Monday, June 09, 2008

Acts 9: Mantracker sees the light...

Saul has literally become a Mantracker in Acts 9, hunting down the men & women of the early church. He has presided over the death of Stephen, and he breathes murderous death threats on behalf of God (at least, in his own mind).

The early Christ followers have one overarching view of life: Jesus is Lord. He is the Lord of love.

In Ezekiel 1 we see a picture of the Throne Chariot. It was an image that pious Jews would meditate on hoping to catch a glimpse of God's glory.

Look especially at 1:26-28
Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

That was likely what Saul was meditating on as he walked to Damascus. Then God breaks into his world and destroys Saul's idea of who Jesus is and was.

“I don’t see it…”

"Do I realize how much I am loved by God?"

Am I taking that message to others?

Most of us live in regret. But regret is not brokenness — it's just another form of pride. It's saying 'I wish I hadn't done it.' God doesn't care what you've done if you're only going to live the rest of your life in regret. He cares that you let what you've done in your life break you. Because until you realize you are broken, you can't experience redemption.


Brokenness is the constant awareness, attitude and life practice that all I am and all I do is nothing apart from God’s grace. Paul needed to be broken. I’ve needed to be broken. You need to be broken. Brokenness leads to Lordship of our heart. It is the emptying of oneself fully to God’s reign and purpose in one’s life.

Brokenness cannot be earned. It is a gift from God. It is always accompanied by gratitude.

Courage marks the opposing balance to brokenness. While brokenness recognizes that we can do nothing apart from Christ, courage is a constant awareness, attitude, and life practice that we can do all things through Christ’s strength. Courage is a boldness of heart and mind, which enables a Christ follower to encounter danger and difficulty with confidence and conviction. It is taking faith-filled risk, grounded in a hope and a trust that God is greater than obstacles or circumstances. Courage always involves risk because it requires taking action before, and often in the absence of, any guarantee or proof of a positive outcome. Christian courage is locating one’s thought, action, and outcome in God’s promises.

In weeks to come we’ll see how integrity and justice join brokenness & courage as bedrocks of our character after authentic encounters with Jesus Christ.

"Discovering God is apt to be a slow procedure but it can only take place if you have a free mind and no vested interest in disbelief..." Flannery O' Conner

God speaks…throne chariots, two-headed roosters and other crazy circumstances such as …?

A car hit her! She was slightly ahead of me when I noticed a fast moving van. I screamed out to her, but it was too late, and I heard the thud. Time stood still. I recall having three very distinct thoughts at once: 1) I've just lost my wife, 2) What am I going to find when I get to her? And 3) What am I going to tell my kids?

Mercifully, thankfully, she not only survived, but she thrived. About two months into her recovery I came home one day, telling her, “Every day I pass the spot where you were hit I found myself getting angrier.” I will never forget her response: “Don, can’t you see? Can’t you see what God is doing? He is at work all around us. He saved my life!”

What is God is up to in your life?

Give God Space To Change Your Life

You really can trust God because He loves you!

Psalm 32:8
"The LORD says, 'I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.'"

Psalm 32 was written after David was confronted by Nathan of his adultery; David repented and God forgave him. Brokenness leads to forgiveness which allows us to receive God's love and ongoing direction in life. What a God!

God does not come to heal us so we can drift back into our old lives. He heals us so that He can transform us into His image. Indeed, the very captives He sets free He then empowers to "rebuild the ancient ruins . . . raise up the former devastations and . . . repair the ruined cities." Isaiah 61

Deuteronomy 7:6
Do this because you are a people set apart as holy to God, your God. God, your God, chose you out of all the people on Earth for himself as a cherished, personal treasure.

Romans 12:2
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

1 Peter 2:9-10
But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.


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