The Gospel is all about changing places. It’s about substitution. Someone taking my place. Me filling in for someone else. Christ paying a debt he didn’t owe. Me bearing the burdens that belong to my brother. An exchange. A switch-out.
The Gospel is this way because our God is this way.
God is love. And love — real love, intimate love, liberating love, gospel love — is all about this great exchange.
Think about your Small Group that meets Sunday nights. Think of the emotionally wounded person in that group. There is no way to listen to and love that person and stay completely emotionally put-together yourself. As you listen to him and attend to him, he will probably begin to feel better and stronger. But that won’t happen without you being emotionally drained yourself. There’s an exchange. And it takes its toll.
Parenting is the same way. We sacrifice and give and serve in order that our children may live. We decrease so they will increase.
God’s salvation through Christ works the same way. He submits to man. He leaves his heavenly home. He serves. He suffers and sacrifices. He takes on shame to give us glory. He dies so we can live.
John Stott wrote:
The essence of sin is we human beings substituting ourselves for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for us. We put ourselves where only God deserves to be; God puts himself where we deserve to be.
If we’ll open our eyes and look for it, we’ll see that the exchange is all around us. We live in the exchange. Praise God for the great exchange!
Faith Builders Day Camp is always crazy. Hectic. Continuous noise. Non-stop energy. Interactive. Responsive. Hilarious. Meaningful. Life-changing. Momentous.
For three days Lance and I double-teamed 40 of our 5th, 6th, and 7th graders, engaging them in the fundamentals of the Christian faith. The young people studied hard for three hours each morning. And then after lunch we enjoyed off-site activities together like bowling and swimming and even Ice Age at TinselTown. But then it was back home for 30-minutes of homework with mom and dad.
The conversations were happening. What does it mean to be made in the image of God? Why did Jesus have to die? When were the dinosaurs created? What happens if I sin again after I’m baptized? Why does God let bad things happen? Bibles were being read. Light bulbs were going off. God was reaching out to his children. And the faith is being passed on from generation to generation.
Thank you so much to those parents who trust their most prized possessions with us for those three days. It was our pleasure. We had a blast. And thank you for taking the time and effort to have these important faith conversations with your children at night. Thank you, too, to all the volunteers who helped prepare and serve the meals, write and apply the name tags and Bible stickers, drive our children to the afternoon events, stuff the folders, and stick on the Band-Aids. It couldn’t have happened without you.
Mark your calendars now for Faith Builders Day Camp ’10, August 9-11 next year!
I’ve gotten behind on the Red Ribbon Review. Let’s catch up now on the countdown to Cowboys season by recognizing the second-best players in Cowboys history according to jersey number. After last night’s pre-season opener, it’s pretty clear why we’re targeting the first game of the regular season and not these exhibition stinkers.
There are 30 days left until the Cowboys open up their historic 50th season (no 50th season patches on the Dallas unis last night?). And the second-best player to ever wear #30 for the Cowboys is all-purpose back Timmy Newsome. He was drafted in 1980 in the 6th round as a tailback out of Winston-Salem. But the Cowboys already had a Hall of Famer in Tony Dorsett and a solid fullback in Ron Springs. So Landry used Newsome as a backup to both positions and sometimes even lined him up as a tight end. As a running back, Newsome actually finished his nine-year Cowboys career with more receiving yards (1,966) than rushing yards (1,226).
#31 in the Red Ribbon Review is safety Brock Marion. George Teague gets honorable mention for trying to take off Terrell Owens’ head when he was posing on the star at midfield. But Marion was a three-time Pro Bowler who played five years in Dallas (’93-’97) and helped the Cowboys win two Super Bowls. He was a great special teams player, too. Full of energy and hustle. Marion ended his career in Miami with the Dolphins. But only one other Cowboy to wear #31 was better.
Dennis Thurman gets us caught up with #32. An 11th round pick out of USC in 1978, Thurman played eight years for the Cowboys and racked up 36 interceptions. As a rookie, he recovered an on-side kick for the Cowboys in Super Bowl XII. As a starting corner, he made plenty of big plays and had some huge games. His most memorable, perhaps, a 1983 playoff game against the Packers in which Thurman intercepted three passes and ran one back 39 yards for a score. As an aging veteran, Thurman turned player-coach, playing alongside and mentoring youngsters like Everson Walls, Michael Downs, Ron Fellows, and Dextor Clinkscale. In a Monday Night Football game against the Redskins, the Cowboys picked off five Joe Theisman passes in a nationally-televised blowout. Theisman was celebrating his 36th birthday that night. The Texas Stadium crowd serenaded the ‘Skins QB with “Happy Birthday” as he trudged off the field. And it was in the lockerroom after the game that Danny White dubbed the Cowboys secondary “Thurman’s Theives.” The name stuck. Dennis Thurman never missed a game during his NFL career. And he’s gone on to become a pretty well respected defensive backs coach with the Jets and the Baltimore Ravens.
May the Rangers keep things interesting until the pre-season is over,