I have listened to this sermon twice from Hudson Community Church. It is called "Justified Sinners" and based out of the end of Galatians 2. It has been impacting my view of the Gospel and is sinking into my life. You can listen to the audio HERE or see the video HERE. Feel free to leave feedback.
"Right at this moment you are more deeply flawed than you have ever dared to admit to anyone, even yourself. And right at this moment you are more deeply loved than you have ever dared to dream."
"If I live my life like this, saying this is what I have done, and God asks "Why not Hell?" and I say, "No hell for me, look at what I've done!" I am still completely self absorbed. Bricks are good to stand on and look at other, to build walls, to build forts...but the cross is only good for one thing. The cross is an instrument of death."
"Once you've paid the death penalty, you are paid in full, there is nothing more you can give. In the words of Clint Eastwood, "When you kill a man, you take everything he has and everything he is going to have." The cross takes everything you are, ever have been and ever will be. All your good deeds and all your bad."
"What does it cost your God to love you? [Some people's answer] is, "Oh it doesnt cost him, he just does?" What kind of love is that? That is not like any love we experience here on earth. All love is costly!... If you dont believe in a God of wrath and a God of hell, then when I tell you "God loves you," you dont have any idea what that means. It has no power to change you... And if I you think you are a good person and just need a little bit of grace and tell you that Jesus died for you, you will yawn. You will say, "Yea I know, of course he did, because I am worth it." And it will have no power to change you."
I don't think I have said this on this blog but I will not be returning to Italy next year to work with Agape. I have loved my time here and love what God is doing but I don't know if this is what God is calling me to long-term. So I am going to take this next year and explore. Try new things. Hopefully find my passions and what God wants for me. Two things have given me a lot of peace about this. One was an interview with Randall Goodgame found HERE. The quote that he said was, "as I eventually gained more discernment about my gifts and passions, I realized some time last year that I needed to go... I learned that just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. It seems like something I should have learned a long time ago, but I’ll take what I can get in the wisdom department." I love Agape Italia and I am fairly "good" at this job here. But I still dont know if that means I should be here long-term. I might be coming back, but for this period in life, I wont be.
The second thing that helped me was a worksheet I did on identity. I realized that I have been basing a lot of my identity on what I do. So you ask me who I am and I would answer, "I am Chris Rule and I work for Agape Italia...." I realized that identity is deeper. Who we are is deeper. If it is just what I do, then my identity is constantly changing, and I was afraid of that. But my identity is that I am a child of God, I am appointed to go and bear fruit that will last (John 15), that I am loved and accepted by God because of Jesus and he is with me always. That doesnt change if I am in full time ministry, a journalist or a janitor.