worth

Acceptance Before Repentance

“All the people saw this and began to mutter, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.’ But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’” – Luke 19:7,8 Yesterday, we saw how radical it was that Jesus embraced Zacchaeus, despite the fact that he was a short, crooked tax collector. Even knowing these things, the Lord saw fit to invite Himself over to his house that very day. By extending a hand that said, “I want to get to know you,” He offered a marginalized man a place of belonging, and everything changed. This is because acceptance always precedes repentance. Knowing that he was finally loved for who he was, Zacchaeus’ natural response was to change

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You’re Not What You Do

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:8,9 I’m passionate about people understanding their worth apart from what they do. This is the heart behind the Creed of the Beloved that we say each week at Shepherd’s Grove, and it’s something that I believe we continually struggle with societally. Of course, our bent toward defining human value based on achievement goes back centuries, first to the Roman Empire, one of the greatest and most influential civilizations in the history of the world. Rome was the first meritocracy, which means that attaining power and influence in their culture was based entirely on accomplishment. So true was this that families would permanently memorialize notable members using something called death masks. Moments after a person passed away,

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The Kingdom of No Labels or Limits

“David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.” – 1 Samuel 17:14,15 One of the things we forget about David is that he was young and almost naively courageous. Since he was the last born and lowest on the family food chain, he was entrusted with caring for the flocks. Unfortunately, being a shepherd in his time was the lowliest of professions, and it was usually reserved for eleven or twelve-year-old boys or fifteen to sixteen-year-old girls. Therefore, for David, being a young 20-something man and tending sheep was far from a badge of honor. Though he was gifted in many ways, it seems he was nearly invisible to his father, and his natural skills and abilities went largely unnoticed by his family. Thankfully, he had a deep and soul-building relationship with God, and

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