Category: Micah

What the Lord Requires

If you or someone you know is fond of swiping the table tents from Whataburger, or if you, like me, really want one of those table tents but are averse to breaking our Lord’s commands, you need to read this article from Texas Monthly. Apparently, Whataburger is fine with the thievery.

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“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” ~Micah 6:8

Seeing a puddle of oil under your car in the driveway shouldn’t cause you to change out the air freshener hanging from the rear view mirror. If your son is failing all his classes at college, you don’t argue with him about not knowing the words to the school fight song. There’s an old saying about the futility of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic — the silliness of it. Jesus calls it straining at a gnat while swallowing a camel. And our God shuts it down.

The Lord, through Micah, says “No! You don’t get it! It’s simple! Look, we’ve been over this for centuries!”

Act Justly – If you’re a covenant partner with God, you have to take care of everybody in the community. Justice. Helping the poor, protecting the foreigner, taking in orphans, feeding the widows — taking care of the people in society who can’t take care of themselves. Just like God takes care of me when I am wholly unable to take care of myself.

Love Mercy – I remember a family lunch at Furr’s Cafeteria when I was a teenager. We’re going through the line and we’ve got our trays and we’re looking at all the food and the lady asks my dad, “What can I get for you?” He replies, “I want everything I’ve got coming!” And the lady in the hairnet with the big spoon looks right at him and says, “No, you don’t.”

We don’t want what we’ve got coming; we want mercy. Mercy is not getting what you really deserve, it’s not giving someone what they truly deserve. And we love mercy when it’s shown to us. But God says love mercy for everybody.

Don’t just act merciful from time to time, love mercy consistently. Love mercy as a strategy, as a way of living, as a way of being and doing. Love mercy not just when it’s shown to you, but as you show it to others. Love mercy as your second-nature response, as your Holy Spirit instinct. Love mercy as a quality of God’s character forming in you.

Walk Humbly with Your God – Don’t carelessly or presumptuously do things your own way. Pay attention to God’s will. Put your will in a secondary position to his. Know your place next to God and walk with him — not against him, not in front of him. Walk with God’s vision, with God’s character, with God’s priorities. God has brought you life-changing justice and he’s shown you amazing mercy because that’s how he treats everybody. Now, you walk with him and join him in doing those same things with everybody where you live.

This isn’t new information. This has always been at the heart of God’s covenant with his people. Treat everybody the way I’ve treated you.

When it comes to your sin and your failures and your transgressions against God and neighbor — when it comes to your sin — our Lord Jesus looked at the Father and said, “Put that on my account.” While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. When we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son. God has brought you life-changing justice and shown you amazing mercy, not because you’re so good but because that’s the way he treats everybody. And his number one priority is that you and I would act the same way, that bringing justice and showing mercy would be your top priority and my top priority, because people would see him in us. People would experience God in us if our priorities and God’s priorities were the same.

Peace,

Allan

Our God Forgives

Our God gives forgiveness. He gives forgiveness freely and generously and abundantly. He gives it in spades. He’s not bashful about his forgiveness. He’s not conservative about it in any way. It’s over-the-top forgiveness with our God. And we can’t preach it enough.

Our people need to understand deeply that they have been forgiven by their Father. Our churches need to know and comprehend that our God gives and gives and gives. He gives life and breath; he gives you your brown eyes; he gives you your love of ice-cream and the delight you get from songs by Journey. He’s given all of that to you.

And he’s looked carefully at your great debt. He’s studied it in detail. And he’s taken your debt and wiped it completely away. He’s obliterated it. It’s gone.

“You have put all my sins behind your back!” ~Isaiah 38:17

“You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea!” ~Micah 7:19

“‘I will forgive their wickedness,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will remember their sins no more!'” ~Jeremiah 31:34

“I am he who blots out your transgressions!” ~Isaiah 43:25

“I have swept away your offense like a cloud!” ~Isaiah 44:22

Over and over and over again. He forgives and forgives and forgives. Old Testament and New Testament. The Law and the Apostles. The Prophets and the Epistles. The sins of the Israelites and the sins of the Church. Your sins and mine. God forgives! Our sins are out of sight, out of reach, out of mind, out of existence! Our Father has stopped keeping score on us! The ledger is clean! It’s a blank slate! Hallelujah! Through Christ Jesus our Lord the path is clear to a righteous relationship with our loving Creator. Sin has nothing on us anymore! Praise the God who gives and gives and gives!

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Congratulations to Central’s own Collin Bowen who made the cover of the Amarillo Globe-News Pigskin Preview that came out today! Collin is the three-year starting quarterback for the explosive Randall Raiders who open up their season tomorrow night against Plainview. And he represents our Lord and his school with integrity and selfless sacrifice for others both on and off the field. Collin and the Raiders have plenty of time before they tangle with Central’s Blake Borger and the Amarillo Sandies in what should be the game that decides the District 3-4A title on October 25. While we look forward to that, we’ve got plenty to keep us occupied. The Sandies and Rebels renew their rivalry next Friday night; only this time it’ll be the first non-district game ever between the two schools. With Carrie-Anne teaching now at Tascosa, we are certainly a house divided. Panhandle’s Panthers play the first regular season game in the state here in about 30-minutes at Bivins, followed by the Rebels’ opener against Palo Duro’s Dons.

You Central members, please ask Collin to autograph your copy of the Pigskin Preview before or after church Sunday, not during.

Peace,

Allan

God's Outrageous Grace

Outrageous GraceWe say all the right things in church and we sing all the right songs about God’s amazing grace and mercy. We preach and teach God’s compassion and great commitment to salvation. But I think we still have a hard time coming to grips with the reality of it all. The truth is that God’s grace really is amazing! It’s outrageous! It’s absurd! God’s grace is ridiculous! It’s unfounded! It’s unfair! It’s downright scandalous!

“How can I give you up? How can I hand you over? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. I will not carry out my fierce anger… For I am God, and not man — the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath.” ~Hosea 11:8-9

“Who is a God like you who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever, but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” ~Micah 7:18-19

Holy Scripture tells us that because of God’s determined persistence to save the lost, his merciful deliverance is available to all who will repent and call on the name of the Lord. He pours his outrageous grace on everybody! Not just Texans. Not just Americans. Not just people in the Church of Christ. God’s grace is not just for people who don’t have a criminal history. It’s not just for people with a high school education. It’s not only for people who’ve been relatively good for most of their lives. God’s outrageous, sin-forgiving, peace-bringing, grace-overflowing, eternal-life-pouring salvation is offered to every man and woman on this planet!

“He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” ~2 Peter 3:9

“Christ died for sins once for all.” ~1 Peter 3:18

“One died for all… He died for all… God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ.” ~2 Corinthians 5:14-19

His grace is outrageous because it’s poured out freely on murderous Ninevites and rebellious prophets alike. It’s out-of-control grace because God gives just as much to my sainted grandmother in Kilgore as he does to a sex offender in Dallas. It’s impossible-to-comprehend-grace because he extends the same amount to the person who baptized you as he does to a terrorist in Afghanistan.

Crazy, huh?

Our merciful Father calls us to join him in his concern for all people. He calls us to be mediators of that ridiculous love and forgiveness.

Crazy, huh?

Peace,

Allan