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Beauty From the Ashes

31 Aug

“For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37; NASB

I know it’s been a while since I last wrote, but if there was ever a day to start again, it’s today.

31 August brings out a lot of mixed emotions in me.  On one end, it’s the birthday of two of my really good friends, Justin and Veronica (on that note, happy birthday guys).  On the other end, it marks eight years since watching my family lose a very close relative.  Today also would have been the birthday of an old friend, who was taken from us far too soon in 2008.  And throughout recent chaotic events within my family and personal life, the weight of the world easily becomes too much to bear.  And it’s nights like this one at 2:35 in the morning that I remember this struggle doesn’t have to be mine alone.

I struggle sometimes with God’s ability to turn the impossible into reality.  I can’t wrap my mind around the simple fact that He takes the worst and creates beauty from it.  From Tommy’s death, I believed it.  From the time I learned of Matt’s disappearance and death, I knew that from this, God would accomplish the “impossible”; whatever that was.  And I still believe it.  But here I am, eight years later, and I still didn’t believe I had seen the “impossible” accomplished yet.  I expected God to show up in some miraculous form to do some sort of mind-blowing action and instantly reveal that this was the reason for the past events and struggles, but it never happened the way that I made myself think it would.  So I struggled with knowing that all things can be accomplished through Christ.

But God…

“For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.  You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” Psalm 16:10-11; NASB

Through everything, I find my utmost comfort in the simple fact that the Gospel exists.  If there was anything that was the most impossible thing to accomplish, it would be Salvation.  The world and its predisposition for sin ultimately ends any hope of justification on our part.  Yet God gives it to us.  The one thing that cannot be obtained was made available by the Cross.  There, in the centre of the Cross, was the heart that was given unto death so that mine could be free.  The irony is that the origin of life is found in one death, and through that one death, everything is made new in the sight of the Creator.  Nothing remains but His Glory.  And if He can take the wretched, lost soul I was and sanctify it from the bondage of this world, then He can accomplish anything.  The “impossible” that I’ve longed to see has been in front of me this whole time.  Salvation is the great, glorious impossible, and Christ is the foundation of it.  I’ve seen it time and time again, I will continue to see it for the rest of my life, and there is nothing that brings more joy to me than to see or hear someone be brought from death into life.  Thinking back over times I’ve witnessed this or heard stories of it happening, I see where God showed me the impossible being accomplished.  God sent my friend Matt Cooper into the deserts of Senegal this summer.  Matt left behind in Senegal a new believer named “Stephen”, who in his short time as a Christian, has already led multiple people to Christ.  The first time I heard Stephen’s story, I was left speechless.  When I heard of his evangelism in Senegal, I was left in tears.  And it is times like this that God continually uses to give me the strength to press on.

Tonight I got to meet with a few close friends of mine to plan the start of a new event on campus at UT Knoxville.  More details are to come, but if you will be in Knoxville on 20 September at 7:00pm, you need to be there.  In the words of Ben Moser, “Something special is coming for those of you who wouldn’t mind seeing what Jesus is about.”  To meet with a group of guys who all have a passion for teaching, for prayer, for worship, and to see the Gospel spread and plan a way to do so was one of the more encouraging moments I’ve had lately.  Throughout the planning and the conversations and the laughter, the idea of the impossible arose.  And it became clear what our goal should be.  Between all of the churches, ministries, and organizations that pour in resources, time, people, money, and effort into the UTK campus, the Gospel should have reached the entire student body on this campus a long time ago, yet it hasn’t.  The only thing stopping it is us.  There is a major collegiate campus less than a mile from where our meeting was tonight with nearly 28,000 students that call it home.  One Man forever altered the history of the entire world, so why hasn’t a multitude of people not impacted a measly 28,000 students?  As I have stated many times before, the Gospel cannot be tamed, yet we never let loose its full power or potential.  And while reaching an entire campus seems “impossible” to most, so was my salvation at one point before the Cross.

But God…

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Posted by on 31 August 2011 in The Gospel

 

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