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April 28, 2010

Chapter-a-Day Isaiah 30

God, the Master, The Holy of Israel, has this solemn counsel: "Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me—The very thing you've been unwilling to do. Isaiah 30:15 (MSG)

Reading today's chapter I was reminded of this song. I've always loved this song because it makes me laugh and I think it so honestly captures what I believe to be the most common lie that we deeply believe: That on the great balance scales of life, we're basically good people. I'm an alright guy. And, if I put forth a little effort to keep the "good" outweighing the "bad" then God will give me the thumb's up and reward my effort.

The more I read God's message, the more I realize that in the economy of God's kindgom there is no amount of good works that can earn me the thumb's up. God doesn't grade on a curve. It's a pass fail test and only one red check mark guarantees my failure (you should see my list of red check marks - oy!).

I know. It doesn't seem fair. If that' true then no one can pass that test. We've all done something wrong.

Exactly. That's the point.

That's why God sent His son to pass the test for us and, while He was at it, to take the punishment for our failure. We can stop our silly efforts to save ourselves. No more trying to do enough to keep my "alright guy" status. It has nothing to do with what I do. It has everything to do with what Jesus did for me. The reality is that Jesus was the one and only "alright guy" and my dependence on Him is my one and only hope.


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Don't bore us with obsolete religion.

I think alot about traditional worship vs contemporary worship. My family doesn't always appreciate the changes that have happened to worship over the years. Yet, our generation sometimes views "traditional" worship as boring. I think our peers today sometimes miss the value of the ways our anscestors approached God. Some of the "boring" structure of worship serves a purpose in ingraining fundamental principals of our faith. Yes, practiced traditions like reciting the 10 commandments can get watered down, but the lack of hearing them also produces a generation of youth who have never heard them and can't recite them. What foundation then exists for right living? I believe that there has to be a common ground and way to integrate both styles into today's worship experience.

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