Friday, July 17, 2009

Sweaty, Mercy Sweatshirts

One nice thing about being a researcher is that God's given me hours upon hours each week to meditate on sermons and music from great pastors, speakers and artists while I'm on the clock. So this week I was listening to some great audio from the "Marriage and the Mercy of God" conference (audio is in the link).

I am not married, but I think that the teaching was super helpful in thinking about what does it look like to be impacted by the mercy of God to me in all of my everyday relationships. (For which it doesn't matter if you're married or not)

But in Dr. Tripp's message he gave the analogy that we are soaked in God's grace. It's almost like we are soaked to the point of wearing a sweaty, soggy sweatshirt soaked in God's grace and we just need to look around and see how to get other people "wet."

Now apart from the great humor of that image (like me running around my lab here in a sweaty sweatshirt trying to get my coworkers wet), it's a good image. There really is no "trick" to us "doing" mercy to others. God has supremely showered us and shown us mercy in Christ. Being merciful is just showering people with what we've already been showered with.

That's really helpful especially to me as I struggle with how to share the Gospel with my coworkers (and some of us have worked together for a few years now!) I can blame it on the language and cultural barriers, but in the end am I really loving and showing mercy to my coworkers? Would sharing the Gospel with them be more beneficial using mercy shown to them as a starting point?

Just some of my thoughts while I'm on break. I'd also encourage you listening to the messages too (single or married) as the underlying teaching on mercy would edify us all. Plus since I didn't have a transcript and was going off of memory of Dr. Tripp's analogy too I probably butchered it so go and listen to it there for the full analogy!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Really, Really Long Geneologies

While the Bible is God's Word, I have to admit that my devotionals this week have been pretty challenging. For some reason I think that many mornings I would gladly take all of the many passages on various sacrifices in Leviticus to genealogies. I can understand more easily how Leviticus points to God's holiness, than why it is necessary to have excruciating detail the genealogies of 1 Chronicles. There are 9 straight chapters of genealogies, and my struggle this week was asking almost constantly, "Okay God I understand that you are making the point that you are preserving your people, but why such detail? The author himself notes that these genealogies are recorded elsewhere; Why are all of these ones necessarily needed here?"

So my initial reactions are that this is to show how the Lord has gone to great lengths to preserve his people in mercy in spite of their rebellion. By looking at these genealogies we see irrefutable proof of what the Lord has done to preserve his people.

Any one else have any other insights into 1 Chronicles 1-9? What else can we learn from these genealogies?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Grimmaces, Texting, Long Routes....

So a few weeks ago I asked for prayer for the new students arriving at Penn State. Well the Lord is doing a very good work and we can see how He is bringing many to hear his Word. Even those who are self-proclaimed non-Christians!

But one thought that I wanted to share is that, the Good News of Jesus or even being associated with him really is offensive and the stench of death many whom the Lord has not saved.

This was made very real to a few of us when we were at a table in the one lobby here at Penn State asking students if any of them would like to learn more about the Bible or to get involved in a Christian fellowship. Many took long routes around us when they found out what we were about. Others got very visibly engrossed in a text message. And others actually visibly grimaced and/or wrinkled their noses when we asked them unoffensively if that might be something they would be interested in. Paul said "to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life." 2 Cor. 2:16 (ESV)

It was interesting to actually see it, but Paul was right: To those who are dying the life we have in Christ really does reek of death. Death to self, death to pride, death to our sinful idolatry.

Those of us who are believers however were once no different too! The only reason we don't wrinkle our nose and run away from the Lord is because "6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:6-9 (ESV)

Please continue praying for our outreach on campus!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Craziness of Life

Well the Lord has been marvelously good. In spite of the craziness of life right now, He has continued to be constant and unchanging, merciful and good. Over the past two weeks two of the schools I was waitlisted at closed their waitlists, leaving only Hershey as a medical school option for Fall 09.

However God has really been good and has been providing for me in ways a year ago I wouldn't have expected! In all of this He has been working this for my good, and ultimately so that I would know Him better.

Many times throughout this process I've been tempted to, or have been relying solely on the surety of some new thing or the waitlists. However, God had been faithful to continue to teach and remind me that He is the only one that I can stand on, not any circumstance or person.

So you can be praying for wisdom for me as I make decisions right now. Also for contentment too please. Especially as one major option is to potentially move to Athens, GA by January 1st. I really would not like to leave my family and friends here in Pennsylvania, but if that is the Lord's will I'm beginning to see how it might be a wonderful thing in His plan. However, bitterness at possibly having to leave will be a sore competitor against contentment in Christ. So please be praying for me!

In what ways have you seen the Lord turn difficult circumstances for an amazingly God glorifying end?