Core 3. Who We Are

 My first date with Erin (my wife):
Upon arriving to pick her up from her house in Calgary that she shared with 4 other girls, I was asked to wait in the entry while she looked for her “favourite pair of boots”. 
Five minutes passed. The normal sounds of a deserted house (her roommates were all out for the evening) became injected with moments of “sorry, still looking!”. 
Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. 
20 minutes. The noises began taking on a frenzied note, interrupted by verbal oaths aimed at the missing roommates. 
30, 40, 50 minutes.
1 full hour. 1st date. 
Now, I’m a patient soul (tongue in cheek), kind and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in mercies….. But an entire hour of my life gone! Never to return! I finally exclaimed “Look! Let’s get in the car and go somewhere! I’ll buy you a new pair of freakin’ boots!”
OBSESSION. What I now know, in our 15th year of marriage, is that Erin had a realization two minutes into the disaster that one of her roommates had borrowed her boots without telling her. But Erin gets a little obsessed sometimes…
We have an obsession in Venue Church. All the Christians safe and sound in the shoe closet (church) are not what we’re obsessed about. The One we’re following is obsessed. “The Son of Man came to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Why would our mission be any different? 
Our mission? “To find those who are lost and lead them into becoming fully devoted followers of Christ”
The Gospel. 
We’re obsessed with it! The Gospel as Jesus lived it. Not a thought in somebody’s head. Not a platitude. Not a system of rules with no heart. The Gospel of Jesus AS IT IS! Not as we see it! Not as we want it!
Here’s something that’s floating around today: “Come to Jesus and everything is free!” Question: What saved you? Your belief? Sadly, that’s a partial truth that many latch on to. Salvation to some is like winning the lotto with someone else’s ticket.
The Bible says that Jesus was full of “grace AND truth”. There’s a tension that is a tricky one… Not just one or the other. And you, as a person, will likely be attracted to one over the other. Grace AND Truth. 
What is it that saves a Christ follower? Is it my belief? The thing is, I can believe in salvation through faith, but if Jesus hadn’t come down to earth, all the belief in the world couldn’t save me. Worthless. Is believing and confessing part of the package? Yes. It’s a part of My part.
His part? Jesus’ part? That’s where we see the true nature of the Gospel of Jesus AS HE LIVED IT. He could have “believed” (if you can call it that) in the principle of being the final sacrifice and done nothing about it. No cross, No salvation! What saves us? His mental assent to a principle? NO! A thousand times NO! 
 His ACT of obedience saves us. Your belief could never do the heavy lifting of the Gospel. Here it is… the statement that is both the offense and the power of the Gospel: Jesus ALIGNED HIMSELF with God’s Will by His ACT of obedience. 
Belief that doesn’t demand action doesn’t do it. Faith without works is dead. You don’t believe the parts of the Bible you don’t practice. To say you do is to move the target to where your arrows are flying.
How do we know this? What were Jesus’ words in the garden of Gethsemane before the ACT that saved us?  “Not My will but Your will be done.” Alignment. His part.
My part? Alignment. Nothing less. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.” 3 things that are non negotiables to the Gospel of Jesus. Perfection? No, hence the sacrifice that keeps on giving. Giving up my will to the will of Jesus? That’s it. Oh, and Jesus didn’t get to choose His own cross…
Obsession with finding lost people. The Gospel. Combine the two and watch the world change!

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