Sunday, July 10, 2011

jordan at the well.

Yet again, El Roi (God who sees [me]) saw my heart tonight and knew exactly what it needed. Funny how He does that...sees my heart, knows my heart, and still gives me what I need and loves me beyond comparison.

Tonight marked week 4 of our study in the Gospel of John at Passion City Church. Before Louie (Giglio) even started tonight, he prayed that our lives would be "wrecked with grace." And that is so what I've been praying over my life and the lives of some of my close friends lately...just in better "verbage." Haha. God completely reminded me of that grace tonight.

You may want to go ahead and read John 4 before you continue...just throwing that out there. I promise it won't be a waste of time.

Chapter 4 starts off (and continues to be a majority of the chapter...not to belittle the incredible works of Christ in the 2nd half) with the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. (Insert history of Samaritans and Jews here...long story short: they didn't associate with each other.) Oh, the infamous "woman at the well"...married 5 times and living with a 6th man. Our modern day scandal, "that girl" people think they shouldn't speak to for fear of hurting their reputation...or is You? The everyday sinner...doesn't that mean all of us? Yep. WE are the woman at the well. We are the sinner, the woman who has had 5 failed marriages, or failed 5 times in some other way. Our sins or our failures are no more or less than hers. We are the person Jesus Christ risked and gave everything for. Getting a picture of this grace yet? Just wait.

What is it that you've failed at over and over again? What are your 5 failed marriages? Right now, mine are the 4 years I've spent in college more worried about my social calendar and personal agenda than being burdened for the souls of some of my best friends who don't know what a relationship with Christ is like. How in the world could I waste 4 entire years pursuing my selfish desires and chasing after things that mean absolutely nothing in the scale of eternity when I know that some of the people that mean the most to me don't have the promise of eternal life? Just the thought breaks me. The fact that I actually did it, I have no words for. But, the fact that God knows that, that He's stayed with me and my selfishness the past 4 years (or 22 for that matter), is a display of grace beyond comparison. It is a picture of Christ on the cross. Love indescribable. It is the water of life that Jesus offered the woman at the well and that He offers me and you.

"...but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:14

"When Jesus saw her (the woman at the well/me/you), He didn't give her a righteous lecture. He gave her an unfathomable offer." (Louie) The offer was/is grace. Christ in me is the hope of glory.

"To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." Colossians 1:27

The water the Christ offers us is grace, hope, forgiveness, redemption.

"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him." John 3:17

[Skipping a lot of other incredible verses and important parts of the story - because I feel like I'm either hitting a word limit or the end of an attention span...ha.]

Verse 42 says, "They said to the woman, 'We no longer believe just because of what YOU said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.'" This verse hit home to me on so many levels. But, the main one is, what am I saying? Are people believing not only because of what I say, but because what I say leads them to hear for themselves from the Savior of the world?

As much as I regret wasting so much time these past 4 years, I can't change the past. But, I can change the direction of the future. Behind me are the years I've spent more concerned with my own agenda and ahead of me are the days that I make plans and follow through on intentionally sitting down with those that mean so much to me that don't know the love of the Father. Without the grace of a Father who loves us beyond description and comprehension, I would be a lost cause...along with the woman at the well.

So, I'm asking for your prayers. That you would pray that God would grant me strength to be bold in my faith and that the agenda of God would be mine as well. This is also my prayer for you.

"If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking."

Sunday, July 3, 2011

choose LIFE.

Tonight, I experienced one of the most powerful and touching moments of my life at Passion City Church.

To start the night off, the time of worship was awesome! (Led by Chris Tomlin & Christy Knockles.) The house was packed...standing room only. My friend & I had been saving two seats for a couple of friends, but saw an older man and what I believe was his granddaughter standing against the wall & we offered them the two seats. I couldn't be more glad that we did!

Louie Giglio, the pastor, has been doing a series on the Gospel of John and tonight we were studying chapter 3. Each week, we go through a different chapter and Louie gives us a key word to summarize the chapter. Tonight's word was LIFE. (Check out John 3 and you'll see why!) He talked about how every believer has two births, one of the flesh and one of the Spirit, and only one death, of the flesh because our soul has been given the gift of eternal life. (verse 5)

At the end, he offered the chance for anyone who experienced their second birth (of the Spirit) tonight to a room of at least 1,000 people, about 3 people stood. After a moment, he felt compelled to encourage anyone who was timid to stand at the first offer to take the opportunity now and gave them a few minutes. As I began to look around them room, people were beginning to stand left and right. A couple of minutes later, there had to of been about 30 people standing.

Here's where it get's good...after about 3 or 4 minutes had passed and everyone we thought was going to stand had stood, at the last minute, the grandfather sitting next to me stood up. He had to have been 70 years old. As he stood, tears started streaming out of his eyes...and soon enough, out of mine. He was the last person to stand and then Louie began to pray. As Louie was praying, people just gathered around this man, laying their hands on him, and praying for him as he stood there weeping.

How encouraging! A man, closer to the end of his life, finally finding a new beginning of true life in Christ...standing there singing, hands raised, "I'll stand, with arms high and heart abandoned, in awe of the One who gave it all. I'll stand, my soul, Lord, to you surrendered. All I am is Yours."

Sorry for giving your seats away, guys, but this was way worth it. Sitting next to a man who realized it's not too late...that he too could find eternal life as a child of the King.

As we were sitting there, all I could think of was 1 John 3:1 - "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called CHILDREN of GOD! & that is what we are!" This man truly experienced the love the Father has lavished on us tonight and realized that there isn't an age limit on becoming a child of God!

My heart is full of joy knowing that this man's heart is now spoken for!

"If there is something that absolutely must be done before you die in order to go to Heaven, waiting until tomorrow is insane." - John Piper

Check out any of Louie's pod-casts here: I definitely recommend watching the "Open Heart" series and the "Word" series (the series on John).