Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Now that we've landed in Austin, I was able to hear Caz's sermon Sunday about being "stuck." 
 That story he told about being stuck in a swampy area of a restricted forest preserve with some of his college buddies in the middle of the night was a pretty graphic illustration of being really stuck!  And feeling desperate.  And not knowing how to get out.   

Have you ever been there?   Have you ever gotten "stuck" in a situation because of really poor judgement, or just being a really healthy sinner?  Or just circumstances that you didn't see coming?  Several years ago I was really "stuck" financially, mainly because of a series of really bad  decisions I 'd made that over-extended us to the point where we were drowning.  We were "off-road"- not in a used off-road Ranger Rover, but in a brand-new Buick that we couldn't afford (among other things.)  It was bad.   And I remember how hard it was to admit how messed up things were, and to ask for help.  It was especially hard to ask for help from God.  Because, after all, it was my fault.  And I had been taught that mistakes were terrible things that were shameful.  And so why should I expect God to help me?   I was discussing this mess with a wonderfully kind and wise woman who was the loving mother of four children.  She said, "Rick, if one of my kids went outside in the rain without a coat and caught pneumonia, do you think I wouldn't take care of them, even if it was their fault?"   She was reminding me that our God is a God of mercy and compassion.  Psalm 103 says,
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.

In other words:  He already knows we're broken... that we're messed up.  That's why His Son had to come-- to pull us out of the "stuck" places that our sin gets us into.   Sometimes we can't admit that we're broken until we're so stuck that we get desperate.   Desperate people are open to grace- because they know they don't have anything else.  That's why that "first step" is so essential-- whether you're in a 12-Step recovery program or just a garden-variety sinner:  to admit that you're powerless... broken...  "dust".. messed up.   Once you do that, then the Truth can set you free.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  (1 John 1:9)

                                                                                                   ~Pastor Rick