Monthly Archives: November 2015

The goodness and kindness of God our Savior

I am leading the Awana council time for almost 100 3rd-6th graders for the month of December.  Many are not “churched,” but come out faithfully for a night of games, quoting verses, singing and a Bible lesson.  It has caused me to soak in the message and intent of the Christmas story from the angle of kids, knowing that I face those very kids at school.  The same “to do” list I give them is for me and we somehow hold each other accountable.

One of the things that has captured me this week has been something I’ve not paid attention to before: that it was the goodness and kindness of God that led to sending Jesus to earth for us.  Check out some of the verses:

Titus 3:4 “When the goodness and kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us”

Ephesians 2:7 “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the Heavenly realms in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

2 Peter 1:3 “He called us by His own glory and goodness.”

Hosea 11:4 “I led them with cords of kindness with the bands of love and I hosea11-4became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bend down to them and fed them.”

I’m reading Kisses From Katie, about the young woman who left an affluent home to be in Uganda after high school because the more she delved into the truths of Scripture (at the age of 12 and 13) she began to realize that God wanted more from her and she wanted more of Him.  Katie Davis, the young woman, adopted dozens of orphaned children.  She talks about bending low to sweep crumbs, to wipe vomit, to cook a big pot of stew, to fold endless laundry and at the end of the day, she bends next to the bed and asks only that she could bend more, bend lower.

Because we serve a Savior who, in goodness and kindness, bent down to us.  He entered through Mary’s birth canal, was greeted by field dirtied shepherds, and  willingly took on the form of a humble servant.  God bent low on the earth that we might attain all the glory of Heaven.

So we are to do likewise.  To “love our enemies and do good, expecting nothing in return, and our reward will be great and we will be Sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.”  Luke 6:35

Acts 10:38 tells us that “God anointed Jesus with the power of the Holy Spirit and with power.  He went about doing good.”

Titus 3:8 admonishes us to be careful to devote ourselves to good works and 3:14 tells us we need to learn to do good so we can be fruitful.

So, in kindness (the good intent to help people) and goodness (the actual act) I be like Jesus and bend as He did,

  • to listen to others and to ask them about themselves and not talk about me
  • to lead with a servant leadership that does not lord power over people, but shares it with them
  • to hug kids (at the risk of lice), calling them by name and knowing them individually, along with their families
  • to pray that God would direct my steps, lead me in the Spirit to intercede for those in my sphere of living
  • to give to those who can’t give back, who aren’t grateful, who don’t work and are maybe even evil
  • to be in an obscure place faithfully and joyfully serving God
  • to be alert for opportunities to show goodness and kindness, meeting the ordinary needs of people in any way possible

Because the goodness and kindness of God my Savior appeared and saved me.

 

 

 


The story of Jesus: A Dude in a Meat Suit

I have been leading Bible studies at our local jail for over 15 years now.  I have often said that if I put up a sign in our town that invited people to come and find out about Jesus few would come, if any.  And if they did, I doubt if they would listen respectfully without arguing or trying to take over with their own agenda.  But there have been very few visits where no ladies have come and still fewer times when someone is argumentative or an opposing agenda takes over.

A high majority of women have been Native American, a world view that might look similar on the surface, but now that I’ve had these years of interacting on a spiritual level with them I find that though we share the same county, we’re very different in how we approach the world and the afterworld.

One visit this summer included a gal that was listening, but I could tell she was ready to argue or debate.  She had listened to a summary of who Jesus was, that He was God Himself who came from Heaven and took on human form as a baby and grew up and began His public ministry at the age of 30.  That He was willing to come here to show us what God was like, to reveal truth and to save us from our sins.  That He had been promised from the beginning of the Bible and the Jews had waited for Him, but didn’t know His name and just how He was going to save them.  How Jesus started His ministry with miracles of all sorts to announce to people that He was here.  I was purposing to get to three different people’s reaction to Jesus: mad, sad and glad.  She beat me to the punch.

Somewhere in there she shouted out, “I would never let a dude who put on a meat suit be my God.”  I thought I heard her, but I gently said, “come again?”

She said “a dude that would take on a human form, and wear a meat suit.  He could never be my God.”  Me: “Oh, that’s exactly what Jesus had to do in order to pay the price for our sin.  He had to take on human form, to be the sinless sacrifice for our sins.  Sin had to be paid for and He came to do it.  Otherwise we would face the death penalty and be sentenced to an eternity in Hell.”

“We don’t have Hell,” was her quick reply.  I held up my Bible.  “Jesus called out ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.’  The truth.  Part of that the truth of the Bible is that there is a Heaven and a Hell and what you do with Jesus determines where you spend eternity.  That’s what Zacchaeus accepted and that’s what I’m asking you to consider tonight.”

For some reason, her only response to me was “that’s disrespectful,” which she said several times.  I replied “I’m not being disrespectful, actually it’s the most loving thing I can tell you.”

Another inmate stepped in, trying to make peace.  She said of me, “She just doesn’t understand our ways.  It’s okay.  Just listen to her.”  That settled things down a bit and I finished the study.  When I went to leave, I told her, “I hope I see you again,” and she said “Me too.”

Isn’t that the story of Christmas, actually the heart of the Gospel?  A God who became a dude in a meat suit.  He had to in order to pay the price for our sin and save us from Hell.

 Hallelujah, what a Savior!

guy in meat suit