While this weekend is the last believe event of this theme’s tour I am not done traveling for the spring. I am reading a book on flights today by Scot McKnight entitled “Embracing Grace: a grace for all of us”. This book is pre-study for a jr high roundtable I will attend in CO next month. I am turning 30 years old two days before I leave. As I read I am drawn in to the thought that we are made in the image of God (a God that lives in community). As I grow older and look at the things I value community is high on my “needs” list. I have loved the church since I was a child. My most vivid memories as a child were of going to church or talking about church or my parents hanging out with people from church. Concerts were a big deal to my dad, not for the show; but the community. I remember being called up on stage with all the other kids at a Sandy Pattie show. I can recall road trips to see: David and the Giants, Dallas Holm & Praise, Leon Potelo (especially “The Sky is the Limit” tour), of coarse Carmen, Brian Duncan, Servant, the Kingsmen, Aundrey Crouch, The Imperials, Russ Taft by himself, Petra and my favorite – Whiteheart. I bring all of these things up because they had a deep impact on my faithwalk. As I read my picture Bible I saw myself as young David. I deeply wanted to follow God and be his warrior. I deeply felt his approval and acceptance over me. I remember the first time a wedge was driven into that relationship. A kid who lived next to us showed me a ripped up picture of a naked lady from his father’s porn collection. I was about 11 year’s old. This idea of a personal relationship with Jesus is such a journey. I have inherited so many good things from my father. One trait I see in me that I try to battle with truth is guilt. Dad has struggled with so much guilt in his life and much of that I think is from our legalistic heritage. As “Embracing Grace” reminded me that the term “personal relationship with Jesus” isn’t found in the gospels. When I hear a speaker or song try to define the success of my personal walk with questions like, “how are you and Jesus doing” I don’t always feel successful. I have not been able to put into words for quite sometime just how much more complex my view of God’s Lordship, and unity with me currently might be. I am, in McKnight’s words, a cracked Eikon. I am a cracked person who was originally made in the image of God but fell from that. God is putting me back together. Jesus’ cross, death, resurrection, (ransom, atonement) play a part in that; but so does the church and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
On Wednesday nights I lead worship for about 50 high school students in a small room and my good friend Jayson speaks from 2 Samuel. We are looking at the life of David and so much of this is good for my soul because David was a warrior leader and it is just great stuff to learn from as a leader. I have such a different view now of David than I did from my picture Bible days. I see David the murderer, the adulterer, the spineless decision maker, the ‘easy way out guy’ and I have to harmonize that with, “David- a man after God’s own heart”. I grew from the boy who felt like young David in perfect harmony with God to a young man struggling to live a life above reproach (often falling quite short). I came to have my own concept of God’s holiness but was too familiar with guilt from not achieving it. I realize more so every day that I am a cracked Eikon that needs fixed. I can not fix it. God alone reserves that right. I am more like the older David. Through the power of the Gospel I am on a collision path to encounter God in all of his glory. It is only through this process of living in the Grace of God that I can truly start to feel His embrace and see how it was there all along my path. I am not an individual. I was not created to be an independent being. I was created for community. My understanding of God’s grace will greatly reflect how I serve, enjoy and draw others into this community.