5.21.2012

The In-Between Places

Here are just a few facts about me. I grew up as the oldest of four siblings in Kansas City, MO. I attended Central Bible College in Springfield, MO, where I met the love of my life. In our thirteen years together, we have walked through some very deep waters, but came out loving Jesus and each other more. We have one son, Evan, who turned two about two months ago. We believe him to be the answer to many, many prayers, and the fulfillment of God's promise to us for a son.
If I were to use two words that I think characterize my life, I think they would be authenticity and hope. Hebrews 12 tells us that we are surrounded by a "cloud of witnesses"--the folks who have walked the ancient road long before us. But, some of these folks were less than perfect. Included among them are Abraham and Sarah, who both sought to bring about God's plan for their lives using their own resources and efforts. We also find Moses (Heb. 11:23), the man who murdered an Egyptian. Then there is Samson, who had a weakness for beautiful women that cost him the very presence of God in his life. The list goes onto include Rehab, a prostitute who had heard about the works of God and chose to believe him for her own life; Gideon, who was so frightened, he was found by the angel of the Lord hiding in a barrel; and finally, David, the adulterer and murderer.


The point here is that those who have walked the ancient road walked imperfectly; they exercised poor judgment, exhibited inexcusable behavior and were outright rebellious. Things aren't much different today. We all walk that road with areas of deep shame and brokenness; some of it because of our own poor choices and some of it because of the sins committed against us. I believe that for God's people to walk and live in freedom, there must be a level of authenticity about who we are and the hang ups in our lives that hold our hearts captive. Scripture reminds us that it is the truth that sets us free and that Jesus himself is Truth. So, Jesus and his work at the cross are the only things that will set us free, but first we must be honest about our desperate need for his work. The cross demands that we stand in truth, exchanging our shame and brokenness for the hope of Christ.


Scripture tells us that "hope deferred makes the heart sick" (Prov. 13:12). Living without hope is the antithesis of the cross. For one to live hopeless is to live without the power of the cross. This is where the community of faith comes in; we hold on to hope and believe God for those in our community who have been brave enough to confess their sin, but still feel the weight of shame and brokenness. We pledge to be a safe place; we take seriously our responsibility to hold one another accountable and up in prayer until the day comes (and it will come) that they are able to walk freely from the "stuff" that has had them entangled.


I believe with every fiber of my being that this nothing the work of the cross can't do, undo, fix, break, heal or restore. I believe that as men and women confess the things that hold them hostage, they will begin to experience freedom the comes only from standing in the shadow of the cross. I also believe that for this to happen, the body of Christ must express the same love that has been expressed to us in Christ to those who are broken and lost. We love them, pray for them, encourage them, and believe the God of the Bible to act on their behalf--noticeably and mightily.


So, when it comes down to it, the legacy I want to leave for those who will follow me are deeply loving those whom God has put in my life and holding fast to hope for those who are in the "in between" places.

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