‘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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Grace Turned Outward. What does it mean?

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We’ve been forgiven, so we forgive.
We’ve been loved, so we love.
We’ve been freely accepted, so we accept others freely.
We’ve been given mercy, so we are merciful.
We have escaped judgment, so we do not judge.
We’ve been welcomed in, so we welcome all.
The door was opened for us, so we left it open to others.
We are different people from what we were;
We are Grace Turned Outward.

My wife pointed out to me yesterday that we don’t always forgive; we don’t always love; we don’t always accept others freely; we aren’t always merciful; we often judge; we are not always welcoming; and we sometimes close the door behind us because we don’t want to let just anybody in. I realized what I had created in this list was the ideal — the perfect. I should have mentioned that.

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Turning Grace Outward

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Just like Grace Turned Outward, all God’s gifts change us permanently. They not only affect something in us, they affect the way we see and treat others around us. Grace doesn’t just stop with my receiving it; it goes on in the way I give it out. The way we are treated will affect the way we treat others.

This is an important part of receiving from God; it changes us. You can’t receive God’s grace without giving it out to others. You can’t receive what you don’t deserve and then go out and make everyone else pay.

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Managing differences

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So I’ve learned about two things this week that it would be best for me to avoid writing about: racism, and either one of the candidates during an election year. I don’t know enough about either to act like an expert. So my apologies if I offended anyone. As much as I would like to think of myself as a social commentator, I am not. And I especially apologize for coming off like I know what I’m talking about when I don’t.

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