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Posts Tagged ‘anointed’

Sometimes I sound like a broken record as I write these meditations. The same words keep rising to the top of my reading and writing: love, grace, others, and then more love, more grace, and so on. There is no good work, no anointed task, no Christ service, that is not first touched by grace.

Ephesians 4:7, 11-12a
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. . . . It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, . . .

Anything else I do is still, all about me. I tell my teens and now twenty-year-old that the universe does not revolve around their “sun.” But, am I any different really?

Are any of us?

There is a song from the musical, “Dreamgirls,” in which the character, Effie, is dropped from the group and she sings, in between promises from her boyfriend/promoter, “What about me?” “What about what I need?” “What about how I feel?” This song resonated with me during the performance and I know it resonated with anyone who has felt that sense of being cast aside. Where did we miss it? How did we get sucked into this path?

This is still our fear in the face of stepping out on any new trail. Will God really be there? How will I be perceived? What if I fail? What if I am wrong and cast aside again? What if I am missing God?

During today’s sermon, we were asked if we would be willing to “step into the water” while it’s still rushing (based on Joshua 3). Would we step out in faith and trust in the grace?

I have had my share of disappointments in service to God. I’m pretty sure that most of these disappointments came about because I was walking forward with one part of my body while another part was looking back (just to be sure I could get back if I needed to). I always have a fail safe. If this doesn’t work out, I can always . . . [fill in the blank].

On my recent retreat weekend, a woman shared her desire to go into ministry by attending seminary. At first, she tried to do it part-time with the security of her full-time job. But then, she needed to jump in, head to toe. She needed to abandon the way back in order to fully trust the way forward. That is a form of grace.

That is the kind of grace I want to embrace. I think.

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Why can’t I remember to ask this question before I hurdle into action after my own great idea or solution? Answer: Because I don’t want to hear another answer…. or worse, I can’t really hear God’s answer. So, I cover uncertainty with bravado and a battle cry, “This way! Follow me.”

Acts 22:10
And I [Paul] asked, “What shall I do, Lord?” And the Lord answered me, “Get up and go into Damascus, and there it will be told you all that it is destined and appointed for you to do.” [Amplified]

Paul was knocked off his horse by a bright light and a voice who identified himself as Jesus of Nazareth, the very person Paul had hated and whose followers he was persecuting, jailing and condemning to death. And yet, Paul had the guts to ask, “What I shall I do?” (I think there was an unspoken “now” at the end of that question). Paul probably expected he would be killed for his massacre of Jesus’s followers. Blinded by the light, Paul arrived in Damascus and did not eat or drink for three days. [Acts 9:9] He was at the Lord’s mercy.

But God did the opposite of what anyone would have expected. Paul was anointed instead, to be a witness to the reality of Jesus as the Messiah and eventually that witness was predominately directed to the gentiles, the most despised people group by the Jews.

Paul didn’t really know he’d end up with the gentiles. When he started telling his story, he taught among his own people. He went to the synagogues and Jewish prayer places. But when his witness was rejected there, he turned to the other people who embraced his message. His ministry evolved and he allowed it to evolve.

God is full of grace and mercy. He doesn’t drag us along kicking and screaming.

Jeff, my old friend, and I used to always joke that we would “never” go to Africa or anywhere else where poverty and hardships were the norm. No way. We liked our creature comforts far too much. In fact, whenever people started talking about their fabulous experiences in various third world countries or impoverished areas, we would look at each other, pretend to wave a flag, and hum the “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

But, what happened? Jeff ended up in the ghetto of London ministering to the homeless and prostitutes for over a year and my family ended up working with two orphanages in Namibia and Zambia in Africa. And all was done with a joyful heart. It all happened at the right time and the right place.

This is the message for me today: my job is to ask. God honors the asking. God is a good communicator. If I honestly want to hear … if I am willing to hear… then God’s “voice” is clear.

Something is evolving. I can feel it in my heart but I don’t know what it might be. I can only ask: “Oh God, what shall I do now?”

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He is the Christ

Mark 14:60-62a
Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”
“I am,” said Jesus.

The use of “the Christ” can also be translated, the “chosen one” or the “anointed.” When the high priest asked Jesus this question, he was also asking if Jesus was the Messiah, the promised and expected deliverer of the Jewish people. He said, “yes.” So, either Jesus was deluded, a liar or… the real thing. This was one question he agreed to answer despite being silent in the face of all the other accusations. In essence, I believe this was the only answer that was needed. If he is who he says he is, then all of the accusations were base and unfounded.

For me, despite all of my mistakes, misunderstandings, sins, bad choices, failures, pride, and fear… I know this, without a doubt, He is the Christ.

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