How much of professional Christian life is geared so that we spend more time complaining about sinners than we spend in genuine compassionate friendship and relationship?
"And what does your anxiety do? It does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows; but, oh, it empties today of its strength. It does not make you escape the evil, it makes you unfit to cope with it when it comes. It does not bless tomorrow, and it robs today. For every day has its own burden. Sufficient for each day is the evil which properly belongs to it. Do not add tomorrow's to today's. Do not drag the future into the present. The present has enough to do with its own proper concerns." - Alexander Maclaren
It doesn’t really matter where you are coming from, what matters is where God says you are going. Your past restrictions, because of your sin, don’t have to eliminate you from your inheritance as a son or daughter and from your citizenship in the new Jerusalem.
What is the point of fasting? It reminds us of dependence. It teaches us self-denial. It's part of a lifestyle of devotion. It makes us patient with delay.
This sermon was preached at the Downtown PM service at The Austin Stone. Audio and video from the sermon are available here. Matthew 5:38-42 – “Cheek Turning, Tunic Giving, Two Mile Going Grace” Intro: Evening, if you have your bibles, Matthew 5:38 is where we will be. Continuing in our study of The Gospel According to... Continue Reading →
I have spent most of my life desperately trying to fit in and to be accepted by people who didn’t even care about me all that much. That is immense folly for children of grace. I don’t want to waste any more time and energy on that. I long to be able to say with the apostle Paul, “…by the grace of God, I am what I am”. That isn’t a prideful arrogance that refuses to be changed. That is a humble acceptance of the acceptance of God. That is a truly liberating thing! That is a freedom I desire.
It got me thinking. Friendship is a powerful thing, and while I know that I am blessed in the friendship that I have received and not everyone would have that as their story, Christians ought to be known by the kind of friendship that they give. Genuine friendship ought to mark us as communities of people. I confess that I forget this all too often, but as I enter into my next decade of life I am making a simple commitment to be a good friend to people.