Wednesday, July 21, 2010

camps. glory. ephesus. us.

photo by kerry ritchie

so, here's a blog post. i thought it might be good to take a blog break for the summer. however, due to popular demand (2 people), the blog is back. this summer has been a blur. 5 out of 6 weeks we were on the road to start the summer. CRAZY. we're kinda starting to settle back in. i'm not sure if i like that or not. i love road trips. too much fun. i'll post more pictures as time allows.

today es wednesday and thus, we have high school worship at 6. PUMPED. maybe even nervous. yep, nervous for sure. love that feeling. i love being changed by the Word and then getting the beautiful privilege to watch God change others as well. i'm not perfect at all, but i love when I know He's changing me. and it's completely freeing to know that i can't change them, but He can. He in me can (paul's great theology in colossians). again, i love this calling. tonight, we start ephesians. it's thick. rich. it's a wave. it's probably paul's best literary work. dude could flat out write. you've got to break down every sentence to attempt to snag the weight of all the Lord is saying through paul. i'm asking for help. i need prayer for tonight. i need to be clear with the kiddos on what paul is saying to us. tonight we're barely making through the first part of chapter one. here's the jist...

my hope tonight is to set the table. i long to give the right background about the church in ephesus so that the kiddos know exactly why paul is engaging this particular community the way he is. the goal is to intro and explain the story God's writing to ephesus and then for the kids to chase His story and their specific part in it this week. it's a formula that's worked lately. colossians two weeks ago at noah's and then galatians last week. our kids have been asking GREAT questions and i've been digging and learning the answers. I. LOVE. IT. let's keep the formula for now...

what i've found about ephesus is that paul loves this church. he should. he planted it. no joke...his 2nd missionary journey. at this point, he's writing them from jail. even in his hardship and plight, he's looking out for everyone else. humility, personified. most of the people in ephesus hail from a hellenistic background where they've been running after magic, sorcery, astrology, among others. paul's encouraging them to run after the true God. he's breathing into them the FACT that God has actually picked them and is consistently changing them to do good works for His glory. incredible. the fact is simply that in every moment of our lives, God has been chasing us. wanting us. moving anything to get to us. paul goes on to tell them that they've been doing some really great things as a church, but it seems as though Paul wants them (and us) to remember the Catalyst for doing good things. first things first, right? paul is throwing TONS of weight on our primary task being a love relationship with the Savior of the world...he's championing the supremacy of Christ in all things. what does that mean? for me, i think it means day in and day out, inviting Jesus to mold, change, renew, and redeem our oft hard hearts to look more like His. we do good because we are truly loving, hearing, tasting, and seeing all that Jesus is. louie describes it as "putting Him at the top of our satisfaction quotient."

God is inviting (1:4) the people of ephesus and the surrounding region into the story of God. ephesians has been labeled a "circular" letter meaning it wasn't just meant for ephesus. it's for everyone in the region. all are invited to know this. he's letting them know that God has a beautiful role for them to play. they're not excluded. they're invited. we're invited.

here's the tough part. and here's where i'm nervous.

paul let these guys and gals know everything he could in this letter. poured his heart out. they heard all about God and more than likely walked and talked their way through all the thickness of this theology. they showed up to church. maybe even small groups. went to the gatherings. knew all the words to every song...

and in revelation, 17 books later, God lets this faith family know they've lost their first love. really? yes. their hearts grew hard towards Him. they knew all the lingo, did many good things (2:2), but God still "held this against them." seriously. check it out yourself. study up. they let their idols have their worship and God wasn't getting His glory. we can say all the right things and even do things we know to be good and righteous, but if we aren't sinking our teeth into the Son of God and tasting and seeing that He and He alone is good, then we're missing all that God wants us to see.

He alone is worthy. Christ is supreme. and out of that relationship, good works flow. but it's Him first. that's the formula. it's the same thing that Jesus talks about in the Gospels. He's the vine. we're the branches. apart from Him we can do nothing. my hope is that I explain this with great clarity to the kiddos tonight and throughout the week. may He continue to be our greatest love.

anyway, that's me trying to flesh this intro out. thanks for listening. feel free two add your two cents!


ps. secret song for tonight is "in the middle." mat kearney. yep.