Community Updates

God's Honest and Broken Friends

John Haralson
September 10, 2021
The Return of the Prodigal Son, Rembrandt
Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg

A heart on the run keeps a hand on the gun
You can't trust anyone
I was so sure what I needed was more
Tried to shoot out the sun
Days when we raged, we flew off the page
Such damage was done
But I made it through, 'cause somebody knew
I was meant for someone
Jason Isbell,“Cover Me Up”

But here's the thing: pretty good people do not need Jesus. He came for the lost. He came for the broken. In his love for us he came to usher us into his foundness and wholeness.
Tish Harrison Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Ordinary Life

Dear Grace Family,

I love Jason Isbell’s music and songwriting. His album Southeastern honestly and beautifully tells the story his journey towards sobriety and freedom from addiction. The video link is to a love song he wrote to his wife, who was critical to his transformation. Love takes him from fear—a “hand on the gun”—to an experience of life-giving connection.

We were created for deep connection with each another and—even more profoundly—with God. When we do not experience that connection, we wither away over time. But when we do experience God’s love, we begin to flourish and move towards greater freedom.

This week, as we continue to explore Abram’s friendship with God we will make some surprising discoveries.

First, Abram is not a “Yes man". In the first recorded dialog between God and Abram, we see Abram speaking candidly from his heart about his disappointment. More to the point, Abram’s disillusionment is not with life in general. Abram’s complaint is directed towards God himself.

In the friendship he offers us, God wants us to have the freedom to be absolutely honest with him. He can handle it.

Second, Abram is not a “Good man". To be sure, he had moments of great faithfulness and courage. But, like each of us, he falls far short of what God required of him. To cover Abram’s lack of goodness, God gives Abram the gift of righteousness.

In the friendship he offers us, God wants us to have the freedom to live into our brokenness and our belovedness.

The good news is really this good. We can be honest, sinful, and broken—and still be loved at the same time.

I hope to worship with you on Sunday.

This Sunday: Genesis 15:1-6 (NIV)
God's Honest & Broken Friends

Warmly in Christ,

Pastor John

P.S. We will continue to hold in-person worship and livestream this week at 10:30 AM. Masks are required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Security measures will remain in effect for the rest of September.

P.P.S. Parents, if you have an infant through 5th grader, please fill out this Grace Kids Registration/Survey to help us best prepare for the upcoming ministry year.