Monday, June 14, 2010

2010 Senior Pastors' Conference - Session 9 - Sandy Adams

·         ACTS 10-11 – Adventures In Grace

·         {{story about “Carrie” and “Grace”}}

·         It’s not enough to receive grace; having received we must now extend grace.

o   It’s not enough just to know grace if you’re not going to show grace.

·         A right standing with God is both obtained and maintained by the grace of God alone.

·         “Mrs. Wilson gives us cookies not because we’re nice, but because she’s nice!”

o   Jesus’ work on the cross is accredited to me because of His grace

·         Peter knew grace, he taught grace…and then he was challenged to apply grace.

o   Often for pastors, practice lags theology

o   Should not be so!

·         Grace is more than a blurb in our statement of faith or doctrinal summary

o   We must – must – live it out.

·         Next to the Day of Pentecost, what happens in these chapters contain the most important, strategic event in the history of the church.

o   Never has so much theology been worked out over lunch. It was a true power lunch. {{yes…he said that.}}

·         All religion defines “clean” from “unclean”

o   Even pseudo-Christian religion – defining who’s “clean” and who’s “unclean”

§  Who’s “holy” and who’s “unholy”

§  Who’s “in” and who’s “out”

·         Here’s the problem: everybody’s a bad guy.

·         Religion chooses sides – picks out good guys from bad guys – assigns white hats and black hats – awards merit badges for accumulating filthy rags…

o   But that’s not Christianity.

o   The goal of Christianity is simple: bring everybody to Jesus.

o   The point: we are all the bad guys – and we all need Jesus badly.

§  Pew-sitting bad guys, and pulpit-occupying bad guys

§  Heretical bad guys, and Calvary Chapel bad guys {{this after a long, funny, but very very telling list of “x” bad guys and “y” bad guys, all building to this point}}

·         Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation

o   No one is being labeled good guy/bad guy any longer

o   Now it’s all about all of us receiving the love that none of us deserve.

o   “Rise, Bubba! Play and sing!” {{you have to hear this for yourself…}}

o   “Grace exploded in my soul. Suddenly, you didn’t have to live up to my standards or my theology before you could receive the grace of God.”

·         Over the years, however, Sandy’s observed the sad truth that we all have our kosher laws.

o   Even Calvary Chapel pastors.

o   Religion is easier than grace.

§  It’s easier to assign white hats and black hats.

o   Pride will always lean us toward religion.

·         It’s only when I realize that there’s nothing I can do, that it’s all about grace that I will finally, truly get it.

o   None of us is any more deserving of God’s grace than the murderer or child molester.

·         Religious caste system – exact opposite of grace.

o   If that kind of pecking order exists in the church –shame on the pastor.

o   What God has cleansed, you must not call common.

·         We are complete in Christ, not because we toe the party line.

·         If Chuck has his own way, we will finish as we began – in radical, wild grace.

o   There is no more distinguishing mark of our movement than the radical love and celebration of grace.

§  Sound theology, expectancy of Jesus’ return, all that are marks of our movement

§  But grace used to be the defining mark – and must continue to be.

o   Your denominational affiliation didn’t matter; your political affiliation didn’t matter; your opinion on secondary matters didn’t matter

§  What truly mattered was Jesus

o   It’s not that we didn’t have opinions about these things, but we put them in perspective!

·         Start down the finger-pointing path and it’s a very slippery slope.

o   It’s real ugly there at the bottom!

·         Don’t misunderstand; we must be faithful to speak out against false doctrine and teach the Word

o   But God has not called me to police the neighborhood.

o   I must give the people room to grow, room for grace.

o   We can still learn from others – even when we sharply disagree with them!

·         Calvary used to do a lot of finger pointing – we were pointing at Jesus!

o   When did we start pointing at each other?

o   We must get back to the point of continuing in the grace that we have received!

o   “What grieves me more than the saint with the mug shot is the saint who went looking for the mug shots!”

·         Are we treating people with the same grace that we have been shown?

o   We must teach grace

o   But it’s even more important that we show grace.

·         Peter was trapped in a bias

o   And there is nothing that’s a greater hindrance to living in grace than a bias

o   It can even trap an entire movement.

·         What keeps us from practicing grace?

o   Misinformed principles

§  Conscience is taught by truth…or tradition.

§  Peter needed to surrender his conscience to the Lordship of Jesus.

o   Prejudice

§  Don’t underestimate the power of a prejudice!

§  There are some things that don’t “feel right” to you…but that in itself doesn’t make it wrong.

§  You must be careful not to teach your prejudices as truth.

§  Your prejudices will close the door to some people; grace will keep it open.

§  Calvary Chapel has been around long enough to develop a few biases of our own.

·         Be careful! What if God wants to move in a different direction than what we are used to?

o   Precedent

§  “This had never ever happened ever!”

§  Think “tradition”

§  God wanted to take Peter not up to the edge of where he’s been, but to a new place

§  Some steps we’re called to take are hard just because we haven’t taken the steps before.

·         Unlike religion, Christianity isn’t a commitment to a principle, a prejudice, or a precedent, but to a PERSON.

o   The Ruler trumps the rules

o   The Lawgiver trumps the law

o   We are to follow Jesus!

§  Will you go where He sends you?

§  Do what He instructs you to do?

§  Love whomever He sends to knock at your door?

·         If you are ready for this, there will always be a knock at the door!

·         You get grace from God, but then you send grace to all those around you.

·         Religion is predictable

o   Grace is wild and wooly

o   It’s orthodox to believe in grace, but it’s risky to practice it!

o   Practice grace, and you’ll find yourself in uncomfortable places, with uncomfortable people, in uncomfortable situations

·         We read the story of the prodigal son, and we marvel at the extravagance of the Father’s love

o   But the other brother had a different opinion

o   Thought the dad was soft on grace

o   Which will you be?

·         Religious people love to put up a bunch of hoops that you must jump through

o   When you remove those hoops, they will be mad at you

o   If you show this level of grace, you will be misunderstood

o   If you’re not being accused of sloppy grace – maybe you don’t actually walk in grace!

·         Grace applied changes everything

o   Living by grace is living graciously

o   Everything changes when grace explodes in your heart

·         The good works that followed in Cornelius’ life was the fallout not the cause of grace.

·         Calvary Chapel is our Joppa

o   We have seen the vision

o   Now there’s a knock at the door

o   Do you hear?  Will you answer?

o   Will you live out these principles?

o   “Rise, pastor! Kill and eat!”

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