Happy Sunday and Day 115 of Another 100 Days of Hannah… and Counting, y’all!
First things first: last night’s game night was a success! Yes, there were moments of awkward silence (which I probably apologized for too many times… oops), but from the sounds of it, all the participants had fun and would be down to do it again!
Important questions though…
1) Do guests need to be invited to eat snacks and get a drink? Just wondering, as no snacks were eaten, and no drinks were requested. Both of these were fine with me, I’m just not sure if that was because of a hosting fail on my part or not…
2) How in the world do you think of things to ask people to keep the conversation going indefinitely, therein removing the moments of awkward silence?
3) What time is a reasonable time to call it quits and usher people out of the house? And how, exactly, is that done?
In any case, onto actual blogging for the day.
So, this thought comes from today’s sermon (which, you’d think I’d remember the text of, considering I had the privilege of listening to it twice…).
Regardless, the premise is simple: as Christians, our lives are meant to be and, not or.
What exactly does this mean?
As the Pastor put it, it can be pretty easy to approach faith in an ‘or’ fashion.
That there is a divide where we can either focus on what we believe in scripture -or- we can focus on how we live.
Y’all, this isn’t how our lives are meant to be.
As Christians, we are called to believe scripture AND live it out.
In Hebrews 11:6, we are told that:
Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
And in John 14:6:
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
Similarly, in Mark 16:16:
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Obviously, these verses emphasize the importance of what we believe. But, scripture doesn’t stop there.
In James 2 (long passage, sorry), the importance of how we live is also made quite clear:
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? …Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Y’all, we are called to live a life of and, not or.
For better or worse, it seems like the ‘or’ life is most often played out in regards to politics, where there’s a push to neatly fit into the boxes of ‘conservative’ or ‘progressive/liberal’.
Guys, as Christians, our views should never perfectly align with a political party. Our identification as ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’ should never trump our identity as a Christian.
And, as Christians, we are called to believe, and to live out that belief out in a life of love.
A love that turns the other cheek.
A love that freely forgives.
A love that runs to the broken and the hurting, not from them.
A love that gives generously, with no thought of return.
A love that looks like Jesus.
Which is admittedly hard.
And, I’m pretty sure I fail at it daily.
But, I believe, that as I, as we, draw near to the Father, as we come to Him through the power of the Holy Spirit, fixing our eyes on Jesus, we begin to change.
We begin to seek His will and His ways.
We begin to give.
We begin to serve.
We begin to forgive.
We begin to love – not with words and speech, but in deed and in truth.