The Story of Good – Learning to Steward the Good Within.
In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re Kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you. ~ Matthew 5: 48 (TM)
Back in the late 1990’s, as I was planting and pastoring a church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, I realized that for so many years of my Christian life, I had spent countless hours talking to God about my sin. Now, don’t get me wrong. There was always a lot to talk about and, for sure, there was never a point in those conversations when I felt God wasn’t interested in the discussion.
It’s just as I surveyed my life with Christ, it seemed that so very much of it had been consumed with, what I call, sin-management. I remember my pastoral mentor at the time talked a lot about his long-standing disappointment with his own Christian life.
“My whole Christian life had become a work of sin management!” my mentor would say. “My Christianity had become a list of do’s and don’ts. I was spending nearly all my waking hours trying to be good for Jesus, only to realize how poorly I was doing at the assignment.”
Ever been there?
I bet you have.
For my mentor, the breakthrough came when he stopped trying to be good for Jesus and simply spent more time positioning himself, just as he was, in the presence of the Master. Over time, my friend became so enthralled with his deepening relationship with Jesus, that he found he simply didn’t have nearly as much time leftover in his day for sin!
So, back in the day (2002 to be exact), in response to my dilemma with sin-management, I wrote a little book called The Perfected Self: A Study in Self from the Gospel of Luke. In it, I made the proposal that Jesus wasn’t nearly as interested in me managing my sin as He was bringing His goodness to set me free from my self-consumption!
Well, like most self-published books, mine sold a few copies here and there, with several boxes of these little gems finding their home taking up floor space in my garage! Yet despite the slow sales, all these years later, (19 to be exact) I still can’t shake this theme of discipleship that focuses on issues of Self versus issues of Sin.
So, here we go, gang.
Allow me to take another swing at this fastball, trying my best to bring a few thoughts forward on the amazing goodness of God. It’s my prayer that the words I share will stir something very good inside. Something God has just for you as a special refreshment along the way. As you read, might I encourage you to stop regularly, quiet yourself a bit, giving some extra time to savor the story and ponder on the questions you’ll find at the end of each chapter.
Know that my ultimate goal in all this is to help you:
1) better embrace the great love God has for you,
2) better receive the amazing blessings of Good that Jesus has waiting for you, and
3) better understand the role you have in becoming a distributor of God’s Good in a world that looks to need more of it…more than ever before.
I look forward to your feedback on my thoughts.
Over a period of about eight weeks (3 sessions per week), we will take you on a poetic journey (26-sessions) we call The Story of Good. We suggest you bookmark our blog series homepage to keep all the writings in one place for your future reference. Take note that each blog session begins with a short scripture reading. My suggestion is that you don’t hurry through, or skip the text, but treat it as a Lectio Divina reading where you slow down and sit a bit with God’s Word, allowing it to penetrate and influence you as you read. Each session also ends with a few thoughts to ponder on. I look forward to hearing some of your insight as we journey together!
Oh, and if you enjoy what you’re reading here, we encourage you to share this page and our website, The Contemplative Activist, with your friends!
For the greater Good of God….