David Bahn-Reflections Podcast

I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. 25 God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. 26 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. 27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.

28 So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. 29 That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.

2:1 I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally. I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments. For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong.  – Colossians 1:24-2:5 [New Living Translation]

Shrubby Whitevein | Hawaii | March 2022

 I really appreciated learning about Five Capitals which may be invested for the sake of the reign and rule of God. Those five are: (in increasing order of importance)

  • Financial capital: Measured in dollars and cents (least important)
  • Intellectual capital: Measured in concepts and ideas 
  • Physical capital: Measured in hours and minutes
  • Relational capital: Measured in quality and depth of our relationships with others
  • Spiritual capital: Measured in wisdom, power, and authority (most important)

Jesus had tons of spiritual capital. He had wisdom, power, and authority beyond all comparison. He healed diseases. He raised the dead. He walked on water. He confounded his enemies. He had “all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). Jesus was and is the source of incredible power for us today as well. Paul prays that we know the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe according to the working his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead” (Ephesians 1:19-20). 

And here in this passage he speaks of the power of Jesus working in him as he struggles to carry out the mission of God for the sake of the Colossian and Laodicean believers. It’s not clear whether Paul knew when he was met by Jesus on the road to Damascus, and subsequently when Ananias was sent to restore his sight how much he would need this power. “I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name,” God says to Ananias. (Acts 9:16) By now, however, he has a good idea.

Written after Paul’s third missionary journey, he had experienced beatings, imprisonment, ridicule, scorn, and even the disappointment of co-workers withdrawing from the missionary task. He had to rely on the power of God to continue his work. He certainly would have needed that power, wisdom, and inner strength to remain faithful and fight the discouragement of trouble in the churches he had founded (think of the church in Corinth!). 

One of the most grave misunderstandings about the Christian walk is the idea that if we’re following Jesus life will be smooth and easy. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. We can and should be thankful when God draws the lines of our lives in pleasant places (cf. Psalm 16:6-8). But when we face difficulty and challenge we must never think we are not pleasing God. In fact our suffering may result in great and glorious blessings for others, and ourselves. Jesus promises as much: “everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29).

Seems to me that I can appropriate these lessons in two important ways. I can view the struggles I must face (and they are surely comparatively few) as opportunities to lean into Jesus and his glorious power. I can also recognize that I have little power of my own to impact people’s lives eternally. Perhaps that will move me to work more diligently for his kingdom’s sake all the while looking to Jesus for strength and true spiritual power, wisdom, and authority. I’m guessing I may have an opportunity to do that today. How about you? 

David Bahn-Reflections Podcast

I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. 25 God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. 26 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. 27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.

28 So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. 29 That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.

2:1 I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally. I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments. For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong.  – Colossians 1:24-2:5 [New Living Translation]

Blue Trumpet Vine | Hawaii | March 2022

Peter speaks of the Church as a building with living stones, built around a precious and chosen cornerstone, Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Peter 2:4-6). He gets that idea, no doubt, from Jesus’ renaming him from Simon to Peter (Rock-man). Paul speaks of the Church as a body (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, and in the above passage). When he was on the road to Damascus Jesus appeared to him, and asked, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Saul was persecuting the Church: the Body of Christ. Saul eventually became Paul the missionary.

As the Body of Christ we are a precious lot. We are worth suffering for. We are worth toil and struggle, and agony. I’m not sure I really take that to heart as I should. I deeply appreciate the sacrifices Paul, Peter, James, John, and many others made for the sake of the gospel message. I am humbled by the incredible persecution the early Christians endured while they remained faithful to Jesus. It amazes me that Paul went to the lengths he went, and suffered to the extent he suffered for the sake of the name of Jesus (cf. Acts 9:16). 

I love the Body of Christ analogy. One of my favorite illustrations of how that is supposed to work is to speak of stepping on a Lego® block in the middle of the night. Your vocal cords tighten. Your eyes squint. Your tear ducts open up. Your hands go toward your foot. Your foot goes toward your hands. Your inner ear kicks in to help you maintain your balance. Your diaphragm contracts, sending air from your lungs through your tightened vocal cords. You emit a scream, “Eeeeeeeeeeooooooowwww!” Your whole body gets in the act when one part suffers. 

The same is true when you experience deep gladness and joy. Your whole body reacts. From the smile on your face, to the endorphins released through your limbic system, to the puffing of your chest and warm embrace of someone nearby. Or a high five. Or a “WOO HOO!” Think a walk-off grand slam. Think of a last minute field goal. Think of an unexpected check in the mail. Your whole body joins in the act of joy and celebration.

The blessings we enjoy as members of Christ’s body are for us all. And people have gone to great lengths to bring that joy and blessing to us. And we should never abrogate those blessings to ourselves alone. We. Should. Never. Abrogate. Those. Blessings. To. Ourselves. Alone. People have suffered, sacrificed, and struggled to bring those blessings to us. We should all, therefore, be thankful. Together.

We live in a very individualistic society and time. Everyone wants to define for themselves what is good or evil; what is praiseworthy or abhorrent. We climb on the latest scandal (and, Lord have mercy, there are many many lamentable things happening in the world today!). We beat up on the latest villain – too often of our own personal reasons. Somehow we’ve lost the more complete understanding of the Body of Christ, the community of believers, the communion of saints. 

God loves the whole church. His desire is for us to flourish as his community of the redeemed. Paul suffered greatly for the name of Jesus and for the sake of the Body of Christ – of which we are a part. 

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
    and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
    light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
    lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
    my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
    because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 13 [ESV]

 

Empty Schoolhouse | Whidbey Island, Washington | January 2019

I’ve had the people in Uvalde, Texas on my heart much today. It’s difficult to process so many young children and two of their teachers’ deaths. Pundits have called for gun bans on the one side, and arming teachers on the other side. I have no wisdom toward a political solution.

But I do have a call for God’s people at this time. I wish I had expressed it earlier. This is a time for repentance, lament, and prayer. 

Repentance for we all have been too disconnected from one another so that people too easily reap the evil harvest of our mind our own business attitudes. We must repent of a care-less approach toward others, for the good or the bad. Lord, have mercy!

Lament, for this is the way of God’s people for millennia. The Living Lutheran Website offers this simple formula for lament. Psalm 13 is a example of lament. Pray that psalm for Uvalde and all who grieve.

Laments contain four parts:

  1. Complaint
  2. Petition
  3. Expression of trust.
  4. Words of thanksgiving.

It is also a time to offer comfort and courage to those who grieve and those who would protect us. However we may do so, we must. A word to our law enforcement persons. A gift to a victim’s fund. A show of compassion to the sorrowful. Not just symbolic actions. Real comfort. True encouragement. Maybe you have an idea of how to do that. Maybe you can do some searching. Maybe you simply join me in lament, repentance, and prayer.

Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world have mercy on us and grant us your peace! Amen.

The Living Lutheran website as well as the Lament Tool Kit are from sources I do not necessarily endorse. But in this case, the topic seems be well covered. Beyond that I cannot say.

Lament Toolkit: Understanding and Practicing Biblical Lament

David Bahn-Reflections Podcast

I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. 25 God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. 26 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. 27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.

28 So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. 29 That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.

2:1 I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally. I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments. For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong.  – Colossians 1:24-2:5 [New Living Translation]

“Alligator Lava” [my name for this unusual lava tube] | Hawaii | March 2022

Isaac Newton is said to have “discovered” gravity while sitting in his mother’s garden, thinking about the forces of nature, and saw an apple fall from a nearby tree. The rest, as they say, is history. Well, of course he did not discover gravity. But he did postulate several laws of nature, gravity, mass, and movement. These are extremely helpful in day-to-day life. 

Einstein, on the other hand, delved into the physics behind the apple’s fall. He thought on deeper atomic levels about motion, relativity, and quantum mechanics. While we give little thought to applying Einstein’s theories on a day-to-day basis, we owe much to him when it comes to using our cell phones, or watching astronauts do spacewalks around the International Space Station. There is much deep science behind both the walks themselves as well as the means by which we are able to observe them at all.

Paul – at least in this passage – exhibits a deep appreciation for the whys our our salvation, the deep theological truths of the incarnation, and the profound mystery of Christ’s presence and impact in our lives. So much so that I decided to utilize the New Living Translation for this passage to try to grasp the meaning in plain English. The Greek itself or the more difficult-to-understand English Standard Bible or New American Standard Bible translations reveal some of the intricacies of Paul’s thinking and teaching. 

Paul was a well-educated man, a student of Gamaliel. Gamaliel held a leading position in the Sanhedrin and he enjoyed the highest repute as teacher of the Law. Paul had been taught well. In addition to Gamaliel’s teaching, he had been in the wilderness for 14 years, studying and learning. It seems that the Lord had given Paul some specific instruction during that time, for Paul speaks of having “received from the Lord…” (1 Corinthians 11:23) the words of Jesus at his Last Supper. 

Paul could have simply said that Jesus is the only One in whom is true hope, life, and salvation and left it at that. But he goes well beyond that here. He speaks of Christ in us as the hope of glory. He writes of the fullness wisdom and knowledge residing in Christ. He explains that God’s mysterious plan is Christ himself. 

As he does so he explains that he is enduring his own suffering and hardships so that the Colossian Christians would realize just how important it is that they know and believe this. In a way, he is predating Newtonian and Einsteinian thinking. Newtonian: I’m hard pressed, suffering, and agonizing for you because I want you to realize just how important this message is. Einsteinian: This message is important because only in Christ is true hope, life, salvation, knowledge, and wisdom. 

OK…I realize this may not be the best analogy for understanding this passage. But it is good to know both: the message of Jesus is of vital importance because he is the only source of life, hope, wisdom, knowledge, and salvation. 

 

David Bahn-Reflections Podcast

I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. 25 God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. 26 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. 27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.

28 So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. 29 That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.

2:1 I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally. I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments. For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong.  – Colossians 1:24-2:5 [New Living Translation]

A View of the Bay | Hawaii | March 2022

Maybe you’ve gone the extra mile. Or two. You’ve forgiven an offence for the 49th time (7X7). A slight from someone you love has been overlooked, even though it has hit that very tender spot in your heart. Yet again. A loan has been forgiven only to be replaced by a new and larger one. You’ve cleaned up after your husband for the 1000th time. Or listened for hours upon hours to your wife. Or let your son’s insolence not get the better of you. Or nodded again as your daughter spun her made-up tale of woe.

Sometimes we go an extra two or three miles for those we love. Paul went even beyond that not just because he loved the people of Colossae (whom he had not even seen face to face). He did that because of Christ’s love to him. He did it because he realized just how incredibly superior Jesus was compared with any other man. He was made to realize that Jesus was the One in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. In Christ are the riches of the glory of the mystery that Christ is in us and is the hope of true glory.

But Paul speaks a lot about himself. He writes of his suffering. He tells them of his struggles. He mentions the pressure he’s under as he brings the Gospel message to the people in Colossae and Laodicea. He makes no attempt to hide his suffering or whitewash the severe trials he has undergone. He does this to encourage these people. He does that to encourage us. If it was worth the extent of suffering that Paul had to endure in order to get the Gospel to them, surely this message is valuable. If he is willing to go to such great lengths to bring the message of Jesus to them, that message must surely be of vital importance.

We might want to make a hero of Paul. Surely he would serve well as a hero of the faith. His life and complete dedication to spreading the gospel are heroic and emulatable. Sometimes Paul does seem to dance on the fine line of showing how important the message is and of showing how dedicated he is to delivering that message. But these words here point me toward believing that Paul is making the point of how far he has gone not so that they would trust him. He’s doing this to point them to the One whose message he is carrying. He’s doing it to encourage hearts, to knit people together, and to point them toward all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge centered in Jesus. What more can any hero do?

David Bahn-Reflections Podcast

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

2:1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.Colossians 1:24-2:5

Yellow Hibiscus | Hawaii | March 2022

If you could have dinner with any religious leader, living or dead, other than Jesus Christ, who would you choose? Here are some options:

  • Saul of Tarsus who became Paul the missionary and author of this letter.
  • Martin Luther, who ignited the protestant reformation just over 500 years ago
  • St. Augustine of Hippo, who championed the message of grace and wrote of his conversion after a life of profligacy and rebellion, and whose mother never ceased praying for him
  • Charles Wesley, who wrote many hymns which we love and sing today
  • Billy Graham
  • Mother Teresa
  • Someone else…maybe even someone who fell from grace, or at least shamed themselves after a time of major success. Sadly there are several candidates in this category. 

Paul makes a point that he proclaims Jesus Christ so that he may present everyone mature in Christ.” Such is no easy task. For there are pitfalls, threats, and temptations thrown at us daily. This is especially true of Christian leaders. Whenever one’s success outruns his character, celebrity fails and falls. And great is its crash. Celebrity pastors all too easily trip over their own fame.

Paul points us to Jesus, who never fails us. He is the Son of God, the One who deserves all the fame and glory that can be given. And his character is perfectly capable of handling that fame. Those who put their hopes and trust in him will never be disappointed. They will never be ashamed of him. They will never be left utterly disappointed at his lack of faithfulness. They will never be left short of his promises. 

So when you hear someone preaching Jesus, urging faith in him, pointing people to God’s promises anchored in Jesus’ death, resurrection and final return, lean in. Listen well. Maybe that pastor isn’t a rock star. Maybe he doesn’t have his name on the side of a megachurch. Maybe he isn’t all that great. But if he is pointing you to Jesus, listen well. And rejoice whenever anyone points beyond himself to the One in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. In Jesus, after all, is the true hope of glory. 

Meditate on and pray these psalms on this Lord’s Day. Pray for the war-ravaged people in Ukraine. Pray for the people of this nation. Pray for those who feel abandoned by God. Pray that God’s name will be praised, and people will turn to him.

Psalm 22:1-5

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
    and by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are holy,
    enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our fathers trusted;
    they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were rescued;
    in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

Psalm 52:9

I will thank you forever,
    because you have done it.
I will wait for your name, for it is good,
    in the presence of the godly.

Psalm 82:1-4

God has taken his place in the divine council;
    in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
“How long will you judge unjustly
    and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
    maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

Psalm 112:1-4

Praise the Lord!
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
    who greatly delights in his commandments!
His offspring will be mighty in the land;
    the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in his house,
    and his righteousness endures forever.
Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;
    he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.

Psalm 142

With my voice I cry out to the Lord;
    with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord.
I pour out my complaint before him;
    I tell my trouble before him.

When my spirit faints within me,
    you know my way!
In the path where I walk
    they have hidden a trap for me.
Look to the right and see:
    there is none who takes notice of me;
no refuge remains to me;
    no one cares for my soul.

I cry to you, O Lord;
    I say, “You are my refuge,
    my portion in the land of the living.”
Attend to my cry,
    for I am brought very low!
Deliver me from my persecutors,
    for they are too strong for me!
Bring me out of prison,
    that I may give thanks to your name!
The righteous will surround me,
    for you will deal bountifully with me.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission.
All rights reserved. 

[God] has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. – Colossians 1:13-23

“Another” Waterfall | Hawaii | March 2022
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me
(Wreckless Love, by Caleb Culver / Cory Hunter Asbury / Randy Matthew Jackson. see full source information and link to the YouTube version of this song below)

Ir reminds me of the movie Ransom where a very wealthy father played by Mel Gibson offers a huge ransom – not to the kidnappers, but to whoever is able to return his son to him, or bring the kidnappers to justice. His resolve and commitment to attain the return of his son is remarkable. His willingness to go to great lengths is inspiring. It is, however, but a faint reflection of the unbelievable lengths to which God went to rescue and redeem us. And for some he sends rescuers who will go to great lengths to complete the rescue. 

I’m thinking of people like Peter Fleming, 27; Jim Elliot, 28; Ed McCully, 28; Roger Youderian, 31, and Nate Saint, 32. These five missionaries went to the Ecuadorean rain forest to bring the good news of Jesus to the people there. They were killed by a group of Waodani tribesmen. Later, Mincayani, one of the tribesmen was converted and eventually Nate Saint’s son returned to the village where he becomes part of Mincayani’s family. Thank God for people who will go that far to bring the love of Jesus to others. It’s sometimes a long trip. But it’s an all-too-short trip compared with the journey of grace Jesus took in order to redeem us. 

Are you living in the shadows of shame? Do the mountains of fear loom between you and God? Have you walled off your heart to God’s peaceful presence? Is there a lie holding you captive from a life of true joy and purpose? 

There are two ways that chasm may be spanned. One is to give way to God’s love and believe in his mercy, forgiveness, and grace for you. Jesus has redeemed us and has now reconciled us in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present us holy and blameless and above reproach before God. Many who are reading this blog are living in that joy. But it could be that you are destined to be part of God’s continuing quest to bring the favor and blessing of God to others. 

You may know someone who is living in darkness, walled off from God, deceived by Satan’s lies. Might God be using you to kick down doors, shine the light of grace and truth, climb over mountains of excuses and rationalizations, to bring them to himself? This may be what you need most fully to enjoy the redemption won by Jesus.

It’s not a matter of getting to God’s grace; that’s already been given. But living fully from God’s grace is an adventure of faith that is also part of the journey of grace.

Wreckless Love

Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me
You have been so, so good to me
Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me
You have been so so kind to me
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the 99
And I couldn’t earn it
I don’t deserve it, still You give yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me
You have been so, so good to me
When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me
You have been so, so kind to me
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the 99
And I couldn’t earn it
I don’t deserve it, still You give yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the 99
I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still You give yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Caleb Culver / Cory Hunter Asbury / Randy Matthew Jackson
Reckless Love lyrics © Be Essential Songs, Bethel Music Publishing, Watershed Worship Publishing, Cory Asbury Publishing

[God] has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. – Colossians 1:13-23

Our Little Friend | Hawaii | March 2022

You came from heaven to earth to show the way, from the earth to the cross my debt to pay. From the cross to the grave. From the grave, to the sky. Lord I lift your name on high. These words from a contemporary Christian song that was a favorite of mine years ago only begin to describe the journey of grace that Jesus took in order to redeem us. 

I like to think of the incredible glory, bliss, honor, and majesty that Jesus experienced from the beginning of time (the Word was in the beginning and was God, and became flesh – cf. John 1). He came from that glory to the ignominy of the cross. He did that so that we would be reconciled to God, at peace with him. Holy and blameless and above reproach. Imagine that! Above reproach. No one can lay a charge against us because of the righteousness of Christ. I want my actual outer life to reflect that inner reality of Jesus’ mercy, grace, forgiveness, and love. 

David Bahn-Reflections Podcast

[God] has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. – Colossians 1:13-23

An Abundance of Green | Hawaii | March 2022

My son tells the story of a road trip he took while in college. They were coming home for the Christmas holidays. His soon-to-be wife was in the car, along with another friend who was hitching a ride to his home. He asked, “Are we there yet?” They had not moved an inch. My son’s reply: “Yes! Get out.” They had miles to go before they slept, as the saying goes. They had not gone far at all – to say the least.

Sometimes we may not realize how far we have to go in our relationship with God. Or how far we have come. That’s mostly because we live day to day without giving much thought to the incredible journey of grace we’ve traveled. Or the impossible-to-comprehend journey of grace God took to rescue and redeem us. We’re thankful, to be sure, of God’s love. We rejoice in his mercy and forgiveness. We pray for his help and support. We look for his wisdom and guidance. But we seldom look over the chasm of utter doom and destruction from which we have been rescued and that lies between us and God apart from that grace.

Paul points these people to the extent of God’s rescue from their wayward lives and rebellious hearts prior to being reconciled to God. That they were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds is no small claim. It’s a thing of the past. But the past is history they needed to claim. It’s a matter of humility. It’s also a matter of God’s mercy and grace. The call to remember their former brokenness was also a warning. If they do not continue in this faith, the implication is clear. There is a blessing and status to be forfeited.

I don’t like to think about this. I’d rather believe we can all live well and celebrate with the angels in blissful happiness. Without worry of being lost. Without danger of losing the gift of God. But maybe the warning is needed. Maybe?!? I’m thinking it’s here for our edification. I’m thinking it’s a warning. I don’t think it’s a moment when we haven’t actually left on the trip, asked “Are we there yet?” only to hear God answer, “Yes. Get out.” But I take this as a serious warning to remember the height from which we might fall – apart from God’s mercy and a life of continuing faithfulness (Cf. Revelation 2:5).

Thanks be to God for his mercy and grace! We do have a past. But we also have a Savior by whom we have been reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to be presented holy and blameless and above reproach before him. I don’t believe we never sin after our conversion. But I do believe we must not take any sin lightly, and by so doing cheapen the grace of God. A sober reminder for me. Maybe for you, too, dear reader.