Stop Right There

Published on Jul 20th, 2016 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Stop Right There

Stop Right There

This is going to be one of those blogs where I find myself meditating on something that God has laid upon my heart but it is a thought that is in its infancy in my heart, and so when I try and share it will probably come out all gooey and misshaped, rather than a solid thought. So, if you continue to read, please feel free to email me and let me know what you think! Have you ever had one of those times when you said one too many things? You were having a great conversation with someone. You were complimenting them or commenting on something in their life and things were going great and then there was a pause as you both thought about what you were talking about and you felt the need to fill the silence and so you said one more thing. That thing became very awkward and took the attention off of the great conversation that you were having. Yesterday I saw a show about Samson. It was a great show. I was so moved at the end when they were speaking about the amazing grace of God in Samson’s life and in our lives. God shows mercy and grants forgiveness every time we fail and seek his forgiveness. He not only forgives but he is willing to use us in his kingdom work. He truly is an amazing God. Amen. Period. End there. But they did not end there. They pointed out that this grace of God is what made Samson a hero and makes us free. It became more about us and less about him.

I am not saying that God’s grace does not allow us the freedom to fully serve him (I still struggle using the word hero). It certainly does. What the Spirit moved my heart with was our awkwardness as a society to simply lift up the name and character of God. We seem uncomfortable with doing just that. It is as if the glory of God as seen in his grace has to somehow enhance our lives in order to be fully awesome. It is not enough that God has bestowed his grace upon us and humbled us enough that we can do nothing but to fall on our knees in worship before him. That grace has to so work in us that we are able to do super human things for God. That grace has to give us freedom and a way better life. It almost sounds like an infomercial. Get this product and your life will be forever better. It feeds our desire for us to be at the center of the universe and not God.

I suppose my point gets muddled because God’s amazing grace has changed our lives completely. The greatest example of God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness, love, etc is the cross of Calvary. The work of Jesus has given us life, freedom, and joy. The point I am making is that we somehow feel there needs to be more, as far as a better life is concerned, in order for that to be really good news. You can almost hear the game show host recognizing that the winners are not completely satisfied with their winnings. “You receive forgiveness of sins…and eternal life…and joy…and, and…you will receive amazing healing…and you will have great confidence…and, if that is not enough, you will live a stress free life that is free from trouble and you will be used by God to change the world. All this is yours if your…faith is right”.

Here is where I think we might want to evaluate if we have muddled this up a little bit in our lives. If we were to go to church and hear a message about God’s grace and the preacher were to stop right there, would you be rejoicing and leave the message praising the Lord that his name was lifted up? Or would you be waiting to hear how that grace of God would be applied to the fact that you were without a job or struggling with health or you just want your life to be a little better? Would you feel a little short changed? Certainly the grace of God changes our lives and we must, as pastors, teach how that grace speaks to every day. But we have to recognize in our lives when we have allowed our hearts to replace God on the throne with ourselves on the throne. Listen to your heart. Who is at the center of your worship? Is your heart satisfied with the lifting up of the Lord or does it always long to make it about you?

I feel as if I must continue to talk and try to clarify my thoughts. I will listen to my own advice and stop…right after I say this…I do not want us to be so introspective that we cannot worship. God has come down and lived among us and has died on the cross to change us completely. We cannot separate our praise from him with how it effects our lives. We can though, recognize when that praise has become more about us than it has about him. I have to stop now…email me.

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