the gospel according to Jesus

[we interrupt this regularly scheduled program] right around the time life's pain crashed into my comfort, i came across this book & requested it through book sneeze. i didn't anticipate the way it would shake me - echoing so closely everything my heart needed.

for awhile now, i've felt a duality. not that i've led a hypocritical life, but just a whisper of something in my spirit...telling me to pay attention. there was something i needed to do, a moment of faith i needed to expect.

seay's book gave words to these thoughts, speaking about our misconception of righteousness & how we view the world's dark places. so many times i found myself nodding my head or mumbling an exactly! as i read through the chapters. slowly. it's not a book you can scream through & gain anything. it takes processing. chewing. praying.

particularly this part:

in a cesspool of sickness and disease that all people would rightly avoid, Jesus walks right in and touches the suffering. He comes to us in the tradition of Hebrew prophets, declaring the need for justice, but he enters the world in an entirely new way. He was not just calling God's people to change; he was making that change possible....

in the gospel of Luke, when Jesus announces what it is He has come to do, he announces it in the synagogue by reading a passage from the prophet Isaiah:

...The spirit of the Lord the Eternal One is on me. Why? because the Eternal designated Me to be His representative to the pooor, to preach good news to them. He sent Me to tell those who are held captive that they can now be set free, and to tell the blind that they can now see. He sent me to liberate those held down by oppression. In short, the Spirit is upon me to declare that now is the time; this is the jubilee season of the Eternal One's grace. (Luke 4)

a few things stuck out to me from this passage & book - things that began to haunt me over the next few weeks: we are called to restore the broken places just as Jesus restored the broken places within us and...

God was calling russ & i into our own season of jubilee.

part of the reason i've opened up this blog for guest posts for an extended amount of time is the power of stories - we all know the ultimate grace seen in the sharing of suffering or the weight lifted from a burden long keeping us distracted and tangled. but sharing stories wasn't the only reason. it isn't the only reason - we still have about two weeks left of stories waiting in the wings. after reading this book, i felt an incredible need to step back and ponder this new season God's moving us to pursue.

and...it's been hard. allowing God to show you areas of selfishness & hesitancy is never easy. i feel drained some days simply because of the realization of how broken i am - how needy i am of His grace & provision.

we won't be able to walk this road alone. as much joy as it brings, as much excitement as i feel to know the next step, the fear can be crippling. so crippling i refuse to speak to my husband about what God's doing in my life. so crippling i believe the lies that God couldn't & wouldn't tell me to do something so...crazy. [ha!]

in short, this book changed me. i'll most likely be rereading it just so i can dissect it a bit more. i feel the need to take pen to paper - underlining and writing down my heart's reaction as i read the words again.

words like this:

real giving doesn't happen when it's comfortable and easy; it just doesn't work out that way. the time for generosity is now. in the early days of the church, generosity was about sharing not what was convenient, but sharing everything...

and...

the broken can be restored by the love and grace of Christ, expressed through his people. what are the excuses holding you back from the beautiful adventure that is true Christianity?

is there anything holding you back? take the jump. i promise - the water feels so much calmer when you're in the arms of the One who asked you to leap.

Posted on November 13, 2010 and filed under books.