I met with a friend who has cancer. And it's spreading. Last week he asked his doctor, "Be honest, will I still be around by next summer?" He had to ask that question! His doctor said yes. But here's the thing: this guy is not discouraged. He's hopeful. He believes God can and might heal, but he's hopeful even if God or the doctors can't heal him. He says it has kind of surprised him. He never knew how he's do under these circumstances.
Nothing in this life is perfect but God and his love for us. I need to lower my expectations when it comes to cabinets or life itself and raise my expectations when it comes to God and his kingdom.
In the meantime, I think if we just knock out part of the wall...