CFE stuff – I hope this helps! Good luck!

Both what Tali had to say and what Tami said stuck with me. Tali spoke about how the cross is more than just a memorial of Christ’s suffering, but how it was an example of restoration and reconciliation. He spoke about the differences between restorative justice and punitive justice. Restorative justice is what Christ sought for us on the cross by being sacrificed for our restoration. Instead of seeking justice by making us pay for ourselves, he kept the payment for himself. Punitive justice is reflected in how sin demands payment. It’s seeking vengeance by responding with anger or pride. Restorative justice requires a surrendering not easily given.
Tami gave a reading that talked about all that Christ took on for us. How he experienced all that was human, suffering and temptation, but remained blameless.
After Tali and Tami spoke we partook of communion.

Communion always speaks to my heart. But what has always enhanced the closeness is the atmosphere and music. On a side note, the music at the service was amazing. I appreciate the traditional hymns.
When Tali presented the cross with a different perspective, I remember walking away thinking about the distinction he made between restorative and punitive justice. I remember thinking about how hard it is to know which one should be issued in certain situations. Because he said it would be funny and dangerous to apply restorative justice in terms of enforcing the law with criminals. We can’t just let killers go free. I can only imagine what was going through Christ’s mind as he issued us restorative justice instead of punitive. If anyone else was in that situation…if we had taken that particular choice to court…would a jury have made the decision to let a sinful, killer population of people go free while the one that was innocent and trespassed against took the punishment? I’m not so sure that would have gone so well had it been decided by a jury today.

Dr. Gordon Fee talked about the presence of the Holy Spirit within God’s people. God’s presence with Israel is what distinguished them as God’s people. In the same way, we should consider that the Holy Spirit is God’s presence with us today and should be what influences how we live so as to distinguish us as God’s people.
This is also why we no longer need temples, because the Holy Spirit resides in the temple of the body of believers.
The temple in Biblical times was know to the people as a place of prayer and worship. But more importantly it was known as the place where God’s presence dwelled. Just as Christ referred to his body as a temple, and just as our bodies are referred to as temples in Matthew, our bodies should also be places where God’s presence can be found.
Also Dr. Fee said to remember that life isn’t just about me and my spiritual life. It’s about life together, indulging in the fruit of the Spirit with other believers in Christ. To speak to each other with the language of the indwelling. The question he left us with is this: How is the Holy Spirit present in out corporate lives?

God’s people are his temple, and where ever they go, God shall go with them.
He also talked about how in the New Testament, Paul made clear that the Holy Spirit was not some ambiguous, impersonal force. The Holy Spirit is not an it. The Holy Spirit is the personal presence of God within us and within his people. His biggest point was that we need to stop depersonalizing God’s presence. In the contemporary church it is common to use symbols to represent the Holy Spirit, like a dove, wind, or fire. But who can relate to these? Christ helps us relate to God as a Father and in a similar way the Holy Spirit should help us relate to God on equally personal terms. The Holy Spirit is how God maintains his presence on earth. Irsael’s failure cost them the presence of God and Adam and Eve’s failure cost them the physical presence of God. Central to the prophetic hope is the return of God’s presence. That also should become a central hope in today’s church.

Micah 6:8
“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” -Micah 6:8
This last week I have been working on the obituary for Micah Kellcy. Micah 6:8 was his dedication verse. I didn’t know him personally, but several of my friends did. This is the first time I’ve had to tackle an article of this kind before and it was soooo hard! It’s a lot different when you’re talking with and interviewing people you don’t know about someone they lost. But talking with friends who are free to pour out their hearts…that’s rough. It requires a lot of journalistic discernment to know where to draw the line between on and off the record. Also, writing this story brought to light the fact that none of us or our friends are invincible. Micah was an awesome guy and I feel a pang of sadness in the fact that I never got to know him. I really wish I had! Hearing stories of his life and how he lived it was really inspiring. From the sound of it…this was not a person who should have been taken. Although as I’ve done my quiet times I’m reminded that it’s not up to us to decide…as Micah’s mom said, God wanted Micah by his side more than we needed him on earth. Wow…what an amazing perspective!
I know this is not an issue that is going to fade away anytime soon and I thank God for pulling me back to reality. I’m only sorry that it took so much exposure to death (Micah and also war coverage in my media law class…ugh, makes my tummy turn) to bring me back to this point.

“But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” -1 Timothy 1:5
Jesus Himself is the way and the truth and the life. His presence in our hearts makes a way through hurt and pain.
“…SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE, we are to grow up in all aspects of Him, who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”

I’ve been thinking a lot on this verse and that part about “speaking the truth in love”…just that one part of the verse is so powerful. I remember when I was in Scotland and our leader asked us all a question: “What is the one thing that you can’t NOT do? Where is your passion?”
My answer to that question just popped into my head without hesitation and I honestly don’t know where it came from…but I answered “To speak truth.” That’s where my heart is…to speak the truth. Not necessarily speaking truth like “Thou shalt not lie.” It’s different than that. I’m still not sure how to explain it.

But there’s something about learning how to speak truth to yourself that comes to be harder than just plain speaking what you know to be true. Everyday I find myself learning more and more how to know the truth about myself. It’s such a grueling process. These past two weeks I have come to terms with some weaknesses. And in the same vein, I have discovered some strengths.
Lord, I thank you for the strengths you have given me and I pray that you will ease the pain as I work through the weaknesses.

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