Two Ways Jesus’ Resurrection Impacts You

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During the forty days between his resurrection and ascension, Jesus appeared to his disciples and prepared them to spread the good news in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (see Acts 1:8). In this brief period of time, the significance of the resurrection became personal for them. They learned how it would change their lives. It changes our lives, too. As I processed the reality of Jesus’ resurrection and the implications it has for our lives, I noticed two right away.

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He Gives Us Peace and a Mission

He makes us at peace with him and then asks us to get busy sharing that peace with others. Just look at John’s account of Jesus first appearing to his disciples the evening of his resurrection.

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

John 19-22 (NIV)

Because Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, we can stand firm, letting nothing move us, giving ourselves fully to sharing the good news, knowing that our labor is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). That is another kind of peace Christ’s resurrection offers us: peace in the sending. We don’t have to worry about the results.

Sent as the Father Sent Jesus

Jesus says he sends his disciples as the Father sent him. So, how and why did the Father send Jesus?

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The Art of Self-Disclosure: Knowing What to Share, When, and With Whom

I shared in a previous blog post, Don’t Hide Your Crazy, the importance of sharing our untidy stories and struggles as a means of helping others. In today’s post we look at an important corollary: we must discern what, when, and with whom we share. That’s where it can get tricky. Some may consider those two concepts mutually exclusive, but they actually go hand in hand.

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I’ve struggled with this issue for most of my life. At times I’ve been so afraid of letting my real self show that I would only relate to others on a very superficial level. That left me lonely and feeling as if I was the only person wrestling with the kinds of thoughts, feeling, and experiences I was going through.

Then, there was a period where the pendulum swung to the opposite extreme. I would indiscriminately blab my deepest, most personal experiences and thoughts to anyone. That bit me! I learned, after being burned a few times, why that is a reckless way to share.

The key isn’t a one-size-fits-all level of self-disclosure. Rather, it is a process for intentionally determining the best level of disclosure for the current situation.

By “best” I mean the level at which you are being authentic, sincere, and able to be of help to the person(s) with whom you are communicating. It also means, the level at which you are emotionally and physically safe and at which you are not sharing information the other person doesn’t need or want to hear.

Divine Self-Disclosure is Authentic and Discerning

God gives us a wonderful example of self-disclosure in the way he revealed his glory to Moses in Exodus 33:18 – 34:8. In a moment of great need, Moses asked to see God’s glory: a full revelation of God. The Lord explained that Moses could not see the full glory of God and live. Instead, God revealed as much of himself as was beneficial to Moses. When he met with Moses on Mt. Sinai, he revealed to Moses his divine nature and his plans for the covenant relationship between God and his people. This revelation sustained and refreshed Moses so he could handle the enormous challenges he faced.

Later, Jesus would similarly reveal his divine nature on a mountain to a small group of carefully chosen disciples (see the account of Jesus’ Transfiguration in Matthew 17:1-13, Mark 9:2-13, and Luke 9:28-36). Notice how he entrusts this revelation to them and how they respect that trust by honoring the limits Jesus placed on their sharing of the experience. Again, the revelation would equip the recipients to fulfill their mission and calling.

God reveals God’s self in an authentic way in each of these examples. He also models the use of discernment and discretion in both accounts. While these examples don’t provide us a cookie-cutter formula for determining how much of ourselves we should reveal in every situation, there are some principles demonstrated in these stories which will help inform our decision-making process.

From my study of scripture and my own experience, I’ve developed a process I use when trying to determine what to reveal, when, and with whom. The process involves assessing three things. You might find it helpful to print out the infographic outlining the key steps of the process. To get a copy sized to print on letter-sized paper, just click the button or image below.

 

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I’ll go over these steps in more detail during the remainder of this post.

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How to Apply God’s Truth in Your Daily Life

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The author of Ecclesiastes cautions there is no end to the amount of study one can do and reminds us amassing knowledge is not the point. He concludes his words of wisdom by saying the Scriptures spur us on to obedience. God calls us to engage in a reverent, loving relationship with him and obey his commands (Ecclesiastes 12:9–14). I love to learn but too often I’m guilty of not putting what I’ve learned into action. Can you relate? How can we be more intentional about applying the truth we learn from the Bible in our daily life?

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Application Starts with Study

We can’t apply what we don’t know or understand. So, we must start with studying the Bible in such a way as to gain access to the eternal truth revealed therein.

For this post, I’m going to assume you know how to study your Bible. If you need some help in that area, you may wish to read my posts: 7 Common Sense Keys to Unlocking Life-Changing Truth and How to Enjoy Reading the Bible and Get More Out of Your Time in It. In those you’ll find tips and links to helpful resources related to sound interpretation and study of Scripture.

Learning is not the end we work toward, though. We want to activate the truth in our life by reverently loving God and doing what he commands (Ecc 12:13).

I’ve broken down the process into the following easy to follow guide. Be sure to get the FREE Checklist that summarizes these steps. Just click the image above or the button below and I’ll email you the guide instantly.

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Now for the rest of the process…

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Warning: Grace Will Compel You Out of Your Comfort Zone

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LiveFree Thursday I’m excited to be part of Suzanne Eller’s #LiveFree Thursday linkup. The following post ties into her prompt, ‘into the deep.’ Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #LiveFree. Check out Suzanne’s post as well as all the other authors participating in the linkup.  And grab the FREE BOOKMARKS I’ve made you with some Scripture verses about courage and compassion. I pray the words of these Scriptures encourage you go bravely and lovingly into the deep places of need you encounter this week.

When we care about someone, we hurt when they hurt. When their plight is so big that we feel powerless to make a dent in the situation, it can be easier to just avoid getting involved. What makes us lean into the pain instead of flee from it?

Weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15

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When I look into someone’s eyes and see deep pain, I am distressed by my pathetic efforts to have a meaningful effect on their situation. But I remember what it felt like to be miserable, feel unlovable, and have someone look into my eyes and bear my pain with me.

Little moments of grace did have an impact on me. It mattered to me when someone entered into my mess, even though my mess remained.

And that gives me some consolation that even though my little drop in the bucket won’t eradicate the whole situation of someone’s suffering, I can at least show them they matter. I may feel worse after the encounter, but hopefully, the person I reached out to will feel better in some way.

Giving Grace Can Be Painful

Caring about someone does mean we will hurt when they hurt. And yet, when one has received grace one feels compelled to offer grace, even if it hurts. Shutting out the ache that results from compassionate engagement only shuts us in a self-centered, lonely prison.

I feel deeply ashamed at how often I find myself slamming that cell door in an attempt to avoid discomfort. Sitting in my illusion of a pain-proof existence, I am completely undone when I consider how much agony Jesus endured to leave the glory of heaven and enter into the disarray of our hopeless situation. If he had not participated in our suffering I would still be without hope. We all would.

In my case, and perhaps in yours, people who had experienced Jesus’ grace in their lives were willing to enter into the uncomfortable chaos of my life and show me grace. What if they had stayed in their safe little comfort zones instead?

Compelled by Grace Not Guilt

It isn’t guilt that pushes open the door of the bunker in which I barricade myself from feeling the suffering of others. It is the awareness of the grace that has been poured into me which compels me out the door.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that although he was rich, he became poor for your sakes, so that you by his poverty could become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9 NET)

Grace is offered freely to us and we give it freely to others. But make no mistake, being a grace-giver costs us. But I think it’s a price worth paying. Lord, give me the courage and the will to pay it.

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Courageous Compassion Bookmarks

Don’t forget to request this special set of bookmarks I’ve made for you. Let them encourage you, or someone you know, with the courage and compassion of our courageously compassionate God.

Just click the button below and I’ll email the set to you instantly.

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Jeff Goins’ post, The Beginning of Compassion: How to Be a Better Person, moved me. This post actually began as a comment I left on his blog. He beautifully put into words the pain that comes with compassionate involvement.

Hopefully, you’ll join in this conversation that spans multiple blogs by leaving a comment here on my blog. I’d love to hear about your experiences.

How about you? How do you deal with the pain that goes along with loving others? What makes you willing to enter in the deep, messy situations of others when you know it is going to be painful for you to do so? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

You Can Give a Gift with Eternal Significance

Evilyn Pinnow started a Shoe Box Club when she was just eight years old to help kids less fortunate. When Operation Christmas Child heard about her passion for the project, they thought she was the perfect fit to carry the 100 millionth shoe box gift across the country and celebrate this milestone with local volunteers.  “When I started the Shoe Box Club, I never thought I’d be part of a project that would help 100 million needy kids,” said Evilyn.

Photo courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse

Evilyn’s journey began last year on Nov. 8 in her hometown of Fort Atkinson, Wis., with a Shoe Box Club packing party. There, kids from her club made special wrapping paper for the box using their own handprints. Following this event, Evilyn traveled to nine cities across the U.S. where local volunteers added a unique item to the box. The tour culminated on Wednesday, Dec. 5, in the Dominican Republic where Evilyn personally hand-delivered the 100 millionth shoe box gift to a little girl living in extreme poverty.

This year, Operation Christmas Child celebrates its 20th anniversary and expects to collect another 9.8 million shoebox gifts. Packed inside each special box are items such as colored pencils, a stuffed animal, a jump rope, candy canes, a t-shirt, toiletries and more to help bring Christmas cheer and eternal hope to the young child who will receive it. While most American children would take these items for granted, in the impoverished areas where the boxes are delivered school supplies and basic clothing make a huge difference. However, the boxes offer much more than just physical items to make life more bearable. The gifts are a tangible demonstration of God’s love, offering hope and reassurance.

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Why Me? Why am I doing this?

What in the world am I doing starting a ministry? In 1991, I sauntered into my first Bible study with a chip on my shoulder the size of Mount Rushmore and a skepticism exceeded only by my cynicism. Decades later, I still ask tons of questions and don’t like simplistic answers. So why begin a ministry designed to spark conversations about how God’s truth and grace intersect with our real lives?

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Why am I starting this ministry?

Because God’s truth  and grace have transformed me from a broken cynic into a passionate disciple who wants to share the journey with others who ask questions, seek truth, and need grace. I want to share what God has done and is doing in my life and the lives of others. I want to share resources and information that will make a relationship with God real and relevant.

Why? So people who are hurting, broken, cynical, and skeptical like I was can know the peace, joy, and purpose that flow from a relationship with Jesus. And, so those of us who are believers can grow in truth and grace.

You’re Invited to the Party

My intention is for this blog to be like a great dinner party. As host, I’ll provide the setting and get the conversational ball rolling. I hope to have some interesting discussions with and among my guests. So, jump in and share your thoughts in the comments so this is a conversation and not a monologue.

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