laws of physics: equal and opposite reactions

Category : God, different, faith, miracles, sin

……….

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

This is a famous law that plays out in virtually every aspect of life.  If you drop a ball the energy will have to go somewhere, it doesn’t just disappear.  So the ball bounces back up toward you.  If you’re driving your car and slam into a wall, your car is crushed and you’re likely to be in the hospital.  If you use hate and violence to “get back at” someone, they will likely turn around and use hate and violence against you.

That’s just the way the universe works.

Enter Jesus.

He changed how this law works.  As Paul said to the Christians in Rome: ” the wages of sin are death.”  Every time we sin we deserve to be punished.  We deserve to suffer the eternal consequences.  God knows this.  But God also knows the depths of his love for us.  So he found another way to satisfy the laws of physics and the laws of love.

That’s grace.

But grace comes at a price.    Even God must follow the rules he created for the universe.  And because of this it cost Jesus’ his life.  Someone had to pay the price for our guilt.

I’ve spent this week talking about “what evidence do you need to believe?” and the “illusions of the world.”  We saw that expecting purely scientific evidence for God’s existence would leave you unsatisfied.  And if you simply relied on your eyes, you would fall for a pack of lies (Photoshop and computer graphics do amazing things these days!)  As much as we want to rely on science it misses one of the major pieces of reality – grace. 

God didn’t have to pay this price  He could have left it to us.  But we never would have survived.  We never would have been able to overcome the laws of physics.  We would have been crushed by our guilt.  So instead of being scientific or evidenced based, he chose to act in love.  But as Philip Yancey says, “Grace costs nothing for the recipients but everything for the giver” (What’s so Amazing about Grace).  Science doesn’t make that decision.  Evolution doesn’t sacrifice itself.  Reason doesn’t choose to die for love.

The laws of physics may be in place in the universe, but I am grateful God works on a system that isn’t solely based on science and evidence.

failing God

Category : David, God, failure, faith, fear, sin

 

If you ask an athlete about a game, they will almost always tell you about the shot they missed, the tackle they could have had, the putt they should have sunk.  Of course you don’t need to be an athlete to think this way.  When you go into work what do you think of?  The things you should have finished?  The account you should have landed?  I bet very few of us focus on the positives.  Even fewer live wide awake.

We live in a culture that emphasizes failure.  I don’t know if this has always been the case or if this is some recent development.  But whatever the case, we live in a world obsessed with failure.  

It’s true in our professional lives.  It’s true in our personal lives.  And this attitude is true in our relationship with God.  We focus on our short comings:  How we could have been more generous.  How we shouldn’t have yelled at our kids.  How we knew what we were doing was wrong, yet we didn’t stop.  We focus on all of the mistakes we make.   

But is this how we are supposed to live?   

Most of us have fallen for the performance plan view of God.  We think God is carefully taking note of our failures.  That he’s just waiting around the corner to whack us with them.  “If Santa makes a list, what does God do?” we wonder.  Instead of experiencing God’s grace, we find ourselves overwhelmed with guilt.

Yet that’s not the God of the Bible.  While God is never thrilled we’re sinning, it’s not our sin that destroys our relationship with him.  It’s something else… 

There once was a father and son who believed in God.  The father was a murderer, adulterer, he was even negligent of his family.  The son on the other hand never killed anyone, never had an affair, and always seemed to have his family in mind.

Yet God turned away from the son and not the father.  Why?

Because no matter how many horrible things David did, he always maintained his relationship with God.  He never rejected that relationship.  Solomon on the other hand, despite all his wisdom, began to worship other Gods. 

“As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.  He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech [a] the detestable god of the Ammonites.  So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done.”               (1 Kings 11: 4-6)

David’s failure didn’t drive God away.  No matter how many mistakes he made, God always remained with David.  Solomon, on the other hand, despite all his wisdom found God as an enemy.  It wasn’t his failures that caused it – it was his choice to believe in other gods that ended things. 

So why do we still believe our behavior is what matters to God?   Why do we focus all our energy on our failures, and spend so little time focusing on re-building our relationship with God?

David did many horrible things.  Yet he was described as, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13: 22).  Despite his actions, despite his failure, he built a lasting relationship with God.  Isn’t that the model that we should work towards?  Shouldn’t we stop focusing on failures and spend all that energy of doubt, fear, anger, worry towards re-energizing our relationship with God?

We need to live out a life of faith, not live a life in fear of failure. 

thanks giving: being thankful

1

Category : God, choice, different, faith

 

I’m not a big into celebrating holidays.  I don’t have anything against them; I just don’t get really excited.  But holidays can serve an important function.  They help us remember the significance of events, and serve as a way to remind us of where we’ve come from.  In that spirit I’ve decided to do something a bit differently here at R3 for Thanksgiving.  I want to actually take time to think about the things I’m thankful for instead of looking at it as a big dinner with some football on the side. 

There’s no question this year has been hard on many of us economically.  But we still live in the most blessed country in the history of the world.  We also live in a day and age where most of our needs are met.  When we get hungry we don’t have to go hunt and kill our food, or pick some berries.  We just drive up to McDonald’s roll down our window and in less than 5 minutes we’re clogging our arteries. 

It’s easy to forget just how much we have. 

So that’s why, for the next few days I want to focus on things to be thankful for.  Such as…

  • being alive
  • having friends for both the good and bad times
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • a heated apartment
  • cell phones
  • thanksgiving with my family
  • a home cooked meal!  (no microwavable burritos here!)

 

(ed note:  This was supposed to post yesterday.  Does it make a difference that it went up a day late?  Only in my obsessive, compulsive mind I suppose!  Maybe I should be more thankful for my memory!)

high density

3

Category : Acts, God, Jesus, revolutionary

 

Some days its tough for me as I struggle with my failures.  I say to myself, “can’t you get your act together?!”

It’s these days when the Bible seems particularly encouraging.  Not because of the message about God (which is encouraging).  But because the Disciples were so dense!

They may have spent years with Jesus, but certain things took them a long time to grasp.  Even in the opening of Acts we see the Disciples still not getting it.  They had witnessed Jesus return from the dead.  They had seen him perform countless miracles.  And what’s one of the first questions they ask to a resurrected Jesus?

“When are you going to kick some Roman ass?”

Ok, so maybe that’s my paraphrase.  But the point is, despite all of Jesus’ teachings on love and mercy, they still thought the Messiah would lead a military victory.  They still thought he would change their current situation, not revolutionize it.

If the Disciples messed up, and God gave them grace, maybe I should accept that same grace…