Skip to content

Remember Your Roots

March 15, 2012

As I am getting ready to write this post, all kinds of titles are jumping through my brain. Limitless Possibilities. No Restrictions. All Aboard. Inclusion. Anything Goes. (It’s funny how none of those titles made the cut.)

Here we are a third of the way through the book of Acts, watching the early church grow, and God throws off the gloves. Instead of manhandling the attackers of the faith – Jews and the Gentiles – God embraces them and turns the whole game upside down (sorry I was just recently watching hockey). God takes the opposition to the faith and turns them into the propagation. God took Saul (later called Paul) – notorious Jewish bounty hunter – transformed his life on the Damascus road, and used Saul (Paul) to reach the unclean Gentile world with the good news of Jesus and used him to write most of the New Testament. God used devout Gentiles like Cornelius to encourage Jewish men and women who were in need and to show the Jewish Christians that God’s plan was and is much bigger than the nation of Israel. God used these situations to show us His heart – HE LOVES ALL PEOPLE.

I am NOT saying that God loves  the ACTIONS of ALL people. I am NOT saying that God loves ALL religions. I am definitely NOT saying that God lacks standards. I AM saying that if God’s love were conditional and based on us, NO ONE could stand – not even the most religious. The playing field has been leveled. We ALL stand as equals. WE ALL – Protestants, Catholics, Heterosexual, Homosexual, Bisexual, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Tea Partiers, Communists, Black, White, Yellow, Orange, Green, Purple  (you get what I am driving at) – WE ALL DESERVE HELL!

WHY?

Because it is what we chose. We chose and often still choose to find our identity in anything other than God. We find our identity in our job, our family, our church, our hobbies, etc… When those things fail us or fade away, so will we. We will forever live in emptiness, hopelessness, rejection, and fear. These are the things we are left with if we don’t have God. This is HELL.

BUT…

With the playing field leveled, there is only one standard that can remain. GOD. So, God, in His great love for ALL people, gave HIMSELF. He stooped down. He came to OUR COLLECTIVE level. And made a way for us to have a restored relationship with Himself. Jesus the Christ (the MESSIAH) is the game changer.

There ARE levels now with Jesus in the mix – those who have a relationship with God (who find their identity in Jesus) and those who have no relationship with God (who find their identity in themselves). Acts is telling the story of those who have a relationship with God, and God is carefully reminding them in very different ways that without  Jesus they are on the same level as ALL people. It is God through Jesus who has made us who we are as the church.

If the good news of Jesus were shared by deserving people, by people who lived outside of the “real” world, by people who were BETTER than others, Christianity would have flopped. Good thing God knew better than to choose THOSE people, right?

I think the sooner we start remembering our roots, reminding ourselves that we are all on the same level without Jesus, we will have compassion, love ALL people and share the good news of Jesus in a different way.

For this week’s discussion, comment on one (1) of the following questions:

  1. What did I learn this week that really stood out to me?
  2. What did I learn about God?
  3. Why do you think God chose to use Saul?
  4. As believers, how should we interact with those who do not share our beliefs, ethics or morality?
  5. Why do we get hung up on the actions of others?
  6. How should we testify to what God has done in our lives?
  7. How do we live in the good news of Jesus and vitally function in the “real” world?
  8. How do we find our identity in God alone?
Advertisements
3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jodi permalink
    March 18, 2012 5:50 pm

    Wow what a journey. I’ve read Acts before, but God has given me fresh eyes to glean more with this study…and it has been amazing how it has linked together in some wonderful ways with the study of Isaiah on Friday morning bible study and the Beth Moore James study I just finished. Gods word is so unendingly complete and rich!
    So how should we interact with others that do not share our beliefs,morals,or ethics? We act as Jesus teaches and demonstrated – with compassion, teaching through example, loving others through Christ, standing firm to uphold His ways, and speaking the Gospel good news with confidence and sincerity. How easy it is for us to look and judge others…when we need to always remember our own shortcomings and sins first. He uses us in our frailty and great imperfections to cast light in the world of non-believers…and he is most glorified in our weakness because his strength is more revealed that we cannot boast of ourselves doing it! Just like Saul. God chose him as the most unlikely vessel for preaching the Gospel message – because he was KILLING those that taught the gospel!! How amazing and glorifying and powerful to take one of the most fervent opposers of the Gospel, than to turn him 360 degrees into a new man who becomes perhaps one of the most effective and passionate leaders of the growing church…bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles of all people..wow, now that is a miracle only God could do!!

    • March 18, 2012 8:31 pm

      I love how God uses us in our weakness to show His amazing power. It is really upside down thinking like Pastor Keith talking about this morning. You would think God would choose the strong, best looking, smartest, etc…Yet, He tells us from the get-go that He is going to use the least likely to confound everyone. How humbling, right?

  2. Jodi permalink
    March 18, 2012 8:42 pm

    AMEN sister!!

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: