Monday, June 9, 2008

The gray

This post is for my church families that I have the privilege of serving week after week. They are a huge blessing to me and allow me to serve them with pure love and a desire to grow us all closer to Christ.

We began a sermon series on Sunday based on Adam Hamilton's book, "Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White."

I absolutely love hearing this man teach and preach. He is simply amazing to me. He is passionate and excited about Jesus Christ and it's obvious in what he says and does. He inspires me. I need that person don't you?? Granted, I don't know this man, but I love people like this!

Anyway, he has this new book out and we are taking it on as a congregation in hopes to understand a bit more of being in the gray instead of being 100% black or 100% white on a subject matter. And, this is not some easy stuff...we are talking about thoughts on religion, morality, and politics.

Oh yes. (Insert sarcasm now) This is so up my alley as far as blogging goes. But, for the sake of putting my 2 cents worth into the mix for my amazing church families, I will dig deep every Monday for the weeks of this series. "Lord, help me please."

Yesterday, we tackled some great stuff. So, let's just jump right in.

Matthew 23:23-24 says this..."Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill, cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel." is my Southern translation of this one...."You are making a mountain of a molehill." That is what we can do don't we?? We strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

Hamilton explains that even as Jesus faced death, he prayed for unity of his followers.

Hmmmm.....unity of his followers. Well...that would be huge wouldn't it??

Hamilton also says..."our desire for certainty, our need to be right, and our tendency to miss the point have conspired to keep Christians from experiencing unity, and instead have led to endless divisions within the Christian faith."

My 11 yr old always says.."Mom, why can't everyone just get along?"

Oh, how I wish the answer was as simple as the question.

I believe that we can all agree that our moral center is having Jesus at the center of our lives.

Or at least trying too. No matter how far away or far off we get from Him, we do tend to use Him as our compass and guide. Maybe without even realizing Who or What we are following.

How do we as Christians stay faithful when we live in a Christian world that tends to polarize us, separate us and even divide us?? The world around us sees it every day. They see us Christians picking and poking and tearing us all apart. do we stay faithful in this polarized world?
We can be so much better than that.

We have hope.

We have respectful attitudes even when we disagree with someones belief or their denomination. Let's not judge.

We offer compassion in our daily living. Go the extra mile for people. We may be the only Jesus they ever see. Be good at it!

It is so very easy for us to be all high and mighty, see the fault of others, and ask what's wrong with them, blah blah blah. But, do we dare look in the mirror and see whats wrong with us? No way hosea. Don't wanna do that.

We may disagree, don't understand, can't figure out, have no idea about other religions much less world religions, when it comes to following Christ, but let's try to do one simple thing....

Can you be a bridge builder??

No barriors allowed.

We need bridge builders. We need to strive for unity.

I'll end with this from Hamilton's book....

"What if all 224 million Christians in America were actually working together to shape a nation that looks like Jesus' vision of the kingdom of God, where poverty does not exist, where people practice justice, where love of neighbor is universally practiced?"

Let's stop looking for the gnats. That's easy to do. Let's be who Jesus asks us to be.

And, remember the wise 11 yr old??

"Why can't we just all get along?"

We can. We can through the Name and power of our great big God.

Whew...I'm glad I made it through this one. I'm worn out right now. :)

Blessings y'all~


Amy Beth @ Ministry So Fabulous! said...

This is good stuff!

I'm one of your Siestas, getting to meet you in San Antonio in a couple of months. Just wanted to drop by to say hello!

Teri said...

Good word Fran! REALLY GOOD WORD! I think part of the reason I love the whole bloggy thang. There seems to be much less black and white!

Patty said...

GREAT words my friend!!! This resonates in me because my former church has division and the outcome was not good. Families have left, friendships severed. Most of the ones that caused the division are gone it saddens my heart that it ended up this way. I pray that all forgive each other and allow God to heal both sides.
I am with your wise son, why can't we all get along? Amen!

Michelle V said...

Awesome post, Fran! Although I'm not one of your church family doing the study, I really thought this was such a great word to all of us!


Earen said...

Fran, you always give me great things to think about & encourage me in the Lord! You're awesome! Thank you for your sweet words about the wedding pictures on my site too....I have such awesome blog friends!!

connorcolesmom said...

Oh that is good
Thanks for that I am going to meditate on it all day
Jesus at my center
Love ya

Cheryl said...

That's a good word! Thanks for sharing and challenging me!
Hope you're surviving without the boys!
I sometimes catch myself stopping on shows that my kids watch when they're gone and then I realize and think, "what on earth am I doing?!" Tooo funny!

ocean mommy said...

VERY powerful word!!!

I'm looking forward to hearing more!!!

Praying for you this week!

love you

Bev Brandon said...

Oh wow this was so good for me today! I see far too black and white and I am old! So good !

I blog so you can get a glimpse into my life as wife, mom of 3 boys, and someone who simply wants to bless others along the way. Have fun and be sweet :)

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