Sunday, February 25, 2007

Reclaiming to Restore - Part I

The following is part 1 of a 4 part series. I will post the final 3 parts over the next 3 days. I am writing about those things that have had a radical impact on my life over the last 10 months. This blog is inspired by a series of teachings from The Vineyard Church, personal study, prayer and some of the following books: Velvet Elvis (Bell), Simply Christian (Wright), Heaven is Not My Home (Marshall), Naturally Supernatural (Best), Heaven (Alcorn), Sex God (Bell), Heaven is a Place on Earth (Wittmer) and The Radical Reformission (Driscoll). The following writing has been taken from a teaching that I recently taught at The Vineyard Church. I hope that you enjoy.

Part 1 of 4

Today, I would like to tell you a story. This is a story of what was. A story of what is. A story of what will be. As you move through this story, my hope is that your life will be impacted, your capacity to love will be enlarged and your heart will be changed...forever.

In his book, Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell writes: “The point of the cross isn’t forgiveness. Forgiveness leads to something much bigger: restoration. God isn’t just interested in the covering over of our sins; God wants to make us into the people we were originally created to be. It is not just the removal of what’s being held against us; it is God pulling us into the people he originally had in mind when he made us….The goal here is not simply to not sin. Our purpose is to increase the shalom in this world, which is why approaches to the Christian faith that deal solely with not sinning always fail. They aim at the wrong thing. It is not about what you don’t do. The point is becoming more and more the kind of people God had in mind when we were first created. It is one thing to be forgiven; it is another thing to become more and more and more and more the person God made you to be.”

Are you becoming the person God made you to be?

Again, Bell says, “God makes us in his image. We reflect the beauty and creativity and wonder of the God who made us. And Jesus calls us to return to our true selves. The pure, whole people God originally intended us to be, before we veered off course. Somewhere in you is the you whom you were made to be.”

Once again, are you, the you, whom you were made to be?

Are you becoming the you, whom you were made to be?

According to Genesis chapter one

God created all of creation out of formlessness and emptiness.

In progression, he created:

Light and darkness

Water and skies and land

Plants and trees

Sun and moon and stars

Creatures to live in the waters

Creatures to live on the land

And then, in His most magnificent move

The Creator of the Universe created his crowning achievement:

He created Man and Woman

And upon creating this man and this woman, he commanded them to…

Rule over his creation…

Work his creation….

Cultivate his creation….

…and care for his creation.

And on the 7th day, the Lord God rested and He said, “It is good.”

Out of absolutely nothing, God created everything.

In his book, Sex God, Bell writes: “Each thing God creates and sets in motion is a step, a progression away from the chaos and disorder toward order and harmony. The first things God commands these people to do, then, involve the continuation of this ordering and caring for and the ongoing progression away from chaos…God’s intent in creating these people was for them to continue the work of creating the world, moving it away from chaos and wild and waste and formlessness toward order and harmony and good. As human beings, we take part through our actions in the ongoing creation of the world.”

That’s it. The original plan.


Living in harmony and order

Separated by nothing

Cultivating a fruitful, vibrant life forever on this planet

On this good planet.

God’s plan was good from the very beginning.

God’s desire was for good.

No sin

No stress

No pain

No disease

No tears

No death

No sorrow

Just goodness

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