My first post of 2016 comes at a moment where I have very little understanding of what this year will bring (I could never have predicted 2015!). God is amazingly awesome and ever in the center of my thoughts, though I’ve been more human lately than I want to admit. In addition to reading the Bible this year, I have several books that will provide different perspectives on particular topics.
As I begin, let me say thanks to the super talented Beth Ehlert, Worship Pastor at Hope Fellowship, for the gift and challenge of Brennan Manning’s, The Ragamuffin Gospel. With all the blessings that God continues to pour on me and my family, I have to admit I feel more like a ragamuffin today than I have in a long while. At times it seems like to world is winning, but this is not reality and I know that without a doubt.
Michael W. Smith’s foreword reminds us that “grace abounded more because I could find it in the darkness as much as in the light.”
Grace Abounds More
Reading the brief testimony of Rich Mullins reminded me of Psalm 144:3, of the awesome, radical and absurd love that God has for us! If we can stop for just a minute and think of how ridiculous it is to say that the creator of the universe cares about us, we should be driven to share the Good News, the Amazing News, to others so they can see your relentless pursuit of all.
Lord, what are human beings that you care for them, mere mortals that you think of them?
This past week Beth asked me to learn a song by David Moore, 139. In reference to Psalm 139 the words of the song highlight just how crazy God is about his creation, about you and me, that he would pursue us in the highest and lowest places, that he would “lead me home.” I’m an old guy who still has a song left in my heart and a desire to share music with others, but I’m not overly talented and certainly not trained. Yet I am assured by this book that the “bedraggled, beat-up and burnt-out,” the ragamuffins, are loved by God. For that I am ever thankful. I confess that I am wobbly and weak-kneed, I know I don’t have it all together and perhaps I’m just too proud to accept the handout of God’s amazing grace.
So here we go 2016. Another year to ponder the amazing words of Jesus Christ and hear the voice of God through the words of Scripture and perspectives of those who have committed their lives to understanding more than I can ever imagine. Teach me Lord, open my eyes and ears, make me an instrument of your peace.
- Chapter 1. Something is Radically Wrong
- Chapter 2. Magnificent Monotony
- Chapter 3. The Ragamuffin Gospel
- Chapter 4. Tilted Halos
- Chapter 5. Cormorants and Kittiwakes
- Chapter 6. Grazie, Signore
- Chapter 7. Paste Jewelry and Sawdust Hot Dogs
- Chapter 8. Freedom and Fear
- Chapter 9. The Second Call
- Chapter 10. The Victorious Limp
- Chapter 11. A Touch of Folly
- A Word After
- The Scandal of Grace: Fifteen Years Later
- 19 Mercies: A Spiritual Retreat
p.s., Happy Birthday Cynthia! No longer a teenager, but a beautiful daughter of God that I’m proud to call my daughter. May God continue to bless you as you grow in the faith and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.