Stopped by the Word
Saturday was a celebration, on March 22nd of 1994 while listening to Dr David Jeremiah teach the Gospel of Jesus, God invaded my life, rescued me from sin, set me free and put me on a new path. Every year I celebrate it. Most times I head to the mountains to be alone, this year I headed next door to help my neighbors cut trees from our last ice storm. I thought it fitting heading into my 2nd decade with Jesus to serve others on the day He saved me.
But also this was my first weekend serving as the reader/chalice bearer at the Anglican church we attend called Church of the Good Shepherd in Davidson. I haven't broadcast this much but I am in the process of seeking ordination in the Anglican church. A part of that process is taking part in the liturgy.
Public reading of the Bible is something that Paul emphasized as good in 1st Timothy 4:13 "Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching."
One of the passages I was to read this week was Romans 5:1-11. I have no trouble speaking before crowds. I've been doing this for nearly 2 decades. I'm used to it.
But yesterday something odd happened. I read the first few verses with no issues.
1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
6For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.
Powerful stuff....while we were still helpless...Christ died for the ungodly.
Then came verse 8, "8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Just as I read that, my finger hit the screen on my ipad and the keyboard jumped up. It startled me at first but then I looked and my eyes went right to verse 9. But I couldn't read.
I just stared at the screen unable to speak for what seemed like an hour. I stared at those words and a rush of emotion came over me. How many times had I read those words, in church, bible studies or in seminary classes? 100s probably.
But yesterday they stopped me...cold. I could go no further. Struck by my own helplessness without Jesus my own inability, my own sinfulness...it paralyzed me in front of that gathering of people. In a splinter of time reliving the moment I realized the truth of the Gospel.
I was overcome again that Christ would die for someone as ungodly as me.
All that to say this, it never gets old...the Gospel never loses its luster as long as a couple things happen.
1. I remember my place...dependent, helpless, hopeless
2. I remember God's place...independent, powerful, full of love and mercy...mighty to save
Let the Word stop you today from thinking of yourself too much and of God too little
All for now...More to follow
For more about Church of the Good Shepherd check out their website HERE