Sunday, June 08, 2008

Gratuitous Love

Think about this:

My relationship with God is useless. It cannot be boiled down to functions of healing or well-being. God's purpose is not even to forgive me and be done with me—God looks beyond that to true love, to completely useless relationship.

Kester Brewin, Signs of Emergence, p. 160

In the evangelical church we talk about "having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ." But I don't think most of us have the least idea what that means. I think it means more than having Jesus in our "fave five," as one of our MySpace friends, or as a trusted contact on LinkedIn.

A "relationship" that is purely transactional isn't much of a relationship.

In our fuss to succeed, to get a good grade on the series of tests we think he has proposed, we miss the main point of the affair: that we already are the beloved.

Robert Capon, The Romance of the Word, p. 276

We have more in common with the older brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son than we do with the younger brother. We are out slaving away in the fields trying to earn our Father's love, when what he wants is for us to come in and join the party.

Pastor Rod

"Helping You Become the Person God Created You to Be"


daniel the smith said...

"Personal relationship with Christ" is, sadly, a phrase that has stopped meaning anything to me. :( He never talks back-- how can there be a relationship?

jeff franczak said...

I just read this this morning.

“Why do we need a personal God?” someone asks. Well, suppose you go to a child crying for its mother and say, “Don’t cry, little child: I’m giving to you the principle of motherhood.” Would the tears dry and the face light up? Hardly. …We all want, not a principle nor a picture, but a person.
- E. Stanley Jones

jeff franczak said...


I’ve been thinking a lot about your comment. I’ve wondered myself why it seems so hard to hear God’s voice. From time to time, I’ve asked people that I trust but they couldn’t offer much help.

However, I can share a couple of things from my recent personal experience. There are two relatively new songs that have really helped me express myself to God: “The Face of Love” by Sanctus Real and “Divine Romance” by Phil Wickham. I have not heard God’s audible voice in response, but I’m sure that I felt His overwhelming love and presence. My second thought has to do with God speaking His unchanging message of love to and through His people in very contemporary ways. If you’re interested, I just posted a practical example of this on my blog: A Collective Reflection on Prince Caspian.

- Jeff

Pastor Rod said...


Unfortunately, that phrase has become a cliche. However, the biblical record shows a God who is interested in relationships.

The difficulty is how to distinguish between a real relationship with a transcendent being and a one-sided "relationship" with an imaginary friend.


Pastor Rod said...


Good post on your blog about Prince Caspian. I need to go see the movie.