Tipping Point
May 2013


"Not only did Christ take away my guilt, but He also gave me His righteousness. Because the guilt of the offense is gone, the shame is gone as well. Because that sin is no longer my own, the shame is no longer my own." - Tim Challies

Hi Friends:

"Tipping points" . . . some, on the surface, are so "everyday" . . . so "pedestrian" . . . you know, that cleanup of spilled milk at a hurried dinner table or the search for the missing set of keys on a morning when you are already late for work. Then there are "tipping points" that are anything but "ordinary" . . . game-changing moments that simply refuse to be relegated to the myriad of more less microscopic misfires in the morass of the mundane. These "tipping points" instead come in the form of the 2:30am phone call no one wants to receive . . . or the addition of three new work projects with even tighter deadlines than the two incomplete ones your boss has already handed out.

Just Waiting to be Exposed

Whether small or great, there are three fundamental "truths" about all the "tipping points" in our lives: 1) they all ask for something from us whether it's time, attention or resources - or all the above, 2) they never consult our "life-situation" to discern if a manageable response can be implemented, and 3) they all have the ability to expose fear, uncertainty, shame, vulnerability and limitation.

Sometimes it's not the "tipping point" in and of itself that can push us "over the edge", but it is the heavy trail of stacked-up setbacks, heartbreak and fatigue which weighs heavy on our minds and tentatively lays waiting to implode in even the most innocuous of circumstances . . . circumstances like a simple invitation to meet up with wonderful friends at their home for an informal visit.

While on the surface the occasion should be marked with laughter, joy and the creating of new memories, what do you do when you bring the last bottle of wine from your kitchen . . . a kitchen that has become quiet and drained of most of it's food supply . . . a kitchen attached to a trying season of living with less . . . a lot less . . . a season where you wonder as you drive with your paltry $8.00 bottle of wine (with no wine bag) to your friends home . . . that's right, you wonder if you should even go . . . and if you do, you wonder if your flimsy financial world will become exposed . . . you wonder if on some level . . . or all levels . . . if you will be judged and dismissed.

If you are like me, you do your best to dance around the discount chardonnay and keep conversation at a safe altitude . . . and hopefully you find yourself respected for who you are versus what you have . . . but no such easy dance was possible on one of the most tragic days in American history . . . April 15, 2013.

An Assault on Life

Yes, the news media and the attention of much of the world was on Boston where the marathon bombing resulted in 263 victims (including three fatalities). The loss of innocent life and the interruption to freedom was horribly sad, but nearly lost in the "over-the-top" coverage throughout the week was the loss of fourteen lives (including nine first-responders) among more than 160 victims in the West Fertilizer Company explosion in Texas early on April 18th. Between the Boston and West, Texas tragedies . . . media consumers were almost certainly guaranteed of little if any coverage of the Kermit Gosnell trial (which includes 380 criminal charges) . . . a tragedy all of it's own involving decades of late-term abortions, infanticide, racial discrimination and traumatized teenage girls being forced to abort their unborn child in the pig sty otherwise known as the Women's Medical Society in West Philadelphia.

But the greatest tragedy on April 15th, 2013 received little attention on any level in the media . . . and quietly drifts by a vast majority of those who call themselves "Christian". The total number of fatalities in this epic loss of life (like the day before . . and the day after) is estimated to be 3,333 . . . 3,333 unborn children who never even got a chance to live their life . . . just in the United States alone. While the number itself is dramatic and perplexing, the true story is 3,333 women (most in their teens and twenties) . . . who daily arrive at one of life's most overwhelming "tipping points" . . . and in a life-context that often amounts to a vacuum of love and support . . . they succumb to fear, shame and self-serving motivations . . . and take the life of a defenseless child.

How does this tragedy which equates to 238 West Fertilizer Company explosions per day play out in neighborhoods, churches and families? Perhaps none are more qualified to answer that question than Melissa Ohden and Lisa Luby-Ryan . . . and here are their stories;

MELLISA ODEN'S STORY:

 

LISA LUBY RYAN'S STORY;



If we were all left to our own devices and ingenuity in all of the big and not-so-big "I can't do this" tipping points of life, what a hopeless affair would be this thing called "living". The bottle of chardonnay in the back seat of my car had become a symbol . . . it represented an effort to give out of respect and appreciation for an invite . . . but it was a vivid reminder that I was out of "give" . . . it was a reminder of interrupted rest, unstable provision and a shrinking platform from which to responsibly manage obligation . . . it was the proverbial "needle" on the fuel gauge of both my bank account and my soul . . . informing me that I was empty . . . and that I desperately needed to be filled.

Life Poured Out

A Saturday evening church worship experience would divide the departure from my home with my token bottle of refreshment . . . and the arrival at my friend's home. I felt half-there during the singing . . . like a rag doll with no energy for charades . . . and then it happened. Communion would be served (not a frequent practice in my church though highly valued) . . . a loaf of bread would be torn, broken and dipped . . . dipped into a cup that had been poured. I was suddenly taken back to that one day when my Savior personally encountered the ultimate "tipping point" of all human history.

In one moment of remembrance, I was drawn again to His cross where He willingly poured out life for all the "I can't do this anymore" moments we encounter . . . and His invitation was clear . . ."Come eat . . come, drink . . this is My body for you". His invitation is to fragmented survivors of bomb blasts, terror and tragedy who are invited to come close . . . and when they do . . . they hear these words . . .

"On this mountain He will . . swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; He will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth." - Isaiah 25:7-8

"The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." - Matthew 4:16

"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." - John 10:10

His invitation extends to souls riddled with guilt, shame, doubt, fear and hopelessness . . . including those who have robbed the unborn of their very life . . . and when they come . . . they hear these words . . .
"Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." - Hebrews 12:2

"For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, 'Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame'.” - Romans 10:10-11

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." - John 8:36

And yes, His invitation includes the likes of myself . . . the under-resourced and the over-matched . . . and when we come . . . we hear these words . . .

"And I pray that you . . may have power . . to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." - Ephesians 3:17-19

I received the bread, dipped it in the cup . . . and remembered that in Him I have been filled to overflowing in resurrection life and power. So I went on to my friend's home a short time later, reminded of the fact that "tipping points" are not about me . . . but the Christ in me . . . and powerfully flowing through me . . . into the fabric of lives nearby. We shared laughter and joy . . . and yes made new memories.

But then the thought occurred to me about how pathetically shallow would our Christ-followership be if we only dared only to dock for a few hours at a time within the safety of friendship . . . or channel-surf in the comfort of a family room for hours . . . even days, mesmerized by media coverage of "tragedy elsewhere". Our design and purpose was never meant to become comfortable collection pots of God's amazing grace . . . but rather conduits . . . conduits like Melissa Ohden and Lisa Luby-Ryan who understand the teaching of I Corinthians 12:27 which states . .

"Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."  1Cor 12:27

. . . and as such, how much more should we all feel called to the 3,333? . . . how much more should we all gravitate and help however we can . . . by joining in the chorus of life and volunteering with ministries like Bethany House in Gresham, Oregon or Pregnancy Resource Center in Charlotte, North Carolina? When you show up in these places in His name, you bring hope and healing that only the Author of life can pour out . . . into one troubled and hurting soul at a time. Christ in you has the power to replace tragedy with triumph . . . to supersede death with life . . . simply because you as His hands and feet cared enough to be present at someone else's . . .

. . . tipping point.

 

"'For I know the plans I have for you', declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'." - Jeremiah 29:11

"For He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will."
- Ephesians 1:4-5

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." - Ephesians 2:10


Artist's Corner

"True Beauty" by Dove Soap,

 


"Nothing is Wasted" by Jason Gray,

 

The hurt that broke your heart
And left you trembling in the dark
Feeling lost and alone
Will tell you hope's a lie
But what if every tear you cry
Will seed the ground where joy will grow

And nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
Nothing is wasted

It's from the deepest wounds
That beauty finds a place to bloom
And you will see before the end
That every broken piece is
Gathered in the heart of Jesus
And what's lost will be found again

Nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
Nothing is wasted

When hope is more than you can bear
And its too hard to believe it could be true
And your strength fails you halfway there
You can lean on Me and I'll believe for you
And in time you will believe it too

Nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
Sometimes we are waiting
In the sorrow we have tasted
But joy will replace it

Nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
Nothing is wasted


"Greater" by Elevation Worship,

 

God our strength, God our Savior, God our hope
Yours forever is the glory, the honor

God our shield, God our shelter, God our rock
Yours forever is the glory, the honor
The victory and power

You're greater, greater
There's no one like our God
You alone are worthy
God You are greater, greater
There's no one like our King
All the earth is singing
"God you are greater"
You are, you are
God you are greater
You are, You are

God our peace, God our Father, God our rest
Yours forever is the glory, the honor
The victory and power

You're greater, greater
There's no one like our God
You alone are worthy
God You are greater, greater
There's no one like our King
All the earth is singing
"God you are greater"
You are, you are
God you are greater
You are, You are

You have overcome the world
Took the keys from death and hell
Joining heaven we declare
You're greater, greater

You're greater, greater
There's no one like our God
You alone are worthy
God You are greater, greater
There's no one like our King
All the earth is singing

God you are greater, greater
There's no one like our God
You alone are worthy
God You are greater, greater
There's no one like our King
All the earth is singing
"God you are greater"
You are, you are
God you are greater
You are, You are

 


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