Living Beyond the Recipe
Sara brings in a plateful of her fresh-out-of-the-oven, famous chocolate chip cookies and Wayne and Brad enjoy the feast while talking about the difference between the truth of a recipe and tasting the reality of what the recipe makes. If we focus on the recipe as an end in itself, we get caught in endless discussions about the ingredients, arguing about their worth and labeling others so that we can be dismiss the importance of relating to them as individuals. They also follow up on ultimate reconciliation and the danger of shaping our theology to address our fears, instead of finding our comfort in the character of God.
I’ve been listening to your Podcasts for the last month and love every bit of them (thanks for posting the picture of a chocolate chip cookie on the website – now I’m salivating…) I met Wayne a couple of years ago when he came up to Maine to visit Jack and Nancy and spoke with a group there. I’ve been on a unique journey (we all are) and it’s refreshing to know that it’s ok not knowing. My wife is experiencing her frustration with the church being a board member and I’ve been supportive in her role; but I know the freedom that I’m experiencing would be a tremendous benefit to her. She’s read the Shack and as soon as I put my hands on my other books (So you don’t want to go to Church anymore), I’ll get those to her.
One piece of scripture came to light recently that I thought I’d share with you. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3 (NIV). I’ve always thought of someone who was poor in spirit as someone who had reached the end of their rope, had exhausted all options and cried out to God for help. That still is true. But someone who is poor in spirit can be someone who is on this journey, who realizes that we can’t do these things without God and that God has to do them with us and for us. When we come to the realization that we are powerless (“apart from me, you can do nothing” – nothing is a pretty clear word, don’t cha think?), then we’re poor in spirit and depend on Jesus for our daily walk.
One final story to share with you. A Church friend of my wifeâ€™s had fought a long battle with cancer and recently passed away – she had been declared cancer free twice. She was only 48 years young and leaves behind a husband and 3 kids. She got to get visits with lots of her friends and in many cases, she felt that she was seeing them for the last time. So she spoke to her pastor and told him that she wanted him to tell them her fear, that she knew that she was seeing some of them for the last time. She knew she would be seeing Christ and having his loving arms wrapped around her. Her concern was that some of her friends and family, some who attend Church (some Catholic and some Baptist), don’t know Christ. So the pastor gave her eulogy and pulled the gloves off. He wasnâ€™t beating people over the head with a Bible, he was stretching out his arms and in her words, pleading for their hearts to get a wake-up call. He told them that he wasnâ€™t looking for them to start attending his church or anyone elseâ€™s, but that they should want to start a relationship with the Creator. Granted, it would take the Holy Spiritâ€™s help in answering that wake-up call, but certainly hearing about it before hand wonâ€™t hurt.
After the funeral, the pastor looked me up and gave me a big hug, as he knows of my walk. I can imagine how hard it was to share that eulogy and how much harder it would have been not to share it. Folks need to know Jesus Christ, more than some name in a ritualistic prayer (coming from a former Catholic), you need to have a relationship with him. Much like relationships with other people, the best way to have a relationship with Jesus is to START one. You donâ€™t need a how to, if the desire to know him is there. Just start your relationship with you expressing your desire. He will bless you in so many ways, as my own life can attest (my parents nearly bought cemetery property for me in Hawaii).
God is so good and Iâ€™m blessed to hear your Podcasts on a daily basis. Keep up the great work in the scaffolding business and keep on enjoying life â€“ Iâ€™ll enjoy the laughter from the two of you.
Yours in Christ,