Our Good God

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Photo by Ellieelien on Unsplash

Jon Acuff strikes again. That’s good. He spoke at our church last night, and he knocked it out of the part. I should say God knocked it out of the park through my friend Jon.

He shared The 3 Gifts That Make Rest A Lot Easier. 

  1. The gift of relationship
  2. The gift of identity
  3. The gift of bravery

Rest is a gift, not a wage. -Jon Acuff

I’ve never heard Jon speak in a church context. It’s always been at one of his book signings, so it was really awesome to hear the Scripture he shared. Here they are.

“Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, he’ll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs.” Zephaniah 3.17

“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?” Isaiah 43.18-19

“He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” Ephesians 2.10

“Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.”
“He said, “Don’t worry. I will. Today you will join me in paradise.” Luke 23.42-43

“The Father is with me. I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” John 16.33

“Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.” 1 Peter 5.7

“Here’s what I’m saying: Ask and you’ll get; Seek and you’ll find; Knock and the door will open. Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat and mouse, hide and seek game we’re in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing – you’re at least descent to your own children. And don’t you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?” Luke 11.9-13

Jon concluded a series on rest we’ve been having, and I think if I was to narrow down his message it would be that we need to get to a place of being at peace by being versus always having to do. A lot of evangelical theology has evolved over the last century to overemphasize doing instead of being. When we pause long enough to see that our Father constantly wants to give it redefines our theology. We seek satisfaction so many times in the wrong places, but when we go deep within where the Holy Spirit moves we see another way of life that is completely different then the consumer culture we see all around us.

We want to “earn” everything we take pleasure in. We can’t enjoy something unless we earn it. Jesus comes along and turns that philosophy on its head. We aren’t satisfied with a simple thank you to someone who gives us something. We tell them they didn’t have to do that, and when someone offers to give us something we actually refuse. How in the world can we make an about face to accept the greatest gift of all? It’s a legitimate question.

This aspect of our faith can make our life in Christ drastically different. Imagine if every man, woman, child and church got serious about this. It’s not going to happen over night because years of habit and thinking don’t change over night, but when we truly bow before the One who gave everything so we could have eternal life global revival can happen.

But it can’t happen if we are constantly burning the candle at both ends as so many do. Does that mean we are forbidden to work an 80 hour week should that happen? That question gets an unequivocal no! Hard work is sometimes a necessity in the kingdom. Poverty and laziness are not next to godliness, but do not forget the hard lessons Jesus had for the affluent. If we preach the gospel of health and wealth we are preaching a false gospel. Jesus moved both rich and poor to choose his ways. He didn’t call people to be someone they weren’t. He doesn’t call anyone to be someone they are not. He calls us to draw near the Father.

I’ve met and interacted with both rich and poor who call Jesus Christ LORD. Some have sold all they have to follow him. Some have been homeless, and they now are very affluent serving people from their affluence. Before you judge someone based upon their economic standing ask yourself if you are fulfilling the call of God on your life from your financial blessings.

We used to sing a song as kids, and I think most Jesus followers know it. He’s got the whole world in his hands. Some of the most “childish” songs are some of the deepest theology we reflect on. We’ve got to get to a point in our journey where we stop comparing the have and have nots. We’ve got to unite under the fact that he does have the whole world in his hands and that Jesus does in fact love us. He can take our hearts, make them whole. Make our hearts and minds belong to him. He can make them pure, and he is not done turning Sauls into Pauls. Anything is possible with the One who made us. That’s not just a backdrop at Cross Point Church for social media. That’s a reality that many of us lean into everyday.

I don’t know what you’re facing as you read these words, but I suspect you have some things you wish you were not facing. We live in a very broken world as if I had to tell you that, but I’m encouraged by the gifts the Father reigns down upon me hourly. I’m dreading going to Kroger right now because next to scrapping nails across a chalkboard is going to the store. I dislike it. But because of the hard work of my wife we are able to buy groceries. Some people in this very moment are going hungry. I pray God’s provisions upon them, and if I can be part of that I pray God’s guidance in that endeavor.

We’ve never been told life would be easy, that all our questions would be answered here or that we would never experience loss or illness. We have been told that we have a Father who is always with us. He longs for a relationship with us, and that’s goes beyond religion. That goes with us into the grocery store. That goes with us into the hospital, a job we hate or with people we don’t want to be with.

He does not demand our attention, but when we give it to him he is always there.

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