Malcolm Tyree

A collection of thoughts on things that matter

Archive for the month “July, 2012”

144 Hours • 1,500 Miles • An IYC2012 Adventure (Day 5)

Much like Day 4, our team headed out in different directions, except this time I was the only one going my own way.  The teens were to attend a conference with Steve Fitzhugh and Kim didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to hear him again.  She was sure the teens would love Steve and they did.  Steve’s delivery style is best described as Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock meets Jesus.

Bill and I are from Tennessee, so we’ve always felt connected.

While the others headed to the main meeting hall, I connected with other pastors and ministers from across the US. We gathered together in a lobby area catching up on life.  Most of them were MACU alum.  As we talked it dawned on me and a few of them, I had been a youth counselor for most of them during a summer camp.  In the summer of 1998, I traveled on behalf of MACU as a member of a camp team.  The team traveled to youth camps in Texas, Kansas, and Missouri.  Today, these guys & gals were youth pastors in Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio, Mississippi, West Virginia, and Virginia.  Fourteen summers ago, God placed me in the lives of these men and women.  Today, I was privileged to stand in their presence and listen to their stories.  Without a doubt I was filled with gratitude and a measure of grace and mercy.

Before heading to lunch, our team reconnected at the XBox Dance-Off.  I wasn’t afraid to make a fool out of myself, so I signed up.  I was a bit disappointed as I didn’t get out of the first round. You watch the video and let me know what you think.  I’m guessing I stepped out of the camera zone one too many times.

After lunch, we headed out for a tour of Colorado Christian University.  Outside of a trio to the gym or theater at our local community college, the teens had never been to a college campus.  Derry Ebert and his team did a great job of making us feel at home.  As our tour was wrapping up, the rain came pouring down.  I hope that a tour like this will help GPTeens consider earning their college degree though a Christian school.

A long shopping trip to Forever21 and H&M led to a late entrance into the worship service.  On this night, Charlie Hall and band were leading worship.  Charlie mixed his songs with new renditions of hymns like “Rock of Ages” and “Jesus Paid It All.”  Once again, The Skit Guys brought forth truth through humor. This combined with stories of God’s healing on an Ohio youth pastor and his wife and the live call to a teen in Mississippi unable to attend the conference due to a health battle set the stage for Harvey Carey to remind us of God’s Spirit.

Harvey shared how God was empowering him and the congregation of the Citadel of Faith in Detroit to work to clean up the streets and families in their neighborhood. He reminded us that God’s presence isn’t about “goose bumps” but rather living in boldness and standing up to the oppression and evil in our world.

To close out the worship time, each group of the more than 4,000 participants moved into a time of communion.  This is one of the more memorable moments of the conference.  For many groups it serves as a time of confession and commitment. For our group, it was a moment of deeper connection.  Our week together had reached this fulcrum and Christ was the center of it.

Back at the hotel, we shared a late night dinner in the hallway with the groups from Parkgate Community Church and Ira First Church of God.  We knew these groups from summer camp and other conferences we attend in Texas.  Over the slices of pizza our groups connected and encouraged one another as we prepared for the journey home.

Check out this highlight reel of the day.

144 Hours • 1,500 Miles • An IYC2012 Adventure (Day 4)

Sleep on my adventure had been hard to come by, but when I woke up on Thursday morning, I was refreshed and alive!  The bed at the hotel was vastly superior to the air mattress of the previous two nights.

After a quick breakfast, our team was breaking up for the first time on our journey.  This morning, the teens would have the option of choosing from different IYC breakout conferences, tailored to address specific issues.  Kim (the other adult counselor) and I would head to the YMI session.

Steve Fitzhugh & Kim

Kim posing for a picture with Steve Fitzhugh

YMI is a youth ministry institute sponsored by the IYC team.  This year, it was pretty amazing to see volunteers and paid church staff who had been working with teens for three decades.  One or two of the adults in the room were approaching four decades of youth ministry.  I had to sit back and think, how long have I been working with teens.  It was then that I realized I’ve been leading ministry for teens for  17 years.  Honestly, that through me for a loop.

As we sat in the YMI session, Steve Fitzhugh was introduced as the speaker.  Steve was one of the first speakers I ever saw at a youth conference.  Add this to my awareness of working with teens for 17 years and was a very memorable time.  Kim was blown away by Steve’s passion, humor, and honesty.  I remember having that same feeling in the early 90’s when I first met Steve.  As a matter of fact, I still have notes from Steve’s “Nail It” messages in my first study Bible.  It felt like some of my ministry was looping in on itself.

After connecting with some friends and being encouraged to keep at the work we are doing with Grace Point, I met back up with the teens.  They each shared about their breakout conferences.  As they came back, it was cool to have them say “I met ________! They said to tell you ‘hi!'”

The GPTeens working with others to prepare meals for Honduras

The GPTeens working with others to prepare meals for Honduras.

After lunch at Sam’s No.3‘s (highly recommended), we headed over to the food prep station.  The were preparing meals to be taken to Honduras.  Basically, we were taking dry ingredients like rice, vitamins, and seasoning and sealing them in bags.  Each bag would provide food for 6 people.  Our team helped prepare more than 200 bags.

As we made our way in for the evening worship gathering, we were anticipating great things.  Matt Papa and the band did another great job of helping us sing the scriptures and directing our attention to Christ.  The Skit Guys brought down the house with their humorous approach to telling real-life places of faith and life interacting.  Their skit of the Sunday School with Cancer was powerful and moving.

Margaret Feinberg was the keynote speaker for the night.  Her message was focused on how God’s voice awakens us was very timely and appropriate for our group.  Margaret shared these five ways to discern if God is speaking to us.

1. Does what your hearing align with scripture?

2. What are the guides (the people you trust and listen to) in your life saying about this?

3. Does this bring peace?

4. Is this blanketed in love?

5. Will this increase my dependence upon Christ?

After Margaret finished, I went to serve as a prayer counselor.  This night, I was asked to pray for a couple who was struggling with purity.  As I prayed with them, I challenged them to reach out to their friends, pastors and others to help them in their struggle.  My experience has helped me see that we struggle with purity when we are off on our own.  When we are with others and know they are with us, the struggle is still there, but it can be overcome.  Setting boundaries seems weird, but it is the only way to battle this issue.

As our group took in the Skit Guys and FireFlight performances in the Late Night Venues, I took the chance to connect with a former colleague from Mid-America Christian University.  Derry Ebert and I had worked together for two years when I was the director of the chapel program.  It was great to catch up with Derry and Brenda and hear about their new life in Colorado, working with Colorado Christian University.

Then it was back to our rooms for our late night wrap up and devos.  Elizabeth West shared and we were all moved by her honesty and transparency.

Friday was coming! So we made our way to bed and looked forward to the things God had in store for our last full day in Denver.

Here’s the highlight video from the day:

144 Hours • 1,500 Miles • An IYC2012 Adventure (Day 3)

Our second night felt colder than the first at Noah’s Ark.  The fresh rain and increase in dew point brought much needed water to the Colorado area, but it made for a colder than expected night.  Three of our girls had decided to share their bed space and blankets in an effort to stay warm.  This would have been a great idea if the girls had connected their air mattresses or even slept parallel with on them.  Instead they slept perpendicular and the air mattresses slowly slipped out from underneath them throughout the night.  This created drafts of cold air coming in underneath them, making their sleep less than desirable.  Once we were packed and breakfast was in our bellies, we loaded up the van and made our way to St Elmo.

Standing on a rock in Chalk Creek

Barefoot, enjoying the water & rocks!

View to St. Elmo

Our playground on the way to St. Elmo

The drive up the mountain was great.  There was a scenic overlook for a waterfall feature, so we took the time to take it in.  At first we settled for a group picture from the overlook, but the water and rocks were calling out to us.  We had to go down and see how far out we could get.  Most of us took off our shoes and experienced the cold snow melt water rushing over our feet.  Our adrenaline kicked into full drive as we climbed out to the rocks in the middle of the Chalk Creek.  Timothy, our only boy on the trip, ventured out the furtherest.  He had the advantage of being 6’4″ so his legs allowed him to stretch beyond that of the rest of the group.

After our time at the scenic overlook, we continued up the mountain to the tiny town of St. Elmo.  Today, it’s a little more than a quick tourist spot, but at one time it was bustling with mining activity.  We ventured off into the woods, taking in the trees and stream.  Being from the desert, it was too tempting to pass up this magnificent ecosystem.

Timothy took the lead on a lot of our exploration.  As a Boy Scout with the rank of Life Scout and preparing to earn his Eagle Scout, he was more than excited to explore.  Additionally, Timothy had just returned from hiking two peaks near this exact location.  His adventure spirit was in full swing.  It turns out, he was a bit too adventurism as he made his way into the foliage alone and slipped while crossing the stream.  He was well ahead of the rest of us, so when he slipped, and his wallet fell out of his pocket, he was left to search for it on his own.  Unfortunately, it was lost.

After making our way back into the center of the town, our teens took the time to feed the chipmunks.  Without a doubt, these furry little guys were the celebrities of the town.  Kids and adults alike were gathered around with handfuls of sunflower seeds, feeding the chipmunks by hand.  Our girls loved this! By all accounts, Alvin, Simon, Theodore, and the rest of the chipmunks were big fans too.  After picking up a few souvenirs, we were on our way to Denver.  My memories of the event were free, but for Timothy it cost around $35.

The drive to Denver was uneventful, and very enjoyable.  Being surrounded by the mountains, snaking our way up and down their sides, provided for some great views.  When we reached the Sheraton Hotel in downtown, we were all anxious for a hot shower!

The IYC sessions began that night.  The conference is as much a concert and pep rally as it is a family reunion.  Many who attend the conference attend it every two years.  Half of our students had been to the conference in Orlando so they more or less knew what to expect.  I was as excited to see my fellow MACU alum as I was to take in the great music and speakers we had paid to see.


IYC Worship DAy 1

Matt Papa on stage leading us in worship during the first worship gathering of IYC.

The Matt Papa band opened the night up, leading us in worship.  I’ll be honest, I wasn’t familiar with Matt Papa coming into the conference.  As the band lead us in worship, it became apparent that they were not just worship leaders but lead worshippers.  Their songs featured powerful lyrics straight from scripture reminding us of the power and victory of Christ over sin and death.

Zane Blackwas the featured speaker and was tasked with help us see through Christ we are free.  Zane shared his personal story and testimony of Christ freeing him from a life of addiction and recklessness into a life of passion and purpose.  Zane illustrated his  full story through a smaller story in his life.  An avid snowboarder, Zane was out with his friends on day after a series of record breaking snow storms had come through Washington.  He and his friends would challenge each other to go the extremes.  On this particular occasion, Zane and his friends saw an area that had caution tape placed around it.  Rather than obeying the warning, Zane chose this area as his new playground.  His friends elected to find a different area to play.  After jumping one of his more intense cliffs, Zane was very excited about his new playground, until the avalanche.

Zane Black and his wife

Catching up with Zany Zane following the first IYC worship service.

Zane managed to free himself from the avalanche, but he then witnessed another man struggling to free himself.  The man nearly died.  Had it not been for the rescue efforts of others and the life saving CPR administered, Zane indicated the man would have most likely died.  Zane’s escape and the rescue of the man helped Zane illustrate the need each of us has to escape the avalanche of sin in our lives.  Our freedom from this avalanche of sin comes through Jesus Christ.

Zane was careful to note that not everyone in attendance would have an avalanche of sin in their lives.  He reminded us that sin, by its very definition sin is not something overwhelming, but merely the idea of missing the mark.  In the Greek, sin is associated with archery or target practice.  Whether you missed the bullseye by an inch or a mile, you still sinned.  You have still missed the mark.  Spiritually, you are still in need of Jesus, even if you sin is just a little off the mark.

As the Matt Papa Band returned to the stage to lead the crowd in worship and response, I made my way to the prayer room to work as a counselor.  After Zane’s message of personal addiction and struggle, I wondered what the response might be like.  I was privileged to pray with a young man who expressed his desire to stop drinking and smoking marijuana.

When the service was over, we made our way out of the convention center, hitting the streets of Denver right around 9pm.  As we came out, the streets were full with people celebrating the 4th of July, including a bicycle parade.  We were a bit surprised by the parade as it consisted of all sorts of people riding their bicycles in celebration of America.  The levels of freedom expressed were diverse.  Some were dressed in costumes like Captain America, others in everyday clothes, and their was at least one person who was naked (minus the strategically located stickers).

When we got back to the rooms, our Sara-duo lead us in a devotion and it was lights out! The beds were great! The air mattresses were effective but these beds were heavenly.

Check out this official Day1 highlight video of the conference.

144 Hours • 1,500 Miles • An IYC2012 Adventure (Day 2)

Our team consisted of 6 females and 2 males, only the girls slept in the weather-dome tent at Noah’s Ark.  The guys slept outside, under the stars, like real men!  When you sleep under the stars, there is one star that gets your attention, the Sun!  It was about 5:30am when the Sun began to rise.

Waking up by the river

Early Morning Start for Malcolm

Kim, our female counselor, was up and taking in the view of the sunrise and the serenity of the Arkansas river.  I began to slowly make my way out of my bed and I was looking forward to a shower.  The facilities at Noah’s are adequate, but it is more of a campground than a resort area.  My shower required that I pay for the water in advance, so I put in my $1 for 10 minutes.

I had an expectation of a shorter than usual, but typical morning shower.  Brrr, was I wrong.  The water was cold and never warmed up.  I’m certain I didn’t use my entire 10 minutes, but I was clean.  The discouraging part was the water in the sink where I brushed my teeth seemed warmer than the water for the shower.

After a breakfast of french toast, we made our way to Bob.  That was the name of the rock we would climb and rappel.  For some of our

Climbing Bob's Rock

Climbing Bob’s Rock

crew, the idea of climbing up a rock 30 feet or rappelling down 70 feet was very intimidating.  Kim wasn’t sure she could make the climb due to her arthritis and Abi was scared to try because it involved heights.

Abi had already demonstrated her fear of heights on day one, as the walk around the rim proved to be more than she was really comfortable with.  After watching nearly everyone else on our team climb the rock, we talked Abi into taking the climb.  I encouraged her to take the rock in stages, identifying various points that would count as successful markers along the climb.  Abi made it all the way to the top!

Kim also made a successful climb to the top.  As a matter of fact each of us made it to the top in our own time.  The Noah’s Ark guides were great in helping us reach our goals successfully.

After grabbing a bite for lunch, our team prepared for the whitewater rafting adventure.  Unfortunately, we would need to break up into two groups for this stage.  The rafts are limited to six people plus the guide.  Three of our teens had been rafting before.  The Greggs, Elizabeth, Timothy, and Sarah, had each gone rafting with their family and the Boy Scouts in years past.  Like the rock climb and rappelling, I was experienced in these things, but it had been more than 15 years since I had done either.  For Kim, Abi, the other Elizabeth, and the other

Whitewater Rafting on the Arkansas River

Hitting the rapids with Sara, Sarah, Kim, and Dave (our guide)!

Sara, it was their first time to try any of these activities.

Each group had a great time on the water, even if one of them took a few unplanned stops on the rocks.  Our guides, Liz and David, made sure our team had an exciting adventure.

On our way back to the basecamp, we were introduced to the ghost-town of St. Elmo.  It is an old mining town near Mount Princeton.  It would be part of our adventure on Day 3.

After the full day of adventure, it didn’t take long to get to sleep.  In the middle of the night, Timothy and I were recipients of answered prayers.  As we slept out under the stars, we awoke to find our sleeping bags wet.  It hadn’t rained, but there was a strong dew settling in on us.  This was an answer to prayer because Colorado was in desperate need of moisture.  The wildfires were a major threat to the area.  Though the moisture was a bit inconvenient, it was welcomed!  Plus, living in the desert as we do, it was an extra bonus to our adventure.

144 Hours • 1,500 miles • An IYC2012 Adventure (Day 1)

On July 2, at 3:15am, my alarm sounded and the adventure began.  We were on the road by 4am, though our group of eight (6 teens and 2 adults) might have been short two pillows and a sleeping bag.  Our destination was Noah’s Ark Rafting in Buena Vista, Colorado.

As we made the predawn journey through the rural panhandle of Texas, we noticed the smell of money was quite different for our fellow Texans the closer we got to Interstate 40.  In the Permian Basin, the smell of money is a pungent sulfur or rotten egg smell.  It can be especially strong on cold mornings.  It’s the smell of the oil patch.  In the panhandle, money smells like urine mixed with poo.  They have cattle in the panhandle, lots of cattle.

Picture of the GPTeens entering New Mexico

Entering New Mexico

Exiting the nation-state of Texas through it’s northwest corner, we entered New Mexico.  It was there that we began to notice a change in elevation.  The ground seemed to have pimples.  There were large mounds rising up from the surface.  West Texas is known for its flat landscape.  We joke that it’s so flat, you can watch your dog run away for five days.  These pimples turned out to be volcanic mountains.  That’s right, there are volcanos in North Eastern New Mexico.  We took a short, unplanned expedition up the Capulin Volcano National Monument.  After walking the rim of this once active volcano that reached nearly 9700 feet above sea level it began to feel like we were really on an adventure.

The walk around the rim turned out to be more challenging than expected.  One of our teens became overwhelmed by her fear of heights.  Others expressed the challenge of walking the near one-mile circle of varying elevation points.  Outside of the little gnats that followed you from the top into the van, it was a remarkable view and a neat find on our journey.

Our trip still had several hours of driving before we reached our resting stop.  As we made our way into Colorado on Interstate 25, we knew we were in a foreign territory.  The road was surrounded by mountains and along the way there were warning signs. I am familiar with the deer warning signs.  I was not surprised by the elk sign.  But when we saw the yellow diamond with a black bear in the middle of it, I knew this was a different territory! I wish I had been able to get a picture of the sign, but there was no shoulder and the cars were whizzing by us.

After 13 hours of traveling (including our stops at Capulin, Wendy’s, and the restrooms) we arrived at Noah’s Ark Rafting.  This simple camp was right on the bank of the Arkansas River.  We unloaded our bedding, enjoyed the meal of chili, played some “ninja” and volleyball, and then went to sleep not long after sunset.  Our physical challenges of the adventure awaited us in the morning.

Day 2 will post tomorrow.

Questions from the Church (part 1)

On Sunday, July 15, I took a leap of faith and opened the floor to questions from the church, Grace Point.  I’ll be honest, this can be intimidating, but it is also a great opportunity to connect with those in attendance.  To facilitate the questions, I provided everyone 5 minutes to write their question down.  After collecting all the questions, they were randomly drawn from the basket.  After reading the question, I did the best I could.

Here are a the questions I did answer:

Question #1

Explaining Heaven & death requires a true explanation of God and his intent for relationship with humanity.  The Genesis story of Adam and Eve helps us see God created humanity without death and in relationship with him.  Adam and Eve’s decisions to disobey God brought forth the consequence of separation from God and death.  Heaven is the full reconciliation of our relationship with God and the new life that overcomes death.  This new relationship and new life is only possible through trusting in Jesus and his life, death, and resurrection on our behalf.  So, to sum it up, death is a consequence of our broken relationship with God.  Heaven is God’s promise of a restored relationship.  Jesus is the way we overcome death and experience Heaven.

Question #2

To be honest, I’m not sure there is intelligent life here, but let’s assume there is :).  The scriptures do help us see that there is life beyond what we see and experience here on planet earth.  Unseen beings such as angel, seraphim, cherubim, demons, and devils are described in the scripture (See for examples Isaiah 6:1-6, Daniel 10:7-11, 2 Kings 6:8-17, Ezekiel 1) .  These creatures are not what we typically are referring to when we we ask the question of intelligent life.  As to whether intelligent or sentient life lives on other planets is unknown and the scriptures do not indicate one way or the other concerning this.  Did or would Jesus die for them? Consider this from Paul’s letter to the church at Rome:

For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.  Against its will, all creation was subject to God’s curse.  But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day with it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.  For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering.  We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.  (Romans 8:19-24)

If God is the creator of all things, then if there is extra terrestrial life, it is part of his creation.  It too longs for the fullness of salvation that Jesus purchased through his redemptive work.

Question #3

The sacraments are the holy acts done by God through his people.  In some Christian traditions, the acts of communion and baptism along with a few others are considered sacred and to be performed only by the priest.  This notion that only a priest can perform these acts is linked to the concept of the Levitical Priest.  In the Old Testament, we see detailed instructions regarding the work of the priest with regards to the sacrifices, tabernacle, holy furniture, and temple.  These priest were of a direct lineage and were tasked with certain holy activities as mediators between God and man.  Through the centuries some have still seen certain activities directed by God for the church to partake of as needing proper administration or supervision.  This has led to the continuance of priest and the establishment of various sacraments.  Across Christendom, there are two holy acts that are universally accepted, communion and baptism.  How these acts are seen and administered varies depending upon tradition and one’s interpretation of scripture.  Yet, each would tradition would recognize the supernatural work of God’s grace being associated with each of these acts.  To preserve or protect the sacredness of these acts, and possibly the accessibility, these acts in some traditions are only administered by priest.  This serves to highlight their weight as well as the need for qualified officers of the church.  As a result some perceive that man still needs a mediator with God.  Yet, the writer of the letter to the Hebrews helps us see that there is only one mediator and that is Christ Jesus.  His mediation on the cross and through the resurrection allows us to draw near to God through the Holy Spirit.  Therefore we do not need another human mediator.  And the holy acts are available for each of us to conduct in reverence to God.  (See Hebrews 4:14-16, 1 Peter 2:9, Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Corinthians 11:23-33)

Question #4

One of the hardest things in life is to wrestle with the gap between our intentions and the results of our actions.  More often than not, we intend good for others and ourselves, yet that is not what typically takes place.  Even when we know the right thing to do, too often we do the wrong thing.  Paul addresses this issue as he looks at the power of sin in relationship to the Law of God.  In his letter to the church at Rome, Paul explains how he feels powerless to do what is right because his knowledge of what is wrong is awakened by the Law of God.  He explains his battle of wanting to do good but doing wrong.  He identifies the problem as the sin that lives in him (Romans 7:7-24).  At some level Paul’s description is early familiar to us, because each of us has wrestled with this.  We wrestle with sin because it is part of our genetic make up, passed down from our spiritual and physical parents, Adam and Eve.  Paul goes onto describe us as slaves to sin.  For many, this explains everything, but don’t stop with Paul’s explanation of being a slave to sin.  Go onto the rest of Paul’s discourse in the following chapter.  In chapter eight, Paul emphasizes the freedom from slavery that we have available to us through Christ Jesus!  We don’t have to settle for the gap of intention and action.  We can be empowered through Christ and His Spirit to overcome sin.  Our good intentions are not enough, we need the empowerment of Christ in our lives.  On our own turmoil will be a common result in our lives.  Through Christ freedom, grace, hope, and love will occur, as we rely on his strength and power.  Take the time to pray and ask God to empower your life.

Question #5

There are times when we read through scripture and it seems to contradict other passages.  Before you assume that the Bible contradicts itself, pause and ask yourself a few questions about the section(s) you are reading.  Understand the Bible is not one story or one illustration.  It is several stories and illustrations.  Each letter, record, or conversation that is captured has a distinct audience.  The interactions are specific to the audience.  In Matthew 10, Jesus is letting his disciples know how difficult it will be as one of his followers.  Jesus paints a picture of trials, hardships, and divisions.  Each of these is a reality because of war that exists in creation.  Jesus came to bring an end to the war through calling all to side with him.  Ultimately, not all will take an allegiance to Jesus, so division will continue.  In the end, when the final division occurs, it will not be Jesus casting judgement upon those who followed him and those who did not.  The judgement on those matters has been made prior to Jesus’ final declaration.  You and I choose our own allegiances (Jesus or our selves).  Jesus simple makes these judgements final as he announces the decisions we’ve made.  You see God does love us so much that he has made it possible for us to choose Jesus.  God does love us so much that he has done everything necessary for us to be aligned with Christ.  Yet, you and I must still make the choice.  Ultimately, that choice will divide us from those who have chosen to go a different direction than we have.  God is his grace and mercy allows us to choose our own way.  What have you chosen.

These are the summation of the answers I gave.  I hope to include other questions submitted and add my responses.  What responses would you give?

Pick a question and post your response.  Start your response by identifying the question first, then type away!

Thank you for reading this and interacting with me on this issue.  Thank you to GPers who have trusted me to give honest answers.

Forgiveness is a Hard Labor of Love & Faith

Honoring God means we will have to forgive others.  There will be times when the person we will need to forgive will be a family member or a customer, yes, even a boss.  And let’s just be honest; forgiveness is HARD!

Extending forgiveness is an act of faith and love.  Henri Nouwen describes forgiveness as: “love practiced among people who love poorly.”  Let that thought sink in: “love practiced among people who love poorly.”  When someone wrongs you, exercise forgiveness and allow love to emerge.

While you wrestle with the need to hold a grudge or seek revenge, keep in mind this passage of scripture: “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).

Author Phillip Yancey expounds on this by saying: “in the final analysis, forgiveness is an act of faith.  By forgiving another, I release my own right to get even and leave all issues of fairness for God to work out.” (What’s So Amazing About Grace)

Today, practice faith and love – practice forgiveness.

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