Say Ahhhhh….

piercedopenmouth.jpgBefore I get started, a big thank you to Donny Pauling who wrote a post about the message I preached last weekend.  Check it out, click here:  Donny’s Ramblings.  The message was about Christian liberty and is called Totally Unstuck:  Free In Christ. 

If God has already blessed me to the max (Eph 1:3), then why don’t I feel it?  Every follower of Jesus should be crystal clear about how to EXPERIENCE your riches in Christ.  Or, as I mentioned in the earlier blog, God says, “I am the LORD your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Psalms 81:10, NKJV.

God tells us to say ahhh, and so many times, pucker our lips.  Why? My hunch is because most of the time we expect him to give us bad-tasting medicine.  We have a defective view of God;  we misread his Fatherly heart.

But let’s suppose we’re on board with his love and grace;  how do we experience his grace?

b_castle_door.jpgThe door to grace swings on hinges of faith.

The pattern is always by grace through faith.  Lest my dear readers mistake grace for passivity, au contraire!   Faith is active, like Peter stepping out of the boat, or the widow feeding the prophet the last of her food.

I guess if I wanted to be really precise, I would point out that faith is situation specific.  Sometimes, it requires action;  other times inaction (like the Jews at the Red Sea:  “Fear not!  Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord!”  Inaction, get it?)  Sometimes faith is speaking, other times faith is keeping silent.  Sometimes faith is praying, other times it’s moving on to other prayers.  (Like Paul’s thorn in the flesh; three strikes and he was out of prayers).   The situation determines the nature of faith.

But by nature a step faith always involves two essential qualities:

  1. risk.jpgRisk:  the outcomes are genuinely uncertain, and therefore in the hands of God ALONE:  e.g., “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. “But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”” Daniel 3:16-18, NKJV.   No risk, no faith.  No faith, no fresh experience of grace.
  2. Powerlessness.  Human inability.  We cannot control, define, repair, undo, or fix the situation.  We do not rely upon a solution of our own devising.  We cast our hopes on whatever God will do.  Yes, we are wise.  We are shrewd.  We do our homework and make the best possible choices.  All of that is being faithful to God, and is essential for a life of grace.  BUT… when we reach those moments of perplexity, it is then that we gingerly plant a shaky foot into new realms of faith, and immediately discover new realms of grace… no matter what the outcomes.  “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9, NKJV.

How do we experience his grace? Take a step of faith. How do we open our mouths WIDE?  Take lots of risky steps of faith.  Notch a few losses on your belt… but see how God’s grace always overcompensates.

BOTTOM LINE:  If your life doesn’t feel very grace-filled lately, try taking a few steps of genuinely risky faith–into situations you’re bad at and can’t control.  Then let me know what grace feels like.  I’m on the edge off my seat.  Say Ahhhh… please.



3 thoughts on “Say Ahhhhh….

  1. BILL!!!!

    Can you hear it?!?!?!

    …I know you can!

    That is the sweet sound of resounding choruses of ‘Kum-ba-ya;’ the refrain echos through our souls!

    “Lest my dear readers mistake grace for passivity, au contraire! Faith is active, like Peter stepping out of the boat, or the widow feeding the prophet the last of her food.”

    Encore!!! Encore!!!

    Even the ‘inaction’ you mention is hardly passive. (I sure would think the ‘passive’ thing to so when the greatest army in the region is charging and you are unarmed runaway slaves is not staying put!)

    The man who started the VIneyard movement was oft quoted saying, “Faith is spelled r-i-s-k.”

    “Notch a few losses on your belt… but see how God’s grace always overcompensates.”

    Pastor Mike (and subsequently the rest of the leadership at the Redding VIneyard) constantly use the phrase, “opportunities to fail…”

    …we are holding hands, swaying to the rhythym of guitars, the campfire warms our bodies, the sense of brotherhood warming our hearts…

    …Kum-ba-ya my Lord, Kum-ba-ya!

  2. I’ll only sing Kum-ba-ya if it’s done hip-hop.
    Remember: faith is NOT a work, even when it’s active and risky. It’s non-meritorious. It’s a choice that issues in an appropriate response (action, inaction, asking, waiting, acting, fighting, not fighting, etc.). Faith is a vessel; grace fills it up.

  3. About a year ago I read a few articles about the translation of the Bible into Gullah, a language spoken by people on some islands off the Carolinas. One writer pointed out that “Kum-ba-ya” is Gullah. Sort of puts it in a different light, doesn’t it?

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