Embrace Grace


Since I’ve moved to Seattle, I’ve struggled to settle down at a church. I want to say that I’m not sure why and that I can’t put my finger on it, but that’s not true. I know exactly why it’s been hard for me. Good ol’ Satan and his sneak attacks.

See, this is not my first time living in Seattle. I originally moved here seven years ago with some of my best friends from college to plant a church in a super hard neighborhood in the center of Seattle. It was a place where Jesus was absolutely not welcome--or maybe more so where people felt he would not welcome them. So we moved right in and we paid really high rent for really small places and we cooked dinner and we opened our homes and we let people come in and talk about Jesus and the Bible--whatever that looked like. It was hard, so hard, and I never ever had the answers that people were looking for. But people kept coming back because they knew that we would keep welcoming their questions and we would keep helping them find answers. I loved that church for everything it was.

That’s besides the point.

The point is, I decided to move back to Seattle because I know how desperately in need of Light this place is. I knew going into this that the darkness here is real and thick and overwhelming and that I was going to have to be extremely intentional about plugging into Christian community fast if I was going to make it here. I knew that so well. Even with a set of close Christian friends, it was still so hard sometimes. So I should not have been surprised when I came here with great intentions to plug in and then just got shy and defeated. It has nothing to do with the churches--they’ve been amazing--it’s got everything to do with me and the fact that Satan absolutely did not want me building that type of community. I had never ever not been the one creating and doing church. Sitting still for me was just weird and it made it really hard for me to settle somewhere.

All that to say, I finally did and I am loving it. It’s still challenging as building community and friendships is a process and of course takes time, but I’m getting there. And maybe I said all of that to say to you--don’t give up! If you find yourself in a similar space and season, keep trying! Keep going back. Satan wants nothing more than to isolate us and keep us alone and believing we’ll always be alone in this. We so desperately need Christian, Faith community if we are going to live for Christ in this day and age!

Anyways--

The church’s vision and mission and philosophy is so simple and I love it. The focus is on doing life together and following Jesus--exactly what the original disciples were doing when they changed the world for Jesus. And it’s about Jesus and His grace and HIs goodness every single week. Over and over again--but I never get tired of it--ever.

This past week the sermon sunk in so good. Not only did it speak to me exactly where I was, it spoke to me in a super fresh way. I knew immediately that I wanted to share it with you and some highlights and takeaways below.

Pastor Judah worked around the idea of embracing grace. He talked about the two biggest obstacles that keep us from fully embracing Christ--they were so simple but it sort of just made everything I’ve always known make so much sense!

Our Strengths

Our Weaknesses

How simple and also how monumental!? Both of those are things that we carry and when we are carrying or holding things it makes it impossible to fully embrace someone. What he was getting at is that we miss out on the embrace (of grace) that Christ wants to have with us because we are too consumed with carrying around our strengths/and or weaknesses and everything that those bring with them.

He mentions an image that I absolutely love--the prodigal son coming home to his Father. The Son runs away From the safety of the Father in the first place because of his pride and his belief in his own strength and ability. And in the end, the Father is the one that runs to the son because the son is too ashamed and burdened by his weakness and failures. And even while the Father is hugging the son and planning a party for him, the son is going on and on about why he is unworthy of that. And what does the Father do? He ignores him, does not acknowledge the apology, and continues to embrace his son. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL PICTURE OF GRACE AND THE RELATIONSHIP GOD OUR FATHER LONGS TO HAVE WITH US! He isn’t ever interested in our performance, only in drenching us in His endless grace.

I don’t know about you, but this message inspired me to drop anything and everything I’m holding onto and just let Jesus embrace me in all of His goodness and grace! I sure hope it will do the same for you!

**Perhaps this is a good thing to put on during your morning commute or a good piece of those morning moments we are challenging ourselves to find this week!

Sermon:





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