Opening your eyes on a surprise!

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Surprise is a perfect word for Grace. The dictionary says surprise is “an unexpected or astonishing event, fact or thing.” Grace is both those things. It is completely unexpected because we are all expecting something else from God. You see, we know that God is a perfectionist which pretty much leaves us out of any hope of pleasing Him. Our only chance is that God might, after all is said and done, grade on the curve. The curve is when our grades are not determined by an external standard, but by how everyone else did. If everyone else did poorly on a test and yet we did less poorly than most others, we would get a high grade and pass. It’s totally a grade by comparison. It’s our only chance against a very high standard, and when it comes to God, you surely can’t get much higher.

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How to know if you have Grace or pop-grace

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When you think about it, there is really no such thing as Grace alone without being Grace turned outward. I don’t think you can have it. When you receive Grace, it forever changes the playing field. It removes the competition. It erases “us” and “them” (there is just “us” — all of us). It’s basically game over on comparison, measurement and judgment.

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The state of Marti & John

John, trying to figure it out.

John, trying to figure it out.

Last night was supposed to be the State of the Catch. Well, after last night, I can only say that the state of the Catch is filled with hope, but the state of John and Marti, however, is another thing. We’re the ones running an Internet ministry and we can’t operate a cell phone? It was a comedy of errors made more blatant by the fact that we had worked so hard to get as many people watching live as possible.

It started with a creative idea of Marti’s to introduce my talk with a short video using the song, “Wide Angle.” The fun part was that it involved a number of you taking part and that made it great. But then we realized we could not introduce a live broadcast with a pre-recorded piece, so we decided the idea warranted pre-recording the whole thing.

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‘I Want You’

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Tonight I’m going to talk a lot about Grace Turned Outward — why it is our identifier here at the Catch, and why it is so important to who we are. We are Grace Turned Outward, and we are not required to bring anything to this equation except ourselves and a willing heart.

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If I can’t see you, you can still see me

Where I once was afraid to open up my eyes
Now this wide angle has turned my fear into surprise
From “Wide Angle” by John Fischer

IMG_1233I can’t wait to see your videos. “It is nothing short of a miracle that I am doing this in a bathing suit,” Linda wrote along with hers from a swimming pool in the Dominican Republic. “I am a recovering compulsive eater who had huge body issues and I am also recovering from the legalism of a very strict Pentecostal church, which I still love in many other ways … so, take what you like and leave the rest.” How beautiful is that? We like it all, Linda!

How we all like to hide. We’re like little kids who think if we cover our faces, and can’t see anyone, that no one can see us. Opening our eyes means not only seeing, but being seen, and being seen is the hardest.

I have huge issues about being seen, too, Linda. I’m always afraid someone’s going to find out the truth about me. The truth is, I’m not realizing the full capacity of what I can be in Jesus Christ. I’m not stepping into the greatness of the Holy Spirit.  I talk about it, but hardly ever do it. I prefer to be small, and to hide. You can’t see me; I can’t see you.

I’m always afraid the truth about me is going to ruin my reputation. Well that’s silly, because my reputation means nothing. My reputation is all about me, and the first thing we know about the ministry is that it’s not about me. It’s not about any of us. It’s who Christ is in us, and no one can see who Christ is in us if we keep our hands over our faces. Actually if there is anything that’s going to destroy my ministry, it’s my reputation. My reputation is my worst enemy. IMG_1234

Stepping into the greatness of the Holy Spirit means also stepping into the reality of myself and whatever I don’t want you to know about me. That’s the way this works. The power only comes out of the vulnerability. The power comes through our weaknesses, not our strengths. So open up your eyes. Not only can you see, then, you can be seen, and that’s when the light can shine.

 

STATE OF THE CATCH16

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How important are you?

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I received a special book in the mail this week. It’s not an officially-published book. It doesn’t list a publisher or an ISBN number. You won’t find it in the Library of Congress. Still, it is beautifully, yet simply bound in a brown paper cover with a logo for a title, “Remembering Glen Dawson: A Collection of Tributes.”

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Let the fun begin

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Now when you take all this wild, unpredictable and unimaginable love and acceptance that God bestows on us way by His grace and turn it out towards others … that’s when the fun really begins.

You can care for someone who doesn’t care for you. That’s Grace turned Outward.

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Grace doesn’t play by the rules

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Who can understand God’s Grace? Who can fathom its depth? Who can stretch as far as it can?  Who can know what it is going to do? Who can plan on it showing up?

On one hand, there is cause and effect; sowing and reaping; an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth; truth and consequences; every action and its reaction; even karma. We understand these principles; they seem to be built into the framework of the universe. We can count on them working. And then along comes Grace and cancels them all. What?

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