Category: 2 Peter (Page 2 of 2)

It’s the Little Things

That little note your husband left for you on the dining room table as he went to work. “I love you! Have a great day!” It means so much. It may mean more to you than the expensive diamond ring he gave you on your wedding day or the cruise you took together on your anniversary.

That little vase of flowers your friend brought to you while you were in the hospital. “Thinking of you.” It means so much. It probably means more to you than the Christmas gift or the birthday present she gives you every year.

The pat on the back in the crowded hallway. The wink across a busy room. The text message in the middle of the day. The unexpected card in the mailbox.

The little things mean so much because they stand for and point to the really big things. They are tangible proofs of the eternally massive and hugely important things in our lives. The note and winks are reminders of the love your husband has for you that is grand and limitless. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the crusts cut off in your lunch box reminds you that your mother loves you selflessly. Sacrificially.

And it means the world.

God’s little blessings, his everyday graces, mean so much because they point to his incomprehensible love for us. They remind us of his great promises. They are proof of his undying commitment to us. The rainbow. The budding of the trees. A toddler’s laugh. A grandmother’s prayer. Your coffee fixed by a friend just right. Holy communion. Your dog’s loyalty. Congregational singing. They all point to God’s eternal presence and his “great and precious promises.”

Remember the little things. Pay attention to the little things. Practice the little things. Because they mean so much.



Obliterating the Roadblocks to Christian Growth

As you can imagine, I have a stack of articles and papers in my study here that I intend to write about in this space. As you also know, that stack tends to pile up and grow as other things press in on me and immediate concerns crowd into my blog posts. Near the bottom of this pile is something from the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of ACU Today. It’s a list of bullet points from a 1993 speech made by then university president Dr. Royse Money.

At the beginning of the speech, Money declares, “I come to you tonight with a heavy burden on my heart for the Church. As we seek to be the Church that belongs to Jesus Christ, I see hindrances along our way that impede our progress. I want to be honest with you tonight and discuss some issues and problems and challenges we face in our fellowship (Church of Christ) that are not easy or pleasant to discuss. But we must.”

This month at Legacy we’re talking about what’s NEXT. What’s NEXT in your walk with Jesus? What’s NEXT for our congregation? What is God calling you to NEXT? Where is Christ leading us NEXT? We’re looking at Peter’s “add to your faith…” We’re considering Paul’s call to “attain to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” and “straining toward what is ahead,” and “pressing on.”

Legacy’s elders and ministers are gearing up for our annual retreat together tonight and tomorrow at Camp Carter on the other side of Fort Worth. In the midst of our prayers and planning and reflections heading into this weekend, Money’s bullet points are worth considering. For Legacy. For your church. For your congregation’s leaders. For you as a child of God and a disciple of his Christ.

~We must realize that unity does not mean uniformity of belief.
~We must determine the essentials of faith apart from traditions, customs, comfort and personal preference.
~We must realize in dealing with those who differ with us, both within our fellowship and beyond, that tolerance and a certain level of fellowship is not the same as total endorsement of another’s views.
~We must learn to handle diversity in a charitable way.
~We must mark those who cause division among us.
~We must rediscover that in our allegiance to Christ, the bride wears the name of the Groom.
~We must realize that the enemy is Satan and not each other.
~We must determine what the real issues are regarding the role of women in the Church.
~We must decide on the way Scripture should be interpreted.
~We must realize the powerful dynamics of change.
~We must rededicate ourselves to search relentlessly for truth as it’s revealed in the Scriptures.

To Money’s excellent observations and clarion call for action, I would add a couple of my own:

~We must shift our focus from pastoring the saved inside our walls to saving the lost outside our walls.
~We must be motivated by Christ’s love instead of by a driving desire to be right.
~We must relax and stop taking ourselves so seriously as we realize we live under and in the grace of God.

We ignore these things at our own peril. Just talking about them and feeling like we’ve done something isn’t enough. Action must be taken. Hearts must soften. Lives must change. Leaders must lead. Pro-active instead of reactive. Just holding our own isn’t cutting it. Christ’s compelling love wasn’t given freely to us so we can huddle up and play church and avoid doing anything wrong. His sacrifice on the cross and the Holy Spirit’s powerful work at the garden tomb is a call to action. Holy action. Christian leadership. The Kingdom of God is “forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it!”

May our merciful Father bless us with wisdom and vision. May he graciously overcome our staggering incapabilities to lead his people forward in his eternal Kingdom.



What’s NEXT?

I’m intrigued this week by these words of Paul:

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on… I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on… ~Philippians 3:12-14

Think about everything the apostle Paul had achieved at this point. He had received the best formal education available. He had studied and excelled at the feet of the very best teachers alive. He had been on the fast track, politically and religiously, to the highest positions of power and authority. He had seen the risen Lord. He had spoken with the Christ. He had witnessed and performed many miracles. He had been delivered from danger time and time again by God’s Holy Spirit. He had preached in the most important cities. He had trained the greatest teachers. He had planted the best churches.

Paul’s list of spiritual experiences and religious achievements was long.

But he presses on as if he’s accomplished nothing. He strains ahead as if he’s had no success. He keeps looking for and yearning for what’s next.

And then he writes, “All of us who are mature should take such a view of things” (Phil. 3:15)

I think Peter had the same attitude:

Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective adn unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~2 Peter 1:5-8

It seems to me that the older we are, the more Christ-like we should be. It’s the oldest among us, the ones who’ve been at this longer, who display more self-control. Our older brothers and sisters show more kindness and love. The ones who’ve been disciples longer are the ones who are “more good.” More persevering. More like our God than those who are younger.

More like God?

Yeah. Peter says “in increasing measure.”

This means it’s the older among us who would be more forgiving, more patient, more gracious and compassionate, more sacrificing and giving, more tolerant of the shortcomings of others. Adding those Christ-like qualities in increasing quantities every day keeps us from getting stale. It prevents us from getting into a rut and not being any good to God’s Kingdom.

“I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.” ~2 Peter 1:12

We older Christians can be prone to crankiness and sour attitudes. We can sometimes be bossy and demanding and impatient. We can occasionally come across to others as unkind or unloving.

It’s just that we have much less of an excuse than the younger ones.


It’s getting harder and harder to root against the Cowboys.

I have always loved Jason Garrett. Garrett is all business. He doesn’t mess around. He knows what it takes to get where they want and he won’t let anybody or anything stop him from getting there. He does it with integrity. And character. He’ll cut slackers and send loafers to the asthma field. He’ll jump up and down and celebrate at the appropriate times. And not a minute sooner.

If Jerry Wayne really is going to give Garrett as much control as he gave Jimmy Johnson, if Jerry really is going to back off on demanding his way in on-the-field matters, if Jerry is going to allow coaches to coach and players to play, then I think I’m going to take a very neutral and un-biased approach to this next season. Providing there is one.

It’s nice to occasionally see the good guys prevail. The ones who do it right, starting from scratch and making it happen with dedication and hard work. Smart guys. People who use their brains and think right. Good for Jason Garrett. And good for these young men who get to play for him.



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?



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