Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

14 November 2008

Lagniappe Grace

I remember making the argument to someone once that, "Christians have MORE fun that the rest of the world does." I cringed when I said it, because I knew it wasn't true. Not that "FUN" should be life's watermark, but "abundant life" should mean SOMETHING right? I have a traveling evangelist friend who, every now and again will say to a particularly stoned looked crowd, "What's the matter with you? Have you been baptized in pickle juice?" It goes over about as well as you'd expect... but no less true.

I was reading Cathleen Falsani's story today about an exchange with Jean Larroux, Pastor of a church called Lagniappe Presbyterian Church in Mississippi... an area that was knocked out by Hurricane Katrina.

For the uninitiated, it's crucial to understand how important food is to the culture in The Bay, New Orleans. The savoring of food is a celebration of life itself. That's one of the reasons Jean decided to call his church "Lagniappe". It's an old Creole word that means "something extra". It's an unexpected gift. A little bit of shrimp and they put in an extra handful, that's the lagniappe," Jean said. "It's something you can't pay for. Something for nothing. Something for free."

In other words, a lagniappe is getting what you don't deserve? "Absolutely," Jean said. "In that sense, this area was really primed for grace. It understood the gospel it didn't know. Too often the church is the gruel sippers who have their faces pressed against the window of the world, watching the world celebrate life and they don't get it. When in reality, the father welcomed the prodigal son home in the gospel of Luke, chapter 15, and the world pressed its face against the window to see the celebration of grace"
Cathleen Falsani

Because of God's Grace... we get a bonus spoonful of Freedom. An extra slice of Life. Seconds on Love. It's the 20 dollar bill in your Uncle's handshake with the wink of his eye.

It's an unexpected "Keg" gift certificate anonymously slipped into your mailbox. What should you do with such an unexpected and fine gift? Become Gollum with the GC and make it your precious? Stay in your house and wait 50 years for just the right day to finally show the world your treasure? Maybe you should just throw it away because that card might contain the mark... just to be on the safe side.

No man. You get a sitter, put on your fancy pants and you enjoy The Keg's Peppercorn Medium-Well Steak. Dang that's fine meat.

Legalism vs Licentiousness is a very interesting argument with few definitive answers aside from "they'll both drown you." I'm personally finding myself in a season where God is redeeming some of his creation to me. He's been exposing areas of my heart to the light of His truth, that have caused me to be religious with my actions... and subsequently judgmental. More than anything... I feel it to be a natural spiritual maturation. This is such a powerful story about how Peter learned this in Acts 10

9About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. 13Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat."

14"Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean."

15The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean."

Then the next day...

25As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26But Peter made him get up. "Stand up," he said, "I am only a man myself." 27Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28He said to them: "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.

34Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. 36You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

44While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.

Then Peter said, 47"Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.

And God conveyed this truth to Peter through a dream about eating pigs!

Seems to me that Lagniappe Grace can be a key to open doors that legalism has locked.

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