March 11, 2011

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Excerpt from LUCKY, Chap. 2: "Luck's Beginner" [The following is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of Lucky: How the Kingdom Comes to Unlikely People.] Before the beginning, God. God, the Three in One, who sees the end from the beginning. God, who decided before the foundations of the world that Christ the Son would be the Lamb of God, slain for the sin of the world. God was not caught off guard by Adam’s sin. He knew His first image-bearers would taint His image in them by their own rebellion. He knew the people He chose to be His luck-bearers would instead become self-absorbed and syncretistic. He knew they would become a curse, a byword among the nations instead of a blessing to all peoples. He knew their eventual exile out of the Promised Land, like Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Eden, would only underscore the plight of all creation: a luckless world waiting for redemption, a redemption that could only come from beyond itself. And so He came. Christ entered into the luckless, joyless, lifeless world. He was born to the unlikeliest of people: a Jewish carpenter and his ordinary wife. Yet even His arrival in her womb elevated her. Because of Him, she, the scandal of her town, the subject of scornful whispers and smirking eyes, was called by an angel “highly favored … among women” (Luke 1:28 NKJV). She was blessed. Though they did not know it yet, the luckless had become lucky. At His birth, shepherds—rootless wandering rogues—were visited by a choral constellation of angels announcing good news. Like Abraham, the nomadic shepherd that God had visited thousands of years earlier; like Moses, the shepherd in Midian tending his fatherin- law’s flock, who saw a bush on fire yet not consumed; like David, the king God crowned while he was hidden in the...
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Excerpt from "LUCKY", Chap. 4: "Those Who Are Empty on This World" [The following is an excerpt from Chapter 4 of LUCKY: How the Kingdom Comes to Unlikely People.] To hunger for God is more than a longing for an experience. We often use words like hunger and thirst in our modern expressions of worship. What we often mean by that, though, is that we are longing for an emotional jolt, an experiential, music-driven euphoria on a mass scale. Even though God does frequently make His presence felt, to hunger for God is much deeper than a craving for an experience. It is to meditate on Him, on His life and His words. It is to take Him into us so that we become what we eat. But hungering for God and His righteousness also means that we long—as He longs—to see things set right. When we embrace a hunger that comes from resisting what the world offers and feast instead on Jesus, we become more aware of those who are hungry now—in their bellies and in their souls. We begin to notice those who are dissatisfied with what they’ve been consuming even though they may not know why. And we notice those who literally need something to eat. When Jesus heard the news of his cousin’s gruesome beheading, He wanted to be alone. But the crowd that followed Him that day was hungry. Jesus had retreated by boat, attempting to find a solitary place. The crowd somehow anticipated where He was going and ran around the Sea of Galilee so quickly they beat Him there. They were hungry, hungry for something only Jesus could give them. Hungry enough to take the journey on foot. When His boat arrived at the shore and the crowd was there to greet Him with their longing eyes, Jesus didn’t get back in and sail away....

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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