Thursday, January 10, 2008

An Astonished Heart

I saw a refreshing definition of Christians recently: a group of astonished hearts living and loving Jesus and each other. I like that - astonished hearts!
Remember your own excitement when you first became a believer. Perhaps you have seen new believers just bubbling over with their new-found faith. It's really contagious! The description "astonished heart" is the reason why.
It is radically astonishing that the Lord of all creation would put on our skin and move into our neighborhood for the purpose of literally taking our place - making the ultimate terrible trade. "God made Him who knew no sin to became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Cor. 5:21)
It's the ultimate reality of trading places - not a show on Home and Garden TV - but the deepest truth when Jesus took my place and my punishment and made the unbelievable trade of His righteous life for all my sin! No wonder my heart is astonished!
Is your heart astonished? It is the beauty of an astonished and being restored heart that shows Jesus for all the world to see.
I'm finding an amazing resonance with people in this whole business of brokenness and our need for restoration. We all know - deep in our hearts - that it's true: we are broken and need to be fixed.
Just yesterday walking in a neighborhood passing out flyers inviting people to church we encountered a man who wasn't very interested in ANOTHER church. He even said something like, "A new church - O, we really need more churches - about as much as we need more banks and hospitals." He wasn't engaging with the idea until we talked about how we are all broken in various ways and in need of God's loving, restoring work. He stopped, turned and softly acknowledged, "Yeah, we all need that." I've seen it happen over and over.
The astonishing, restoring work of the Gospel is appealing in this world-gone-mad where we live. The astonishing, restoring work of the Gospel captures the attention and imagination of even a man on the street who thinks we need more churches like we need more banks or hospitals. His implied answer was "NOT" ! But faced with the astonishment of restoration for brokenness struck a resonating cord deep within his heart. It's astonishing to see!

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