Thursday, March 24, 2016

20/20 Hindsight

As I crawled back into bed this morning after my younger son left for school, I grabbed my phone.  I clicked open my email and a devotional from Our Daily Work was already open.  The Bible verse was “Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here but has risen.”  The author went on to talk about how the women came with oils and spices to prepare Christ’s body for burial.  They did not expect a living Jesus on that third day.  This devotion was very similar to my very first post almost a year ago right after the first Sunday of Easter, “Who are you looking for?”  As a side note, I went back to find this devotional and it has disappeared but it was there this morning, reminding me of the past year.

I’ve been pondering my blog lately and feeling that I needed to go back and read all 22 posts. So, I did.   As I read them, all the emotions I felt when I wrote them came back.  Yes, there were tears.  But I also felt encouraged and comforted as I experienced these God moments again. 

I now can see a thread running through all of them:  love and trust.  God loves us unconditionally even in our imperfection and that trusting him even when afraid is required to be a follower.  These two concepts for me translate to comfort and action.  I can be personally comforted by God’s love but unless I do something with that love, take action, and risk failure, I’m hoarding God’s love for myself. 

This past year has taught me that God really is love.  It’s that simple.  We can get pretty distracted with other theology or opinion, but it’s really just about love.  Period.  If I’m going to be judged on the last day, judge me for loving too widely, accepting too broadly, welcoming with abandon.  I see that in my coaching, I am returning to love more and more and it simplifies everything. 

I see more clearly than ever that we can’t invite people to church because the church needs more members.  That we can’t welcome people to worship because we want them to stay.  That we can’t connect people to ministry because we need a fourth person on that usher team. 

We must invite, welcome, and connect from the theology of love – a love that is bigger than we can comprehend.  We invite people to church because Jesus commanded us to make disciples.  We welcome people to worship because Jesus said when we welcome a stranger we are welcoming Him.  We connect people to ministry because God has given them a gift to be used for His purpose. 

When we engage targets or goals or tactics, we leave the love place and go to the head place.  God gave us intellect to learn but the heart is what gives us life, as individuals and as a community.  Jesus was a skilled teacher but acted out of love. 

When you intellectually look back at this past year, what has God taught you?  What do these lessons tell you about your personal call to action?  Go with God and go with your heart.     

As I approach the one-year anniversary of The Right Hand, I want to thank everyone who has read it and encouraged me.  I never dreamed that my writings would be read in 20+ countries.  I find a few things interesting:  the most popular post is  “An Invitation to the Wounded.”  Also, I have the most readers in the US, of course, but second is Ukraine, followed by Russia.  There is so much more to all of these stories but I tried to share only highlights.  I look forward to sharing another year of witness with you.