Monday, September 26, 2005

Very Encouraged Part 1

Man...what a shift in the way I have felt lately. To be honest with you, reader, this past weekend was rough. I was struggling in seeing the grace of God and His love for me. I wallowed in self-pity quite a bit as I found myself with nothing to do on Saturday. I sat and asked a hundred questions to myself and God pertaining to what I am doing with my life in these days.

It is difficult not being out there in the trenches--not aiding with the hurricane relief, not being in Italy serving the students in Salerno, and not being up at the University of Florida as this ministry seems to be kicking into high gear. Adding to that is the fact that I have very little fellowship with other believers down here and much of the fellowship I do have is limited to church service and a few conversations with the pastor and my buddy Chris. The intensity of community felt in Salerno is something I long for and hope to achieve to some degree with my staff team at UF. So to sum it up simply, there is a longing to be where I am not.

Impatience.

But reader let me tell you how faithful God is. You may know this or you may not, but God's grace is more than sufficient for my needs and the needs of all His children. I know this, but how quickly I do forget my position in this world and where I stand with the Lord. John 1:12 says "But to all who did receive Him, who believe in His name, he gave the right to become children of God" (ESV) and a few verses later it is beautifully written that "from His fullness we have received, grace upon grace" (v. 16). Dwelling on this and meditating on the fact that Christ "must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30) allows me to once again come back into the perspective of knowing my place in Christ.

Through Christ I have the right to become a child of God.
Through Christ's fullness I have received, immeasurable grace upon immeasurable grace.
And as Christ increases, in order for me to truly see and enjoy His glory, I must humbly decrease.

This began encouragement in ways I have never received before. First came a stern reminder of God's grace by a message given at church from my boy Chris, a 22-year old who's passion for God and His Word truly shined in those moments on the pulpit. The Spirit spoke volumes to me through him.

Then a great lunch with some folks from the church...great Chinese buffet.

Then tonight was the culmination.

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