#Redemption

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If you were following the NCAA tournament you could not have missed the redemption tour message from the Carolina Tarheel Basketball Team.  After the final game with the Redemption tour was complete, I started thinking about what the word redemption means.  What did it really mean to those twelve young men playing basketball.  Redemption is defined in two ways  the action of regaining or gaining possession of something or clearing a debt and the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.  Both apply to this years National Champions, but how does it apply to our lives?

During the Lent season, many Christians have turned their hearts toward Jesus and his sacrifice and humiliation to provide “the way” to our Father and everlasting life.  Hebrews 9:12 defines Christ’s redemption of us, ” he entered once and for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.”  As I focus on discipline and sacrifice during Lent,  I compare my life to the redemption tour.  I reflect on the ups and downs of my life -both the joy and sin.  I see my failures and the hurt this causes those I love and most importantly Christ, yet in the end I know my debt is paid and I have been saved by Christ and one day I will live with him in heaven.

One part of the redemption definition focuses on being saved from sin.  This Easter season we remember the sacrifice that God made by providing his only son, Jesus, as a living sacrifice in order that our sin might be washed clean.  1 John 4:19, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.”   With Christ partitioning for me before the throne, my sins are not forgotten but heaped upon Christ in order that I might be presented as a bride in her white gown.  Much like the team that has made numerous mistakes and their coach graciously and humbly accepted as his fault in order to put forth a complete team the next time they hit the court.  This sacrifice brought them to glory and a National Championship.  I long for my championship and my home in heaven with Christ.

The redemption definition also includes regaining or gaining possession of something or clearing a debt.  Christ as clearly paid our debt with his blood, his redemption for us.  We are reminded in Ephesians 2:13, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” By paying this debt he has allowed me to gain possession of a heavenly home with him one day, my championship. As the Tarheels watched the clock tick down to zero, they could feel their redemption for all that had been lost in the last championship game, but this loss had now been regained.  Just as we were once lost we now are found in Christ, our shepherd, so that we might gain his glory through his redemption for us.  This gift is defined in Romans 3:24, “and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”.

Closing Verse:  “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,” Ephesians 1:7

Challenge:  Have you stopped to discipline yourself and reflect on the sacrifice of Christ this Lent season.  As Holy Week comes to an end turn your focus to Christ’s gift of salvation through the cross.

Please share if so lead.

 

Watching Your Game Film

IMG_0983Does you “game film” matter?  I recently heard a prominent educator, Baruti Kafele, use this terminology to refer to educators taking a deep look at how they treat their students each day.  As I reflected on my daily life as an educator, I saw a deep comparison.  As the March Madness NCAA Tournament wraps up this week, I began to really look at some of the last teams – Those Final Four!  What characteristics do these great basketball teams have?  They have a leader, a coach, but that coach is usually humble and gracious and always shoulders the burden of blame. This coach does not just show the way but lays the ground work for his team to follow.  As I pondered the role coaches play in the life of their team,  I realize how much a coach symbolizes the love Christ has for us.  Christ is our coach who came to earth to pave our path to salvation. “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” ‘1 Peter 1:13-16.  Christ preparation for our salvation included the disciples (“And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Mark 1:17), parables (“This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” Matthew 13:13), and a living example of how to win over Death (“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” John 14:6).  If we follow this path we are National Champions with a spot in heaven with our Lord Jesus Christ.

Now back to my question – Does your game film matter?  Does it matter how we lived today, yesterday, and even last year.  Do we stop and look in the mirror each day and reflect on our own life?  Do we live a life that is an example of the life Christ lived?  Are we striving to live our life like the example our Coach has provided, Christ?  As I watched these teams battle together, win and lose together, I caught a glimpse into God’s team.  I believe Christ is cheering us on from heaven, always praying we will follow the game plan he has laid for us.  This plan of prayer, scripture, and refection of our lives.  As we review our game film do we see Christ?  Do others see Christ?  This is the purpose in reflecting on our lives, checking our game film, to ensure we are following the game plan and example Christ has provided for us.  1 Peter 2:21 shares Christ example this way, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”

Christ is a coach for the church.  We have to work together even with all our differences and opinions to bring everyone on the team to the final glory of winning that Championship Game. I want to play on God’s team, but that means I have to watch my game film each and every day.  I must stop to pray, read scripture, and reflect on my day to see that I am following the path that Coach Jesus has paved for me. 1 John 5:4 speaks of victory, “for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”

Closing Verse: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3.

Challenge:  Take out a mirror and look at yourself.  Do you see an example of Christ looking back at you?  Rewind and reflect on your game film.

Please Share if so Lead.