Just got out of the third day of a 3-day series of afternoon lectures with Wade Hodges, and wanted to get some of this down while it is still fresh. The series has been based in Luke and focused on the people that Jesus ate with. Jesus was criticized by the religious leaders of his day because he ate with sinners and tax collectors. 2 particular thoughts from today.
The first is to imagine the expression on God's face when he looks at you - is it one of joy? anger? disgust? longing? pleasure? disappointment? pride? sorrow? Wade suggested that our perception of how God looks at us drives how we look at others.
I can see times in my life when each of those emotions were likely to have been on God's face when he looked at me, but I think maybe the predominant expression is one of impatient expectation, mixed with loving disappointment that says "When are you going to get serious about loving my people?" and "Why do you spend so much time and energy consuming the candy of this world when I have so much more to offer?"
The second thought from today was his analysis that the greatest crisis facing the church today has nothing to do with budgets, declining attendance, or worship issues, (In the 2+ years that I've been an elder I would estimate that at least 90% of the discussions I've been involved with have either been about one or more of these directly, or were influenced by how whatever was being discussed would impact one or more of these) but that the greatest crisis facing the church today is our inability to balance a call to repentence with the unconditional love and acceptance that Jesus showed to those he encountered.
This thought tied so well with the message that Harold Shank brought Wednesday evening about 2 kinds of churches - one where you can't get in if you are broken, and one where you have to be broken to get in. Wade put it like this - if you repent and clean up your act, we will accept you (the pharisees' view of who would be allowed at the table) vs we will accept you as you are, and anticipate that repentence will occur at some point (Jesus' view of who would be allowed at the table). Acceptance does not equal endorsement of sin, but neither does it depend on its elimination as a prior condition.
Plenty of meat to chew on there.
Monte Cox hit a "home" run with this morning's keynote about living in exile and being at home. And David Fleer bats cleanup tonight.