Sunday, September 30, 2007

Finding The Gospel (In Unexpected Places)

As the title of this blog entry would indicate, lately I've been finding the truth of the gospel in unexpected places. In the books I'm reading. The tv I'm watching. The life I'm experiencing.

The stories I'm reading, watching, and living are about love. About redemption. And about a hope for something greater than what we're experiencing. And aren't those things the real essence of the gospel after all?

Unconditional love seen on DVD as a guy gets himself sent to prison, just to save the life of his brother who's about to die for a crime he did not commit.

Redemption seen in the story of a father, who after being absent for most of his child's upbringing, breaks down the barriers between his kid and himself. The child responds, and together they move towards a future without dwelling on the past.

Love and hope seen in the real life story of a mother who reaches out to her child time and time again, even though this child is verbally abusive, a perpetual liar, and is unable to give that kind of love that she receives. But still the mother loves, and the mother hopes that one day things will change.

These stories about love, hope, and redemption inspire me. Because honestly, it's easy to miss that kind of grace and beauty when we live the kind of lives that we do. Where we're faced with tragedies, pain, and heartbreak on an all-too frequent basis.

But when we do stop and recognize these incredible reflections of the gospel in the world around us, we get a glimpse into the heart of God. The kind of heart that crossed heaven and earth just to make sure that a bunch of sinners would receive the kind of love that He gives, undeserved as it may be.

And being able to find a glimpse of that beauty and grace, is a gift. One that sustains and inspires. It's my prayer to continue to find the heart of the gospel in unexpected places.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Tony Campolo

This video echo's the thoughts that have been swirling around in my mind since reading "The Irresistible Revolution" by Shane Claiborne.

Christianity, in North America especially, has been made way too complicated. Here Dr. Campolo explains how simple it really is.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

A little too comfortable

Charles Swindoll wrote: "When you suffer and lose, that does not mean you are being disobedient to God. In fact, it might mean you're right in the center of His will. The path of obedience is often marked by times of suffering and loss."

I don't know why, but I didn't really consider that connection before. Sure, I knew that being a Christian brought on persecution. But suffering and loss? Well it wasn't something I associated with obedience before. Character growth, sure. Obedience? Not really.

But it really only makes sense. Looking at the the apostles lives doesn't make Christianity look that appealing. Not only did they face tremendous persecution, but their life circumstances weren't that great. And I'm realizing more and more, neither will ours be.

It seems like everytime life seems to settle, another storm brews in. But in reading the Bible, can we really expect anything else?

Should we expect fat paychecks? Large homes? Perfect families? Stress-free jobs? Nothing but loving people? The ideal church? I don't know why we get so surprised when life turns out to be the opposite. I don't know why I get so surprised.

I guess somewhere along the way Christianity has gotten confused with comfort. I'm beginning to see that they couldn't be more opposite. As Shane Claiborne wrote "God comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comfortable."

I think we've gotten a little too comfortable. I know I have.