Glorious Failure

Life is a long series of failures. Here's to failing gloriously!

Month: February, 2015

What is (not) the gospel?

sapling tree

“THAT’S NOT THE GOSPEL!” I burst out, yelling at the dash housing my car’s radio.

Late one evening recently I heard a radio spot on XM radio’s “The Message” — a Christian music station. Between songs, the announcer asked if I were having a bad day. He said, “Cheer up! Better days are ahead.” (I’ve paraphrased here.)

That’s what irked me. That’s what sparked my ire. The announcer said nothing else — nothing of Christ. Christian hope does not lie in circumstance. It lies in redemption and the hope of the resurrection. That’s the hope of the gospel.

In effect the radio announcer said that we should hope because things will get better. They may. But that’s beside the point. The announcer’s statement predicates hope on circumstance. That’s a dangerous place to affix hope. Circumstances change.

Further, as a Christian response to this admonishment, what would you say then to Coptic Christians in Iraq right now being tortured, imprisoned, and beheaded for their faith by ISIS? Would this advice tell them to cheer up because better days are ahead? Somehow that just seems hollow. Maybe callous is better. No.

Cruel.

Look, the hope of the gospel is that Christ died to atone for the brokenness of the whole world. He fulfilled God’s righteousness required by the law. He died the death we deserve so we can live the life He earned. That’s the power of grace. By Christ’s sufficient sacrifice we are God’s ministers of reconciliation and redemption.

In Christ God is redeeming sin. Not by circumstance.

It’s not like sin doesn’t matter. It’s not that sin can be ignored. Why else would Jesus have to die? No, God is building His glory on the redemption of the world. And He is more glorious for it, not less.

Our hope as Christians is not in our circumstances. Our hope is firm. And it is fixed. Our hope is in Christ.

Forgiveness: How Can it Be?–Reflections on a Song by Lauren Daigle

“How can it be?” Performed here beautifully by Lauren Daigle is a song I can’t get out of my head. I am compelled by this song.

Why?

Not sure. But in this post I’m going to give it a go. I want to uncover what makes this song so compelling and discover why I am so compelled by it.

Resonance. That’s what it always comes down to. Doesn’t it? I resonate with the message of the song: wonder–wonder at God’s gift of grace. To start with the title, “How can it be” is a question. The title itself calls into question the very possibility of forgiveness. It’s too wonderful to be true. The song’s starting point is the obvious state of our hearts: imperfection and brokenness–what the Bible calls sin. We are dirty, unclean in our sin. Could anything be more obvious about the human condition? To contemplate God then, in His goodness and perfection further contrasts our character with His. The more I contemplate God,┬ámy sin becomes more apparent, not less.

Beautiful.

It’s from this starting point the song begins. The title: recognizing our broken and sinful state wonders at the possibility of forgiveness and freedom from slavery to sin. I love that. It begins with disbelief–disbelief that something so wonderful could possibly exist. And if I’m honest with myself, that’s where my heart begins each day, not with belief but with disbelief. To conceive of something so wonderful as freedom–freedom from the slavery to sin and death is almost too wonderful to comprehend. How can that be?

Everyday it seems my heart has to be converted from disbelief to belief. And that is the power of God.

The melody of this song is gorgeous and versatile. Daigle’s unique almost gritty vocal timbre makes her distinct from other Christian artists today. She sounds like the Adele of Christian music. In this studio recording she demonstrates a wide range of vocal control, not just showing off the beautiful versatility of this melody, but also the breath-taking range, control, styling, and dynamics of her vocal chops.

My wife introduced me to this song a few weeks ago. The past week this song has been my heart’s meditation each day. I have yet to get through an encounter of this song without crying and becoming nearly overwhelmed by emotion. God’s grace is powerful. To contemplate it nearly overwhelms me each time. My prayer this morning is that I never get over it.

This morning that’s my prayer for you too. May we never lose our wonder for God and His never-stopping, never-giving up, absolutely crazy, absurd, and outrageous love for us.

Glorious Failure

Life is a long series of failures. Here's to failing gloriously!

Scott Eckstein

Helping define, describe and defend Servant Leaders

Paulwrutherford's Blog

Just another WordPress.com site

Mrskrutherford's Blog

Just another WordPress.com site

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.