Take chances. Abandon all the rules. Ditch the recipe. Color outside the lines.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Justice of Grace

So… if you have been reading any of my previous writings you have figured out by now that I am a very justice driven person.  I like for good people to get rewarded and for the bad people to be punished.  Starting around the age of seven, I had my heart set on being a police officer when I grew up.  I would dress up every year for Halloween as a police officer and my biggest hero on the planet was my uncle who was, you guessed it, a cop.  As I grew up my view of the world grew darker and I lost my naivety.  Life has a way of stealing the innocence of your childhood.  I have this curse… I tend to see people for what they are very quickly.  All through junior high and high school I got into fights protecting the weak from the people trying to hurt them, physically and emotionally.  My struggle through high school was all the injustice I saw happening around me.  People who claimed righteousness but lived hypocritically were rewarded for fooling everyone around them.  Not me… I saw them for what they were.  I went to a Christian school, Ovilla Christian School.  That place… oh that place, it taught me how to be hard, how to hate fake religion, how to fear failure and hide heartache.  That place… it tried to break me.   It is a place completely driven by what looks good on the outside.  The kids who followed the rules and didn’t doubt or test the system were rewarded.  The kids who didn’t, well, they were told over and over again how God was so disappointed in them and how they would never amount to anything unless they could learn to conform.  Growing up in that environment made me crave justice.  The more I have grown up and the closer I grown to God has caused me to experience a lot of grace and that really confused me for a long time.  I found grace to be so irresistible that I caught myself running full speed after it down an unknown road without any desire to look back.  This caused a war to go on inside me between my head that said I deserved punishment for my ridiculous amount of life failures and my heart that said God’s grace has declared me freed and forgiven.  You know, it always confused me how the Bible says that God is a god of complete justice and of complete grace.  Those two things DO NOT go together!  Or… do they?  See, here’s what I have discovered through months and months of a study at my church;  We have a choice.  We can choose to live by the “do to get” system where the harder we work the more we get (where we will never be enough to measure up to God’s standards of good enough, by the way) or we can choose to live by the grace given to us by Jesus’s death on the cross that declares us absolutely clean and free from all failures past, present, or future.  Whichever system we choose is the one we will be judged by, that’s God’s complete justice.  The choice is grace and the judgment is justice.  I have chosen happily to live in his grace!  Who would want to ever choose the other path?  It seems so hopeless and depressing! CAUTION: HARD TRUTH TIME.  There are churches across the world perpetuating the other choice!!!   There are churches today, here, on this earth, in this country, in your state, in your city, on your street preaching that message!  They use guilt and condemnation to intimidate an control people into “doing spiritual things”  instead of creating a desire to let Christ be lived out in their lives.  Why do you think the world sees Christians as ignorant, stiff necked people?!  BECAUSE SO MANY ARE!!!  Why don’t we stop worrying about our check lists of quiet times and daily bible readings and dreaded trips to church twice a week and start taking in the amazing freedom offered to us by grace through Christ?!  Why don’t we stop singing amazing grace at the end or our service and start experiencing it in our lives?!  Why don’t  we stop producing plastic cookie cutter Christian kids in our schools and start exciting in them a desire to be radical world changing Christ followers!  You want to change the world for Christ?  Don’t go to the streets looking for the “non-believers” go to your churches and start a grace revolution. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Rebels and Revolutionaries

Recently I have come back to my hometown after graduating from college.  There were many feelings and emotions that came with that return to the homeland but one of the really awesome things was being able to come back and work with the youth group that I was a founding member of.  I get to work with a really awesome group of kids that never cease to amaze me!  I look back on who I was when I was their age and the struggles and issues that I faced.  I was always so aggressive; always looking for a fight and usually finding one.  There was a lot of anger and resentment towards people in my life, especially to authority figures because I felt as though I was constantly being lied to by them.  I hated being tied down to stupid rules that I saw as just another way to brain wash and control me.  I went to a Christian school riddled with structure and rules; who’s main purpose it was to guilt us into conformity.  Now… that was a problem for someone like me who’s not hardwired like everyone else and who doesn’t really do the whole guilt thing very well.  I found myself constantly bucking the rider and throwing the reins.  I became known as, as well as self proclaimed, a rebel.  For a long time I felt very justified in my rebellion because what they were doing and how they were doing it was wrong!  When I went off to college I grew up a lot and learned, mainly by failing, many life lessons; one of the biggest being that rebels don’t change the world.  All rebels do is create chaos fueled by bitter, angry people that know how to tear down the walls of injustice but have no idea how to build something from the rubble.  I remained fiery and continued to push the lines but I learned how to do it in a way that pushed people towards change instead of just created chaos.  This summer I went to youth camp as an adult leader and we talked about being a revolutionary.  That’s when it clicked for me.  See, there’s a difference between a rebel and a revolutionary.  A rebel just resists authority for the sake of the resisting; a revolutionary resists in order to make a change.  I have always claimed a rebel heart but I am being transformed into a revolutionary.  There is much that needs changing in our world, in our churches, in our Christian schools… and I want to start a revolution.  I want a revolution that frees people from the oppression of religious nonsense that Christ never supported.  I want a revolution that pushes our churches to pursue love and grace over guilt and greed.  I want a revolution that causes Christian schools to produce kids that want and desire God instead of those that just go through the motions so as not to be caught out of line.  It’s time for a change in our world.  It’s time for us to stand up and start a revolution.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Table Flippin' Furious

I wrote this a while back but it has turned out to be my best friend's favorite one! Worth a repeat! :)

You know one thing I never really understood about Jesus is how he could “be angry and sin not.”  I mean when I was growing up my anger always went hand in hand with my butt blisters; so naturally when I read about Jesus getting angry and tossing around tables I saw a few problems.  First of all, Jesus was in “church” and we all know that the only emotion you’re supposed to feel in church is happiness… that means anger is a no no.   Secondly, Jesus wasn’t just mad… he was table-flippin’ furious!  This problem never really was resolved in my mind until just recently when I experienced my own form on righteous anger.  See, Jesus wasn’t angry because he wasn’t getting his way or because his little brother stole his toy; Jesus was angry because he saw people thumbing their noses as God.  He was angry because he saw people that knew what they were doing was wrong and yet the kept doing it.  Another thing I realized was that he wasn’t just angry he was sad too.  I can just picture the tears running down his face as he turned those tables over.  God has hard wired me with this love for truth and justice and it angers me so much to see people throw away their character and forsake truth while still trying to cling to the name Christian.  At the same time it breaks my heart to see them slap my Jesus in the face.   Why would you stand behind something that you know is a lie?  Why would you take that truth that God has given you and throw it away for someone who doesn’t even care about you?  It’s time to flip some tables!