Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Seeing Our Savior

It feels good to travel and it feels good to be home.  Thank you to many of you who regularly hold us up in prayer.

I want to share one thing I'm really enjoying from our previous weekend.  Some new Colorado friends from St. John's Lutheran Church welcomed us to share.   We are not Lutherans and not very familiar with their traditions but we do know the story of Martin Luther.  I know - so helpful. ;)  Anyway, we weren't sure what to expect but happy to cross denominational lines and join them.  We came away so nourished and built up.  It was a great time spent.  The power of God is working in that church as evidenced in the preached Word, worship and growing christians.  

What is still ministering to me though is how they conducted their communion service.  It was refreshingly different than what we're familiar with.  Most remembrance meals are somber, quiet, reflective and sometimes a bit dismal.  Often times they are used for personal repentance as the plate of juice and bread is passed through the crowd row by row.  This is fine and even good - serving as an opportunity to humbly remember and enjoy Christ's victory. 

This Sunday we enjoyed a different approach with leadership at the front passing out the bread and juice as each row was dismissed; filing to the front.  We followed along and once we sat down I observed how beautiful it was to see people (rescued sinners) coming with palms up - eager to savor Jesus.  In my heart I heard His Words, "Come to Me and I will give you rest."  Our physical coming communicated humble dependence.  The joyful music reported the cost of restoration.  There were smiles and even expressions of anticipation as each person waited for their turn to take and remember that it is HIM that we need.  Jesus is my salvation!  There they were - an entire crowd, one by one, coming.   Like in the new testament when crowds would press in on Him.  Psalm 73:26 was painted in live form,  "My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my Portion forever."  
"And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another."  2 Corinthians 3:18
Elyse Fitzpatrick in her book Counsel From the Cross truthfully shares, "We need to set our eyes on something beyond ourselves or our failures.  We need to glimpse something that is more powerful.  We need to see Jesus Christ and the transforming glory of God."  She goes on to explain how we actually see the transforming glory of God, "Although God could directly inform our minds and hearts, he usually uses ordinary measures (or means) to accomplish this goal and to impart grace or strength to us." 

She's right.  These ordinary measures can seem weak, too simplistic and even feel ancient instead of relevant.  She urges, "Let's try to avoid the Athenian hunger to continually hear "something new" (Acts 17:21) and instead rest in these ancient but powerful measures." 

So what are the Means Of Grace to which is she is referring?  
Here they are: 
1) Preached Word
2) Baptism 
3) Lord's Supper
4) Fellowship with Believers

The Lord is using this book to awaken me to His ancient and yet very relevant transforming means.  Number 3 was a timely and transforming glimpse this weekend.  Thank you St. John's for letting us join you in transforming worship.  Whether you're an old or new believer may you also enjoy His very earthy, ordinary means of grace that minister His transforming glory to our hearts.

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