Wednesday, March 5, 2008

cReATinG in mE a nEw hEaRt...

It has been so long since my last post, but I have been busy...! Not doing art and certainly not blogging. I am in a season of change. I say that with the hope that I am giving all glory to God for it. I have been blessed to be at church where I've been involved in small group studies for years now. Currently, I am in an ladies' group of an inductive study of I Peter, 2 Peter and Jude--which is incredible---I love breaking down the scriptures verse by verse and really getting fed. My pastor has been doing a series of sermons on change since the start of the New Year--very powerful stuff. It's been an incredible series. I'm also doing a short, four week study that an area Pastor's wife is holding at her house on Monday nights. I felt like since it was only four weeks I could handle it. It's themed around CJ Mahaney's, "Cross Centered Life." Wow, what an amazing and thought provoking little book. Who knew that my life wasn't about me being happy or fulfilled!??? If you did, why didn't you tell me!?? In all seriousness, this is a concept I was well aware of...but I wasn't truly getting it. OR if I was getting it, I wasn't living it...no, I wasn't getting it! Therefore, I wasn't living it.
I have been doing these studies and God has definitely been giving me homework. It's been a rough few weeks, but I know that there are many things about my life that are changing for the better. I am one of those people that needs a big event to help the truth get through my thick skull. Even with my artsy stuff, which I love--I was letting that be an idol in my life. If I am a Christian then my life ought to be Christ centered. Always returning to the fact that Jesus laid down His life for me. The first chapter of this book opens with a question, "What's at the center of yours?" ['yours' referring to life]. "Think about it for a moment" Mahaney continues, "What's really the main thing in your life? Only one thing can truly be first in priority; so what's at the top of your list, second to none? Or let me put it this way: What are you most passionate about? What do you love to talk about? What do you think about most when your mind is free? Or try this: What is it that defines you? Is it your career? A relationship? Maybe it's your family, or your ministry. It could be some cause or movement, or some political affiliation, perhaps your main thing is a hobby or a talent you have, or even your house and possessions. " He continues further on with this: "Here's how Paul answeres that question for us: 'Now I would remind your, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you...For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins.' First importance. Paul is pointing us to the one transcendent truth that should define our lives. In the midst of our various responsibilities and many possible areas of service in the kingdom of God, one overarching truth should motivate all our work and affect every part of who we are: Christ died for our sins...nothing else--not even things that are biblical and honorable--are of equal or greater importance than this: God sent His Son to the cross to bear his wrath for sinners like you and me."
This truth has become so evident to me in the past weeks and months. It has been life changing. I greatly recommend CJ Mahaney's book. I love how he breaks down what he believes are the "three main tendencies in particular that tend to draw us away"...from the gospel:
1. Subjectivism or basing our view of God on our own thoughts and feelings.
2. Legalism or basing our relationship with God on our own performance
3. Condemnation or being more focused on our own sin than God's grace.
paraphrased from Page 16, Mahaney

So, I remember--and try to remain focused on the cross and not myself.
Thanks for reading. I'd love to hear some thoughts on this if you have read the book or want to...

AUTHORS I HIGHLY RECOMMEND at the moment:
John Piper
CJ Mahaney
RC Sproul though I don't share his belief on infant baptism, I think he's a genius
John Macarthur
Elizabeth George
J Vernon McGee
Kay Arthur

2 comments:

Sara Mincy said...

Great stuff! I agree- Focus on the cross! Thanks for the reminder! I have read most of your list of authors, E. George is awesome.

Fee said...

Yip Elizabeth George is mine too! I really enjoyed A woman after Gods own Heart
Thanks for sharing.... i wondered what was a happen' in your life!