I’m terrified of public speaking. I recorded this podcast dozens of times and deleted it. This morning I got up recorded it in one take. Here it is, transcript below.
My name is Preston the nomad, and I would like to welcome you all to the inaugural nomadic faith podcast. The point of these shortcasts is just going to be a quick word you can hear on the way to work or at the gym whatever suits you. My goal is to keep them between 5-10 minutes long.
For the next few messages, I’m going to talk about how Christians are sinners in constant need and how grace will never run out. The gospel is the good news of grace, and it is always there when you require it. I made that connection of grace after a friend died and I realized I was living completely wrong.
I am going to start with a reading of The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus because it has some great parallels with Christianity.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Those powerful words are of course etched on lady liberty at Ellis Island. Over twelve million immigrants were processed into the country through Ellis Island, including some of my ancestors and im sure some of yours. Many of these immigrants were People who had nothing to offer but were welcomed into the country; a country that would grow to amazing heights in large part due to the work of immigrants. A beautiful parallel to Christianity. We broken men have nothing to offer the gospel. But through us the gospel can build something great.
I’ve always been partial to the line your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Webster’s dictionary defines yearning as a longing desire, a longing desire to breathe free. As Christians, we often feel weighted by guilt and by sin in our lives and we long to be free of it. We feel it in everything we do, the weight on our shoulders and the crushing feeling on our chests. Our breath is heavy, and everything seems labored. We make Constant excuses because we’re ashamed and drowning in guilt over the sin in our lives. Unfortunately, this is a symptom of modern Christianity that has lost sight of the radical redeeming grace of the gospel. This weighted feeling is not something Christians are supposed to live with; Christ advises us his yoke is easy, and his burden is light.
Come to me, all you who are weary & burdened, & I will give you rest. -Matt 11:28
We forget that sometimes, I know I did. I grew up in Christian schools and churches I was taught the word from the very beginning. Most of my early memories involve Sunday school, church, or get togethers at our pastor’s house in Phoenix. But as a college student through adulthood, I barely prayed and if I did it was because I needed something and I didn’t go to church unless I felt socially obligated to go with friends or family. I was completely numb constantly thinking that once I got my life back together, I would focus on faith but it just never happened. This idea of getting better before you seek out Christ and grace is a lie. It’s a delay, a tactic from a skilled opponent who wants us to forget the message of grace. The further away you get the harder it is to think you can come back, and then you realize that you are so disconnected you don’t even recognize how you got there, who you are, or what you believe.
We are constantly thinking next time i will be good enough, next time I will resist, I will get back to church after I get my life together. The truth is, we never get it together. We will always be the people fighting the sin and losing.
Steve Brown writes in his book three free sins that if we were good enough for Christianity, then we wouldn’t need it. Powerful words. We are never good enough for the faith, and it doesn’t matter. In fact, that is the entire point of the faith. God will find us in our most wretched state he will pull us from our darkest situation we can never be so lost that grace can’t redeem us.
I discovered the true nature of God again under terrible circumstances. A girl I knew overdosed on drugs and passed away leaving behind two kids. This was a new situation for me. I had never dealt with a death where the person wasn’t Christian my friends and family were all believers. I suddenly found myself facing the reality that I had never attempted to share the gospel with her in the years that I knew her. Not even once ever mentioned Christianity to her and I knew she passed unreached. I was Missing out on the main commandment of the new testament “go and tell.” We have this good news this news that is supposed to free us of burden, relieve us of guilt and wash away the shame and we sit there lost in our problems all the while we let the world deteriorate. I spent weeks after her death trying to figure out who I was. I was way more lost in those weeks than I had ever been. In my darkest moment, I found redeeming grace. I decided to become a preacher after that; I’ve enrolled in seminary starting this fall, and now I find myself here talking to anyone who is willing to listen. I beg of you stop and consider your family, your friends, the people you don’t even like. Remember that the purpose of our presence here is to fight for every soul.
I recalled this story to a longtime friend who was surprised by my sudden career change and a new perspective. She asked me if I thought it would have mattered if I thought the girl would have been saved if I had talked to her. I responded that I didn’t know, the girl was a long time drug abuser and was standoffish to anyone that disagreed with her lifestyle. That’s a response I regret having.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about that answer since then. And I always inevitably find myself reading Luke 5 versus 27-31.
After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
There is no one so broken Christ can’t heal or redeem them. It isn’t our place to decide who is and isn’t good enough for the gospel or who could be saved by it. Peter was chosen to found the church even after he denied Christ. The apostle Paul used to hunt Christians in the early days of the faith imagine how potent each of those loses were to the spread of the gospel but Paul was still saved wrote a huge portion of the new testament and fought to keep the religion pure and on the right path. The point is anyone, and everyone is welcome to the grace of God. No matter what you are going through or what you’ve allowed into your life you are welcome here in grace.
Christ like lady liberty is calling for the sinful and broken of this world. For the faithless, the doubters, the disenchanted lost Christians, for the drug abusers, for the people who have persecuted the faithful none of that will matter. We are all the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. We are the wretched refuse of a sinful world, but we are welcomed by the lamp of the gospel to the golden door of salvation.
That’s it for today guys, thanks for listening and please reach out to me with an email if you have suggestions that address will be firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out directly on nomadicfaith.org Thank you for listening remember you are saved, loved, and have a blessed week.