Monday, October 25, 2010

UNVARNISHED

MAYBE IT’S A QUIRK OF MY NATURE, but I actually enjoy taking an old piece of furniture or an old gizmo or gadget and clean it up and put it back into use, maybe even as something different than what was originally intended. There is something cathartic in removing years of old varnish and waxy build-up and discovering underneath the beautiful grain of the wood.

One thing that I have learned in the work of restoring old furniture is that it is a messy, smelly, and sometimes toxic process. The chemicals used to remove years of varnish or paint is not stuff to be trifled with. The tools of the trade, steel wool, scrappers and sandpaper, need to be handled with care, lest damage be done to both the piece to be restored or to the one doing the restoration.

The other lesson that I have learned is that the work of restoration is not a quick process. To do things well takes time. Both the removal of the old and the application of the new cannot be hurried. The beautiful thing is that when the right material is applied and the correct tools are used and the proper time is spent the result can be a handsome piece of furniture that can be used and enjoyed for many years to come.

The work of restoring broken relationships takes no less effort than that of a good piece of furniture. In seeking to restore a relationship using the correct tools and applying unhurried time can yield positive benefits that can even make the relationship restored even more beautiful than it was in the beginning.

This work of restoration is what Jesus Christ accomplished through His death and resurrection. His sacrificial death paid the price for our sin and made it possible for our broken relationship with our Abba God to be restored. And the restored relationship is even greater than what had been. The shed blood of Jesus worked to remove the varnish of sin and allowed the beautiful work of the Master Carpenter to be seen in and through us. A work that is to be to the glory of God.

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The Last Word: Beyond the Bible Wars to a New Understanding of the Authority of ScriptureThe Last Word: Beyond the Bible Wars to a New Understanding of the Authority of Scripture by N.T. Wright

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Some good reminders of why THE BOOK is THE BOOK and why i is the authority for faith and practice.



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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

PEACE AT ANY COST

WE ALL WANT TO LIVE AT PEACE. But, what price would you be willing to pay in order to live at peace with those around you? Will it be "peace at any cost?"

This coming week's sermon passage is taken from Genesis 32:1-32. It deals with the soon to be coming encounter between the two estranged brothers, Jacob and Esau. (Genesis 25:34 & Genesis 27:1-46) In this story we see Jacob taking steps toward restoration. The twenty years away from his brother seems to have softened Jacob a little. He has been on the receiving end of deception and now worries as to how he will be received by the brother he had cheated. Would there be a warm-welcome or would there be a war? Whatever was to take place, Jacob thought to offer an olive branch of peace to his brother, and a costly one at that.

I am a peace-loving guy. Definitely more dove than hawk, I might even make a good Quaker. I suppose I might even have a bumper sticker on my truck that would read: "Why Can't We All Just Get Along?" I desire peace in my home and my church. I desire peace between brothers and sisters in the family of God and in their families around the hearth. What I do know in all this is that without peace with our Creator there shall never be peace between people.

So, here's the question, as I prepare for the Sunday ahead, "What is the cost of purchasing peace?" I believe Jacob's actions show us a starting place of humility and of initiation. It impinges upon me to start the restorative process and to do so with a heart of true humility.

As I consider those two starting points listed above, my mind moves to the peace which Jesus Christ purchased for us on the Cross. (Revelation 5:9; Revelation 14:4; see also Psalm 74:2) He initiated the restoration of peace with God, and He deeply humbled Himself to attain it. (Philippians 2:5-8)

He who is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) became the peace-maker (Ephesians 2:14-17). And it is to this work that He has called us as well.

Shalom!


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