Monday, March 13, 2006

Parable of the Gracious Landowner

Yesterday we looked at my favorite parable, the Parable of the Gracious Landowner, where we saw the seeking grace of God, the sovereign grace of God and the inexplicable grace of God. We ended our time with the Lord's Supper where all these truths take shape and form.

I think this message is "essential listening" for all those who are committed to life together at GraceSLO. The grace of God is at the very heart of the Gospel. The Gospel is at the center of our church. If you missed it, will you please take the time to listen

I pray that our Growth Groups have and excellent time talking it out this week.

Here's a quote I used in 1st and 3rd but overlooked in the 2nd. . .

Are there problems raised by this Biblical doctrine of the absolute sovereignty of God in providence and grace? Of course there are. Everything that god reveals of Himself transcends man’s comprehension; every doctrine, therefore, must of necessity terminate in mystery, and man must humbly acquiesce in having it so. God does not tell men more of His purpose than man needs to know.
--J.I. Packer

What difference should these truths about the grace of God make in our lives this week?


Tim Weaver said...

I had two takeaways.

One was that I can ask God "why" all that I want, but as soon I'm asking as His judge or demanding an answer, then I'm cutting myself off. Just like I can't enjoy fellowship with any other person while accusing them I can't do it with my Savior.

The other is the way to battle my attitude. First, humble myself and admit that I'm selfish and envious and repent of it. Then think about how much the Lord has blessed me and rejoice in that.

I think that one of the true tests is if I can genuinely (without heartache or longing) rejoice with those that the Lord is blessing in same way that I want to be blessed but haven't.

Jeannett Gibson said...

You know those Sunday mornings when you sit in the service, and know that somehow God had this all planned out just for you to hear?

Well, that's what happened with me this week. Just the previous Friday night I had a silly fit. I'm a brat and I know it. I have this stupid dynamic that plays out in myself: I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that God knows whats best for me, that His time is infintely better than anything I can plan, and that I am more blessed than I could have ever imagined.

BUT, I have these moments where I angrily cry out through hot tears how unfair it all is, and how much more I deserve or want. That yea, things are pretty good...but maybe not good ENOUGH. Sure, it could be worse, but it could also be better...and so, I get angry and throw a temper tantrum not much more mature than that of a 3 year old wanting a cookie before dinner.

And then, my wonderful husband reminds me of how ungrateful and ridiculous I am being...and rather than humbly agree, I rattle off all the reasons that I'm justified in feeling the way I do. And he leaves the room to my own devices. At which point I get mad at myself: my brain and my heart seem to forget to communicate all too often. I KNOW and I have SEEN and EXPERIENCED God's blessings and delayed gratification. I know all the right answers, I know what all the right things are to say, I can get 100% on the test...But still, my heart doesn't always remember or feel that way. I have moments in my life, that at the time seemed to be the WORST possible thing to happen...and years later, I look back and thank God with all my heart that my plan didn't win out. So, why then, do I still have these internal battles with myself? Why do I still get mad and frustrated and indignant at God?

I don't know, but I do know that my prayers have to somehow plead with God that my brain and my heart are more aligned than they currently are. And be glad that no matter how much I plead, God knows what's best and will proceed accordingly...

Suzette Lyons said...

My most humbling thoughts are of the things that I have complained bitterly about and then found to be God's powerful blessing in my life. Oh! If I had had my way I would have missed it.

I know that feeling of something being planed just for me by God. After our discussion on accountability on the blog I found this quote:

"But the principle of accountability in the Bible means much more than just telling another person how we have done
with our particular problem that week. It means that we should hold our entire lives accountable to those believers we have joined ourselves with. It is one of the tremendous tools the Lord has given us in our own personal war with sin."

I think Jeannett in her post summarized the whole study we did last year in Herritage Builders on "the enemy within" by Kris Lundgaard. Even the solution - plead with God for heart change. Lungaard says it this way "Sin can't breath in an atmosphere of fear and reverence before God. It suffocates."

I too am blessed to have accountability right here at home. I pray that God will open my ears and I will listen to my husband when he is providing much needed godly counsel. (I hope he doesn't read this.)

Lisa Lewis said...

I believe the difference that the truth of the grace of God needs to make in our lives daily is that we begin to recognize each person we come in contact with, whether known personally or a complete stranger, is deserving of God's grace just as much as we are. I am so often living in opposition to what James spells out in chapter 1 verse 19 and 20, "Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry for the anger of man (people) does not achieve the righteousness of God." If I truly was quick to listen I might hear the need of my brother or sister for compassion rather than my being quick to speak and quick to anger when some one has offended or disappointed me. Slowing down to listen is so vital in relationship. We need to develop a common acceptance of one another to be able to give and receive grace. How about simply on the basis of a person's humanity? That qualifies them as part of God's creation and therefore intrinsically valuable to Him and, by our adoption, they are valuable to each of us. Maybe if we think about how truly undeserving of God's favor we are, we might be more likely to see we are on a level playing field in life and therefore more willing to be despensing grace to those we meet.

Tom Ramler said...

Why me?

If it depends on me I will never be found in His presence.

If it is given to me by the scale I use to measure, I will never obtain all He has to offer.

Like Jeannette, I am so egocentric! I take pride in my efforts to be humble. Next thing you know I'll be wearing phylacteries!

The great news comes from the parable. God gives because of who He is, not who I am. When I am enthralled with Him, I could care less about His treatment of the other workers in the vineyard.

Yippie! Yahoo!!
It's harvest time. Yes, there is alot to do but everyone eats tonight. Nobody cares who did what as long as were all at the table.