March 1 Reflections

This week we begin a new series of messages with the theme, “Grace is Greater.” Grace helps us face all the hard experiences of life including, but not limited to, shame, disappointments, mistakes made, desire for revenge, the need for forgiveness. This Sunday morning series will be coupled with an evening study from 4:00 – 5:15 to be held at round tables in the sanctuary. My hope is that our understanding of grace will lead us to be healthy spiritually and give us the strength to face the hard realities of life.

This week we are going to begin in the morning by looking together at what I consider to be my life verse. “By the grace of God I am what I am and his grace to me was not without effect.” (1 Corinthians 15:10) God’s grace to me is the theme of my life. Grace has transformed me.  Grace is knowing that there is nothing I can do to make God love me more and there is nothing I can do to make God loved me less. God loves me in this moment as much it is possible for an infinite God to love. I knew the words of grace for many years. I even preached it. But it was much like knowing just the words to a song, but not the melody, tune, rhythm or the deep passion of the music. I really had missed it. It was in the season of melancholy that I learned the passion, the tune, the melody, the rhythms of grace: God’s unconditional love. God loving me just as I am, not as I should be, I was never going to be that, but loving me in this moment as I am. Total, complete acceptance. This changed everything; from my personal life and relationships to my preaching and how I show up in ministry.   

I have a picture that hangs in my office that was taken on a morning run which includes my life verse. It is a picture that says so much to me. It speaks to my heart and soul. The picture is of a barn and windmill which reminds me of my formative years where shame took root in my life. I don’t blame anyone for this, it simply happened in the reality of my life. I grew up thinking that I did not have any worth. I thought I was a mistake. Those experiences of shame are represented in the low-lying fog in the picture. It gives the picture so much character, as does the shame when I reflect on my life. It is the hard experiences in life that bring character in the picture of our lives. Above the fog the sun is beginning to rise. Incredible depth and beauty. To me that is grace. It does eventually drive the fog away bringing clarity. But in this picture, they coexist, together forming a beauty that only God could capture in his incredible, radical grace. We are going to be thinking about this on Sunday as we begin to wander through powerful stories of grace. This week staring with the Apostle Paul. My hope and prayer is that this will not only be words for you, but you will learn the melody, tune and rhythm of grace and transformation will take place. 

Some passages to read: 1 Corinthians 15:1-10; Ephesians 2:1-10;  2 Corinthians 5:11-21

Grace upon Grace,

Pastor Verlyn