Monday, March 28, 2016

Can't I Just Earn It?

We just celebrated Easter, the amazing work of Christ on the cross, dead and rising again. It's am amazing story, we love to celebrate it and tell it and share it. We stink at living it though. Face it, it would just be easier if we can just earn it. Ok, not easier in fact it's not even possible. We have already lost our opportunity to earn it, but does it keep us from trying? Let's face it, we don't know how to really experience grace. We spend our lives trying to measure up to what we already have. I do it, and you probably do it too. It's human nature. If you notice, the Christian faith is the only religion in the entire world that has the concept of grace. In every other world religion and cult, you get to heaven by earning it, doing more right and less wrong and following the rules.

In our American Christian faith, I notice we have several "works" that we don't call works, but we like to tack on to the end of things. See if you agree with me on these. The first is knowing stuff. If you are a serious Christian, you gotta know stuff. Maybe some of it is Biblical stuff, and then there are things you know about the Rapture, Christian authors or music, and church history. You know what the 10-40 Window is, you know when Lifelight is held. You probably should know some popular Bible Podcasts, some pastors and teachers and scholars. We like knowing stuff, and the more stuff you know, the better you are.

You have to have your daily stuff. You gotta have a quiet time, a nice collection of Christian devotional material. If you pray every day you are good. If you pray with your family you are even better. If you pray with your family and a coworker you are amazing. Don't forget to read your three chapters of the Bible every day so you can read the entire Bible in a year. Don't forget to share your stuff on Facebook or Twitter.

Of course a good Christian is at church every time the doors are open. Sunday Mornings are just for the novice. If you are really saved, you go Sunday Night, Wednesday night, you attend Small Group, prayer group, life group, missions group, committee meetings, business meetings and anything else you can attend. You strive to prove how committee we are to Jesus by spending every moment we can in the church building. If we are super saints, we might have a set of keys so we can open or lock up. Peter may have had the keys to the kingdom of heaven, but that's not as awesome as the keys to the prayer room.

Let's not forget the time factor. How long have you been saved, how long has it been since you sinned? How long has it been since you been to church? How long have you been married, how long have you been attending church or Sunday School? How long since your last confessions? Have you put in your time? How about your money? What is your percentage at? Are you giving pretax? Are you tithing your gross or just your take home?

Yes, there was some humor and maybe a little sarcasm here, but I hope it made you think. None of these things are bad, going to church is great. Reading your Bible is important and amazing. Being in a small group, in Sunday School, those are amazing things. Being a Christian for many years helps you gain wisdom, and of course you need to be involved in your local church. It's not the things themselves that's a problem, but when they become the end in themselves. Reading the Bible is not about reading the Bible, but learning more about God and growing in relationship with Him. Prayer is not about spending the right amount of time in prayer, but spending time with the Father.

The good things we do, we do because we love God, or at least we should. We must be sure we never swap our obedience to the Father for duty or obligation. We do what we do from love, not to earn love. Our lives are spent giving glory to God, not earning glory from God.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Audio Post, What Do You Think?

I am trying something new.  This is an audio post I recorded while driving today. Please give me some feedback! Thanks everyone.

First Audio Post