Wednesday, September 1, 2010

mulligans, vases, and cardboard.

inspiration: Jesus is definitely moving at APSU!!

NOTE: It's way past my bed time (no, really. under normal circumstances, i would've been in bed and asleep for about an hour-and-a-half now), so forgive any spelling/grammar mistakes and discombobulated thoughts...

So what's up with the title? Three unrelated things. But they came together to help present the amazing Gospel: Christ's unfailing and unconditional love!
Tonight was the first night of the Fall 2010 AQUA gatherings and lemme just say: AMAZING!

I wish I could give you a play-by-play-in-words of everything that happened, but frankly I'm too tired to do that and it would all come down to the same thing: God's love is unconditional, unchanging, incredibly, and powerful!

What I will do is break down the three elements listed in the title:

  1. Mulligans

  2. It's basically a "do-over" in golf. So, if you make a bad shot, you can redo it. (I learned this tonight from Brandon, who apparently is a golfer...Really shocked me there, I seriously thought he was built for football ;))
    In our lives and walks with God, we make mistakes. But we get mulligans (I guess you "get" a mulligan...I'm not a golfer, therefore, I'm not sure what the correct verb would be for this...) constantly. We were born in sin, we commit sins probably daily, and biblically speaking, sin is equivalent to death.
    But because of Jesus and His death on the Cross, our sin is taken away. We are redeemed from our sin and given new life through Christ. We get a do-over. Our sin is no more!

    You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
    --Romans 5:6-8 (NIV)

  3. Vases

  4. If you are not familiar with the story of the Prodigal Son, I encourage you HIGHLY to check it out: The Parable of the Lost Son

    Basically, the youngest of two sons asks for his father's inheritance (the social equivalent of saying "Dad, I wish you were dead so I could have your money" ... pretty rough thing to ask...). Then he leaves his family, packs up his things, and proceeds to squander his wealth in "wild living". He eventually hits rock bottom and has nowhere to go, no food to eat, so he gets hired as a servant. He is so desperate and starving that food he is feeding to pigs begins to look good to him. This son has, for real, hit the rocky bottom of all rock bottoms: He abandoned his family with his share of the inheritance, blew it all, and is now starving. He knew he had messed up, knew he wasn't worthy to be a part of the family, but wanted to "work his way back into the family" by becoming a hired hand...he wanted to be a servant to his family. he wanted to go back home.

    Brandon shared with us that in this situation, this would have been an incredibly embarrassing situation, not only for the family, but also for the community of people the "prodigal son" was around before. In those times, if the son returned, members of the community would fill vases up with garbage, rotting food, filthy trash and upon the son's return, would smash the vases at the boy's feet. (Brandon proceeded to smash a vase successfully to demonstrate his point. If the vase hadn't broken, I'm sure it would've been an awkward and embarrassing situation for him...)

    But the greatness of the story is that didn't happen!
    Upon his return, the boy's father RAN out to him and greeted him and kissed him. The father called for a celebration and feast for the son's return; this greatly angered his older brother, but the father's reply to the brother's rage was: "'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'" (Luke 15:31-32)

    This is the same love our Father in Heaven has for us.
    Even when we've abandoned Him, run away, squandered our lives and our money and our time indulging in worldly things that don't matter, and hit rock bottom, He still awaits for us to return home. He celebrates when we return home. He rejoices in our delight and return to Him.

    So now, not only do we get a mulligan. But we avoid vases of garbage being smashed at our feet. Instead, we experience grace and mercy and compassion. Sounds like a pretty awesome message, right? Oh, but there is more awesomeness that took place!

  5. Cardboard

  6. A few weeks ago, I was invited to be a part of Aqua's first "cardboard testimonies". The idea is to write on one side of cardboard a phrase/description of something we were before Christ. Mine was "Didn't Wait For True Love". But on the reverse side, we were to write something representing who we are now because of Christ. Mine said "Consumed by Christ's TRUE LOVE".

    We all make mistakes and we all have things in our pasts that we have to deal with. I made the mistake of giving myself away to someone who isn't my future husband. It was a horrible situation to deal with, but because of Christ's death on the cross and His infinite love, grace, compassion,etc. I have become a new creation! His LOVE defines me now! It took me a long time to "return home", but now that Christ has full 100% access to my heart and 100% influence in my life, I don't have to be ashamed of my past. Instead, I am a true reflection of a prodigal daughter. I strive to be a true image of Christ's love.

    It's amazing how freeing a cardboard sign can be.
    Because of mulligans, vases, and cardboard, I am on my way to being completely healed through Christ and His compassion and infinite love. :)

Brooke and myself holding our cardboard signs.
Christ-side up, of course :)
He is working magnificently in both of our lives.
I'm so glad she and I had the opportunity to use our past and our pain to represent Christ. This was definitely the beginning of a healing process for both of us and I know that when we trust in Christ for strength, He will build us up for His Kingdom :)

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world.[a] He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)
--Ephesians 2:1-5 (NLT)

1 comment: