28 March 2016

working with us.

I was so caught up in the day that I entirely forgot to take pictures...and you know I have a picture-taking problem...and I only share with you about 10% of the pictures I DO take :)
Ah, Sofie.  :)
But a lot of the day happened mostly in my heart, and wouldn't have shown up on camera, anyway.

Last night I was reading through all four Gospel accounts of the resurrection and what happened NEXT.  Who did Jesus appear to?  What did He do?  What did He say?  What did He leave them with?

Sometimes, I'm reading His Word to grow and learn more and go deeper.  Sometimes I'm reading because that is what I do, simply out of practice.  And sometimes I'm reading it because I need something.  Or a lot of somethings.  Or anything.

As I looked last night at the resurrected life, I was reminded that He not only beat death and darkness, not only arose from the grave, not only ascended into heaven, but also promised that He is WITH us. Always.  Even to the very end.

But I also came across a passage I've never really noticed before...Mark 16.  "Jesus sent them out, and then was received up to heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.  And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word."

It was my now what.

Confession : Sometimes I go through heavy stages of getting incredibly caught up with the idea that maybe I'm not doing enough.  

I worry that I should be doing more.  I worry about the many things not being done.  I think of the ten people behind each one person I encounter.  We need a break, so we take one, and I worry that I shouldn't be breaking.  Someone needs help, so we help them, and I worry about ten others.  I teach a class, and then worry I should be doing a Bible study.  I meet with someone and pray with them, and worry about someone else I should have met with.  I worry that maybe I'm spending time on the wrong things and forgetting to do the right things, and then I worry about which is which.

You get the picture.

It's a downward spiral, it messes greatly with the secret of being content, it breeds doubt and self-disappointment, and it is a road never satisfied.  It dwells entirely on me and what I do, and how it will never. ever. ever. be. enough.  And that gets consuming quickly.

Knowing all this rises up in me to fight it...to dwell at His feet until He frees me again from the insatiable agony of earning His pleasure.

So I've been fighting.  And something about this study last night released me.

He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel...and they went out and preached, and the Lord worked with them."

I mean, what freedom!  What simplicity.

Get out there and preach and be and live the Gospel.  And the Lord will work with you.

Suddenly, I felt like I had all I needed right in my lap...and it is usually when I realize that all I need is Christ that I realize this realization is from Christ!

It doesn't say to start 13 studies and small groups, to make sure not one person ever gets overlooked, to cook for everyone and their mother, to never rest, to help every single person in my path, to do more and more and more.

It says to get out there.  To preach the Gospel.  And that the Lord will work with me.

Tonight as the sun was going down and we were welcoming back many dear students, they shared how they were out.  How they shared the Gospel...and it was with joy that I could see that the Lord, MY Lord, our RISEN Lord, was working WITH them.

Do I worry that any of them, therefore, did not do enough?

Of course not.

He is RISEN.

He did enough.  He's done enough.  And the risen Christ asks us to preach Him, crucified and resurrected, and that He will work with us.

This morning at 6:30, we (all of us, WITH hair done and shoes on, people) were 10 miles down the road as Matt preached to a crowd of about 75.

He preached about Mary, and about how Jesus didn't rise again and come and wake her up.  He didn't raise from the dead and go chasing after people celebrating.  Instead, Mary sought Him, and He came to Mary in her agony, in her weeping, in her confusion...and even then she didn't know Him.  But He came to her, and He called her by name, and that changed everything.

"It's in THOSE moments, the broken ones," Matt said, "That He is RISEN.  It is in those moments of agony that He is right in front of us, Risen."

Laying that on top of my study from last night double-blessed me...It is IN my insufficiency that He is Risen, more than conqueror, overcome.  It is in my uncertainty and worry that He is Risen.  It is in my concern that I am not enough, that I am not doing enough, that He has put to death...that He is Risen.

Take all that, and add in just a fantastic day...with church and breakfast this morning, family this afternoon, cooking together and playing games, enjoying being outside and a big Easter dinner at 3 with lots of dear friends (so refreshing, Godly relationships!), awesome conversation, welcoming back students, and basketball as the sun went down--a day truly revolving around who He is and relationship instead of who I am and performance--
He is Risen, indeed...in me.

Setting out this week to live in the simplicity of Christ...to go and to preach the Gospel, while the Risen Lord works with me.

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