Lest you think I only see the hand of God when it works out all peachy as the van scenario did, let me correct you. There have been more than many times in my life (more than I can speak of in the last 2 years alone) that life hasn't turned out as well as our not-so-coincidental van story. There have been moments, days, weeks, months and even years that in other life scenarios, I've found myself ..... well .... stuck in the middle of Nebraska, over 100,000 miles, with no rescue vehicle, and $8000 short. And you know what ? Ever single one of those moments, I would still say God's hand was mightily on. I would still say I serve a really big God who cares about my really small life. I wanted to tell that story about the van because I am not known for finding the "silver lining". I'm usually the one kicking and screaming and whining and complaining all the way to the feet of Jesus where He graciously accepts me just the same. He gave me the grace to accept life as it came that day, and I thank Him for that.
That being said ..... what I really wanted to blog about was another post I wrote a few back. Remember that D.A. Carson quote I put up ? I'm not even going to link to it. I'm going to write it out again. (No I'm not. I'm going to cut and paste it.) Keep reading after it though ... I have more to say this time. (Go figure.)
D.A. Carson writes:
People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.
Aaron is a big fan of Matt Chandler. He's the Pastor at The Village Church in Dallas, TX. If you've never listened to him preach, now's your chance. He has a 3 part series based on this quote! (I link to all 3 sermons at the end of this post.) Aaron was able to hear one of them live this summer in our travels. Me ? I just enjoyed them on a nice long bike ride with my iPod in my ears. I can't even begin to recommend these enough. I'm on round 2 and 3 of listening to them. Here's why .....
There were a couple of things that Matt Chandler (or is it Pastor Chandler ? I dunno.) referenced that hooked me immediately. Granted, I listened to them out of order, so you may listen to it and not hear it right away. Keep listening just the same.
Hook ) He talked about how often we as humans wrestle with the same sin struggle over and over and over. Why is that ? He explains how it is due to us "training" our sin rather than "killing it". "Murdering it", I believe were his words.
Line ) He talked a lot about how we pit sin against sin. In other words, using his example, we pit the sin of fear and anxiety against the sin of control and manipulation and put God's name on it. We pit the sin of fear and anxiety against the sin of control and manipulation and put God's name on it. (No, that wasn't a typo that I just wrote the same sentence twice. I wanted you to read it twice, and I figured you wouldn't if I just told you to.) The problem with this, is that both are sin and both lead to death. WOW !
And Sinker ) All three messages ooze with what "grace-driven effort" looks like.
It has taken this sinful heart a while to realize that I do not drift toward holiness. Praise God for the grace to drive.
Here's the links. You can get them off iTunes if you'd rather.
Part 1: Grace Driven Effort
Part 2: When Violence Is Okay
Part 3: Three Streams