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 exchange.
Think about your small group that meets Sunday night. 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 stronger and better. 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 happening all around us. We live in this exchange. Praise God for the great exchange!
Busy weekend. Thanks to J and Laurie Bailey, we were able to watch the Rangers at the Ballpark Saturday night with their sweet family and some other guests. Another Rangers loss in which Texas scored only one run. But this one was a little easier to take since we were in J’s super suite directly behind home plate. Whitney, of course, hung on every pitch, while Valerie and Carley took books to read and mostly laid around inside the suite, reading and eating cotton candy. They even managed to get one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies on the big screen TV. How embarrassing. Thanks, Baileys. We had a blast.
We dropped the two little girls off at Three Mountain Camp just south of Lake Whitney yesterday afternoon. This is Carley’s first camp, so Carrie-Anne got a little weird. Thinking about Carley sometimes makes me a little weird, too. Two weeks ago Carley finally jumped up in the hallway at home and hit the top of the bedroom door frame with her hand. She’s been trying for over year. Now she’s hit it. And now she jumps up and hits the top of every door frame in the whole house, everywhere she goes. Just like I did when I was her age. She’s big now, right? No more little kids. They’re all able to hit the top of the door. I suppose the ceiling’s next. I think Valerie’s still a year away.
Thanks to Kipi Ward who’s managing that 3rd-4th grade cabin down there for taking and posting some pictures.
So, it was just the three of us last night: C-A and Whitney and me. Just like it was for almost four years. We got back from Three Mountain just in time to take in a late night concert in Dallas. I know, Gene Paul, that singing “Sharp Dressed Man” with 25,000 people isn’t the same as singing “Hey, Jude” with 80,000 people. OK, you’re right, it’s not even close. But we had a great time.
Yesterday was Aaron and Jennifer Green’s last day here at Legacy. This really stinks. They’re being forced to re-locate to Katy, Texas in the Houston area. They fought it. But, now they’re gone. Aaron and Jennifer are those kind of people that, as a preacher, you really, really, really appreciate. Jennifer was up here at least two or three days a week, every week, for as long as I’ve been here, working in and for our children’s ministry. Aaron jumped immediately into the middle of our move to weekly Small Groups Church, serving on the planning committee and co-leading his own groups during both cycles. He also plays a vital role in the leadership of our young families class here. They both work tirelessly behind the scenes and show up for everything. Man, they’re leaving a big hole here at Legacy. It was a tough day around here because of that. But they’re going to bless a lucky group of Christians somewhere down in Katy.
We love y’all, Greens. We send you to Katy with our love and our prayers and our appreciation. We send you with the grace and peace of our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. We send you to the disciples in Katy to bless them and encourage them, as you have us. And we send you to join them in redeeming the world back to our God.
There are 55 days left until the Cowboys kick off the NFL season. Probably less than 55 minutes left until Jerry Wayne holds another press conference about another event coming to his new stadium. But we’re concerned with the start of football season here. And we’re counting down the days with our Red Ribbon Review, a look at the second-best players in Cowboys history, according to jersey number. Before today’s #55, we’ll catch up with yesterday’s #56.
Eugene Lockhart. “Mean Gene the Hittin’ Machine.” A sixth-round draft pick in 1984, Lockhart became the first rookie to ever start for the Cowboys at middle linebacker when Bob Breunig was lost halfway through the season due to injury. Lockhart stayed there for six more seasons and became one of the very few bright stars on some pretty bad teams. He made over a hundred tackles in every season but his broken leg year of 1987, and still holds several team records for tackles, including the single season total of 222 he set in 1989. That was the year Lockhart racked up double digit tackle numbers in all 16 games, including a team-record 16 stops against the Cards. That was also Jimmy Johnson’s 1-15 first year in Dallas. So Lockhart’s accomplishments mainly went unnoticed. He was traded to the Patriots following the 1990 season for a number one draft pick that turned into Russell Maryland. As he was cleaning out his locker at Valley Ranch, Lockhart was heard to say, “It’s a cold business — a cold, cold business. And it’s even colder in New England.”
Today’s #55 is another Cowboys middle linebacker, Robert Jones. Jones was Dallas’ first round pick in 1992, the 24th player chosen overall, and the first from East Carolina University to ever be taken in the first round. He played only four years for the Cowboys. Just 56 total games. But they were the four glory years of the Cowboys’ dynasty that decade. Jones was named the NFC Rookie of the Year in ’92. And the Cowboys went to four straight NFC Championship Games, winning three conference titles and three Super Bowls. He went on to play for the Rams and the Dolphins. But for four years, he was the defensive signal-caller on the NFL’s best team.