Yesterday I ended a sermon about “irresistible grace” with the following quotes by Shane Claiborne:
“Most good things have been said far too many times and just need to be lived.”
“…I believe in a God of scandalous grace. I have pledged allegiance to a King who loved evildoers so much He died for them, teaching us there is something worth dying for but nothing worth killing for”.
In citing these quotes, I was calling our congregation (Blue Point Bible Church) to “live in” the “irresistible grace” we believe in. We can read of the “Common Grace” bestowed upon all people in Matthew 5:43-45,
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be the sons of your Father who is in heaven: for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous.”
If we are called to live in such a love as that in response to “common grace”, imagine what type of love we are called to live out in response to an “irresistible grace” that saves God’s own!
You can listen to that podcast by visiting the following link,
So…this morning in prayer I was praying upon this and felt so convicted! It’s a blessing when a Godly conviction comes upon us and spurs us to respond. That is the essence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Daily I read through the Common Prayer book which I find to be a blessed Spiritual Discipline. As the New Year comes upon us, Spiritual Disciplines, or what many refer to as “New Year’s Resolutions”, should be at the forefront of our lives. Sure enough, the Common Prayer book was compiled and organized by a Spirit-led movement called “New Monasticism”. It was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who once spoke about the need for a “new monasticism” within the Church. I have been blessed to both learn about and participate in the New Monasticism movement.
Last months focus for Common Prayer was “Locating our Lives to the Abandoned Places of the Empire”. A great point was made that, “Everything in our society teaches us to move away from suffering…, however Jesus compels us to mourn with and comfort them”. In response to the Biblical expression of ‘loving the stranger’, Common prayer says, “We are to laugh at fear, to lean into suffering, to open ourselves to the stranger”.
I must say…God has been working on my mind and heart quite a bit lately. In October I felt convicted upon the realities of “hell” and what that means from a truly Biblical perspective. I have mentioned many times I am working on publishing a book in mid-2015 based upon my theological and application convictions of a post-judgment perspective called “Wicked”. Then studying systematic theology through the lens of John Calvin has surely had an impact on my spiritual convictions in regards to those who are outside of Christ. As I prepared for our Christmas Eve message at B.P.B.C. I was impacted by the power of the incarnation and how that should call us to “live incarnationally” and bring light to the dark places of the world.
How often we forget to bring light into the areas we deem “Nazareth’s” of the world. Remember, they said about our Lord, “Nothing good comes from Nazareth.”
As I have been praying for some time now through Common Prayer and being impacted about these “abandoned places”, I have realized it is not necessarily about physically moving to another location, but rather taking time to be convicted to spend time in the areas, or with the people, we have somehow made ‘abandoned’.
In my New Year’s resolutions I made a point to “resolve” to spend more time with family, friends, and others whom I have not really developed “true friendships” with, yet desire to, and therefore spend time appreciating how God in working in there life, and seek to comfort or help where it is needed Surely “irresistible grace” calls us to that!
This has called me to an “intentionality” in 2015 to respond to God’s grace, and I hope as you maybe listen to the podcast, or spend time studying through the amazing story of God’s grace through Scripture, and how Jesus instructs His disciples to respond- you will be compelled with a similar intentionality.
INTENTIONALITY DEFINED, is that which is done by intention or design. Pray and allow God’s Spirit to compel to do this amazing work in your heart and mind.
Blessings in Christ you you and your loved ones in this blessed New Year!
In His Service,
Pastor Michael Miano