Matthew West and Carly Pearce: Truth Be Told

I really like this song, well written and structured, Matthew West’s Truth Be Told, sung with Carly Pearce.

There’s a sign on the door saying ‘Come as you are’, but I doubt it
‘Cause if we lived like it was true, every Sunday morning pew would be crowded
But didn’t you say the Church should look more like a hospital
A safe place for the sick and the sinner and and sick and the scarred and the prodigal, like me

Dane Ortland: Gentle and Lowly

Here is a passage from the first Chapter of Dane Ortland’s book, Gentle and Lowly.

My dad pointed out to me something that Charles Spurgeon pointed out to him. In the four Gospel accounts given to us in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — 89 chapters of biblical text — there’s only one place where Jesus tells us about His own heart.

We learn much in the four Gospels about Christ’s teaching. We read of His birth, His ministry, and His disciples. We are told of His travels and prayer habits. We find lengthy speeches and repeated objections by His hearers, prompting further teaching. We learn of the way He understood Himself to fulfill the whole Old Testament. And we learn in all four accounts of His unjust arrest and shameful death and astonishing resurrection. Consider the thousands of pages that have been written by theologians during the past 2,000 years on all these things.

But in only one place — perhaps the most wonderful words ever uttered by human lips — do we hear Jesus Himself open up to us His very heart:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).

In the one place in the Bible where the Son of God pulls back the veil and lets us peer way down into the core of who He is, we are not told that He is “austere and demanding in heart.” We are not told that He is “exalted and dignified in heart.” We are not even told that He is “joyful and generous in heart.” Letting Jesus set the terms, His surprising claim is that He is “gentle and lowly in heart.”

Bob Goff: When Jesus Rose From the Dead, He Showed That Our Lives Are the Best Sermon We’ve Got. Pile on Love Instead of Piling Up Words.

Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.

JOHN 21:12

Here’s a page from Bob Goff’s book of daily reflections, Live in Grace, Walk in Love:

Shortly after Jesus rose from the dead, His friends were embarrassed and confused. So they went back to what they knew best: fishing. I don’t blame them. It’s comforting to do things you know you’re good at when you feel bewildered or ashamed or insecure.

Jesus’ friends pushed back out into the water and started fishing. A voice came from the shore and said something that must have sounded familiar. The voice told them to throw their nets on the other side of the boat. This had happened before. It was life bookended with the same statement. You know how the story ends—these men ended up with so many fish, they almost broke their nets. That’s when the nickel dropped. Peter knew it was Jesus. He immediately jumped in the water and swam to the shore. Sans swimsuit.

When Peter got to shore, he saw a fire burning with fish on top and some bread set aside for them. Jesus didn’t say the biggest “I told you so” of all time. He didn’t chastise His friends for deserting Him in His greatest moment of need. He didn’t take advantage of a “teachable moment” to tell them what to do the next time they were tempted to say they didn’t even know Him and desert a friend. What He did was simply this: He made them breakfast. He let His presence on the shore with them do all the talking.

If we commit to becoming the kinds of people God created us to be, our lives will tell better stories than our words ever will. They will be the testimony people need to see and feel before they hear a word we’re saying. Who is it you think you need to teach a good lesson to? Don’t make a lot of noise in their lives; make them a stack of pancakes.

Who will you make a stack of pancakes for? When?

Bob Goff: Live in Grace, Walk in Love

Bob Goff: Love Picked Us So Grace Could Use Us.

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.”

ACTS 10:34–35

Here’s a page from Bob Goff’s book of daily reflections, Live in Grace, Walk in Love:

Every year when I was in school, we were required to go to “athletics,” better known as gym class. I always hated it because there was a possibility we’d play kickball or dodgeball or pretty much anything that required a ball. This meant there would be team captains to pick players. It is a time-honored tradition that picking teams in gym class starts with the best and goes to the worst. I often hoped God would make the bell ring forty-eight minutes early because I knew what was about to happen again. I wouldn’t get picked. I was huge. I almost blocked the sun. This was good. But I was clumsy, which was bad.

It was a terrible system, leaving me and all the other uncoordinated guys stranded on the sidelines looking at each other in our gym shorts and T-shirts. It was clear who was cool and got picked and who wasn’t. I’m so glad God doesn’t chose who will be with Him the way the guys in gym class picked who would be on their team.

If I ever teach a gym class, I’m going to draw a big circle in the middle of the group and say, “Everyone is in.” That’s how God chose us. The Bible says God loved the whole world, every person in it. Not just the cool ones or the knowledgeable ones or the ones who believed all the right things or made all the right moves. He doesn’t want anyone to suffer, and He doesn’t want anyone to feel alone. He doesn’t want anyone to go through life without Him, and He doesn’t want us to spend eternity without Him either.

We don’t have to burden ourselves by wondering who’s in and who’s out, because God already told us: He wants us all. If you’re someone who knows about God’s extravagant love, you’ve let grace find you. Once He does, the question is what we’ll do next. Love picked us so grace could use us.

Reflect on God’s unconditional love for you today. What comes to mind?

Bob Goff: Live in Grace, Walk in Love