Sunday, December 27, 2015

Rest, Revolution, Romance

Toni and I are enjoying a last afternoon at my in-laws' place in Northfield. Our son Jon & I will be leaving in the early evening; other family members already headed for home and the rest will go in the morning. It's been a sweet time of rest.

During the last hour I intentionally sat down next to our son Dan, wanting to get a list of some of the theologians he's been studying over the past few years. We've been blessed by learning with him as we've talked together and as we've seen some of teachings he's been learning from. Then, on the Sunday before Christmas, Toni and I went up to Northgate Church in Ramsey to hear him preach. (You can watch and listen to His message by clicking this link.) The things he's been learning were clearly in the background of what he taught that day. I'll try to share some more about those "learnings" in the not too distant future.

Dan & the three chairs
For quite a few years Dan's been on a revolutionary journey in relationship with Jesus. His Dec. 20 message focused on the LOVE of God, a love that began even before creation. He used an analogy that has been used before, one where three chairs, facing each other, are used to represent the eternal inter-Personal relationship of God--Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

On the other side of the stage, to Dan's left, he put one lonely chair, representing the picture many of us have of God--an eternal being who is self-sufficient and separate from everyone else... and certainly not interested involved in a passionate relationship that might be described as a "romance." (Dan has romance on his mind these days as he is recently engaged!)
What Dan highlighted in the message was what we see in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, in the Epistle to the Ephesians and in Genesis. God has always been in a relationship -- Father, Son, Holy Spirit -- and God has always desired to have a deep, personal, enjoyable relationship with you. He does not want you to be separate and he's never wanted to be separate from you. He loves you and has done everything needed to have and maintain a face-to-face relationship with you - a relationship like he and Shatera have now.

That's revolutionary! It's revolutionary because the typical Christian understanding of God is one where God turns away from us because of our sin. Scriptures are used to say that God doesn't want to have relationship with sinful people. Verses are picked from here and there in the Bible to say that God cannot bear to be close to us -- not until we turn toward him. But what Dan highlights is the fact that God comes to us first, while we are in our sin, turning toward us before we turn to him.

Dan proposed to Shatera last week. He planned for a moment when they could be together in the same park where they first met. He got down on a knee and proposed. She said yes.

God proposed to us too. On the Cross. He entered into our sin and suffered our wrath. Not because he needed a blood sacrifice, but because he wanted relationship with everyone -- with everyone on earth.

This isn't a very complete summary of Dan's message. Please take time to watch it by clicking here.

It is revolutionary to think that God desires us that much. I hope to post more about this in the days to come.

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