Embrace the grace.

Repent when something you think, say, or do is not in alignment with what the Bible says it should be.

Our family went to a local parade in early July and while there a man stopped me before the parade and asked me a question. He was marveling at all the people who were lining up and marking their place along the corridor so that they would have a spot from which to view the parade attractions. Some of these chairs or blankets had been laid out even 4 or 5 hours before the parade was scheduled to start. The man’s comment was, “would people come this early to church in order to save a place for worship?”

I get the thought—some people, even some Christians, don’t care as much about Jesus and the gospel as they do about parade pep bands and free candy and clowns driving ATV’s. I guess the thought that struck me was not so much that our attitudes are misaligned or weighted more toward the earthly enjoyments but rather how do we move from an overemphasis on things of this earth to a greater desire to be with God?

First step: See the discrepancy of where you are at and where you should be (the Bible will give you a clue on where our hearts and minds and actions should be).

Second step: Repent. Ask God to forgive you for not preparing as much in advance for worship as you would for a 4th of July parade. Ask God to forgive you for not loving Jesus as much as you love a great meal with a friend. Ask Jesus for forgiveness when your devotion to bowling or sleeping or work or (??) pulls you away from church 15 minutes before the blessing is given. 

Third step: Embrace the grace! Of course we are flawed in our priorities. The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ says that such sinful misalignment is ALREADY paid for at the cross. Embrace that forgiveness and live out your life as a loved and redeemed and adored child of God.

For those of you who like examples of how to pray, I’ve included the one I prayed after the parade incident:

Forgive me, Jesus. I want to know you more. I want to meet you as the perfect man and perfect God that you are. I want to see your perfect, gracious nature and gain encouragement from your faithfulness. I want to experience your rapt attention when I speak to you about my day and the trivialities of my world. I want to hear you say that you are enthralled with me—but I can’t imagine fully that you are. Forgive me, Jesus, for doubting the good news about you. Help me to know you better and better each day. Thank you for loving me so much that you gave up your life for me, for all.

Blessings to you all,
Pastor Al