For this reason…


Ephesians 3:14-20

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.  I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 

I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.”

 For this reason.  For this reason…and what reason is that?  Paul had just written that he was the very least of all the saints and it was God’s grace that was granted to him to preach the boundless riches of Christ. 

For and because of God’s grace, it is that for that reason that Paul’s knees bow before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.  God’s grace is the reason.

Salvation by grace through faith.  This unlimited treasure of grace.  Let me ask you this question, do you allow yourself to be full open to receive grace?  Are you able to fully receive it and extend it to others?

I am guilty of this.  I am guilty of not taking the time to reflect on all that God has done for me and taking many times for granted.  I am guilty of being closed off to grace at times and of trying to do something to earn it.

Maybe you have done the same.  Gone through a time of spiritual dryness or struggle.  Trying to balance the demands of ministry, family, your own spiritual growth and for those of us that are bi-vocational, a full-time job as well.  Too many things to get done, allowing little time to reflect on God’s work in our own lives.

 Paul was a man that suffered many hardships for the sake of the gospel.  He became a servant according to the gift of God’s grace.  As we all know Paul wasn’t always a servant for Christ.  He persecuted Christians and tried to extinguish the early church.  God’s redeeming work and grace took a man that killed Christians and made him a man that would help save them. 

Paul is the most prolific writer in the New Testament.  If grace can change a heart that hard, what can it do for each of us?  What each one of us are capable of.  For this reason, for the saving grace of our God, my knees bow before the Father.

Pastor Shawn LaRue

Author of Incomplete

incompletedevotional.com

 

 

Advertisements

I’ve got to do better.


As I sat through last night’s Good Friday service that I was a part of it occurred to me that I’ve got to be better.  If my preaching truly did justice to the gospel the church I serve would be overflowing with people.  I’ve got to do better, we’ve got to do better.

How did Christ’s sacrifice those many years ago become forgotten?  He died as brutal a death a man can die, he didn’t have to, he chose to out of obedience to his father.  He conquered death so that we could live.  The cold, brutal, painful taste of death was forever taken for those that believe.

Given this it is difficult to understand why people don’t believe, why church and faith are so inconvenient as to be ignored, faith is seen as a crutch and churches close each year.

I’ve got to be better.  I’ve got to find another level to my preaching and ability to pastor to reach those that don’t know Christ, don’t know faith and don’t know his church.

Pastor Shawn LaRue

Seymour UMC, Seymour, IA

Author of Incomplete

 

Who is Christ?


 

“Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest!” the crowds shouted as Christ triumphantly entered the holy city of Jerusalem for the last time.  Save us, grant us blessing in the highest places.  The Jewish people were a conquered people, they carried the brutal weight of the Romans on their back.  They would be saved.
The whole city shook with the question of, “Who is this?”  Who is this man, fully human yet fully divine?  My question is during Holy Week is who is Christ to you?
What kind of God comes to this world, lives precisely the same way we do, lives a life of radical poverty, heals, teaches and allows the very same people he came to save to turn him over to be beaten, whipped, tortured and crucified?
A God of love does that.  A God that has a radical love for his people, a love that is unheard of and that we can only scratch the surface of.  During this holiest of days, let this question of who Christ is not be far from our hearts and minds.
Pastor Shawn, Seymour UMC