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Throwing Away Your Spiritual Report Card

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When Carol Dweck was in the sixth grade, her teacher sat her and fellow students in rows, according to their IQ scores. The children who didn’t have high IQs were not allowed to carry the flag during assembly or wash the black board. Carol occupied the first seat, but she thinks it might have been just as uncomfortable for those in the last seats—you see, “you were only as good as your last test score…” she remembers.

Fifty years later, Carol Dweck, Stanford professor of psychology, would revolutionize the way educators think about intelligence and potential. Her studies revealed that what determined the degree of success for a child, was not their IQ or their talent--but what they believed about what they could become. That’s a fast and dirty summary of Dweck’s best-selling book called Mindset. It’s also a great example of how powerful revolutions come from insiders who knew along that something needed to be made right.

Pastor Wayne shared about one such revolution this past Sunday in our third of the series on Calvary’s core values: Grace and Truth. The revolutionary was Jesus. John 1:14-17 explains that He came in grace and truth (17), a mixture of two forces that complement one another in such a way that you cannot have one without the other.

When truth and grace come together

Some churches and people are truth oriented, fixed on standards or boundaries. John 1:17 compares this mindset to the Law—which defines our limitations. These people are only half right.

We have inherited a “sin IQ.” Truth-oriented people rightly know that our nature is fixed. No matter how hard we try, we can’t overcome it by ourselves. Jesus, however, was the insider who knew something needed to be made right.

The book of John calls Him the “Word.” That means that Jesus himself is truth. But He “became” something else for us—human. He became truth embodied in grace.

When truth requires accountability for your bad behavior; grace is right there, offering forgiveness for your failure. When truth sets a boundary around you, making you feel far from God; grace shows the pathway that is forged to the Father on your behalf. When truth magnifies your brokenness and failure; grace manages your restoration and your worthiness.


How grace and truth change you

It’s not that truth is ever overlooked. Jesus minced no words about the sinful woman in Luke 7. Her sins were many, he said—but they were forgiven by grace.

Receiving grace does something to you.

“Those who are forgiven much (given much grace), love much.”

People who recklessly embrace the grace because they know they are pardoned, are people who know they can become something more. You must have both--you can't be pardoned unless you accept the pardon (grace). You can't be pardoned unless you know you need to be (truth).  

Without grace and truth, love isn't love--and we aren't like Jesus. But with both, we become like Him. 

Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Like the students in Carol Dweck’s class—how “successful” you will be in carrying out the command to love others does not depend on your last spiritual test score. What you believe about grace and truth does.

To listen to the audio of Pastor Wayne’s sermon on Grace and Truth go to here.  

Four Signs That Your Faith May Be Too Small

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Believing in a Big God for Big Things:

 

 The second in Calvary’s series of Core Values is Faith: Believing in a big God for big things. Sometimes it’s easier to relegate faith to what happens between our right and left ears. Christians are people who believe that Jesus died for our sins and are therefore saved. But that’s only where faith is supposed to begin.

All of Israel demonstrated a believing faith in God. Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth was no exception. Pastor Wayne pointed out, however, that Jesus marveled at their unbelief—which kept him from giving them miraculous and wonderful gifts (Mark 6:5-6).

The people who knew God and knew Jesus from childhood were missing out on great things because their faith was too small. What attitudes could be causing us to miss out on God’s greatness and how can we know? Below are four characteristics of small faith and the opposite mindset that corrects it.
  

  1. Your faith might be too small if you live in disappointment with the way your life turned out. Disappointment is a faith killer because it assumes the story begins and ends with us. The people of Nazareth were disappointed with Jesus—He was not fitting their expectations of reality and they were closed to the possibility that their experience was wrong.  People who believe in a big God for big things, don’t deny reality; they hold open the door for God to grant a new reality

  2. Your faith might be too small if you are always looking at the latest fad. There is nothing new under the sun—only new packaging. Helpful tips, whether for our health, finances, relationships, or emotions are potentially useful tools, but they are not blueprints for our lives. These, instead, come from God.  People who believe in a big God for big things are dependent on God’s direction through prayer.

  3. Your faith might be too small if comfort is your default. Humanly speaking, comfort and security do not require faith. The reality of God in our lives pushes our limits from the inside out, challenging us to serve when we would rather rest, befriend who we would otherwise reject, and surrender what we would rather keepPeople who believe in a big God for big things exchange comfort for effort.


  4. Your faith might be too small if you live in fear of change or loss. When we fear change, we believe that the status quo is as good as it gets. We tend to view the world with myopic vision, managing only what is right before our eyes and rejecting vision for a better future that is intended for our good. What do you expect? People who believe in a big God for big things are people who learn to expect big things from God.
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