“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  (Galatians 2:20)

After my last Blog on “FOD”, I just sense the need to address the, “So now what?”side of things.  That Blog was hard for me to write mainly because I am more of an encourager than a “in your face” kind of guy.  Those of you whom know me, know this to be true.  But sometimes, it’s just hard to watch people dying in their walk with Christ, falling so far they are not even willing to be encouraged.  After posting “FOD”, I have sensed that it was only half way done…so here I am…AGAIN:)

So, why are people giving up and sinking down?  Why are things that used be wrong to us…not wrong anymore?  How can twenty years of seeking to be a Follower of Christ become such labor that someone would cash in their faith for a world they once thought was just a temporary place?  Why I used to lived so “innocently” and “in the box”…was it all “legalism” and now it’s time for “grace”?  Did the church and preachers have it all wrong as they bashed us with rules for living?

I’m just going to say it as raw as I can, we spend way too much time at the Cross and never visit the empty tomb!  Yep, quote me now!  This is it!  I know this to be true because I spent most of my years as a Believer TRYING to do this life right…even as a pastor, always failing and continuing to have some very strong worldly desires that seemed to amplify over the years rather than die off.  I would “judge” others in their “freedom to sin” and yet wish I could too!  Ok, I’m getting really transparent now but I walk in the same world as you do, struggle and fight daily just like everyone else does.

Do NOT get me wrong…regular visits to the Cross are necessary daily (Luke 9:23), sometimes more often than that for this man!  It is at that place where the impact and finished work for my sin was accomplished completely…completely!  Let me quote Jesus on this, “It is finished!”(John 19:30).  But to talk only about sin and the Cross for our whole lives…well, that can honestly get a bit tiresome…and it has for so many!  I cannot count the times I hear this statement after asking someone about something fresh from the Lord in their lives, “I know I ought to be more active in church and more involved…”.  It just seems the focus is on what we are doing rather than what Christ has done…at the Cross AND at the empty tomb!

I just don’t think we visit the empty tomb enough…or ever!  We cannot forget about the other half of the Gospel message…the empty tomb…the Resurrection!  This verse in Galatians I quoted at the beginning of this Blog says, “…I live…”.  The Cross is death but the empty tomb is life…the Resurrected life!  The Christian life is BOTH, death AND life.  In my opinion, the church has taught “duty” but has not taught the Believer about “life”.  So, here we are in bankruptcy of any enjoyment or passion…we are too tired to have those…too tired from rowing the boat of all our sin, not seeming to gain some ground in any form.

So, what is “life”?  Simply put…Jesus!  Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies…” (John 11:25).  I think we really and toally underestimate what the word “live” means.  If all I do is wake up to die for my whole life as a Believer…if that is it, I’d just toss up the White Flag and move on.  If all we do is die and spend no time living….Geeezzz, no wonder why so many are falling away!  So, what does “living” look like?  Is it boring?  Is it a bunch of do not’s?

Oh, one more thing before I talk about what it means to “live”, it’s scary!  I think that’s why so many choose “grace” as a license to indulge in some stuff and then calls that “living”.  We ALWAYS gravitate towards the “explainable” and rarely visit the unexplainable.  Why is it scary?  Because it is completely radical and contrary to anything of this world!  It is all pretty much unseen stuff!  If you need handles to grab onto all day long to prove things exist…well, “living” will just frustrate the fire out of you!  Thank God, many have made to the “empty tomb” to prove it exists!

“Living” is this, BEING that which God has made you for!  “Living” is not buying things to have a blast with.  “Living” is not a feeling you get when you medicate on whatever it is that makes you “feel good”.  Anything that does not last more than a buzz is “medication”, not “living”.  This probably sounds a bit “airy” or “undefined”.  You were hoping for more from me, weren’t you?  All I can say is this, I made lots of visits to the Cross but never really balanced it with visits to the “empty tomb”.  A major trial came along and it almost caused me to give up…well, I wanted to give up and I even did a few times.  But God refused my letter of resignation…He kept returning it!  Little did I know, He used the trial to cause me to learn to “live”.

People, I wasn’t made to DO…I was made to BE!  Wooohoooooo, there it is!  “Living is BEING a child of God…that’s where it begins.  BEING a child of God means faith…as if I believe God loves me no matter what.  Then, because of the “no matter what”, instead of doing what I want…I do what He made me for!  Because I am a child of God, I do what He has made me to do!  Make sense?  Get this, I love to travel, I love people and I love building financial and entrepreneurial stuff, building up staff’s of people and project management.  Guess what I am doing now?  God ushered me into a totally radical invitation to travel to nations, to encourage people in the Faith, to develop and train people to become Instigators of the Gospel to their own nation, develop trainers that can train their own people…and raise funds to do this!  Man, if it were up to me and my sin…I would have settled for very little in comparison and called it “living!”

Gosh, if I spent all day working just so I can afford some things I want to buy…is that really life?  I am so glad “church” is not a definition of who I am!  I am also glad “doing more” isn’t the definition of who I am!  I am who I am because Christ died AND rose again!  As much as I participated in his death, I also have participated in his Resurrection!  I think we need to be careful not to apply what we have experienced as a definition of “living” until we actually “live”!

Back to “scary”…what if, in order to “live”, you might have to move!  What if, in order to “live” you might have to forgive!  What if, in order to “live” you might just have to experience something new…like making a difference in peoples lives rather than joining in junk with those that have no hope! The old saying that was waaaay overused, “Let Go and Let God…”.  I say, RUN TO THE TOMB!  Ask God to show you “living” and then just sit there for a while.  Go to the Cross, but go to the empty tomb too.  When you approach and ask God for forgiveness, also ask for a Resurrection life while you are there!  Major on the Resurrection as much as you major in dying to your sin.

Love the Church, love you!