Suzanne's Second Estate

A web log of my thoughts, activities, life....

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Back to NA

One of my best experiences from last year was attending the New Attitude conference in Louisville, Kentucky. (This is me at the Boundless booth with editor Ted Slater and author/speaker/pastor Joshua Harris.) Besides learning that I should have taken pictures with my own camera, I came away with so many challenging insights. I wrote the following entry the day after I got home.

Over the past few years my faith plan has come down to two goals: loving God and loving others. This is based on Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:

“’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (vs. 37-40).

As I’ve sought to do this by reading my Bible regularly, being active in my church and reaching out to nonbelievers, I’ve found myself feeling burned out at times. In fact, while there are definitely some rewarding moments, most of the time I feel I have a minimal amount of passion in my striving.

This weekend I was reminded of the power of the gospel. The gospel is mentioned 91 times in the New Testament. This would lead one to believe it’s kind of a big deal. As I heard messages on the gospel — the fact that God crushed His Son for me — I found myself being deeply grateful. And that gratefulness quickly turned to love for the One who dreamed up and carried out this merciful plan.

Paul says the gospel “is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). The gospel is the source; love for God and others is an outcome of plugging into the source. For me, the connection has been broken. I have been running on low power as I try to apply the Scripture to my life rather than apply my life to Scripture.

David says, “Restore unto me the joy of my salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:12). Remembering what we were saved from leads to joy and desire to do God’s work. It’s also very freeing because when we understand what God has done — substituting His own Son for a debt we could never pay, and then raising Him from the dead to give us life — we recognize that we can do nothing apart from Him. No wonder it wears us out trying.

I was convicted this weekend that I have been worshiping the functions and fruits of Christianity — Bible study, church participation, worship, service, evangelism — instead of the One who deserves my worship. But when I consider the rich truth of the gospel, my response will be awe. And at that place of humility, God can begin to use me for His plan.

I am excited that I will be returning to NA this coming weekend. The theme is discernment, and I will be blogging about it on the Boundless Line. The messages, including those of John Piper, will be available at the NA Web site following the conference. May God fill you with the wonder of the gospel today!


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