The theme was Unleashing the Gospel.
The gospel is
It's basic and simple
and enough to alter everything about me
And even though I work in a church and have been a believer since I was six years old, I am so glad that we spent three days on the gospel- the foundation of our faith.
There was so much good stuff- I heard impacting messages from Matt Carter of the Austin Stone, Matt Chandler of the Village Church and Francis Chan who wrote Crazy Love.
One of the best things I brought home though, was from JD Grear. He discussed how the gospel changes us in a way that religion can't. Religion can give you an outline on how to be good, but cannot teach you to love goodness.
So I've begun to carry these four truths on a bookmark as part of a gospel prayer to remind myself daily of God's goodness and to help me fall back in love with the gospel.
1. In Christ, there is nothing I could do to make you love me more, nothing I have done that makes you love me less.
And yet so often, whether consciously or not, I try to earn God's favor by doing things and being good. But God says that, "it is by grace that [I] have been saved, not of works so that no one can boast." (ephesians 2:8-9)
And on the flip side, whenever I have stumbled and struggled I find myself drawing away from God. BUT the gospel tells me- he loves me! He wants me to run to Him when I stumble. "He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
2. You are all I need today for everlasting joy.
And yet constantly I want material things or relationships or a career to provide that joy, when the only true satisfaction will ever come from Christ! "For your grace is sufficient for me.." 2 Corinthians 12:9
3. As you have been to me, so I will be to others.
God has granted me immeasurable grace and forgiveness. It is only fitting that I in turn give grace and forgiveness, as seen in the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18.
4. As I pray, I'll measure your compassion by the cross and your power by the resurrection.
Even when things are confusing. Even when circumstances are hard or bad or chaotic. I will not put you in the box of my understanding. For "your thoughts are higher than my thoughts and your ways are higher than my ways." Isaiah 55:9
I have lots of yummy recipes to share this week, but I couldn't keep from sharing the beautiful things I learned this past week. Tune in for baked ziti, chipotle ranch dressing, baked potato soup and sopapilla cheesecake!!! Aaah, it's going to be a delicious week :)