Tag Archives: Freedom

Waiting on the Kingdom

Standard

I used to be a waitress.

I can honestly say that I not only enjoyed it, but I miss it from time to time.  It’s one of the few things I have come across in my life that came very naturally and easily to me; I did it well. 

Waitressing, for me, was never really a job, it was an outlet.

Talking and listening to people feeds something in me that I can’t quiet describe. I jump at opportunities to serve people because I like to feel needed.  I like to do for people what they can not do for themselves and waitressing seemed to supply that environment for me.

I couldn’t have asked for a better setting either. Whitefish, Montana is one of the most breathtaking places in the United States.  Something about that place beckons people to come and be a part of it. It invites and then transcends every expectation.  And tens of thousands of people from all over the world flock there every summer to witness it for themselves. 

Rumors of its beauty, tales of its grandeur, and pictures that attempt to capture its essence compel people to go and see if such a place exists.  It demands, and rightfully deserves, to be experienced personally.

Waiting on tables of visitors that had just come from Glacier National Park always brought a smile to my face. They were exuberant.  The views there will do that to you.  The air will leave you feeling exhilarated. The breeze will woo you and the fragrance of wildflowers will intoxicate you.

Back to waitressing.

Tourist and locals alike seemed to always come into the restaurant after their adventures famished. Exposure to that much beauty is exhausting.  Many weren’t prepared for the altitude adjustment.  Others didn’t hydrate properly to compensate for the dry climate.  Still others didn’t prepare for the hiking to be quite as exhaustive and so they didn’t eat enough.

They all came looking for sustenance. They needed to be replenished.  They needed nourishment. They needed rest. It’s not that they couldn’t have gone home to cook for themselves, it’s that they didn’t have the energy.

Being a waitress reminded me a whole lot of church.

Isn’t that what people come looking for? A promise of God that will quench their need for assurance? A truth that will satisfy their hunger for hope?  A bench to sit and rest on with others who are travelling the same road?  And a waitress (or waiter) that will be happy to accept them, serve them, and bring them love enough for the next day’s journey?

We’re all waiters. We are all called to serve what we know: Grace. Freedom. Forgiveness. Joy. Hope. Peace. Life. Love.

Some of us are openers. We meet people before they have ever even heard of this place called church. We give them directions.

Some of us are scheduled for the mid-afternoon lull. We have the opportunity to pay careful attention to the customers who come in alone and stay long.

And some of us are closers. We’re there for the evening time rush.  We have seven tables instead of three.  We get to serve the customers with complicated orders.  And we’ll stay there as long as they haven’t paid their bill.

All shifts are equally important, all serve a necessary purpose.

So whether you open, close, or keep the old company in the corner booth after the lunch hour, never forget you were scheduled for your shift for a reason.

Advertisements

To Take Away Our Condemnation

Standard

I read something the other day that I can not get enough of. And for fear of diluting it, I’m just going to copy it straight out of his book, and give it to you untainted. What follow is an excerpt out of John Piper’s book, “The Passion of The Christ.”

The great conclusion to the suffering and death of Christ is this: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ” (Romans 8:1). To be “in Christ” means to be in relationship to Him by faith. Faith in Christ unites us to Christ so that His death becomes our death and His perfection becomes our perfection. Christ becomes our punishment (which we don’t have to bear) and our perfection (which we can not perform).

Faith is no the ground of our acceptable with God. Christ alone is. Faith unites us to Christ so that his righteousness is counted as ours. “We know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ in order to be justified by faith in Christ and no by the works of the law, because by works of the law no one can be justified” (Galatians 2:16). Being “justified by faith” and being “justified in Christ” are parallel terms. We are in Christ by faith, and therefore justified.

When the question is asked, “Who is to condemn?” the answer is assumed. No one! Then the basis is declared: “Christ Jesus is the one who died!” The death of Christ secures our freedom from condemnation. It is as sure that we cannot be condemned as it is sure that Christ died. There is no double jeopardy in God’s court. We will not be condemned twice for the same offenses. Christ has died once for our sins. We will not be condemned for them. Condemnation is gone not because there isn’t any, but because it has already happened.

But what about condemnation by the world? Is that no an answer to the question, “Who is to condemn?” Aren’t Christians condemned by the world?There have been many martyrs. The answer is that no one can condemn us successfully.  Charges can be brought, but none will stick in the end. “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies” (Romans 8:33). It’s the same as when the Bible asks “Who shall separate us from the love of God? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger or sword?” (Romans 8:35). The answer is not that these things don’t happen to Christians. The answer is: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

The world will bring condemnation. They may even put their sword behind it. But we know that the highest court has already ruled in our favor. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). No one successfully. If they reject us, He accepts us. If they hate us, He loves us. If they imprison us, He sets our spirits free. If they afflict us, He refines us by the fire. If they kill us, He makes it a passage to paradise. They cannot defeat us. Christ has died. Christ has risen. We are alive in Him. An in him there is no condemnation. We are forgiven, and we are righteous.

“And the righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1).

Heart Check

Standard

In light of growing up in a christian home, going to christian schools and colleges and now working for a christian organization, I sometimes find I need to fight to remember the passion I have for my faith.  Not to say I have considered leaving it for another. To whom else would I turn?  Seeking another is not optional. Rather, having been so saturated by theology, doctrine, and scripture that I used to have to memorize for finals, I am weary that I will lose the aroma of the person of Christ that first captivated my heart.

What I have found to refresh and renew my heart’s affections is simply remembering who He is.  Because in remembering who He is, I discover who I am.  And in realizing my identity is not based on my own abilities or accomplishments but instead determined by His ownership of my soul, life and freedom are restored.