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You Are Qualified

Jesus can revolutionize your life and world view. The idea of grace in its fullness characterizes the very nature of Jesus and changes our concept of the worth of humanity. Our world view in the past has been filtered through religion, which tainted our ability to accept those that would not qualify to be a part of our family. All the while hoping that the outcast and the freaks would conform to our image so that we would be more comfortable with them among us. After all we don’t want that kind of person to representing us, right? How ugly is that, how sad, bland, boring and comfortable.

In the old covenant only the high priest could go into the holy of holies in the presence of God. The high priest were the very upper crust, the closest to perfect that existed. They were the only ones worthy to even attempt to meet with God and even they would drop dead if they did not fully qualify. How frightening, how intimidating, how confident, how self assured would you have to be to attempt a journey into the presence of God?

The magnificent exchange was that the very God that the high priest feared, the God that reigned down manna from heaven and whose presence lived in the form of Shekinah glory behind the veil had a plan all along to come to us. To go to the darkest places and the deepest earth to identify with us. The very God we feared became one with those who would never qualify. Because what we failed to admit is that no matter how hard any of us try, none of us can ever qualify. It is only by grace through faith in this man Jesus Christ.

So you see, it’s not a matter of qualifying to get to God, it’s a matter of God qualifying to get to us. Who am I to disqualify anyone? Who am I to claim Christ death returns insufficient on anyone’s behalf. God wanted us all along. He wanted us to admit our dependence on him all along. So if you are an outcast, freak or classified weirdo Jesus came to you, identified with you and brought you freedom, grace, and love. Not freedom from who you are, but freedom from having to be who you’re not. We are all dependent on him, we require him, we thirst for him and in him we find our life. Run to him, don’t be afraid!

Hebrews 4:14-16, Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 12:9, 2 Corinthians 5:19, Ephesians 3:19

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Short Story

“Outside the Stained Glass and Nylons”

English: Stained glass windows of Berne cathed...
English: Stained glass windows of Berne cathedral, Switzerland. Français : Vitraux de la cathédrale de Berne, Suisse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It all started one ordinary Sunday afternoon. Everyone coming proudly out of church dressed in layers of pastels and nylons. I couldn’t help but laugh to myself at all the effort put into this uncomfortable image of piety.  And there he was this man that I adore and fear, this man I praise and doubt. It’s very hard to hear high and lofty words from the pulpit only to go home to see the humanity. I was always daddy’s little girl, and wanted desperately to please him but I came to the conclusion that as much as I would like to be perfect it simply could never happen. And I was ok with that, although he was convinced that I was settling, when I was only choosing to live and love. It was hard enough being a young woman without the added pressure of religion and unreasonable expectations breathing down my neck. I saw things so differently and in my heart I believed God gave me these eyes.

Do I dare to shake it up?  Do I dare break the mold and see if what I have been told can stand the ugliness or the beauty of the world?  I just can’t believe that God would be in nylons, I mean I choose to believe he would be on a Harley Davidson riding through the streets of New Orleans.

One day many years ago I chose to open my eyes and look outside of the clean white sheets of religion.  I decided that if the cross was the real deal then it would work in the real world.  I decided that I would raise my kids in freedom and love and with their eyes wide open to the real world.  As a result, today I have a 15 year old daughter who sports piercings and enjoys various other avenues of self expression and yet she is the one who classmates can trust with their deepest darkest secrets.  She is the one they go to when they are in trouble and yet she holds fast to her faith.  She loves them and isn’t afraid of them and I am so glad she tells me their stories.  I was raised to be protected from the world by going to church but she is being raised to know that she is the church going into the world and I am so proud of her!  Freedom is a beautiful thing!

I see things different because I have gone outside of the stained glass windows.  I have conversed with the drug addicts and held hands with the sons and daughters of poverty.  I have learned that if you close your borders to the outside you will never have the necessary compassion that is required to change what needs to be changed.  How can I have an opinion if I don’t have a relationship with those of other points of view, lifestyles, cultures and ideas.  But if fear is what motivates me then I will remain in nylons, pastels and behind those walls and God will still love me but others who need Him will not know His love!

All of us live, to some degree, as Preacher’s kids.  Maybe your’s isn’t of religion but perhaps of an ideology that you grew up with.  Don’t allow fear to stop you from seeing the world with fresh eyes.  God created us with minds so that we can think and He isn’t afraid of us using the tools He gave us.