Friday, 9 July 2010

Receiving grace

'As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain' 2 Cor 6:1

As I read this today it got me thinking about 'receiving God's grace' and all the joy and privilege ..... and responsibility this brings. Everything we receive from God is utterly undeserved and totally for our benefit, so what should we do?
The options seem to include keeping it secret or unashamedly flaunting it!
Telling, showing, demonstrating and living the reality of His grace at every opportunity. Making totally certain that people around us are struck by a driving force to our lives that is so clearly 'not of ourselves' and, what's more, has a subtle but almost irresistible appeal, that generates curiosity and questions, that points to the kindness of God from where derives our ability to repent and repentance is the place where the gates of grace are fully open.

Here is the testimony of a new Christian from our church (www.westaucklandcc.net ) who is receiving grace - and not in vain:

Clearing the road
This is my story, experience and thoughts on how I became a Christian...

Can't say I have had a terrible life, it's just that I've never treated myself with too much respect. Always making the wrong choices sometimes because it was easy and other times because I didn't really know. Carried lots of guilt for the way I behaved and some pretty horrible feelings. Generally, wandering aimlessly through life without any direction. I was going downhill pretty fast.

Then things started to change. In January I received a phone call inviting me to attend an ALPHA course. Actually it was refreshing to speak to someone who spoke their mind and without the usual 'heirs and graces'. This started me thinking, "Christians are not as fluffy as I thought".

During the course, I met some great people and lets just say I experienced what it was like to change from the inside and the amazing realisation that Jesus really did die for us all and he really died to take away our sins. For me that meant so much. A man, a pretty special man without sin, carried on his shoulders all of our sins. He died on the cross to take away all those feelings that we carry around with us on our shoulders everyday. I even started going to church!

On one particular Sunday I experienced what it would be like to ride the emotional roller coaster, quite literally. I wept for no apparent reason, and even in front of my Dad! I have never really experienced feeling vulnerable, but I did then. That day I experienced every possible emotion. I remember being sat in my living room asking God for forgiveness, asking for His help and literally handing my life over to Him.

Surprisingly things just became worse, more tears and more emotions. I received a phone call from a Christian friend to see if I was OK, because I hadn't been to church that day. You got it, I burst into tears again. I was instantly invited to join them in Christian Fellowship. Plenty more tears followed and then I knew what to do. I asked my Christian brothers to pray for me.

At that point, I genuinely felt a force pushing me to the ground. I couldn't stop laughing and felt this great sense of inner peace and comfort, I was filled by The Holy Spirit. The Lord certainly did not want me to get up. I think he wanted me to rest. You see I asked for my sins to be forgiven and they have been, and The Lord through The Holy Spirit is guiding my life. Through Jesus Christ a huge weight has been lifted. You see I am now free and I am without a chain. I was Baptised on Pentecost and now there is "no looking back".

...and with God's Grace I pray you find your path.

Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Act 2:38 (NIV)

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

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