Sunday, November 12, 2006

Repentance and Grace

Acts 20:21 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
21I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.

In the chapter I read this morning, from Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz, he and five Christian friends on the campus of Reed College, had a radical idea for Ren Fayre weekend, a festival characterized by the majority of the student body getting drunk or getting high. Donald had the idea of building a confessional booth for people to confess their sins. He meant it as a joke, but his friend, Tony the Beat Poet seized on the idea and soon a design was being drawn up and the booth built. The thing was though, that they didn't actually accept confessions, they made them; the booth was for the Christians to confess their sins to the other students.

They apologized for getting in the way of Jesus, for misrepresenting him personally, and as a movement that called itself by his name. They apologized for the Crusades, for televangelism, for neglecting the poor and the lonely and for their own bitterness and hardness of heart. They told people who came to the booth that Jesus loved them.

After initial incredulity, the response of the students as they listened , was grace, respect and forgiveness given, They went and told their friends, and then they wanted to know, "What is the message of Jesus?"

The Christians' confession and humbling of themselves, earned them the right to be heard, even though they hadn't started out with that in mind.

I think that what they did was a brave and good thing to do. I wonder if I would have the courage. Jesus is not who many people think he is, based on the actions of his followers, but he isn't hidden from those who care to sincerely seek him. His gospel is radical and full of goodness and mercy. I want to reveal, not obscure, that gospel of love, grace, forgiveness and truth.

Acts 20:24 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
24However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.

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