Monday, August 11, 2014

What Rises To The Surface?

While in South Dakota my sister Jan retold a story I had heard before about our dad.  My uncle Carl was the sheriff of Deadwood SD back in the fifties.  I remember him as a stern, no nonsense kind of man.  Sometimes he would deputize his brother Bill, our dad, to ride along with him and help out.  As the story goes, our Uncle stopped some kids one night for mischief.  He was going to bring down the arm of the law on them but my dad, a softie at heart, talked him out of it.  "Oh, Carley," he said.  "They are just kids...let them go."

 Law and grace.

I heard another story about an upscale church where everyone dressed to the hilt on Sunday.  One Sunday a man came into the church wearing jeans, old boots, and a denim shirt.  He sat up front listening intently to the sermon.  Later the pastor received several notes speaking to the man's attire.  The next week the man returned so the pastor told him he needed to pray about how he should dress for services at the church.  The third week the man came back, dressed the same....shirt, jeans, and well worn boots.  The pastor confronted him saying, "I thought you were going to ask Jesus what you should wear here!"  The man in the jeans replied, "I did.  But He told me He had never been here so He did not know what the dress code was!"  Ouch!

Law and grace.

Joel told me a true story about a farmer who invited a new family to go to church on Sunday.  When the family arrived for services, the youngest boy told the farmer he had new jeans to wear!  The farmer quietly spoke to his own family telling them to go change out of their Sunday best into some clean jeans.  He did not want the new family to feel uncomfortable their first week at services.


Law and grace.  We definitely need both, and especially when it comes to keeping others safe, but too often we let the rules of man get in the way of the Living Grace that came to earth.  Jesus.  Remember the Samaritan woman?  Remember the healing He did on the Sabbath?  Grace.  So much grace and love.

I watch online the services and conferences that take place in Bethel church out in Redding CA.   One (of many) things that impresses Joel and I about this Redding church is that they preach so much grace. They teach, speak, live, and breath love and grace.  For real. Their focus in on bringing others to Christ.

We watch another ministry online and they speak grace, too, but they also criticize how others worship, and call the "seminary" the "cemetery".  They are very Biblically sound, but they also speak against others or make fun of other denominations.  Both speak Biblical truths and both are conservative in their thinking, but in our opinion, only one leaves their critical spirit at the foot of the cross. 

Law and grace.

It is often difficult to find the balance needed.  The law was fulfilled with Jesus and we have a new covenant to live by.  Yet Jesus gave us laws to follow too.  We need law laced with grace or grace laced with law!  We are tempted to judge, to let our critical spirit rise to the surface.  It is so easy to look down on others instead of up at Jesus.  Oh, Lord, let the love of Christ rise to the surface in us.  Hear our prayer..... and remind us to ask ourselves what rises to the surface?


Gayle said...

Grace, sweet grace, it really is all we are able to stand before Him with. I loved this post and the memories and stories.

Renee said...

Thank you Gayle!