Amazing, Uncontainable, Irrefutable Grace part 1 why can’t we give it away?

Amazing, Uncontainable, Irrefutable Grace  Part 1 why can’t we give it away?

We have only lived in Germany for 1-½ years.   However, even in that short time, it has become apparent to us that generally speaking, Germans are guarded, protective of self, and rather isolated within their network of family and very close friends. We have been greatly privileged to become very good friends with two of our neighbors and even closer friends with a family who lives just a couple farm roads away. We hang out together a lot, and our kids play together.   You might be thinking, “Well, they have reason to be so guarded and reserved.”  After all, we did endure two “great wars” on the opposite side of each other.  And their sins have followed them ever since.  When we first moved here, I was encouraging one of my friends to visit us. This friend happened to be Jewish. She said she wasn’t sure if she could do that.  I also know that often times when our German friends travel abroad to bordering countries, they are treated disrespectfully and discriminately.  Finally, their schools also play a role in reminding these precious children over and over of the sins of the past. History and education are important. Self-deprecation is not.  Sad or as we would say in German, “Sharda.”  Pity.  So what part has the church played in Germany in not only removing that stigma, but also spreading the message of grace, forgiveness and joy? I would humbly submit that the “state church,” as it is so referred-has not done so well in its 500-year existence.  Why do I say this? Because when the church is transformed, so are the communities.  When the church is transformed, then they shout from it from the rooftops, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has God removed our sins from us.”  And when the church believes that about itself, then so can those outside the church. If those of us IN the church have not bought into this message of grace, then we can’t expect those outside of the church to do that.   

So you can imagine how utterly emotionally moved I was this past weekend when I sat in an arena filled with 8500 people worshipping God together.  With the exception of a few hundred Americans, Dutch, and French present, the remaining 8000 or so attendees-all German. Germans who are sold out for Christ. Sisters and brothers in Christ who have “received the message with eagerness,” (Acts 17:11) and are Christ centered. German Christians saying emphatically “Here am I, Send me.”  My heart was so speechless, stunned, and utterly impressed.  Young, middle aged and older folks all present at this Leadership conference praying and listening for new ways to reach the lost of not only their communities, but also churchgoers themselves all over this beautiful country.  

You know we think we are so different.  USA evangelical churches have spent decades trying to convince other evangelical churches what they are doing wrong.  We have done this at the expense of our next-door neighbor’s lost soul, at the expense of single parents who can’t feed their kids, and alas, while violence and addictions continue to destroy families.  Yes, while I am in a debate with another churchgoer over contemporary versus traditional, or while I am up to my ears with trying to reconcile the coexistence of dinosaurs and Christians, thousands of human souls are paying the price for my ego driven spiritual quests.  Last weekend John Ortberg made a very bold and courageous statement,  “There are too many undiscipled disciples-too many who think spiritual growth is trying to follow rules in the bible.  We have held up the wrong people as spiritual examples for so long, we have produced churchy people, but not transformed people.”  Here is the thing, I wouldn’t agree with Ortberg’s statement just for the sake of believing it, if it were not for the fact that I have experienced this first hand. For most of my life, my own spiritual examples have been Pharisees in form, fashion, speech, and demeanor.  They have been so in every way with the one exception of what they believe about the Messiah.  It is only in the last decade that this has steadily changed for me. And it certainly has had a great impact in my marriage, my parenting, where we serve and worship, and what we believe about the infinite, incredible, uncontainable grace that Christ offers us. 

This is a Part One Devo. Because I think this is important.  Next time, I am going to talk about removing the masks that we wear and stepping into not only God’s incredible grace for our lives, but also into the journey, the joy, and the mission that He purposed for us even before we were born. 

Thanks for reading

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