At the beginning of the year, I met with some of our guys to pray and plan for 2011. I was strongly encouraged by these men that one of the things that we need to do better this year is share the stories of what God is doing in and through our community. People are growing in small steps and big ones. Gospel, community, and mission are happening all around us – we just need to do better at sharing the stories! There may be various ways to communicate these stories – our blog is one of them.
Below is a post by Sabu Mathew, one of the guys that has connected to our church in the past year.
Since being at Seven Mile Road, I have grown to understand that in spite of our nature of sin, God chooses us to be with Him irrespective of our actions, thoughts, words, and deeds. He unconditionally accepts us as His children. I don’t need to pray harder or live better for God to accept me or adopt me. He already has. There is a sense of freedom with justification knowing that God now sees me blameless of sin, and has bestowed me with righteousness even though I in NO way deserve it. I don’t really need to think about how I need to act or be for God to accept me because, again, He does so in spite of me. On the other hand I also don’t need to be concerned with what people think or say about me as well because of God’s acceptance of me.
Knowing that my sinful nature is not different than anyone else’s has also made me realize that I am no better than anyone else that I come in contact with at work, etc. We are all on the same playing field and as such should be viewed equally in each others’ eyes. It is easy for me to be the Pharisee and look down on others because I have been justified. This thought grounds me.
I have also learned that as I have become adopted, I have also inherited a family of brothers and sisters. We are all part of one Father. I don’t necessarily have to try to fit in because I do. It would be like saying that I feel out of place at my parents’ house because my brother is there. By definition where your brother is, is your family and your home. Home is where you are the most comfortable. I realize this mentally but I still struggle with it in action and execution at church.
I have also learned that God has chosen those whom He will call before time began. This has made me to understand that there is an order and logic to God’s plans for HIS glory. Nothing happens without reason or purpose. I cannot always explain things but I know if He chose us before time began, He also allows and directs things to occur before time began for HIS purpose.
Lastly, I see the need for continually remembering the Gospel. For example, I’m learning martial arts. Today after not being in grappling class for over a month, I see how you need to continue to practice and test yourself to grow in the sport. You basically need to drill enough so that when it comes time to fight you don’t need to think; all your actions are all part of muscle memory. It becomes ingrained into you that you don’t waste time or get tripped up thinking about the small steps (hand position, arm position, etc). You can just work toward the ultimate goal to defeat your opponent. It’s also pretty evident that you need to know the basics in order to build on them and become more versed.
I can see a parallel with that and the need to continually be in “practice” with the Gospel for it to be so ingrained in you that you just know it and you can now focus on the situation, problem, or opportunity that is before you.
I still get tripped up with the small actions both in grappling and the Gospel. Practice, Practice, Practice…