Sunday, December 10, 2023

U R awesome. . . says God!?

While making my way to Memphis for the exciting District Board of Directors meeting last month, I was switching stations to find something worth my time when I happened upon K-LOVE station.  Apparently it was not quite local but a satellite of a chain of K-LOVE stations.  K-LOVE is more than a radio station -- it is like church!  You hear it in the music, sure, but even more, you feel it in the prayers of their staff and pastors.  In addition to your favorite pop gospel, your hear encouraging stories, prayers, and testimonies.  I was almost ready to forego my positive K-LOVE experience so early in the morning when the announcer told me this word from the Lord (purportedly).  God thinks U R awesome! Holy Jesus, that is exactly what I needed to hear while fighting the tractor trailers on that patch of I-40 West.  It has become my word from the Lord for every day.  Sometimes, I admit, I forget it but God doesn't want me to forget that He thinks I am awesome.  Wow!

You might think it would be good enough to worship an awesome God but it is even better to worship a God who thinks you are awesome -- just the way you are.  It was almost enough to make me drive off the road and into the path of an oncoming 80,000 pound rig and it was at least enough to make me throw up in the back of my throat.  Has it come down to this?  Is this what is being marketed and peddled for Christianity these days?  It must be of great comfort to know that God thinks you are amazing, awesome, and wonderful.  While it hardly seems possible that God could have ever thought you needed to be called to repentance, warned of the consequences of your sin, and confronted with its consequence of death.  It certainly does not seem like we ought to bring up sin if God thinks we are perfect just the way we are.  Alas, it is no wonder why Lutheran congregations are not growing.  We are preaching a Gospel at odds with the judgment of God.  We are talking about sin, beginning our Divine Services with confession and absolution, and focused on the abundant and incredible mercy of God in Christ.  Who wants to hear that?  If only we jumped on the bandwagon and chimed in with a German accented echo of what is currently passing for Christianity today, we just might be relevant.

It is no wonder that God saved us.  How could He not?  We are incredible, amazing, awesome, and wonderful.  All we need to do is to recover and believe what God says about us -- that we are perfect just the way we are.  Surely God could not help Himself.  We are the cute and cuddly puppy dogs in the window or the kittens circling His ankle.  We are lovable and valuable.  It is about time somebody noticed that -- I have been trying to get people to notice that about me for years!  My friends, read through my sarcasm and join me in a mea culpa and a prayer that God will look upon us in His mercy and see through the hubris, arrogance, pride, and self-centeredness that would make such a claim in the shadow of the cross.  This ought to remind us all that the battle for pure doctrine and right praise is not a matter of nitpicking or being loveless but of preserving among us the only Gospel which offers us salvation.  Some will insist that there might be away to express this rightly but the time it would take to turn around the phrase is not worth the effort.  God is awesome.  His love is amazing. His mercy is crazy good.  His grace is wonderful.  And the way we meet it all is kneeling before the cross, confessing our sins, believing His blood cleanses us from our sin, and rising in confidence that because He lives, we live.  Then remember that we meet God always on this holy ground of confession, absolution, and restoration.  

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