Life can become too busy. The crowds and pressure to go with the flow will confront you. Automatic thoughts, judgments, and stigma can fill our minds. Often, we are cruel, harsh and hateful to ourselves. What can prepare you and I is taking time to reflect, to pause and to pray.
I grew up with the belief that sin was kryptonite for the Christian. Sin would lock you in the belly of a whale, or steal all of your power. For years – decades – that was my understanding of the concept. No more. No less. But what about today? How does sin apply to my life…and yours…today?
The first question in my brand-new ASK STEVE series comes from a Twitter follower, who simply asked, ‘What is grace?’ What a great question. In my years of religious fervor, that would have been the simplest question in the world to answer. ‘Undeserved favor, of course.’ I knew exactly how to regurgitate Christianese on demand.
But how does the person who has started following Jesus as an adult answer that question? The one who wasn’t raised in church and doesn’t have all the knowledge – or baggage – the rest of us have? What is grace to the newbie?
My faith matters to me. I read the Bible. I attend church. I pray when something is weighing heavily on me. But while I used to find my identity only in the label of “Christian” or in the name recognition of my local church, I’ve realized people care much more about whether I am kind than whether I have faith.
If you’ve ever danced through Amy Grant’s paved paradise…
If you ever owned a WOW CD…
If you felt the sting of the rose as it was trampled on the ground….
If you knew the motions to Big Big House….
Or if your parents questioned the vulgarity of DC Talk’s “I Don’t Want It”…
This post is for you.
I didn’t plan for Jesus to meet me a few years back, in a little coffee shop inside our church, dressed just like my Grandpa. Jesus, with a raggedy mustache, a three-day beard, and coffee stains on his plaid button-down. I didn’t plan to meet Jesus that way—that day. I didn’t plan for Him to rescue me from my own bad theology and church hurts. I didn’t even know He cared.
And I never expected what happened next.
Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
I have loved that quote for a long time, but Jesus laid out the concept in Matthew 25, long before Mark Twain.