- you are a totally new creation
- you are in Christ
- you are totally forgiven for EVERY sin you’ve ever committed, are committing now, or ever will commit in the future
- you are totally righteous
- you are totally reconciled
- you are redeemed
- you are sanctified
- you are justified
- you are totally accepted
- you are an integral part of the body of Christ
- you are a citizen of heaven
- you have eternal life and you’ll never die
- you are unconditionally loved
- nothing you could ever do would ever make God love you less than He does now
We claim here on For His Glory that acceptance is mankind’s greatest need. We are all born with it. In fact none of us can function very well in this life without it. Many of us enjoy acceptance if we’re fortunate enough to grow up in a healthy home and family environment. Some of us enjoy acceptance in close friendships or business environments.
Then there are those without the benefit of healthy families or relationships. Consequently acceptance is often lacking in their lives. They still need to feel acceptance, but in order to gain it they feel the need to manufacture it themselves. This is acceptance by self effort. It doesn’t work and often leaves the person feeling frustrated and more unacceptable.
One way we try to force acceptance is with our appearance. They think if they dress the part and wear the right clothes and impress people with their outside appearance they’ll be accepted.
Some try to gain acceptance with their behavior. They think if they follow all the social conventions and go to all the right parties and act with social norms they’ll gain acceptance.
Some have family heritages or business success they can flaunt to make them appear acceptable.
Unfortunately all these things we do with self effort do not work.
We find are acceptance, needs and self-image met only in God. This is the person God accepts. In God is the only place we can find who acceptance. And God’s acceptance is true, unconditional and eternal.
As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him. 2 Peter 2:4Contiue reading below
in a previous post we said our two greatest needs are love and acceptance and work and value you probably noticed I mentioned four needs, but we lumped love and acceptance together and worth and valiue together. But (in this writer’s opinion), acceptance is the greatest of all our needs by a country mile.
Acceptance is the nucleus of all our relationships, from the most intimate of marital relationships to our acquaintances on the fringes of our sphere of influence..
As a curious adolescent teenage boy I craved my dad’s acceptance. I don’t believe I ever got it. There were isolated incidence where he showed pride in some accomplishment of mine that I took as acceptance but those times were few and far between. Our relationship was adversarial until after I’d become a father myself.
My friend Daniel (Webster) describes acceptance as a “state of being desired or wanted, belonging, or having worth.” if we don’t feel acceptance in our lives, we may try to find it in a gang or a cult. We may seek acceptance in unsavory places or with unsavory people or social outcasts–anywhere or with anyone who engenders those feelings that make us feel desired or gives us a sense of belonging no matter how toxic or unhealthy the relationship,.
My friend Daniel (Webster) describes acceptance as a “state of being desired or wanted, belonging, or having worth.” if we don’t feel acceptance in our lives, we may try find it in a gang or a cult. We may seek acceptance in unsavory places or with unsavory people or social outcasts–anywhere or with anyone who engenders those feelings that make us feel desired or gives us a sense of belonging no matter how toxic,unhealthy, or harmful the relationship is.
Feelings of acceptance from friends and loved ones is central to our true identity in Christ. Feeling truly accepted by Christ and accepting others as Christ sees them are essential for knowing and living out of our true identity in Christ.
More on acceptance in future posts.
If we are going to understand who we really are–our real identity, we need to go back to the very beginning. Everyone of us was born with two innate needs.: a) a need to feel loved and accepted, and b) a need to feel a sense of worth and value.
Once you discover that we have these two innate needs, figuring out how to meet them becomes the motivation for how we’re going to do just about everything else in life. Our value system, our priorities, our character, our life choices, and our personality will all have their roots and how those two leaves met
Let’s see, we can get married and hope our spouses love us and care for us. We can work real hard at our jobs and put in extra hours and hope our bosses will accept us and tell us we’re worthy and are a valuable employee.
The truth is nothing we can do ourselves is going to meet any of the innate needs we have, or any other need in life. Those innate needs are gifts to us from God. Not only did he create us with those needs but God is the only one who can meet them
We can fall in love, be in love, love others be loved, feel like we’re in love, we can be married for 50 years but none of those things guarantee real love.
Someone once told me we’ll be able to pick out the Baptists when we get to heaven. They’ll be the ones toting the covered dishes. Eating has always been a hallmark for us church folks. We love to eat and gather around the dinner table.
The trouble is, it seems to me the church is guilty of treating church like a pot luck supper. More and more we’re ignoring God’s banquet table and cooking up our own “kitchen religion”. The church would rather eat whatever tastes good than feast on God’s Word. The church would rather roast a bunch of rules and regulations than feast on the Bread of Life. The church would rather gorge on opulence than taste obedience.
“I’ve made myself available
to those who haven’t bothered to ask.
I’m here, ready to be found
by those who haven’t bothered to look.
I kept saying ‘I’m here, I’m right here’
to a nation that ignored me.
I reached out day after day
to a people who turned their backs on me,
People who make wrong turns,
who insist on doing things their own way.
They get on my nerves,
are rude to my face day after day,
Make up their own kitchen religion,
a potluck religious stew.
Isaiah 65:1-3 MSG
A gay Charlotte, North Carolina waitress was dismayed this week when a woman customer scribbled Leviticus 20:13 on the ticket where the tip should be. Continue reading
By John Ed Mathison
John Ed Mathison Ministries
My experience with Sunday School at Frazer is an excellent example. Early in my ministry I put together a visionary group called the Joel Team to help discern God’s vision for the future. One layperson suggested that Sunday School attendance had to grow in our church. This bucked the trend because United Methodist Sunday School had been declining over the last 50 years. Our Sunday School was small, but these creative laypeople began to discuss how we could change that trend.
We discovered that some of the larger Sunday School classes were meeting in smaller rooms, and some of our smaller classes were meeting in larger rooms. This isn’t good stewardship in the use of the facility.
Let me remind you that Sunday School classes have a tendency to have ownership of their space. They go to great efforts to upgrade the looks of their classroom. The window treatments, the altar tables, etc. are oftentimes personally made by members of the class. One layperson suggested, “Why don’t we look at Sunday School attendance every six months and rearrange the rooms to give the largest rooms to the largest classes.”
Caution! This is a huge change. People began to see that every Sunday School class might have to change rooms. But the question is – do we want to grow a Sunday School or do we want to have business as usual and keep our own rooms? Change would be necessary.
The Joel Team, consisting of people from all age groups, said that our core value is to grow our Sunday School. To do that it would be necessary to place the largest classes in the largest rooms. It was voted on and passed unanimously, because the core value did not center around the inconvenience of change but the vision of growing the Sunday School.
Every six months the average attendance of each class is recorded and the rooms are assigned accordingly. The Sunday School grew to three sessions each Sunday morning. Each room is used three times. If you go to Frazer today you will see no permanent Sunday School class names on a door. There are actually three slots for 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00 Sunday School. Each class has a nameplate that they can slide into that slot. The classrooms change accordingly to average attendance and the size of the room.
It has also created a bit of competition. If you want to keep your Sunday School room, you need to be inviting people and growing!
Another layperson suggested that the best way to grow our Sunday School is to start new classes. Because the tendency to give a new Sunday School class a room that is not being used (because nobody else wanted that room) you design defeat for the new class. The Joel Team suggested that we give the best classrooms to the new classes. That was a big mindset change for Sunday School classes.
All of these ideas passed our governing body almost unanimously. Because the Joel Team had representatives from every age group in the church it was not a case of “they” making a decision for radical change, but it was a “we” are a part of that deciding body.
If these proposals had been my idea, I would not have been retained as pastor very long! But this was the vision of the laypeople. When laypeople have ownership, vision becomes reality.
What was the result – Frazer grew a Sunday School that became the largest Sunday School attendance of any United Methodist Church in America!! The amount of change dictates the amount of growth. Vision became reality when people were willing to change.
John Ed’s blog posts appear on For His Glory each week.
Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4,4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 Phone: 334-270-2149 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org