“The Scandal of grace, He died in my place…”
Scandal (n): an action or event regarded as morally or legally wrong. Today, after a failed attempt of fasting, I decided to take some time to reflect on the year. This year has been an absolute blessing! The scandalous part? Well, I’ve done nothing to deserve it!
Let me try to put things into perspective here for a second. Last December, I made this out-of-the-ordinary decision to drop school, quit my job, and put my social life on hold to complete a semester of Bible School (Bethany Bible School). Since that went pretty well and I had no money to do anything totally adventurous over summer break, I decided it’d only be appropriate to spend my summer volunteering at the first ever bethany teen bible school program (TBS) w/ my church. Then someway, somehow (and totally last minute), I was sponsored to go on a one week missionary trip to Mexico! And JUST after that, I made this radical decision to commit the rest of the year to a missionary project here in Ukraine. No job. No source of income. Two Bible Schools. Two major missionary projects. All paid for by sponsors that I did NOT bring in. And all the while, all my dreams are coming true, I’m meeting new people that are changing my life, I’ve been given opportunities that hardly ever cross people on a daily basis, I’ve hit over 25 states and 4 countries (and counting), and the year isn’t even over yet! I don’t feel like I have done anything to deserve the happiness and fulfillment that I feel today! The whole thing is SCANDALOUS!
I’ve been listening to a whole lot of Carl Lentz lately (the youth pastor at Hillsong NYC). The most recent sermon I listened to really spoke out to me. (Can you guess what it was called?) It was called, “The Scandal of Grace“. I could never talk about the matter at hand as well as Carl did, so whenever you get the chance give it a listen. All I can say, is that the gospel, the life you are living (or for some, the life you could be living) when you give your life COMPLETELY to God is just scandalous!
I look back at where I was 5 years ago today, and had you told me that in 5 years, I’d be on a missionary trip across the globe teaching English as a second language in UKRAINE, I probably would’ve laughed in your face. Especially because at 15 I often questioned the existence of God. As much as I wanted to believe in Him, as far as I was concerned, God has never made himself known to me, therefore there was no way of being certain that He did in fact exist.
Boy was I wrong!
All along, God had been holding me by my right hand! Protecting me! Loving me! And He has opened up to me in more ways than I could ever tell anyone.
I just can’t believe that I had to go through some tough times before I realized it. I see people going through those very problems every day. Even here in Ukraine! I’ve seen children (not only teenagers, CHILDREN) part-take in drugs and alcohol, I’ve seen young ladies sell themselves for a little extra money, I’ve seen people with drug addictions, young minds poisoned by these worldly pleasures, broken families, adulterers, I’ve heard women crying and begging her drunk husband to come home to the children, murders, masterbation, pornography, anything, you name it- it’s here!
It’s everywhere. You can ignore it, you can try to hide it, but the reality is, that it’s out there, and it could be the person standing next to you… Maybe it’s you.
I haven’t got a story that involves me overcoming a heroin addiction or witnessing a murder- no nothing like that. But in my time of darkness, weakness, hopelessness, Jesus was my light. When He held me and I turned on Him and spit in His face, He never let me go. And although I did absolutely nothing to deserve it, He died so that I can be made new again! Scandalous.
If you have the time, or maybe you feel like you want to hear just a little bit more about how crazy awesome God is, then you can follow some of these links 🙂 These are just a few of my favorites by the one and only Carl Lentz!
- The Scandal of Grace
- The Problem To Your Problems
- That Girl is Poison
- Psalm 23/ Sweet Jesus
- Living in God’s Time
- I Was Born For This
And here are some I haven’t personally heard yet, but I’m sure they’re just as amazing (I mean, we both know these are here mostly so I don’t have to hunt down the links next time I want to listen to a sermon).
- The Mask Must Go
- Unfinished Business Run Your Race
- Work Your Faith
- Holy Spirit
- 2015 Is Your Year
- Change Your Mind Change Your Life
- A Breaking Point
- Your Time is Now
- I’m in Transition
- It’s Time to Shut it Down
There are tons more, feel free to share the links in the comments section if I missed one that I absolutely can’t miss!
See you soon my fellow Sacramentonians! Can’t wait to share my stories! This one’s for you!