Tuesday, April 21, 2009

all I know.

“I don't know how the stars hang
Or how there's night and then there's day
I don't know how you spoke into the black
and made it all obey

All that I know is the bleeding in my heart
and the healing in your touch
All that I know is that you gave everything
so let that be enough...it's all I know, it's all I know

I don't know how your love works
Or how you cover me in grace
I don't know how you swallow all I am
when I can't stand my taste, oh

All that I know is the bleeding in my heart
and the healing in your touch
All that I know is that you gave everything
so let that be enough...it's all I know

And I can't explain your mystery,
but I know the answer

All that I know is the bleeding in my heart
and the healing in your touch
All that I know is that you gave everything
so let that be enough...it's all I know, it's all I know”

WOW! Matt Wertz sure knows how to write a song that hits your heart in all the right places! This song absolutely blew me away.

We can't see God in the form of an actual person, but we can see all the things that he touches. Just like the song says, I don't know how God makes everything work together (for his glory, might I add), but there is no way that I would ever doubt that he does. The song says "All I know it that you gave everything," and it floors me how just one little sentence can have such a HUGE meaning.

JESUS paid it ALL. And because of that, we are completely covered in his grace. Forever. And ever. Once we ask God for his grace, he gives it to us day in and day out, even though we have never deserved it-never even once. Why? Because he is GOD and he LOVES us! So many times I forget the weight of that.

Over 2000 years ago, Jesus took ALL my sin (past, present, and future) and made it his. And on June 21, 1998, I told him just how much it meant to me. I've been his ever since.

I don't have all the answers to the questions people ask me about the history of the church or every little detail in the Bible. In fact, I usually answer most of those questions with one word. But that one word is filled with a million other great words: Jesus. It's all about him. None but Jesus. When we fix our gaze on Jesus, everything else in the whole world seems a little less significant. Jesus is the only thing that is worth giving your life to in this life.

"All I know is that you gave everything, so let that be enough." God says, "IT IS ENOUGH!" When we glorify and praise his name, we tell him that we love him. And if we love him, what else even compares? Love is the ultimate gift you can give anyone, and God wants it more than any of us here on earth do.

God WANTS us. That single sentence in itself it amazing! Who in the world would ever think that the God who single-handedly created the ENTIRE universe would care if anything happened to me? He doesn’t need us, but he wants us.

The funny thing about that is that even though God wants us and doesn’t necessarily need us, we are the complete opposite: We NEED him even when he’s the last thing we WANT. In Mark 2, Jesus says, the sick people need a doctor, not the healthy. And contrary to what you may believe about yourself, we are all sick. We sin, and are, therefore, in constant need of a savior. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t make it through one single second of the day without him walking beside me.

My prayer for you is that you realize that you don’t need all the answers to follow Jesus. Hebrews 11 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” When you follow Jesus, one thing is for sure: you will not always have the answers. But one of the AWESOME things about Jesus is that we don’t need them!

He knows how incapable we are, so he will never ask more from us than we can give (1 Corinthians 10:13). But what we can give, we should give it to him. Why? Because he demands it.

We are enough for Jesus. Every last one of us. No matter where we come from, how old we are, or how much we know, he still loves us just the same. It’s time for us to start loving him.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Jesus is not religion.

Last February, I got the amazing privilege to go see Shane & Shane perform a concert. David Nasser, an evangelist and writer, was with them and spoke to us that night during the intermission. He had so many wonderful things to say about Jesus and the Gospel, but I distinctly remember him saying something that really confused me. He said, "Jesus is not religion." Everyone in the crowd seemed to understand what he meant when he said that, but I, on the other hand, did not. When I went home last that night, I prayed and prayed over what that meant, but I never really got my answer.

After a couple of days, I brushed it off and stop worrying so much about it. Then, I went to NewSpring a few months later and Perry said the same thing that David Nasser did: "Jesus is not religion." He explained what he meant by it a little bit, but I was still lost in the clouds. I had always been told that when I loved Jesus, I was being religious. And people who judge others for their beliefs always say, he/she is "acting all 'religious.'" I've heard it a million times. So that's why I was so confused.

I wondered what was so wrong with being religious. I had always taken pride in my religion, so I couldn't understand how it was such a bad thing.

Later that week I was reading in Matthew about all the times Jesus stuck it to the Pharisees and Sadducees for their corruption and abuse of the scriptures. And then it hit me. Those big-shot "religious" guys were all messed up but they thought they had it all together. Jesus was and is RELATIONAL. Religion is not. That was the second best light bulb moment in my life. Second of course to my first encounter with Jesus!

Jesus IS NOT religion.

Religion says, "Do this, this, this, and, this and then you'll be acceptable."

Jesus says, "I knew you would never be good enough because of your sin, but I love you anyway. I love you enough to take your sin and make it my own."

All the other religions of the world are about what we have to do to get to it. Christianity is all about what JESUS did to get to us. Christianity is all about how JESUS RESCUED US. What a beautiful picture!

When Jesus came, he messed up religion. For the first time, it wasn't about certain steps you take to complete a process. It was about loving something so much that you couldn't stand the thought of living without it. And that's what he did for us. How amazingly and incredibly AWESOME is that!

We are blessed by the best. And if we don't want to be in God's presence here on Earth, why would we want to go to Heaven when we die? Like Perry said at the Easter service at NewSpring, "Hell is a place where you can have for an eternity what you wanted on Earth."

We have a choice to make. Jesus or religion.

I choose JESUS! And my deepest and most heartfelt prayer for you is that you will choose him, too. He didn't come to start a new religion. He came to bring us life.

Jesus died so we could live. So are we living?
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