I like to read and I'm trying to read more often, but I'm still pretty slow. I'm not the fastest reader around (I have a very high comprehension rate, though), and then I can't read most books without underlining the "good stuff". When you figure that I don't set aside enough time to read, I read slow and then I have to underline everything, you might imagine how long it takes me to finish a book.
But anyway, the book I am not moseying through (is "moseying" a word?) is Making Small Groups Work: What Every Small Group Leader Needs to Know by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend. It is an excellent book so far (I'm on page 67 of 292!).
One chapter is entitled "The Ingredients of Grace, Truth and Time". This is what they said about grace and truth:
Jesus was the realization of grace and truth together. He was total unmerited favor. He loves us, accepts us, and helps us when we don't deserve it. He favors us and brings us favors, just because he loves us. He also give us truth-the truth of God, the truth of life and how we should live, the truth of who and how we really are. Jesus offer the love that gets us to face and deal with reality. The safety of his forgiveness and grace take the shame and sting out of our daily failure to live up to his standards. The exciting thing about experiencing grace and truth together is that we can become friends with the standards. The way we "out to be" can become a goal, a direction, instead of a judge. Because of grace, we can begin to say, "I want to see where I need to change, so I can be and do better. Show me the truth and where I am in relation to it." Jesus' grace enables us to become friends with truth.
I don't know...maybe taken out of context of the whole chapter that doesn't make much sense. I really appreciated "The exciting thing about experiencing grace and truth together is that we can become friends with the standards" because I am my own harshest critic. Too much truth about who I am is hard for me to handle. But as I've been spending time with the Lord journaling, I have noticed how he deals with issues in my life with grace. I never feel like He is putting me down or even "yelling at" me even when He is correcting me. I can relate to the need for a balance of truth and grace in my life.
The book goes on to talk about how doing life together as a group enhances (or can enhance) this truth/grace balance as members deal with one another in truth and walk in grace. As group members we have the opportunity to demonstrate the balance of God's truth and grace to others and help them mature in Christ. This books is showing me how God never intended for us to grow in him by ourselves...he intended for us to do it together. It is making me appreciate the people God has put in my life and giving me an excitement about working with the Life Group leaders in our church.