Tim Keller has written two books on Mercy and the story of the Good Samaritan. This is a video presenting the content of the shorter of those two books “Generous Justice”. It is a great introduction to the topic of serving and being a person of mercy in the world.
My children confront me everyday with a choice about which characteristic of God is going to be most pronounced. I typically go with the anger of God approach without mixing in the eternal wrath. I stop myself before I condemn them to some sort of eternal punishment, but the thought does run through my mind.
Choosing mercy is like not letting your child play on the iPad all day. It sure would be easier to go the iPad all day route just like it would be easier to get mad, angry and out of control. Choosing mercy is a disciple though that does not seek selfish reward, but seeks the well being of another first. Choosing mercy requires a strength that goes beyond ourselves.
Jesus provides this pathway in Luke 10. He provides a pathway to a different kind of mercy. A different approach towards healing. A different approach toward teaching. A different approach in purpose. A different approach in living.
The importance of Identifying with the why instead of the what:
Identifying with my children is one way that I can choose mercy versus judgement. I will can best explain it by sharing an experience from my sons’ life. Both my boys have something called Sensory Processing Disorder. It is a learning disorder that impacts their daily lives. One of my sons is severely impacted by SPD. He had a rough day yesterday; I had to find a way to choose mercy. One of those ways was being able to identify with him in his pain and frustration. We watched this video together.
As we watched this video we began to talk through his daily pains and experiences. It helped us move beyond the symptoms of his problems and help get to some of the roots of them. As I identified with his experience it became easier to choose mercy.
Leading them to something greater helps us choose mercy.
My son gets very frustrated because he has this condition. He says that beautiful phrase that all people say at some point in life, “I just want to be normal.” It was here that I could explain the beauty of the gospel. That the Father has crafted you in his image and you are beautiful to him. That Jesus came because he knew you were hurting and needed someone to offer you a greater hope. And that the Spirit is going to lead you on a journey that will take this beautiful young man God has created and do wonders.
Not sure he understood all of it. It is the problem with having a pastor dad. This is some of the stuff we are going to be talking about next Sunday at church. Join us on March 30th if you can.
Patience is the key to a healthy church community (1 Thess. 5:14). The world is so busy and not only do we want everything “right now”, but we are almost expected to give of our selves completely “right now”. There is little patience in us because there is very little patience for us or with us.
I have very little patience for my children. I except them to think, behave, and act more mature than they should. I expect them to do things right and not make mistakes even though many of their experiences are first time experiences. I essentially want them to get everything right the first time they try it. Talk about pressure.
Paul teaches that as the church community one of the most important signs of health is the patience that we have with one another(1 Thess. 5:14). I have to admit I am not always quick to have patience with people as I apply the same expectations on church members and leadership that I place on my kids.
I think the key reason patience is such a good thing to practice is that it makes grace show up. You see patience sits on top of grace by bring it out in the practical moments of everyday life. Jesus has to have patience with us as we grow in maturity just like we must have patience with one another as we grow in maturity.
Martin Luther didn’t struggle with wild crazy questions of faith. He struggled with our questions. He just found answers that profoundly changed how the world understood Jesus.
“I greatly longed to understand Paul‘s epistle to the Romans, and nothing stood in the way but that one expression, the justice of God,‘ because I took it to mean that justice whereby God is just and deals justly in punishing the unjust. My situation was that, although an impeccable monk, I stood before God as a sinner troubled in conscience, and I had no confidence that my merit would assuage Him. Therefore, I did not love a just and angry God, but rather hated and murmured against Him. Yet I clung to the dear Paul and had a great yearning to know what He meant.
Night and day I pondered until I saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement that the just shall live by faith.‘ Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which through grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise. The whole of Scripture took on a new meaning, and whereas before the justice of God‘ had filled me with hate, now it became to me inexpressible sweet in greater love. The passage of Paul became to me a gate to heaven.” ~ Martin Luther
I am currently working on a marriage series for the Winter at Canyon Creek. Here are a few of the titles for the series I have passed up on so far. Let me know if you have any helpful insights.
1. Marriage Occupied
2. Out of Touch Marriage
3. Pampered Marriage
4. Laid-back Marriage
5. Intense Marriage
6. Ignorant Marriage
Turning 40 has not been that overwhelming for me; that would be my new born daughter’s job. It does leave me thinking about some of the influences in my life over the years. I have really enjoyed reading more as I have gotten older. Here is a list of ten books I think have had the greatest impact in my life and that I will turn to again and again for insight and wisdom.
1. The Bible. My conversation with God is helped by nothing greater than this book.
2. The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman. This book taught me that people are not projects. The Christian faith is about living life together in community.
3. The Prodigal God by Tim Keller. This book taught me that that I can’t put a bigger smile on Jesus’ face than is already there.
4. The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis. My first book I ever read on my own was A Horse and His Boy. Probably my favorite book in the entire series.
5. The Great Divorce by CS Lewis. This book helped me fall in love with theology. It helped me see my faith as something that is real beyond mere words.
6. Holy Sweat by Tim Hansel. This book helped me develop discipline in my life.
7. The Cross of Christ by John Stott. This book constantly reminds me of how amazing Jesus really is today.
8. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. My first book where the Christian faith was laid out in a way I could understand it.
9. Future Grace by John Piper. Taught me to rely on God even when I don’t really want to.
10. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsk. My first English teacher in college assigned this book for us to read. It was the first English teacher I had that believed in my ability to read something difficult.