Wednesday, August 28, 2013
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2: 8-10
I have used the word Grace and heard it used too many times to count in my many years as a believer. However, last night I had the privilege to experience this word in a way that I am truly still spinning from!
The word Grace is defined as "unmerited favor", that is...favor that you do not in anyway shape or form deserve. It is truly a gift, straight from the Hand of God, given to those who choose to accept it. I love how my Pastor explains Grace. He speaks of how God loves to "lavish" us with His Grace. To "lavish" means to bestow something in generous or extravagant quantities upon.
Well, last night I was "lavished" with generous and extravagant quantities of Grace from my God through the words and love that were shown to me by some very precious and beautiful people in my life.
I have had the privilege of serving as a youth leader for my Church for going on 7 years. I have recently felt God leading me in a different direction in ministry and have chosen to step down from youth leadership. Last night I was given an amazing party to celebrate this new season of my life and ministry.
I was surrounded by youth & youth parents both current and past as well as, fellow leaders, friends and my own family. My precious friend Crystal put together a slide show with photos taken during youth events over the past several years. It was all that I could do to contain the great joy and overwhelming emotion I experienced while watching the slide show and listening to the words that were shared.
As I reflect on the verse above I am struck by how much it captures my time in youth ministry. And to think He prepared it all for me "in advance". See, He knew even when I myself was a youth and young adult making horrible choices and compromises in my own life. He Knew He would one day call me out of it! He knew that He had bigger plans for me. I was his "handi-work" and boy did I take some "handi-work":)
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
I will share about one last gift I received last night. I received the gift of understanding redemption as I have never understood it before. It is in understanding Grace I have been able to feel redeemed. Redeemed from my past and forgiven. I now understand in a way that I have never before, that God loves me and believes in me enough, in spite of my past, present or future mistakes. He chose my life to touch others. That is Grace...That is Redemption.
I close with a chorus from one of my favorite songs by Bob Marley. I believe it is the perfect way to end this blog...
"Redemption Song"- Bob Marley
Old pirates, yes, they rob I;
Sold I to the merchant ships,
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit.
But my hand was made strong
By the 'and of the Almighty.
We forward in this generation
Won't you help to sing
These songs of freedom? -
'Cause all I ever have: