Posts Tagged ‘Adrian van Giessen’

Finished“Be confident of this, that the One who began a good work in you will bring it to completion in Christ Jesus.”
–    A letter from Paul, a missionary, to one of the early groups following Jesus of Nazareth

A lot of people who believe there’s a God out there also believe this God has washed His hands of them.

I know I’ve had times in my life where this has happened; I imagine God saying “What? You’ve screwed up again? I’m so tired of having to deal with you…I’m out of here.” And with that, God throws in His spiritual towel and walks away.

Then I heard a pastor, Adrian van Giessen, talk about those words from Paul, one of the men most responsible for telling people about Jesus throughout the Mediterranean.

Adrian’s way of interpreting Paul was this simple: God finishes what He starts.

You and I may tire of something; we may decide all is lost and give up the ghost. But as Adrian put it, there’s not a quitter bone in God’s body.

This means no matter what we do, no matter how many times we screw up, no matter how often we repeat the same mistake, God doesn’t lose hope. He keeps His hard hat, work gloves and tool belt on; He keeps the plan He has for your life squarely in front of Him; and He never, ever gives up on you. Or me.

Now, some might examine their lives and declare God didn’t begin a good work in them at all, so there’s nothing to finish. When I’ve felt this way, I’ve looked to an ancient biography of Jesus for words you might have heard before: God so loved the world that He gave His only son and whoever believes in and seriously follows the son will go on living even after his or her body dies.

Notice the verse simply says ‘the world’, rather than ‘some parts of the world’? That means you and I are on the list of what God loves. So why wouldn’t He start a good work in you, too?

If you believe this, there is an important thing to do: stop dwelling on what happened to you in the past – including the stuff that makes you think God didn’t begin a good work in you – and simply co-operate with Him.

Read the words of Jesus, his followers and the ancient prophets; find out where God stands on the issues, discover how Jesus (who many people believe is His son) prayed to him and what are priorities to God. Then think about your plans, your actions, your thoughts, your strengths and weaknesses and try to put them through a God filter…is this what He wants for your life?

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DeleteKeyI think all us email users can agree on this: often, there is no better button on our keyboard than ‘delete’.

“Earn your degree while you earn a living!” DELETE.

“Browse local Asian singles near you!” DELETE.

“Prepare for a job in law enforcement!” DELETE.

(Ever notice how these spammers are addicted to exclamation marks?)

“Don’t pay your next cable bill without reading this!” DELETE.

As we go through this routine, it occurs to me that most of us probably wish we could whack a delete key on some things that we’ve done and said. Or things we should have done & said, but didn’t.

  • I’d love to erase the hurtful things I’ve said to my wife.
  • I wish I could delete those times I’ve cut off other drivers.
  • I’d sure like to wipe out all those negative thoughts I’ve had about my abilities.
  • I wish I could delete those times when I’ve reacted hastily without getting all the facts.
  • Wouldn’t it be great to erase that dumb thing I did at work last week?

For people like me, who’ve decided to follow Jesus of Nazareth (who many people believe is the Son of God), there’s a great thing to know and make a part of our lives: God’s favourite button is also DELETE.

The mistakes I’ve made? Gone. Those times I should have said something helpful to a co-worker, but simply walked away silent? Wiped out.  That relationship that went sour because of me? Eliminated.

How about you? The contractor you paid under the table to avoid taxes? It could be gone. Those nasty things you’ve thought or said about your relative? They could be wiped out.

How far can this go? If you believe in a creator who cares about everything that goes on in our lives, then all the way to something this trivial: all the occasions when I carelessly deposited perfectly recyclable things into the garbage? Deleted.

How do I know this? Well, consider these words from an ancient Jesus follower: “Jesus was offered as a sacrifice one time to take away the sins of many people.”

One of those people is me. And it could be YOU, too.

If you accept this sacrifice, another ancient Jesus follower wrote “There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”

As a pastor friend, Adrian van Giessen, told people once, “When you belong to Jesus, then all the stuff that God can look at and say ‘you did this and you did that,’ he wipes it away and says, ‘I see you as I see Jesus’.”

I looooooove having God see me, with all my glow-in-the-dark imperfections, just as He sees His Son: perfect, without a single blemish. It empowers me to do better, to try to live up to how God sees me – even as I know that when I fall short, He hits the DELETE key, because, as Adrian put it, I “belong to Jesus”.

What do you think…does this make sense? Post a comment below and let’s have a conversation.

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