As a child, my mom took my brother and me to church every Sunday. It was just down the street from our house. It was Garden City Christian Union Church. It only held about 70 people and most Sundays our numbers were around 45 in attendance. Looking back, I hated going. I was a kid. It was church, religion, it felt like I was in history class. In a way it was. But there was no emotion for me. It was not my choice to be there. Also, back then, my dad never went. He stayed home and worked in his garden, or mowed the grass. I learned to hate religion and church because that was all it was. It was not my choice and there was nothing personal about it.
Let’s jump ahead to current times. I still dislike organized religion and the way most churches operate. Now there are some wonderful churches out there. The difference, in my opinion between the good and the bad, is how they approach the purpose of their existence. See the people are the Church. Not the building, or the denomination or the pastor or the staff, or all of their rules and rituals. It’s people, it’s personal, it’s emotional and it’s all about your personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Church for a lot of people is someplace you go to every other Sunday and most of the religious holidays. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ is something you cherish, and nurture, and grow in every day. Through SLG I’m going to show you how you can have an amazing life if you choose to. It will not be perfect, none of us will ever be perfect. You will make mistakes, get angry, get sick, mourn the loss of friends and family, sin, and just be human. You don’t need to be even close to perfect. Just be yourself. But people will see a change in you even if you never mention religion or church to them.
So why do we need grace? As part of my morning devotional and prayer time, I read every day. About an hour or so of every morning is my time to pray, and read. One of my favorite authors is a man named Regi Campbell. His writing is my source of knowledge for a lot of my thoughts. Regi told the story of a young friend of his that made a major screwup and now his marriage is devastated. He has a plan to never make the mistake again. He is begging for forgiveness. He is wearing God out on his knees, begging God to protect him from the consequences of his stupid behavior.
Even though failure is a great teacher, Regi says we can, “fail forward”. Failure is still no fun, it stinks, it hurts not only us but the people we let down as well. It creates a scar that reminds us of the pain.
We can seek forgiveness from God and others and get it. But the fact remains, we still failed. We need grace. We have been forgiven, that’s not the issue. It’s the grace we need.
Forgivness is quid pro quo. I ask for it, you give it. We’re square.
But grace is this amazing thing that comes when the blame is gone when we move beyond what is fair and volunteer to make it no longer matter. It’s not a trade. It’s restoration without a price.
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)
Have an amazing day.