Killer Preaches Love: 7/26-27/2014
I spent this last week on my college campus, which means I spent the week revisiting memories of the past and my former self. I stood at the top of a big hill my 21 year-old self was brave (stupid) enough to skateboard down. I relived all kinds of embarrassing, defining moments. Some of them felt so long ago and far away that they didn't even feel like my own memories. Some felt so close and so real, I was living them all over again.
I thought about how we are all converts. If we do this life right, we grow in wisdom. We become different people. But there are also things we never lose. In the best conversion stories, some of who we are is lost, and some is redeemed.
In Saul-Paul's story, told powerfully this weekend by Joe Boyd, we see how Christ transforms Paul. We see how dramatically Paul goes from overseeing the killing of Christians to calling people to be Christians. He loses the worst of who he was while keeping the best of who he was.
It's good for us to remember this side of Paul, especially when we read his letters filled with descriptions of love and grace and forgiveness. He is the one, after all, who reminds us just how scandalous grace can be. Not just with his words, but with his own life story.
The end of this series is a great time to read one of Paul's letters:
To see him as a pastor, answering some of life's most intimate and pressing questions for what it means to follow Jesus, start reading 1 Corinthians.
To hear him speak to one of his favorite churches about what it means to live selflessly, read the short letter to the Philippians.
To learn what Paul sounds like when he's defending the idea of grace, read his letter to the Galatians on faith and freedom.
To spend some more time with his great conversion moment and how Paul's past haunted him and how his future motivated him, zoom in on 2 Corinthians 10-13. This is where Paul speaks these Scandalous words he heard from Jesus:
"My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness."
Listen to the weekend message