I just got home from our church’s Good Friday service and, I must admit, I’m feeling a little raw. God has been doing some really neat things in my life recently. He’s been  showing me a new way to draw near to Him and guess what…it’s hard work…but I love it. It’s sacrificial…but nothing compared to His sacrifice. One of the fruits of this experience is that I think the closer you are to Jesus, the more He allows you to see how messy Christians are. Really. We are a messy lot of folk. Think of what poor Moses had to deal with in the desert for 40 years. Yeah…messy. As a result of the messiness, I’m seeing a lot of hurting and suffering people. Yesterday I comforted my sweet daughter after she had to do something hard in her life. Twelve year olds shouldn’t have to do hard stuff like that. Today I received both emails and phone calls from friends who needed me to stop, drop, and pray. We are talking frontline battles, my friends. My armor is strapped on and the Sword is in my hand. What’s that about?

I am constantly in awe that my Savior chooses to live in the dirty, sinful hearts of man…in me.  He took my place on the cross, just as he took Barabbas’ place. (“Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.” – Matthew 27:26) What’s that about?

Many of you know that I am working on a masters degree in theology and the class I’m taking right now is called Acts: The expansion and establishment of the first century church. The Church really is God’s plan for fulfilling the Great Commission. (“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of teh Sona nd of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:19) Now, I fully believe that God knew we were messy people with dirty hearts and He left the church in our hands? Wow. Scary. What’s that about?

The gift of the cross, however, is grace. Period. That’s what it’s about. And it is with grace-driven effort that we gravitate toward  prayer, obedience to God’s Word, faithfulness, and joy in the Lord. It is gratitude and overwhelming love for Jesus that forces us to our feet with our arms raised in praise when we sing “Hallelujah! What a Savior!” I come to the cross empty-handed, time and time again, and He pours Himself into my heart. My cup overflows and joy leaks out my eyes.christ-head-bowed.gif