Monday, June 08, 2015

An Ocean of Grace

I've been speaking on grace in a sermon series lately because I really think the church needs to focus on it more than ever.  Research and polls indicate the church is shrinking. I know, some will argue its growing here or there, in this or that type of church, but overall more and more people are becoming the "nones." On top of that, we live in such turbulent times.  Our culture has changed so dramatically and I sometimes think we've been somewhat unaware - and now we often don't know how to respond.

One thing I've learned is we can't spend our lives looking in the rear view mirror, looking to the past and the glory days. If we drove our cars like that we'd crash. When we focus on our past we can miss the wonderful things that God has for us for the future. I think though, the church has spent too much time looking back and has missed an opportunity to grow and change slowly, adapting to each new thing as it came along. Now the future is here and we're stunned by it. What do we do with it?  Some are reacting by doubling down, drawing their box even tighter. Some are openly and lovingly embracing new changes, while many stand on the sidelines in shock, wondering which way to turn. 

Quite frankly, the only way we can respond to all the news around us is with grace.  When we reach out to others with grace we are participating in the gospel. There are so many instances of grace in God's story. Jacob the scam artist and thief becoming, by God's grace, Israel, father of a mighty nation. Saul, the persecutor of the church becoming, by God's grace, Paul, a leader of the early church. Zaccheus, a greedy, wretched tax collector becoming a generous man all through God's grace. The woman caught in adultery pardoned with no penalty for her sin. 

And then there's us, the receivers of so much grace everyday. We were saved by grace, we are made whole by grace, all because of His grace we are living abundant lives. I love the lyrics of a Song David Crowder sings, especially the third verse,

And we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace were an ocean, we're all sinking....

His grace IS an ocean, it's boundless, filled with love and mercy. Just as we receive His grace we need to offer it to others. Even with those with whom we disagree. Even with those who are different than us. Even those who persecute us.

God grace is drawing all of creation toward himself. That is also how People are drawn to the gospel - through our grace and love. 

Much grace...Kathie


Peter Black said...

Grace - a noble theme. Amazing and strong, and always needful and relevant. Thanks Kathie for sharing your refreshing and truly relevant thoughts. ~~+~~

Kathie Chiu said...

Thanks, Peter!

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