The Jude Project: honoring the gift…

I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Jude‬ ‭1‬:‭4‬ NLT

Time to pick up the Jude Project again. When last I tackled this letter, I wrote about the need to fight for or defend our faith – not as a means of striving against others, but of striving against the things in our daily lives that might cause us to stray from our call to be faithful.

In Jude’s day, there were those who believed that forgiveness was a sort of get-out-of-jail-free card when it came to sin. Let’s be honest, there are many in our world today who treat their faith the same way. They live in ways that are hurtful, prideful, materially-focused, or even wasteful of the gifts God has given them on Monday through Saturday, and then look to be cleansed and pardoned on Sunday.

Jude says: that’s not ok. That’s not how it works.

Yes, of course, Jesus can cleanse us from every sin. He can wash it all away – the shame, the things we don’t want to think about, the things we don’t dare to speak about. He can – he HAS – made us clean, new, spotless. That is the whole point of the cross. We are forgiven. We are free – from sin, from shame, from the darkness that dwells within.

But that doesn’t give us license to go douse ourselves in more sin, shame and darkness. If we recognize the gift for what it is, then our lives should honor it, should pay homage to it, should seek to share it with others who need to know that they can be forgiven, too.

So, Jude says, contend for the faith, fight for it – by living the Way, the truth and the life.

May you live a life that honors, pays homage, and ultimately – most importantly – shares the gift.




Good Friday is always a struggle for me. I love Jesus and I am so very thankful for all that he accomplished on the cross. I am glad we take time to remember and recognize his sacrifice. And I am not averse to sad stories and sad songs. In fact, people who know me well, know that my favorite movies, books and songs are the ones that make me cry a bucket of tears before they are through.

So you would think I would be in my glory on Good Friday. But I struggle this day. I think it is because the pain Jesus went through is more than any anguished character in fiction. Jesus wasn’t just living out a tragedy for the sake of a good story. He was defeating my sin. The things that I do wrong, the hurt that I cause in this world, the parts of me that are broken ad dark and horrible – those are the things Jesus faced and healed on the cross. Only – not just for me. For every person who ever lived. The burden is too big to imagine. Too vast to comprehend. And he didn’t deserve any of it – he was spotless, whole, clean.

This subject is so heavy, I can only dwell on it for a certain amount of time. It hurts my heart to think of it, and so once the worship service is over, I move on. Not in order to forget, but because I simply cannot dwell on the subject for too long. It’s too painful

My practice has been to spend Good Friday amongst friends. Today, I stood at the foot of the cross in the morning, and then laughed and cuddled and shared food and a silly movie with my friends and their children. I believe times like this are a gift from God, and I believe that Jesus was our honoured guest as we spent one together today.

Good Friday is a dark day in the Christian calendar. But it is also a good day. Because sin and death and darkness were defeated on this day. Because Jesus chose to love each of us more than his own life. And so every year I come, and I spend time at the foot of the cross, and I remember.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8 NIV


On Wednesday of Holy Week we find this occurring:

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests to arrange to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted when they heard why he had come, and they promised to give him money. So he began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.
Mark 14:10, 11 NLT

Judas’ betrayal is not spur-of-the moment. It is planned. “He began to look for opportunity…” Those words break my heart because they show that Judas has truly turned against Jesus, against his mission and ministry. Judas is no longer focussing on bringing the Kingdom of God into reality. He is looking for an opportunity to betray the One who fulfills the Kingdom.

I always find myself sort of outraged on Jesus’ behalf. I ask myself, “How could he?” How could Judas who was Jesus’ friend and disciple, betray everything that Jesus is about. Those of us who love Jesus in today’s age, WISH we could have had the chance to walk and to talk with Jesus as Judas did. How could he squander that opportunity?

And then I remember something Peter Wilson wrote:

Without equivocation or hesitation I fully and completely admit that I deny the resurrection of Christ. This is something that anyone who knows me could tell you, and I am not afraid to say it publicly, no matter what some people may think…

I deny the resurrection of Christ every time I do not serve at the feet of the oppressed, each day that I turn my back on the poor; I deny the resurrection of Christ when I close my ears to the cries of the downtrodden and lend my support to an unjust and corrupt system.

However there are moments when I affirm that resurrection, few and far between as they are. I affirm it when I stand up for those who are forced to live on their knees, when I speak for those who have had their tongues torn out, when I cry for those who have no more tears left to shed.

And I realize that far too often I have stood in Judas’ shoes. Denying Jesus, betraying him, turning away from his mission and ministry in favor of my own desires.

I am humbled by this realization. And once again amazed that the power of Christ’s forgiveness is wider, deeper and more persistent than my sin.

Best intentions & grace…

So clearly I have fallen off my pace when it comes to blogging. Just as I have struggled with more than my fair share of illness this winter, I am now struggling with finding my stride again. Despite my best intentions I have simply not been able to keep up to the pace I set for myself as Lent began. I want to be “back to normal,” but I am not. I am more easily tired than I was in the fall. And I am seriously paranoid about getting over-tired and that leading to another cold or flu.

All of that to say I am slowly (but surely) learning to have grace for myself. It’s amazing to me that I am a passionate believer in God’s grace for me (and all of humanity, actually), but I have a hard time forgiving myself for a missed workout or a string of nights when I am simply too exhausted to blog at the end of the day.

So this week has been a lesson on how to have grace for oneself. And, though such lessons always seem to come in times of struggle, I find I am still thankful for the continued act of learning how to live this faith.

Be gracious to yourself, my friends, as you are gracious to other and as God has first been gracious to us all.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1, 2 NKJV