July 13, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
I have asked the men of Oak Hills to read a book with me this summer, Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture by David Murray. I’m drawn to this book because I want to see the grace of God lived out more and more in my life, in my thinking, in my feeling, in my marriage, in my family, in my relationships, and in my work. I hope you are able to pick up a copy and read with me. It will be the launching pad for discussion at our Men’s Breakfast on August 26. In the meantime, I want to use these Touchpoint articles to share some of my reflections as I work through Murray’s book. This is part one.
At Oak Hills our mission is longing to know and make known the astonishing grace of God. Within this mission we aim to center everything we do on the grace of God offered through Jesus Christ. This “longing to know and make known” encompasses all areas of our life and ministry together: worship, Bible study, fellowship, outreach, missions, discipleship, etc. In fact, we can boil down our mission to four action words:
1. Exalt God’s Astonishing Grace. We want to celebrate and honor God’s grace through worship, prayer, and testimony.
2. Study God’s Astonishing Grace. We want to deepen our understanding of God’s being, character, and actions manifested in and through Christ.
3. Be Transformed by God’s Astonishing Grace. We want to allow God’s grace to transform our thinking (mind) and our feeling (heart) and our actions (will) into conformity with Christ
4. Proclaim God’s Astonishing Grace. We want to be used by God to share the good news of Christ with our neighbors, both locally and globally.
I love this fourfold approach to our mission. It provides particular focal points to evaluate how we are doing not only as a church, but also as individuals. Do I exaltGod’s grace in my life? Is my understanding of God’s grace deepening and growing? Do I see progressive transformation by God’s grace in my life? Do I proclaim God’s grace?
I am particularly drawn to this third area: transformation. Perhaps I’m drawn because of the pervasiveness of brokenness all around us. Perhaps it’s because I long to be different, better. Perhaps it’s because I have seen so many human efforts fail. Perhaps it’s because of the burnout culture we live in. Shouldn’t God’s astonishing grace provide deeper wells of hope and joy and peace and renewal?
This is what David Murray focuses on in his book, Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture. This book is not so much about explaining grace or helping us deepen our understanding, but Murray’s attention is focused on how grace can transform our lives. Do we live in/by God’s grace?
In his introduction, Murray speaks about grace-deficient people. “It’s not that these Christians don’t believe in grace. Not at all; all of them are well grounded in ‘the doctrines of grace.’ The ‘five solas’ and the ‘five points’ are their theological meat and drink. Yet there are disconnects between theological grace and their daily lives, resulting in five deficits of grace” (p. 12). These five deficits are the lack of the motivating power of grace, the moderating power of grace, the multiplying power of grace, the releasing power of grace, and the receiving power of grace. These five aspects of grace comfort, humble, encourage, and empower the believer. This is how grace works transformation in our lives.
I imagine you do not want to be a grace-deficient person. Neither do I. Let’s keep pressing on together longing to know and make known God’s astonishing grace.