Jesus' Love and Grace is for Everyone. Yes, everyone.
Pretty Simple, huh? Yet it's crazy how this works, because we will never be able to fully comprehend or explain this fact to you. Logic alone can't do it justice. But deep down in our bones, we know that The Apostle John gets it, and meant it when he told this story:
There was an incredibly religious guy named Nicodemus who came to Jesus and said, "everything we see you do points to you being a teacher who is from God, and that God is with you." Jesus replies in a really odd way and says, "you need to be born again."
Nicodemus, like any of us, asks the obvious question: How...is that...supposed to happen? It works to go out, but back in - and then out again? Maybe there is something both Nicodemus and we are missing here. Jesus replies to his question by saying that this works, “Like the Wind”.
He goes on to say that "we can't control, fully understand, or see the wind...but still know that it is there. And, in the same way, Jesus tells him that he also needs to experience fresh water and a fresh spirit." To put this a bit differently: Nicodemus, and all of us, need a quenching of our deepest longing and a freeing of our very essence.
Do you long for this? We do too.
Jesus tells him, "all of this is offered to you and will be accomplished when I give my life for everyone that whoever believes in me may have life, and may have it to the full." This flies in the face of all of our fears, doubts, and worries and here is the truth: Jesus came that all would experience his love, grace, and eternal life.
God so loved the world, that he gave himself, because he desires that we all know him deeply and intimately at the core of who we are.
There is no greater truth.
We are not even going to try to explain its magnitude. But together, that is what we are going to explore. Not just the idea of it, but a journey into grace and love that is so tangible that you can feel, smell, and taste it.
That is our hope, and that is why we are gathering together, serving others, and having so much fun together. This exploration is an invitation into an incredible journey of relationship with God and with each other. This relationship begins first by simple acknowledgement of a hard to accept reality - a paradigm shift in looking at who we are.
We are loved.
Understanding that we are loved moves us to an invitation to breathe fresh air. This lung-filling and releasing is the oldest way of true living, restored. Not a to-do list, but instead a free gift. Jesus came to feel, experience, know, and breathe-in the full human experience. He had so much compassion for those he created that he couldn't take the separation any longer. It took everything he had, and he gave it all; so that we all could breathe salvation forevermore. This culminated by him dying a sinner's death, and rising to life again in a way that conquered death itself.
As a songwriter once deemed it: This is amazing grace.
We have been meeting as a community for over a year trying to discover where God has been leading us, what our story is in God's story, and who we are to be. It is only the beginning, but we have already seen this love and grace we are telling you about. Like Jesus, it has took on flesh in our friends' life.
Someone in our community came to faith years ago, and then began following Jesus in a community that measured him by religious benchmarks. This person experienced a form of spiritual abuse that manifested itself in the pressure to 'always move the ball up the field'. That was all they really knew of what a faith-based community looked like. Jesus loved him too much for that to endure and offered him a cool breeze of fresh air. His thirst being quenched at the deepest level.
Together, with other friends in this ever-forming Jesus community, he is beginning to discover that he doesn't have to build an empire. Instead, he can rest in the love and grace of Jesus, and the beauty of being known and accepted by others for who he is.
This love and grace of God is for everyone.
It is for you, for them, for us, and even for our enemies. As we walk together towards this light, we are confident that we will experience:
- Beautiful Stories
- Gut Bursting Laughter
- Unashamed Kindness
- Joy Bursting Forth
- True Freedom
- Honest Love
- Tears Shared
- Shame Destroyed
- Guilt Lifted
- Love Received
- Grace Embraced
That is the hope and goal of our community. That we be loved by God, and live loved as a result of his grace for us.
No matter who you are or what you've done: His love is for you. His grace is for you.
A Seattle Church